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.
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Theater…When friends ask you what you think about anything, the answer is usually a two sentence answer. When someone asks you what do you think about Tom Selleck’s Friday night television show Blue Bloods, you feel you have to review his whole life in your column. Magnum, P.I. was never on my must watch list. The recent Jessie Stone made for television movie series starring Selleck and Blue Bloods are on the list.
Jessie Stone is a laid back Sheriff in a small New England town. He has problems and he solves problems. The last three two hour Jessie Stone movies can be caught in your on demand program archives. You will like the stories as much as Selleck’s dog. Every role in the central story group is a strong one performed by a well-known character actor. All are recognizable from past roles in other series. These stars include Kathy Baker, Edward Edwards, William Devane, Kohl Sudduth, and Viola Davis. Other stars like Mimi Roger (Tom Cruise’s first wife), Jane Adams, and Stephen Baldwin bring their problems to each story. The Jessie Stone book series is written by Robert B. Parker.
Blue Bloods ( Friday at Ten) is the story of a New York police family with family members as mom’s, commissioners, detectives, and lawyers. The show always ends with the family eating and talking around the Sunday dinner table, an old world or new world tradition from both sides of my family. It takes you back to some great memories of your own as you waited for your promotion from the kid’s table to the adult table.
Quigley Down Under is a stand out of the dozens of movies Selleck has made. Laura San Giacomo is a kooky dream in this tense movie about the Australian outback. Alan Richman (recently as Professor Snape in Harry Potter) plays evil personified as a landlord trying to eliminate the indigenous population of the Australian outback surrounding his ranch. He hires sharpshooter Selleck and Selleck’s long gun to speed this job. Richman has been in a number of evil movie roles (like Robin Hood’s Sheriff opposing Costner), it was hard to buy him when I saw him in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility as a meek love interest.
I traded four tickets for The Producers the hottest show on Broadway at that time for four tickets to A Thousand Clowns, a play where Selleck, the knowledgeable Uncle, is sharing his life’s wisdom with his nephew. Two banjos play a key role in Clowns. Balancing The Producers’ Matthew Brodrick and Nathan Lane in one hand and Selleck in the other, Selleck won out…and I never considered myself a Selleck fan! So, why?
Movies…Giovanni, the local sommelier at The Palm asked me… Wait a minute, I do not know the wine steward at The Palm! Joe, the bartender at my local watering hole, wanted suggestions of movies where wine played an important role and you learned something about wines and wine making. The three stand-out suggestions that immediately come to mind would be Bottle Shock, French Kiss, and Sideways.
Bottle Shock is the story of how American wines finally gained acceptance on the world stage. It was in 1976 at the world blind wine tasting championship. Chris Pine and Bill Pullman play brothers at odds in their winery. Alan Rickman is the wine gatherer for the competition and visits the brother’s winery for samples for the competition.
Sideways starring Thomas Hayden Church, Paul Giamatti, Virginia Madsden, and Sandra Oh is a mismatched couples romp through California wine country before an upcoming wedding. It was nominated for a number of top awards and brought California wine country onto many a tourist’s trip list.
French Kiss starring Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan (before she destroyed her face) takes place in Paris as Kevin Kline waxes poetic about wine and his family’s vineyard. Meg Ryan is chasing after a lost love with Kline’s help.
Internet…Apple has its greatest year ever in everything that they sell and their stocks drop 28%. The only posted an 18% profit for the last quarter so that is not a good thing? Any ideas on the next outstanding product they can produce and then have the world copy? Exxon passed Apple as most valuable company for this reason? Too many questions for such a small column!
Current Events…USA Today listed the 25 best Super Bowl ads of all time. Check out their website or Monday’s USA Today paper to see if any of your favorites appear in the list on the back of the entertainment section. Companies are previewing their ads before movie audiences and television audiences weeks before the Super Bowl contest for “best liked” begins. Those that make the top ten in ads get further life for their products hence the pre-Super Bowl advertising campaigns. Michael Jordan ads were one and two all time on the list.
Poetry…Emily Dickinson in ‘I felt a Funeral in my Brain’ has one of the great opening lines in poetry. It activates all the neurons in your brain as you try to decide what would cause you to feel a funeral in your brain. There are fifteen different scholarly points of view on the Internet that would dissect this poem for you. Their ideas are not needed here. If you felt a funeral in your brain what three things would you include in your poem? Would you feel different if the word felt were changed to attended, saw, created, imagined, turned off, thought about, had, boycotted, or canceled? Write your own ‘I felt a funeral in my brain before composing a completely new poem. Try to incorporate some of Dickinson’s elements into your poem as these students have below in Dickinson’s poem format’s variations. The poem below is read left to right across each line.
I Felt A Funeral In My Brain
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading – treading – till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through –
And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum –
Kept beating – beating – till I thought
My Mind was going numb –
And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space – began to toll,
As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race
Wrecked, solitary, here –
And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down –
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing – then –
(Emily Dickinson circa 1861)
I felt a Baseball Game in my brain
With runners to and fro
Kept stealing – sliding – till it seemed
That Victory was breaking through.
(Example 2) (Example 3)
I felt a Hurricane in my brain I felt a Sadness in my brain
With winds to and fro With tears to and fro
Kept roaring – howling – till it seemed Kept flowing – running – till it seemed
That We had nowhere to go. That Dating had to be a no.
Team up with a partner and work on your two ideas together. See if you can incorporate another one of Dickinson’s poem’s elements into your poem.