Fed Up – Netflix Streaming Documentary

Fed Up
Fed Up – Netflix Documentary

Fed Up is a documentary currently being shown on Netflix.  It is about the childhood obesity epidemic becoming out of control.  The documentary blames this on people eating the “wrong” calorie and advertising brainwashing us.  Fed Up argues that 1 calorie doesn’t necessarily mean 1 calorie.  They support that statement by showing us that the sugar content in fruit is countered by fiber, unlike Soda which hurts our bodies directly.

In the 70s, the United States created the McGovern report which made an effort to implement certain food restrictions.  Companies started lowering the fat content in their foods.  Unfortunately, the reduction in fat led to an increase in sugar.  The documentary then shows us some kid friendly commercials like the Fruity Pebbles commercial.

Four kids are followed in Fed Up.  There is a girl who is very physically active, but she cant lose weight.  She is very frustrated by this inability, but continues to ear poorly.  The documentary delves into the poor nutritional value of school food.  During the Reagan administration a large cut was made in the school food budget.  To compensate, schools started serving cheap and nutritionally poor boxed foods.  Fast forward to today and things are more out of control.  Some schools have their own student section with other bad foods.  Many other schools have a fast-food chain like McDonalds or Pizza Hut in the school.  A boy they follow first comes onto the documentary eating fries.  His mother is making a strong effort to get healthy foods, but sometimes can’t afford it.  When they go to the doctor he is in danger of serious complications if he doesn’t lose weight.  Another boy is the fattest of the multiple siblings he has.  He actually goes through a DXA scanner that calculates his belly fat to be at about 60%.  Then they show a teenager that is almost 400 lbs.  At the end of the documentary he is the only success story.  He goes through a gastric bypass procedure.

Fed Up compares the increase in gym memberships in the past 20 years with a similar increase in obesity.  Both are on the rise.  The documentary concludes with an analog of smoking back then to sugar now.

Overall, Fed Up is captivating.  I agree with most points made.  However, I think another large part of the childhood obesity epidemic is inactivity.  The basketball courts seem empty these days.  With the amount of current entertainment we get from televisions, video games, and computers we aren’t as active.  However, this new information age has given us great tools and a whole host of new nutritious foods.  We should utilize myfitnesspal and keep track of calories until we reach a nice healthy weight.

 

 

The Google Story – David Vise – Scribd

Google Story
Google Story

See July 2015 Update for Current Google News.

The Google Story is an audio book on Scribd.  It provides us with information about the formation of Google.  The story begins with Sergey Brin addressing an Israeli high school.  This high school is gifted in mathematics and have won 7 of 10 awards in Israel.  The school has much in common with Sergey Brin.  Many of the students are Russian immigrants that had fled to Israel for a better life.  Sergey says, as my father would say, what happened to the other 3 awards.

Sergey Brin immigrated to the United States at the age of 6 and grew up in Maryland.  He excelled in school and went to the University of Maryland for his undergraduate degree.  His father was a Math Professor at the University of Maryland.  He would do his graduate studies in Computer Science at Princeton University.

Larry Page was also born to a professor.  His father was a Computer Science professor at Michigan State University.  Larry attended the University of Michigan.  He would also do his graduate studies in Computer Science at Princeton University.

When Brin and Page met each other, they did not get along.  Both men were incredibly smart and liked to argue.  Before Google, search engines employed tons of advertising and didn’t have a good system for giving search results.  Brin and Page had devised an algorithm to give sites a page rank based on the relevancy of the site’s backlinks.  In 1996, the original Google became a popular search engine on the Stanford University Network.  They believed the idea was brilliant and tried to sell it for $1 million.  So they can take the money and continue studying.  Search engines like Excite and Lycos didn’t purchase the algorithm.  Brin and Page decided that they would work on their project full time.

Initially, they tried to solicit friends and family for investment money.  The Sun microsystems co-found wrote them a check for $100,000.  Interesting fact, SUN stands for Stanford University Network.  They would start getting employees and putting together different computer networks to handle the capacity of computing power.  They would become a corporate power house.  Offering many conveniences that most corporations didn’t.  They had a bus that would take people to work and back.  The ability to bring your dog to work.  For parents, 18 weeks of paid leave for Mom, 6 weeks of paid leave for Dad.  Free on-site day care when returning to work.  Free fitness classes.

A large part of this book was devoted to their greatest perk.  Charlie Ayers, a former chef for the Grateful Dead became Google’s executive Chef.  He had initially taken a pay cut to join the company as their 53rd employee.  He would provide employees with gourmet food daily.  This food would be free to employees.  But more importantly his great personality had built a tight-knit community.  He retired Google $26 million wealthier with the stock options.

Overall, a great audio book about Google.  This one was written in 2005 and there may be more up-to-date books available about Google.

I Hate Christian Laettner – ESPN 30 for 30

 

I Hate Christian Laettner
I Hate Christian Laettner – ESPN 30 for 30

Well, I dont really hate him.  It just happens to be the title of an ESPN special that I was fortunate enough to catch on Netflix.  I remember Christian Laettner as the 3rd overall draft pick in the 1992 NBA draft.  I was young and did not watch college basketball when he was drafted.  I only knew him as the guy with the mushroom haircut sitting on the bridge above.

Christian Laettner was well known for being the best player in Duke history.  He holds many records and shined as a superstar when needed.  Laettner led Duke to two titles.

Growing up Christian Laettner was tall and excelled in basketball.  He was also very tough.  This special shows a high school basketball game in which Christian Laettner started a brawl.  Moving on to college his attitude wasn’t much different.  The documentary shows him constantly harassing Bobby Hurley, a fellow Duke teammate.  It doesn’t help that Duke is one of the most hated college basketball teams.

In one college playoff game Christian Laettner was perfect from the line and perfect from the field.  He also hit the game winning shot with seconds left to play.  This was after a perfect cross court pass from Grant Hill.  The fans of the other teams were outraged.  Earlier in that game Laettner stomped on Imanu Timberlake’s chest.  The fans believed Christian Laettner should have been thrown out of that game.

Rumors began to fly that Christian Laettner was gay after he gave an interview in college.  People were questioning his relationship with Brian Davis.  The article showed Christian Laettner sitting close to Brian Davis while holding a cute little kitten.  In basketball games that followed the opposing fans would throw gay slurs at Laettner.

Jalen Rose was commentating in this documentary.  He confirmed his hatred towards Christian Laettner as well.  Rose was part of the Fab 5 from Michigan.  This team included Chris Weber.  Michigan played Duke in Laettner’s last NCAA finals in 1992.  With everything going on outside of basketball, Christian Laettner had an awful first half.  Duke kept the score close because they were a great team.  Bobby Hurley started antagonizing Laettner.  In the 2nd half Christian Laettner came out with a vengeance.  Duke destroyed Michigan to win their 2nd title with Christian Laettner.

Christian Laettner was the only individual in the 1992 NBA draft invited to play with the Dream Team.  The greatest team ever assembled.  They represented the United States basketball team in the 1992 Olympics.  Unfortunately, his NBA career didn’t amount to much.  He didn’t adjust to the NBA as well as he played in college.  Also, the coaches couldn’t adjust to him as well as Mike Krzyzewski.  

As all the other ESPN 30 for 30s a great documentary.  Watch it on Netflix or try to catch it on ESPN.

Console Wars – Blake Harris – Scribd Audio Book

Console Wars
Console Wars – Blake Harris

Console Wars is a Scribd Audio Book that is similar to the Super Mario – How Nintendo Conquered America – Jeff Ryan book that I had reviewed previously.  It even shares some of the same historical facts.

Nintendo was created in the late 1800s as a play card company.  They looked to diversify the business when most people already bought playing cards in Japan.  They had some failed ventures.  The most fascinating being an hourly love hotel.  Eventually, they settled on electronic gaming.  Their Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy was extremely popular and gave them 80% of the industry.

I believe this Console Wars falls under the category of semi-fiction.  It most likely uses many facts, but adds certain fictional elements for humor.  Tom Kalinske, is vacationing with his family in Hawaii.  On the beach, he is approached by a Japanese man.  Kalinske is a former successful toy executive and the Japanese guy is trying to get him to join an unknown Sega.

Kalinske’s prior accomplishments include improving performance on Barbie Doll, creating He-Man, and improving child nutrition by creating Flintstones Vitamins.  Kalinske does like to work more than the beach, so he joins Sega.

Tom’s first strategy is a campaign.  He starts touring shopping malls.  Asking people to blindly try out Sega and Nintendo, so they can compare the two products.  Kalinske soon realized that money was to be made in the games not the consoles.  Only one console would be sold per family, but the amount of games sold could be limitless.

Sonic the hedgehog was created at a Sega contest.  The office contest was to create a mascot for the company.  The original Sonic was an evil looking Hedgehog with large fangs.  Kalinske used his marketing talent to create a friendlier looking hedgehog that would appeal to everyone.  Initially, Tom dealt with lots of anguish in approving his Sonic.  But, much to the Chagrin of Japanese executives, Tom’s version was approved.

With Sega Genesis and Sonic the hedgehog, Tom created his next move.  He would allow Sega to lose millions of dollars by adding the Sonic game to the console package.  The assumption was the long run profits of this move would be favorable.  The risk paid off, that holiday season more Sega Genesis units were sold to customer than Nintendo units.

Another large risk that Sega took was to include more adult themes in their video games.  This helped them amass another fortune during production of Mortal Kombat.  Unfortunately, this also gave them some bad press with parents and politicians.  Non-stop thinking Tom was able to put out the fire by creating a rating system on video games.

Sega would continue to do great after they hired marketing experts Goodby Silverstein.  Those are the marketing geniuses behind many super bowl commercials including the Budweiser Frogs.  Goodby Silverstein was intelligent enough to send their team to work with young kids that actually

This review of Console Wars talks about specific facts in the Scribd audio book.  What makes Console Wars such a great book is that it’s very comical.  The audio book is funny with its makeshift Japanese accents.  The other reason why it’s so funny is the crazy things that go on behind the scenes with marketing teams in large corporations.  Another large selling point to this book is that Seth Rogen plans on creating a movie based on this book in 2016.

Obama – Dave Mendell – Scribd Audio Book

 

Obama
Obama: From Promise to Power

Obama: From Promise to Power is an audio book available to Scribd members. Mendell has been covering the current President’s rise to fame since the early Senate run.  Barack has an ideal view of what he wants to accomplish as a politician.

Mendell  meets up with Obama at the University of Chicago where Barack is a professor.  The female students in class are in awe as Obama speaks to them. Mendell is assured that he will sit down for an interview, but isn’t given a time.  They finally meet at a restaurant.  Mendell describes Obama as someone who is extremely confident.  He soon learns that the confidence stems from childhood.  In raising Obama, his mother always stroked his ego.

Obama was born to an American mother and an African father.  His father earned acceptance into Harvard and left the family.  Barack had spent his childhood in Hawaii.  His mother would have to travel internationally often and his grandparents would watch him.  As a youth, Obama was very interested in basketball, which is obvious during March madness.

After graduating college Obama became involved as a director of Community projects in Chicago.  This had his mind focused on what he can do to improve the community.  He understood, to make those positive changes he would need to hold a political office.  His love of reading, gave him the intellectual capability toattend Harvard Law School.  He succeeded there becoming the first ever black president of the Harvard Law Review.

Obama had failed in his run for mayor.  He  then makes a run for the senate.  Half of this book is about that run.   Mendell’s intellectual writing really kicks into full gear.  There is a play-by-play analysis of every word that is spoken by Obama.  The unfortunate truth about politics is that everything you say is analyzed.  Sometimes you just look forward to other’s failures for your benefit.  For example, the Jack Ryan Sex Club Scandal which helped Obama advance.  To play in this crazy game, Obama picked up the best public relation/speaking coach, David Axelrod.  Obama had succeeded with hard work.  His campaign trail would visit more than 5 cities daily.  In the midst of all this he was working on writing a book.

Wayward Pines – Blake Crouch – FOX – Kindle Unlimited

Wayward Pines
Wayward Pines – Blake Crouch – FOX

Coming soon to FOX is Wayward Pines.  Executive Producer M Night Shymalan.  This is what caught my attention when I noticed this was an audio book included in Kindle Unlimited.  If FOX is going to create a prime time tv show based on the novel, I figured it has to be pretty good.

Spoiler Alert – there may be items in this article that you should not read if you want to wait for the FOX show and not know about the premises of the story.

Ethan wakes up confused.  It’s mainly due to waking up to amnesia.  He tries to get some facts by going to a coffee house.  The cashier is horrified and Ethan is nervous.  He starts wondering if he did something wrong that he can’t remember.  Ethan soon realizes that one side of his face is completely messed up.  He checks into the nearest hospital.  The nurse at the hospital works with him to try to help him remember things.  All he remembers is Mack.  This is because a Mack truck hit him.

Throughout the interaction, Ethan feels strange in Wayward Pines.  Something in the town seems off.  In his exploits throughout the town he has to deal with a difficult sheriff.  He tells the sheriff that he is a federal agent to ward off any questions about his strange behavior.  He tries to get information from a bartender, but just ends up pissing her off because he has no money.  He tries to hot wire a car to leave the strange town, but is caught in the act.  He will also end up fighting strange beasts in this unknown land.

In other scenes in the book, Ethan has flashbacks from his time served in the Gulf War.  Also, the book skips to portray his grief stricken wife and son because they have not seen Ethan.  His wife has lost hope and is at the point where she just wants to see his dead body for closure.

Dr. Jenkins starts informing Ethan of what’s going on.  He is the Wayward Pines psychiatrist.  Even though we come to a realization that he is not really a doctor.  Wayward Pines, Idaho is the only place left that houses mankind.  They are actually living in a time period where humans are almost extinct.  To preserve humankind this small area was created.  They try to get people to stay because all the other parts of the earth are surrounded by people that tried to kill Ethan.

It’s a very addictive book and I look forward to seeing where Blake Crouch takes us in the 2nd book.

 

 

Super Mario – Nintendo – Jeff Ryan – Scribd

Nintendo
Super Mario – How Nintendo Conquered America – Jeff Ryan

In this great audio book on Scribd, Jeff Ryan takes us through the history of Nintendo.  This was a great trip down memory lane, as Nintendo was HUGE when I was growing up.

Nintendo was a company that started in the late 1800s.  Yes, the late 1800s.  In it’s early years, it gained it’s fame from the sale of Japanese playing cards.  In the 1960s, when playing cards were not as popular, Nintendo looked into other ventures.  An interesting fact: One of the ventures would be an hourly hotel.  In Japan these are known as love hotels.  In the United States better known as No-Tell motels.  The literal translation of Nintendo is “Leave luck to Heaven”.

In the early 70s, Nintendo was involved in Light Gun arcade machines.  This same technology would eventually create the Nintendo great, Duck Hunt. Nintendo would produce electronic parts for other Arcade game makers.  They would start dabbling in their own arcade games.  The real game changer was 1981’s Donkey Kong.  This game was the first appearance of Mario.  Around this time era they also produced the single handheld Game and Watch games.

The author believes that Mario’s character was based on a Mario that was at a Nintendo business meeting.  It was just a business man with a mustache.  In Donkey Kong, one of the weapons is a hammer.  Mario was originally meant to be a carpenter.  The background of Donkey Kong does resemble a construction site.  The overalls was a nice touch and was used because it made nice use of the original pixel characters.

In 1983, they would produce in Japan the Family Computer, aka Famicom.  We would get this 2 years later in the United States under the name Nintendo Entertainment System, aka NES.  They would follow-up with another great invention in 1988, the Game Boy.  Nintendo was pretty much on top of the world and in control of it’s own destiny.

Sega Genesis would be released in 1988 and Nintendo would follow-up in 1991 with Super Nintendo.  The Super Nintendo did have the great game Super Mario World game.  Both Genesis and Super Nintendo were 16-bit, but the Genesis had a more powerful processor giving Sonic the Hedgehog that great speed.  Additionally, Nintendo did not produce any violent games.  This was a difficult business decision as Mortal Kombat was becoming very popular.

With Sony getting into the Video game console market things would only get worst.  At this point Nintendo started focusing more on game making than the console market.  But they did produce the Nintendo Wii with hopes of making a big splash in the motion control gaming.  As far as current video game systems go, the Playstation is difficult to compete with.  However, Nintendo leaves a huge legacy with their Mario products.  From movies, tv shows, lunch boxes, shirts, bedding, etc.  This book is a great history of Nintendo and wonderful trip down memory lane.

 

Gimp – Mark Zupan – Scribd – Living Paralyzed

Mark Zupan
Mark Zupan

This great audio book that I found on Scribd is about the life of a paralyzed athlete.  Mark Zupan was a star athlete that played varsity soccer and football.  His strong athleticism had landed him a scholarship to Florida Atlantic University (FAU).  After a college soccer game, the athletes were headed to Dirty Moe’s in Boca Raton.  He had calculated his available money wisely.  $10 in total, $5 will go towards cover, and then at a dime a beer special, he should be able to have about 50 beers.  That night he definitely drank heavily.  To sober up, he left the bar and went to the back of his buddy Chris Igoe‘s car to sleep.  That move would change his life forever.

Driving back inebriated, in the rain, Chris skid off the road and totaled the vehicle.  Mark got injured badly and was tossed into a nearby lake.  His body somehow managed to float upwards as Mark prayed for his life.  During this situation, Chris still didn’t realize Mark was around.  The next day, someone eating lunch outside in their vehicle, opened their window.  They heard Mark’s call for help and notified the emergency line.  Firemen had come down to the scene to rescue Mark from the water.  He was well into hypothermia, with his temperature in the high 80s.  He credits his athletic conditioning for his survival.  The hospital had given him the news that he was well aware of.  From that point forward Mark was paralyzed.

He had recounted hospital detail about the embarrassment of  having a care taker help you go to the bathroom.  Mark had rejected most of the physical therapy that was at his disposal, since he was still in denial about being paralyzed.  He would soon go back to school, enrolling in Georgia Tech.

At Georgia Tech, he found light in his life again by joining their quad rugby team.  He speaks highly of Coach Wendy, who was a former athlete and a great coach.  She introduced Mark to a lighter, better wheelchair.  After games, Mark would go out drinking with his fellow teammates.  He felt real comfortable with them.  They were a group of guys that were in the same situation.  No more feelings of self-consciousness.  Better yet, after fighting it out with opponents on the field, both teams would drink together like friends.  He excelled winning the 2004 Quad Rugby player of the year.

The most important message in this memoir is Zupan saying on multiple occasions it’s the best thing that could have happened to him.  He has become a celebrity: meeting the president, being features in Muderball which made it to the Sundance Film Festival, and getting into movie projects with Johnny Knoxville and Chris Pointus of Jackass fame.  Zupan is making the most of his unfortunate circumstances.  He has proved that being paralyzed is not the end.  This book is entertaining and a great inspiration.

Henry Ford’s Own Story – Scribd

Henry Ford's Own Story
Henry Ford’s Own Story

I found this biography about the creator of Ford Motors in Scribd.  However, this is a Librivox recording that is available to anyone.

This is one of the older audio books that I have read on Scribd thus far.  It was published in 1917, but teaches an invaluable lesson about business.  Henry Ford, was raised on a farm in relatively poor conditions.  Early on in life, he had an interest in how mechanics worked.  Like most affluent engineers today, he enjoyed to take apart things and fix them.  He was left heartbroken when his mother passed away in his teenage years.  This event made him decide to stop going to school and to work as much as possible.

Ford would work day and night.  He would start earning more money than he can spend.  After his necessities he would not have a need to spend much.  He left one job that was paying him well because he thought processes could have been better to increase production.

Henry Ford was more into his work than he was into girls, but would marry Clara Bryant.  She was very supportive of Ford’s vision, since he would spend more time creating than with the family.  Ford would gain popularity when he would enter his cars into races.

Ford did not invent the vehicle, he was a mastermind at running a business.  The main idea is to create something that everyone can use.  Back then, cars were a luxury item that would fetch about $4,000.  Ford thought of a way to produce and sell the automobile for $900.  He didn’t care about luxury, he wanted everyone to have the opportunity to afford this time saving convenience.  Henry Ford was also big on keeping his employees happy.  He did not believe in firing employees and also hired individuals that were previously imprisoned.

This is a great audio book that is available for Free at LibriVox.

Cesar Millan Short Guide – dog training

 

Cesar Millan dog training
Cesar Millan Short Guide to a Happy Dog

Cesar Millan‘s Short Guide to a Happy Dog is a great read for individuals that are new dog owners.  Cesar adds many important tidbits in this dog training book, such as the importance of micro-chipping your pet.

This dog training book is not a step-by-step guide in what you need to do each day to train your canine.  Cesar Millan focuses on the psychology of dogs and how it is different than humans.  Dogs get to know people by their smells.  In first meeting a dog it is important that they approach and smell you.  A stranger should not approach a new dog.  To the dog you are perceived as threatening their environment before they had a chance to get to know you.  Cesar’s dog training methods are focused always on what the dog is thinking.

Cesar devotes a chapter to choosing the right dog.  Dogs are a unique breed that can vary from lazy to energetic, from herding to hunting, etc.  Dog training will fail if you choose the wrong breed for your lifestyle.  If you live in an apartment, work long hours, and like to sit on the couch after work, do not get a Jack Rusell terrier.

Similar to show, this dog training book discusses the importance of being a pack leader.  Which is also another reason to not approach a dog, but let the dog approach you.  If you let the dog approach you, than you are asserting yourself as the pack leader.  When a baby is born, they typically tell you to bring something of the baby’s from the hospital to home, to have the dog get used to the smell.  Cesar takes this a step further, by discussing the importance of training the dog to keep it’s distance from that garment brought from the hospital.

Cesar discusses how someone with AIDS approached him to tell him that he saved his life.  That someone told Cesar how his dog training methods gave them the willpower to live because of the relationship they were able to have with their dog.  Cesar goes into personal matters of divorce, the death of daddy (one of his dog’s), and being financially taken advantage of.  All these negative things happened around the same time and had Cesar contemplating suicide himself.  He doesn’t outright say it in the book, but i believe the emotional strength of the person with AIDS helped Cesar overcome his own personal problems.

This book is a short guide with lots of useful knowledge.  Cesar’s knowledge into how dog’s think makes this a great dog training guide.