lunes, 26 de septiembre de 2022

THANKSGIVING DAY/ A SHORT HISTORY. ACCIÓN DE GRACIAS. UNA BREVE HISTORIA.

Hi my dear friends. Do you know Thanksgiving Festivity? It's very popular in USA and Canada and today we are going to look at its origins. I hope you'll like it!  Happy Thanksgiving Day!


Hola mis queridos amigos. ¿Conocéis la festividad de Acción de Gracias? Es muy popular en Estados Unidos y en Canadá y hoy vamos a ver sus orígenes. ¡Espero que os guste! ¡Feliz Día de Acción de Gracias!


Info: from Speak Up magazine.

Photos: grandlodgeofkentucky.org  /  e-lingua.es  /  freepik.es  /  en.wikipedia.org  /  elvalleingles.es





A SHORT HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING

Like many other festivities, the holiday of Thanksgiving usually includes a delicious, abundant meal.  The classic Thanksgiving  menu consists of dishes like mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, gravy, pumpkin pie, Brussels sprouts and of course, roast turkey. But how did turkey become the star of the table? It all started four centuries ago...




AN AUTUMN PARTY

The "first Thanksgiving" took place in the Plymouth colony (in modern-day Massachussetts) in 1621. The year before, a group of English colonists known as the Pilgrims had arrived there in search of a new home. Only half of them survived their first New England winter.  Helped by some welcoming Native Americans of different tribes, they learnt some farming and fishing techniques. In November 1621, after the Pilgrims' first succesful corn harvest, they organised a celebratory feast with their Native American allies to thank God for it.  However, no turkey was served here.

According to the chronicle  written by Pilgrim Edward Winslow, the menu included deer and "wild fowl" which historians interpret as ducks or geese.  The Pilgrims repeated the feast the following year, and thanksgiving celebrations became common practice in other New England settlements, too.





THE WOUNDS OF A NATION

Before Thanksgiving was an official holiday, turkey had become a popular dish to serve on special occasions.  The reasons behind this are that turkey was abundant in America, it was affordable and unlike cows or hens, it was rised to be slaughtered and eaten.  Plus, it was big: one single turkey was enough to feed a whole family.

In 1827, Sarah Josepha Hale, in her novel "Northwood", described a New England Thanksgiving feast with a roast turkey "placed at the head of the table".  Hale and other supporters started campaigning to establish Thanksgiving as a official national holiday.  In 1863, Abraham Lincoln finally accepted the proposal, asking all Americans to take it as an opportunity to ask God to help all the victims of the ongoing Civil War.



PARDONING THE TURKEY

Sending the U.S. President a turkey as a present had become a common thing to do by the 20th century.  And this tradition gave rise to another tradition: pardoning the turkey.

The first president to throw a ceremony to pardon a turkey from the Thanksgiving table was John F. Kennedy in 1963.  Pardoning the turkey became an "official" act in 1989, and from then on presidents have chosen one or two turkeys every year to be sent to a farm to live instead of becoming the Thanksgiving dinner.


VOCABULARY

-mashed potatoes: puré de patatas  /  green beans: judías verdes  /  dinner rolls: panecillos  /  cranberry: arándano  /  pumpkin pie: pastel de calabaza  /  Brussels sprouts: coles de Bruselas  /  pilgrims: peregrinos  /  welcoming: hospitalarios  /  harvest: cosecha  /  allies: aliados  /  deer: ciervo  /  wild fowl: ave salvaje  /  geese: ocas  /  settlements: asentamientos  /  affordable: asequible  /  unlike: a diferencia de  /  ongoing: en curso  /  to give rise: dar lugar  /  from then on: desde entonces  /  gravy: salsa de carne.


**THANKSGIVING DAY WILL BE THIS YEAR ON November 24th.

**El Día de Acción de Gracias este año será el 24 de Noviembre.




lunes, 12 de septiembre de 2022

ULURU - Australia - THE SACRED ROCK / Uluru - La Roca Sagrada.

Hi my dear friends. Australia is a very far continent which is difficult to travel to if you are in Europe. for instance. So, today we are going to visit Australia with this post and especially we will go to Uluru, The Sacred Rock. I hope you'll like it!


Hola mis queridos amigos. Australia es un continente muy lejano al que es difícil viajar si estás en Europa por ejemplo. Así que, hoy vamos a visitar Australia con este post y especialmente iremos al Uluru, La Roca Sagrada. ¡Espero que os guste!


Info:  from Speak-Up magazine.   Photos: worldhistory.org  /  lonelyplanet.es  /  viajes.nationalgeographic.es  /  asknature.org  /  sharkbay.org  /   daily.mail.org





ULURU, THE SACRED ROCK

In the heart of Australia's Northern Territory lies Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, an expansive arid zone colloquially called the country's red centre.  Its focal point is Uluru, a mamoth red rock also known as AYERS ROCK, a name given to it by European settlers a century ago.  Now returned to the Anangu people, Uluru is a deeply sacred monument to its traditional indigenous owners, who have lived there for over thirty thousand years.





FORMATION

Uluru, which means "great pebble", started to form about 550 million years ago.  Rainwater ran down high mountains, eroding sand and rock and forming big fan shapes on the plains.  The whole area submerged, and sand and mud covered the seabed.  The weight turned the sand into sandstone and the softer rocks eroded, leaving this spectacular form.





CONTOUR AND COLOUR

Standing 348 m high, and with a total circumference of 9.4 km, most of Uluru's mass is below the surface, reaching depths of up to 6 km.  It is formed out of arkose rock: the red and grey surface is the rusting of iron found naturally in arkose, while the rock's original grey colour can be seen inside its caves. From a distance, Uluru changes colour from ochre to rust to plum and charcoal. The thorny devil (Moloch horridus) is a lizard endemic to Australia which lives there.





ANCESTRAL BEINGS

The features of Uluru have a deeper meaning for the Anangu.  According to indigenous cultural beliefs, it was created in the very beginning of time when ancestral spirits crossed the land creating landscapes and life.  The gigantic fissures in the sandstone are linked to these beings, and the caves around Uluru's base are still used to perform sacred rituals.




SONGLINES

While visitors can no longer climb Uluru, you can still walk numerous hiking tracks around it.  The Anangu welcome visitors who wish to learn about their ancient history, culture and their spiritual connection to the land, which, according to their beliefs, carries creation stories known as "songlines" recounting the adventures of their ancestral beings.




VOCABULARY

-SETTLERS: colonos.-DEEPLY: profundamente. -PEBBLE: guijarro. -TO RUN DOWN: descender.FAN: abanico -  -MUD: barro  -SEABED: fondo marino  -SANDSTONE: arenisca. -TO REACH: alcanzar.  -ARKOSE: arcosa (un tipo de arenisca)  -RUSTING: oxidación  -PLUM: ciruela  -CHARCOAL: carbón.  -HIKING TRACKS: pistas de senderismo.



miércoles, 25 de mayo de 2022

THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL - ICONIC VENUE / UNA SALA ICÓNICA.

Hi my dear friends. Today we are going to know a bit more about an inconic venue in London -The Royal Albert Hall. I hope you'll like it and you'll go and visit it! 

Hola mis queridos amigos. Hoy vamos a saber un poco más sobre una sala icónica de Londres -El Royal Albert Hall- Espero que os guste y que os animéis a visitarla.

Info: from Speak Up magazine.

Photos: getyourguide.es (2)  /  tripadvisor.es  /  expedia.es  /  thetimes.co.uk  /




ICONIC  VENUE  -  THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL

One hundred and fifty years old, the Royal Albert Hall is a world-famous venue for concerts and indeed all types of events, and is also one of Britain's most distinctive buildings. With a design based on a Roman amphitheatre, the concert hall is 41 metres high and has a glass and wrought-iron dome made up of almost 350,000 kilos of iron and 280,000 kilos of glazing.


DEBT TO ALBERT

The Royal Albert Hall owes its name to Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, and was actually part of a much larger project, which was Albert's own brainchild. In the 1850s, the state bought an enormous estate in South Kensington with the intention of creating a cultural quarter. Albert wanted to extend the influence of science and art on industry. The area, quickly nicknamed "Albertopolis", would eventually also be home to the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, Imperial College, the Royal College of Art and the Royal College of Music.  Sadly, Albert died in 1861, aged just 42, but the hall was named after him. The still-grieving Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone on 20 May 1867 with a golden trowel.




MUSICAL EVENTS

The hall has played host to an incredible number of events and activities. Music was very important in the early years. In the days before microphones, 1,000-strong choirs produced a wall of sound. Richard Wagner was just one composer who appeared on stage -he would conduct and then rest in a large armchair... on the stage. In 1891, the world's first science fiction convention took place, with a fortune-telling dog, followed ten years later by the world's first bodybuilding contest (one judge was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes' creator)




DIFFERENT SPORTS

In 1909, the hall held Britan's first indoor marathon, accompanied by a military band and an Italian tenor. The hall has actually seen numerous sports, including tennis, boxing and table tennis. In 1991, it saw the first sumo-wrestling tournament held outside Japan.







 "THE PROMS"

In recent decades, the hall has become synonymous with "The Proms", a popular annual eight-week summer season of daily classical music concerts. The tone has become very nationalistic in recent years. Rock and Pop have also had their part to play. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin loved the hall, calling it "the Holy Grail" for musicians. Since 1964, Eric Clapton has played there over two hundred times, comparing it to "playing in my front room".  Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath, meanwhile, played there a couple of times in 1971 and 1972.



AN IMPRESSIVE INSTRUMENT, THE ORGAN.

The equally impressive interior is dominated by the Henry Willis Organ, the largest instrument in the world when the hall opened. With a wind system powered by two steam engines, the 150,000 -kilo organ is 21 metres high and 20 metres wide, and its 9,999 pipes measure 14,5 kilometres in length.  The magnificent interior, however, also had terrible acoustics, as the shocked public discovered during the opening ceremony. There was an echo!!  A joke was born: "The Hall was the only place where a British composer could be sure of hearing his work twice". The problem took almost a hundred years to solve!!




VOCABULARY

-VENUE: sala  /  INDEED: de hecho  /  WROUGHT-IRON DOME: cúpula de hierro forjado  /  GLAZING: acristalamiento  /  TO OWE: deber  /  BRAINCHILD: creación  /  ESTATE: finca  /  TO NICKNAME: apodar  /  STILL-GRIEVING: todavía de luto  /  TROWEL: pala  /  FORTUNE-TELLING:  adivino  /  PROMS: recitales  /  HOLY GRAIL: santo grial  /  STEAM ENGINE: motor de vapor  /  PIPES: tubos  /   



miércoles, 20 de abril de 2022

ROBIN HOOD - REBEL, HERO, LEGEND / ROBIN HOOD - REBELDE, HÉROE, LEYENDA.

Hi my dear friends. Robin Hood, a hero or a legend? Today we are going to know a bit more about this extraordinay man. A rebel outlaw!

Hola mis queridos amigos. Robin Hood, ¿héroe o leyenda? Hoy vamos a saber un poco más sobre este hombre excepcional. Un forajido rebelde. 


Info: from Speak Up magazine.

Photos: es.aleteia.org  /  jotdown.es  /  fotogramas.es.  /  elclubdante.es  /  pinterest.es



ROBIN  HOOD

Probably the most famous legendary character in English folklore, Robin Hood is also one of the most elusive. The popular outlaw from Nottinghamshire has fascinated people all over the world thanks to the legends passed down through the generations, and turned into countless books, films and TV series.

The general consensus is that Robin Hood lived in Sherwood Forest, in the heart of Nottinghamshire, with his companions, or "merry men", and that he robbed the rich who passed through that forest to give  the spoils to the poor.  According to the stories, his arch enemy was the Sheriff of Nottingham, a local agent of the central government.  Other enemies included any wealthy landowners, particularly rich members of the Church.




REALITY

Many attempts have been made to prove that Robin Hood was in fact a real historical figure, but the only concrete evidence of his existence can be found in a few chronicle references and ballads. Although some of them date back to the 14th century, even the medieval chronicle writers who make reference to Robin Hood clearly state that the ballads themselves were the only source material available to them.


These old documents are the closest we can come to any written evidence that such a person existed, and they don't even contain all of the familiar elements of the story.  It wasn't until the 16th century and later that the Robin character changed from being a simple outlaw to a fallen nobleman.

Robin's lady love, Maid Marion, didn't appear till later when the stories took on a more romantic flavour and lost some of their revolutionary nature and social bite.




HISTORICAL PERIOD

One popular modern belief is that Robin Hood lived at the time of Richard I, the great crusader king who earned the title of "Coeur de Lion" - the "Lionheart".

Richard was said to be the hero of Robin Hood and his merry men as they campaigned against the cruelty of Richard's wicked brother, John. When Richard was captured and imprisoned by the German king while sailing back to England from a crusade, John ruled England mercilessly, with the Sheriff of Nottingham as his most ruthless representative.


MEDIEVAL LIFE

While many of the stories remain unproven, one thing is certain: cruelty was an integral part of medieval life. Robin Hood's time was an era of turbulence, rebellions and agrarian discontent, which led, for example, to the Peasants Revolt of 1381.  The earlier Robin Hood ballads may have been the poetic expression of popular feeling at the time. It's easy to imagine suffering common people enjoying a ballad about a free but persecuted outlaw hunting in the forest and outwitting the oppressive forces of law and order.




MEANING

Perhaps the question we should ask ourselves is not whether Robin Hood was a real figure, but what he came to represent -and why.  Over the years, he has symbolised Saxon defiance of Norman rule, free access to common land and the forest, and a quest for justice. Interestingly, Robin Hood's political significance today is very similar, centring on taxation of the rich as a means of redistributing wealth and reducing inequality in society.  So, perhaps it's not surprising that Robin Hood remains a popular, iconic figure and a symbol of progressive thinking rather than a throwback to the past.



VOCABULARY

HOOD: capucha  /  ELUSIVE: huidizo  /  OUTLAW: forajido  /  TO PASS DOWN: transmitir  /  SPOILS: botín  /  ARCH ENEMY: archienemigo  /  TO STATE:  afirmar  /  SOURCE: fuente  /  FALLEN NOBLEMAN: noble venido a menos  /  MAID: doncella  /  FLAVOUR: aroma, sabor  /  BITE: filo, acento  /  BELIEF: creencia  /  CRUSADER: cruzado  /  WICKED: malvado  /  TO RULE: gobernar  /  MERCILESSLY: sin piedad  /  PEASANTS: campesinos  /  TO OUTWIT: superar en ingenio  /  DEFIANCE: desafío  /  QUEST: búsqueda  /  






miércoles, 6 de abril de 2022

DIWALI / FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS - DIWALI / EL FESTIVAL DE LAS LUCES

Hi my dear friends. Today we are going to know a bit more about an Indian celebration, Diwali. I hope you'll like it!

Hola mis queridos amigos. Hoy vamos a saber un poquito más sobre una celebración India, Diwali. ¡Espero que os guste!




Info: from Speak Up magazine.

Photos: birminghammail.co.uk  /  news.leicester.gow.uk  /  nationalgeographic.es  /  unapausaagradable.es  /  indianstyle.es


Diwali is an important event in the Hindu religious calendar -as significant as Christmas for Christians. The five-day Festival of Lights is celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world. It celebrates the victory of hope over despair, knowledge over ignorance and good over evil.

Diwali marks different historical events for each religion. Hindus celebrate the return of the gods Rama and Sita after exile, and the destruction of the demon Mahisha by Mother goddess Durga.  Jains commemorate the moment their founder, Lord Mahavira, reached nirvana, a state of eternal bliss.  Sikhs honour the day that Guru Hargobind Ji was freed from imprisonment.





LIGHTING THE  LAMPS

For all religions that celebrate Diwali, however, it symbolises the triumph of light over darkness. The name "Diwali" comes from the Sanskrit word "deepavali", which means "row of lighted lamps".  This is because people light rows of diyas, small oil lamps, at home, on the streets, in temples and afloat on rivers. It is a beautiful sight.




GOOD LUCK

There are also many other traditions to celebrate Diwali. Floors are covered with rangoli, colourful designs made of rice, sand or flower petals. Doors and windows are opened so that Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, can enter to bless the occupants.

Some people gamble to attract good luck for the year ahead. By playing card games, they commemorate the contests between the gods Shiva and Parvati. In honour of Lakshmi, the female player always wins.



SPECIAL DAYS

Each of the five days has its own observances. On the first day, called Dhanteras, people clean their homes and buy small, gold items to bring good fortune. The second day, called Narak Chaturdashi, is dedicated to prayers for ancestors. Diyas are lit and floors decorated with rangoli. The third day, known as Lakshmi Puja or Diwali Puja (puja means "prayer"), is the main day of the festival. Families gather to pray to Lakshmi, followed by feasts and firework displays. The fourth day, called Goverdhan Puja, celebrates Lord Krishna's defeat of the god king Indra.  People visit friends and families with gifts. It is also the start of the new year in the Hindu calendar, so business people perform religious ceremonies and open new account books.


HONOURING THE FAMILY

The fifth day, called Bhai Dooj, celebrates the bond between siblings. Brothers bring gifts to their sisters, and sisters pray for their brothers to have long and happy lives.







DIWALI IN LEICESTER

Leicester, in the East Midlands, hosts the biggest celebrations of Diwali outside of India, with thousands of lights decorating the city's "Golden Mile". The city has a large Asian community. Many Hindu and Sikh people moved there in the  1950s and 1960s.  A decade later, many Asian people expelled from Uganda also came to Leicester.  Diwali was celebrated in their homes at first. As the community grew, the council, community workers and residents decided to display Diwali lights in the city.  The first public lights were lit in 1983. By the 1990s,  Diwali became a major festival that attracted people from all over the country.  Today, some 6,500 lights are lit and fifty events held, including music, dance, and, of course, a spectacular fireworks show.

                                            *************************************

VOCABULARY

HOPE: esperanza  /  DESPAIR: desesperación  /  KNOWLEDGE: conocimiento  /  EVIL: el mal  /  GODS: dioses  /  GODDESS: diosa  /  TO REACH: alcanzar  /  BLISS: felicidad  /  TO FREE: liberar  /  ROW: fila  /  AFLOAT: flotando  /  WEALTH: riqueza   /  TO BLESS: bendecir  /  TO GATHER: reunirse  /  DEFEAT: derrota  /  BOND: vínculo  /  TO HOST: albergar.  /  TO HOLD: organizar.


SEE YOU MY FRIENDS! 


miércoles, 23 de febrero de 2022

A HIGH PRICE / A SHORT STORY

Hi my dear friends. Today, a "short story" to read and to think about!

Hola mis queridos amigos. Hoy, un relato corto para leer y  ¡pensar!


Info: from Speak Up magazine.

Photos: haberdashers.es  /  euroinnova.edu.es  /  capital.es




A HIGH PRICE by Talitha Linehan

Ted examined his reflection. His shirt was too big for him, and there was a stain on the collar, but it was good enough. Besides, what did you expect for $3?

He felt a sense of satisfaction when he considered how much he'd paid for his shirt. He loved to go into the costly boutiques in the city centre to see how much their shirt costs: $50, $100, $500, then go to the charity shop where he bought all his clothes for a few dollars.

It wasn't that he couldn't afford expensive clothes. He could afford anything he wanted. He was a self-made millionaire. But he hated spending more money than he absolutely had to.

He checked the time. He'd have to leave soon to arrive at his brother James's house for dinner. He didn't visit his family often, but he never said no to a free dinner.

His brother had told him to take a taxi -a taxi would cost $20 for a twenty-minute-journey. James was an idiot to even suggest it!!

Ted was going to walk for twenty minutes to the bus stop, take a forty-minute bus journey, and then walk for another ten minutes to his brother's house, and it would cost him only $2.

He got off at the bus stop near his brother's house, feeling a familiar sense of satisfaction at the money he'd saved. He walked on tree-lines streets, past a park where a family was having a picnic and children were playing. This is the type of area his wife had wanted to move to after he'd taken early retirement, he hadn't wanted to retire because he'd liked working, but his accountant had told him he would make more money by retiring early and living off his pension and investments than by continuing to work.

He'd refused his wife's request. The houses here were exorbitantly expensive, whereas his house was accumulating in value. They'd argued about it many times, and his wife had eventually left him because of it. He'd been terrified that she'd try to take half of his money, but she'd told him she didn't want his money, that she just wanted to be happy.



At James' house, Ted sat at the dinner table with his brother, his brother's wife, Gloria and their five-year-old daughter, Jenny. He told them all about how much money he was making from his investments and all the things he did to save money: buying clothes at charity chops; collecting coupons that he used to buy groceries, going to the local library to use the Internet for free...

"What's an in-vet-ment?" asked Jenny.

"Investment", darling, corrected her mother Gloria. "It's like a piggy bank, where you put your money." She turned to Ted to explain. "We just got Jenny first piggy bank". "Yeah, I saved up $3 already, and if I save  $20, Mommy says I can go to Disneyland again next year. What are you saving up for, Uncle Ted?"

Jenny was adorable but Ted couldn't begin to imagine how much it cost to have a child. It was one of the reasons he'd married his wife, because she couldn't have children. She'd talked about adopting a child, but he'd refused to consider it. "Well, I'm saving up so I have enough money", said Ted.

"What's enough?" asked Jenny.

Following an awkward silence, Gloria said: "Well, you know, your uncle Ted has a lovely big house and lots of money."

"But what's the money for?" asked Jenny.

Nobody responded, and a few moments later her face brightened and she said: "Because it makes him happy, like Disneyland makes me happy."

Another silence followed this revelation, and Ted was uncharacteristically silent for the rest of the evening. He no longer felt like talking about his investments or his property value. He didn't even enjoy the free food.



He took the journey hom after dinner in a depressed state. As he walked to his house, he noticed how ugly the streets were. This was an industrial area, where people lived to work, not to live.

When he entered his house, he noticed how quiet it was; too quiet. He took out his mobile phone to check his investments, hoping they'd made him feel better. But the figures on the screen didn't give him the adrenalin rush they normally did.

His fingers scrolled to the list of phone numbers. There weren't many: his accountant, his broker, a few family members, his ex-wife Sandra...He found himself clicking on her number, and now it was ringing.

"I'm not sure that I'm happy," said Ted, when Sandra answered and they had the first real conversation they'd had in years. She spoke about how she'd felt while married to him, how he'd become more and more frugal over the years to the point that it made her miserable. Sandra said that if she returned to him, they'd have to do things differently: go on vacation, live somewhere nice like his brother did...

"But you know, those houses are a rip-off", he couldnt stop himself saying. "Five times the price that you pay here per square foot."

After a few moments of silence, Sandra sighed: "You're right, Ted. Goodnight."


And Ted sat in silence again, a self-made millionaire all alone in his big empty house.


VOCABULARY

-STAIN: mancha  /  -besides: además  /  costly: caras  /  charity: beneficencia  /  to get off: bajar  /  -to save: ahorrar  /  -to argue: discutir  /  eventually: finalmente  /  -piggy bank: cerdito hucha  /  -awkward: incómodo  /  -to brighten: iluminarse  /  -ugly: feo  /  -rush: ráfaga  /  -to scroll: desplazar  /  -rip-off: estafa  /  



 

viernes, 28 de enero de 2022

STEPHEN KING - THE ART OF SCARING PEOPLE / El Arte de asustar a la gente.

Hi my dear friends. Are you fond of  reading scaring novels? Do you usually watch mystery and horror films? Today we are going to know a bit more about Stephen King, the master of horror stories. For me, he is the best! I hope you'll like it!

Hola mis queridos amigos. ¿Sois aficionados a leer novelas de miedo? ¿Soléis ver películas de misterio y terror? Hoy vamos a saber un poco más sobre Stephen King, el maestro de las historias de terror. ¡Para mí, es el mejor! ¡Espero que os guste!




Info: from Speak Up magazine.

Photos: palech.org / amazon.es (2)  /  mty360.net  / fotogramas.es  /  glamour.es




STEPHEN KING - THE ART OF SCARING PEOPLE

Stephen King, master of the horror genre, published his first novel, Carrie, in 1974.  Since then he has published 59 more terrifying novels, which have sold 350 million copies worldwide. Many of his books have been adapted into films and he has won an impressive number of literary awards. King's latest book is The Outsider. It centres on the investigation into a seemingly wholesome baseball coach, who is accused of a terrible crime. As  it is typical of King, the novel contains a deadly twist that catches the reader by surprise.






NON FICTION

Yet King has not only written fiction. In 2000 he published On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, a memoir and manual that describes his experiences as a writer and offer advice to those who aspire to be one. It includes suggestions on how to narrate a good story, on the importance of observation and intuition, and why you should do it for the love and not for the money!

King also says that some things you can't teach; every writer develops his or her own style and method, for example. But, as he explained to young aspiring writers at an event held at the University of Massachussets in Lowell, it is important to develop an approach that keeps you motivated.


One time John Iriving was talking to a bunch of would-be writers and said that the first thing he does with a book is write the last line of that book but King likes to start with a little bit of an idea. The ideas come from different places, sometimes they stick around and you want to do something, sometimes they dont. But the idea is to start with something and just start to go with it. 



FIRST-HAND INSPIRATION

King says that a writer must be both intuitive and flexible. The writer's life is to observe life, recognize a good idea when they see it, and then take it in a new direction. That is how Carrie was born. 

Unusually, King often uses children as main characters. King defends that kids make as good main characters as adults, and he points out that there are still very few books written for grown-ups about children. What he really wanted to do with "It" was to write about how kids have a wider bandwidth when it comes to perception and belief, and the ability to accept things; and how, when we become grown-ups that field of vision starts to change and close down a little bit. What King really wanted to do in "It" was to create a bridge, a fictional and scary make-believe. Childhood is a scary time and he wanted to give adult readers a chance to relive those yeats as much as possible.



SCARE YOURSELF

It is commonly said that comedy is the most difficult genre to write, since each person has their own definition of humour. Horror can also be too subjective and too personal. King says that the writer should trust his or her own sense of fear and project that onto their text. King said that he wrote a book called PET CEMETERY and that he got pretty scared toward the end of that book because it was very black, and when he finished the book he put it in a drawer cause he thought nobody would want to read anything like that. But they did so...

But the time he scared himself the most,  was while he was writing The Shining. He had rented a room in a house that was away from the kids, and he could go there for three hours a day and could work because it was peaceful and he would work for three hours and  go home. And finally, he realized that the young kid, Danny Torrance, was going to walk to that room 217 and that there was a dead woman in the bathtub who wasn't really dead. King was working away, happy as a lark, and then one day he thought: "Five days to room 217." And then it was three days, and then it was one and then it was...he was in the room. And that was a very brilliant scene in terms of what was going on King's head. And he was very  scared when he wrote that scene 




BETTER THAN THERAPY

It's been more than forty years since King's first book hit the bookstores, but he still feels the buzz. For him, "writing isn't about making money; it's about enriching the  lives of those who read your work, and enriching your own life."

Stephen King claims that writing is a great job. Wonderful. He says that he invents all the stories and people pay him for that! He just wants to say "Thank you everybody".


VOCABULARY

-SEEMINGLY WHOLESOME: aparentemente honesto  -DEADLY TWIST: giro mortal. -GROWN-UPS: adultos -MAKE-BELIEVE: fantasía  -BATHTUB: bañera  -HAPPY AS A LARK: feliz como una perdiz  -COME ACROSS: dar a entender.  -FEEL THE BUZZ: sentir la emoción.  -TO MAKE UP: inventar.





miércoles, 19 de enero de 2022

Doctor Livingstone, I presume... 150 years ago / El Doctor Livingstone ¡supongo! Hace 150 años.

Hi my dear friends,  we are going to know a bit more about this unique man, Doctor Livingstone, a British explorer and anti-slavery missionary.  

Hola mis queridos amigos, vamos a saber un poco más sobre este hombre único, el Doctor Livingstone, un explorador y misionero anti esclavitud británico.


Info: from Speak Up magazine.

Photos: es.wikipedia.org  /  alamy.es  /  en.wikipedia.org




LOST AND FOUND IN AFRICA.

DR. LIVINGSTONE, I PRESUME...

Two exhausted men, one American, one British, met for the first time in a town in the centre of Africa in November 1871. When the American opened his mouth to speak, his four-word phrase would soon become the most famous question in the English language:   "Doctor Livingstone, I presume?"  And with these words also ended the most celebrated search and rescue mission in modern history.




FAMOUS EXPLORER

David Livingstone, Britain's world famous explorer and anti-slavery missionary, had been missing in Africa for four years.  The British Government had shown little interest. His rescuer was a young American journalist, Henry Morton Stanley, sent to Africa by James Gordon Bennett, the editor of the New York Herald, who hated the British and saw an opportunity to humiliate them by finding their hero.  Livingstone had spent six years looking for the source of the River Nile.  Explorers had been searching for the source for almost 2,500 years.





EXPEDITIONS

Explorers in the 19th century enjoyed the fame of modern-day rock stars. Livingstone, with his crooked left arm and walrus moustache, was instantly recognizable. He had walked across the Kalahari Desert, traced the path of the 2,200 mile-long Zambezi River, and walked from one side of Africa to the other. The explorer, however, was in trouble financially. When the Royal Geographic Society asked him in late 1864 to find the source of the Nile, a mission that could make him rich, he did not think twice.




TERRIBLE CONDITION

In May 1871, six years into his expedition, Livingstone found himself in Nyangwe, near Lake Tanganyka, desperately weak from anaemia, dysentery and bone-eating bacteria.  The rest of his expedition party had either died or disappeared, and moved on to the town of Ujiji, on the shore of the lake Stanley, meanwhile, had reached Tabora, just 350 kilometres away, and was similarly weak through malaria, dysentery and smallpox. The rumour of the presence of a white man in Ujiji, however, was just the news he needed.


FAMOUS MEETING

Stanley's caravan entered Ujiji on November 10th. Stanley saw a pale, skeletal white man in patched clothing. Shocked, but knowing he was making history, he said: "Doctor Livingstone, I presume?"  "Yes". Stanley continued: "I thank God, Doctor, I have been permitted to see you." "I am thankful", Livingstone replied, "I am here to welcome you."




HERALD EXCLUSIVE

Over the next five months, the two men formed a profound bond. Then Stanley left for home. On May 2, 1872, The Herald announced its exclusive under the headline "Livingstone Safe".

The story was an international sensation and Stanley arrived in the United States a hero. Livingstone, however, would never see England again. His body destroyed by disease, he died in Zambia on May 1, 1873. His remains were buried in Westminster Abbey. The Nile had claimed another victim.

                *******************************************************


VOCABULARY

-TO PRESUME: suponer  /  TO MEET: encontrarse con.  /  SEARCH AND RESCUE: búsqueda y rescate   /  SLAVERY: esclavitud  /  TO BE MISSING: estar desaparecido  /  EDITOR: director  /  TO HATE: odiar  /  CROOKED: desfigurado  /  WALRUS MOUSTACHE: bigote de morsa  /  TO TRACE THE PATH: seguir el curso  /  SIX YEARS INTO: transcurridos seis años  /  QUEST: misión  /  SHORE: orilla, costa  /  SMALLPOX: viruela  /  PATCHED: remendada  /  BOND: vínculo  /  HEADLINE: titular  /  TO BURY: enterrar  /  ABBEY: abadía  /  TO CLAIM A VICTIM:  cobrarse una víctma.




miércoles, 12 de enero de 2022

WALT DISNEY - VISIONARY BUSINESSMAN

Hi again my dear friends, today we are going to know a bit more about a visionary businessman, Walt Disney. Have you ever gone to Disneyland?

Hola mis queridos amigos, hoy vamos a saber un poco más sobre un hombre de negocios visionario, Walt Disney. ¿Habéis ido alguna vez a Disneylandia?


Info: from Speak Up magazine

Photos: eleconomista.es / muy interesante.es / es.wikipedia.org (2)  / disney.es / amazon.es




WALT DISNEY, A VISIONARY BUSINESSMAN

Born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 5th 1901, Walt Disney began drawing at a young age. As a teenager, he drew cartoons for the school newspaper and studied at the Chicago Art Institute. Then, at sixteen, he quit school to join the US Army, only to discover that he was too young  to do so. So he joined the Red Cross instead and spent a year driving an ambulance in France, before returning to the US in 1919.



AN ARTIST AND ANIMATOR

Walt worked as an artist in Kansas City, before starting his own animation company there with a colleague named Fred Harman. He and Harman created cartoons called Laugh-O-Grams.  The cartoons became very popular and Walt soon opened an animation studio with an ex-colleague called Ub Iwerks. Sadly, the studio lost money and Walt had to shut it down and declare bankruptcy.

In the early 1920s, Walt and his brother Roy moved to Los Angeles, where they started the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in 1923. Five years later, Walt worked with Ub Iwerks to create his most iconic character, Mickey Mouse, who he then voiced in cartoons that made the studio famous. A year later, he introduced to the world other famous characters, like Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy, through a series of animated short films.



FILMS AND THEME PARKS

In 1937, Walt released his first full-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The film became an instant sensation and Walt went on to produce some of the most famous films of all time, including Pinocchio (1940), Alice in Wonderland (1951), Peter Pan (1953), Sleeping Beauty (1959), and Mary Poppins (1964). He won twenty-two Oscars in his lifetime and also produced many popular TV shows.

In 1955, he opened his first theme park, Disneyland, in Anaheim, California, where people could meet the characters he'd created and go on fantastic rides. Ten years later, he began working on his second theme park, Disney World in Florida.  He died on December 15th 1966 before construction was completed. However, his spirit lives on, through his timeless productions and the twelve them parks he inspired, in the US, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai.




EXERCISE.

PUT IN ORDER THE FOLLOWING WORDS TO MAKE SENTENCES.

1 at / Army / he / school / Disney / the / Chicago / at / to / the / US / quit / sixteen / Institute / join / Walt / but / studied

2 colleague / became / company / popular / he / with / Fred / started / cartoons / and/ own/ created / that/ named/ his/ animation/Harman/Together/very/ a

3 an/ and/ an/ bankruptcy/ animation/ then/ studio/ to/ with/ down/ it/ called/ he/ had/ Iwerks / ex-colleague/ He / declare/ Ub / but/ shut/ opened /

4 and / Seven/ released / first / became / musical/ Snow / animated/ monumental/ his / White/ the/ In / film / full-length / 1937 / Dwarfs / that / a / success / Walt /

5 Disney / could/ attractions/ first / park/ and/ 1955/ Anaheim/ that/ where/ characters/ created/ opened / he/ had / his/ in/ people/ theme/ California/ entertainement/ find/ featured/ in/ Walt



VOCABULARY WORDS.

-TO DRAW: dibujar  /  CARTOONS: dibujos animados  /  TO QUIT: abandonar  /  TO VOICE; poner voz  /  GOOFY; bobo  /  THEME PARK: parque temático  /  TO RELEASE:  estrenar  /  FULL-LENGTH: largometraje  /  DWARFS; enanitos  /  TO GO ON:  continuar  /  RIDES; atracciones  /  TO LIVE ON:  seguir vivo  /  TIMELESS: atemporal.




SOLUTION TO THE EXERCISE

1 Walt Disney studied at the Chicago Art Institute but at sixteen he quit school to join the US Army.

2 Together with a colleague named Fred Harman he started his own animation company and created cartoons that became very popular.

3 He then opened an animation studio with an ex-colleague called Ug Iwrks, but he had to shut it down and declare bankruptcy.

4 In 1937, Walt released his first full-length animated musical film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, that became a monumental success.

5 In 1955 Walt Disney opened his first theme park in Anaheim, California, where people could find attractions and entertainment that featured characters he had created.


lunes, 3 de enero de 2022

THE BOSS - A SHORT STORY - BY TALITHA LINEHAN.

Hi my dear friends, today "A short story" to read. I hope you'll like it!

Hola mis queridos amigos, hoy "Un relato corto" para leer. ¡Espero que os guste!


FICTION - THE BOSS by Talitha Linehan

Info: from Speak Up magazine.

Photos: divinacocina.es  /  gettyimages.es  /  shareacoffeefor.org  /  myloview.es



"Hi. Paul, isn't it?" said the beautiful young woman at the café as she gave him the sandwich that his boss had ordered.

Paul nodded, feeling his cheeks flame. He read the girl's nametag: Amanda. That was her name. He wanted to talk to her, but he was too timid. He loved his parents but he blamed them for his timid nature. They were timid too, and it hadn't helped that they'd sent him to an all-boys school. Now that he had his first job, talking to girls his age was a new and intimidating experience for him.

"Oh good, you're back," said his boss, Rachel, when he returned to the office. She was a few years older than him and seemed to love having him as her assistant and telling him what to do.  Everyday, Rachel ordered a sandwich from the local café, where Amanda worked, and everyday Paul went to get it for her. Whenever Amanda was there, she talked to him, even though she seemed to be very timid, too.

It was the day before Valentine's Day when Paul made a decision: he was going to ask Amanda to be his Valentine. He was certain she was flirting with him. Everyday for the past week, she'd smiled at him when giving him his boss' sandwich.  

"I've made it extra special today", she would say, with a gentle smile. Paul wanted to tell her that the sandwich wasn't for him but for his boss, but that would necessitate talking to her, something he felt too embarrassed to do in public, something he would find the courage to do when they were alone at dinner, at the elegant restaurant where he'd reserved a table for Valentine's Day evening. He knew he was being presumptuous. She was beautiful. She probably had a boyfriend. But there was only one way to know for sure.




It was Vaelntine's Day and Paul was preparing to go to the café to ask Amanda to be his Valentine when Rachel ordered him into her office. She'd been behaving strangely all week, and when he entered her office, he was surprised to find candles burning and romantic music playing.

"Surprise!" she said, indicating the sushi on her desk. Lunch on me and dinner on you, my Valentine!" She embraced him, and he was too shocked to object. "You know, I don't normally go out with younger men, but I'll make an exception for you."

"But I was going to go to the café," he stammered. " To...

"Get my sandwich. I know. Not today. In fact, not ever again. Now that you're going to be my boyfriend, I'm giving you a real job. I talked to Mike in the accounting department and he's creating a position for you. You start on Monday!

"Oh, but..."

"You can thank me later! Now, enjoy this delicious sushi. Not too much so you don't ruin our appetite. You can pick me up for dinner at 7.30. Don't be late!"




Paul did as Rachel ordered. She was his boss after all. And soon she was telling everyone that she was his girfriend. From then on, he worked in the accounting department, and had lunch with her in her office, sandwiches that her new assistant got at the café. Got from Amanda probably.

Paul often thought about Amanda, telling himself that she wouldn't have gone out with him anyway, that she probably already had a boyfriend, and that he was lucky to have Rachel as a girlfriend.

After they'd been going our for six months, Rachel decided that it was time for Paul to sart living with her, so he did. And after they'd been going out for almost a year, she decided it was time for their parents to have dinner all together. "The next time they have dinner together, it could be on our wedding day," she told Paul.

At dinner, he observed how different the dynamic was between each set of parents. His parents had a very gentle dynamic. However, Rachel's father was timid like him, and Rachel's mother was controlling like her; she told him what to do and he did it. When Paul looked at them he saw his future, and he wasn't sure that the liked what he saw. Perhaps he should be with someone timid too, someone like Amanda...

"So, I never asked before," said Rachel's mother. "How did you two get together?"

Normally, when people asked Paul this question he told them that he'd worked for Rachel and she'd asked him out, so he was surprised to hear Rachel say, "Oh, it was so romantic. Paul asked me out through a series of notes,"

"I... what?"

"Oh Paul , it's okay, I know you don't normally tell the complete story, but this is my mother! You see," she continued, "every day, Paul would get my sandwich, and about a week before Valentine's Day, he started putting romantic notes inside the wrapper, asking me to be his Valentine. So finally, on Valentine's Day, I made him lunch and said "yes"!



                                                        **********************************

EXERCICES.

1 FIND THE ADJECTIVE THAT DOESN'T BELONG TO THE GROUP.

1 embarrassed  / vulnerable  /  uncomfortable  /  ashamed

2 hostile  / presumptuous  /  bold  /  impertinent

3 romantic  /  sentimental  /  flexible  /  tender

4 lucky  /  unfortunate  /  blessed  /  beloved

5 gentle  /  kind  /  sensible  /  sensitive

6 surprised  /  concerned  /  amazed  /  bewildered

7 controlling  / domineering  /  despotic  /  dreadful

8 calm  /  timid  /  shy  /  introvert


2 DECIDE WHETHER THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN EACH OF THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES IS TRUE / FALSE / NOT GIVEN

1 Paul works in a government office   _____

2 Amanda works in the same office as Paul____

3 Amanda is younger than Paul____

4 Rachel is Paul's boss ____

5 Rachel is a few years older than Paul____

6 Paul used to go get Rachel's sandwich at the café ____

7 Paul is secretly in love with his boss ____

8 One day, on Valentine's Day, Rachel asks Paul out ____

9 Paul accepts and they start to go out together ____

10 Paul finally moves in with Rachel ____

11 Paul  and Rachel get married ____

12 Rachel's mother is shy, just like Paul____

13 Paul finds out that Amanda liked him ____

14 Paul finds the courage and declares his love to Amanda ____

SOME VOCABULARY FROM THE TEXT

-TO NOD: asentir con la cabeza. -CHEEKS: mejillas.  -TO BLAME: culpar. -EVEN THOUGH: a pesar de que -TO BEHAVE: comportarse.  -ON ME: invito yo.  -TO STAMMER: tartamudear.  -ACCOUNTING: contabilidad.  -TO ASK OU: pedir una cita.  -WRAPPER: envoltorio.


SOLUTIONS TO THE EXERCISES.

1 Find the adjective that doesn't belong to the group.

1 vulnerable  2 hostile  3 flexible  4 beloved  5 sensible  6 concerned  7 dreadful  8 calm

2 TRUE, FALSE, NOT GIVEN.

1 NG  2 F  3 NG  4 T  5 T  6 T  7 F  8 T  9 T  10 T  11 F  12 F  13 T  14 NG