113. James Bond, J. R. R. Tolkien, And Peter O’Toole

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1. Literature…Hobbit Time Rules Arda And Middle Earth

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The Lord Of the Rings’ franchise and Elfdom take center stage this week. John Ronald Reuel (J. R. R.) Tolkien creator of Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion, is much more than a fantasy genius. Let’s skip that Tolkien is the fifth richest (thanks Forbes!) dead person in the world and get to his brilliance as an English professor, poet, satirist, and expert in the history of literature.

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By the way, Arda is the name of the Earth pre-history (Tolkien’s creation) and Middle Earth is one of its components. It is not to be confused with Pangea, the supercontinent. Pangea is our Earth pre-history and before it separated into continents.

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Tolkien has some must read viewpoints and essays on writing, fairy tales, fantasy, and the magic in all stories. The essays are interesting not to just Tolkien and fantasy fans. He writes in easy to understand prose about everything literature. J. R. R. stresses how writers should never poke fun at or use magic for the sake of satire. He stresses that writers should write and not write for adults or children. The Tolkien Society has an ever-developing archive of his old and newly discovered works in all their arrangements (www.tolkensociety.org).

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One of the new features of Hobbitland is that Evangeline Lily (Lost) makes a statement for women as the first female elf in Middle Earth. Tolkien did not have any girls in his original elf brigade. Evangeline is a screenwriter’s add-to that will enhance the adventure and continue to attract some new followers, especially those that enjoy a larger female presence in their stories. Her good looks do not come close to her ability with a bow and arrow in this epic. Orlando Bloom is better looking and a better fighter as he teams up in the battle scenes with the she elf. Ms. Lily, however, is the Katniss (Hunger Games) of The Desolation Of Smaug. She helped the movie zoom to a 74 million dollar opening weekend box office.

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2. Television…Murder Week…What Was The Most Unexpected?…Knives, Trains, Poison, and Guns?

The holidays are the time for peace and joy. Television network executives did not get the message. This is the umpteenth time for their oversight. Every fall show that is ending this week has a favorite killing someone or favorite being killed. This television kill-off runs the gamut from Scandal to Reign to Homeland to Nashville to How I Met Your Mother to The Vampire Diaries! They are all dead anyway! Those viewers who saw the very last episode (forever) of How I Met Your Mother are going to send emails to the column saying they didn’t see any death in their version. Maybe they will believe a murder happened in the European version.

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Some of our favorite television characters are hanging on the precipice of death and we have to wait until next year to find out if they survived. Seeing them on a brand new show might give you the answer before next year’s premier. If not, bite your fingernails and ‘suffer on’ like the rest of us.

Send us a two-paragraph write-up of how your favorite show has you hanging or disappointed in its last episode (tjpalumbo@aol.com). We can’t watch them all!

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3. Art And Children’s Books…Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Anyone who has ever read a story to a young child knows Eric Carle and his classic work The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Carle wrote and illustrated his book in 1969. It was strange to see that a book written in 1969 is number five in children’s books purchased for the 2013 holidays. The book has sold over 35 million copies worldwide since 1969. The Very Hungry Caterpillar was a World Publishing Company book when it was first published in 1969. Caterpillar is presently printed by Penguin Putnam.

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In Carle’s Very Hungry book, a just birthed caterpillar eats it way through the book in punch whole style. What he eats teaches number and fruit choices to young children. After eating a grocery store cart full of items, the caterpillar turns to a butterfly. Carle’s book animals delight all children with their antics, troubles, and the friendships they make in their book journeys. Eric Carle has brought every young child’s favorite animal to life in story form and using his zany illustrations. These characters include kangaroos, alligators, bears, horses, spiders, chameleons, fireflies, crabs, and ladybugs. Carle writes about and illustrates books about pancakes as well as animals.

The Eric Carle Museum Of Picture Art (www.carlemuseum.org) is located in Amherst, Massachusetts. It is a wonderful structure filled with creative discoveries about Eric Carle, children’s books, and how books are written and illustrated. Eric Carle’s website is (www.eric-carle.com). Both the museum and his book site have incredible resources, illustration models, links, and lessons.


4. Photography…The Human Experience: Philadelphia…Phillip King And Friends

Pat Morgan from the art suite of West Catholic Preparatory High School in Philadelphia has some nice kudos for one of her fifteen-year-old students and the way he shows Philadelphia and its inhabitants at their best. Here is what Pat shared with us about Phillip King and his photography.

Young Photographer Phillip King

Humans of Philadelphia this is the Face book page by a 15 year student at West Catholic Preparatory High School. He is an amazing photographer! I included some of his pictures with this email. Phillip is self-motivated! He goes around the city every day to take pictures of people and asks them questions. If you see him he may have his guitar on his back riding his bike. He always has his camera ready to go…for that one good picture. The best part is he finds beauty in the simple things in life and makes people feel comfortable in front of the camera.

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5. History…George Washington…What Next?

The past three months have proved very difficult for history enthusiasts. The Let’s Attack Our Heroes Corporation has three major victories in their portfolio. The first hit was to Paul Revere as new research indicated he was captured long before he reached Boston, Concord, or Lexington. When you are in jail, you cannot possibly warn anyone that British soccer teams are terrible…except for Manchester United.

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The second historical revelation is that Abraham Lincoln did not pen The Gettysburg Address on the train on his way to Gettysburg. The five versions of the address were written and reviewed long before its history making presentation.

Now the painting by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze of Washington Crossing The Delaware has been criticized. Naysayers happily share that the picture isn’t an accurate description of the event. Are they sure that wasn’t future President James Monroe holding the American Flag behind Washington?

What next! That isn’t Jackson on the twenty-dollar bill?

Fear not! On December 25th and 26th a hearty band of courageous re-enactors will be reliving the event using long boats, canoes, rafts, and inner tubes. Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania will shine as the keystone of the historical universe on those two days. Down with the Hessians! Once more into the breach! Don’t tread on me! Don’t fire until you see……..
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6. Space Travel…And China Makes Three!

China has just landed on the moon! Yes! China has just landed on the moon and it is on page six in all the national newspapers. Something is seriously wrong when page six is the best that can happen for an historical milestone. That is why China is number six in this week’s topics. A nation of 1.5 billion people is going wild over the moon landing, space travel, the space race, and the space sciences. We are indifferent while the moon has it first new visitor in thirty years.

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Next week is the start of the moon’s lunar lander robot wars. Russia, the United States, and now China have fighting machines (working moon explorers). Hugh Jackman and his son (Real Steel) will coach Russia and the United States. Their fighting robot from Real Steel will be the model for the moon battles. Will Smith from I, Robot will coach the Chinese team.

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7. Libation…The James Bond Factor…The Next To Be Attacked!

No, this attack is not on Miss Moneypenny or Goldfinger! It goes right to the heart. James Bond is an alcoholic. The types of drinks and the amount of drinks Bond has drained during his book and movie tenure prove that he could not possibly function as a secret agent. The 007 was not appropriate in James Bond’s case. Hogwash! These drinking facts found in some new and significant research isn’t worth any dollar we taxpayers donated for the study.

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The graph that follows shows which James Bond was the best lover, shooter, and sophisticated drinker. The Ian Fleming books and Bond movies propelled the martini to the top of the “sophisticated drinking” world. The Martini Bar and Blue Martini Bar franchises have more martini combinations than Dancing With The Stars has dancing combos. If Bond can’t be memorialized for his heroic deeds, he certainly shouldn’t be insulted for his drinking and awesome womanizing. Why now?

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8. Creative Writing…Let’s Get The Word Out!…The A Team

One, Two, Three A’s

You will find out if you are a single A, double A, triple A, or four A genius on the activity put together for you below. The letter A is the only vowel that can be used in the answer word anywhere in this challenge. The first four clues produce words that have one A in them; the next four words (5-8) have two A’s; third group (9-12) have three A’s and the last group (13) have four A’s or more in them. I hope my clues will be helpful to you. Record in the column to the far right what fraction of each word the A’s are. Record your ideas below.

Example:  Weeds kill                                  Plants/Grass          1/6 or 1/5

1.  A group of students                               ___________        _________
2.  Word following receiving a gift                ___________        _________
3.  An animal catcher                                 ___________        _________
4.  A friend                                               ___________        _________

5.  The earth’s molten inner core                 ___________        _________
6.  A Middle East Native                             ___________        _________
7.  A girl’s name                                        ___________        _________
8.  Volcano overflow                                  ___________        _________

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9.  Largest U.S. state                                  ___________        _________
10. Desert traveling group                           ___________        _________
11. A fruit                                                       ___________        _________
12. Large group of Spanish ships                  ___________        _________

13. A magician’s spell causing words            ___________        _________
14. Your one A word                                       ___________        _________
15. Your two A word                                       ___________        _________
16. Your three A word                                     ___________        _________

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9. Movies…Peter O’Toole…Runner-Up Mania!…Judge Not!

Peter O’Toole received seven Academy Award nominations and an honorary Academy Award (2003) for a great body of acting work. Articles about his death have focused on his lack of an academy award as if it is some type of failure in an actor’s life. NBA players without a championship and pro football quarterbacks without a super bowl win are treated the same way.

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Nothing could be further from the acting truth. Four Golden Globes for best actor, an Emmy award, a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award, and recognition for one of the twenty-five greatest movie performances of all time should say something as we remember him after his December 14th death.

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The six foot-two, blue-eyed actor was mesmerizing on the stage, television, and screen as he played roles from Lawrence of Arabia to Beckett to a theater full of Shakespeare’s best creations. He was a student of acting and an acting tutor. Even into his eighties, he thought his best performances were still ahead of him. Most movie-ites will revisit his Lawrence of Arabia, Beckett, or Lord Jim portrayals. Try finding Night Of The Generals (1967) for a very different experience. It is one of his few bad guy roles for O’Toole. He excels. Omar Shariff co-stars next to German General Tanz the destroyer of Warsaw (O’Toole).

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10. Happy 20th Anniversary Let’s Talk

The approaching new year (2014) is the 20th Anniversary of Let’s Talk. What once was a newsletter shared in University Of The Arts’ lectures and classes, professional development presentations up and down the east coast, and in book publications for Good Apple Publishing is now a Word Press column that is read across four continents and Philadelphia. Let’s Talk is distributed through multiple relisting sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Mom occasionally reads it at home, also.

Join the yearlong celebration of writing and creative discussion by contributing a story, book, movie, art piece, award notice, photography, game, business, multimedia, travel, or theater write-up for the column. Your ideas should be sent to Tom Palumbo at tjpalumbo@aol.com. Please send a photo or two with your two-paragraph contribution. Your varied ideas, experiences, and insights will surely bring a larger audience to the column and make the column’s content more interesting and far reaching.


11. Happy 30th Anniversary Advanced Institute For Motivation (AIM)

For the last thirty years the Advanced Institute For Motivation (AIM) has been providing consultants and lecturers for businesses, community groups, schools, universities, and conventions up and down the East Coast. At the same time it has been designing and providing creative content across all school disciplines and business structures. The Institute excels in technology, special education, mathematics, reading, literature, poetry, the arts, and best business practices. The grant development wing of AIM has brought in millions of dollars and programs to the organizations it supports.

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The inventive activities on aimtjp.wikispaces.com, AIM’s website, have won six awards for its creative content. Visit aimtjp.wikispaces.com and add its movies, lectures, book talks, PowerPoints, games, lessons, and Internet recommendations to your desktop. AIM’s poetry site catapultintopoetry.wikispaces.com has specific directions for 40 step-by-step lessons on poetry and creative writing.


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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One Response to 113. James Bond, J. R. R. Tolkien, And Peter O’Toole

  1. Jenny Witterick says:

    Hi Tom,

    Ok you have seen and know more about movies than anyone I know.

    I just agreed to option the book for a movie and was able to secure an agreement where I get to be the executive producer….contracts still being worked out.

    The producer wants to get started and is targeting two years for the movie to be out.

    Since you have read the book, how would you cast it?

    I was thinking we try for Meryl Streep or Helen Mirren for Franciszka …the Helena role is trickier as we need both a child actress as well as a young woman…any ideas there?

    This is pretty cool.


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