BUSINESS BEAT: Boca means business

Posted on 12 December 2018 by LeslieM

By Karen Lustgarten

Which of the 38 cities in Palm Beach County attracts the highest number of corporate relocations? More than half selected the city of Boca Raton to establish headquarters. According to Andy Thomson, newly-elected member of the Boca Raton City Council, that amounts to more than 30 international corporations that have moved into or expanded in Boca Raton.

The council member cites several reasons for Boca’s big-business boom. With the establishment in 2014 of the Office of Economic Development being funded by the city, attracting corporations became a priority.

The marketing strategy and message is ‘Boca is open for business; we are serious about helping corporations thrive here,’” said Thomson.

Technology and health are among the top sectors relocating to Boca, such as Modernizing Medicine and Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

Mr. Thomson is quick to add that marketing a “unique quality of life” is an easy sell. The obvious attributes include warm weather, beaches, sunshine and leisure lifestyle throughout Florida, along with no state income tax and corporate tax incentives. Among Boca Raton’s unique qualities attracting employees and businesses, he cites an executive airport for corporate jets with a new U.S. Customs facility, quality public and private schools, good housing, low crime and 46 parks.

We are a city within a park,” he says, “and we take our green spaces seriously.”

The two local colleges — Florida Atlantic University and Lynn University — funnel a tech-ready workforce into job openings at area corporations.

This helps transition graduates to nearby jobs so there is less of a brain drain,” he said.

One marketing challenge is overcoming the perception of a growing aging population.

The fear companies have in considering relocation is the mistaken perception that Boca is the retirement community depicted in the hit TV series Seinfeld. But the age demographic is actually trending younger,” he says.

Jessica Del Vecchio, manager of the city’s Office of Economic Development, concurs that the population is growing younger, from migrating retirees to a median age of 47 according to Forbes magazine.

When corporations relocate to Boca Raton, they have an economic impact on our overall economy by adding property tax income and creating jobs. More above average salary jobs become available to the talent pool of our local college graduates. They stay, find gainful employment and the quality of life improves,” she says.

The quality livability claim is backed up by online studies Del Vecchio references that rank Boca Raton high on their lists:

Best Beach Towns to Live In: Boca Raton is No. 7 of 205 cities nationwide (WalletHub.com)

Best Suburbs to Live in Florida: No. 13 of 351 (Niche.com)

Top 100 Places to Live: No. 45 of 2,300 cities surveyed (Livability.com)

“A” rating in a satisfaction survey of 45,000 renters (Apartment List)

The Office of Economic Development serves Boca Raton’s corporate community. Some corporations recently headquartered in the city are Shoes for Crews, Miami Grill, El-Ad National Properties and Gift of Life Marrow Registry (2019). Companies expanding (moving to new and larger space) include Modernizing Medicine, Cosmetic Solutions, Hair Club and TherapeuticsMD.

The Boca Raton Resort and Club is a popular destination for corporate conferences during the year, especially in winter.

Del Vecchio sums up a typical scenario: “Executives come in from all over the country [and world] and they experience a beautiful lifestyle, a luxury resort, warm weather, lower taxes. At the end of the conference, they’re thinking, ‘Why are we getting on a plane heading back to terrible weather in a higher tax state when we can be productive in paradise?’ That’s when relocation thoughts kick in.”

Karen Lustgarten is president of Multi-Media Works, a multiple award-winning media company specializing in video, PR, print and social media with offices in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. She founded a newspaper in Washington, DC, was a syndicated columnist and a bestselling author. www.multi-mediaworks.com

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FLICKS: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Posted on 12 December 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

In battling the ventriloquist puppet known as Sinister Simon, this columnist’s solution to the conflict was to throw the puppet off a four-story building and feed the puppet to Jan Mitchell’s Jack Russell terriers [This refers to a funny video Dave was in, for those who have not seen it]. This solution would have horrified Mr. Rogers, who disavowed such violence in his neighborhood.

Won’t You Be my Neighbor? is now on DVD, having made it’s South Florida debut at the 35th Miami International Film Festival. Using clips and outtakes from his long running PBS television series, this documentary features the story of Fred Rogers, a seminary student in his last year who gets interested in this newfangled contraption called “television.”

Fred goes to work for the public television station (PBS) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Being the pioneering days of television, Rogers is both producer and live music director for a children’s show. Technical difficulties often interfere with live telecast, but Fred learns how to save a scene by using a tiger puppet to save the day.

Finding his life’s calling, Rogers returns to the seminary, becomes a minister and creates Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which runs over 40 years. Despite being a show that features the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, the first show that aired in February 1968 features puppets talking about war. Five months later when Robert Kennedy is killed, Daniel Striped Tiger, the puppet, asks one of the grownups, “What does the word assassination mean?”

If one goes to learn something scandalous about Mister Rogers, he will be extremely disappointed with Won’t You Be My Neighbor? The Fred Rogers who was on PBS is the same Fred Rogers that one saw on talk shows or speaking in front of the United States Congress. His wife, children, cast and crew members talk about Fred with such consistent fondness. The man seemed too nice to be true.

There are hints that he had a tough childhood and was bullied for being a rich kid known as “Fat Freddy,” but that is not the core drive of this documentary. By not dwelling on negativity, Fred spends his professional life being a problem solver and a strong advocate for children. A registered Republican, Mister Rogers was an open Christian who preached the importance of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Comedian Dana Carvey once said that his George H.W. Bush impression was a cross between John Wayne and Mister Rogers. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is a sweet lesson that children today need to learn and adults need to remember about their own childhood. This documentary about Mister Rogers is one of the best movies to see this holiday season.

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CLERGY CORNER: We like to give

Posted on 12 December 2018 by LeslieM

It is that time of the year when we give gifts to others. It is the time of year when we do not think about ourselves but others and what they want or need. God knew in His unlimited wisdom that we would need help with our lives. Not only do I find that I need God’s help. I have also come to realize that I need His help every day of my life. God does not always give me what I want, but He always gives me what I need.

ROMANS 12:6-8

6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

NLT

Our goal in serving God is to be able to continue to serve Him throughout our whole lives. Growing up in church, I always heard the phrase, “stay full of the things of God.” It took me a long time to understand what that actually meant. When my car runs, it uses gas and I have to fill it up when it gets empty so it will continue to run and I can use it. So, when I give out things that God has blessed me with in life I need to find spiritual things in my life so I can fill back up the same way I fill my car with gas. The more love, compassion, peace and hope we give out, then the more we need to stay full of the things of God. We can read the bible, pray, go to church, or even sing hymns and worship songs to fill back up. What a great series of events to experience in our lives. We can continually give and receive.

When you get a gift, either you like it and use it or you do not like it and hide it somewhere. Gifts from the Father are to be used and not wasted or just put on the shelf. Gifts from God come as He wills (any gift at any time) for the profit of all. You should not only welcome the gifts from God but also expect them in your life. We all know it is better to give than to receive. However, if we do not receive, then we have nothing to give. We have a responsibility to use the spiritual gifts in our own lives. God has blessed our lives with many different gifts and there are many people that can use them. You have the gifts, you might as well use them instead of letting them go to waste. The good thing is that no one person has all the gifts. It takes many different parts to make one complete church body. Gifts do not clash or compete but they all work together to serve the same goal or purpose. Giving gifts is not about serving your agenda and making you happy. It is about serving others and bringing joy to others. We can all show others love, mercy, compassion and kindness. May God bless your holiday season! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tony Guadagnino is the pastor at Christian Love Fellowship Church, located at 801 SE 10 St., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-428-8980 or visit www.clfministries.org.

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Bucks fall in Class 8A state semifinals, 49-21

Posted on 06 December 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The Deerfield Beach football team burst on to the field following introductions in fog and smoke, unfortunately for the host Bucks, their season ended the same way, three hours later as Miami Columbus won the Class 8A state semifinal, 49-21 on Friday night.

Columbus running back Henry Parrish carried 25 times for 177 yards and three scores as the Explorers capitalized on three turnovers and costly penalties to pull out a lopsided win.

Parrish scored on a 2 yd. run and 4 yd. run early and added a game-sealing 61 yd. run with 2:08 remaining in the game that booked Columbus’ ticket to the state championship game on Dec. 8 at Camping World Stadium (Orlando) where they will play Jacksonville Mandarin, a 45-31 winner over Riverview Sarasota.

Host Deerfield Beach struggled to get out of its own way in the first half as they committed seven penalties, six were false start infractions whistled against the offense, and two turnovers as Miami Columbus turned that into a 28-7 lead and the Bucks were unable to recover.

We did everything you cannot do when you are trying to win a ball game,” said Deerfield Beach coach Jevon Glenn, whose team was penalized 16 times for 93 yds. and had four costly dropped passes, including two sure touchdowns. The Bucks also had a TD whistled back on a penalty. “Miscue after miscue after miscue kind of wore our will down a little bit, but the kids didn’t give up on me.”

Columbus quarterback Brandon McDuffey threw two touchdowns, while Parrish ran for one score and Elias Morales returned a Derohn King interception 42 yds. for a touchdown to give the Explorers (14-0) the early advantage. King’s second pick-6, a 20 yd. return by Kalani Norris with 5:52 iced the game at 42-21. Norris also scored on a pass reception earlier in the game.

I mean just the miscues, the lack of focus,” Glenn lamented, “I don’t want to take anything away from Columbus. They capitalized on our miscues and our letdowns. A lot of them weren’t given away, they were forced. They are a helluva football team and I am hoping they go up there, represent South Florida and bring that title back. Tonight, they were the best team on the field.”

Deerfield Beach (12-2) saw its six-game winning streak come to an end with the loss. The other setback was a 38-6 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas.

King completed just 14 of 34 for 193 yds. passing and three interceptions. He has thrown seven interceptions in his last three games. Junior running back Jaylan Knighton, who entered the game with 2,045 yds. rushing and 28 scores, was held to just 44 yds. rushing. It equaled his season low which came in the team’s other loss to St. Thomas Aquinas.

Columbus hit double digits for the 24th straight playoff game and scored on their first three possessions of the game. The Explorers have been an offensive juggernaut in the postseason as they have averaged 45.75 points in wins over Coral Gables, Palmetto, South Dade and Deerfield Beach to reach the state championship game in Orlando.

The Explorers are making their fourth state championship game appearance, and its first since 2014, as they look for their first title.

I am proud of my team and my seniors that gave everything they have for four years,” Glenn said. “We want this to be where the kids get more out of it than the program does, for those kids to get a great education and go on to the next level. Their hard work is paying off and they will be able to set them up and probably their families for the next generation by getting a quality education at a university.”

With the loss, Deerfield fell to 1-7 in state semifinal games. The lone win came in 2005 when they reached the state final and lost to Palm Beach Gardens, 49-29 at Dolphin Stadium, now known as Hard Rock Stadium.

What people have to understand is we have a young team and we have a lot of guys coming back,” Glenn continued. “We have to learn from this as we carry this into the offseason.”

There is nothing for us to be embarrassed about,” Glenn said. “We fought hard. We didn’t get our ultimate goal, but truth be told, we lost to the better football team tonight. We are grinders. We are going to take a couple of weeks off and just like every year on Dec. 26, we’ll get back in the weight room and be going at it.”

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FLICKS: Bohemian Rhapsody inspires golden memories

Posted on 06 December 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

My School of Rock vocal teacher, Jessica Morale, threatened to suspend me because I had yet to see Bohemian Rhapsody, which had been getting some of the best word of mouth rave reviews. Much like A Star is Born, so many people have seen Bohemian Rhapsody on the big screen. I regret missing this feature on the five story IMAX screen when it played at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science. But I finally got to see it.

For those who rode with me back in the day in my yellow Volkswagen Beetle named Kelso, you likely heard a Bohemian Rhapsody bootleg on an eight-track player. When Kelso was full, we would all sing the opera parts from the song, a decade before Wayne’s World was released. We were cool before we knew it.

Bohemian Rhapsody shows a baggage handler at London Heathrow Airport, Farrokh Bulsara (Rami Malek), who lives with his conservative Parsi family. One night, he catches his favorite local band, Smile, whose lead singer abruptly quits. Farrokh auditions on the street and his future bandmates Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) recruit him immediately. After forming a new rock band by the name of Queen, Farrokh legally changes his name to Freddy Mercury.

Despite having a flamboyant front man, Queen becomes a strong ensemble band with each player contributing to some of the great songs of album rock radio stations, ie, “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “You’re My Best Friend,” “Another One Bites the Dust” and “We Are the Champions.” Queen tours the world with concerts that demand audience interaction, mostly conducted by Freddy Mercury.

Of course, with any rock artist biopic, we witness the self destruction of success. To director Bryan Singer’s credit, he does not dwell on this dark side of Freddy Mercury. (It should be noted that Brian May and Roger Taylor were involved in this production). Bohemian Rhapsody opens and closes with Freddy Mercury’s redemptive moment, the “Live Aid Concert” on July 13, 1985 at the Wembley Arena in London.

The “Live Aid Concert” was a golden moment for this columnist finishing up his course work at Florida State University. Broadcast poorly on MTV, so much of the concert was lost in hype, though Queen’s performance was highly praised.

Bohemian Rhapsody is worth the price of admission for recreating this golden performance with four actors and special effects. That said, unlike the self indulgence of the “Woodstock Generation,” “The Live Aid” generation used music to prevent starvation in Ethiopia in the mid 80s. Thanks Bohemian Rhapsody for reminding this columnist about this charitable time during the Reagan-Bush administrations.

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CLERGY CORNER: 80 years since Kristallnacht Chanukah – The Miracle

Posted on 06 December 2018 by LeslieM

For me, this miracle is most vividly expressed in the following episode.

It was the eighth night of Chanukah in Kiel, Germany, a small town with a Jewish population of 500 (Germany at the time had a Jewish population of 500,000). That year, 1931, the last night Chanukah fell on Friday evening, and Rabbi Akiva Boruch Posner, spiritual leader of the town, was hurrying to light the Menorah before the Shabbat set in.

Directly across the Posner’s home stood the Nazi headquarters in Kiel, displaying the dreaded Nazi Party flag in the cold December night. With the eight lights of the Menorah glowing brightly in her window, Rabbi Posner’s wife, Rachel, snapped a photo of the Menorah right before Shabbat, and captured the Nazi building and flag in the background.

Mrs. Posner wrote a few lines in German on the back of the photo:

Chanukah, 5692 (1931). ‘Judea dies,’ thus says the banner. ‘Judea will live forever,’ thus respond the Chanukah lights.

If you lived at that time in Kiel, or anywhere in Germany, what seemed to be more powerful and everlasting? The menorah or the swastika? One year later, Hitler became Chancellor of Germany and the Nazis held a torch-lit procession through the famous Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to celebrate Hitler’s seizure of power (on Jan. 30, 1933).

That gate became the symbol of the Nazi regime. Dozens of parades, motorcades, celebrations and rallies were held by the Brandenburg Gate. Hundreds of thousands of German would gather at that beautiful site, the symbol of Berlin’s splendor and power, to salute the Fuhrer and his 1000-Year-Reich.

Then came the onset of the Holocaust and the Final Solution — 80 years ago, on Nov. 9, 1938, with Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” when 30,000 Jews were deported to Concentration Camps, hundreds beaten to death, thousands of shuls, Jewish homes, and stores burnt to the ground.

80 years have passed. A few nights ago, I spoke to my colleague, Rabbi Yehudah Teichtel, Chief Rabbi of Berlin. And this is what he shared with me.

A few days ago he went to visit the President of Germany, Frank Walter Steinmeier, to discuss the 80th anniversary since the onset of the Holocaust.

Rabbi Teichtel shared with the German President the words that he heard from the person who sent him to Berlin, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, that in the place where we saw the greatest darkness we must bring in the greatest light.

So the President of Germany said to the Chabad Rabbi of Berlin that he wants Germany to put up this coming Chanukah (which falls out a few weeks after the 80th anniversary) a massive grand Menorah right at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, in the exact spot where Hitler stood and gave his fiery speeches on the urgent need to rid the world from the bacteria of the Jewish people, their Torah and their G-d. [The menorah was put up and lit starting Dec. 2].

And then the German President asked Rabbi Teichtel if he himself can have the honor to light the menorah?!

And the good Rabbi said, “Yes, of course. You will be lighting the Shamash, that first candle from which we kindle all the other candles.”

So, this Chanukah 2018, [people could] go to the Brandenburg Gate and observe the President of Germany lighting the Shamash of the Chanukah menorah of Chabad in Berlin in the spot where the greatest enemy of the Jewish people stood just a few decades ago.

So, now, friends come back with me to the photo taken in 1931, in Kiel Germany. A wise Jewish woman, Rebbetzin Rachel Posner, wrote on her photo: Chanukah, 5692 (1931). ‘Judea dies,’ thus says the banner. ‘Judea will live forever,’ thus respond the Chanukah lights.

I ask you: Who was right?!

And by the way, both the menorah lit in Kiel in 1931 and the photo survived World War II, because the Rabbi and his wife fled to Israel in 1934, and their grandson Yehudah Mansbuch inherited both and donated them to Yad V’shem.

Yehudah lives today in the city of Haifa with a large family. And each Chanukah, Yad V’shem delivers to his home for eight days the Menorah used by his grandfather in Germany, on the window sill opposite the Swastika. There, in home, in the eternal Jewish homeland, he lights the menorah with his children. And he shows them each year the photo his grandmother took and her inscription.

So I ask you, who was right?! Who triumphed the swastika or the menorah?

Special thanks to my friend and colleague Rabbi YY Jacobson for putting this story on paper.

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches, located in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 2025 E. Sample Rd. in Lighthouse Point. For all upcoming events, please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: A very special gift

Posted on 06 December 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

It took me 70 years of Sundays — that’s 3,640 Sundays — to appreciate one of the greatest gifts I ever received. I finally remembered that it was Mr. Steinberg, my high school English teacher, whose only textbook that senior year was the Sunday New York Times — Mr. Steinberg, who gave me 3,640 (give or take) precious Sundays.

I remember now, that although our class took The Times apart and thoroughly examined it section by section, mostly, we actually studied the Book Review in the greatest depth. We learned to read reviews and to evaluate both the reviewer and the book reviewed. We talked about each “interview,” the quality of books on the bestseller list, those that were highly recommended by the editorial staff of the newspaper and even the advertisements for books yet to be published or previously reviewed. We were encouraged to choose books of our favorite genre and to write our own reviews.

Now, so belatedly, as I savor my Sunday morning book review read time, and find myself traveling all over the planet geographically, intellectually and spiritually, I am aware of how each issue is an education in itself. I see how each issue opens my mind to something new, and how even the genres to which I am least attracted offer another way to see the world and to see myself in it. And, by golly, each week I am swept away by how easy it is to get a genuine “high” without even a cup of coffee at my side — not that I am knocking coffee.

More and more, we are getting translations of especially fiction, ranking high on the list of new releases. There are writers from Africa, Asia and South and Central America sharing their culture and traditions, and stories opening doors for us to learn about people unlike us.

Of course, science, business, sports, government and all the arts are subjects to which many “someones” have devoted a major part of their lives, researching, opining and writing their hearts out. And it’s all so easily accessible in a morning read. Thank you again, Mr. Steinberg, for your indefatigable patience in, at first, forcing me to “study” the newspaper.

While we’re on the subject of intangible “gifts,” let us not forget our libraries, one of the greatest community assets ever conceived by man. If you are a really disciplined person, you can save a bunch of money on higher education tuition by organizing your own curriculum in a library.

But, since we are a consumer society, I’m guessing many of you already have your gift lists made and perhaps even at least half attended to. I’m hoping you have included books and some items that will challenge the minds of the young people — yes, even the old people — on your list. We can’t allow Google to do everything for us. We will soon be entrapped by A.I. (artificial Intelligence) in all aspects of our lives, and will be tempted to give into the laziness of thought which will follow.

This is too grim a note to leave you with so soon before an impending joyous holiday, so in all optimism I know that there are many Mr. (and Ms.) Steinbergs left in this world who are still willing to fight for one of our most precious rights – the right to think for ourselves.

Happy Holidays to all.

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Bucks win again; one game from state championship game

Posted on 29 November 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The Deerfield Beach High School football team is within two games of going where no previous team has gone – a state championship.

After his team dismantled visiting Miramar, Plantation, and Palm Beach Central in successive weeks, the Bucks (12-1) have undefeated Miami Columbus (13-0) coming to town on Friday night for the Class 8A state semifinal with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m.

Deerfield Beach football coach Jevon Glenn believes the home field advantage will pay off.

We have a lot of respect for that program and what they have done over the years and this year,” said Glenn, whose team downed Palm Beach Central, 21-6, last Friday night. “It is time to go after it and we are ready. Two years ago, we got close when we got to this round and lost to Southridge.”

The Bucks reached the state final in 2005 when they lost to Palm Beach Gardens, 49-29, at Dolphin Stadium, now known as Hard Rock Stadium.

Our motto all year has been, ‘let’s make history,’ Glenn said. “We are trying to do something that has never been done around here. I told our guys, and I put the onus on them to make a new culture around here.”

It also pays off to have junior running back Jaylan Knighton, who carried 23 times for 130 yards and two touchdowns. With the effort, he has padded his season totals to 2,045 yards and 28 total touchdowns this season.

The Oklahoma commit, who rushed for a school-record 347 yds. in a win over Taravella earlier this season, scored on runs of 1 and 8 yds. as the Bucks seized a 14-0 halftime lead.

After Palm Beach Central (11-2) cut the lead to 14-6 on a Charles Stewart 5 yd. TD run, the Bucks padded their lead to 21-6 on a 26 yd. pass from Derohn King to Dashaun Davis with 2:43 left in the third quarter. The Broncos had won 11 straight coming into the game, with their other loss coming to Atlantic, 14-0 in the first week of the season.

We are going to be here for the long haul,” said Glenn, whose only loss this season came at the hands of St. Thomas Aquinas, 38-6 six games ago. “For some of these kids, this is their second time in four years playing in the state semifinal game.

We told them after the game that we want to set the bar at the highest of the high and be state champion,” Glenn added. “We will let the kids that come after them follow. We are going to live in the moment. We’re peaking at the right time.

Obviously we’ve got a ways to go, but we’re playing really good football right now both sides of the ball.”

Glenn said he knows what to expect from the Explorers, who entered the game having outscored the opposition, 456-154. They were on a six-game winning streak last year before they were upset by Miami High in the regional finals.

Deerfield Beach, on the other hand, has outscored its opponents, 399-125, and are riding a six-game winning streak.

I know that (Miami) Columbus is a very disciplined, well-coached team,” Glenn said. “They have a lot of great athletes and it is going to be a battle of two good football teams.”

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FLICKS: Creed II

Posted on 29 November 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Ralph Breaks the Internet scored high with the box office receipts, along with Creed II, The Grinch and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Bohemian Rhapsody is showing consistent box office returns with Rami Malek’s performance as Freddy Mercury being talked about for award consideration. But, grossing $55 million, Creed II probably received the best return of investment from lower production costs.

Creed II (or Rocky 8) is a stand-alone story about a boxer named Adonis “Donnie” Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) who fights by the name of “Adonis Creed,” the son of the late Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) from the first four Rocky movies. Apollo died in the ring from the fists of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), a boxer from the Soviet Union. Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) defeated Drago in an epic 15 round battle and the Soviet Union collapsed.

Thirty three years later, Adonis Creed has become champion, creating a marketing opportunity for Ivan Drago, whose life has been miserable since losing to Rocky Balboa in 1985. Drago has trained his son, Viktor (Florian Munteanu) to become a fighter and sets the stage for a Creed-Drago rematch. (The original fight occurred when the current combatants were in diapers). This, of course, opens up some old psychological wounds for both Donnie Johnson Creed and Rocky Balboa.

The stage is set and Creed II takes this complicated history and forges a simple story. It helps to have seen the other seven Rocky movies in advance, but it is not necessary. Creed II is a unique story about individuals trying to solve problems in their own lives. It is a film of little moments that create a whole satisfactory experience.

For example, there is a subtle nod to Rocky’s illness from the last movie when Donnie compliments his mentor’s new hairstyle. In Creed, Rocky underwent chemotherapy treatment and lost most of his hair. While still intimidating and brutal, Ivan still has a little boy vulnerability about him, especially when his ex-wife (Brigitte Nielsen — who happens to be Stallone’s ex-wife also) appears.

There are plenty of boxing scenes in the movie with the usual inspirational training montage. Being a Creed and not a Rocky movie, the music used in this film plays homage to Ennio Morricone’s work in the Clint Eastwood/Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns. But don’t worry, the original Rocky musical cue is used at the precise moment.

It is these subtle details of the past that enhance the world of Adonis Creed, who is going through the rites of passage with the love of his life, Bianca (Tessa Thompson). Besides battling the demons of the past, Creed II looks at the importance of familiar responsibilities in the present moments. Creed, Balboa and Drago each face a challenge in their own family unit. Creed II provides a fascinating denouement that is appropriate for this holiday season.

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CLERGY CORNER: … freely you have received, freely give

Posted on 29 November 2018 by LeslieM

Many of our most fervent prayers include reminders of lessons our Lord teaches us. A number of years ago I read a prayer, used at the end of a worship service, to dismiss the congregation. The prayer included an important reminder – “freely you have received, freely give.” I have used this prayer of dismissal ever since. It seems particularly important at this time of year.

Our Lord created a world with seasonal cycles. The book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that “to every thing there is a season . . . a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” Western Christianity observes the time of planting in the spring of each year. The observance is called Rogation Days and includes this prayer for a bountiful harvest: “Almighty God, we beseech thee to pour forth thy blessing upon this land, and to give us a fruitful season.” And then, as the seasons of the years progress, most religions and cultures have traditions of giving thanks, during the harvest season, for what our good earth has provided. Here in the United States, we give thanks, on Thanksgiving Day, often times with this prayer: “Almighty God, we give thee humble and hearty thanks for this thy bounty; beseeching thee to continue thy loving-kindness to us, that our land may still yield her increase.”

Our Lord’s promise to us is that we will freely receive what we truly need. However, there is a caveat to this promise which is spelled out in the book of Deuteronomy: “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessings of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee.” What does this mean? It may be helpful to think of this giving and receiving as our bank account with God. He will always provide us with the basics — his unconditional love and support — but if we look to receive anything beyond that, then what we can expect is dependent upon what we give back to God from what he has given us. If we give back nothing, if we put nothing in our bank account with him, then we cannot expect to receive anything beyond the basics. Our relationship with God is simple; all we need to do is listen and live according to his lessons.

Why is the freely giving part particularly important at this time of year? The answer is obvious. Most governments, institutions, and churches are making their plans and budgets for the coming year in support of the needs of our commonweal. Whether these needs may be met is dependent, to a great degree, on the willingness of God’s people, to generously give back a portion of the time, treasure and talent they have received from Him. Can our God count on each of us? I recently saw a survey which indicated that charitable giving increased in 2017 by 5 percent. This sounds encouraging, but the survey also indicated that current giving is about 2.5 percent of income, whereas it was 3.3 percent during the Great Depression. Not a hopeful trend!

If we are to model our lives based on the teachings of our Lord, and if we are to uphold the brave words in our Declaration of Independence to further “preserve and protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” then the challenge to be met by God’s people is clear. When we gather at our Thanksgiving tables this year, we must thank God for the blessings we have “freely received” from him, and then commit to “freely give” back to him a generous portion of those blessings so that in this world, his will be done. Holy Scripture teaches us that “the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few.” The harvest is God’s will and we are the laborers that will bring it to fruition. May our God bless us all during this Thanksgiving season.

Rev. M. Tracy Smith, SSA, Rector is from the Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, 1416 SE 2 Terr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-695-0336. Wednesday: Holy Communion at 10 a.m., Sunday: Holy Communion at 10 a.m.

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