23. Love That Rubber Duck


New Visitor’s…Please read the two paragraphs at the end of this column before beginning your explorations in theater, movies, television, books, and the Arts. It will say New Visitor’s Greeting and be in boldface.

Good Mental Health…A number of brain articles are appearing in journals, newspapers, and blogs. They are highlighting what is needed to maintain brain health and slow the deterioration of memory. Doing crosswords, Sudoku challenges, scrabble, card playing, and walking, head the list. Taking coconut tablets still hasn’t been confirmed as a difference maker. In the area of critical thinking, young and old alike should keep a creative journal or diary. It gives you life moments to review and “re-memory” (my own word). This journal that you will be writing should challenge your critical thinking. It should not be only what you do each day. After writing about yourself, write as a different person for that particular day. Write as the President. Write as your pet. Write as the sun, rain, snow, or moon. Write as the lake or river near your home. Write as an iPhone. Doing this before bedtime will enhance sleep. I made that one up. Poetry excites your mental neurons. Mental neurons? Really! Try writing events from your day in couplet form. Three couplets is the maximum. Here are the three couplets I have written to start each month. Run with your creative ideas for better health. Can you write poetry while walking? That would really ignite a stronger, more lasting brainpower surge.

January…has the streets all painted white,
To some snow is a welcome sight.

January…basketball season continues with a roar,
Tonight my 76ers will have the top score.

January…Martin and my birthday happily appear,
My life will echo his message of peace, loud and clear.

February…a funny Valentine arrives at my door,
It was handmade and not from a store.

February…the groundhog predicts winter is soon over,
I am holding his prediction and my four-leaf clover.

February…has us giving a Presidential cheer,
We honor them all this time of the year.

Crying On Super Bowl Sunday…There is no crying in football, so who cries at a Super Bowl? If you didn’t well up when that choir from the Sandy Hook school sang before the start of the Super Bowl, you are not human. Almost crying, also, took place at a party I attended. The party had an empty chair reserved for a recently deceased family member. It was a very nice quiet, family tribute.

Probes Hooked Up To Your Body…Just as soon as you think you have heard everything, along comes “probes to your body” while watching the Super Bowl. Let me explain, please! A leading biometric’s company (or something like that) hooked probes to the heads, hearts, and skin of two hundred Super Bowl watchers. This was done to electronically determine the favorite ad of these two hundred viewers. Another company had eight thousand people on an ad meter voting from one to ten immediately on seeing the commercial. Both groups could have just called me and I would have told them the Clydesdale won. The American Farmer was second. Poignant was a better theme this year than “shock and awe” commercials. Old people did well, but the big controversy was Go Daddy’s Kiss. Some lists put it as their best commercial selection. Some put it as their worst commercial. The company benefits either way from the extra life for their product in the discussions that continue. Four million dollars a half minute for advertising would be better served feeding the homeless. A car company paid sixteen million dollars for their two-minute spot. Expect the tires you get with your new car to cost more next year.


Children’s Literature…A Fly Went By written by Robert Mc Clintock is the story of the food chain. The Fly story features creatures chasing after one another near a pond. A fly is chased by a frog and the frog is chased by, and so on. The book is great for choral reading in many voices but even better for memory work. Young children can make the characters and assume the parts of each animal. This will help students visualize the sequence of pursuit in the story. It is great for memory skills. Encourage your children to create their own mini-story using animals or toys. What is next is a critical thinking theme for all student levels. This book is forty years old and continues to be reprinted.


Children’s Literature II…The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle was a Newbery Honor Book by the author of the 2003 Newbery Award winner, Avi. Avi won in 2003 for Crispin: Cross Of Lead. Confessions follows the theme of Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit, East of The Sun, West of the Moon by Mercer Mayer, and Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. It is the story of violence at sea and the culprit seems to be a young girl. At first you think there is no way she could have perpetrated the crime in the story, but soon you’ll change your mind, or will you?

Gaming…Gaming companies are reporting a thirty percent drop in revenue after last year’s record-breaking money year. Their crying can be heard over the ka-ching of their cash registers. There are just so many zombies, terrorists, and soldiers that you can kill or cars that you can wreck before it gets old. Virtual Games (nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/vlibrary.html) is one of the best sites on the Internet for challenging educational gaming.

This site is followed by Game Quarium (www.gamequarium.org) and Prongo (www.prongo.com) on the enjoyment and usability scale. The first recommendation has no fees the next two charge for portions of their site. Go with the free sites. As mentioned in the previous column Wordtris is the best game on the Internet. Falling letters, at increasing speeds, are moved left and right, then dropped in line to form words.

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.


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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