19. Great Ears!!!


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, social media connections, and other lovers of discussion.


Television…Could a television show that depicts the Cold War in 1981 grab the 17 to 24 year old audience that is needed to make for viewer number and television success? If it is fast paced show named The Americans and is on FX on Wednesday at ten, the chances are good. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys play two Russian spies embedded in suburban America just outside of Washington, D.C. With their two children (who don’t know their parents are KGB spies), the four look like an everyday family. Their new next door neighbor, who just happens to be an FBI agent. is suspicious of the two. This seems to pass in Chapter one. Noah Emmerich, who plays this role, seems to be more prominent in future episodes. Ronald Reagan has just been elected President at the beginning of the show, but he has not told Russian, General Secretary Gorbachev to “take down that wall,” yet. Keri Russell is tough and not the old Felicity we have come to know and love. The mix of action, intrigue, and history, along with family versus duty, should win the show a good following.

Movies…Sorry! I did it! I went to see Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters…not the opera and not the book that mom read at bedtime. It was number one at the weekend box office. It won out over some top shows. Interest was piqued. Thank God they gave me 3-D glasses to keep all the blood and gore from flying into my eyes! The glasses should have been self- cleaning. I ran out of tissues one third of the way into the movie. The body count piled up by Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) rivaled that of Gettysburg and the Battle of the Bulge. Jeremy Renner, if you remember, was Matt Damon’s replacement in the new Bourne film. Famke Janssen plays the evil witch with a special flair for evil. Finnish actress, Pihla Viitala, plays the White Witch and will soon be offered other roles by American directors. Hugh Jackman is a stronger witch hunter. However, Renner and Arterton certainly filmed some great fight scenes and did finally save the town and the Gingerbread House. There was not much left of either at the shows conclusion. The ending gave you the impression that more is to come.

Music…I shared music and theater talk through a Temple University Alumni site. Michael Incitti, a Temple graduate, has asked for help. Does anyone have a contact for a lyricist that has dozens of album-ready songs for sale? I told Michael he should get an agent, get a local singer to debut some of his selections, put a shout out through social media, and talk to agents of performers at local clubs. Any other pointers would be appreciated?

Books…Pride and Prejudice is celebrating its 200 birthday. Jane Austin published it in 1813. Illustrations were by Hugh Thompson. It is the story of manners, morality, money, people, and history in 19th century England. The Bennett Family and daughter Jane are the focal point for the story. The interrelationships in the story are extensive. The relationship map on Wikipedia will freeze your mind. The novel was originally titled First Impressions and was written in 1797. Thomas Cadell, a prominent bookseller, turned the book down without ever seeing the manuscript. See there is hope for everyone after your work is first turned down. The book was finally sold to Thomas Egerton for 100 pounds. Austen asked for 150 pounds. I still haven’t located estimates og the all time money gross for this book. Next to Lord of the Rings, Pride and Prejudice is England’s All Time Favorite Book. Janeaustensworld.wordpress.com is a unique blog offering photos, points of view, and Austen facts that would be great for future discussions and Austen research for short and long term projects.

Poetry… I Can Be Poetry and The Hunger Games

‘I Can Be’ poetry is a form of goal setting, school to career, and succession planning poetry for children of all ages. It encourages children to pick six people (three for the lower grades) they admire and might someday want to emulate. After the six people are picked and identified, their favorite is brought to life in a couplet or quatrain. Review the poems below and see if you can develop two ‘I Can Be” poems for The Hunger Games in a similar style. Enhance your two compositions with photos, illustrations, and clip art.

A Hunger Games “I Can Be” by Stephanie Gilley

Katniss Everdeen is a heroic warrior, I can be heroic.

Haymitch Abernathy is a cunning mentor. I can be a mentor.

Peeta Mellark is a great friend. I can be a great friend.

Mr. Undersee is the Mayor. I can hold a political office.

Seneca Crane is an architect. I can design games.

Gale Hawthorne is a great partner. I can be a great partner.

Prim Everdeen is a good sister. I can be that, too.

Katniss Everdeen is woman making a difference,

Respected for her exploits in districts near and far.

A good mind, uncanny instincts, and a strong bow.

Will surely make her a Hunger Games star.

I Can Be by Keida Nash

Desean Jackson is a great pass catcher. I can catch that ball.

LeBron James is a high scorer. I can shoot the three.

Ryan Howard is a home run hitter. I can clear the fences,

The Rock is an undefeated wrestler. I can pin my opponent.

Donovan is a soccer star. I can shoot goals from afar.

Ovechkin is a skater supreme. I can make the Olympic team.

Football is my best game.

I can join Dan Marino in the Hall of Fame.

I’ll set records for all to remember.

It is Super Bowl victories for my team in December.

Encourage readers to achieve great things with your Hunger Games’ poems.


About tjpalumbo

Tom Palumbo is a nationally known and award winning author, teacher, technology designer, administrator, and grant writer. He has taught for thirty-five years in preschool through 12th grade classrooms throughout the quad state area. His ideas have made a difference in the way thousands of teachers, parents, and children read, write, do mathematics, use technology, and think creatively and critically. Tom’s twenty books on reading, writing, critical thinking, and mathematics have won four national book awards. 5,000 teachers and home schooling parents have matriculated through his graduate courses/lectures. 12,000 have signed up for his website. As Director of Pennsylvania’s Parent Information Center and New Jersey’s Citizen’s For Better Schools Resource Center, Tom received over two hundred commendations for his presentations to thousands of teachers, parents, and administrators throughout the Florida, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland area. Workshop participants receive idea loaded CD’s, access to hundreds of videos, PowerPoints, curriculum links, games, and lessons on his website, and an activity booklet filled with common core curriculum in line with local, state, and national standards. Instruction, on each of these resources, is presented during his presentation. Mr. Palumbo has over two hundred learning centers, bulletin boards, and project developers in reading, writing, poetry, literature, and math in make-it/take it item format that can, also, be part of any workshop program. Call or email Tom to set up a workshop for your organization. Tom Palumbo tjpalumbo@aol.com 215-262-9986 aimtjp.wikispaces.com
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