sábado, 27 de março de 2010


I have just watched Cats - The Musical!!!

I strongly recommend, if you are keen on musical.

CATS - Jellicle Songs For Jellicle Cats

Are you blind when you're born? Can you see in the dark?
Dare you look at a king? Would you sit on his throne?
Can you say of your bite that it's worse than your bark?
Are you cock of the walk when you're walking alone?

Because jellicles are and jellicles do
Jellicles do and jellicles would
Jellicles would and jellicles can
Jellicles can and jellicles do

When you fall on your head, do you land on your feet?
Are you tense when you sense there's a storm in the air?
Can you find your way blind when you're lost in the street?
Do you know how to go to the heaviside layer?
Because jellicles can and jellicles do

Jellicles do and jellicles can
Jellicles can and jellicles do
Jellicles do and jellicles can
Jellicles can and jellicles do

Can you ride on a broomstick to places far distant?
Familiar with candle, with book, and with bell?
Were you Whittington's friend? The Pied Piper's assistant?
Have you been an alumnus of heaven and hell?

Are you mean like a minx? Are you lean like a lynx?
Are you keen to be seen when you're smelling a rat?
Were you there when the pharaoh commissioned the Sphinx?
If you were, and you are, you're a jellicle cat

Jellicle songs for jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for jellicle cats

We can dive through the air like a flying trapeze
We can turn double somersaults, bounce on a tire
We can run up a wall, we can swing through the trees
We can balance on bars, we can walk on a wire

Jellicles can and jellicles do
Jellicles can and jellicles do
Jellicles can and jellicles do
Jellicles can and jellicles do
Jellicle songs for jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for jellicle cats

Can you sing at the same time in more than one key?
Duets by Rossini and waltzes by Strauss?
And can you (as cats do) begin with a 'C'?
That always triumphantly brings down the house?

Jellicle cats are queen of the nights
Singing at astronomical heights
Handling pieces from the 'Messiah'
Hallelujah, angelical Choir

The mystical divinity of unashamed felinity
Round the cathedral rang 'Vivat'
Life to the everlasting cat!

Feline, fearless, faithful and true
To others who do-what

Jellicles do and jellicles can
Jellicles can and jellicles do
Jellicle cats sing jellicle chants
Jellicles old and jellicles new
Jellicle song and jellicle dance
Jellicle songs for jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for jellicle cats

Practical cats, dramatical cats
Pragmatical cats, fanatical cats
Oratorical cats, Delphicoracle cats
Skeptical cats, Dispeptical cats
Romantical cats, Pedantical cats
Critical cats, parasitical cats
Allegorical cats, metaphorical cats
Statistical cats and mystical cats
Political cats, hypocritical cats
Clerical cats, hysterical cats
Cynical cats, rabbinical cats

Jellicle songs for jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for jellicle cats

But the cats are not alone. Humans (the audience) are present
in the cats' private world. The cats are at first reluctant and
suspicious to include others in their domain.

There's a man over there with a look of surprise
As much as to say well now how about that?
Do I actually see with my own very eyes
A man who's not heard of a jellicle cat?

What's a jellicle cat?

ALL (Echoing):
What's a jellicle cat?

sexta-feira, 26 de março de 2010

Earth Hour

Earth Hour is a global event organized by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature, also known as World Wildlife Fund) and is held on the last Saturday of March annually, asking households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change.

Earth hour was conceived by WWF and The Sydney Morning Herald in 2007, when 2.2 million residents of Sydney participated by turning off all non-essential lights.

Following Sydney's lead, many other cities around the world adopted the event in 2008. Earth Hour 2010 will take place on March 27, 2010 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., local time.

Earth Hour 2009 was from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time, March 28, 2009. 88 countries and 4,088 cities participated in Earth Hour 2009, ten times more cities than Earth Hour 2008 had (2008 saw 400 cities participate). One billion "votes" was the stated aim for Earth Hour 2009, in the context of the pivotal 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Among the participants in 2009 was, for the first time, the United Nations headquarters in New York City. The U.N. conservatively estimates that its participation will save $102 in energy.

Reports show that the United States topped the Earth Hour participation with an estimated 80,000,000 people, 318 cities and 8 states participating. The Philippines saw participation from 647 cities and towns or over 15 million Filipinos were estimated to have joined in the hour-long lights-off at 8:30 - 9:30 PM local time. This was followed by Greece with 484 cities and towns participating, and Australia with 309.

The Canadian province of Ontario, excluding the city of Toronto, saw a decrease of 6% of electricity while Toronto saw a decrease of 15.1% (nearly doubled from 8.7% the previous year) as many businesses darkened, including the landmark CN Tower.

Swedish electricity operator Svenska Kraftnät recorded 2.1% decrease in power consumption from its projected figure between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. The following hour, the corresponding number was 5%. This equals the consumption of approximately half a million households out of the total 4.5 million households in Sweden.

According to Vietnam Electricity Company, Vietnam electricity demand fell 140,000 kWh during Earth Hour.

The Philippines was able to save 611 MWh of electricity during the time period, and is said to be equivalent to shutting down a dozen coal-fired power plants for an hour.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Hour

quarta-feira, 24 de março de 2010


Marie Arana reviews 'Dreams in a Time of War' by Ngugi wa Thiong'o


A Childhood Memoir

By Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Pantheon. 272 pp. $24.95

Toward the end of his strikingly frank memoir, "Dreams From My Father," Barack Obama describes how his Kenyan grandfather came to marry his grandmother. A ruthless and demanding man, Hussein Onyango was so fussy about his hut that he rejected a number of wives because they weren't tidy enough, beating them to within an inch of their lives and sending them back to their fathers. The first one he decided to keep was orderly enough, but, as it turned out, she could bear no children. During a night of drinking and revelry in a Nairobi dance hall, his masculinity was so ridiculed that he was prompted to take another wife -- as was the country's custom. He had a beautiful young woman abducted, negotiated a dowry with her father and brought her to live under his roof. This was the president's grandmother, Akumu. Eventually, as "Dreams From My Father" tells it, Hussein Onyango brought yet a third wife into his hut, bestowing on Barack Obama Sr. an abundance of mothers. The pattern held into the next generation: Obama Sr., like his father, would also take three wives.

There is a startling similarity between that story and the one told in Ngugi wa Thiong'o's eye-opening memoir, "Dreams in a Time of War." Born in 1938, two years after Obama Sr. and a mere 100 miles away, Ngugi recounts a similarly harrowing childhood with a ruthlessly demanding father and four long-suffering mothers. Alongside 23 siblings, the boy grew up in the twilight of British colonialism, just as the bloody Mau Mau Rebellion threatened to swallow the country whole.

This is not the first time Ngugi -- a professor of English and comparative literature at the University of California, Irvine -- has written about the Mau Mau Rebellion. He did so most notably in his novels "Weep Not, Child" and "A Grain of Wheat." He has also given us a penetrating portrait of totalitarianism in "Wizard of the Crow," a richly imagined novel that was nominated for the Man Booker International Prize last year. Indeed, for the past half-century Ngugi has been a font of literary productivity, bringing Kenya's difficult history to life in no fewer than 18 books, including a prison journal scribbled on toilet paper. But the work he offers us here is like nothing that's gone before: It is the chronicle of a child's single-minded pursuit of an education.

In prose that never shouts, Ngugi tells how land that once belonged to Kenyans was virtually given away piecemeal to white ex-soldiers after World War I. Overnight, Africans became squatters on their own terrain. British suppression of their rights was brutally decisive. Africans were pressed into forced labor, driven to toil in their former fields. So it was that Ngugi, starting at age 6, along with his many brothers and sisters, worked the pyrethrum farms that were once his birthright.

Young Ngugi, however, proved to be bright beyond his years. His mother, alert to his abilities, offered to send him to school. She exacted a promise from him that if she were to invest her hard-won money in his education, he would do his best, never miss a day of school and never bring shame on her. He agreed. That pledge, undertaken when he was 9, would guide the boy to manhood.

This wasn't as easy as it sounds. It was 1947, Europe was recovering from another world war and, as Ngugi describes, African colonies had been squeezed to help finance the British war effort. There were food shortages, even famines. For a boy who was accustomed to covering himself with a simple length of cloth, a school uniform was a major investment. But the price Ngugi was made to pay was not merely financial: There were human costs as well. He began to feel ashamed to be seen with his own brother, who still dressed in the traditional garb -- naked under the wrap. He grew resentful of Kenya's strict social hierarchy, of the rich reverend's uppity wife.

That sense of shame became extreme when Ngugi's father, who had lost what little wealth he had, began to drink heavily and, eventually, take out his anger and frustration on his four wives. He became violent, particularly toward Ngugi's mother. One day he beat her so cruelly that she ran away, taking refuge in her father's house several villages away. A short while later Ngugi's father called Ngugi away from his games. "I want you to stop playing with my children," he told him. "Go, follow your mother."

Ironically, the boy's banishment marked the beginning of a harsh time for all Africa. Rumor had it that whites had a master plan to take control of the entire continent, from Cape to Cairo; that a Eugenics Society was "plotting to kill black babies at birth," sparing only the feeble-minded. With so much fear in the air, a revolutionary fervor mounted. Jomo Kenyatta became the president of the Kenya African Union, a grass-roots organization established to monitor British offenses. Within two years, the Mau Mau Society, a radical anti-colonial movement, was operating at full throttle, targeting British properties. The government declared a state of emergency. British officers were ordered to execute the most prominent political figures and comb the countryside for rebels. Those deemed suspicious were shuttled off to concentration camps. One of Ngugi's half brothers, "Good Wallace," joined the insurrection and headed for the hills.

But for all these references to the mounting chaos, Ngugi's memoir is not about the world adults had made. "Dreams in a Time of War" hews to the promise the boy made his mother. Young Ngugi carries on his studies, despite all possible adversity. He marches off to school, takes joy in his ability to read, memorizes poetry, sits at the front of every classroom. The picture of Kenya that he presents, in other words, is admirably free of cant or sentimentality, and yet it is enough to make you weep. Here is a child, against the backdrop of a terrible war -- traveling a bloodied land with pen and paper -- thinking a dream can forge a better world.

Marie Arana is a writer at large for The Washington Post.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com
More about Ngugi wa Thiong'o:

sábado, 20 de março de 2010

A White Shade of Pale - Procol Harum

We skipped the light fandango
And turned cartwheels across the floor
I was feeling kind of seasick
The crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
The waiter brought a tray

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face at first just ghostly
Turned a whiter shade of pale

She said there is no reason
And the truth is plain to see
But I wandered through my playing cards
Would not let her be
One of sixteen vestal virgins
Who were leaving for the coast
At the moment my eyes were open
They might just as well have been closed

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face at first just ghostly
Turned a whiter shade of pale

From Wikipedia:
"A Whiter Shade of Pale" is the debut song by the British band Procol Harum, released 12 May 1967. The single reached number one in the UK Singles Chart[1] on 8 June 1967, and stayed there for six weeks. (Without much promotion, it reached #5 on the US charts, as well.)

With its haunting tone and Bach overtones, vocals by Gary Brooker, and unusual lyrics by Keith Reid, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" reached #1 in several countries when released in 1967. In the years since, it has become an enduring classic. In 2009 it was the most played song in public places in the UK,[2] and the United Kingdom performing rights group Phonographic Performance Limited in 2004 recognized it as the most-played record by British broadcasting of the past 70 years.[3] Also in 2004, Rolling Stone placed "A Whiter Shade of Pale" #57 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

More than 900 recorded cover versions by other artists are known.[4] The song has been included in many music compilations over the decades and has also been used in the soundtracks of numerous films, including The Big Chill, Purple Haze, Breaking the Waves, The Boat That Rocked and notably in Martin Scorsese's segment of New York Stories. Cover versions of the song have also been featured in many films, for example by King Curtis in Withnail and I and by Annie Lennox in The Net.

The original writing credits were for Brooker and Reid only. On 30 July 2009, Matthew Fisher won co-writing credit for the music in a unanimous ruling from the Law Lords of the House of Lords.

Reid told Songfacts that he got the title at a party, which gave him a starting point for the song.[6] He overheard someone at the party saying to a woman, "You've turned a whiter shade of pale," and the phrase stuck in his mind.[7][8] The original lyrics had four verses, of which only two are heard on the original recording. The third verse has been heard in live performances by Procol Harum, and more seldom also the fourth.[9] The author of Procol Harum: beyond the pale, Claes Johansen, suggests that the song "deals in metaphorical form with a male/female relationship which after some negotiation ends in a sexual act."[8] This is supported by Tim de Lisle in Lives of the Great Songs, who remarks that the lyrics concern a drunken seduction, which is described through references to sex as a form of travel, usually nautical, using mythical and literary journeys.[10] Other observers have also commented that the lyrics concern a sexual relationship.[7]

The phrase a whiter shade of pale by Keith Reid has since gained widespread use in the English language, noticed by several dictionaries.[11][12][13] As such, the phrase is today often used in contexts independent of any consideration of the song. (See [14] for many annotated examples complete with links to original sources.) It has also been heavily paraphrased, in forms like an Xer shade of Y - this to the extent that it has been officially recognized[15][16] as a snowclone - a type of cliché and phrasal template.

The Hammond organ line of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" was inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach's "Sleepers, Wake!" and "Air on a G String", but contrary to popular belief, the song is not a direct copy or paraphrase of any music by Bach,[17] although it makes clear references to both pieces. This similarity is referenced in the 1982 play The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard and the 1991 film The Commitments. The music also borrows ideas from "When a Man Loves a Woman" by Percy Sledge.[18]

The single was released on 12 May 1967 (UK, Deram Records). It entered the UK charts on 25 May 1967. In two weeks, it had reached number one, where it stayed for six weeks. All in all, it stayed 15 weeks on the UK chart. A May 1972 re-release on Fly Records stayed in the UK charts for a total of 12 weeks, and reached number 13 as highest. In the US, it reached #5 and sold over one million copies.

Chart positions: # 1 (UK), # 1 (Germany) , # 1 (Ireland), # 1 (Australia), # 1 (World), # 3 (Norway VG-lista), # 5 (USA Hot 100)

Over time, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" has earned extensive critical acclaim.

It was named joint winner (along with Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody") of the Best British Pop Single 1952-1977 at the BRIT Awards, part of Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee.
#57 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2004.
British TV station Channel 4 placed the song at #19 in its chart of the 100 greatest number one singles.[19

sexta-feira, 19 de março de 2010

Down Under by Bill Bryson

Flying into Australia, I realized with a sigh that I had forgotten again who their Prime Minister is. I am forever doing this with the Australian PM - committing the name to memory, forgetting it (generally more or less instantly), then feeling terribly guilty. My thinking is that there ought to be one person outside Australia who knows.

But then Australia is such a difficult country to keep track of. On my first visit, some years ago, I passed the time on the long flight from London reading a history of Australian politics in the twentieth century, wherein I encountered the startling fact that in 1967 the Prime Minister, Harold Holt, was strolling along a beach in Victoria when he plunged into the surf and vanished. No trace of the poor man was ever seen again. This seemed doubly astounding to me - first that Australia could just lose a Prime Minister (I mean, come on) and second that news of this had never reached me.

The fact is, of course, we pay shamefully scant attention to our dear cousins Down Under - though not entirely without reason, I suppose. Australia is, after all, mostly empty and a long way away. Its population, about 19 million, is small by world standards - China grows by a larger amount each year - and its place in the world economy is consequently peripheral; as an economic entity, it is about the same size as Illinois. From time to time it sends us useful things - opals, merino wool, Errol Flynn, the boomerang - but nothing we can't actually do without. Above all, Australia doesn't misbehave. It is stable and peaceful and good. It doesn't have coups, recklessly overfish, arm disagreeable despots, grow coca in provocative quantities or throw its weight around in a brash and unseemly manner.

But even allowing for all this, our neglect of Australian affairs is curious. As you might expect, this is particularly noticeable when you are resident in America. Just before I set off on this trip I went to my local library in New Hampshire and looked up Australia in the New York Times Index to see how much it had engaged attention in my own country in recent years. I began with the 1997 volume for no other reason than that it was open on the table. In that year, across the full range of possible interests - politics, sport, travel, the coming Olympics in Sydney, food and wine, the arts, obituaries and so on - the New York Times ran 20 articles that were predominantly on or about Australian affairs.

In the same period, for purposes of comparison, it found space for 120 articles on Peru, 150 or so on Albania and a similar number on Cambodia, more than 300 on each of the Koreas, and well over 500 on Israel. As a place that attracted American interest Australia ranked about level with Belarus and Burundi. Among the general subjects that outstripped it were balloons and balloonists, the Church of Scientology, dogs (though not dog sledding), and Pamela Harriman, the former ambassador and socialite who died in February 1997, a calamity that evidently required recording twenty-two times in the Times. Put in the crudest terms, Australia was slightly more important to Americans in 1997 than bananas, but not nearly as important as ice cream.

As it turns out, 1997 was actually quite a good year for Australian news in the United States. In 1996 the country was the subject of just nine news reports and in 1998 a mere six. Elsewhere in the world the news coverage may be more attentive, but with the difference, of course, that no one actually reads it. (Hands up, all those who can name the current Australian Prime Minister or say in which state you will find Melbourne or answer pretty much any antipodean question at all not involving cricket, rugby, Mel Gibson or Neighbours.)

Australians can't bear it that the outside world pays so little attention to them, and I don't blame them. This is a country where interesting things happen, and all the time. Consider just one of those stories that did make it into the New York Times in 1997, though buried away in the odd-sock drawer of Section C. In January of that year, according to a report written in America by a Times reporter, scientists were seriously investigating the possibility that a mysterious seismic disturbance in the remote Australian outback almost four years earlier had been a nuclear explosion set off by members of the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo. It happens that at 11.03 p.m. local time on the night of 28 May 1993 seismograph needles all over the Pacific region twitched and scribbled in response to a very large-scale disturbance near a place called Banjawarn Station in the Great Victoria Desert of Western Australia. Some long-distance lorry drivers and prospectors, virtually the only people out in that lonely expanse, reported seeing a sudden flash in the sky and hearing or feeling the boom of a mighty but far-off explosion. One reported that a can of beer had danced off the table in his tent.

The problem was that there was no obvious explanation. The seismograph traces didn't fit the profile for an earthquake or mining explosion, and anyway the blast was 170 times more powerful than the most powerful mining explosion ever recorded in Western Australia. The shock was consistent with a large meteorite strike, but the impact would have blown a crater hundreds of feet in circumference, and no such crater could be found. The upshot is that scientists puzzled over the incident for a day or two, then filed it away as an unexplained curiosity - the sort of thing that presumably happens from time to time.

Then in 1995 Aum Shinrikyo gained sudden notoriety when it released extravagant quantities of the nerve gas sarin into the Tokyo underground, killing twelve people. In the investigations that followed, it emerged that Aum's substantial holdings included a 500,000-acre desert property in Western Australia very near the site of the mystery event. There, authorities found a laboratory of unusual sophistication and focus, and evidence that cult members had been mining uranium. It separately emerged that Aum had recruited into its ranks two nuclear engineers from the former Soviet Union. The group's avowed aim was the destruction of the world, and it appears that the event in the desert may have been a dry run for blowing up Tokyo.

You take my point, of course. This is a country that loses a Prime Minister and that is so vast and empty that a band of amateur enthusiasts could conceivably set off the world's first non-governmental atomic bomb on its mainland and almost four years would pass before anyone noticed. Clearly this is a place worth getting to know.


* Source: guardian.co.uk
* Find more about Bill Bryson and his books:

quinta-feira, 18 de março de 2010


Michael A. Jacobs nasceu em Londres e veio para o Brasil em 1967 aos vinte e dois anos. Engenheiro, atuou em várias multinacionais até 1989 quando começou a lecionar inglês e fazer traduções para a língua inglesa.O próprio Michael irá explicar sua trajetória como escritor, mas não podemos deixar de mencionar que ele foi pioneiro no uso de português para ajudar o aluno brasileiro a melhorar seu inglês (depois de taaaantas pessoas dizerem que esta idéia jamais daria certo!).

“Publiquei “Como não aprender inglês” em 1999, aquele com as torres gêmeas do WTC e o Cristo Redentor na capa. Em 2001, saiu o Volume Dois do mesmo título, com o avião subindo por cima das mesmas torres, Big Ben, minha foto, etc. Estes dois livros foram publicações independentes.

Aí veio 11 de setembro. Além dos estragos e destruição provocados por Osama bin Laden e seus comparsas, ele também cometeu a proeza de acabar com as duas capas.

Em 2002 a Editora Campus/Elsevier adquiriu os direitos dos dois livros e publicou a “Como não aprender inglês – Edição Definitiva”, com o melhor dos dois volumes anteriores. Assim, os primeiros dois volumes saíram de catálogo, mas juntos já venderam mais de 150 mil cópias até agora. Em 2003, a Disal Editora lançou “Tirando dúvidas de inglês” e a Campus, “Como melhorar ainda mais seu inglês”.

Os livros estão à venda nas melhores livrarias e também aqui no blog (basta clicar nos links acima). São ótimos para alunos, professores, jovens, velhos, estudantes, não estudantes, homens, mulheres, crianças, adolescentes, todas as raças e até marcianos (desde que estejam interessados em melhorar seu inglês). São também ótimos presentes de natal, de aniversário, de calços para mesas desequilibradas ou apenas para agradar alguém. E se você achar que são caros, quero informar duas coisas: Primeiro: não sou eu que estabeleço o preço e, segundo, o custo de aulas de inglês por aí varia de uns poucos reais a hora até em torno de R$100,00! É só comparar isso com um comentário que recebi de um leitor grato.

“Aprendi mais com seu livro do que aprendi em trinta aulas”

Como se vê, um ótimo custo/benefício. (E ele estava se referindo apenas a um dos livros). E se não encontrá-los nas livrarias sugiro que faça um escândalo (Make a scene)!”

O Michael continua escrevendo artigos (Cf. “Barbecue in Abundance“) e livros recheados de dicas, sugestões e seções especiais chamadas Atitudes, que ajudam o aluno a assumir uma postura positiva perante os desafios de aprender uma nova língua. Em tudo que escreve sempre há exemplos bem humorados e fáceis de ler (sua marca registrada) e que mostram exatamente onde e, ainda mais importante, por que os brasileiros cometem os erros com a língua inglesa. Ele tem quatro filhos brasileiros e mora em São Paulo.

quarta-feira, 17 de março de 2010

Saint Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day Around the World - 2002
by Bridget Haggerty

In 2001, St. Patrick's Day in Ireland was more like it used to be in the old days. The threat of hoof and mouth disease led to the cancellation or postponement of the big parades in Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Armagh and Limerick. So, while the Irish in Ireland still celebrated the feast of their patron saint, many did so where they always have - in the local pub. For the old-timers, Mass in the morning and a pint or two at the pub afterwards was, and always will be, the only way to celebrate.

Not so in 2002. Dublin is pulling out all the stops with a four-day festival culminating in a spectacular fireworks display. And, in far-flung lands thousands of miles away, millions will be celebrating what has become one of the biggest holidays anywhere in the world!

From Atlanta, Georgia to Shamrock City in Texas, dozens of cities in as many or more states are hosting a St. Patrick's Day Parade. The places that usually spring to mind are Boston, New York and Chicago. Here's a look at two others:

San Francisco will be celebrating its 150th annual tribute to St. Patrick. The traditional Mass takes place before the parade at 10.30 a.m. in St. Patrick's Church on Mission Street. All the Irish pubs have finalized their plans for the grand craic ahead, including Johnny Foley's, Kate O'Brien's. The Field, O'Reilly's, Durty Nelly's, Ireland's 32, Pat O'Shea's, An Bodhran and many others.

New Orleans. In most parades, participants staidly walk the parade route - with, perhaps, an occasional display of Irish dancing. Not so, in New Orleans. Strongly influenced by Mardi Gras, the parade features floats, jazz bands and colorful costumed characters. This year, there are actually two parades, one in the city itself and the other in nearby Matairie; both are expected to attract huge crowds who reach out to catch various Irish-related goodies thrown from the floats; instead of plastic beads as in Mardi Gras, there's liable to be the makings of Irish stew and parade-goers need to be careful they don't get conked on the noggin by a head of cabbage! After the parade, the crowds head for their favorite watering holes including Parasols, Pete's, Kerry Irish Pub, Monaghan's Erin Rose, O'Flaherty's Pub and Ryan's Irish Pub, all located in the French Quarter.

Across the Globe

Florence, Italy. Around St. Patrick's Day, the city hosts 'Festa Irlandese' - ten days of live music, food and drink. The event takes place in a huge tent and attracts thousands of visitors who avidly consume the Italian interpretation of Irish food and drink, including potato soup, beef in Guinness, smoked salmon and gallons of stout.

Tokyo, Japan. About 2,000 participants march down fashionable Omotesando Avenue, lined for the occasion by Irish and Japanese flags, cheered on by as many as 7,000 spectators. The Irish Ambassador to Japan leads the kilt-wearing, bag-pipe playing participants and it doesn't seem to matter that very few of them are from the ould sod. The Japanese love a good party and they are particularly fond of all things Irish - including Guinness at about $7.00 a pint! However, there are a growing number of Irish pubs that send attractive young ladies to the parade for the sole purpose of handing out free beer vouchers. Not surprisingly, the 'voucher girls' are a parade highlight!

Australia. Since March is festival season down under, the entire month's calendar is full of events, many of them with an Irish theme. Revelers will be able to celebrate their Irish heritage at breakfasts, lunches, dinners, balls, race days, golf days, and concerts. And, of course, there'll be rounds aplenty in Australia's more than 150 Irish pubs. It's not (quite) all about drink, however. The traditional Saint Patrick's Day Mass will be held at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney.
Toronto, Canada. The Toronto St. Patrick's Day Parade is one of the largest in North America. Since it began in 1988, the parade has grown to include 100 organizations, 32 Irish county associations, 2,000 marchers, 30 floats, 14 bands as well as an assortment of wolfhounds, leprechauns and talking shamrocks.

Oslo, Norway . The Irish community in Oslo celebrates with a lively parade through the city. Nearly a thousand people join in the fun as the parade steps off through shopping streets, past Oslo cathedral, on to Town Hall Square for some entertainment. Accompanying the pipe band are St Patrick, driven by a red-bearded chauffer in a horse and cart, and a host of other colourful Irish characters. Dressing up is encouraged! Brian Boru and Molly Malone are joined by walking whiskey bottles, and a full Irish breakfast has been known to join the parade. The most original participant wins a weekend for two in Dublin, with a special prize for the kids.

Sao Paulo, Brazil.The 150-strong Irish community in Sao Paulo, Brazil celebrates with a St Patrick's Day shindig at the Bridge Restaurant, Rua Ferreira De Araújo, 741, Pinheiros. Traditional Irish stew is on the menu, to be washed down with generous volumes of Guinness and Irish whiskey.

Seattle, Washington. Seattle celebrates St Patrick's Day in grand style, with a full week of activities. Festivities kick off with the proclamation of Irish Week. Later, there's a mini-parade to prepare the parade route with the ceremonial painting of a green stripe down the center of 4th Avenue. The day of the parade begins with a Catholic Mass for peace.

Manchester. Manchester is celebrating St Patrick's Day with gusto this year. More than 100,000 people are expected to enjoy 70 events around the city, as part of the seventh annual Manchester Irish Festival. The city's Town Hall at Albert Square will even glow festivally greenish, thanks to special lighting effects. A spectacular parade on the 17th will feature more than 60 floats, Irish wolfhounds, ponies and traps, brass and samba bands, flutes and fiddles. The parade will kick off from the Irish World Heritage Centre and travel to the Town Hall steps.
Rome. The Irish Club in Rome will host the 11th Annual Celtic Ball. The black-tie event will benefit Alone in Dublin, a charity working with elderly people, and the Multiple Sclerosis Centre of Young Adults in Rome. The event will be held at the Sheraton Hotel and will feature a champagne reception, followed by a sit-down dinner and dancing all evening. Prizes will include flights from Aer Lingus, a Stephen Pearse bowl, and meals at Irish restaurants.

Malaysia. St Patrick's Society of Selangor, which has been in existence since 1925, will host the highlight of Kuala Lumpur's social season - a black-tie ball for over 1000 people. This year, Society President Darina Walsh will welcome Minister Dermot Ahern to the event. No doubt the event will be abuzz with talk of Eddie Jordan's possibility for winning the Formula One racing event taking place in Malaysia during the weekend.

So there you have it - just a brief look at what's happening around the world on this glorious St. Patrick's Day. As always, here in Cincinnati, our parade will begin at noon - and, of course, it's cold and wet! But that won't dampen the spirits of participants who have learned to laugh at our "Irish Sunshine" on March 17th!

Source: http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com

sábado, 13 de março de 2010

Invictus - Nelson Mandela

"Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul

William Ernest Henley

I have just watched the marvelous film about how Nelson Mandela in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Watch it. I strongly recommend it!

Frank Oliveira


Morgan Freeman's made a career out of playing inspirational second fiddles who always steal the movie. Now with Clint Eastwood's "Invictus", we finally get to see this amazing actor take front and center and run with it. The movie, based on a John Carlin novel about the event that changed South Africa, fits Freeman like a glove and it's hard to imagine he's not a front-runner for that lead actor Oscar he has so deserved for so long now.

He plays Nelson Mandela as a born leader, an authoritative yet empathetic uniter who preached forgiveness and looked for common ground when elected president of South Africa. His election caused unrest among whites, and blacks still had hard feelings for years-worth of oppression. The one thing he saw that could unite was the Rugby team, a shamefully rag-tag bunch facing extinction because many still saw the team as a left-over from apartheid. Mandela knew ending the team would mean more unrest among white Rugby fans so instead he presented a challenge to team captain Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon); win the world cup,unite us.

Do they? It's all predictably plotted and there are times where you wish Eastwood had employed an announcer to explain what's happening on the Rugby field but the great themes of forgiveness, unity, and determination make this a sports movie well worth seeing. There are really wonderful elements here. The relationship between Mandela's white and black security detail. The Rugby team reaching out to the community by going to the slums and teaching kids how to play. Pienaar's visit to Mandela's prison cell to understand the man's courage. The people of South Africa rallying into something of a community. And the bond between Mandela and Pienaar, very well played by both Freeman and Damon, of two men looking for their country's pride, it's center, and it's heart. By the final Rugby match, the movie has built up such good-will that any predictability or confusion on screen becomes an afterthought to the joy and excitement on display. Eastwood's film shows how sports can unify people, a simple yet inspirational and lovable message that should leave audiences cheering.

Source: http://www.imdb.com

quinta-feira, 11 de março de 2010

Superpower Promo - Exploring the Extraordinary Power of the Internet - BBC

Gems of Wisdom: You can make this day whatever you want it to be.

The very moment you wake up in the morning you can decide what sort of day it is going to be for you. It can be the most wonderful imaginable, but it is up to you. You are free to make the choice. Be determined to be ultra-positive today, to expect the very best and draw it to you. Have absolute faith and confidence that you can and will do it.

Sometimes the only sense you can make out of life is a sense of humour.

To make sense of something
To understand something that is complicated or difficult.

I can’t make sense of these calculations.
Sense: The ability to understand or judge something. Some very common expressions are –

A sense of humour (= the ability to find things funny or make people laugh).
A (good) sense of direction (= the ability to find the way to a place easily).
A sense of rhythm (= the ability to move in time to a fixed beat).
A sense of timing (= the skill of doing something at exactly the right time).
Dress sense (= to know which clothes look attractive).
Road sense (= the ability to drive or walk carefully and safely through traffic).
Common sense (= the ability to make good judgments and behave in a practical and sensible way).

Referência: “Gems of Wisdom – Inspirational Messages to Enhance the Quality of Your Life and Improve Your English” de Jack Scholes – Disal Editora, 2007. Leia a resenha. Adquira seu exemplar na Disal ou no Submarino.

domingo, 7 de março de 2010

Melhores professores de inglês não são britânicos nem americanos

'Melhores professores de inglês não são britânicos nem americanos', diz linguista

Para David Graddol, o ideal é que o docente fale a mesma língua do aluno.

Especialista diz que o ensino do idioma no Brasil tem décadas de atraso.

Foto: Fernanda Calgaro/G1

Ao contrário do senso comum, o melhor professor de idiomas não é o nativo, mas aquele que fala também a mesma língua do aluno. A vantagem desse profissional está na capacidade de interpretar significados no idioma do próprio estudante. Com a hegemonia ameaçada no caso do inglês, professores americanos e britânicos devem reavaliar a maneira como ensinam o idioma.

As conclusões fazem parte de duas pesquisas desenvolvidas pelo lingüista britânico David Graddol, 56 anos, a pedido do British Council, órgão do governo do Reino Unido voltado para questões educacionais.

No Brasil para participar de seminários sobre língua estrangeira, ele avalia que o ensino do inglês nas escolas brasileiras está muitas décadas atrasado em relação a outras nações e sugere que o país aproveite os Jogos Olímpicos e a Copa do Mundo para tentar correr atrás do prejuízo.
Durante 25 anos, Graddol foi professor da renomada UK Open University e atualmente é diretor da The English Company e editor da Equinox Publishing. Ele prepara um terceiro estudo, este focado mais na Índia, que será publicado até o final do ano. Leia abaixo os principais trechos da entrevista concedida ao G1.

G1 – Qual o perfil ideal de um professor de idiomas?
David Graddol - O melhor professor é aquele que fala a língua materna de quem está aprendendo o idioma. Também é preciso ser altamente capacitado e ter um ótimo domínio do idioma, claro.
Muitas pessoas ainda pensam que os melhores professores são os nativos. Minha opinião é que elas estão erradas"

G1 - O sr. considera então que os professores nativos estão perdendo terreno para outros que falam também a língua do aluno?
Graddol - Sim e não. O que acontece é que, usando uma metáfora, o bolo geral está crescendo, porque atualmente há cerca de 2 bilhões de pessoas aprendendo inglês ao redor do mundo. O fato de o Reino Unidos e os EUA estarem perdendo essa fatia de mercado é enganoso, porque a participação deles também está crescendo. No entanto, o bolo está crescendo mais e mais rápido. Em muitos países, há reminiscências românticas acerca do ensino de inglês. Muitas pessoas ainda pensam que os melhores professores são os nativos. Elas pagam inclusive a mais por isso. No entanto, minha opinião é que estão erradas. O que deve ser mudada é a maneira como o inglês é ensinado.

G1 - Como assim?
Graddol - O inglês passou a ser encarado como uma necessidade. Muitos países se relacionam e fazem negócios entre si por meio do inglês, sem que nenhum deles tenha o inglês como primeiro idioma. Em muitos lugares, o inglês deixou de ser ensinado como língua estrangeira, como na Cinha e Índia, onde o inglês passou a ser considerado uma habilidade básica. Nesses países, os estudantes começam a aprender o idioma já nos primeiros anos escolares. A ideia é que mais tarde, quando atingirem o ensino médio, passem a ter aulas de outras disciplinas por meio do inglês. Historicamente, falar uma língua estrangeira era sinal de status. Agora, o que acontece é que as pessoas estão genuinamente tentando universalizar o idioma.

G1 - O uso do inglês como “lingua franca” [quando um idioma é utilizado por pessoas que não tenham a mesma língua nativa] pode modificar o seu ensino?
Graddol - Há certas coisas que se tornaram comuns e que parecem uma nova variedade de inglês. E nós acabamos nos habituando a esse novo uso. São coisas simples, como a maneira em que as palavras são soletradas e todas as vogais, faladas. Muitas das vogais, nós, nativos da língua, substituiríamos por um único som. Essas peculiaridades, que não necessariamente devem ser consideradas erros, precisam ser levadas em conta no ensino desse inglês global.

G1- Como avalia o crescimento da demanda pelo ensino de inglês?
Graddol - O que está acontecendo é que, desde a década de 90, houve um aumento gradativo de pessoas aprendendo inglês e atualmente cerca de 2 bilhões de pessoas estudam o idioma. No entanto, nos próximos anos, a expectativa é que haja um declínio nessa demanda.

G1 - Como se explica essa previsão de declínio?
Graddol - As pessoas que hoje estão no ensino fundamental e aprendendo o idioma chegarão ao ensino médio ou superior já sabendo inglês. Em muitos países da Europa, quando chegam nesse ponto, esses alunos começam a ter aulas de diferentes disciplinas em inglês. Então, deixam de ser estudantes de inglês e passam a ser usuários da língua. Eles não têm mais um professor de inglês, mas um professor de geografia, por exemplo, que dá aulas em inglês. Esse declínio não significa que menos pessoas estejam usando inglês, mas que o inglês, ensinado no ensino fundamental, começa a fazer parte da alfabetização básica.

G1 - Que idiomas podem representar uma ameaça ao inglês? Mandarim é um deles?
Graddol - O mandarim não é uma ameaça. Certamente que tem crescido em popularidade, mas faz parte de um pensamento antigo, quando se achava que uma língua cresceria à custa de outra. No entanto, ambas podem crescer juntas, assim como outros idiomas.
A internet tem uma diversidade de línguas, mas o inglês acaba então sendo mais comum nos fóruns on-line de discussão e em relatórios técnicos"

G1 - Qual o impacto da internet no uso do idioma?
Graddel - A internet é outro bolo que tem crescido cada vez mais rápido. E nela são usadas mais línguas do que antes. É um lugar que acolhe línguas menores. Meu nome é galês e, se fizer uma pesquisa no Google sobre mim na internet, aparecerão diversas páginas escritas em galês. Isso é surpreendente porque, de repente, percebemos que há um universo paralelo na internet. E o mesmo acontece com o catalão. E muitas vezes não tomamos conhecimento disso porque uma página num idioma não tem link para páginas em outro idioma. A internet tem uma diversidade de línguas, mas o inglês acaba então sendo mais comum nos fóruns on-line de discussão e em relatórios técnicos.

G1 - O ensino do inglês é bastante rentável para os países onde a língua é falada.
Graddol - Os ganhos com o aprendizado do inglês não vêm só dos cursos de inglês mas também dos estudantes internacionais que vão para as universidades nesses países para terem aulas em inglês. Então, esse é outro tipo de exportação que pode ser creditada ao inglês.

G1 - A crise global afetou em algum aspecto o ensino do inglês?
Graddel - A crise global foi positiva para o setor porque provocou a desvalorização da libra esterlina e deixou o Reino Unido mais atrativo. O que aconteceu é que o Reino Unido deixou de disputar esses alunos com competidores tradicionais, como os EUA, a Austrália e, em certa medida, a Nova Zelândia. Agora, estamos perdendo para universidades na Europa, que têm cursos de diversas áreas que são dados em inglês. Um aluno coreano, por exemplo, pode estudar direito na Alemanha e ter aulas em inglês, além de estar bem no centro da União Europeia e quem sabe até aprender um pouco de alemão. Para ele, o ganho acaba sendo maior.

G1 - O ensino do inglês deve começar nos primeiros anos escolares? As crianças obtêm resultados mais consistentes?
Graddol - Diversos aspectos devem ser considerados. É possível começar a estudar inglês mais tarde. No entanto, se esse início for com 11 anos de idade, por exemplo, o número de horas dedicadas ao idioma precisa ser mais intenso, com, no mínimo, cinco ou seis horas. E esse ensino tem que ser bastante eficiente, que contemple o desenvolvimento de diversas habilidades da língua.

G1- Existe então uma idade ideal para começar a aprender inglês?
Graddol - Não. Na verdade, há vantagens e desvantagens em quase todas as idades. Conheço adultos que, com meia hora de estudo, têm rendimento maior do que uma criança justamente por causa da sua experiência adquirida ao estudar idiomas. Há vários outros aspectos a serem levados em conta. Um é que é muito mais fácil criar, numa sala de aula, um ambiente que motive as crianças a aprenderem. Elas aprendem quase sem perceber. No entanto, o principal argumento talvez seja que, como nem todas as escolas conseguiriam destinar um dia da semana de uma turma de alunos de 11 anos para ensinar inglês, o melhor é começar cedo. Assim, é possível obter um progresso gradativo, que permita ao estudante chegar no ensino médio falando inglês.

G1 - Como avalia a situação do Brasil em relação ao ensino e uso do inglês?
Graddol - No Brasil, o inglês é ainda visto como uma língua estrangeira. Em muitos outros países, as coisas avançaram muito rapidamente e não é mais visto como uma língua estrangeira. O Brasil parece estar muitas décadas atrás do resto do mundo em termos de inglês. O que está sendo feito aqui não é suficiente para produzir pessoas realmente fluentes em inglês. As escolas estão falhando ao ensinar inglês e isso é uma ótima noticia para o setor privado. As famílias que tiverem condição de bancar os estudos mandarão seus filhos para escolas de idiomas, o que gera a divisão social.

G1 - As Olimpíadas e a Copa do Mundo podem ser oportunidades para o Brasil correr atrás desse prejuízo?
Graddol - Certamente. Foi o que a China tentou fazer, usou as Olimpíadas como uma justificativa para implantar programas de melhoria de conhecimento de inglês para a população de Pequim. Foram estabelecidas metas. E é isso que o Brasil deveria fazer, porque, se não se estabelece metas, não se sabe onde quer chegar nem se você chegou lá.

G1 - E deu certo na China?
Graddol - Entre as metas estabelecidas na China, havia algumas em relação a policiais e taxistas, por exemplo. Mas devo dizer que não deram muito certo. Como alternativa, puseram uma maquininha dentro dos táxis que emitia a tarifa da corrida para facilitar a vida do turista. No caso do Brasil, o país deve ao menos tentar garantir que os funcionários de hotéis falem bem o inglês. E as metas precisam ser estabelecidas já, porque as mudanças levam tempo.


quinta-feira, 4 de março de 2010

Why is English So Hard to Learn?

By John Janson

In order for you to be able to make yourself understood, and to understand other people too, it necessary to COMMUNICATE. This is the basis of all relationships, whether personal or professional. If you reside in a country like US, where practically everyone speaks English, then it is important that you speak English fluently. Learning to speak a language is a very important part of making yourself comfortable in the place that you live in. And in the US, English is important so you are expected to speak in English. Yet, there are so many groups that do not speak English and this in turn creates a lot of disharmony with the people around. And why? Only because they cannot understand each other. How can a Hispanic understand a Chinese, unless they meet on common ground. And this common ground is the language. And English is one language that universal and is adapted by most people all over the world. Yet there are people in the US who don't take an interest in learning it.

Now if you have decided to make an effort and learn English the there are some things that you could do. Don't be under that false belief that English is a tough language. It is not. And in a country like the US, it becomes even simpler. Because almost everyone speaks English and this way you get to hear those familiar words frequently. And due to the frequency, you actually can pick up so many simple words without any problem. You are basically placed in an environment that is so conducive and supportive. Everywhere you go, people speak the language. If you feel that you do not have the right kind of people or surroundings, then ensure that you place yourself among English speaking pros and create the right kind of setting as in where you can pick up the language fast.

To get better at English, you need to find a co-operative candidate or friend that will be willing to speak in English with you, and that too on a daily basis. You don't even have to spend a penny. Every time you visit a store, just push yourself to speak a few monosyllables and words, feeling no shyness. Get comfortable in speaking this new language, and you will be surprised how kind greengrocers and storekeepers are. They will actually assist you and correct you. When you go home, stand in front of the mirror and try speaking in the same accent and forming sentences of your own. You will soon realize how much you have picked up, without a sweat.

If you want to learn English instantly, then I suggest you get some audio and visual aids to help you. Get some DVDs that help you learn English. They have a constructive and quick course to help you. But remember, you still need to go out and make sure that you find the courage to speak and exchange words with other folks who know the language well. The more you speak, the more you will master it.

terça-feira, 2 de março de 2010

Vocabulário: Qual é o melhor dicionário?

By Ulisses Wehby de Carvalho

Mas, o que é um bom dicionário de inglês? É aquele que atende as suas necessidades. Simples, não é? Você me pergunta: como encontrá-lo? Aí vai a dica: defina que tipo de dicionário você necessita: pode ser inglês > português, português > inglês, inglês > inglês, de uso geral, técnico genérico, técnico específico, de termos financeiros, médico, de expressões idiomáticas etc.

Além da necessidade de momento, quanto tempo você estuda inglês pode também ser fator preponderante na escolha do tipo de dicionário. Lembre-se de que há dicionários que foram desenvolvidos especialmente para alunos de inglês. Há ainda outras considerações referentes a tamanho, quantidade de palavras, preço etc. O vendedor de uma livraria especializada pode lhe ajudar nessa escolha.

Depois de escolhido o tipo de dicionário, peça ao vendedor para ver todas as opções daquela categoria. Sempre compare dicionários dentro do mesmo grupo. Pois bem, para fazer uma boa comparação entre eles, faça o seguinte: procure a explicação ou definição de um termo que você conhece muito bem. Compare as explicações de dois ou mais livros, analise qual deles possui mais clareza, os exemplos mais elucidativos, a apresentação mais agradável etc. Assim, você terá condições de fazer a melhor escolha. O erro que muita gente comete na hora de escolher um livro, principalmente os dicionários, é de ler trechos de assuntos novos ou desconhecidos.

Em suma, faça as comparações com base naquilo que você já domina. Somente assim você poderá saber qual foi mais claro, direto, preciso, com mais exemplos etc.

Source: www.teclasap.com.br