121. Noah Versus God’s Not Dead Versus Heaven Is Real

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1. Movies I…Noah Versus God’s Not Dead Versus Heaven Is Real!

Three movies open this week that should be reviewed by all columnists and movie critics. They seem, however, to be a violation of our Let’s Talk column’s policy of not discussing politics, religion, or the Great Pumpkin.

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Noah, the new movie with Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Emma Watson exceeded all critic expectations by over ten million dollars. Noah, unexpectedly, buried the sci-fi book trilogy, Divergent in Divergent’s second week in theaters.

While not getting into the national argument of the violence that shouldn’t have been attributed to Noah or portrayed in the movie, we did have a “crazy office time” contest figuring out the best lead-in for this just released Bible epic. If we were going to write a column about Noah, here are the staff’s suggestions for the creative lead-ins that might have been used. Do you have a topper?:                  

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A Deluge Of Money Fills Noah’s Ark (Mary)
Noah Fans Flood Theater Seats (Josh)
Noah Is A Movie Arc De Triomphe (Keisha)

Couple’s Enjoyed Noah Opening (Regina)
Noah Floats To Number #1 (Durrell)
Controversy Fails To Swamp Noah At The Box Office (Nurse Betty)

Russell Crowe’s Noah Reigns In Theaters (Brad)
Noah Rains At The Box Office (Sarah)
Sarah and Brad should be dating.
At the very least, their desks should be moved closer together.

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Kevin Sorbo is far from his Hercules type roles in God’s Not Dead. Here he plays a disillusioned philosophy professor, who challenges a student to prove that God is not dead.

Heaven is Real stars Greg Kinnear, who plays a dad of a dying child. The child sees heaven and comes back to tell everyone about it.

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After seeing these three movies, you might want to encourage Let’s Talk to change our column’s philosophy. Maybe we need to chime in on the important issues of politics and religion. These three movies would be a great start for a new far-reaching discussion policy. The Great Pumpkin is definitely hands-off, though.

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2. Movies II…Liam Neeson…America’s Newest Non-Stop Action Hero

In the past two weeks a plane has lost its landing gear on takeoff from Philadelphia, another plane lost its wing in midair in Colorado, and 239 passengers are missing on a Pacific Ocean flight. In the midst of all this, we were reluctant to introduce the inflight murder movie Non-Stop with Liam Neeson, an air security guard, and Julianne Moore, his seatmate.

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Liam Neeson is just off his tough guy, family saving roles in the movies Taken I and Taken II and now he is trying to prevent a planeload of people from being taken by a mystery killer. At age 61, Neeson doesn’t fit the mold of action hero. Then you see him quickly go to work with intruders, kidnappers, killers, and family threats. Viola! Misconception! Sorry!

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3. Seasons…Winter Is Dead…Hail Spring!
    Washington, DC’s Cherry Blossom Festival

Forget about the groundhog, The Farmer’s Almanac, and Aunt Bea”s bunions. The “Official Voice of Spring” and indication that winter is over is the April second start of the Washington, DC Cherry Blossom Festival. Washington is a great visit any time of the year, but Cherry Blossom Festival is really an eye-catching delight.

Here is what the official Cherry Blossom Festival site says about the history of this event. The Japanese center and corresponding society is still organizing the event each year with Washington’s flower and tree lovers.
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History of the Cherry Blossom Trees and Festival

“Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries.”

“It took the coordination of many to ensure the arrival of the cherry trees.  A first batch of 2,000 trees arrived diseased in 1910, but did not deter the parties.  Between the governments of the two countries, coordination by Dr. Jokichi Takamine, a world-famous chemist and the founder of Sankyo Co., Ltd. (today know as Daiichi Sankyo), Dr. David Fairchild of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Eliza Scidmore, first female board member of the National Geographic Society, and First Lady Helen Herron Taft, more than 3,000 trees arrived in Washington in 1912. In a simple ceremony on March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two trees from Japan on the north bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park.”


If you can’t make the beauty of Washington’s blossoms in the next few weeks, try Longwood Gardens, twenty miles south of Philadelphia in Kennett Square, Pa. Your camera will be amazed at the color and variety of shots for projects, framing, screensavers, and flower and plant research.

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4. Music…ZZ Ward…She Will ‘Acoustic Rock’ You…The Last Love Song

This week’s ‘what is different’ musical listen is ZZ Ward. Her Last Love Song and Put The Gun Down are suggestion for this week. She is acoustic guitar at its best. Music sites give you two types of videos to watch when exploring new and often listened to performers. The production videos highlighting a song and its story are poignant, zany, and way off beat. They are still great improvements from years past.

Another offering is the artist singing his or her songs with the lyrics on the screen, so you can sing along. ZZ uses this last approach with The Last Love Song. On the video she is singing, but has a crazy musical mimic sing-along from her fans. Ten fans are lip-synching her song. Funny! Very funny! The URL for this rendition can be found and can easily be pasted into your computer’s address bar. The video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVmeIEnKBTw&feature=kp

Freddie Gibbs is the guitarist and rapper that backs ZZ Ward on many of her songs and on her first album. He has six albums of his best gangsta rap out. His multi-platinum swear words will scare a number of parents, though. He is a strange mix with ZZ. Image  Image

5. Music II…Pharrell Williams…Prolific Genius

The Oscars introduced Pharrell Williams to over a billion new fans. That was one billion new fans because he already has that many around the world if you add his record totals and musical collaborations to the mix. He sang the Oscar nominated song Happy from the movie Despicable Me. It was a great jumpstart to the performances on this year’s show. You Tube, Vimeo, and Vevo have all the Oscar performances. Bette Midler’s was one of the many standouts. It was shocking to find she never sang anything at the Oscars before this year’s performance.

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His lyrics, collaborations, and performances have been money making gold for himself and everyone under his tutelage. Even last year’s single bestseller Blurred Lines with Robin Thicke was a monster hit and creative don’t miss the video sell. The video is far from Despicable Me and shows his work from children’s to adult rated music. Wrecking Ball with Miley Cyrus was a discussion popper, too.

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6. Monthly Salutes…April Has An Ark Full Of Tributes

Ten different groups and causes are celebrating April as their month to bring their ideas and mission statement to the forefront. Here are three tributes you can embrace. April is Salute To Poetry Month, Salute To Children Of Veteran’s Month, and Preventing Child Abuse Month. Schools and organizations in your area will give you information for joining and supporting the celebrations.

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In the index bar at the top of this column is an all-encompassing download for Salute To Poetry Month. There are thirty ideas that can be used or expanded. We have, also, created a poetry site called (catapultintopoetry.wikispaces.com). The site has fifty poetry Powerpoints and lessons ready to use at any level.

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7. Poetry…The Wordle…A Poetry And Storytelling Graph Supreme

If you have explored everything in poetry, try making a poetic Wordle. A Wordle is a word and poetry diagram for any type of creative writing. You have seen them in newspapers and magazines but probably didn’t realize what thet were called. Drop this link you’re your address bar and you will be taken to a creative video on how to create a Wordle. Share the video with your children, parent friends, and teachers. There are 25 uses for the Wordle in any language arts and reading program. (https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a95naa620r5t7af/ESuItISAf1/Audios_Educational#lh:null-4.%20Wordle%E2%80%A6Jing%20Talk%20.mov). The video is the third across the top line when the site opens.

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8. Movies III…Divergent…Wasn’t Divergent

The Divergent movie will make five hundred million dollars worldwide. The three Veronica Roth books Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant that the movie is based on sold as many copies.

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Shailene Woodley, Theo James, and Kate Winslet star in this science fiction look at a class structured future. The groups in Shailene Woodley’s (Tris) community are brave, peaceful, selfless, intelligent, or honest. Those that do not fit in like Shailene are called ‘divergent’ and a threat to this caste-structured society. Kate Winslet is “Miss Evil” in this one similar to Jodie Foster who wanted to keep classes apart in Elysium. It was hard to separate her from her roles in her last five love stories.

There weren’t any surprises in the movie unless you did not read the books. Shailene’s strength in the movie transferred to what her character was in the books. Her love in the movie, Theo James, was a lot hunkier that his book counterpart. We made that up using the poetic license columnists are allowed in their writings. All the girls in the office voted for that analogy. Hunkier was their word.

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9. Spelling…Bad Words…Jason Bateman

Jason Bateman directs and stars in the spelling bee movie Bad Words. Jason has an eighth grade education and a photographic memory. Along with a newspaper sponsorship, at age 40, he qualifies for the national spelling bee. He is, of course, up against grade school students.

Kathryn Hahn is his newspaper profiler and wants the 40 year old’s story. Allison Janney wants him out of the contest. Rohan Chand is a ten-year-old contestant that adopts Jason. They all are going to butt heads somewhere in the movie.

Life has thrown Jason a curve and he is angry at everyone…even grade school spellers. Maybe winning a national spelling bee is redemption!? Maybe it is his way of getting back at life!? At any rate, the spelling lessons and definitions of the words used in the competitions will make you a better speller, reader, and writer. You will have to decide is his anger justified or magnified. The dinner discussion was mixed.

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10. Poetry II…Proud Words Revisited

Proud Words
By Carl Sandburg

Thanks to Vyra, Suzzanne, Missy, and their Junior High friends I found out about the concept of proud words. Suzzanne told me she used proud words and lost a good friend. I had no idea what she was talking about so I asked her to explain. She shared this poem with me and I still didn’t understand her predicament until she explained her situation to me. Read the poem below and see if you can understand her problem.

Proud Words

Look out how you use proud words.
When you let proud words go,
it is not easy to call them back.
They wear long boots, hard boots;
They walk off proud; they can’t hear you calling–
Look out how you use proud words.

…Carl Sandburg. Primer Lesson

1. What are proud words?

2. What situations have you been in where you have used proud words?

3. What was the outcome of using them?

4. My advice to Suzanne wasn’t very good. What advice would you give to someone who has used proud words and regrets it?

5. Who was Carl Sandburg? Research Carl Sandburg poems and illustrate your favorite on the back of this discussion sheet.

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11. Culinary Arts…In Search Of Grant Money…Can Anyone Help?
       Our Third 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 curriculum.

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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12. 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 relisting 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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13. Let’s Talk’s Educational Website

Please check out our FREE educational website at aimtjp.wikispaces.com.

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.


14. 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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