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Happy back to school week!

Angelina Ballerina: Love to Dance, the first chance to see the new CGI makeover for everyone’s favorite dancing mouse, comes out this week. I have three DVDs to give away and a special prize for everyone who writes to me. Read on for details.

The DVD features:

“Angelina’s New School ” – Angelina is excited, yet nervous, about her first day of school at Camembert Academy . When she finds her new classmates proficient in other styles of dance, she tries to copy their moves – without success. Angelina soon discovers that when she’s true to her own style of dance – ballet – she excels, and soon understands that everyone is different, and different is good.

“Angelina’s Dance Partner” – Angelina is ecstatic to have the opportunity to dance with her best friend, Alice, at Camembert Academy ‘s “Dance With a Partner Day.” Angelina likes to choreograph the routine down to the very last detail and Alice is happy to oblige! Unfortunately, when Alice gets the sniffles Angelina must partner with Viki, whose style of improvisation contradicts with Angelina’s style. Angelina learns the importance of collaboration, cooperation and adaptability when working with a partner.

“Angelina’s Oldest Friend” – Angelina loves her new Camembert Academy friends and also loves her old friend Alice. She expects that both sets of friends will love each other too. Unfortunately, their first encounter is not as smooth as Angelina would have liked so the new and old friends work together to find a new way to play so all can have fun.

“Angelina’s Sleepover” – Angelina, Viki and Gracie decide to have a sleepover the night before a rehearsal for the big performance, but they do everything except sleep! The next day they are too tired for the morning rehearsal and have to choose between an afternoon rehearsal or attending the annual Silly Hat Carnival, a fun tradition in Mouseland. Angelina and her friends decide to rehearse and learn that being prepared is the best fun of all!

“Angelina and the Hip Hop Kid” – Angelina is very excited to be directing her very first Hip Hop Show when suddenly her star, AZ, falls and hurts his foot! Who can step into his shoes at the last minute? Marco is the number one choice. However, though he can play Hip Hop music, dancing Hip Hop is another thing. The show is in danger of not going on… unless Angelina can come up with a solution in time!

Bonus features are the “Angelina Says” Game and two music videos: “Get Up and Dance” and “I Will Be A Star”

Send me an email at with Ballerina in the subject line and tell me why you love to dance. Don’t forget to include your address. The first three will receive the DVD and everyone who writes will get a special coloring page about Angelina Ballerina.

Those who come to “Marmaduke” eager for the humor that comes from the intestinal distress of others don’t have to wait too long. The first of many instances of doggy-doo jokes comes about three minutes into the film.

Marmaduke has been running in the comic section for more than half a century. It has just one panel and just one joke: Marmaduke is a very, very big dog who brings chaos to those who try to impose order in the world.

In this movie adaptation, Marmaduke and his family move to California and Marmaduke has to learn how to make new friends over at the dog park, which like middle school — very cliquey. He is quickly befriended by the independent-minded Mazie (voice of Emma Stone) but wants very much to be accepted by the pedigreed pooches, led by alpha dog Bosco (voice of Keifer Sutherland) and his lovely girlfriend Jezebel (voice of Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas). He treats his friends badly to become part of the cool group and learns that he has made a very bad mistake. Meanwhile, he is also getting in trouble at home with his human family: the always-appealing Lee Pace (“Pushing Daisies”) as an affectionate but distracted father and should-be-a-leading-lady Judy Greer. Released from an endless series of quippy best friend roles in an endless stream of chick flicks — she has friended more Jennifers and Jessicas on screen than can be found in all of Facebook — it is especially disappointing that she has an even smaller role here. She seems oddly passive, barely noticing what is going on in her home other than punishing her husband for punishing Marmaduke.

Not that kids who see this movie will care at all about that. They want to see some unbridled id creating chaos. They want to see cute dogs making big messes and still being loved, some dog-doo jokes and a silly dance. They want to see a daddy learning a lesson about how it is more important to listen to your kids than to work. They will enjoy all of these things, but for the adults who accompany them it will be a long 87 minutes.

I love the idea of “offlining,” asking families to take a pledge of device-free time to focus on real-life communication. More than 10,000 people have signed their pledge to have at least 10 device-free dinners between now and Thanksgiving. I like the statement of the guys behind it about where it came from (even if they make the unforgivable mistake of writing “it’s” when it should be “its” — I will correct it below):

We persuade for a living.

We’ve devoted much of the last couple of decades to convincing you to log on, click here, call now, surf, search, pay bills in your underwear, trade from the beach, add “friends” to your digital network and, as AT&T once famously promised in their “You Will” campaign, tuck your children in from your mobile device.

Then one day we made a mistake — we looked up. We took our eyes off the screen long enough to see. We noticed we had kids and wives. We took in the way leaves open their faces to the sun. We reacquainted ourselves with the sounds birds make. And we realized these things could no longer compete.

We marketers had won!

All around us, all the heads in all the malls, airports and train stations seemed bowed in reverence to the device. Life had become multi-screen, multi-task, multi-plexed, mashed-up, an unrelieved contest for diminishing attention. And those who use the media professionally were perhaps the most inundated of all.


We’re not fundamentalists. We’re not anti-marketing. In fact, we love marketing and we respect its power, which is why we’re committed to applying our expertise to the important things. And we’re not anti-technology — on the contrary, we love technology and all it can do for us. But we’re only going to enjoy those benefits if we learn to use the Off Button.

They’re calling for a device-free Yom Kippur (sunset of Sept 17-sunset of Sept 18 this year), not just for Jews but for everyone, to re-connect with friends and family. As noted above, they are marketing guys, and their ads are provocative and some may find them offensive, with photos of scandal-prone celebrities whose electronic communications have gotten them in trouble: Lindsay Lohan, Mel Gibson, and Tiger Woods. They would say that it is necessary to get people’s attention and I suppose that my writing this right now shows that it worked.

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