2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

For the rest of this week, go ahead and expect to see several upcoming exciting stories about events that took place last week, while our family was fortunate to review the 2014 Lexus RX 450h from a family friendly perspective…

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

But first, I would like to highlight the features of this vehicle that stood out the most to our family of three.

In my “2 Minute Walk Around” video above, I mentioned that driving the Lexus RX 450 is like when Super Mario hops in the cloud and drives it. With this vehicle being hybrid, you can’t really hear the engine, providing for an extremely quiet ride and idle.

As you can expect from a Lexus luxury vehicle, the cabin itself is like a really classy lounge. My wife always loves it when we review a vehicle with heated and cooled seats.

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

This was the first time I actually used them myself. Obviously, as you can see from these photos, things got a bit frosty; so I definitely took advantage of the “bun warmers” feature.

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

I know this may sound like a peculiar feature to highlight, but I really loved the gear shifter. Granted, this was an automatic transmission. But ergonomically, the shifter handle is in the perfect place and I really liked how the handle was a bit longer than most; it somehow made it glide more naturally than most vehicles I have driven.

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

Like every Lexus SUV I have ever reviewed, all I have to do is just press the button on the “fifth door” and it closes by itself. That’s always fun.

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

As for my 4 year-old son Jack, it was very obvious what he liked most about the Lexus RX 450h; the DVD screens on the back of the front screens, with Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound (15 speakers.)

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

It was like Jack’s own private theatre in the back seat.

One of his aunts just happened to send him a Christmas present which included a Berenstain Bears DVD.

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

After I saw how special he felt back there, I decided to cash in some points at Best Buy and let him pick out another DVD.

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

He chose Disney’s Dinosaur, which is perfectly appropriate and relevant for him at this age.

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

There’s my quick overview. If you have $60,190 to spend on a new luxury SUV, I can’t imagine how the 2014 Lexus RX 450h would be a wrong choice for your family. I didn’t even mention that fact it averages 29 miles per gallon!

So stay tuned for upcoming posts this week involving the 2014 Lexus RX 450h; including going to see Marvel Universe Live, Santa Claus at Bass Pro Shop, and a Nerf birthday party where they shipped in snow for the kids to play in!

Catch up on the entire series of the Lexus RX 450h Weekend. A lot of exiciting things happened!

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

Dear Jack: Marvel Universe Live- Family Friendly Review (Lexus RX 450h Weekend)

Dear Jack: Meeting Santa With Sophie At Bass Pro Shop (Lexus RX 450h Weekend)

Dear Jack: Jacob’s 5th Birthday Party In A Tractor Store (Lexus RX 450h Weekend)

Dear Jack: The Old Abandoned Silo Tower On Main Street in Spring Hill, TN (Lexus RX 450h Weekend)

Dear Jack: Our New House’s Shutters, Mailbox, & Interior Paint (Lexus RX 450h Weekend)

New Infographic: Where Breaking Bad, Hunger Games, & Lord Of The Rings Were Filmed

I thought this new infographic is cool and worth sharing. I often wonder about stuff like this; regarding where some of my favorite movies and TV shows are actually filmed.

Many years ago, my wife and I visited New Zealand, the country where Lord of the Rings was filmed.

If you asked me now what my favorite TV show of all time is, I would say #3 would be The Office, #2 would be Lost, and #1 would be Breaking Bad.

The infographic shows the places in Albuquerque the show was filmed.

See my post, My Thoughts On The Breaking Bad Finale: Felina (Now On Netflix). Also see, Aside From Breaking Bad Action Figures, What Else Is “Offensive” At Toys “R” Us?

And obviously I’m huge fan of the Libertarian film series, The Hunger Games, which to my surprise, is filmed in North Carolina.

See my post, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1- Family Friendly Review.

Now, enjoy the infographic!


Dolphin Tale 2 (and Dolphin Tale): Family Friendly Movie Review

Our family had been planning for months to go see Dolphin Tale 2 when it came out in theatres, but then we started building a new house

Dolphin Tale 2 (and Dolphin Tale): Family Friendly Movie Review

To my surprise though, Warner Bros. reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked if I’d review Dolphin Tale 2… How convenient!

My son Jack just turned 4 and had never seen a movie that wasn’t a “kids’ movie.” That changed with Dolphin Tale 2; it’s not a kids’ movie, it’s a family movie.

What I mean by that is that there are no talking animals. This movie, in my opinion, like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) which I just reviewed this past weekend, isn’t necessarily aimed at kids.

Dolphin Tale 2 is aimed for the whole family. It is a completely clean movie; it contains no words that I would imagine would be particularly inappropriate for young children. “Heck” and “darn” are about as intense as it gets there.

Dolphin Tale 2 (and Dolphin Tale): Family Friendly Movie Review

The movie is rated PG, as opposed to G. My guess is because the movie begins with one of the older dolphins, Panama, dying of old age. Several shots are shown of the dolphin’s body lying at the bottom of the pool; though nothing graphic.

And thus begins the movie’s plot line: A companion must be found for Winter, the dolphin with the prosthetic tale, in order for her to stay at the facility; according to state regulations.

Dolphin Tale 2 is actually the first movie I’ve ever seen in Blu Ray. Definitely a step up from what I’m used to.

My son Jack obviously loved the movie; he’s never seen so much footage of dolphins before.

Our family felt good about watching this movie together; it was very appropriate and entertaining for all of us; but not in a cheesy “Hallmark movie” kind of way.

If you’re looking for stocking stuffers for children, I think Dolphin Tale 2 would make a much appreciated choice.

Dolphin Tale 2 (and Dolphin Tale): Family Friendly Movie Review

Our family also sat down together and watched the first Dolphin Tale movie as well. It contains the same clean, family-friendly kind of content along with the same cast of actors revisited.

In the first movie, Winter the dolphin is discovered caught up in a fisherman’s trap which ultimately causes her to loose her tale, so people come together to create one for her in order for her survive.

I have a feeling there will be a Dolphin Tale 3, and I hope there is!

Dolphin Tale 2 Photo Gallery


Official Press Release Info:

Dolphin Tale 2” reunites the entire main cast, led by Harry Connick, Jr. as Dr. Clay Haskett; Nathan Gamble as Sawyer Nelson; Ashley Judd as Sawyer’s mom, Lorraine; Kris Kristofferson as Clay’s father, Reed; Cozi Zuehlsdorff as Clay’s teenage daughter, Hazel; Austin Stowell as Sawyer’s cousin, Kyle; Austin Highsmith as Winter’s lead trainer, Phoebe; and Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”) as Dr. Cameron McCarthy. The film also features Bethany Hamilton as herself.

Dolphin Tale 2” is produced by Oscar® nominees Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson (“The Blind Side”), together with Alcon President of Worldwide Marketing, Richard Ingber, and Steven P. Wegner. David Yates and Robert Engelman served as executive producers.

Dolphin Tale 2” will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99 and includes the film in high definition on Blu-ray disc, a DVD, and a digital version of the movie in Digital HD with UltraViolet. Fans can also own “Dolphin Tale 2” via purchase from digital retailers.



The inspiring true story of Winter isn’t over. Several years after receiving a prosthetic tail, Winter loses her surrogate mother, leaving her alone, grieving and unwilling to engage with anyone, even her best human friend, Sawyer. Worse, she may have to be moved from her home at the aquarium due to regulations requiring dolphins to be paired. When Dr. Clay Haskett and his dedicated team can’t find her a companion, it looks like they may lose their beloved Winter…until an unexpected turn of events brings them Hope.



“Dolphin Tale 2” Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special features:

·         Dolphin Tale 2: Underwater Magic Dolphin Tale 2: True Story

·         Look Who’s Running The Show

·         Bethany Hamilton Meets Winter

·         Dolphin Tale 2: The Mission

·         Cozi Zuehlsdorff – “Brave Souls”

·         Gavin DeGraw – “You Got Me”

·         Blooper Reel


“Dolphin Tale 2” Standard Definition DVD contains the following special features:

·         Dolphin Tale 2: True Story



On December 9, “Dolphin Tale 2” will be available for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on their favorite devices from select digital retailers including Amazon, CinemaNow, Flixster, iTunes, PlayStation, Target Ticket, Vudu, Xbox and others. “Dolphin Tale 2” will also be available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.


*Digital HD with UltraViolet allows fans to watch a digital version of their movie or TV show anywhere, on their favorite devices. Digital HD with UltraViolet is included with the purchase of specially marked Blu-ray discs. Digital HD with UltraViolet allows consumers to instantly stream and download movies and TV shows to TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones through UltraViolet retail services like CinemaNow, Flixster, Target Ticket, VUDU and more. For more information on compatible devices go to wb.com/ultravioletdevices. Consult an UltraViolet Retailer for details and requirements and for a list of HD-compatible devices.




PRODUCT                                                                            SRP

Blu-ray Combo Pack                                                               $35.99

DVD Amaray (WS)                                                                $28.98

Standard Street Date: December 9, 2014

DVD Languages: English, Latin Spanish, Canadian French

BD Languages: English, Latin Spanish, Canadian French

DVD Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Parisian French

BD Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Parisian French

Running Time: 107 minutes

Rating: Rated PG for some mild thematic elements


Dressing As A Super Hero For Abbi’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

4 years.

Dear Jack,

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

I mentioned how you chose to wear your “super hero costume” to open your birthday gifts from Mommy and me when you turned 4 a few weeks ago; having received the outfit as a gift from your friend Madison at your Lego birthday party at Bricks 4 Kidz.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

Well, this weekend you were quite excited when Mommy and I learned that Abbi’s birthday actually had a costume theme.

While I tried to convince you just to wear your Ninja Turtle hoodie and be Donatello, you insisted on wearing your costume from Madison.

The logistical problem with that is that we had already boxed it up in our storage unit, as our new house should be ready by the end of next month.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

Mommy was up for the challenge so we loaded up in the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe we have been driving this week, as we await the news of whether or not my own car will be totaled thanks the albino deer that hit me on the way home the night before Thanksgiving.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

Something really cool about every Hyundai I have reviewed is that basically the entire ceiling is a moon roof. You love that! You love being able to see so much of what’s going on.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

Mommy’s favorite feature of the Santa Fe is the heated seats, especially this time of year.

My favorite thing about it is the size. Now more than ever, I like a good strong SUV that help protect me in the event I get hit by another albino deer. Hyundais are just nice vehicles anyway, as I’ve been quick to mention in my other reviews of them.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

Speaking of safety, I also really appreciate the Blind Spot Detection System, which alerts me anytime another vehicle or object is getting dangerously close to me. (After having recently been hit by a deer, this is something I’m quite sensitive to this days!)

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

And not to mention, the back-up camera saves me a lot of worries too. (See below the relevant song that happened to come up on XM radio this week while we were driving the Santa Fe.)

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

Well, thanks to Mommy’s supreme packing skills, she was able to pull up the door of our storage unit, then immediately open up the box with your super hero costume! You then curiously asked about your monster trucks- she found that box too.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

Before Abbi’s birthday party, we decided we should stop by our new house which is still under construction and see the latest updates.

Afterwards, as part of our tradition, we stopped by the model home so you could say hi to the in-house real estate agent. You had hidden a piece of foam (which you refer to as your “pizza parlor”) in the bushes and decided to crawl under the Christmas tree as a gift… because that’s normal for 4 year-old boys, I assume. (See top picture, again.)

When we arrived to Abbi’s party, we were greeted by hens, which we fed some dried worms to.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

Once we walked inside the house, I was glad we had found your costume beforehand, because I realized your Ninja Turtle hoodie wasn’t quite enough for this costume-themed party.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

You kept your eye mask on the entire drive and at least the first 30 minutes of the party.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

And of course, your friend Madison (who gave you the costume) was so happy to see you wearing it. (Pictured below.)

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

You were lucky: you basically got to have an all-you-can-eat sweets buffet while we were there.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

So we decided having dinner at Whole Foods would be a good way to offset that, but first we stopped to see some Christmas lights along the way.

Needless to say, we had a really fun week in the Santa Fe. And you especially had fun, being a super hero the whole time!



Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Standard Features:

5 year/60,000 mile New Vehicle Warranty

10 year/100,000 mile Powertrain Warranty

7 year/Unlimited mile and Perforation Warranty

5 year/Unlimited mile Roadside Assistance

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe

Advanced Safety Technology:

Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) with Traction Control

ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution & Brake Assist

Blind Spot Detection System

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe

Powertrain Technology:

3.3 L Gasoline Direct Injection V6 Engine

290 Horsepower @ 6,400 RPM

Fuel Economy:

21 MPG average: 18 city/25 highway

Annual fuel cost: $2,500

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe

Why Do We Associate Masculinity With Eating Red Meat And Bacon?

Today makes 3 years I’ve been a vegetarian and more than a year and a half since I’ve been a vegan, so I figured it would be a relevant time to ask the question, “Why do we associate masculinity with eating red meat and bacon?”

Why Do We Associate Masculinity With Eating Red Meat And Bacon?

There’s no question: Eating big, fat, juicy burgers with bacon (and cheese) is manly. It’s even more masculine to be the one grilling those burgers.

Why, though? How is it that meat consumption, especially particular red meat and bacon, is associated with masculinity?

The familiar stereotype I have in my head is of a man and woman on a date. The man orders a big steak. The woman orders a salad.

But what if you reverse that? The woman orders a big steak and the man orders a salad. It would seem ironic, somehow.

I suppose a lot of the reason that eating red meat and bacon is associated with masculinity is because it used to be that more men were actually involved in raising and hunting the meat, then providing for their families with it.


However, times have changed. It’s not really that way anymore.

Even the phrase “bringing home the bacon” is losing relevance. My wife makes more money than I do. In fact, all of the men that I work with in my office actually make less money than their wives do. Part of that is that our wives all have Master’s degrees and we just have 4 year degrees…

So, is it particularly manly to go to the grocery store and buy meat? Or the drive-thru at a fast food joint?

Not really. But it still is manly to cook the meat (especially outdoors) and to eat it. We have carried over these ideas that eating meat is manly, though the validity and relevance of that concept is fleeting.

push button receive bacon

In fact, the over-consumption of meat is literally thinning out the herd. Consuming more than 4 ounces of meat per day (which is very little, actually) is undeniably linked to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease; all of which are some of the main killers of American men.

Let me also point out the fact that many athletes are sure to refrain from consuming much meat. They shy away from red meat and pork, instead focusing on apparently “less manly” options like chicken and fish.

So even men who are famous (and rich) for their strength and agility aren’t consuming red meat and pork at the same rate as most men.

With that being said, can you still be perceived as masculine yet not eat meat?

Something I see in “Facebook culture” is “real women have curves.” So… does that mean that women who don’t have curves are not real women?

Similarly, can you still be considered masculine and be a vegan?

red-meat-man (flashbyz.com)

As I’ve pointed out before, most vegans are actually women; most of them not being religious.

I think society is particularly confused by male vegans, especially if they are Christian. Growing up in the South like I did, it was nearly a sin to not eat meat.

Trust me, I’m not questioning my masculinity. I realize that the new modern version of masculinity has more to do with being a faithful husband and an involved father.

Today makes 3 years since I’ve eaten any meat; it’s been more than a year and a half since I’ve had dairy or eggs in addition to that.

Speaking for myself, at least, I feel plenty enough masculine.

If nothing else, I can drive a stick shift vehicle. That’s got to count for something.


Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971): Family Friendly Movie Review

For the past several weeks now, my 4 year-old son and I have been listening nothing but the soundtrack to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, on the way to and from school and work each day in my car.

I’m pretty sure he and I have all the words to the songs pretty much memorized by now…

Willy Wonka blank meme phot

When it comes to musicals, they’re not really my thing. However, the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (not the Johnny Depp version) is the exception. It has remained, by default, one of my favorite movies since I first saw it 25 years ago when I was in 2nd grade.

This past weekend, I was able to get my hands on a copy of the DVD so I decided it was time to see what my son Jack thought of it. Not to mention, I was anxious to see it again; it had been at least 15 years for me; plus my wife had never seen it all the way through.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was rated G, back in 1971, when it was first released in theatres and that is the rating that the DVD upholds as well. It was given that raiting only 3 years after America’s movie rating system was set in place. In certain regards though, the ratings system was much more liberal back then.

I think if this version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory were released today, it would at least be rated PG; possibly even PG-13.

Willy Wonka Nick Shell

Just for the boat ride scene alone. Enough said, right?

In addition to this part of the movie being extremely suspenseful, Willy Wonka screams about “by the fires of hell a glowing” as footage is shown of an actual chicken getting its head chopped off.

However, my son was completely unfazed by the boat ride scene. He actually seemed to like it!

For Jack, the “most inappropriate” part of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was actually some of the lyrics to one of the Oompa Loompas’ songs:

“What are you at getting terribly fat? What do you think will come of that?”

Right now we are currently teaching him how it’s not okay to say that someone is fat. So I imagine it seemed like a double standard to him when the Oompa Loompas used that phrase.

Other than that, there’s also the fact that all of the other children appear to die while in the chocolate factory. Granted, Willy Wonka (somewhat generically) assures Charlie at the very end of the movie that all the kids are okay.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971): Family Friendly Movie Review

It just depends on whether or not you want to believe a bipolar candyman who uses the labor of little people whom he supposedly rescued, then who turns over his candy factory to a young boy whose grandfather stayed in bed for 20  years who magically was able to sing and dance the moment his grandson found the last remaining golden ticket.

While there are some elements of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory that may be a bit inappropriate for a 4 year-old, it’s still a movie that I ultimately had no concerns about exposing my son to.

In fact, most of the movie is perfectly appropriate for a 4 year-old. The chocolate, the absurdity, the songs, the pure imagination…

It was even better than I remembered it! Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a bit creepy at times, but still I think it’s less creepy than The Wizard of Oz.


Can Facebook Lower (Or Raise) Your IQ?

Earlier this week I proposed the question, “Is Facebook Technically A Video Game?

Well, today I am following that up by asking what I feel is an equally relevant, if not more relevant, question:

“Can Facebook Lower, Or Raise, Your IQ?”

Does Facebook Lower (Or Raise) Your IQ?

When I first joined Facebook around a decade ago during my final semester of college at Liberty University, Facebook was basically still in “running concept” format. It was only set-up for college students at the time.

To log on to Facebook meant a drama-free, stress-free, guilt-free experience. It seemed like back in those days, circa 2005, you could interact with your classmates and friends without being judged… or being tempted yourself to judge others.

I think we all have to be honest here and admit: it can be challenging to refrain from at least quickly subconsciously passing judgment as you scroll through hundreds of your friends’ strong opinions, daily selfies, and doses of TMI.


As I mentioned in Is Facebook Technically A Video Game?, Facebook has evolved into a place where people ultimately go to receive and give confirmation to each other.

That may sound simple enough, but the way I think it, each time we check our Facebook, we are entering into a world of concentrated drama; overexposing ourselves to information that outside of the social media website, would be not only impossible, but also, unnatural to encounter.

Yet we tend to enter the semi-alternative universe of Facebook nonchalantly and unguarded; even treating it as a form of escape.

In part, it is that escape. It’s an escape as you are exposed to positive people who share information with you that is close to or greater than your own intelligence level; but they are mixed in with those who are… not.

Daymond John Does Facebook Lower (Or Raise) Your IQ?

It reminds me of something Daymond John mentioned one time on Shark Tank. He mentioned the importance of “people proximity.” You ultimately become like the people who you are exposed to most in your social circle.

So out of your 500 or a thousand Facebook friends, who do you pay the most attention to as you scroll through your Facebook feed? Who do you let affect you the most? Who do you let affect your mood or current thought process, if nothing else?

Compared to actual reality, Facebook daily puts in you the same proximity as people who you might not normally interact with (even passively) on a personal level.

Thanks to Facebook, I can easily learn about the strong, one-sided views and opinions of anyone in my social network- and the thing is, I don’t necessarily want to.

So can Facebook lower, or raise, your IQ? I believe so. Just like how I believe being exposed to reality TV can, as well; as Jack Johnson sings about in his clever song, “Good People”.

Bad news, misused, give me some truth
You got too much to lose…
Wrong and resolute but in the mood to obey
Station to station desensitizing the nation
Going, going, gone

Does Facebook Lower (Or Raise) Your IQ?

Ten years ago, I didn’t have a daily feed of information coming from people of all types. I was pretty much limited to the influence of just those I actually spoke with in person each day; and again, they were never as opinionated or dramatic or likely to share too much information as those on Facebook tend to be.

Something I have noticed is that the people of Facebook who I respect the most tend to be the least openly opinionated.

They serve as a model for me to follow. It all goes back to that people proximity theory.

Even in in the unnatural (and largely unrealistic) setting of Facebook, I am still subconsciously seeking out and associating with the people I respect the most.

I believe that what you get out of Facebook is largely based on who you’re paying the most attention to, and sometimes more importantly, who you are choosing to ignore.

And from there, I believe your IQ can be affected for better or worse.

So the way I see it… no, Facebook doesn’t lower your IQ, but it can if you allow it to. In theory, you could choose to use Facebook as a tool to raise your IQ in the same way.