120. Scarlett Johansson, Rachel McAdams, And The Ford Mustang!

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1. Movies…Need For Speed…Aaron Paul And A Hot Ford Mustang

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Carroll Shelby, the iconic car designer and racer, passed away last May. After his death a group called “The Friends of Shelby” built the ultimate one of a kind tribute car to Shelby. This Ford Mustang Shelby 500GT and its three million dollar price tag were featured in the just released movie Need For Speed. The car is the keystone to many of the events in the new story.

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Need For Speed is Disney studios’ 68 million dollar follow-up to the cartoon Cars. Since it is Disney, kissing, sex and anything related to those two topics cannot be found anywhere in the movie. The past themes of all car movies: fast cars and fast women, are not a feature of this movie. Strike some of that last sentence. It is a movie about fast cars with amazing crashes and well-rehearsed explosions. Fast women can be found in Fast and Furious 6. Fast and Furious 7 is on hold due to Paul Walker’s death.

The history of great car chase movies dates back to 1968’s police drama Bullitt. Bullitt is the measure of all the driving and chase scenes in movies since then. Steve McQueen’s seven-minute chase scene up and down the streets of San Francisco in a Mustang did not need explosions and special effects…just great driving. Ford Mustang sales zoomed after that movie and will, again, after this one.

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How Stuff Works (http://auto.howstuffworks.com/mustang-bullitt.htm), is a site with information on everything. It reviews Steve McQueen’s Bullitt movie and compares it to Need For Speed. The fast car facts are an auto aficionado’s delight. The site highlights how a good, experienced race driver like McQueen couldn’t complete all the driving sequences in the torture test his Mustang was put through for Bullitt. Bullitt does have an interesting story of police work in general and of a lost witness in detective McQueen’s possession in particular.

Aaron Paul from the television series Breaking Bad stars in this ‘payback for the death of a friend’ feature. His ride along girlfriend is Imogene Poots. No big names appear with them. The movie was number one in Europe and number one in the United States this weekend. Drive slowly after leaving the theater please!

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The Ford Mustang was released on April 17, 1964. It is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. A Ford Shelby’s powerful engine is a defining feature of the car. Its distinctive racing stripes from the front hood to the shortened back of the car are another defining characteristic of this automotive classic.

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2. Movies II…Scarlett Johansson As An Alien?
                       Beware Sigourney Weaver!

Under The Skin is Scarlett Johansson’s first trek into aliens and full frontal nudity. Her black hair in this one helps her fill the role. The movie is drawing large per theater numbers throughout Europe in its limited release. An alien preying on Scottish hitchhikers does not sound like a gem of a movie theme? Even the picture’s studio didn’t think it would do well. However, audiences and critics gave it a 90% approval rating. It looks like word of mouth is increasing its viewership numbers. The nude scene with Johansson is all over the Internet. America is the movie’s next stop! Look for the scene to be deleted here for a lower movie rating and a larger audience admission.

London’s The Daily Mail Magazine has the whole story and the reasons why Johansson decided to show all. Their article can be found at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2582873/Scarlett-Johansson-defends-choice-fully-nude-new-film-Under-The-Skin.html

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3. Music…Live At Home…A Music Lover’s Great Find!

Your favorite artist featured in an intimate home setting would be a great watch and listen. Live At Home is the program that meets this requirement. Can you imagine U2 or Bruce Springsteen driving up to your house and performing in your living room? The show is thirty minutes of great music and personal insights from the featured artists. The sound is small and can be really appreciated. It is performed live in a living room or on a porch. No big time studio recordings are involved. Bare music or just music might be a good description for the program.

A suggested first listen is Adam Levine from the television show The Voice and his musical group Maroon 5. They can light up any living room. From there you can, then, move through a large archived list of your favorite recording stars and groups.

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The Lumineers, an alternative rock group, is our second choice for this channel listen. They have a sound that a music explorer might like. The lyrics for the Lumineers’ Flowers In Your Hair’ andStubborn Love’ can be every lover’s lament and theme song. The Live At Home program is easily accessed on all the re-listing sites and on You Tube. You Tube just listed James Blunt’s Best Ten Songs’ presentation, too. Blunt was introduced in our last column.

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4. Books…Salute To Book’s Month

March is Salute To Book’s Month.  Every month should be Salute To Book’s Month! We librarians have our pride!

As the month fades and your reading appetite increases, here are three favorites of ours that you might want to peruse. We know you will enjoy adding these selections to your reading list and personal library.

The Temptation Of Wilfred Malachey
By William Buckley, Jr.
Illustrations by John Gurney

In past columns we talked about William Buckley’s writing and editing contributions to the New Yorker Magazine. In this work, his first book for the school market, William Buckley, Jr. presents Wilfred Malachey: bright, poor and thrust into the elite environment of Brookfield Academy. The student that Wilfred replaced has gone missing. Add a computer with its hidden OmegaGod, a school curse, petty thievery, romance, and a “what really happened at the end” puzzle, and you have the ingredients for an enticing read.

John Gurney’s eye catching and well-coordinated illustrations added to the book’s suspense. Gurney resides in Bucks County, Pennsylvania just outside Philadelphia. It was special to discover that he financed his formal training by drawing caricatures on the Atlantic City, New Jersey boardwalk.

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By Ann Beattie
Illustrated By Winslow Pels

Ann Beattie, author of 10 novels and numerous short story tomes, switches to this children’s tale of the unexplained, as magic spectacles transport the leading character back in time. Told in poetry and prose, a young child, tired of hearing from her grandparents how things were better way back when, is transported back in time to see her grandparents in action. Winslow Pels’ illustrations add a surreal effect to the story and are like buying multiple oil paintings for your living room.

Beattie’s new book on Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines A Life (2011) has caused all types of positive and negative responses. She writes a book that is half biography and half fiction. In the book Beattie tries to imagine what Pat Nixon’s life was like as her husband ascends to fame and descends into disrespect. Since Pat Nixon did not have an autobiography or book of any sort, this foray into history sometimes hits the mark and sometimes has you wondering about the life of the famous and the life of a president’s wife.

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Tiger Eyes
By Judy Blume

Davey Wexler’s father has been killed in a hold-up at his a 7-11 Store. The trauma is tearing at Davey, her mother, and her younger brother. Their friends and family try to help but little can be done to ease the family’s pain. The family temporarily moves from Atlantic City, New Jersey to Los Alamos New Mexico. The new environment seems to add extra problems as would be expected with any family’s move. In New Mexico, Davey meets an Indian boy whose grandfather is dying. Somehow, with a dying grandfather’s wisdom, slow answers and solutions begin to develop. Death, illness, and family problems are developed by one of America’s most read authors.

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On Beyond Zebra
The Lorax
Hooray For Diffendoofer Day
By Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss’s 110th birthday was celebrated in the beginning of the month. Libraries and classrooms all over America tried to be more creative than they were the year before with new readings, crazy activities, and environmental pledges. The three books above are leaps and bounds ahead of everyone’s Seuss favorites. You can read them in 30 minutes while sitting in a lounge chair at your favorite bookstore. Seussville.com is filled with great adventures to support Dr. Seuss books in the home and classroom (http://www.seussville.com/activities/HOORAY_TeachersGuide_0.pd).

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5. Critical Thinking…Do Your Syllables Make Sense?

Challenge 1…This challenge involves sentence and paragraph construction plus your thinking power. The first sentence below is only composed of one-syllable words. The second sentence has only two syllable words in it. The third sentence is composed of three syllable words. In constructing similar sentences (which is the challenge), you may not use a series of words like: I like cats, dogs, deer, and birds.

Look at our three sentences we created below and form three different sentences of your own using this syllable theme. The person with the longest sentence wins if you are using this activity in your classroom program.  Creative sentences with unique wording and themes are recognized, also.

1. Beth, this does not make real good sense! (one-syllable words)

2. Seven monkeys carried honey into Hidden Valley. (two syllable words)

3. Governor Jennifer Benedict recently rewarded everyone’s outstanding performance. (three-syllable words)

Challenge 2…Can you write a small paragraph using just one syllable words? From there move to a paragraph that employs two, or three syllable words? We tried writing sentences that had a one-syllable word followed by a two, then three-syllabled word….then back to a one syllable word. It drove us crazy?

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6. Television…Rachel McAdams…Two For The Money!

Rachel McAdams is one of the most followed movie stars on the Internet. The site ‘Who Is Rachel McAdams Dating’ is a cornucopia of the famous, handsome, and rich. The stories that go with each of her dating choices far out rival the selections made on The Bachelor and Bachelorette’s television shows.

On Demand is featuring two of her movies. In Red Eye she battles terrorists that are trying to kill the president. She is hijacked on a plane and threatened with her father’s death if she doesn’t expose the president to the terrorist’s plot. Cillian Murphy is her plane seatmate, captor, and portrayer of evil. Their end of the movie battle is classic damsel in distress turned superwoman.

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In Passion McAdams stars with Noomi Rapace. Rapace was excellent in the three book/movie European version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (another great six hour binge watch). In this movie’s office battle, McAdams is a boss that continually steals an office worker’s creative ideas and presents them as her own. The battles between Rachel and her creative partner continually escalate. The tale runs from website hacking to boyfriend stealing then to murder. It is hard to figure who the good girl is in this one. In the past it has always been McAdams. ‘Who Is Rachel McAdams Dating’ fans might be wrong in this one.

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7. Television II…Kiefer Sutherland…Two More For The Money!

May 5th is the return of Kiefer Sutherland in 24: Live Another Day. What first was to be a movie is now a ten part television series on the Fox Network. The network has a countdown timer on its website until the start of the show in the beginning of May. You can catch up on the time remaining at: (http://www.fox.com/24-live-another-day/). The show takes place in Britain where Jack Bauer is hiding in plain site and attempting to save the world, once again. Fans of 24 are a rabid and unquenchable lot!

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In Pompeii, Sutherland’s newly released movie, he plays a Roman senator who wants to control the volcanic and lush Mediterranean island of Pompeii. His second want is the governor of the island’s daughter. He is not anyone’s hero in this gladiator epic. Kiefer Sutherland is joined in the movie by two lovers. Kit Harington, an imprisoned, hunky, gladiator slave, and Emily Browning, the governor’s daughter, are a mismatch made in the forum. The cast of thousands is rounded out with Carrie-Anne Moss, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, and Jared Harris.

A side note to this piece of myth or undiscovered as of yet history is: What real estate agent convinced tens of thousands that a home on an island with an active volcano is a place they wanted to be? Lush and beautiful in this movie’s case does not last long.

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8. Television III…Donald Sutherland…Crossing Lines

While son Kiefer is off island and England hopping, dad, Donald, has a new series out that may be your next binge watch. In the early American 1900’s robbers would commit a robbery in one state and then flee across state lines to another state to eliminate pursuit. The U.S. government, of course, took awhile, but then passed laws allowing pursuit across state lines.

European countries had this same problem for years until criminal justice agencies were formed with jurisdiction all over Europe. Crossing Lines features such an agency in a ten part series. This new crime agency is headed by Donald Sutherland. The investigative work, however, is performed by William Fitchner, Marc Lavoine, and their team of fits and misfits. Each misfit’s diverse backstory is introduced in successive episodes.

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Ads for Crossing Lines bill the agency as a cross nation FBI. The cases for this cross-country crime bureau are a bit different from American crime dramas. The European historical locales and distinctive scenery flavors the show more than going from New York to New Jersey in an American series!

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8A. More Crime…The Muppets Most Wanted…Tina Fey

A Column DisclaimerTina Fey’s The Muppets Most Wanted does not have anything to do with this new European agency. This new agency does not employ frogs or anything else that might have strings or rods attached to their bodies. It would sound weird to introduce someone as Detective Kermit, anyway.

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9. Education…Buy Or Sell…A Spelling Challenge To Salute The New Movie Bad Words

The words buy or sell can be found in each answer below. The words appear in their spelling order but might not be consecutive in the clue’s final answer. The example will define the quest a little more clearly. See if you can get at least ten of the next twelve answers?

Clue                     Answer

Example: A School Subject       Spelling

  1. A Baby Rabbit
  2. To Grow Larger
  3. Place Underground
  4. A Water Channel Marker
  5. A Turtle’s House
  6. This Mean Person Pushes People Around
  7. Odor
  8. Like A Bee
  9. American ______ Rose
  10. 10.  A Wood Finish
  11. 11.  Black ______ (A Book Title)
  12. 12.  A Great Performance/Space Term

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10. Culinary Arts…In Search Of Grant Money…Can Anyone Help?
                              Our Second Plea For Help!

We continue to look for help…….

Philadelphia’s West Catholic Preparatory High School has an outstanding Culinary Arts’ Program. It is an exemplary school to career platform stressing far more than just preparing and cooking food. It examines every area of the food growing, preparation, and distribution industries and gives students the information and leadership skills necessary to excel as entrepreneurs in all these areas. It does all this while integrating creative instruction in the culinary arts with each student’s reading, writing, mathematics, and science curricula.

We are requesting funding for a uniquely designed undertaking titled: The Teach, Feed, and Read Project. The project will bring classrooms from throughout the area into West Catholic’s culinary arts center to:
1. learn the culinary arts
2. research and develop better and affordable food choices
3. make students turn around trainers in nutrition and the culinary arts
4. distribute to the area’s needy the food products the program will create
5. share participant reading and writing products
6. enhance each student’s skills in food preparation, business development, leadership, reading, and writing

The $10,000 we are requesting for this project will:
1. pay for transportation for the program’s participants visiting our center for lessons
2. allow us to purchase supplies and additional cooking and baking products 3. fund the recipe, cooking, and nutrition pamphlets we will create and distribute
4. help with the purchase of protective food delivery packaging for the community outreach portion of our project
5. buy equipment necessary to create culinary arts’ videos and Webinars that we will share city and statewide

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11. For New Readers Only

The 20th Anniversary Of Let’s Talk

This 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 re-listing sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. 475 readers subscribe to the column. The good sisters of St. Mary’s convent read it, 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. Thank you! 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.

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12. Let’s Talk’s Educational Website

Please check out our FREE educational website at aimtjp.wikispaces.com. The content is exceptional at the K-12 levels.

No www. is needed. If you have any educators, creative writers, entrepreneurs, teachers, or children in the family, they will enjoy the information immensely. There are tons of immediately ready to use ideas in reading, children’s literature, Internet explorations, research, problem solving, games, and poetry on the opening screen and in the Public Dropbox.

The creative ideas on the site are in PowerPoint, video, worksheet, and QuickTime talk formats. Teachers from throughout the area have contributed creative lessons, creative games, and book talks to the site. The Public Drop Box has extensive files from twenty years of book authoring and graduate courses.

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13. Let’s Talk Poetry

Let’s Talk’s poetry site contains audios, videos, PowerPoints, Internet resources, and worksheets in both poetry and creative writing. It can be found at: (catapultintopoetry.wikispaces.com). Thousands of parents and teachers use the website and its creative resources.


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 120. Scarlett Johansson, Rachel McAdams, And The Ford Mustang!

  1. al minetola says:

    Lomg live the “Wild Horse”. It is an icon of America. Forget MPG, comfort and unreasonable HP. It is what it is.

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