71. Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, And Baseball

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Baseball Celebrations…The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL)….A League Of Their Own


What better subject to kick off baseball season with than honoring the seventieth birthday of the The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). It is also a good time to re-introduce A League of Their Own that commemorates this time in history (1943) and compare it to Clint Eastwood’s new movie Trouble With The Curve.

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1943 had men from all over the country heading to war. Bill Wrigley (Chicago Cubs) needed to keep the spotlight on baseball. He devised the professional women’s baseball program. It started with four teams and was originally a softball league. This was to quickly change to a more baseball like format with skirts!

Dottie Schroeder played in the league all twelve seasons until the league disbanded in 1954. She holds every record from games played to runs batted in (RBI’s). Geena Davis played her in the movie A League of Their Own. The movie is a baseball classic. There’s no crying in baseball was Tom Hank’s memorable charge to the team in the movie. A League of Their Own was recently inducted into the National Film Registry.

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Tom Hanks plays the girl’s team manager in the first movie and Clint Eastwood plays a baseball scout in the second. The two actors, for both roles, have grumpy down to a T. The history and baseball insights in both performances are invaluable. These baseball features are worth a double-play viewing for your one-day movie watching pleasure.

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Broadway…Tom Hanks And Nora Ephron

Tom Hanks is currently doing his first stint on Broadway in a Nora Ephron play called Lucky Guy. It is the story of the rough characters in an old time newsroom. Ephron who passed away last year before completing the play also teamed with Tom Hanks in Sleepless In Seattle. Her writing, television, and movie resume is very impressive. She was a great help to women who wanted to excel in all three fields.

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Culture…The Dystopian Society…Ray Bradbury

If you are a television watcher and movie-goer, you will certainly recognize the theme of dystopian societies in a myriad of shows from TV’s Revolution to the cinema’s The Host. Ray Bradbury’s death, last year, encouraged many to re-discover his novel Fahrenheit 451. The novel introduces a society that wants to keep its inhabitants ignorant by suppressing thought and destroying the world’s books. Resistant community members become books to save book knowledge and pass each book’s information down to the next generation. It is a great story and having Julie Christie (Dr. Zhivago) starring in it doesn’t hurt either.


Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper burns. Even the recent remake of Footloose re-introduces book burning as local not-so-well meaning townsfolk try to stop books from being distributed at the local library. These books show different viewpoints and a small group do not think this is appropriate.

The Pumpkin People is a great series of films for very little children. The series introduces a similar theme of a “book-less” society. A group of pumpkin patch explorers fall through a farmer’s pumpkin patch into an underground town that is educationally deprived. The local town has everything in disrepair. The signs can’t even be read because of missing or reversed letters. The king likes it that way and he has even done away with school.


Science And The Environment…Earth Day…

Earth day is April 20th and schools and communities throughout the world are organizing programs. The Earth Day website www.earthday.org is a great starting point for programs that match your community’s needs. Reading Is Fundamental through their Reading Planet program has complete Earth Day themes ready to roll out for your school program. Scholastic, also, has an extensive cadre of ideas to commemorate the day. These three site suggestions are just starters for an Internet of worldwide ideas. Check with your local zoo and environmental center to join in on their projects.


Creative Writing…Salute To Free Verse Day

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was called “The Father of the Free Verse Movement.” His gravesite just outside of Philadelphia would make a nice trip. Students could read their commemorative free at that time and be recording with a video camera or telephone camera. Archiving this presentations would make an awesome “come back to our writing” site.

Free verse uses cadence and rhythm rather than rhyme to make the simplest concepts profound and memorable.

I believe that a leaf of grass in no less,

Than the journey-work of the stars.

____Walt Whitman


Educational Website Resources…

Reading Is Fundamental has everything you could possibly want to know about creative literature, books, and reading (www.rif.org). They always have three or four projects around books that you might like to join or duplicate in your own community.

Book Page (www.bookpage.com) is a 25-page library circular that will bring you up-to-date on books, authors, illustrators, poets, and your favorite library selections.

Find A Grave (www.findagrave.com) has one million gravesites to pull into research documents and gorgeous portraits of famous and not so famous people across all subject areas.

Surfnet Kids (www.surfnetkids.net) has archives for everyday of the week and any possible area that could be developed in a home or school setting.

Fact Monster (www.factmonster.com) is the best child friendly informational resource on the web. It is e thone-stop shopping site for the young and old researcher.

Starfall (www.starfall.com) is used by thousands of schools because its audio component introduces K-5 lessons in a clearly understandable listening presentation.

Please check out my educational websites at aimtjp.wikispaces.com and catapultintopoetry.wikispaces.com. No www. is needed for either website. You will love the creative concepts that are introduced. There are some great educational ideas in the index bar at the top of this column, also.


New Visitor’s Greeting…Welcome to Let’s Talk, a freewheeling column on movies, theater, television, books, educational practices, the arts, 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 strong 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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