137. Elvis Presley, Howard Behrens, and John Malkovich

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    1. Music…Elvis Presley…37th Anniversary…A Reflection!5. elvis333         5. elvis2August is the month rock and roll enthusiasts and more pay tribute to Elvis Presley. The events in Memphis at his Graceland home and the tributes in Las Vegas are attended by tens of thousands. There are candlelight vigils, dress up as Elvis free buffets, memorabilia showings, movie screenings, and Elvis impersonator contests. Eighteen years of columns following these events should leave us with a depleted database of interesting ideas.

Such is not the case!

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Elvis Presley recorded over 800 songs. He sang and wrote another 400 that he did not record. The Elvis Presley Channel (19) on SiriusXM plays them all. Presley starred in over 30 movies while eating his favorite treat…the peanut butter, jelly, and banana sandwich.

Priscilla Presley has crafted a well thought-out, classy, informative, headphone driven tour of his simple home at Graceland. Elvis Presley is buried in back of the house with his parents. Every year we point out the significance of presents that are left at his grave site and then given to local charities. Bring something on your visit for this mission!

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  1. Art…Howard Behrens…An Artistic Composer!

For sixty years, Howard Behrens (1933-2014) has been the best at bright colors, the seascape, and the Alpine village. His death in April from Parkinson’s disease was greatly mourned while his life and work were praised throughout an often-cynical art world. His work on our office walls and the stories they told led us to a greater examination of his life.

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Behrens said that too many painters are musicians when they could be composers. He encouraged every painter to be the creator of new forms not the follower of the work of past or present artists or periods of art.

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He described his unusual painting style and the themes his work portrayed in the following manner: “Many years ago, I learned that the only way I can really achieve what I feel in my paintings is to create them using a palette knife instead of a brush. I love the boldness of the knife, and the control I have of color. Using the knife, I find that I can capture not only the softness of clouds, but also the boldness of mountains, the vibrancy of flowers, and the strength of water. I move the knife furiously as I apply deep, rich color in many layers to achieve dimension and mood.”

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Behrens’ artwork (www.howardbehrens.com) depicting the Mediterranean Sea and its bordering villages would be perfect for any yacht, home, or office. His reprints are very reasonably priced. His originals start at $12,000. We can dream!

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  1. Business…Our Office Is Smarter Than Your Office!

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For the third time this year we are proving conclusively that our office staff is extremely more intelligent than yours. This week’s question from a lead and concerned staffer was: Did you notice that contact lens cases only have the right case labeled? You can’t make this up! Once again, you witness office genius. We are proud to offer readers our unique insights into the world of the unexplained.

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  1. Business II…Maybe Our Office Isn’t As Bright As We Think? But!
    Here Is Our Second ‘World Of Breathtaking Intelligence’ Example!

Our office looks brilliant compared to this one. You decide? Local insurance companies and attorneys feature this television advertisement. You have heard it hundreds of times…but did you really hear it?

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“If this medicine (insert name) has caused you permanent damage, dismemberment, or death…please contact us.”

The key word in this phrase is death. Hey! We noticed? Now, do you remember hearing it? We have written to three of these companies. We asked these companies to contact us if they do get a message from beyond. There are a large number of questions we would like to ask family members and friends who are no longer with us.

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  1. Television…Pirates In 2014? Our Timbers Are Shivering!
    Crossbones Is Quickly Dispatched To The Briny Deep!

    A Movie Audience Didn’t Embrace Their Inner Pirate!

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Crossbones is/was NBC’s new pirate epic. It was pulled from its time slot before airing its last two episodes. John Malkovich and a stellar cast could not grab any sizeable viewing audience. They deserved better! Usually, a first episode has decent numbers then sometimes succumbs to failing viewership. This adventure didn‘t even have good first watch numbers. Our staffers found it interesting as all Crossbones’ episodes can now be watched on your On Demand and relisting channels.

Edward “Blackbeard” Teach (Malkovich) is a real life character. On your next visit to Charleston, South Carolina you can visit Fort Sumter, take Charleston’s super citywide walking tour, and visit the jail that housed Blackbeard.

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Minecraft is an Internet game that allows you to build hundreds of things with blocks and shapes. Ages four to eighty love their game challenges. 60 million players just purchased their new game release. Minecraft’s Black Pearl pirate ship construction adventure was attacked by over thirty million players. You can find a lengthy tutorial at (www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnh54E49uM8). We thought this audience would be grabbed by this new pirate adventure. They weren’t.

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  1. Music II…A Week Of Eclectic Songs…Our Diverse Suggestions!Try Loading This Week’s Pick Six Into Your Music File!

This week’s “must listen” tune selections are all over the amp up the stereo and roll down the car windows’ map. The Presley selections were picked long before thoughts of featuring Elvis again on this column.

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Kelly Clarkson…The People Like Us (This song is better than Stronger, Taller, and Lonely.)

Passenger…Let Her Go (Lessons learned from letting a lover go)

Elvis Presley…True Love Travels On A Gravel Road (One of the best of his seldom featured songsBlue Eyes Crying In The Rain is another)

Marie Miller…Six Foot 2 (She wants a tall man with other requirements)

Foo Fighters…What If  (Staying up all night deciding if you’re in love)

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Wilson Phillips…Hold On (A most memorable Bridesmaids’ movie finale)

A Wilson Philips’ Note: Their new album Dedicated is a tribute to The Beach Boys and The Mamas and Papas. Their reality television series, Still Holding On, has some great highs and lows… and funny disputes.

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  1. Entertainment…Will Ferrell’s The Spoils Of Babylon (6 Episodes)!
    Camp Or Comedy!  

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If you do not get the Funny or Die channel from your local cable provider, you are being cheated out of your Macy’s shopping money.

The videos created by this group (sometimes lead by Will Ferrell) are so left of “tongue in check” that you are embarrassed to be laughing at their presentations. The Spoils of Babylon is a great starting point to embrace their special kind of stupid.

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Toby Maguire, Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer, and Jessica Alba star in this mystery surrounding an oil family that rose from nothingness to world prominence. You will not believe the quality of the acting and special effects. Get back to us on this one, please!

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Will Ferrell’s The Landlord and his Good Cop, Baby Cop (2007) are still the all time best of Funny or Die. Both videos feature his shockingly good, two year old daughter in her first acting gig.. Mom is out of sight helping her with her lines since she can’t read the prompter. We wonder what she is doing now as a nine year old.

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  1. Movies II…The Newton Boys (1998)…Bank Robbing Virtuosos!

The Newton boys ‘five’ (four brothers and a best friend) were the most successful bank robbers in US history. They robbed (1919-1924) 80 banks and two trains. The last train led to their capture and four month to four years imprisonment. They should be more famous than Bonnie and Clyde. However, they weren’t mean enough to catch the public’s attention.

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Willis Newton is the head of the bank robbing team. Matthew McConaughey plays Willis. His supports are brothers Skeet Ulrich, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Ethan Hawke. Julianna Margulies leads the wives and girlfriend’s group.

The team’s extremely successful nitroglycerine techniques lead to the change in safe construction throughout the world. Present day hackers are now being paid gigantic sums of money to investigate and repair software in order to block similar glitches. In their day, the Newtons would have made good agents in the FBI’s banking and fraud division.

Joe Newton, train robber extraordinaire, appeared on Johnny Carson (1980). He made his group of bandits appear to be angels. This is one of the reasons their prison sentences were so light, plus they didn’t kill anyone while staging their heists. They were no angels!

  1. Our Weekly Column Idea Request (It Is Your Turn!)

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Elvis Presley and John Malkovich would be proud of you for contributing two creative paragraphs on the movies, books, comics, art, music, gaming, education, travel, or more for our column. Don’t be afraid to let your creative self fly into any area except politics and religion.

Our reading audience is insatiable for any new 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 in a personal section as well as throughout the Let’s Talk’s 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 handing out Let’s Talk 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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