180. King, McConaughey, Baldacci, Great Vacations, And England’s Queen!


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1. Let’s Talk Philadelphia’s Best Of The Week!

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Best Book Of The Week!
David Baldacci Starts Your After The 4th Reading!
The Last Mile Will Have You Driving To The Book Store For More!
TV’s Unforgettable With Poppy Montgomery And Dylan Walsh!
Poppy And Dylan Are A Great Companion To Baldacci’s Work!


The David Baldacci Camel Club Series is the best of his seven different book series. The Camel Club has the best characters, sleuthing, historical settings, and mysteries by far. Start there, if you have never read one of Baldacci’s books. With over 110 million copies sold of all his books (20 languages and 40 countries), David Baldacci is mystery writing and detective story supreme. You probably knew that!


Baldacci’s newest book The Last Mile is the second in the Amos Decker detective series. Book one was Memory Man. Decker is an investigator that remembers everything. In his latest foray into trouble, two convicts on death row, who happen to be football players, are released from prison because someone confessed to their crimes. Those confessions happened just hours before one of the prisoners was going to be  put to their death in a Texas lethal injection chamber. Amos Decker’s investigation seems like nothing out of the ordinary until one of his partners goes missing in the middle of the research search. Something is amiss! It is a good thing Decker knows everything!


Poppy Montgomery and Dylan Walsh star in a similar memory concept television series called Unforgettable. The television series is in its fifth year and is still attracting new viewers. Maybe the book Decker and the television Montgomery will meet and really do an Unforgettable mind meld partnership show. The television shows Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago PD have already taken on this cross-show, sharing type of challenge. Until then, enjoy Baldacci’s new book and the Unforgettable series through On Demand until Dylan and Walsh return in the fall.

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Best Car Or Truck Of The Week!
Peterbilt Tri-Axel Dump Truck Is The Champ At One Million Miles!

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Pennsylvania holds more records than any state in the United States. Stretching the truth is one of those records. This week Lloyd Bollinger, Jr. helped the state to set a new record. He drove his Peterbilt dump truck past the one million mile mark. He has made the city of Palmerton, Pennsylvania proud while driving around accident free since 1977. We are trying to see if we can visit Lloyd for a ride in his most famous truck? His picture above with his family shows he is people friendly.

Best Queen Elizabeth Story Of The Week!
Relish The Relish Fair Monarch!

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If you think you like burgers, Queen Elizabeth likes them more. One of the richest women in the world at 500 million dollars owns a MacDonald’s. Here is how the British Daily Telegraph relayed the story to its readers: “Among Her Majesty’s most recent acquisitions is a retail park in Slough. The park encompasses a drive-through McDonald’s which the Queen can see from her Windsor Castle window. Bath Road Retail Park was purchased this month for £92 million by the Crown Estate. It administers the monarch’s property portfolio.” Everyone in the office has a burger joke about the Queen of England’s burger fetish. We are too sophisticated to do that!

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Best Website Of The Week!
ReverbNation: Maestro! A Music Drum Roll, Please!
Find The Nation: (www.reverbnation.com)!

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ReverbNation is celebrating its tenth year promoting the best of new music worldwide. The Nation supports singers, musicians, songwriters, and producers in 150 countries with a staff of 90 dedicated to the art workers. The group has developed, among its other tools, a TuneWidget that allows musicians to drop their best work onto the ReverbNation website for immediate worldwide promotion and for viewers/listeners to discover new talent and leave their opinions while enjoying these artist’s performances.

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ReverbNation says:  “We help artists grow lasting and rewarding careers by introducing them to music industry partners, exposing them to fans, and building innovative tools to promote their work.”

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This week our musical discoveries thanks to ReverbNation rival anything on television and on the Internet. The following songs and videos would be a fitting companion to add to your ReverbNation discoveries. Our can’t miss performers include:
1. Ella Henderson…start with her song Ghost then the Ghost album
Victoria Canal…one armed singer and piano player…
3. Rhydian Roberts…Welsh tenor…
4. Dani-elle…Country songstress…Nashville’s 2016 New Artist winner…


Best Lie Of The Week!
We Will Not Be Discussing Nathan’s Original’s 100th Anniversary!
We Will Not Be Telling You About Joey Chestnut’s 70 Hot Dog Record!
Nor Will We Be Telling You About The Female Winner Miki Sudo.

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For the last 100 years The University Of The Arts (where this column originated 20 years ago) has sent someone to cover the annual July 4th, Nathan’s Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest. It was a paid gig. The line of students vying for this job stretched around Walnut Street, one of Philadelphia’s main thoroughfares.

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Now, we are told the origin of this contest is a lie. The contest has only been in existence for 44 years with the rest a fabricated story. It was well told story about Irish immigrants competing for eating prowess 100 years ago. What did fifty-six years of University of the Arts students do with the money? Can we get it back from their families to invest in University parking. The city never offers enough to students!

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Joey Chestnut won for the seventh time this year. Takeru Kobayashi, eight time winner, has been banned from the contest, because, he refuses to join the hot dog eating union. Yes! Hot Dog eating union! You can’t make something like this up! Because of the lie, we are petitioning The University of the Arts to ban hot dogs from the cafeteria. Gretchen, this year’s column representative in New York, brought back three boxes of Nathan’s best for the office. As soon as we finish the gift, the ban the dog request will be sent to the President. Gretchen brought a Brian back, too. She said something about July 4th fireworks with him!


2. Books/Movies…Stephen King…The Dark Tower Series!
Idris Elba And Matthew McConaughey To Star!
The Man In Black Is Being Followed!
Where Are You Hiding Dark Tower?

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It is strange to hear that Stephen King’s Dark Tower Series has taken ten years and four directors to get to the big screen at your local theater (February 17, 2017). It is one of King’s most successful series. The eight book series has sold thirty five million copies in over forty countries. The books comprises 4250 pages of work. We embraced the series by listening to The Gunslinger (6 CD’s) while racing around America’s interstates. Did you ever miss a turn while listening to a book! We missed two!


In earlier filming discussions, Javier Barden and Russell Crowe were scheduled to star in this magic laced, dark science fantasy. Sony, since taking over the project, has recruited Matthew McConaughey to play the evil Man In Black. Idris Elba plays the the gun strapped hunter who is chasing the Man In Black. Idris is the last surviving member of a group of honorable knights called Gunslingers. His weapons are, of course, guns not swords. Slung crossed over his chest…they were given to him by his father.

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There are twelve strong and dangerous women in the Tower books. The latest addition to the cast is Katheryn Winnick. The strong minded Katheryn Winnick’s role still has not been divulged! Idris’s character changed race from the book series to the movie. Many are predicting Winnick’s role will, too. Catch her in the Vikings! This strong, tough Canadian actress has a black belt in karate and a Best Lead Actress nomination. She plays Lagertha on The History Channels Viking series! Acting alongside the formidable duo (Idris/Matthew) in The Dark Tower series will be no obstacle for her.

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A nice aside to the start of The Dark Tower’s filming is Matthew McConaughey’s new role as a real college instructor. He has accepted this role in the fall at his alma mater, The University of Texas, Austin. McConaughey will be joined by Hunger Games director Gary Ross. The Moody School of Film at the university is abuzz and graduate students are fighting for the sixty spots in the class. We are 61st, if someone gets ill.

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3. Travel/Resorts…Lake Vermillion…Sunrise And Sunset Awe!
A Member Of National Geographic’s Top Ten American Lakes!

Editor’s Note: Each week we try to pick articles and topics that are inspiring, informative, newsworthy, and different. We, often, think a particular topic will generate great response; like the preventable female zoo keeper’s death at an area zoo. That article, about an unfortunate death that could easily been avoided, generated no response. Last week, as a lark, we printed a rare fish story from readers in Wales and highlighted the European lake the fish inhabits. More people responded to that article and their own lake than responded to the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia.

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National Geographic Magazine voted Vermillion Lake in Cook, Minnesota one of America’s top ten most picturesque lakes. Four of the five lake photos pictured here are from Joshua, Megan, and Jesse. The three are tourist recruiters and fans of their area. We were encouraged by them to feature their 10 by 24 mile lake and its 200 islands on the Let’s Talk Philadelphia column. The picture with the purple hues was commissioned by the National Geographic Magazine for their article. Its unbelievable color doesn’t look real. It is! J, M, and J’s pictures look beautiful and far more realistic. National Geographic should send them some money.

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Vermillion Lake borders Canada and has a variety of resorts and camping options in Minnesota and Canada. You can easily find modern, country, and rustic  lodging bordering the lake. The lodging topper is the 70 year old Ludlow Island Resort.  The Ludlow Resort has four….four story dream catcher tree houses to rent with brilliant views of the lake. We repeat. Your are living in a tree house and your children will love you forever or until they start dating.

4. Television…MTV’s Chronicles Of  Shanarra..Forward Brave Fantasy!
The Four Lands Need To Throw Out The Demons! Ellcrys Is Dying!
Terry Brooks Spins His Four Books Into Two Years Of Television!

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What should an enduring fantasy have for excitement and mind capturing themes to attract television viewers? Take 30 seconds to write your favorite fantasy wants and needs on piece of pink, perfumed paper (ala Reese Witherspoon). Read our actual List of Shannara after your short writing and thinking pause ends.

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If it were in any fantasy you have ever read, MTV has carefully placed it into The Chronicles Of Shannara. The tree, Ellcrys, that is the keeper of wisdom, history, and a prison for all the realms demons is dying. Each time a piece of the tree dies, a demon monster and its followers is released into the Four Lands. The King is John Rhys Davies. No one in the king’s castle or sacred council knows how to stop this threat.

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The king’s ward (Poppy Drayton) has just passed the warrior’s initiation. No women in the kingdom has never done this before. Ellcrys talks to Poppy and no one else. It shows her the kingdom’s future and past. Hordes of knights (Austin Butler), elves, Druids, sorcerers, dwarfs, gnomes, changelings, thieves (James ReMar), magicians (Manu Bennett), and flying serpents support and block the Princess from the mysterious, kingdom saving quest. MTV Rewatch has the first ten episodes. You can, also, find the series on NerFlix. Happily, the show has been renewed for next year. Season two will debut next January. You have time to fantasize through season 1!

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5. Do You Have Art Or Photography Ready To Reach A Greater Audience?
Would Your Business Look Great On This Column?
Three Thousand Readers Would Like To Hear About Your Work!


Do you have a topic that can be featured on this column or can you contribute two creative paragraphs on your favorite movies, books, comics, art, music, gaming, educational news, travel sites, or more for our column? Don’t be afraid to let your creative self fly into any area except politics and religion. We do not go there!


Your ideas, creative column contributions, and future column 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 Philadelphia’s discussions. 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. We hope you like the insights and contributions of dozens of readers from throughout five continents.



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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