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.
Movies…Should you see a movie before seeing a movie? How about seeing two movies this weekend before seeing a movie. Parker with Jennifer Lopez, Jason Statham, Nick Nolte, and Michael Chiklis opens this weekend. The movie is a shoot ‘em up with kissing, I thought everyone was good in it. I liked all the actors before the movie even started. If you haven’t seen Out of Sight (1998) with Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney, it is a good start to your weekend, especially if you are in the snow covered East and Midwest. Lopez plays a U. S. Marshall and Clooney is the classic thief that can’t avoid trouble. The two of them really clicked. The snow scene at the airport is a favorite of mine with only Nicholas Cage and Tia Leoni carrying it off better in Family Man (2000). They should give a child actor Academy Award. Makenzie Vega, age 6, would have won in 2000 for her part in Family Man.
Out of Sight is a nice precursor to Parker. It is not stated in any of the advertising but Parker looks like a remake of the Mel Gibson movie, Payback with Maria Bello, Gregg Henry, Lucy Liu, and Kris Kristopherson. I mentioned Maria Bello in an earlier column on the movie The Cooler with William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin. Payback is the second “good watch” in preparation for seeing Parker.
Food and Dining…The Race Street Inn at Second and Race Street is one of the eating finds everyone likes to brag about in a column about the city of Philadelphia. Sorry Nancy in Minnesota. Maybe one day you will visit Philadelphia and share in some of the out of the way eating delights we locals enjoy. Don’t let the front of the Inn scare you from walking into this warm restaurant and bar. Warm comes from the staff and the working fireplace in a small room and bar that seats forty. There are fifteen new beers on tap that you will enjoy. The menu runs from salads to chicken to fish to my pork favorites. Everyone brings their grandparents here, so you know the food is good. Everything is reasonably priced, too.
New Food and Dining…The next big American chain is going to be Rocco’s Taco’s and Tequila Bar. Their four restaurants in Florida are packed every day of the week for lunch and dinner. Try the one near Disney World or the one in Palm Beach Gardens. You name it in Mexican food and taco’s and they have it. My favorite is their spinach, bacon, apple, and chicken salad with lime dressing. The dressing is to die for. Their tacos are three dollars each, so the money is made on their exotic drinks starting at $7.50. Tequila runs wild and the energy from the customers in their restaurants is high. The Sheraton at 48th just off Broadway has a Vodka Bar very similar in selection as vodka runs wild in their establishment like tequila in Rocco’s.
Poetry…Thank you for your nice comments about my poetry selections. Maya Angelou is to a graduate poetry course like Santa is to red. If you haven’t experienced her work before, you might want to listen to her six part video series that is for free on the Internet. Understanding who she is will help you understand her poetry. Here is what I say to my teachers before introducing one of my poem favorites.
Review Why The Caged Bird Sings video and Maya Angelou’s question and answer video at the Web English Teacher website (www.webenglishteacher.com/angelou.html). Review Maya Angelou’s “Message to Youth” below and why she said writing a short piece is far harder than writing a long one.
A Pledge to Rescue Our Youth
A Poem by Maya Angelou
Young women, young men of color, we add our voices to the voices of your ancestors who speak to you over ancient seas and across impossible mountaintops.
Come up from the gloom and national neglect, you have already been paid for.
Come out of the shadow of irrational prejudice, you owe no racial debt to history.
The blood of our bodies and the prayers of our souls have bought you a future free from shame and bright beyond the telling of it.
We pledge ourselves and our resources to seek for you clean and well-furnished schools, safe and non-threatening streets, employment that makes use of your talents, but does not degrade your dignity.
You are the best we have.
You are all we have.
You are what we have become.
We pledge you our whole hearts from this day forward.
Poetry II…The poem Fire and Ice by Robert Frost will have students talking forever about the end of the world. Frost predicts in this poem that the world will end by fire and ice…or does he? When presented with this question, students have very different ideas about our planets demise. Our student ideas are written, illustrated, checked, and then placed on our End of the World Thoughts bulletin board. Here is what I said about Fire and Ice to my classes.
Fire and Ice
By Robert Frost
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if I had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
We have discussed Robert Frost’s view of the way he thinks the world might be destroyed. He, of course, has barely touched the surface of possible reasons or methods for world destruction.
List three ways you think the world might be destroyed and be ready to discuss why you think the world might meet its end in the ways you have chosen. Make a poster warning local residents of your best prediction.
Write a poem in the format of Robert Frost’s poem ‘Fire and Ice’ describing your choice for world destruction.
Write a newspaper article describing the world’s last day fate the day before it will happen. Write an article for the day after (oops…never mind).
Form a team to give a humorous and serious presentation to the president’s scientific committee on your theory about the world’s imminent departure.
Music…The weekend’s contest begins! Five minutes after posting my column last night, readers were already giving me their three Broadway song favorites. They did this without even seeing mine. Two readers asked me to define love song. The challenge is as follows. You are voting on the best three of my ten selections. Three points given to your favorite of the ten then so on.
You will give me your three favorites in the same 3, 2, 1 format. We will total the song vote from my list and the readers list and have a face-off with the two leading songs.
Here are my best of the best selections. Go to Broadway World (broadwayworld.com/vday2012) and see the song selections of 700 different theater, television, singing, and movie stars. In 2011, only 600 stars participated.
- If I Loved You…Carousel
- All I Ask of You…Phantom of the Opera
- One Hand, One Heart…West Side Story
- Love Changes Everything…Aspects of Love
- On My Own/I Dreamed A Dream…Les Miserables
- If Ever I Would Leave You…Camelot
- What I Did For Love…Chorus Line
- Some Enchanted Evening…South Pacific
- What About Love…The Color Purple
Greatest Non-Broadway Love Song
Softly As I Leave You…Frank Sinatra
Greatest Breakup Album
Toni Braxton’s Secrets
Greatest Break Up Song From This Album
I Don’t Want To
Go For It Music Fans!