87. Liberace, Kellie Pickler, And Derek Hough

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Liberace…He Is A Good Kisser!

HBO just featured their new movie on Liberace with Mike Douglas as the flamboyant pianist and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson his lover of six years. It is too bad all the interviews have focused on their loves scenes instead of Liberace’s life and immense talent. Liberace was a brilliant musician, gay man, and piano artist long before his time.


The movie Behind the Candelabra was based on his 1972 autobiography titled Liberace. The HBO presentation could have focused on many points in his life but featured his six years with a much younger Thorson.

Liberace, his family name, was born in 1918 into a musical family. He died in 1987 of AIDS. Wladziu Valentino Liberace started playing the piano at age four after listening to his mother play. He received instruction and support from some of the great piano teachers of his time. His early years had him playing in movie theaters, clubs, and bars all over the United States. WVL had his gigantic break in the summer of 1952.


His television show Liberace was a summer replacement for the Dinah Shore Show. Liberace’s show went on to be one of the most popular shows in the world. His gaudy outfits and the candelabras on his pianos were only matched by his sense of humor, timing, dance, and piano presentations. The Ed Sullivan Show was a favorite Sunday stop. He performed in concert-sized halls like Carnegie Hall throughout the United States and the globe.

He held the record of highest paid musical performer for years.
The Liberace Museum in Las Vegas Nevada closed in 2010 after displaying Liberace’s memorabilia for thirty-one years. A virtual tour of the museum can still be found on the Internet.


Kellie Pickler…She Is A Good Dancer
Derek Hough…He Is A Good Dancer

Last week Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough jived their way through a Dancing With The Stars’ show victory. Their vote take from the viewing audience was one of the highest ever recorded. The dancing on the show was by far the best across the board. That, of course, made the victory even sweeter.

Derek Hough is the all time leader in Dancing With The Stars’ wins. His four wins were with Brooke Burke, Nicole Scherzinger, Jennifer Grey, and this year with Kellie Pickler.


Take a look at the May 24 duets with Taylor Swift on YouTube. Five hundred thousand viewers have looked at this mini-clip. Small Town Girl and I Wonder are two must listens if you don’t own any of her albums.

The Kellie Pickler music show is coming to Mount Airy Lodge and Casino on June first. The casino’s lodging has a five star rating. The event takes place in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania. The area is in the heart of Pennsylvania’s vacation, fishing, and golf country. The closest large towns are Stroudsburg (10 miles) and Scranton (30 miles). Don’t miss the shopping at the one hundred store Crossings five miles from the show.

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Chubby Checker…He Is A Good Twister

Philadelphia native Chubby Checker has been dubbed a one-horse (song) pony from his recordings of The Twist. This Philadelphia singing product won billboard’s greatest song of all time honors. You have to play his new song and album Changes (a great ballad) to realize he could have piped out anything written with a style and class of his own.

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Dunkin’ Donuts…Nine Containers of Coffee Remembered

The record for most Dunkin’ Donut coffees lost off a car’s rooftop now stands at nine. Please, please let me know if you have surpassed this dubious record! Wallets, cell phones, purses, shopping packages, and babies left on car rooftops do not count. Luggage left in a driveway before a 1200-mile trip does not count! This “Stupidity Contest” is for coffee only.

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Hope Anita Smith…She Is A Good Poet

Poetry…The Way The Door Closes And Keeping The Night Watch

Hope Anita Smith has won every major poetry award for her poetry books Mother’s Poems, The Way The Door Closes, and Keeping The Night Watch. The last two tell the tales of life through the eyes of a thirteen-year-old Afro-American boy. The poetry format of both books and the stories the poems tell are eye and heart opening.


Loss of parents and friends, confusion, growing up with responsibilities too early, and lack of respect, even at age thirteen, dot the images that are portrayed in the books. Hope Anita Smith won the Claudia Lewis Award for best poetry book and is in great company with past poets who have been honored with this award.


After a very young student asked if people years ago had pets. It has sent us on a great art search. Why aren’t people holding their pets depicted in the art from 1500 to 1900? The first pet painting we found was from Joshua Reynolds in 1723 as a little girl is holding her dog in one of his works.


Joshua Reynolds was acclaimed one of the greatest individuals of his time. Everyone recruited him for their portraits and he was a friend of the English royal family, musicians, writers, poets and other painters. He was billed as one of the calmest geniuses of his time and immortalized in the following descriptive poem.

“Dear knight of Plympton, teach me how
To suffer, with unruffled brow
And smile serene, like thine,
The jest uncouth or truth severe;
To such I’ll turn my deafest ear
And calmly drink my wine.

Thou say’st not only skill is gained
But genius too may be attained
By studious imitation;
Thy temper mild, thy genius fine
I’ll copy till I make them mine
By constant application.”

Here are some of our pet favorites from the early years. Soldiers and their hunting dogs are prevalent in paintings from these years but sort of violate the cuddly pet paintings we are trying to find.


Fragonard…Girl With Dog And Cat


Cassett…Girl in Blue Armchair




Renoir…The Charpentiers


Morisot…Young Girl and Greyhound

Commencement Speeches…Neil Gaiman: 2012 Keynote Address To
The Graduates Of The University of The Arts In Philadelphia.

This is a “Must Listen To” address that appears on a number of different Internet venues. It is far better than President O’Bama’s and President Clinton’s put together. It still is not as good as Gilda Radnor’s address to the CBS Broadcasting School’s graduating class. Hysterical! Hysterical!


Creative Writing (Part 2)…So You Want To Be An Author?
Diary Selections of Famous People in Fact and Fiction

Good writers can talk about more than themselves. They can mentally wear the shoes of the person or situation they are discussing. These challenges will energize your writing skills and place you into some challenging writing modes. Try a few selections that peek your interest, not all of them.

After reading some famous diaries, keeping diary notes about yourself, and discussing other famous writers, such as Maya Angelou, Ann Frank, and Lewis Carroll, you should be ready for this short-term project challenge. It is called Diary Selections of Famous People and Objects in Fact and Fiction

In this challenge you will choose a situation from those that follow and assume the identity of the famous person or object involved. You will try to write his or her exact feelings before or after an historic or not so historic event. You are encouraged to practice being serious, humorous, or way out crazy in your writing thoughts.

Try selecting a different situation each day, or with your teacher’s or parent’s approval design up some of your own themes that others might choose. Keep your ideas from the challenges below in a blog, tweet, journal, writer’s log, diary, or electronic portfolio.

Don’t forget to brainstorm some great titles for each project you select before selecting the one that audiences will like best. Illustrate your journal, blog, story starter archive, or newsletter with original drawings, Google images, or clip art.


Project 1. The captain of the Titanic learning no rescue boats are near.

Project 2. An ice cube sitting in a glass

Project 3. The first artificial heart recipient.

Project 4. The second place American Idol contestant.

Project 5. Ben Franklin trying to think of a new invention.

Project 6. Rihanna and Beyonce working on their first duet

Project 7. Big Ben (London’s famous clock) ringing the wrong hour.


Project 8. The Mona Lisa as an extremely intelligent talking painting.

Project 9. A baby duckling that cannot swim.

Project 10. The statue of Martin Luther King standing tall in Washington.

Project. 11. A piano at a school for beginners.

Project 12. Fashion wear from your line is a hit.

Project 13. Dracula’s girlfriend and her first blog or letter home to mom.

Project 14. You are the sun not wanting to come up this morning.


Project 15. A Hunger Games’ combatant speaks from what town? Skill?

Project 16. Sleepy (the Dwarf) on his feelings about Grumpy’s complaining.

Project 17. Daniel Boone’s entry the first night alone in the woods.

Project 18. Snow White’s diary notes the day she awakened from her sleep.

Project 19. Robinson Crusoe after first sighting footsteps on his island.

Project 20. George Washington’s entry the last night of his horrible winter stay at Valley Forge or after his victory at Trenton.


Project 21. Paul Bunyan on learning that his footsteps made the Great Lakes.

Project 22. Van Gogh’s thoughts and reasons the day before and the day after cutting off his ear.

Project 23. Mary Shelley’s thoughts on creating the monster ‘Frankenstein’ in her new novel.

Project 24. Beethoven’s notes on learning that he would soon be deaf.

Project 25. The entry of Sally Ride, the astronaut, the night before her first space flight or Sally Ride’s notes her first night in space.

Project 26. Harry Potter learning he could fly.

Project 27. The Great Sphinx on all the history it has seen.

Project 28. Your cell phone always missing calls.

Project 29. Your favorite application explaining what it can do or you explaining how an application you invented works.

Project 30. Dancing shoes or sneakers discussing the last person to wear them.

Mr. Palumbo’s additional writing and poetry activities can be found at (aimtjp.wikispaces.com). His weekly column is (thomasjpalumbo.wordpress.com).


Art…Edvard Munch

This year all of Norway and Europe are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edvard Munch (1863-1944). Most people know him from his painting The Scream. There are four paintings. One of these four just sold for the tidy sum of $120 million. He is known for much more and resides on the list of greatest artists to have ever lived. On Thursday, June 27th at 7:30 PM. Theaters all over the United States will be showing a portrait of his life in an art film series. This first presentation is part of a five artist series that will follow one a month after this initial presentation.


Helping The Community, Entrepreneurs, And Local Artists


Next Generation Global (Educators and More)

Next Generation Global would like some input. What can you add to the discussion?

Hello Tom,

Hope the week-end brought you a bit of rest.  I wanted to share with you what is happening with Next Generation Global Education.    We hope to have our new site up soon but I did a video for the first page that I’d like to share with you here:  http://youtu.be/c03vnPbzbAk

I think we have heard enough about how education needs to change and start doing it.  I’m interested in your feed-back.

Tracy Hanson, CEO  
Next Generation Global Education



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 I 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 then following up in newer columns.


New Visitors…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 creative 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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