Parents @ Play: All washed up

Summer's here, and it's time to head outside. And while you're there, why not get wet? Really, really wet. Here are our current water-themed faves for the whole family.


Living with Children: In the family dynamics, it's all about the parents

A column of mine that originally appeared in January of 2017 has been circulating on the internet ever since, accumulating over a million hits to date. In a nutshell, its message is simply that parents, not children, are the most important people in a family and the husband-wife relationship should greatly "trump" that between either parent and the kids. In other words, mom and dad are secondary roles. Spouse should rule, in both directions.


Ex-etiquette: Mistaken identity

Q: My bonusdaughter and I were out shopping recently and a woman standing in line with us mistook me for her mother. This happens quite a lot and I'm never sure what to say. Should I correct them? What's good ex-etiquette?


Social Security: How the work rules work for you

Retirement doesn't have the same meaning for everyone. Some people plan to retire and never work again. Some people plan for second careers in occupations that wouldn't have adequately supported their families, but they do the work for pure enjoyment. Some people, whether by design or desire, choose to work part-time or seasonally to supplement their retirement income.


Fun ways to enjoy the World Cup as a family

Every American kid knows about the Super Bowl and the World Series. But the World Cup may be less familiar – unless you play the so-called "beautiful game," or your family has roots in a soccer-obsessed country such as Brazil. The international tournament is becoming more popular in the United States, though it's been a cherished event for families around the globe since the 1930s. Governed by the Federation Internationale de Football Association(FIFA), the World Cup takes place every four years with 32 countries competing during one very intense month of the summer. This year, the games are being played in various cities throughout Russia, including Sochi, which hosted the 2014 Olympics.


Game review: 'Detroit: Become Human,' create your own destiny in brilliant sci-fi tale of morality

Parents need to know that "Detroit: Become Human" is an interactive sci-fi adventure for the PlayStation 4. The game is set in a near future in which artificially intelligent androids are created and sold as pseudo-appliances to fill certain roles in society. There are some heavy themes, including domestic violence, the struggle for equality, social disorder, drug use, and more. Over the course of the story, players will see/experience a fair amount of realistic violence: People are shot, stabbed, beaten, and otherwise injured. There's also sexually suggestive content, partially nude androids, and discussion of androids as sexual partners. Profanity-laced dialogue includes frequent use of "f--k" and "s--t," and frequent drug use and drinking are shown as the stories unfold.


App review: EASY peasy: English for Kids, customizable flashcards are a terrific way to teach kids English

Parents need to know that EASY peasy: English for Kids uses flashcards to teach kids a wide range of English words and phrases. There's a bit of set up involved, which requires parent input. Parents choose a language of origin from the 13 available options, set the learning level, and add or edit word or phrase packets. Kids then learn through flashcards, multiple-choice questions, and matching activities. The developer claims that it uses a learning algorithm to adapt which words or phrases get presented based on kids' past performance. It helps if kids can read in their language of origin. If they can't, parents may need to help with some of the activities. The free download includes most content with some limitations. Or, subscribe for $2.99/month or $9.99/year for unlimited lessons, multiple player accounts, and the option to play offline. Occasional pop-up windows ask users to rate the app and write a review. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.


Movie review: 'Incredibles 2,' awesome, action-packed superhero sequel was worth the wait

Parents need to know that the highly anticipated sequel "Incredibles 2" picks up immediately after "The Incredibles," following the Parr family – Bob/Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner), and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) – as they again use their powers to rescue the people of their city. From there, the movie explores the Parrs' family dynamics and eventually pits them against a villain named Screenslaver. Like the original, the sequel has frequent, intense superhero action/violence (large-scale destruction, frequent peril, weapons, laser beams shooting out of a character's eyes, a scary fight with lots of flashing lights, etc.). Someone is shot in a flashback (the act itself isn't shown), and there are references to dead parents and several fight sequences that could be too intense for very young or those who are sensitive to violence that puts kids or parents in danger. But there's also lots of humor, even in the action sequences, as well as themes of teamwork, courage, communication, and perseverance – not to mention how easy it is to be manipulated by the screens all around us. Expect a bit of kissing, hugging, and flirting; a little drinking by adults; a character with a long-stemmed cigarette; and a few uses of words like "sucks" and "jerks."

Summit held to discuss health care access in San Joaquin Valley

University of California President Janet Napolitano discusses health care access in the San Joaquin Valley with University of California, Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland and Assemblymember Adam Gray, D-Merced, in Merced on Friday.