What Muzzy Means To Me & My Kids

The BBC program still holds up.

I don't think my kids have ever had a day without looking at a screen.

I mean, I haven't either in the past several years, but it's weird to think about.

So when I needed to give them afternoon distractions so I could continue working while they were at home, I first went with board games, coloring books, paints...all great stuff, but nothing was really holding their interest.

When my friend told me her daughter really likes Muzzy, the animated language-learning program, I promised myself I wouldn't park them in front of a screen for any longer than they had to be.

Still, she told me her daughter was starting to pick up new words - I did like the idea of bonus education time. Plus, my kids were still in the window of opportunity, meaning they were both under 10, and had enough brain plasticity to learn a language more efficiently than if they were older.

I looked into the program to see what they offered and was surprised by what I found. Muzzy was developed by the BBC to teach children a second language through stories.

There are videos to watch, sure, but there are also plenty of interactive games and puzzles that come with the monthly online membership.

If I could entertain my kids with games and shows and know they were learning, I could be happy with the screen time.

With the 30-day money-back guarantee, I figured I'd try it. I chose Spanish for them, because they have some friends who also speak it, but they also offer French, Italian, Chinese, Korean, German, and English as a second language.

I put on a cartoon for them, which instantly hit me with nostalgia for the commercials from when I was younger. Muzzy and his friends go on adventures and incorporate new words and phrases into their silly situations. My kids liked it!!

I know I wanted to reduce their screen time, but if the kids are preoccupied and learning, I'm happy.

5 More Reasons I Love Muzzy

You Can Buy The DVDs or The Online Membership For Under $5 A Month

The Cartoons Are Engaging Enough For The Whole Family

There's A 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

Kids Could Learn Up To 1200 Words + Phrases

Learning A Second Language Can Lead To Higher Test Scores

Update: Muzzy's Limited Time Offer: Get 67% Off A Subscription + FREE Homeschooling Lessons When You Purchase Today!


5 Things You Need To Know About Muzzy

And why the BBC program works best for kids.

Having three children under the age of ten isn't easy. Trying to keep them occupied during all their school holidays is tough; something us, Moms, regularly discuss. And that's how I heard about Muzzy.

What's Muzzy? Turns out it's a language learning cartoon for kids created by language experts at the BBC. You can choose from a variety of languages and even choose to get it online or in DVD format. It all sounded great and my husband and I loved the idea of our kids getting to learn a new language but I didn't know if it would suit my kids.

They are very active and energetic kids so, it can be hard for them to focus and I also didn't want to increase their screen time anymore.

But with the thought of the next school holidays looming, I ordered Muzzy to see if it would help and I thought I could just make this their screen time and at least it will be beneficial to their growth and learning.

Muzzy surprised me, here are 5 reasons why:

The biggest shock was that my kids actually enjoyed Muzzy. They even ask for it over their regular cartoons. It's the ultimate guilt-free screen time -- definitely has the seal of approval from my three!

There's a 30-Day No Questions Asked Money-Back Guarantee in case my kids weren't fans.

It's affordable. For under $5 a month, it's an amazing value! Think of how much a tutor would cost.

Since getting Muzzy I learned about the window of opportunity. The way our brains develop means that the younger we are, the easier it is to learn new languages.

The whole family can enjoy it together. We love how all the kids watch it together and then speak it to each other, helping them to bond.

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I feel Muzzy is really giving my kids a head start in life, and it's really opening up their minds and contributing to their development. I got it to keep them occupied, but it has done so much more. Now I'm the mom recommending Muzzy to every parent at their school!

Update: Muzzy's Sale is Ending Soon! Save up to 67% off Muzzy if you purchase today!


Songs That Capture the Spirit Of New York: Iconic Movie Moments

We list off a few of film's most iconic moments in the Big Apple, and the songs that accompanied them.

While it isn't the first art form to bind itself to music, cinema has arguably achieved the closest symbiosis therein. Because while musical scores for, say, Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" or Wagner's "Ring Cycle" are routinely listened to independent of dramatization, very few subway playlist includes selections from "Jurassic Park 2."

The exception is the movie soundtrack consisting, mainly, of songs which exist entirely on their own. But such is the power of the movie medium that, while Tears For Fear's "Head Over Heels" may have once transported you back to hopeless crushes over elementary school lunches, it now instantly calls to mind a famous montage from cult movie Donnie Darko. The song becomes the image, and vice versa.

New York is one of the most musical cities in the world, and a prodigious producer of images, be they cinematic, photographic, or painted. When you shut your eyes and imagine archetypical New York music, a deafening multitude of genres meets the ears: Hip-hop, salsa, jazz, punk-rock...Russian techno.

As a result, pairing the feel of the city with a song has long provided filmmakers with a dazzling array of creative options. But it takes a discerning eye and ear to make of his/her selections more than mere sonic wallpaper; a canny filmmaker instead harnesses a given song to a scene for a specific intent, giving it something approaching agency.

"Fight the Power," by Public Enemy

Film: Do The Right Thing (1989, Spike Lee)

This list isn't hierarchical, but the honor of opening it still goes to Spike Lee; since nearly all his narrative films are set in New York (and of those, the majority are set in Brooklyn), he could be seen as THE filmmaker for the five boroughs. Never one for understatement, Lee opened his breakthrough film to the tune of arguably the most declamatory political statement in hip-hop history. (The intro is also a study in the late-80s/early-90s sartorial and dance fad nostalgia for people of a certain age).

"Jumpin' Jack Flash," by The Rolling Stones

Film: Mean Streets (1973, Martin Scorsese)

Martin Scorsese could easily merit his own article on the delicate art of melding popular music with movies. But while several entries in his vast oeuvre bear mentioning in that context, I'll focus on just one: Mean Streets, set in Little Italy.

The contrasting nature of Mean Streets' soundtrack (consisting of both Italian operatic arias and American popular music) serves as an aural metaphor for the chasm that divides Harvey Keitel's tradition-bound, dutiful gangster, and the force of rebellion and chaos that is Robert De Niro's Johnny.

An example of the latter half of that dichotomy is an early scene where Johnny enters a club all lit up in lurid, hellish red with a woman on each arm. Keitel, nursing a drink at the opposite end of the bar, watches with rueful envy as the trio swagger towards him in slow motion to "Jumpin' Jack Flash." (Scorsese and The Rolling Stones would go on to enjoy what is probably the most hand-in-glove relationship between any director and band in the history of cinema; just one of the group's songs, "Gimme Shelter" has been used at least three times by the director).

"Daddy Never Understood," by Folk Implosion

"Oh My God," by Tribe Called Quest

Film: Kids (1993, Larry Clark)

Speaking of piquant combinations of contrasting genres, Kids, a mid-90s controversy hive, combined noise-punk, indie-rock and golden age hip-hop, all of which are relevant to the world the movie's subjects move through: a New York of feral adolescents from various walks of life. Director Larry Clark's brutal, unblinking visual sensibility is neatly matched by his wincing musical choices. The opening scene, in which Telly, the film's teenage "protagonist," seduces and deflowers an even younger girl, is linked to the subsequent introductory credits by "Daddy Never Understood," a lacerating, churning punk track by Folk Implosion (led by Dinosaur Jr.'s Lou Barlow). Later, Tribe Called Quest's ebullient "Oh My God" is heard while Telly and Casper strut through Washington Square Park in search of weed and fellowship (the latter is consecrated by a brutal beat down of a hapless adult dumb enough to poke the hornet's nest).

"Stephanie Says," by The Velvet Underground

"Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard," Paul Simon

Film: The Royal Tenenbaums (2000, Wes Anderson)

Journeying far, far away from the spontaneous naturalism of Larry Clark's Kids, we arrive at Wes Anderson's third movie, which more-or-less confirmed him in the public eye as a purveyor of all things hyper-orchestrated and impeccably manicured. Whatever you may think of his aesthetic, Anderson has a beautiful way with a song.

The wistful melancholy of a classic New York rooftop scene late in the film between Luke Wilson and Gene Hackman, for example, is hitched perfectly to Velvet Underground's "Stephanie Says," and the exhilaration of a day shared by the elder Tenenbaum and his two grandsons matches perfectly to Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the School Yard."

"Fairytale of New York," The Pogues

"Flamenco Sketches," Miles Davis

Film: Basquiat (1997, Julian Schnabel)

A song about being lonely, drunk, homesick and heartsick in New York on Christmas, written by a troubled Irish genius (Shane Macgowen), is an unexpected, but apt, choice to emotionally underscore the story of a troubled, doomed American genius, painter Jean-Michel Basquiat.

It's one of several ways that director Schnabel—himself a wildly successful painter prior to becoming a filmmaker—uses music to elegize his subject. The soundtrack also features "Flamenco Sketches," the last track on Kind of Blue, by Miles Davis (a hero of Basquiat's, if the film is to be believed).

The slow ballad functions, in fact, as one of the movie's reoccurring motifs, conveying the sublimity of solitude, so essential to the creation of art - and something that was increasingly denied Basquiat the more famous he became. New York, that beautiful succubus, drained the young artist dry and left him dead at 27.

TV Remote

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

If you've been too busy catching up on the current, excellent season of The Good Place in preparation for tonight's finale, you may have missed some of this week's TV news. Don't worry. Like Good Janet, we can handle that for you.

Jane Has a Bun in the Oven

The CW announced on Wednesday that pilot orders are officially in for both Jane the Virgin and Riverdale spin-offs. Jane's new offspring will be titled Jane the Novella and will be an anthology series in which each season is based on one of the eponymous character's novels. Current writer Valentina Garza is set to write and executive produce, with Gina Rodriguez and Virgin creator Jennie Urman-Snydor attached in producer roles. Katy Keene, a spin-off of the hugely popular Riverdale, will follow other Archie Comics characters as they pursue their dreams in New York City. It's safe to assume that those dreams include Broadway—or at least some singing in the subway—as the show is billed as a "musical dramedy."

Guess Who's Coming to Gilead

Step aside, June and Nick. Move over, Fred and Serena Joy. Say goodbye, teen couple that was drowned in a high school swimming pool. Gilead is getting a new power couple: Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: SVU, Wet Hot American Summer) and Elizabeth Reaser (Twilight, The Haunting of Hill House) will be joining season three of The Handmaid's Tale as Commander and Mrs. Winslow, who mentor the Waterfords, according to Variety. The series returns later this year on Hulu. Blessed be the new cast members.

Baby Shark Dance | Sing and Dance! | Animal Songs | PINKFONG Songs for Childrenwww.youtube.com

"Baby Shark" is Getting a TV Series (Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo)

This news came out last week, but we're only now getting it out of our heads. Pinkfong, the Seoul-based educational media company responsible for the insanely catchy viral children's song is bringing even more earworms to the US (and exasperated parents) with more short videos, a cartoon series, and a musical on Netflix, according to Bloomberg.

Penn Badgley is Scared for his You fans

Penn Badgley continues his media tour this week, which is part promotional tour for the release of his Lifetime series You on Netflix, part trying to explain to viewers that his character is a monster.

And, Finally, RIP Ryan

Mindy Kaling, who is currently in Sundance for the premiere of her film Late Nighttold Variety what she thinks her Office character, Kelly Kapoor, would be up to now: "There's not an insignificant part of me that thinks that Kelly might be in jail," she said. "I don't want to say that she murdered Ryan, but, like, I'm also not convinced that he's still alive in the world of The Office."

Rebecca Linde is a writer and cultural critic in NYC. She tweets about pop culture and television @rklinde.

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