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Prepare opinions of the legality and advisability of contemplated command actions. Reviews Congressional inquiries and provides legal advice concerning proposed responses. The Transportation Motor Pool lends military vehicles to military organizations for official use. Unit Movements. Plans and arranges all official unit transportation.

Personal Property. Plans and arranges all official shipments of the personal property of personnel. In addition, counseling is provided to inform the personnel regarding entitlements and to arrange shipment and storage of personal property. The Commercial Travel Office makes reservations and sells airline tickets to personnel for official travel. They also sell airline tickets to individuals for unofficial personal travel. Operates water pollution control and abatement program.

Inspects food items arriving on post for both wholesomeness and quality assurance. Provides complete veterinary care for government owned animals and privately owned animals to include vaccinations, health certificates and the treatment of those diseases which pose a threat to human health. Manages a rabies control program to include animal vaccinations, investigation of animal bite cases, the quarantine of biting animals and the kenneling of strays.

NOTE: Strays are usually held for three working days in order for the owner to claim them. Provides a comprehensive youth program grades 1 through 12 that fosters social interaction, promotes personal growth, and develops educational and recreational skills. Provides a focus for youth as a recognized group to be served by the installation and offers diverse, flexible activities and recreational options that are responsive to the needs of families both on and off post.

Community Activities : Festivals, parties, dances, advisory councils, carnivals, banquets, host nation activities CONUS , volunteer programs, teen clubs, youth to youth sponsorship. Educational Activities: Instructional classes in bicycle safety, sports clinics, life survival skills, computer classes, special interest groups e.

Cultural Activities : Youth theater, music, crafts, dance, ballet classes, drama club, theatrical technical support, i. Outdoor Activities : Backpacking, volksmarching, cycling, nature classes, boating, fishing, white water rafting, sky diving. Maximum play time, i. Family Activities : Planned to encourage participation by the whole family, i.

This is a sample of an information sheet you may wish to provide to spouses in your unit to give them easy access to the numbers they will need. Staple sheets together if more than one sheet is needed. You may also wish to copy it on colorful paper to make it easy to locate among the refrigerator art or give a refrigerator magnet with it when a spouse enters the unit.

Unit specify unit name phone number Unit Doctors or medics if spouses and families are permitted to utilize them.

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Family Member Same Day Appointments - Tricare medical and administrative numbers if applicable 1 F amily Resource Groups. Commanders of deploying units discovered that while their units were highly trained to fight, little if anything was done to train and prepare families to better cope with the stresses and unique problems that often arise during extended and often times unexpected deployment of their spouses.

Some type of organization was needed within units to address this serious shortcoming in peacetime, so that in time of crisis, families would be better able to take care of themselves. The concept of the Family Readiness Group was born. F amily Support. This version is for both the military and family members. We are here to talk about Family Support Groups. As a result of lessons learned from Desert Shield and Desert Storm as well as other recent deployments, the Army has made some major changes to the FSG program.

DA Pam , dated August , has these updates. A lot of people have not gotten the word about these changes. Most FSGs operate at the company and battalion level, or equivalent, with guidance, oversight, and advice provided by brigade and division. An FSG is a company or battalion affiliated organization of officers, enlisted soldiers, civilians, and family members that uses volunteers to provide social and emotional support, outreach services and information to family members. The FSG helps and gives moral support to family members, soldiers, civilians, and military units during periods of normal military life and military crisis.

In addition, the FSG takes care of soldiers' families while soldiers are deployed. This is the book definition of Family Support Groups. The bottom line is that the FSG belongs to the Commander. What does the FSG do? Here is the answer. Pay particular attention to the last paragraph. When we talk about resources, what is the one resource that Commanders, Command Sergeant Majors, and 1st Sergeants do not have enough of? You can ask their spouses and they will give you the answer in a heartbeat.

A good FSG program can give some of that precious resource back to them. Read this paragraph again. These are the intangible benefits that a functioning FSG can give Commanders. You can have the greatest FSG in the Army on paper, but unless it is working continuously, at the sustaining level, you will find yourself on the back side of the curve trying to ramp up your FSG when you deploy and the odds are that you never will succeed. Please note that when we talk about mobilization, we mean anytime soldiers are gone.

This includes TDY. Ask yourselves, on the average, how many soldiers are TDY from your unit at any given time? These are some of the things that the FSG definitely is not. Some of you may be surprised reading these, but at one time or another, this is what people have believed. This is a typical battalion FSG structure. Look familiar? For those in other commands, just fit the level that is appropriate into the blocks. Also please take note that the battalion commanders, or their designated military representatives when deployed, are the FSG leaders.

It is their baby.


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We will discuss volunteer FSG leaders or representatives in a few minutes. Where does brigade and division fit in? They provide the big arrow guidance and oversight on where the subordinate FSGs are going and they insure that the FSGs are functioning as they should. They also provide the assurance that the FSG program is supported at all levels of the command. Volunteers at the higher levels can assist the battalion and company FSGs by providing advice and assistance. These volunteers are usually very experienced, seasoned spouses. They are an asset that can be of immeasurable benefit to you.

These volunteers are the heart and soul of your FSG program. They are the most direct conduit to the members of the FSG. Experience has shown that 10 people is the maximum that any contact person can handle without overloading themselves. If you have spouses that do not understand English very well, make sure that their contact person speaks a language that they understand. This is the company level organization.

While we are on it, who is the best friend that the FSG can have in the Company? You got it - the 1st Sergeant. This is the battalion or equivalent structure. They function as the battalion staff for the company FSGs. The battalion meeting is a formal meeting which will be addressed later. Now, how are these company or battalion FSG representatives or volunteer leaders chosen, or, how do you find someone crazy enough to do it? You need to find people who are not only willing, but also capable of doing the job.

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It is not a popularity contest. A method that has worked is to have the company, or battalion commander for battalion FSG reps, ask for volunteers and select one. Which ever way you decide to do it, the final selection is up to the appropriate commander. A job description must be done for volunteers and some good examples are in Just type them out on plain paper. FSG reps, make sure you never blind-side your commanders. You must also inform your subordinates, junior leaders, and soldiers, that the FSG is very important to you. It will then become important to them.

Support for your FSG must be top driven. What battalion commanders pay attention to, company commanders will pay attention to. Division and brigade commanders should also assist in this process. Bullet 3 is self explanatory. Your unit can provide all kinds of support! How many computers in your unit are used 24 hours a day?

This is one area that will really help your FSG. By the way, FSG volunteers are considered employees of the U. Code, for work related injuries and tort claims. I have a question for you. As a FSG volunteer, someone comes to you and tells you that there is child or spousal abuse in their home, what must you do?

You must report that information to the responsible commander. Remember, as a FSG volunteer, you are not only working for your commander, but also for the Army and you must abide by all applicable regulations. Another example of this is if you were using an official vehicle for FSG business and decided to stop at the PX to buy some personal items. While in the PX, someone runs a truck over the vehicle in the parking lot. Congratulations, you just bought that GOV. Make sure your volunteers understand their responsibilities. Just have a spending plan. By the way, the spending plan is not unchangeable.

That is one reason it is called an informal fund. The annual audit is usually performed by the battalion commander and the report is sent to whomever authorizes an informal fund. The irregularities issue means - did someone take off to Paris with the funds?


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  4. FSG funds should be centered on each company. Most BN FSGs will have combined company fund raisers because they have discovered that it helps bring the companies together and they make a lot more money. They then divide it equally among the companies, regardless of participation.

    After all, one company may be deployed. It all equals out in the end. Just a word on fund raisers. Have some fund-raisers like car washes that your single soldiers can participate in. They must understand that they are responsible for the money. We have found that most FSGs use a common check book register and shoebox. Just keep all receipts. If you accumulate a large fund that is beyond the comfort level of your volunteer FAO, put it in the company safe.

    Remember, you cannot store money and classified in the same safe. Should you have a bank account? Not unless you like giving your money away. Most military banking facilities will treat you as a commercial customer and nickel and dime you with fees. If you really have that much money in your FSG fund, their are a lot of FSGs around the world that would like to know your secret. Unit funds are appropriated funds. Can the FSG donate money to the unit fund? Yes, but they can never be given back. How do you decide where to spend your funds? The best method is through battalion FSG meetings.

    Companies can spend their FSG funds as they see fit, though they should coordinate with the battalion commander in case there are other factors that need to be considered. One thing that is very important here, whatever you decide to do with the funds, everyone in the unit must be able to derive some benefit from it. Can they do this? Yes, it is available to everyone.

    Can they give a door prize at a Company FSG meeting? Yes, for the same reason, it is available to all who attend. Can you give baby gifts or baby showers out of FSG funds? No you cannot! Not only is it good way to destroy the fabric of your FSG, but it is illegal. Keep your telephone trees readable.

    Include your single people living off post, because they can help in a wide variety of ways. You will have to use your own judgment as to how often to exercise your system. You know your unit best. We already talked about job descriptions, but you also need to ensure that your volunteers are registered with your Installation Volunteer Coordinator. Why keep track of hours? There are several reasons. It not only helps your volunteers document what they have done for job experience purposes, but remember that the U. Recognize your volunteers and thank them as much as you can. We have a bad habit of feeding our volunteers a meal once a year and abusing them the rest of the year.

    I know that this easier said than done, but you have to try. Burdening yourself will only lead to burn out. Learn about your community resources. Visit and talk to them. You probably would be surprised as to the amount and quality available to you. As an example, Army Family Team Building is a great resource. You are an information conduit; you are NOT the service provider!

    You do know that you can get freebies from the Commissary and PX. All you have to do is ask, but remember to thank them. It makes it easier when you go back begging again. You can use official mail to distribute newsletters. You are generally limited to 16 pages for a company newsletter, however, if you combine everything into a battalion or brigade newsletter you can increase the page count. There are usually columns by the brigade commander; chaplain; AAFES, DECA, and Medical consumer news; each battalion has a section that consists of what each company is doing, training, deployments, awards, PCSs, births, marriages, etc.

    You can put anything in it that provides information or contributes to morale - no ads. Some people do not like their name as a byline of an article, so have a column with a spurious byline, like the name of the unit mascot for them. When soldiers are deployed, send them copies. Some units have articles by deployed commanders and troops included in the newsletter to help keep everyone informed about what the unit is doing.

    They get these articles back through message traffic, couriers, mail, etc. Do whatever it takes to ensure that the soldiers take the newsletters home. Use your contact people to get information out and to sell the program, that is what they are for. FSG reps, you need to circulate within the unit. Let people know who you are, particularly the soldiers. People are more apt to participate in the FSG if they can put a face to a name. The only problem is that about 20 soldiers overheard this. Whatever people in your unit perceive as your attitude towards the FSG program, they will most likely emulate.

    You must continually educate your soldiers and family members about the FSG and they will understand the benefit of the FSG to them. The next few slides are some ideas that have worked successfully. FSG volunteers can help their FSGs succeed if they approach their responsibilities in a professional manner. Some of the most capable and professional people I have ever met are volunteers.

    The purpose of these meetings is to plan and implement what the FSG is going to do. It keeps all companies on the same script. Also, decisions about support can be made quickly. That is any family member can sit in on the meetings. If you start this, you will initially have a few that will come to see what you are up to. Once the single soldiers know they are included in the FSG, you can expect them to help. In some units, they provide all the hot-dogs, condiments, sodas, etc.

    Some units have also used this same system for quarterly brigade and division meetings, but they are directed more for information flow to brigade and division commanders. The best system for briefing soldiers on the FSG is during in-processing. Spouse briefings can be monthly or as needed, but at least quarterly.

    If you have spouses that are not comfortable with English, you should provide a bilingual briefing. There are a lot of great deployment checklists available, find one, fit it to your needs, and use it. Range days can be used in many ways. How it works is when the unit goes to the range, the FSG provides baked goods, cold soda or hot coffee, dependent on weather, and one or two FSG reps take it out to the range about midmorning and hand it out to the soldiers.

    They also make sure that all trash from this is picked up. Take trash bags. One thing to emphasize is that FSG reps do not get anywhere near the firing line! Some places require a tactical vehicle, so one of the companies provides it with driver. This same idea has been used with motor stables, PT tests, barracks pride day, etc. Subsidizing day trips as unit events helps get people out of their houses and barracks, provide an opportunity for people to meet each other, and gives people a concrete example of what the FSG is doing for them.

    Remember that sustaining level of the FSG? Mix events up so that one month there is something that includes children and the next something of interest to adults. Never pay for the entire trip - you will get burned by people not showing up! Your community can provide a wide variety of guest speakers on many subjects that would interest your people, from financial planning to relocation stress. The adopt-a-soldier and family program is slightly different from what you may have seen. In addition to the normal holiday meals and being invited to dinner occasionally, the single soldiers are included in other things that the families do.

    It is totally up to the sponsoring families to decide when and what to include their adoptee in. They also baby-sit children, when the couple want to get out by themselves, some only do this once though. So you can see it works both ways. With the downsized Army, there will be more and longer deployments. What about family readiness? An active FSG program helps complete unit readiness. Your FSGs can help your people feel that they are part of the unit and that someone actually cares about them.

    Your soldiers are your most valuable resource. So all the training and effort is wasted. This is not just another post, not just another assignment; this is our neighborhood, our community. This is our home. So, who cares? We do. We all do. A Family Support Group FSG is an organization of family members both immediate and extended such as, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, etc. The FSG provides an avenue of mutual support and assistance, and a network of communication among the family members, the chain of command, and community resources.

    Leaders have three important characteristics:. First, they care;. Second, they are going somewhere;. Third, they are able to persuade others to go with them. The primary purpose of any FSG is to encourage self-sufficiency among its members by providing information, referral assistance and mutual support. The FSG achieves family readiness by providing an atmosphere and an agenda of activities which builds cohesiveness among unit members.

    Family Support Groups do not encourage or foster dependency, they encourage self-reliance! Developing and providing copies of telephone trees to all FSG members within the restrictions of the Privacy Act. Many roles exist within an FSG structure. The following may be used as guidelines:.

    FSG Leader : The leader can be any family member in the unit who the Commander has appointed and endorsed. Becoming knowledgeable of unit mission, existing FSG operating procedures, structure, and community resources. Recruiting, training, and managing volunteers using community resources as needed. Coordinating with community resources to provide training for FSG members. Identifying family member concerns and relating them to unit leadership. Working in conjunction with unit leadership to minimize rumors and stress.

    Key Contact Person : Designated telephone contact volunteer. Maintaining up to date names, addresses and telephone number for assigned FSG members. Providing information and referral assistance to family members needing assistance. Treasurer : Serve as the fund custodian for the Family Support Group. Tailor volunteer roles and responsibilities to the needs of your unit. Including family members in predeployment, deployment, mobilization and reunion activities. Ensuring regulations and standing operating procedures are available for reference.

    Ensuring FSG Leader and volunteers receive recognition for their contributions. Spouses do not have rank.

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    Spouses chain of communication generally follows the same chain of command established by the military i. Providing communication network between the command, the FSG leader and families. Assisting FSG leader articulate and eliminate common problems through the chain of command. Promoting and supporting the training of volunteers at all levels of command. The FSG should be able to fully function during times of deployment.

    As the newly appointed FSG Leader, you should discuss the following with the commander:. Resources i. Meeting location with seating to accommodate group i. Personalized invitations mailed to family member. Fund raising, if local policy permits booths, fairs, car wash, bake sales, silent auctions, cookbooks, bingo etc. Activities i. Family member training i. Army Family Team Building, Academies etc. Family Support Group membership is open to unit family members immediate and extended such as, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, etc.

    Survey soldiers and family members to determine needs, interests and frequency of meetings. Check local resources to obtain sample survey forms. Do not feed rumors. Ensure FSG provides timely and accurate information and is not perceived as a rumor mill. The military cannot dictate how FSG funds are spent. If you have questions about handling of funds - ASK!!!!! Develop a spending plan and guidelines for expenditures. Standardize procedures. Be consistent. Decide what mementos will be given and ensure all receive the same. Designate the amount of the FSG fund that leadership can spend without consulting the membership.

    Audit account when the custodian of the account changes. Appropriate uses include, but are not limited to:. The Commander delegates this responsibility to an organization on the installation. Appropriated and nonappropriated funds can be used to cover enrollment, expenses, travel and per diem meals and lodging. Local policy determines if volunteers may receive an advance of money before leaving their installation.

    Travel must exceed 50 miles in accordance with the travel regulation. Normally fund raisers are locally approved. Check with local, state, and community policy before holding fund raisers. Commercial Sponsorship may be available to gain local business support for FSG events or activities. Consult with that office to determine requirements for commercial sponsorship. Army regulations , define and explain access and restrictions. Personal solicitation of local businesses is discouraged and, on some installations, is prohibited.

    The provision of child care is one of the major factors in the success of your FSG. Research the local policy on funding of FSG child care. Some child care options include, but are not limited to:. General George S. During the sustainment phase period of time when the soldier is at home station , the family members may have less need to interact with their FSG.

    The following are suggested activities in support of the active and sustainment phases of an FSG. Personal development workshops i. Stick to caring and let Army do its part in delivering specific services. Support FSG representatives at the lower levels and addresses soldier and family member concerns to the appropriate command level. Forms the military linkage at the command level and acts as liaison to the next higher command level. Ensures that volunteer records registration, hours and job descriptions for the command are complete and that monthly time sheets for the command are provided to the Installation Volunteer Coordinator.

    Must be familiar with all applicable regulations concerning fiscal, regulatory, and statutory responsibilities. The commander of the unit is the FSG Leader. Please complete this survey as soon as possible. DO NOT put your name on this form. We would like to have your honest opinion. Circle your answers below or write them as appropriate:. Thank you for your participation in this survey. Your feedback will assist in providing better FSG support. If the issue of their involvement arises in your group, you need to assist your group in deciding how they want to handle this situation.

    You may want to keep these things in mind. They may not relate to PX, Commissary, hospital business or information discussed at coffees. Newsletters are a great way to get information out, but how big can it be and how do we mail it? As per DA Pam , the following guidelines apply:. Since the FSG newsletter is designed to reach all family members, its tangible and intangible importance cannot be overemphasized.

    Its purpose is to -. Official FSG information relates to command and mission essential information that the commander believes families should have to be better informed. This includes information about the Army, installation, unit, benefits, unit and FSG sponsored activities, and programs and services available. Unofficial information is non-mission related information such as fund raisers for private organizations, etc.

    Frequency of publication is at the commander's discretion. In addition, the newsletter must state whether it contains official or unofficial information or both. It is recommended that non-appropriated funds NAFs or FSG generated funds be used when unofficial information is included. The Department of Defense sets the policy on the use of appropriated funds for mail in family support group newsletters.

    The DoD policy allows commanders to fund the mailing of a FSG newsletter if the content is considered official business. The U. Army Community and Family Support Center discovered that there is still some confusion in the field about what is official business.

    The guidance is as follows:. Commanders should apply the following guidelines in determining whether the content of a FSG newsletter is official:. A To give information related to unit mission and combat readiness including family readiness such as information related to FSG activities in support of field exercises, mobilization, and deployments of active and reserve component units. Examples are:. B To give information which is educational in nature, designed to promote informed self-reliant service members and their families.

    Such as:. C To give information regarding service member and families which promotes unit cohesion and helps strengthen the ongoing esprit among family members within. Information regarding fund raisers for private organizations is also prohibited. However, family support. The information in this message should reduce the confusion about what can and cannot be included in unit FSG newsletters.

    MacKinnon, Eisenhower Ave. In order to complete this handbook, insert. A Sourcebook for Service Proveders. The Staff Judge Advocate's Office advises you and your family about personal legal affairs, including wills, powers of attorney, adoptions, name changes, landlord and tenant relations, consumer affairs, marital rights and obligations, and other legal matters. In addition, notary public services are normally available. All assistance is free. However, some legal matters involve civilian court proceedings.

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    Military attorneys generally may not represent you in court but can refer you to civilian attorneys or to civilian legal service agencies that may be able to represent you. You may ask a Legal Assistance Officer to read and advise you on any contract free of charge. Never sign a contract without completely reading and understanding it.

    Never accept verbal promises, which are not written into the contract. Do not make important, expensive purchases with out consulting with your spouse. Be prudent and cautious in spending money and especially in using a power of attorney. It is important for you to have in your possession certain documents and family records. Should an emergency arise, you may need some or all of those documents. Some of the documents listed below may be used often, even when an emergency does not exist. Gather this information and these documents now and put them in a special container or a safe place so you and your spouse or someone outside of your household knows where they are.

    In order for your family members to obtain identification cards and legal benefits while your spouse is deployed you must be able to supply the documents in bold type. If the original documents are unavailable, certified copies should be obtained. These documents should be located now. There may not be time to find them later.

    Medical Power of Attorney: Authorizes a person other than yourself to authorize medical care for family members should you not be available e. This is excellent for anyone who regularly cares for your children. Do you have copies and know the location of any adoption papers, guardianship papers, divorce decrees, or court orders awarding custody of children or child support? For illegitimate children, court orders declaring the biological parent, written admission of paternity, and related documents? Statements from licensed doctors or medical officers for dependent children over 21 years of age whom are mentally or physically disabled.

    Name and location of places where unmarried children over 21 but less than 23 years of age who are enrolled in a full-time course of instruction. Where are your stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, savings and credit union passbooks, notes receivable, and other evidence of income producing properties? Certificates of title and registration, warranties, and tax receipts for automobiles, boats, recreational vehicles, and other personal property. Business agreements including partnership documents, agency contracts, sales contracts, royalties, residual agreements, and employment contracts.

    Force myself to take a weekly break from my children by trading children with a friend for a day or evening outing. Remember the reasons I fell in love with my spouse and share often those reasons with the children. Take a hot bubble bath after the children are in bed and re-focus and put the proper perspective on the day. Have a few friends with children join my children and me for a relaxed evening of potluck, games, movies, etc. Relax, take each day at a time Set up ten empty plastic bottles in a triangle on a level area. Each kid gets three tries to knock down as many as possible by kicking a beach ball at them from twenty feet away.

    If all the "pins" fall before his last turn, set them up again so he has a chance to add to his score. The kid with the highest score at the end of two rounds wins a prize. Organize players into pairs and hand each team a partially inflated balloon. When the game starts, teammates must race to a finish line carrying their balloon between their heads, no hands allowed. Each kid receives a plain sheet of 8"x 10" white paper to create a paper airplane.

    When the models are ready, each kid in turn tries to fly his through a tunnel created from a triangle of cardboard set on a picnic table. Or, use a string to mark a landing zone. Fill each kid's plastic cup to the brim with water. One at a time with their cups in hand, players must jump into the turning rope and complete three consecutive jumps before jumping out.

    Once everyone has finished the task, players hold up their cups. The child with the most water left wins. Divide the players into two teams and fill one cup for each group. Then she must call in another teammate by singing this jingle: "Water in the cup, splashing all about. Jump in [teammate's name] and help me out'. After the second kid jumps in the first kid passes her the cup and then jumps out. The second kid calls in the next kid and so forth until all the teammates have had a chance to jump while holding the cup.

    Then it's the second team's turn. The team that ends with the most water in its cup, wins. Mark starting and finishing lines in both lanes. Riders must travel down their assigned paths as slowly as possible, keeping their feet on the pedals at all times. The last one to cross the finish line wins. For advanced bikers, draw one long, curvy line and use a stopwatch to time individual riders. Set up an obstacle course using soda bottles filled with sand. Use your imagination to create courses. Challenge your youngsters.

    Use three bottles set up in a distant triangle to recreate barrel races, set several bottles in a tow to recreate flags, etc. When the kids get good at the courses, start timing them. Create teams of two each. Give each team an egg. Begin with the teams facing one another at a distance of five feet. Toss once. Step back one giant step. Toss again. Continue until only one team has an intact egg. Divide available kids into teams. Each team forms a seated line and is given a 16 ounce bottle with no top. The last teammate in line pours the liquid into a waiting bucket The team with the most liquid in the ending bucket wins.

    The liquid can be anything that the kids wouldn't want on them. Egg yolks, pickle juice, etc. Give each kid a sheet of white paper and a crayon stub. Send them out with a time limit, to get three rubbings of outdoor objects. Gather everyone back together to try to guess the rubbings. This also works for a rainy day indoor activity. There is no reason not to get more mileage out of those plastic eggs. Fill them with tokens for local game rooms, hard candy, money, etc. For each kid, you'll need an empty soda bottle and a 4' chalk circle. Arrange the players in a circle.

    Dodgers must keep one foot inside their circle while using their other foot to deflect the ball. The "kicker" stands at least 6' from the closest player and can aim at any bottle. Once he succeeds in knocking one over; he gets to change places with whoever was guarding that circle. Draw a 6' square on a paved surface. Then, divide the space into four smaller squares. Start with a child standing in each block.

    One child serves the ball by bouncing it in his square and tapping the airborne ball into another square. The kid in that space must tap the ball after one bounce into yet another kid's area, and so on, until someone lets the ball bounce twice or sends it out of the grid. A kid who ends the volley steps out, and the game resumes until all but one kid is eliminated. You will want to let your neighbors in on this game; inviting their kids to play too will go a long, way toward enlisting their cooperation.

    Divide the kids up into equal groups. Give each group a list of items to find within the prescribed boundaries leaving the boundaries means automatic disqualification! The first group back with all of their items wins, OR the team with the most items at "times up" wins. This game is played on a stairway in order to use the steps as "grades". All the kids begin on the bottom step. One kid is the "teacher" and holds a rock in one closed hand or the other and asks a "student" which hand the rock is in.

    A correct guess allows die kid to advance one step. The winner is the kid who reaches the top step first. This is an outdoor game played in teams. The kids are divided into two equal teams. Each team lines up on opposite sides of a yard or field and holds hands. Each teammate takes turns calling a kid from the other team by saying: "Red Rover, Red Rover, let kids name] come over". The kid who was called runs with all his might to break through between two kids on the other team. If he succeeds, he gets to select a player to take back to his team, if he fails he becomes a part of this team.

    Any of a number of generic card games. This activity is intended to fill empty slots at the last minute. Form two teams with one person as "it". Everyone else gets a squirt bottle filled with water. On "go", each team squirts water into its bowl. The team to fill their bowl first wins. Team members place their shoes in a pile. Then one at a time each teammate races to the shoes, puts his or her shoes on, and returns to the team. Players return to the line and repeat until their team's bottle is filled. Each teammate races 10 yards to a piece of bubble gum, blows a bubble large enough to cover his or her nose when the bubble breaks, and returns to the line.

    Teams line up, and players place their hands on the waist of the person in front of them. The centipede maneuvers through these obstacle; walk along a 2x4 beam, stomp on balloon "ants", step over a low fence , duck under a limbo rod or line and run back and forth between pylons. Tell them to put one end of the licorice in their mouth and race to see who can get all the licorice into their mouth without using their hands.

    Children race 10 yards and put four saltine crackers in their mouths. The first to chew and whistle wins. Any of a number of board games on hand can be played. On a piece of yam long enough to string from one side of the car to the other between the coat hooks, string 3 small colored beads, then a larger white bead. Do this five times. Offer a treat from a hidden bag every time you reach a white bead. Instead of having kids running in and out of the house all summer, try this! Then, when the kids are off to the playground or pool, hand them a frozen drink that stays cool for hours.

    Using a big tarp, create a slip n slide area in the grass. Use the sprinkler, aimed at the tarp, to keep things wet. Keep the sprinkler inside the fence. This activity is run with the stipulation that the watermelon not be "butchered" on the picnic table. This activity is self explanatory. Equipment is in the garage. A regulation field is behind the housing area. Lay out blank computer paper along with markers, pens and pencils. Each child must write at least one letter to be mailed to someone outside the house.

    Provide envelopes and stamps. Each kid starts with a plain white T-shirt. Using potatoes, cut a design into the flat side of each half. Insert several sheets of newspaper or a sheet of cardboard inside a cotton T-shirt. Pour fabric paint into a pie pan. Dip the potato stamps into the paint and press design onto the shirt. At each vacation destination, let each kid select the "perfect" postcard to commemorate the spot for him. Then they secure the postcard in their book and write a few sentences about the place.

    After each kid decorates his block and the design is set according to the medium used, the blocks are pieced together with fabric strips and machine quilted with a border. Yes, Christmas Cards! Get the kids together to think up a design and work out the particulars such as a group picture in Santa hats or Christmas season clothes.

    Each kid selects a picture or photo. Stick with a large image, such as a magazine ad or a photocopy of a school portrait. Lay a sheet of tracing paper on the photo and take a minute to study the darker shaded areas, such as eyebrows, cheeks, jawbone, or hair. Recreate the facial features on the tracing paper by dipping a fingertip in Tempera paint and covering the shaded areas with a series of fingerprints. Start with shapes in the center of the photo and work outward. Back the finished artwork with a sheet of white paper.

    Let them use their imagination to create a creature of their own. Lay out paper plates, markers, crayons, glue, staplers, scissors, yarn and popsicle sticks. Let each kid use his imagination to create a mask of his choosing. Lay out old socks, scissors, large needles, thread, fabric scraps, yarn and buttons. Lay out glue and an assortment of dried beans, spaghetti, macaroni and cereals. Let their imagination take over! This one explains itself.

    The first part of this craft involves the activity of hiking in the woods to collect small natural items to use Beware of poison ivy! Keep a hot glue gun handy for those hard to secure treasures but be certain everyone understands its for adult use only. Everyone gets a plain white T-shirt. Dissolve the dye according to manufacturers instructions in the washing machine. Wet all the T-shirts this activity is better achieved outside then allow each kid to scrunch and smoosh his T-shirt at will.

    Wilco put the recording on the internet in the iterregnum before Nonesuch, another division of Time Warner, picked it up. Internet distribution only heightened interest in the recording and helped fans stay keep up with the band before the record came out. The Wilco saga was a fairly early sign of the breakdown of the oligopoly. The tactics to try to preserve the economic scarcity of physical distribution in an age of digital download were unsustainable.

    The fact that YHF is a problem at all is a problem. Interesting that it was Howie Klein, the music exec turned political blogger , whose ouster led to Reprise rejection of the record. In the Lefsetz Letter an entertainment industry lawyer makes the nostalgic argument in favor of the role of massmarket hits at creating common public consciousness. But the trade always was too high, in segregation, genre-focus, overplay, and the loss of cultural context in a narrative focused on hits. Not to give Lefsetz a hard time; reading his blog, he is otherwise in favor of digital distribution and taking advantage of the long tail.

    Thank you for smoking is a satire of the sanctimony and hypocrisy of the anti-smoking crusade. The anti-hero is Nick Naylor, uber-flack for the tobacco industry, played by Aaron Eckhard with a cat-that-swallowed-the-canary grin. The movie sets you up to root for the spinmeister as he talks his way out of jams in board meetings and press conferences, and charms talk show audiences, elementary school kids, a congressional hearing, and his hero-worshipping young son.

    In trickster stories, you root for the clever, glib bad guy, and he is run out of town in the end. The filmmakers leave the trickster triumphant. I liked the movie, and would rather see the trickster in his customary place. The Johnny Cash biopic starts with sentimental scenes of the singer as a young boy with his sweet, kind, diligent, protective and fun older brother.

    You can tell from the sepia indoors, picturesque outdoors, and thoughtful pauses that young Mr. Virtuous is not long for this movie. The movie is filled with such paint-by-numbers sequences. You can tell when Cash is overdosing because the camera goes out of focus. I loved Farewell My Concubine, which featured a damaged artist, unrequited love, drug addiction fueled by rejection, beautiful photography, and plenty of tragedy per foot of celluloid. The bits that the viewer needs to infer make all the difference. Both movies are love triangles between two men who are artistic partners and a woman with a promiscuous past who becomes involved with one of the men.

    One of men has an unrequited crush on his buddy. Chasing Amy takes place over a year in gritty-bohemian North Jersey and the world of aspiring comic book artists. Farewell My Concubine takes place over fifty tumultuous decades in North China, in the glamorous world of the Peking Opera. Farewell My Concubine is an intense melodrama in a world of shocking cruelty. At beginning of the movie, a desperate prostitute brings her young son to train for the opera. The Japanese occupation, nationalist regime, communist takeover, and cultural revolution put the relationships among the characters under unbearable strain.

    What I loved about this movie was the exploration of loyalty and betrayal under test. Chasing Amy is a bittersweet romantic comedy in a mundane world of diners, little club parties, comic book tradeshows, and business decisions balancing nuances of artistic purity and commercial success. The movie is at its best when it is dramatizing GenX sexual mores, when Joey Adams and Jason Lee trade stories of bad highschool sex, and when Jason Lee and Ben Affleck slowly realize they are at a lesbian bar. In a few decades, plots about doomed and unrequited gay love may go the way of plots about doomed women who try to get jobs.

    Of course, he has invested heavily in high definition video content and distribution. For me, long tail access and convenience are many times more important than better pictures. I could get by with crappy little pictures for a long time, if I could find the niche content that I care about. I wonder about the size of the respective markets for mass market content with really pretty pictures, and niche content with ordinary pictures. Probably both very big. Probably the important business insight is to forget that there were once one-size-fits-all tv and movie markets.

    Lovely and Amazing is loathesome and hateful. In Mostly Martha, the chef tells off her philistine customers, which puts her on thin ice with her boss who has to weigh aggravation and respect. Martha can be a jerk, but a complicated jerk with redeeming qualities. In Lovely and Amazing, a wannabe artist shops her overpriced crafts to LA boutiques and tells each of the proprietors to fuck off when they turn her down. She has an early school-age daughter, and the most interesting story she has to tell in any social situation is her natural childbirth, followed by her story about being homecoming queen.

    Her actress sister asks her boyfriend to critique her body, and then berates him for not taking seriously her anxieties about flabby upper arms. She needs to get a pair of dumbbells and stop whining. The matriarch of the family has a crush on her incompetent plastic surgeon. Her one redeeming feature is her close relationship with an adopted daughter. The movie manages to undermine that by exploiting the various possible stereotypes about an upper-middle-class Jewish woman adopting a black girl; from awkward moments about sunscreen, to hair-straightening, to a taste for fast food.

    The grownups, black and white, are too busy being awkward about the situation to actually be parents and mentors. The adult women characters are all linked with cold, disapproving, deceitful men. At least they share a level of maturity. The movie is an exaggerated version of real life, with more socially clueless and floridly insecure characters facing the same traps. Why did this movie just make me mad, when I thought that Sideways was darkly funny?

    The self-destructive characters in Sideways were more self-destructive — one was an alcoholic, and one was a philanderer headed toward marriage. They were further along in unsuccessful artistic careers; one was a several-time unpublished novelist, the other a soap opera romantic lead past his prime. Maybe because the movie was more literate, in structure and dialog and pictures.