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Sept/Oct 2009

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Inside: Commentary Sam Hellesponte Pat Buchanan Thomas Sowell Walter Williams Paul Craig Roberts Northern Virginia Photographic Society Exhibit - Reston The Best Harry Potter Review on the Net!

Book Review: En Kharakas Though Heavens May Fall Written by local author Sam Kerillion!

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Sept/Oct 2009

LASeR ELiTe CeNTRe, I

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Rocky had six. Nightmare on Elm Street? Eight. Halloween logs in with nine. Notorious for their never-ending sequels, these movie franchises were not exactly synonymous with box office gold. Film sequels in general tend to generate much less revenue than their predecessors. Third installments sometimes skip the big screen all-together; think Grease 3, Scooby Doo 3, The Grudge 3, and Legally Blonde.

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True, there have been a handful of sequels that actually earn more than the original: Aliens, Star Trek II: the Wrath of Kahn, Godfather Part II, and Superman II. However, all of these franchises continued with third and fourth installments that are seen as failures; and some spectacular. Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, a box-office tracking company, said recently “… if a sequel now grosses only two-thirds of its predecessor, it's considered a major failure” (2003, www.dealmemo.com/). Even when a movie sequel does manage to earn hundreds of millions of dollars and break box office records, it usually sacrifices positive critical reviews along the way. For example, the worldwide smash hit Star Wars recent additions received some of the worst reviews in cinema history. Spider Man, Pirates of the Caribbean and Shrek each had strong sequels followed by high-grossing third installments that were scorned by critics. In fact, the only movie series to be overwhelmingly acclaimed by critics in total and reap staggering box office grosses was The Lord of the Rings trilogy ($2.91 billion). Aside from this rarity, a movie is usually ridiculed in direct relation to how many sequels it spawns.

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And then came Harry Potter.


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Sept/Oct 2009

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Based on the internationally bestselling young-adult books authored by JK Rowling, cinema has been gifted not three, not four—no, not even five Harry Potter movies—but a promise of eight in total (six of which have been released to date, the last two to debut in 2010 and 2011). Never has an undertaking like this been attempted in film history. The nearest comparison would be the James Bond films, which were also adapted from books, but do not follow a chronological order, frequently change actors, and have taken some forty years to produce the 20 plus films. The Harry Potter movies are a singular achievement in the film world. In less than ten years, the series has generated over $5.3 billion worldwide, and has become the most profitable movie series of all-time…before the final two films have even been made. Each and every installment of the franchise has been accepted by moviegoer and critic alike, praised with great reviews and stellar box office grosses. How has this series achieved such massive worldwide success? After all, the average age of the fan-base could be said to be younger than the legal driving age in most countries. It is certainly not a demographic earning enough spare cash to drive the franchise into the billions. Also, the films have had four different directors, something that could have destroyed the continuity of the series. The sudden death of Richard Harris in 2002 meant the recasting of Dumbledore, a pivotal character, after the second film. And time itself has been an opponent of these movies, as filmmakers rush to capture the young stars onscreen before they outgrow the characters. Despite all of this, each and every one of the six films works, both independently and as a part of the whole. Respect for the source material by screenwriters Steve Kloves and Michael Goldenberg, and inspired casting and acting are the strongest points of the films. Capable directing and believable special effects round out the finer points, and the entire thing is driven by the passionate and

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unwavering devotion of its fans. Released in July, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is the by far the darkest of the six films. Gone is the levity of fun and frolicking holidays, the goofy novelty of wizarding

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LIT CENTER devices. Instead, a decidedly moody vibe prevails. Colors muted, smiles dampened, David Yates has directed Half Blood Prince, in large part, as a drama. Many critics have declared this a negative, but any true Harry Potter fan understands that this is an integral part of his story. Every story worth telling has its sadness: its loss, grief, and fear. We have already been given the light and happiness of Hogwarts, now we are taught to understand what Dumbledore's Army and the Order of the Phoenix are fighting to protect. It would be unrealistic to expect these films to maintain a solid, unbroken line of Sorcerer's Stone-type bright and easy feel. One of the overriding themes of the Harry Potter tale is that with age comes responsibility, and to secure good, evil must always be fought valiantly, even when sacrifice is necessary. Growing up isn't always fun and games, and it can even be lonely—especially when you're the “Chosen One”. For critics to disparagingly complain about the tone of Half Blood Prince is to miss the point of the movie altogether. After all, critics did not complain that The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King suffered for lack of scenes featuring drunken tabletop-dancing hobbits. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince deserves praise for beautifully continuing this historic and deeply entertaining film series. The acting of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon and Alan Rickman embed the characters with realistic emotion, transforming them from the page into flesh and blood. The artistry of the movie transports the viewer into a world we believe in: Lord Voldemort, love potions, and all. That is the highest form of magic, indeed.

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Sept/Oct 2009

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A MINORITY VIEW BY WALTER WILLIAMS

Education

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Instead of President Obama addressing school students across the nation, he might have accomplished more by focusing his attention on the educational rot in schools in the nation's capital. The American Legislative Exchange Council recently came out with their 15th edition of "Report Card on American Education: A State-by-State Analysis." Academic achievement in no state is much to write home about but in Washington, D.C., by any measure, it approaches criminal fraud. Let's look at the numbers. Only 14 percent of Washington's fourth-graders score at or above proficiency in the reading and math portions of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test. Their national rank of 51 makes them the nation's worst. Eighth-graders are even further behind with only 12 percent scoring at or above proficiency in reading and 8 percent in math and again the worst performance in the nation. One shouldn't be surprised by Washington student performance on college admissions tests. They have an average composite SAT score of 925 and ACT score of 19.1, compared to the national average respectively of 1017 and 21.1. In terms of national ranking, their SAT and ACT rankings are identical to their fourth- and eighth-grade rankings -- dead last. Washington's political and education establishment might excuse these outcomes by arguing that because most students are black, the schools are underfunded and overcrowded. Let's look at such a claim. During the 2006-07 academic year, expenditures per pupil averaged $13,848 compared to a national average of $9,389. That made Washington's per pupil expenditures the third highest in the nation coming in behind New Jersey ($14,998) and New York ($14,747). Washington's teacher-student ratio is 13.9 compared with the national average of 15.3 students per teacher, ranking 18th in the nation. What about teacher salaries? Washington's teachers are the highest paid in the nation, having an average annual salary of $61,195 compared with the nation's average $46,593. Despite the academic performance of Washington's students, they have a graduation rate of 61 percent compared to the national average of 70 percent. That suggests the issuance of fraudulent high school diplomas. Currently, Washington, D.C. has an Opportunity Scholarship Program, which allows qualified low-income families to claim up to $7,500 per student toward a private education of their choice. Obama's Democratic Congress, acting on the behalf of the education establishment, has killed the program and there's the possibility that the 1,700 students currently enrolled will have to return to D.C. public schools.

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The staunchest opponents of school choice are hypocrites. They want, demand and can afford school choice for themselves but for others not so affluent school choice it is a different matter. President and Mrs. Barack Obama enrolled their two daughters in Washington's most prestigious Sidwell Friends School, forking over $28,000 a year for each girl. Whilst senator from Illinois, the Obama's enrolled their girls in the University of Chicago's Laboratory School, a private school in Chicago charging almost $20,000 for each girl. A Heritage Foundation survey found that 37 percent of the members of the House of Representatives and 45 percent of senators in the 110th Congress sent their children to private schools. Public school teachers enroll their own children in nonpublic schools to a much greater extent than the general public, in some cases four and five times greater. In Cincinnati, about 41 percent of public school teachers send their children to nonpublic schools. In Chicago it is 38 percent, Los Angeles 24 percent, New York 32 percent, and Philadelphia 44 percent. The behavior of public school teachers is quite suggestive. It's like my offering to take you to a restaurant and you find out that neither the chef nor the waiters eat there. That suggests they have some inside information from which you might benefit. For people in power to tolerate the Washington, D.C. school system is despicable. For a black president to do so might qualify as betrayal.


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Photography Exhibit in Reston The Northern Virginia Photographic Society (NVPS) is holding a free exhibit during the month of September at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Building in Reston. The exhibit is on display in the Art Hallway of USGS's Visitor Center through Tuesday, September 29. Exhibit Hours: MondayFriday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. The NVPS is Northern Virginia's largest photography club nationally known for the excellent work of its members. The USGS exhibit features the work of approximately forty of NVPS members as well as Montgomery County club members. Many of the photographs are available for sale. The United States Geological Survey is located at 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston VA.

Crete Steps by Sandi Croan

Directions can be found on the USGS website: USGS.gov NVPS website: www.nvps.org/main/exhibits

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Trees at Big Meadows by Laura Howel


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OM Home Organizing Offers Tips to Help Organize for the Family Trip Whether it's a day trip, a weekend getaway or a weeklong vacation you're planning to take this summer, some pretravel organizing is vital to ensuring a fun excursion for all. Particularly in today's difficult economy, having needed supplies, including cameras, batteries and snacks on hand can save time, money and frustration, according to OM Home. “Being organized for travel is the first and perhaps most important step in planning a trip,” OM Home Owner Nicole McGrath said. “Planning ahead and determining what is essential for your trip is just as important as packing the right items and knowing where they are when you arrive at your destination.” OM Home offers the following tips to help you and your family stay organized during the summer vacations. To Save Time § Keep a copy of your packing list on the computer to cut down on time spent recreating it for future trips. Update it before each trip to include new information such as medications. § Create an itinerary before your travel which lists travel times, hotel check-in/check-out times and a list of activities/places you'd like to visit. § Map our your route ahead of time if driving § Keep all documents related to your trip (airline tickets, car rental and hotel reservations etc) in a “Travel/Trips” active file for easy retrieval. § Keep a toiletry bag packed with travel-sized containers year-round. This way, you're always read for a long trip or an overnight stay. § Place items you'll need immediately at the top of your suitcase, or in a separate handbag. Continued Next Page...

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...Vacation Organizing Tips Continued To Save Money § Think ahead and pack items you may need for various vacation activities, including band-aids for hiking, beach towels and/or umbrella for the beach and aloe vera for sunburns. § Make sure you have camera batteries, film and other necessities before leaving home as these items will cost much more at tourist locales. § Include camera and power charger cables on your packing list. It would be terrible to waste vacation time and money looking for cords needed to recharge your equipment. § Review vacation planning guides for your destination to find valuable coupons on dining, entertainment and activities on your itinerary. To Save Stress § Check the weather in your vacation destination then pack appropriate clothing and shoes. § Begin packing early and only pack what you absolutely need. § Leave extra space in your suitcase for souvenirs. § Organize your wardrobe around one basic color to prevent over-packing. You'll be able to mix and match easily. § Check items off your to-do list at least one to two weeks before you travel so you are not pressed for time at the last minute. § Use suitcase organizers to separate outfits or types of clothing. § Service your car at least two weeks prior to travel so you have time to make any necessary repairs. § Leave your itinerary and contact information with family or friends should an emergency arise. Lost control of your surroundings? Have trouble finding – oh everything – in your closet? Is your home office overrun with paper? Are there piles of old mail on top of really old mail on top of last year's holiday greeting cards? Still? If your home isn't the sanctuary you'd hope it would be, think about consulting a professional organizer.

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By Sam Kerillion

Book Review

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We received an Advance Copy of the first novel by Sam Kerillion, a Fantasy story that splendidly blended traditional fantasy with strong romance, compelling adventures, and a robust demonstration of heroism that isdefined by friendship, loyalty and love. En Kharakas: Though Heavens May Fall has a magnificent collection of characters with whom we engage quickly and deeply. We can feel their perils, share their fears, and I found myself turning pages in a whirlwind as the story unfolded just to be sure my new friends were safe! If you enjoy strong Heroines, romance, love, adventure, friendship and stories that pull you in...you’ll enjoy En Kharakas. And...this is just Book One of the series!!

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Sept/Oct 2009

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Vicious Academic Liberals by Walter Williams Ward Connerly, former University of California Regent, has an article, "Study, Study, Study -- A Bad Career Move" in the June 2, 2009 edition of Minding the Campus (mindingthecampus.com) that should raise any decent American's level of disgust for Walter Williams what's routinely practiced at most of our universities. Mr. Connerly tells of a conversation he had with a high-ranking UC administrator about a proposal that the administrator was developing to increase campus diversity. Connerly asked the administrator why he considered it important to tinker with admissions instead of just letting the chips fall where they may. His response was that that unless the university took steps to "guide" admissions decisions, the University of California campuses would be dominated by Asians. When Connerly asked, "What would be wrong with that?", the UC administrator told him that Asians are "too dull -- they study, study, study." Then he said to Connerly, "If you ever say I said this, I will have to deny it." Connerly did not reveal the administrator's name. It would not have done any good because it's part of a diversity vision shared by most college administrators.

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gross racial discrimination against those "dull" Asian students who "study, study, study" in favor of "interesting" black, white and Hispanic students who don't "study, study, study." This is truly evil and would be readily condemned as such if applied to other areas lacking in diversity. With blacks making up about 80 percent of professional basketball players, there is little or no diversity in professional basketball. Even at college-level basketball, it is not at all unusual to watch two teams playing and there not being a single white player on the court, much less a Chinese or Japanese player. I can think of several rule changes that might increase racial diversity in professional and college basketball. How about eliminating slam dunks and disallowing three-point shots? Restrict dribbling? Lower the basket's height? These and other rule changes would take away the "unfair" advantage that black players appear to have and create greater basketball diversity. But wouldn't diversity so achieved be despicable? If you answer yes, why would it be any less so when it's used to fulfill somebody's vision of college diversity?

Ward Connerly ends his article saying, "There is one truth that is universally applicable in the era of 'diversity,' especially in American universities: an absolute unwillingness to accept the verdict of colorblind policies." Hypocrisy is part and parcel of the liberal academic elite. But the American people, who fund universities either as With the enactment of California's Proposition 209 in 1996, parents, donors or taxpayers, should not accept this evilness and there's a good way to stop it -- cut off the outlawing racial discrimination in college admissions, funding to racially discriminating colleges and universities. Asian enrollment at UC campuses has skyrocketed. UC Berkeley student body is 42 percent Asian students; UC Irvine 55 percent; UC Riverside 43 percent; and UCLA 38 COPYRIGHT 2009 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC. percent. Asian student enrollment on all nine UC campuses is over 40 percent. That's in a state where the McLeanLife.com Asian population is about 13 percent. When there are policies that emphasize and reward academic achievement, Asians excel. College officials and others who are proponents of "diversity" and equal representation find that outcome offensive. To deal with the Asian "menace," the UC Regents have proposed, starting in 2010, that no longer will the top 12.5 percent of students based on statewide performance be automatically admitted. Students won't have to take SAT subject matter tests. Grades and test scores will no longer weigh so heavily in admission decisions. This is simply

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Sept/Oct 2009

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McLeanRestaurants.com The Restaurant at

Patowmack Farm 42461 Lovettsville Road Lovettsville, VA 20180

Join us for a culinary journey that will nourish your soul and excite your palate, providing you with an unforgettable dining experience.

~

Dine on local, organic cuisine that is reflective of the seasons. For Reservations Call

540 822-9017 patowmackfarm.com

Daughter For Hire Companion, LLC Of McLean Retirees & empty nest moms provide services to help seniors maintain their independence. Rides, cooking, doctor appointments, medication reminders, errands, shopping, day trips & fun! References, Licensed, Bonded & Insured.

703-288-2957 kamdaughter4hire@aol.com www.daughterforhirecompanion.com


Page 27

All Things McLean...

McLeanLifestyle.com

McLeanGarageDoors.com

Sept/Oct 2009

EXPIRES 11/15/2009

EXPIRES 11/15/2009


Page 28

Sept/Oct 2009

All Things McLean...

McLeanLifestyle.com

IAQBook.com

IAQbook.com Learn about: • Duct Cleaning • Contaminates • Important IAQ Questions • Dust Mites • Filters • Honeywell Ultra-Violet Lights • Humidifiers • Air Exchanges • And Much More

Order your copy today for only $19!

The Consumer's Guide to Indoor Air Quality Simple, common sense measures to keep the air inside your home as clean and fresh as possible.

To order your copy please visit www.iaqbook.com

McLean Lifestyle October 2009  

McLean Lifestyle October 2009