New Visitor’s…Please read the two paragraphs at the end of this column before beginning your explorations in theater, poetry, children’s literature, movies, television, books, and the Arts. It will say New Visitor’s Greeting and be in boldface. Read About in the index column above before beginning the daily vignettes below.
Movies…Your movie choices this weekend are Identity Thief and drugs stealing your identity. The former stars Melissa McCarthy, Jason Bateman, and Amanda Peet. If you like silly, this movie is for you. Don’t go to it as an Academy Award critic. Just go looking for silly. The movie has plenty of that as Bateman chases McCarthy all over the country to get his Sandy Patterson identity back which she stole. The starring duo’s slapstick and pratfalls will remind you other comedic teams that have worked well together.
Side Effects stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jude Law, Rooney Mara (without her tattoos), and Channing Tatum. A nice cast for this taut medical thriller. After the movie, everyone said Side Effects is going to hurt the drug business. No it is not! There is a drug commercial out that says if you experience loss of limbs or death from this product, call us. Call us! Even Houdini hasn’t made it back to make or take any calls. People still buy the product so this movie isn’t going to change anything.
Children’s Literature…Under The Quilt Of Night by Deborah Hopkinson is the follow up to Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt… and Harriett Tubman by Ann Petry. This brightly illustrated account of a young girl’s journey to freedom is heart tugging and monumental. The author makes you feel that important sighting of a quilt hanging on the clothesline signifying a safe house. Taking you on a freedom journey, the author gives the reader a deeper grasp of the importance of freedom and human dignity. Your heart will continue to tug as the young girl tells about her fear. “Fear is so real, it lies here beside me…for it is go on or die, for I must hang on tight.” A number of years ago a cache of freedom quilts was found in Upper Darby, a suburb of Philadelphia. The quilts emphasized the stories we have been reading about the underground railroad and the significance of quilts not only as a sign of safety, but also as a bearer of hidden coded maps to freedom. The Philadelphia Quakers played a large role in the Underground Railroad.
Children’s Literature II…The ABC’s Of Art by Julie Aigner-Clark is an art and concept developing ABC pre-school and kindergarten teacher’s masterpiece. It is one of the more than fifteen books in the Baby Einstein series and uses hundreds of years of real artists and artistic accomplishments to teach color, basic skills, problem solving and critical thinking. Each work of art represents a letter of the alphabet and is accompanied by questions you can ask a young child when reading this book to or with them. The Baby Einstein Company creates unique media for young children. You are teaching pre-school basic with dynamic paintings instead of colored pieces of paper.
Children’s Literature III…Stellaluna by Janell Cannon introduces the story of a clumsy bat that would rather imitate her three bird friends Pip, Flitter, and Flap than act like a bat. Stellaluna thinks by imitating her bird friends her life will be a little less embarrassing. Saving her friends who cannot see at night gives Stellaluna hero status and cements the friendship of these four friends. Somewhat like the tale of the ugly duckling, Stellaluna’s story is supported by pages of information about bats and their relationship to the mammal world. The story of Verdi, a snake, is a nice follow-up book to Stellaluna. Verdi is, also, written by Janell Cannon. Verdi doesn’t want to grow up and change color like all pythons. This causes problems, species conflict, and introspection. Intergenerational cooperation will convince him that he is like all snakes. The snake facts at the conclusion of Verdi’s story are just as intriguing as the bats facts in Stellaluna.
Poetry… Eugene Field wrote poetry and essays in the late 1800’s. The poems he wrote were only children’s poems. This is quite unusual for a poet to limit himself or herself to one area. He was known as ‘The Children’s Poet’ because of this fact. The background for this featured poem is a sad one. Hopefully you can you figure out the story Field is trying to tell? Most parents and teachers are not familiar with the work of Eugene Field…they should be.
Little Boy Blue
The little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and stanch he stands;
And the little toy soldier is red with rust,
And his musket molds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new
And the soldier was passing fair,
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
Kissed them and put them there.
“Now, don’t you go till I come,” he said,
“And don’t you make any noise!”
So toddling off to his trundle-bed
He dreamed of the pretty toys.
And as he was dreaming, an angel song
Awakened our Little Boy Blue,–
Oh, the years are many, the years are long,
But the little toy friends are true.
Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
Each in the same old place,
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face.
And they wonder, as waiting these long years through,
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue
Since he kissed them and put them there.
Weekend Brain Challenger…How about trying this puzzle to stretch your brain-power over the weekend.
The Less Frequent Z
Your vocabulary will increase if you study the words that have the less frequently used letters in them like Q, K, J, Z and F. Your “Z” skills will improve with this activity. The first clue will give you a Z word. A Z word contains the letter Z in any position. The second clue will give you a new word formed by placing a different letter in the place formerly occupied by the letter Z in your initial answer. Which clue helped you most on each on question (Clue 1 or Clue 2)? Some people get the second clue first, and then work backwards to see where the Z is inserted in word one.
Clue 1 Clue 2
Ex. Pants fasteners Star Clusters zippers dippers
- City habitat for wild animals/Also
- Egyptian hat/ Not many
- Supreme Greek God/ God in Latin
- South African tribe/ “Little” cartoon character
- To move quickly/ House space: den, etc.
- A walk-through puzzle/ Opposite of female
- Glassy pottery coating/ Dazzling light
- Nothing/ A Roman emperor
- Not willing to work/ A polite woman
- 10. Thin bandage material/ Measuring device
- 11. A thin vapor of fog/ Strong dislike
- 12. Horse-like African mammal/ Another Debby
- 13. Japanese religious sect/ After nine
- 14. Comical in a crazy way/ A large number
- 15. To Nap/ An amount of medicine
Answer will appear in tomorrow’s column. Good luck!!!
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.