111. The Quintessential Holiday Movie???

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A Don’t Forget To Sound Of Music And Carrie Underwood Fans!

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Don’t miss Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer this Thursday night at eight. They are recreating the stage version of The Sound Of Music. It is guaranteed to be a musical keeper. Catch The Making of The Sound of Music, too, on your re-listing networks. The casting and backstage preparation for this live performance featured in Making were inspiring and revealing. Every singer and actor will learn some great lessons from this backstage extravaganza and worry festival.

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And The Winner Is?…The World Of Lists!

It is December and the time for a shopping cart full of lists! You will see lists featuring difference makers, music, books, art, cars, cameras, travel destinations, computers, entertainment stars, movies, inventions, and additional new gadgets in multi-media, and technology. These lists look for your opinion and analysis on a number of fronts. They, also, encourage purchase you haven’t made by tantalizing you with the best…Of course you do not possess them, yet! Go Advertisers! That sentence was confusing. Just buy it! Please!

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We will be attacking in this issue, with overthought diligence, the quintessential holiday movie list. It is not an easy task because everyone just wants to elect It’s A Wonderful Life, White Christmas, Holiday Inn, The Miracle On Thirty-Fourth Street, or The Christmas Story and get on with their shopping, decorating, tree trimming, homework, and bowling.

What is a quintessential in this instance? What are the selection rules? What are the parameters for each choice? How many movies should be in the list? Should there be multiple categories? All this could drive a writer crazy! It is driving us crazy.

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One office staffer said this should be a ‘fill in the blank’ test that would look like this:

1. What is your favorite holiday movie that you always see in your pajamas and with a hot drink in hand? __________________________

2. What holiday movie do you own? _______________________________________________________________________________________

3. What holiday movie is the best tear-wringer? _____________________________________________________________________________

4. Quirky isn’t a word usually used in a holiday movie description. Is there an offbeat holiday movie you think we would enjoy? _______

5. What is the most heartbreaking holiday movie you have seen? ______________________________________________________________

6. Is there a scene in a movie that makes the movie for you and you wait for it with anticipation? ___________________________________

7. Is there a movie that depicts family at its best and worst for the holidays that has a connection with you? _________________________

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Movies I…Love Actually…With Hugh Grant And Friends!

It is surprising how many people have not seen or heard of our “start the holiday’s” movie choice: Love Actually. The movie tells the story of eight relationships during the holidays in London. The lovers range in age from ten to sixty. Love Actually is the story of love in all its forms: the overlooked love, the didn’t know you cared love, the new love, the impossible to repair love, the re-found love, the person that is loved and thinks there is something better out there, and the search for love. We missed some love categories along the way as we will miss some of the twenty stars like Hugh Grant, Keira Knightly, Bill Nighy, Laura Linney, Heike Makatsch, Alan Richman, Sienna Guillory, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thomas sangster, Olivia Olson, Claudia Schiffer, Liam Neeson, Martine McCutcheon, Colin Firth, and Emma Thompson, that had key roles in the story.

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Love and the holidays, naturally, are the key ingredients in the movie. The main theme of Actually is defined by Liam Neeson’s ten-year-old son. He seems to be in the doldrums after his mother’s death. “What is wrong,” is asked by his father in a sit down and talk session? The ten year old talks not as much about his mother as he does about his new love.

He states: “I’m in love.” Then he goes on to say: “Is there anything worse than the total agony of being in love?” Wow!…from the mouths of babes. Dad thought his problems after his mother’s death were far worse.

The movie unquestionably depicts the joy and agony of love and is worth discovering or re-discovering to start the holiday.

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Movies II…The Twelve Dates Of Christmas

After you roam your television and movie package channels for the best that is out there, you might like the predictable Amy Smart romp called The Twelve Dates Of Christmas. Amy’s trying to reconnect with an old love and on the way she sees people all around her who need to make a connection. She can’t help herself, but she seems to understand everyone else’s problems. She is more of a connector than a matchmaker!

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Mark-Paul Gosselaar from Franklin and Bash is Amy’s standby love if she can’t recapture her past favorite. He is her Christmas Eve blind date. This blind date is relived 12 times. Hence, The Twelve Dates Of Christmas. Amy can’t get old or new relationships right. When watching this movie or Love Actually, you ask yourself how the author is going to bring all these relationships together at the movie’s conclusion….if that is the goal! The matches seem so far from each other. Somehow, in both movies, this accomplishment brings each movie to a really satisfying conclusion.

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Movies III…Philomena With Judy Dench And Steve Grogan

Philomena came to US theaters this week with a bevy of film festival awards. The movie was hard to find due to its themes. It is a well-acted and quite disturbing true story. Judy Dench is a mother looking to find the child that she had to give away when she was hardly a teenager. Steve Grogan is a journalist trying to tell what at first looks like a happy human-interest story. Following Philomena on her child quest proves not to be!

The local nuns at the orphanage sold the babies of unsuspecting and young unwed mothers. After the sale of these babies, the nuns and church went through extraordinary methods to hide this fact from everyone. In addition to selling children, they also hid the fact that a large number of babies and mothers died under their care. These young children and mothers to be were given little, if any, childbirth help as punishment for their sins. After childbirth the young girls then owed the orphanage five years of servitude for delivering their babies. These mothers were treated worse than slaves!

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Judy Dench was heroic as the tormented but forgiving mother. Very few people could have worn her shoes and done the same thing. Anger would have been good in the movie! Tremendous anger would have been even better!

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The National Organization Of Women (NOW) And The National Woman’s History Project (NWHP)

As ‘Salute To Women’s History Month’ (March) approaches both driving forces for the month long celebration of the accomplishments of women, The National Organization Of Women (NOW) and The National Woman’s History Project (NWHP), have call-outs for planning assistance and membership support.

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Their websites are (www.now.org and www.nwhp.org) are used by tens of thousands of classroom students across all continents. The boundless research information they provide in the form of articles, interviews, webinars, videos, and definitive points of view on women’s and worldwide issues upgrades any research project.

The Women’s History Gazette is a periodical that should be in every classroom and home. Subscribing to it will support both organizations. Don’t forget to drop your email in the free newsletter boxes on both sites, also. Weekly historical reminders are worth your small effort

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Music…The Voice…A Crushing Victory, At Last

The Voice, with its format of top music talent helping rising stars, has just topped American Idol as the top musical show on television. The show has a great effect on online purchases, too. Each week the songs sung by contestants top the download charts in all musical categories from rock and roll to hip-hop to country and western.

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Kelly Clarkson just performed on the show last week. She won over the house in a pregnancy forming sparkly red dress. Kelly featured her new holiday song Underneath The Tree and the new album, Wrapped In Red, that introduces the song. The record and album immediately zoomed to the top of the holiday charts. The show has star power and product power. Networks love that combination.

The Voice Radio gives you FREE re-dos of all the contestants performances. It is a free offering on your iPad or Apple desktop.


Music II…In The Muse…A Library Of Congress Resource

The Library Of Congress offers a wide variety of topics that come to your computer-step daily or weekly (by your selection). Their newsletters cover twenty different topics from history to art to travel. Our favorite is called In The Muse. The weekly renditions of this publication offer interviews with music makers and producers, audio presentations, new releases, music scholarship, and the history and background of America’s musical heritage.

Each week Muse has a famous artist in residence that will answer your emails, share personal information, or talk to you through a webinar format. Research the various offerings and start by subscribing to two of these free information-fests in your area of interest. Michael Feinstein, The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook, is a great addition to the program as advertised below:


Michael Feinstein, host of NPR Music’s “Song Travels,” recently interviewed Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal about Cash’s new album The River and the Thread. Rosanne Cash, in-residence at the Library of Congress from December 5-7, 2013, will perform in two concerts and present a talk with U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. Here’s a special preview of Feinstein’s interview, including a performance of “The Sunken Lands” by Rosanne Cash:

Games And Puzzles…Historical Connections

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“Historical Connections” are a great Brain Bender. The first historical character’s last name is the same as the second historical figure’s first name. The clues given below for each historical figure will help you find the connection.  See if you can find five historical connections of your own. Place your work following the clues below. You will number your hints from 13-17. Try to make your “connection figures” someone from history or music or acting that children all over the country should know. Put a star next to the easy clues that you think everyone should solve?

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Character 1’s Clue                                            Character 2’s Clue

         1.             Greatest home run hitter…Killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel

         Answers: Hank Aaron_____Aaron Bur

         2.             Third president…South’s president during Civil War

  1. 3.             Said “Give me liberty or…Famous explorer (N.Y. River/Bay)
  2. 4.             Poor Richard Almanac writer         …Three term president
  3. 5.             Holocaust diary writer…Architect of great buildings
  4. 6.             Southern Civil War General…Killed John F. Kennedy

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  1. 7.             Famous Boxer (“Brown Bomber”)…Purified milk
  2. 8.             World War I President…Philadelphia’s mayor in the 1980’s
  3. 9.             Wrote Paradise Lost…Pennsylvania governor in the 1970’s
  4. 10.           Wrote Ulysses…Wrote the poem “Trees”
  5. 11.           Best White Sox player…Wrote pamphlet called Common Sense
    12.           Religion was Calvinism…American president

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Young Adults…The Global Youth United Project

Global Youth United is a worldwide project stated in Philadelphia by Len Finklestein, former Cheltenham, Pa Superintendent of Schools. The project directs and encourages high school and college students to take a greater part in designing their education and realizing their career goals.

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The King of Prussia Mall just outside Philadelphia is one of the largest malls in the United States. It is the ideal place for all your holiday shopping. The mall features every big and small brand on your shopping list.

Diane Schwartz from Global Youth United sent this support and shopping reminder. If you are near King of Prussia Mall, please, come out and support this Ten Thousand Villages’ fundraiser. Here is what Diane shared:

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And on December 10th, Ten Thousand Villages, located in the King of Prussia Mall, will give 15% of all sales between 4- 8PM to GYU. This is a wonderful opportunity to do holiday shopping and help GYU at the same time. This national chain sells handcrafted items from villages all over the world, providing income for needy folks globally.

This is a triple threat chance to do good; buy the gifts you ordinarily would, help deserving people all over the world, and make a contribution to GYU. If you are not local to the Mall, you can make a contribution by clicking on the Donate button below or by check to GYU c/o TASA: 1166 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422. Please know that all the proceeds will go to further expand GYU so that hundreds more students will learn vital skills, and unite in making the world a better place for all.

You gave generously last year, and we are sincerely grateful.  In order to continue this wonderful program we need more assistance. Our needs are great, please help as much as you are able.

Thank you!


Local Entrepreneurs…Creative People, Creative Ideas

Let’s Talk looks forward each week to the contributions of the area’s best writers, illustrator, photographers, artists, and entrepreneurs. The reflected glory concept greatly enhances this column each week. Do you have some piece of work or idea that would enhance Let’s Talk? Send it to tjpalumbo@aol.com along with some nice photos and a two paragraph description. Your write-up is posted exactly as written with an introduction.


Jamie Bruno, a frequent artistic contributor to our column, has a greeting card business that will make a great gift or be perfect for the occasion you wish to announce. Here is what she said about her card business:

Belly Bean Cards is a partnership company run by Jamie Bruno and Dawn DiMattia. We have been friends for fifteen years and were conceptualizing our business for almost six years. It all came to fruition with the inspiration of Dawn’s daughter Isabella (the original Belly Bean). Jamie, our designer, was in charge of making invitations for all of the main family events and we realized that we had something here that could be enjoyed across a wider spectrum. We decided to share our ideas and products with the world!
We specialize in wedding and party invitations. All of our products are designed and handmade by Jamie.  We always use archival adhesive and quality acid-free card stock to ensure that our invitations last a lifetime.  Jamie is very meticulous and takes pride on perfection. You can find all of our current designs for sale at http://bellybeancards.etsy.com.  We are always looking for new invitations ideas and love to customize what we have to match your party needs.

Jamie & Dawn
Belly Bean Cards



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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