134. Kate Hudson, Zack Braff, Keira Knightly, and Mark Ruffalo

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1. Movies I…Begin Again…Talent Realized!

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Every new artist, application developer, musician, singer, medical researcher, and entrepreneur should be lucky enough to find someone who could take their nugget of a new idea and change it to a mountain of gold. Mountain of gold, of course, is a metaphor for some for recognition, fame, and riches. For others, it is just the joy of seeing their idea on a larger plain, sharing a talent, or making a difference in the world.

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Mark Ruffalo is a music producer that had that difference making ability. We stress the past tense depicted by the word had. He is five years removed from his last musical find. He is separated from his wife and teenage daughter. Alcohol is his good and only friend. The music company he founded no longer thinks he is relevant and does not believe in his ideas. The separation was painful and not very pretty.

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In the movie, Keira Knightley is dating Adam Levine (Maroon 5, The Voice). Their music and writing partnership has propelled Levine to stardom. Levin is going through the changes some people go through at this new adoration level. Some of the changes are not good! Levine has left Knightley and the stories Knightley’s simple ballads tell for the lure of the bright lights. He amped up the simple beauty of her ballads. They are still part of his show, but tell a very different story.

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Enter Ruffalo! He discovers Keira on a bar stool with her guitar and a new song in hand. His vision kicks in as he sees every piece of an orchestra behind her music. In one, fifteen-second spot, the movie audience sees how a creative musical mind works and shapes a musical nugget. The new team can’t get funding anywhere for their collaboration. Ruffalo’s creativity takes Keira’s songs and new album possibilities to the rooftops, streets, and alleys of New York. A movie wow! There, Ruffalo reconnects with music, his wife (Katherine Keener), and his daughter. Keira’s ballads connect to a larger audience. Everyone will find a connection in this sweet movie!

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  1. Television…Cedar Cove…Small Town, Big Problems!

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Are big city dreams and values any different from small town dreams and values? In the new television series, Cedar Cove, Andie MacDowell is a small town district judge in family court. She has big town state Supreme Court aspirations. Embracing dreams and values get harder and harder for her every day as she gets caught up in small town politics and the dating scene which she left years ago.

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MacDowell is divorced. She has a daughter that is just as challenging as her court cases. Her love interest is the new newspaper editor. He has left the bright lights. She would like to appear under these lights. There aren’t many big city type stories in this new sleepy town. With MacDowell’s help, he might manage?

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Seeing MacDowell back at work is a treat. She is a younger Angela Lansbury (Murder She Wrote) with far fewer murders, if any, to appear on her docket. MacDowell’s Washington seacoast town and Angela’s Maine town are twins who are three thousand miles apart. You will head to the country after seeing the joy this small town brings to some of its often-eccentric community. Some of the town’s characters may rub off on you.

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  1. Movies II…Wish I Was Here…Family Magnified!

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If you are Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, or Jewish, you will recognize the family problems in Zack Braff’s (written and directed) Wish I Was Here. He is an out of work actor. His wife, Kate Hudson, is the family breadwinner at a job she hates. Their son and daughter attend a Jewish school financed by Mandy Patinkin. One child embraces the school’s religious message to dad’s chagrin.  The other sleeps a lot in class. Dad is a religious fence sitter. Patinkin is Zach’s cancer ridden father. Grandfather is forced to withdraw the kid’s school financing to find a cancer cure for himself.

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The neighborhood public school’s zero rating forces Braff to home-school his kids. You have to decide which is worse in the movie, his audition failures or his home schooling program’s curriculum and teaching venues. The well-acted movie is about family, lost connections, religion’s subtle messages, and regaining the love and respect all couples need from each other. You will like Kate Hudson in this role and hopefully it will encourage you to explore her in the rock and roll movie Almost Famous. It is her best “rock and roll groupie” performance ever.

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  1. History…Yuengling Ice Cream…Is It Better Than Their Beer?

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Ronald Reagan gave his “Mr. Gorbachev Tear Down This Wall” speech standing in front of the Germany’s Brandenburg Gate in June of 1987.

More important, though, was his July 1984 speech and law decree that brought July into the American mainstream as National Ice Cream Month.

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When you have an always-packed Rita’s, Haagen Dazs, Baskin-Robbins, and Friendly’s ice creamery two minutes from your classroom, it doesn’t take a genius to realize Reagan had something with his 1984 law! This summer’s search for the ultimate ice cream treat takes us to upstate Pennsylvania and the Yuengling Brewery. They have been making beer for 185 years and ice cream for 65 years. Black and Tan is a good beer, but it is an awesome chocolate and caramel ice cream delicacy. B & T was a total office-staff-voting winner.

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A Yuengling ice cream store sale’s locator can be found at
http://www.yuenglingsicecream.com. It will let you know what stores in addition to Giant Markets are carrying Yuengling’s products and flavors in your area. Definitely start with the Black and Tan. You will thank us four times over while wiping the smile from your face! Party Hearty!

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  1. Music I…Gavin DeGraw…Bruno Mars’s Hat Looks Good On Him!

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    If you like Bruno Mars, you will love Gavin DeGraw. They are musical brothers from a different uncle. Their hats are similar, their music is similar, and their song themes and catch phrases will certainly grab you. Like many of our other comparative selections the two perfectly matched singers seem like the picture-perfect duo for the next road tour for either artist.

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We recommend these three Gavin DeGraw songs (listed below) as a great first time musical experience, especially, if you haven’t heard Gavin’s music, yet. Not Over You has 16 million Internet plays. A big group of music lovers is listening to him! The simplicity of the stories his videos tell is worth a look, too.

  1. The Best I Ever Had
  2. Make A Movie
  3. Not Over You

Listening to Degraw’s duet with Colbie Caillat, We Both Know, will introduce you to Ms. Caillat, also. Everyone wants Colbie’s sweet sound and her guitar on their latest album. She is like Italian sauce. She goes with everything. You have probably heard without knowing Colbie on duets with Taylor Swift (Breathe), Common (Favorite Song), and Kate Winslet (What If). Her sound is absolutely worth further exploration.

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  1. Movies III…The Fault In Our Stars…Tears Will Be Shed!

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Please be forewarned! There will be crying in the theater before this movie begins. The people who are crying are the ones who have read John Green’s book of the same name before seeing the movie or who have friends and family members suffering from cancer. Teenagers will be crying as hard as adults. Many cancer stricken families will avoid this movie. They shouldn’t. The movie has been out for awhile. Now is a good time to see it.

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Shailene Woodley (Hazel) and Ansel Elgort (Gus) are in a teen cancer support group. She has lung cancer. He has lost part of his leg to cancer. Ten other teens are members of this group. They reveal their battles with all types of cancer including Gus’s friend who is losing his remaining eye to cancer.

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Shailene and Ansel are excellently cast and shine on the screen. They are battling her cancer as she tries to ward off his advances. She doesn’t have much hope for a long life and can’t see hurting him with her death. He is cute, endearing, and endless in his efforts to make her like him. Laura Dern, as Shailene’s mother, goes through what every parent of a sick child has experienced. You can see three shoot-em-ups, monster, and invasion pictures on your vacation this week or you can see The Fault In Our Stars, Born Again, and Wish I Was Here. There will be far fewer audience members in the seats, but you will have far more creative memories as you return to work.

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  1. Fashion Decisions Can Kill…The Dilemma Syndrome!

    1. Fashion2           1. aguysfashion

Every graduate creative writing course has units on:
A. Critical thinking
B. Decision making; and
C. Business and entrepreneurship
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Many people spend more time waffling about decisions than in making them. The Dilemma Syndrome activity that we are presenting is very difficult for someone that wants to weigh twenty courses of action before making even the simplest of decisions. Participating in this process won’t change your life, but it might speed up your creative process. Your answers must be yes or no (and why?). Neither hemming nor hawing is allowed in this activity. You cannot create something for both sides of the issue. Please tell us which side you are on in this problem and why?

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Today’s Dilemma Problem

Your clothes (men, women) closet is depleted of clean clothes. The only thing in it that is wearable is an outfit you hate. You are forced to wear it. Smelling bad in unwashed clothes in not an option today. Everywhere you go wearing that outfit, people compliment you on your selection. Your best outfits never have received so many compliments. Do you wear that outfit again or does it remain a stigma to your good taste and it is put in the far reaches of your wardrobe?

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Next Week’s Dilemma Problem!
Should animals be used for medical and product testing?

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  1. Revelations…How Stuff Works…A Mouse Click To Genius!

How Stuff Works (www.howstuffwork.com) is one of the most informative sites on the Internet. Its database of ideas is expanding exponentially. Exponentially is probably not true. We heard the word “exponentially” used in a recent monster computer movie, so we thought it might fit in this website write-up. The site does have a plethora of information. Plethora!?

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If you are getting your brains destroyed on any game from Car Chase 10 to Scrabble to Asteroids to Monopoly to Words With Friends, How Stuff Works has all the answers. They have ideas for both beginners and experts. How Stuff Works was a research mainstay for our K-12 students and teachers years ago. It is even better now that we have discovered the site’s multiple sublevels of fantastic information in every subject area.

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If something in your universe does not work or if you want to find out about that particular items inner and outer workings HSW is the place for the answer. We are still trying to find out something it doesn’t cover. No luck yet! Read some of the items featured on their column before your next party. It will make you look like a genius…chicks and guys love geniuses!

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  1. The Expanding Universe…Audience Mesmerize Us, Please!

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Somewhere in the far reaches of your brain and your computer are two creative paragraphs on books, art, music, gaming, education, travel or more. Our reading audience is insatiable for any idea…even yours!

Your ideas and suggestions should be sent to Tom Palumbo at tjpalumbo@aol.com. Please send a photo or two with your two-paragraph contribution. We’d love to display your art and photography on Let’s Talk over our discussions, too. Thank you for adding your work and expertise to this column! Your varied ideas, experiences, products, 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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We subscribe to the concept of reflected glory! Everyone that submits something for the column makes us look better. After 20 years of paper pamphlets and now a WordPress column, we hope Let’s Talk is getting better looking and more informative with each issue. Ask your friends to drop their email in the follow box in the bottom right hand corner of the opening page to receive the column each week. The follow box does not appear on your phone, but does when reading the column on your computer. The column is archived. You can read new write-ups and old write-ups at your convenience.

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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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