New Visitor’s Greeting…Welcome to Let’s Talk, a freewheeling column on movies, theater, television, books, educational practices, current events, and the Internet. If you are a first time visitor to the column, I recommend that you start with the About topic in the Index Bar at the top of the page. Follow About with the Let’s Talk column in archives. It was the first column of the New Year. Proceed to Let’s Talk II and then work your way up to today’s column. These columns will introduce a plethora (a better word choice than myriad) of new ideas and old delights you may have missed. It will give you a foundation for some of the issues we are introducing and following up in newer columns.
New visitor’s comments are welcome, too. They are immediately placed on this page in the contributor’s comment section or are shared with the column’s readers on Sunday. You are welcome, also, to suggest topics for discussion or enlist help from the site’s family of readers. I am a compendium of useless information. Challenge me, please, with great theater, travel, history, books, movies, and educational issues that would interest a wide audience of readers. The “compendium comment” was stolen from Orson Bean. Bean used the quote many times on television talk show interviews. Please recommend my column to your friends and other lovers of discussion.
Fashion… If you are a fashion lover or presently teaching reading, writing, and school to career to junior high or senior high or college students, you have to take a group of students to see the movie September Issue, or rent it, or see it on your cable channel. It is the story of how Vogue Magazine designs and organizes their all-important September issue. Art, photography, writing, teamwork, decision-making, problem solving, and the business of fashion are all highlighted. After seeing the movie, your students can take pictures, pose in outfits or hair/make-up styles, or use cutouts of five things they would include in their magazine. Illustrations accompanying their descriptive write-up are a must. You will collate the work and mesh all of your student’s ideas into Lewis Carroll High School’s (your school name) Valentine Magazine issue. This movie is a better look at the fashion industry than Meryl Streep’s run in The Devil Wears Prada.
Travel…If you are anywhere in the Colorado area, please visit Colorado Springs. It is seventy miles north of Denver and like I say for all the cities I review, it has something for everyone and more. The top three site recommendations among many in Colorado Springs would include Pike’s Peak, The Air Force Academy, and The Garden of the Gods. Since I don’t fly and rarely am I in a hurry to get somewhere, my stays there have been lengthy and site specific. Driving up to the top of Pike’s Peak is awe inspiring, but after 8,000 feet some passengers in your car my not be able to stand the altitude. Take the train but bring a coat. The Peak had four inches of snow when I was there in August.
The Garden of The Gardens has amazing walking trails through god-sculpted rock formations. Mind the rattlesnake signs, please.
The Broadmoor Hotel (www.broadmoor.com) called “The Great Dame of the Rockies” is a favorite for lunch. This majestic hotel was built by Spenser Penrose in 1918. Penrose was from Philadelphia. He invested money he made in the nearby mountain mines to construct the hotel. He wanted to build a hotel and surrounding grounds to rival Europe’s finest. It does! Wait until you see the opening shot on the website I just gave you. The last time I inquired about a room, they had one day open for the year. The hotel’s golf course seems to shoot right up to the mountain peaks. The ball travels 30 percent farther there because of the altitude. Poor golfers relish this fact!
Movies…There is big question that has to be asked as the month of February opens next week. Should you watch Groundhog Day with Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliot, and that guy that is selling Bill insurance near a puddle (Stephen Tobolowsky from TV’s The Mindy Project is his name)? We Pennsylvanians know the answer is a resounding: Yes!
“Wait! You are from New York, son.”
The amended comment now reads…We New Yorkers living in Pennsylvania along with all Pennsylvanians say: Yes! Before seeing the movie for the twentieth time, sign up for the Barbara Feldman site Surf Net Kids (www.surfnetkids.com). Her archives on every subject imaginable and her free weekly newsletter up-date you with great information and events for every day of the year. There is so much content on her site that she must have five writers in her office contributing to the wealth of information that is developed each week for subscribers. Your Email is all that is needed. She gives four Ground Hog history ‘must reads’ in this week’s issue.
Books…Lewis Carroll’s birthday is January 14. As a member of the Lewis Carroll Society, an appropriate “shout out” must be designed to commemorate his life. A large portion of my poetry and creative problem solving graduate courses are filled with his ideas. He was definitely the consummate author, poet, mathematician, puzzle designer, inventor, and photographer. The 1982 exhibit of his work shown at the Pierpoint Morgan Museum in New York was outstanding. Everyone was impressed with the collection of his inventions, puzzles, books, and letters. I was impressed with his photography. It was groundbreaking for 1858. My two favorite writings of Carroll follow. See if you can figure out their writing secret. One piece is easy to decipher and one is extremely difficult. By the way, the origin of “snail mail” is a Lewis Carroll creation you should research, too.
Lewis Carroll Challenges
Challenge 1 I often wondered when I cursed,
Often feared where I would be…
Wondered where she’d yield her love,
When I yield so will she.
I would her will be pitied
Cursed be love! She pitied me…
A picture, which I hope will Be one that you will like to
See. If your mamma should
Desire one like it, I could
Easily get her one.
The secret of these two writings will appear in tomorrow’s column. Both selections above were found in Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics. I subscribe to the journal and they were nice enough to publish two articles of mine, one on poetry and one on travel.
Internet… Jan Brett’s site for early childhood education (www.janbrett.com) is loaded with hundreds of ideas that support her books. The downloads and worksheets introduced on the site are free. Chris VanAllsburg and Shel Silverstein (www.chrisvanallsburg.com and www.shelsilverstein.com ) have the two most interactive sites on the Internet. Things jumping all over the screen add to the enjoyment of embracing their work and researching these two authors. Both sites will appeal to creative readers and writers. Chris VanAllsburg, author of The Polar Express (book and movie), is one of the featured authors that will be reviewed in an upcoming column. Shel Silverstein’s site has a 19-page booklet of poetry ideas for April’s Salute To Poetry Month. The booklet can be used any time of the year. Click on Harris Burdick in the Index Bar and download a great classroom activity. It is a book of great story starters by Chris VanAllsburg that I changed into a poetry activity. All state tests have writing prompts. This activity stresses good writing and critical thinking and is meaningful practice for the tests all age groups will take.