1. Books…Junie B. Jones…Primary Grade Student Forever!
This probably could have been one of Barbara Park’s titles for her lovable character Junie B. Jones. Junie, in kindergarten and before, could never shut her mouth about anything. The title sounds like something May her book series long nemesis would say in anger. May angered Junie for refusing to acknowledge the B. in her name. What a mistake in Junie’s mind!!! The B. stood for Beatrice, but Junie just liked the B. to stand alone.
Barbara Park, the author of Junie B. Jones’ books…and more…has died at age 66 from ovarian cancer. Mrs. Park developed an ageless character and left a sweeping birthright that 55 million readers grew up with and then shared with their children. Junie was the image of a younger Barbara. She always had something to immediately say about everything. “In their minds and out their mouths” put both author and book favorite, Junie, in constant trouble.
Junie’s kindergarten antics ruled eighteen of Barbara Park’s first books. Book nineteen had Junie graduating to first grade. First graders came screaming into the library with delight to learn the whole ‘getting into first grade’ graduation story. They knew of her promotion before their somewhat ‘trusty on book type things’ librarian. Years of kindergarten classes had followed Junie through their kindergarten teacher’s presentations. No one expected little Ms. Jones to graduate as they all did. Junie and Barbara Park really fooled everyone.
In addition to her 45 picture, children’s, and middle grade book legacy, Barbara Park saw Junie B Jones turned into a play rivaling You Are A Good Man Charley Brown. Barbara’s interactive website (www.juniebjones.com) merits exploration as her life, projects, helpful hints, and 40 book awards are introduced. Barbara, also, answers questions about her writing from her readers in the author section. Pick up one of her books, laugh and remember her, please!
2. Movies…The Dallas Buyer’s Club…Matthew McConaughey
Many would be hesitant to see The Dallas Buyer ’s Club. It is a movie about the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Your thought process is: What would encourage me to see this movie? You then look up some statistics about the AIDS disease to find that at two million victims a year, it is the number one killer in the world. You go on to find that 34 million people have AIDS worldwide and that this number is split equally between men and women. That means 17 million women and 17 million men have the disease! How AIDS has become the forgotten disease, despite this horrific death toll, is one of the signatures of the movie.
The Dallas Buyer’s Club, Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Steve Zahn, and Dallas Roberts take us back to 1985. Ron Woodruff, McConaughey as a rodeo cowboy and woman magnet, learns he has AIDS and is given one month to live. McConaughey and Jared Leto both destroyed their bodies to play their emaciated parts. They should be given Academy Awards for the body damage that was required for their art. McConaughey’s body still hadn’t recovered while starring in The Wolf of Wall Street this year…What an actor will do for a role and his craft is a much asked question???
1985 was NOT a time of compassion, medical help, out-care, or medical research for AIDS’ victims. Woodruff, after a trip to Mexico and researching medicines and alternative medicines, tries to change all this. One man against the world is then blocked wherever possible. Drugs that might make a difference are out there. They, however, are only given in long clinical studies or are blocked by medical “for your protection” organizations. If you are dying you need any possible medicine. What protection do you need?
Woodruff sets up shop in his car before organizing an association called The Dallas Buyer’s Club to dispense medicines purchased in Mexico then from around the world. Word quickly spreads that there is help for those no one will help. Jared Leto is a man-woman suffering from the disease, too. Jennifer Garner is the medical staffer caught between people that would try anything to live and the medical bureaucracy. The movie is an eye-opener that you must see.
3. Movies II…Last Vegas…The Old Fearsome Foursome Rides Again!
The combined ages of
Morgan Freeman – 76,
Kevin Kline – 66,
Michael Douglas – 69, and
Robert DeNiro – 70
equals 1000 if our mathematics is correct. 1000 is a little beyond old! Why would these lifelong friends and two not friends any more (Brooklyn street kids) think they could throw the best party Las Vegas has ever seen. The bachelor party for Douglas’s wedding to a 32 year old (Bre Blair) has to be done right? That is what friends do!
Mary Steenburgen plays a lounge singer and the voice of reason for the group. It looks like she enjoyed preparing for her singing in a movie debut. The group, especially Douglas and DeNiro who are feuding after a past love’s death, doesn’t listen that much to her reasoning. Remember they are 1000 years old.
The movie has laughs, nostalgia, and eye-wiping as it highlights the fight against aging through a number of different voices. Some will accept getting older and slowing down. These five will not and do not go gently into the night. Thanks Bob Dylan.
5. Television…One True Thing…Meryl Streep Rules
The movie holiday tearjerkers have been placed in your On Demand sections of your television to start the Thanksgiving-Christmas season. One True Thing (1998) is a much-overlooked gem with Meryl Streep, Renee Zellweger, William Hurt, and Thomas Everett Scott. It is about what family members have to give up to support each other while they grasp the pieces of life they need for themselves.
Renee Zellweger shines as Streep’s caring daughter. She gave up a lot to care for the family. Renee handles crisis after crisis in this family drama. It is always nice to see someone new (at this early time in her career) in the acting profession interact with Streep who is the embodiment of great acting. Zellweger duels well with Scott and Hurt, too.
Bette Midler’s song One True Friend is part of the soundtrack to the movie. The song presents the crystal clear friendship between a mother and a daughter. It is a nice listen on VeVo.
6. Movies III…Delivery Man…Does Vince Vaughn Deliver?
Sean Gallagher is a great friend of this column. He is writing at: seangallagher96.wordpress.com. He also is posting some thought generating movie reviews on The Fan Critic. Here is a mini-warm-up for the Vince Vaughn movie that had to go up against The Hunger Games II this weekend. The Hunger Games II grossed over 500 million dollars worldwide. See the whole review for these two movies on Sean’s site. Sean starts by saying:
Delivery Man Plot: Vince Vaughn is a schlubby sperm donor who finds out he has inadvertently fathered 533 children.
Delivery Man Review: In an unusual move, director Ken Scott has remade his French comedy STARBUCK a mere two years after its original Canadian release. This time, he casts Vince Vaughn in the titular role of the DELIVERY MAN. I have never seen Scott’s original, so I went into DELIVERY MAN with virtually no expectations.
In Delivery Man, Vince Vaughn plays a working-class guy who’s struggling to pay off some debts and re-connect with his pregnant girlfriend (Cobie Smulders). After Vaughn’s David discovers he is the biological father of 533 children (sperm clinic mixup!), his going-nowhere life starts to have meaning. This is a schmaltzier role for Vaughn, who finally tones down his fast-talking onscreen personal. Even so, Vaughn isn’t believable in the movie’s more dramatic and heartfelt moments.
7. Internet Research…Biography.com
Biography.com is doing a big push to join Khan Academy and The History Channel as one of the world’s leaders in interactive research and personalized instruction. Pick just about any historical research topic and there is a great video and talk-through given by experts on the subject you are researching. The videos are supported by word for word text of the audio portion of the lesson you just experienced.
America The Story Of Us on the History Channels re-watch site is one of the best interactive presentations on American History that you can experience. Its twelve hours of mesmerizing content will keep you glued to your computer or television screen. It debunks a truckload of historical myths and legends. Sorry, once again Mr. Historian!
8. Travel…New York’s Tallest Building
Walk proud New Yorkers and displaced New Yorkers! New York, after a thirty-year absence, rules the skyscraper stratosphere. One World Trade Center (1776 feet) has just passed Chicago’s Willis Tower (1451) as the United States tallest building. This doesn’t seem like much but in the world of architecture and tourism it is gigantic.
8. Music…Avicii…Wake Me Up…The Week’s Music Leader
Avicii’s 159 million views for his music video Wake Me Up destroyed the competition worldwide. Losing a bet to high schoolers this week has me featuring R. Kelly and Janelle Monae instead of Katy Perry’s Hot N Cold.
R. Kelly dominates the hip-hop charts each week. He only swore once in the song My Story. The song has the lines of how he went from living in his car to wearing Versace shirts. It is a great classroom topic as students write their story after a prediction of success in some field. R. Kelly’s album Religious shows a completely different side of this wordsmith.
Janelle Monae is a dance, hallway, and school favorite. She is a queen of fashion. Janelle has appeared on the covers of Billboard and Vibe Magazine. Monae rules the R and B charts with her sci-fi music videos. She is a special songstress. Her song Tightrope looks like it was filmed in our school’s hallway.
Our pick this week is Kip Moore’s Mary Was The Marrying Kind. It is a nice lesson about being blind to the one you love. Kip Moore laments and compares his Mary to the other girls he dated. Mary was not his final choice. Our office yoga instructor recommends The ChillOutChannel for calming music selections. Way too slow for a vibrant big city company like ours! We do not offer work hour nap times!
9. Television II…Haven…Just Try Killing Emily Rose!
This is a note to Stephen King. There is no need for you to read this note unless you are Stephen King.
Thank you for imprisoning a whole town in your new series Dome! We do not care! Though, it was awesome the way you cut that cow in half!
What we do care about is your four year old attempt to kill, disfigure, and perplex Emily Rose. Nice job, by the way, giving every star in your series two first names...Officer Lucas Bryant is our favorite.
This blonde innocent (Emily) came to Haven, your little Maine seaport town, for a month and stayed for four years. In that time, you have thrown every monster, miscreant, weirdo, storm, enchantment, amulet, flood, snow, fog, ghost, spirit, electric bolt, unseen terror, and evildoer against her. She has defeated you time and time again.
Don’t you think enough is enough? She deserves better! Just tell her about her mother, the 20 year old murder, and your next book.
Then, put the town to sleep with the fog from your Haven series preview. We have to stop worrying about Emily!
10. This Week’s Puzzle Challenge…Creating Creatures Through Rhyme
The following clues are given for words that rhyme with animals and other creatures. Your score is the clue word plus the correct animal. Add the letters in each word and place the answer in the middle column..*
Clue Word * Animal
1. I am the opposite of fake Real 8 Seal
1A. I’m a yard cleaning tool Rake 9 Snake
2. I’m a pitcher for the New York Mets __________ __ __________
3. At present is another meaning for me. __________ __ __________
4. I am the opposite of thin __________ __ __________
5. I am the opposite of hate __________ __ __________
6. I am a water crosser __________ __ __________
7. This is very close to jelly _________ __ __________
8. I’m on the top of a person’s head __________ __ __________
9. This word means now tight __________ __ __________
10. I am the mist of early morning. __________ __ __________
11. I fall in the cold of winter __________ __ __________
12. I am the opposite of far __________ __ __________
13. I’m another word for balanced. __________ __ __________
14. The first name of Tatum O’Neal’s father __________ __ __________
15. The biggest part of a tree __________ __ __________
16. A wet baby often does this __________ __ __________
17. The back part of a shoe __________ __ __________
18. This is the sound a dog makes __________ __ __________
19. Dot and dash code __________ __ __________