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.
Virtual History Tours…Go to aimtjp.wikispaces.com and click on the first link featuring Philadelphia Tours. AOL and The Friends of Fairmont Park presented Sheila Garber and myself with a $15,000 grant to create virtual tours of eleven Philadelphia museums. Our student grades four to six did all the work. Please explore the virtual tours and writing activities integrating history, creative writing, and critical thinking on my school’s website by clicking on the virtual tour link. Our virtual tour is a 360- degree walk through of eleven Philadelphia museums. You can see everything in the rooms featured by placing your cursor on a window and waiting until your cursor turns to a circle. Now hold your mouse button down, while moving it left or right. The scene will rotate. We put these locations up behind our students (interactive whiteboard/LCD projector) when they are doing a history talk (Independence Hall), Haiku presentation (Japanese Gardens), or horror story rendition (basement of the Edgar Allen Poe House). The pictures, in the still section at each of our eleven sites, can be pulled into projects. Each museum’s theme (art, history, science, maritime ideas) is developed by activities I wrote in the bottom right corner of the site index page. Click on the dinosaur to see forty different activities. The maritime Museum has thirty more science activities. Our student photograph team shot original photos in many “no photo” areas.
Art Excursion… We are the University of the Arts is what I say in class again and again. Please explore www.artcyclopedia.com. It contains tons of creative ideas for teaching art and writing. The museum locations of all the master’s paintings are featured (Picasso, Degas, Van Gogh, Monet). You can visit these museums and pull the original painting off their walls to include in student projects. Review the Art Masterpieces PowerPoint on the site above for additional ideas on integrating poetry and creative writing with art.
Philadelphia Black Writer’s Association…The Black Writer’s Association of Philadelphia is not taking my boycott request of the movie Django lightly.
They attacked immediately (four against the boycott, two for the boycott).
Here is what many are saying about my post asking that we stop supporting black on black and white on black brutality in the movies. I posted my request on their site and shared this point of view in an earlier column on my site. Many black writers don’t think a black wrestler killed by a slave owner in his living room with a sledge hammer is brutal. He lost a wrestling match so death was deserved because that depicted the times. Cut me a break! So much for trying to make a change! Here is what one writer said:
I take it Tom Palumbo didn’t read any of the slave narratives in the Library of Congress files. Or didn’t look over the Kyle Onstott novels this movie channels so well. Brutality was a constant during the Great Southern Nightmare, and “Django,” like the exhibits at Great Blacks in Wax museum, brings that out. As Michael Jones says, the real deal with this movie is the strong-black man, strong-black-love theme, so often lacking in American media presentations of all kinds. My only quarrel was that I wanted Django’s wife to stop acting helpless and jump on the Native American warrior trying to possess her when his own wife stopped his assault and pummeled him on the ground. But that was minor, even though I know many sisters who would have kicked that man’s nuts for a similar bad act.
“Django” felt like an Onstott novel painted up on the screen, with the cowboy-shoot-em-up ending that the good black guy won in the end.
Nothing wrong with that; similar hagiography has existed for non-black characters in every other genre of moviemaking, and it’s long past the time when blacks could enjoy their own tough-hero myths written large on the screen.
Jackie Robinson…The story of Jackie Robinson in movie form premieres next month and is titled 42. Before seeing the movie read Bette Bao Lord’s book, In The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. The book is Brooklyn, baseball, and Jackie Robinson, all at their best. It is, also, the author’s true story of how she, as immigrant child, through the love of baseball, assimilated into the culture of her Brooklyn school and community. The female teacher and second heroine in this story loves baseball as much as the children in her classroom. She conveys this love in a can’t miss speech or charge to her students page 92. It is the best-written page in children’s literature.
Lewis Carroll Answer…Here are the two answers to the poems displayed yesterday.
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…
The first line of this poem is every first word downward. The second line of the poem is every second word downward. The same holds true for each of the lines. This is a magic square poem like a magic square in mathematics
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.
This was a letter written to Annie Rogers, a nine year-old friend of Lewis Carroll. Annie Rogers, Alice Pleasance Liddell, and Gertrude Chataway were the three little girls who encouraged Lewis Carroll to write Alice in Wonderland after he told them its beginning on a rowboat ride in July. The poem is a “word sound” acrostic. Each first word going down is pronounced A, B, C, D, and E.