34. Friday’s Five


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.

Welcome To Friday’s Five…Friday’s Five introduces five events or explorations that we think our reading audience will enjoy for the weekend. We do know the wide variety of tastes in a reading audience just from the responses to our columns. Many columns have readers that agree with the columnist or like that columnist’s point of view on issues and the arts. We hope to be different and appeal to a wider audience. Disagreement fuels discussion! Here is this Friday’s Five.

1. House of Cards…If you do not have Netflix, invite yourself over to someone’s house that does. Even if you have to bring the wine or dessert, this show will be worth it! Kevin Spacey plays a politico that has been wronged by the President of The United States. Spacey’s character was instrumental in putting this President into power. Robin Wright plays the wife who loses valuable leverage with her charity. Spacey, her husband is not made Secretary of State by the President as promised. She ups her wheeling and dealing. She wheels and deals her revenge even better than her husband. Kelsey Grammar is great as the Mayor of Chicago in the Starz series Boss. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is great in recently cancelled Starz Magic City, the story of Miami Beach’s rise in the 50’s. Spacey is exceptional in House of Cards. There are thirteen episodes in this series. If you see it at someone’s house, please bring sleepover clothes. One chapter will not be enough.

2. Beautiful Creatures and Safe Haven…Finally! Two kissing movies are opening on the same weekend. One has creatures and humans kissing, but the creatures (witches called Casters) look human. The other has an escapee from her past and a recently widowed father with two children kissing. They both take place in the Carolinas. Kissing and similar geography have to work in your movie selections. See both movies on the same day between your belated Valentine’s Day dinner. Aren’t my selections classic? Do not sneak in backwards into the second movie after seeing the first, my column could be shunned by the movie people, if you do.

3. Small store weekend…”Support a Small Store” weekend is a great time to visit that community store that you now overlook with your trips to Walmart and Sam’s Club. Walk in, find something for fifty cents more, and buy it anyway. You will, also, find some great piece of craftsmanship that you won’t find at Costco. You will, likewise, find something that you will come back for on another day. The family doughnut and coffee shop down the street from us now has a Dunkin’ Doughnut on the next block. We like Dunkin’ Doughnut coffee, however, not in this instance. That seventy-five cents a day extra we pay adds up, but not in this case. They are family. Family always comes first.

4. Beyonce’s Life Is But A Dream…One hundred Internet and newspaper articles have already appeared highlighting and bashing Beyonce’s ninety minute special on HBO. It will be shown Saturday at 9PM. My high school students adore her and follow every move she makes. They debate her songs, her clothes, and the name she gave her baby…Blue Ivy. They will be the real judge on how revealing this show will be and how good it is, also.

5. Stand Up Guys…If you are piled under tons of snow, the laughs in Stand Up Guys will help you get through your worst weather nightmares. Al Pacino is leaving prison after twenty-eight years. Christopher Walken an old gang member picks him up. Getting the aging gang together sounds like a doable goal. Christopher Walken killing Pacino is another goal. He keeps putting off his killing assignment because he likes Pacino. It is hard to kill someone who is hugging you and telling you what a great friend you are. Alan Arkin as a senior citizen’s home resident is a stitch.

6. The Barnes Museum…Reservations are needed for the small group tours. First Sunday mornings are free. From post impressionists to early modern paintings to African sculpture, each room will inspire you and entice you to want to see more. Research the Barnes Foundation online at (www.barnesfoundation.org) before visiting the museum and get a pre-visit look at the collection.


Children’s Literature…The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillohas scampered its way into writing history by winning the 2004 Newbery Book Award. Despereaux is an extremely small mouse that refuses to follow mouse customs and traditions. He loves music and Pea, the king’s daughter. He has been forbidden to converse with humans. Despereaux’s discussions with the king and his daughter, Pea, has led to his shunning by his family. The Mouse Council puts him on trial for this ‘talking’ crime. Despereaux is cast into the criminal’s dungeon. There he meets some strange characters, some good, some bad…rats and men. The story of Despereaux makes a good parallel writing, analysis activity with the Ben Franklin story, Ben and Me by Robert Lawson. Disney made Ben and Me into an enjoyable movie with cartoon characters depicting Ben Franklin’s story and the history from that time. The book, written in 1939, goes into Ben Franklin’s years in France. The Disney movie does not.

Dancing Bear

Children’s Literature II…Amy The Dancing Bear by Carly Simon Follows the long line of children’s books written by television stars, movie stars, singers, and dancers. These authors include Madonna, Jaime Lee Curtis, William Buckley, and now Carly Simon. Except for Buckley’s, The Story of Wilfred Malachey, a computer thriller, the others are perfect books for bedtime stories and read alouds. All children love animals and strange creatures as they frolic around with young children. These books promote a light and refreshing approach. These delicate approaches are enough to calm any child before bedtime and instill they joy of reading in all ages before lights out.

Poetry…This poem, written by Robert Frost in commemoration of John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration, is one of my favorites. I like that it calls artists to take a larger part in changing America. The simple rhyme scheme is an easy sell to young writers who want to model the masters. With President Obama’s inauguration just a week past, it might be a good time to see what other poets said at inauguration time.

Dedication by Robert Frost

Summoning artists to participate
In the august occasions of the state
Seems something artists ought to celebrate.
Today is for my cause a day of days.
And his be poetry’s old-fashioned praise
Who was the first to think of such a thing.
This verse that in acknowledgement I bring
Goes back to the beginning of the end
Of what had been for centuries the trend;
A turning point in modern history.
Colonial had been the thing to be
As long as the great issue was to see
What country’d be the one to dominate
By character, by tongue, by native trait,
The new world Christopher Columbus found.
The French, the Spanish, and the Dutch were downed
And counted out. Heroic deeds were done.
Elizabeth the First and England won.
Now came on a new order of the ages
That in the Latin of our founding sages
(Is it not written on the dollar bill
We carry in our purse and pocket still?)
God nodded his approval of as good.
So much those heroes knew and understood,
I mean the great four, Washington,
John Adams, Jefferson, and Madison
So much they saw as consecrated seers
They must have seen ahead what not appears,
They would bring empires down about our ears
And by the example of our Declaration
Make everybody want to be a nation.
And this is no aristocratic joke
At the expense of negligible folk.
We see how seriously the races swarm
In their attempts at sovereignty and form.
They are our wards we think to some extent
For the time being and with their consent,
To teach them how Democracy is meant.
“New order of the ages” did they say?
If it looks none too orderly today,
‘Tis a confusion it was ours to start
So in it have to take courageous part.
No one of honest feeling would approve
A ruler who pretended not to love
A turbulence he had the better of.
Everyone knows the glory of the twain
Who gave America the aeroplane
To ride the whirlwind and the hurricane.
Some poor fool has been saying in his heart
Glory is out of date in life and art.
Our venture in revolution and outlawry
Has justified itself in freedom’s story
Right down to now in glory upon glory.
Come fresh from an election like the last,
The greatest vote a people ever cast,
So close yet sure to be abided by,
It is no miracle our mood is high.
Courage is in the air in bracing whiffs
Better than all the stalemate an’s and ifs.
There was the book of profile tales declaring
For the emboldened politicians daring
To break with followers when in the wrong,
A healthy independence of the throng,
A democratic form of right devine
To rule first answerable to high design.
There is a call to life a little sterner,
And braver for the earner, learner, yearner.
Less criticism of the field and court
And more preoccupation with the sport.
It makes the prophet in us all presage
The glory of a next Augustan age
Of a power leading from its strength and pride,
Of young ambition eager to be tried,
Firm in our free beliefs without dismay,
In any game the nations want to play.
A golden age of poetry and power
Of which this noonday’s the beginning hour.

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.




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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