Movies…The picture above is the picture of a Promised Land. It is not the same place in Western Pennsylvania (Apollo, PA) where the movie Promised Land was shot. It is my sister’s and her husband’s farm in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Whatever good or bad things happened in the Promised Land movie, can be disputed or verified by them. They have lived the movie. The scene you see, in the picture above, is their mountain after the gas pipelines were put under it. The gas people restored everything to exactly as it was after their construction tore up my sister’s land. You do not see much digging or tearing in the Matt Damon and John Krasinski movie Promised Land. Frances McDormand (Fargo), and Hal Holbrook (everything) add great support to the story. Gas versus oil is the theme with the story of gas as the feature.
A new method of gas extraction, called fracking, is allowing high-pressure water jets to release trillions upon trillions of feet of gas from shale deposits all over Pennsylvania. When they first started this process, it wasn’t perfected. Water pollution and land destruction may or may not have been caused by gas companies throughout the United States. Matt Damon represents a company, in the movie, that wants to lease everyone’s land for this gas extraction. He claims it is a safe process and will make each landholder rich. Hal Holbrook, the small town’s science teacher, is the voice of reason while declaring this isn’t something anyone should rush into___in spite of the great money.
John Krasinski is the sheep in wolf’s clothing or the wolf in sheep’s clothing. You will have to see the movie and decide. Read up on the “fracking process” before seeing the movie. You’ll be twice as intelligent as anyone at the “after the movie discussion” table. You may have to take a side during the movie or at the table!
Sylvia Plath…As everyone in February takes time to think of the presidents Columbus, and the groundhog, some of us will be toasting with respect and awe the February 11, 1963 death of Sylvia Plath. We always try to keep ahead of the curve in this column. To dedicate her death date and her life in writing, I have taken her poem Cinderella and updated it to 2013. Please read the original. I hope teachers will take the poem, introduce it to their classes, and begin the discussion of why everyone should come to the Junior Prom or Senior Ball__not just couples. My poem relates the anguish of someone not going to the ball. Hope you like it???
Cinderella Lost By Tom Palumbo
I lean to my Cinderella in precious shoes,
Tall, blonde, and temper flaring,
Of gentle as the rose garden grows; now angry,
Begins on strained guitar to tell me why…
The room and hall are spinning,
Where classmates pass out of my purgatory like phantoms:
Sun splatters on my locker door,
Reflecting a love no more,
Where others will dance in a frantic pace,
Follow many from the past in a similar trance,
Near twelve it punches me hard once more,
She clings to another Prince.
As amid tomorrow’s talk of the night gone by,
I hear the scornful cry of the motionless day.
Television…Does anyone have one of those recorders where you can record ten programs from the same hour time period? If you do, did your system cost thousands of dollars? Thursday night at ten o’clock is a killer for me. It is one of the few nights, because of my teaching schedule, that I can watch late night television. The time slot features Elementary, Scandal, Suits, Bambi In High Heels, and Comedy I. Friends all over America are taping the shows for me that I will miss. Watching them in the comfort of their bedrooms is out of the question, so the enjoyment factor of seeing it on my home bedroom screen is nullified. Strange that I like all thee shows because of the women in them Kerry Washington, Lucy Lui, and Gina Torres, with only Kerry Washington being the lead. I like the stations that take their ten o’clock strong shows and repeat them at eleven to pick up people like me and those who have heard today’s news ten times already.
Internet…The online computer classroom versus the face-to-face classroom continues to be a giant topic of discussion. New studies show that the scores from the computer-generated classrooms are 5% higher in the same courses taken by both groups. I am in the process of researching this to determine if companies selling these computer courses have helped the latest statistics. Don’t miss Fact Monster (www.factmonster.com) as a great kid friendly research and resource site. We haven’t found a single topic in K12th grade study that couldn’t be accessed from this site.
Books…I bought a book by Marlo Thomas as a St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital Fundraiser. It is called Thanks and Giving. It is a great follow-up to her book Free To Be You and Me. The accompanying CD has some great music and stories. The authors of many of the stories and tales are members of the children’s literature, sport, movie, and television community like: Ray Romano, Tiger Woods, Julianne Moore, Kevin Bacon, Maurice Sendak, Eric Carle, Hilary Duff, Kate DiCamillo, and a host of others. See if your library has this Marlo Thomas book or can get it for you. It is worth the effort. The book is a great find for all ages.