quinta-feira, 29 de abril de 2010


By Josef Essberger

KWIM? I thought not.

For e-English read "electronic English" and for IYKWIM read "if you know what I mean".

And for KWIM? Yes, that's right. You'll have to FIOFY.

The internet has created a whole new way of speaking when we write email, post messages or chat online.

It saves time and typing effort, but it's no joke if you don't know the "secret". So just to help you if you're not already a netspeak expert, here are a few of the basic rules and codes people use on the internet.

Remember, these are for use on the internet with friends. We do not usually use them in formal letters or faxes.

If we want to emphasise a word (make it more important), we often use asterisks (*), like this:

"I *love* EnglishCLUB.net."

Sometimes people use capitals to add emphasis but it is not a good idea. MOST PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE A LOT OF CAPITALS. THEY LOOK RUDE AND CAN BE DIFFICULT TO READ.

If we want to express our feelings and emotions, we can use "smileys". A smiley is a combination of symbols that looks like a face sideways. The original, basic smiley (eyes, nose and smiling mouth) is very popular and shows that we are happy:


We can also do this with eyes and mouth only:


Of course, if we are unhappy, we can change the mouth: :-(

There are many possibilities. Here are a few more:

•;-) wink
•:*) kiss
•:~) tears
To save time when typing (and maybe to save money if you are online), people often abbreviate commonly-used phrases. There are hundreds of possibilities and you certainly do not need all of them!

Some of these codes are just the first letter of each word, for example:

imo = in my opinion

Some of these codes use the sound of the letter to represent the sound of a word. For example, the letter "c" sounds like the word "sea" or "see":

cu = see you

Some of these codes use numbers because the sound of the number is the same as the sound of another word (not the spelling!). For example, 4 (four) sounds like "for". And 8 (eight) sounds like "ate". So if we write L8 we get "late". If we write W8 we get "wait"!

Here are some more examples:

•aamof = as a matter of fact
•asap = as soon as possible
•b4 = before
•b4n = bye for now
•cul8er = see you later
•damhik = don't ask me how I know
•eta = estimated time of arrival
•f2f = face to face
•gf = girlfriend
•gmt = Greenwich Mean Time
•hth = hope this helps
•icbw = I could be wrong
•jam = just a minute
•k = okay
•lmk = let me know
•mcibty = my computer is better than yours
•oic = oh I see
•pls = please
•plz = please
•q = queue
•rumf = are you male or female?
•sil = sister-in-law
•tia = thanks in advance
•uok = you ok?
•vr = virtual reality
•wdymbt = what do you mean by that?
•y2k = year 2000
© 1999 Josef Essberger

Source: http://www.englishclub.com

quarta-feira, 28 de abril de 2010

Gordon Brown calls Labour supporter a 'bigoted woman'

Microphone picks up comments by prime minister about Labour supporter
Gillian Duffy, who had challenged him over the economy

By Polly Curtis

Source: guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 28 April 2010 13.23

Gordon Brown's election campaign was thrown into turmoil today after he was caught on mic calling a Labour supporter who had challenged him over the economy a "bigoted woman".

Gillian Duffy, 65, heckled the prime minister as he was interviewed live on TV about Labour's plans to cut the deficit, repeatedly challenging him to say he would tackle the debt. Brown ignored her intervention but was then asked by senior aides in his entourage to meet her.

After a few minutes of exchanges she told reporters that Brown was a "very nice man" and that she had voted Labour all her life and intended to do so again next week. But as he got in his car, he was still wired up to a Sky News mic which picked up comments he then made rebuking his advisers.

He said: "That was a disaster – they should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? Ridiculous."

Asked what she had said, he replied: "Everything, she was just a bigoted woman."

During their exchange she questioned him on pensions, the deficit and tuition fees. At one point she mentioned eastern Europeans in this country but did not develop her argument.

On learning of his unguarded comments Duffy said she was "very annoyed".

She said: "I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet but if that's what he said I'm very upset. I'm very annoyed."

Brown later told the Jeremy Vine programme: "I apologise if I have said anything like that. What I think she was raising with me was an issue about immigration and that there were too many people from eastern Europe. I apologise profusely to the lady concerned I don't think she is that. It was the view I objected to."

Before being told of Brown's comments Duffy had said she would still be voting Labour. She told Sky News she confronted him over the national debt and immigration and that the prime minister had seemed "understanding" and responded "pretty well".

But after hearing of his reported comments she said she was "very annoyed" and would not be voting for Labour. "I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet but if that's what he said I'm very upset," she said.

The shadow chancellor, George Osborne, said the comments "speak for themselves and the prime minister's got a lot of explaining to do".

terça-feira, 27 de abril de 2010

"Ghoti" = "Fish"

By Josef Essberger

Some languages are "phonetic". That means that you can look at a word and know how to say it. English is not phonetic. You cannot always look at an English word and know how to say it. You cannot always hear an English word and know how to spell it.

George Bernard Shaw (GBS) was a famous Irish writer. He wanted to reform English spelling so that it was more logical. He asked the following question as an example:

How do we pronounce the word "ghoti"?

His answer was "fish".

How can "ghoti" and "fish" sound the same? GBS explained it like this:

•the gh = f as in rouGH
•the o = i as in wOmen
•the ti = sh as in naTIon
Of course, this was a joke. The word "ghoti" is not even a real word. But it showed the inconsistency of English spelling.

It is very important to understand that English spelling and English pronunciation are not always the same.

Same spelling - different sound
Do not place too much importance on the spelling of a word. The more important thing in understanding English is the sound.

Here are five words that end in "ough". In each word, the "ough" has a different pronunciation:

•bough rhymes with cow
•cough rhymes with off
•rough rhymes with puff
•though rhymes with Jo
•through rhymes with too
Many words have exactly the same spelling but are pronounced differently when the meaning is different. These words are called "homographs". Here are some examples:

•bow (noun: front of ship) rhymes with cow
•bow (noun: fancy knot) rhymes with go

•lead (verb: to guide) rhymes with feed
•lead (noun: metal) rhymes with fed

•wind (noun: airflow) rhymes with pinned
•wind (verb: to turn) rhymes with find
Different spelling - same sound
Many words have different spellings but are pronounced exactly the same. These words are called "homophones". Here are some examples:

•sea, see
•for, four
•hear, here
•one, won
•knight, night
•him, hymn
•to, too, two
What can we learn from all this? We can learn that the sound of a word is more important than the spelling.

Of course, it is good to spell correctly. But to help you understand spoken English and many rules of English, you should think first about the sound of the words. Do not worry too much at first about the spelling.

Take, for example, the rule about pronouncing the past simple "-ed" ending of regular verbs. You have probably learned that when a verb ends in "d" or "t", we add "-ed" and pronounce it /Id/ as an extra syllable.

wanT wantED
So why do we have:

divide dividED
"Divide" does not end in "d". It ends in "e". But it does end in a /d/ sound. With this rule, it is the sound at the end of a word that matters, not the letter. You must think about the spoken word, not the written word.

This is only one example of the importance of sounds in English. There are many more examples!

© 1999 Josef Essberger

Source: http://www.englishclub.com

segunda-feira, 26 de abril de 2010

Conversation in heaven

Abd Mubarak was on his way to Mecca when one night he dreamed that he was in heaven and heard two angels having a conversation.

“How many pilgrims came to the holy city this year?” one of them asked.

“Six hundred thousand”, answered the other.

“And how many of them had their pilgrimage accepted?”

“None of them. However, in Baghdad there is a shoemaker called Ali Mufiq who did not make the pilgrimage, but did have his pilgrimage accepted, and his graces benefited the 600,000 pilgrims”.

When he woke up, Abd Mubarak went to Mufiq’s shoe shop and told him his dream.

“At great cost and much sacrifice, I finally managed to get 350 coins together”, the shoemaker said in tears. “But then, when I was ready to go to Mecca I discovered that my neighbors were hungry, so I distributed the money among them and gave up my pilgrimage”.

quinta-feira, 22 de abril de 2010

Happy Administrative Assistants day!‏

An Administrative Professional
By Todd Hunt

She’s first one in and last to leave,
her mark is everywhere.
But like a watchful angel,
we seldom know she’s there.

She guards the gate, protects the boss
and schedules meetings too.
Those binders for this afternoon?
All set in Board Room 2.

Mind reading is among her skills,
and putting fires out.
She juggles tasks and jumps through hoops,
yet never one to pout.

Three hands, you see, she does possess,
and intellect well bred.
Plus humor, tact, diplomacy
and eyes behind her head.

Computer tech and referee,
yes, party planner too.
Committee head, Excel sheet queen—
there’s nothing she can’t do.

We’ve use the female pronoun, true,
throughout this love decree.
But sometimes (though it’s still quite rare),
that admin pro’s a he!


Since 1952, the International Association of Administrative Professionals has honored office workers by sponsoring Administrative Professionals Week. Today, it is one of the largest workplace observances outside of employee birthdays and major holidays.

In the year 2000, IAAP announced a name change for Professional Secretaries Week and Professional Secretaries Day. The names were changed to Administrative Professionals Week and Administrative Professionals Day to keep pace with changing job titles and expanding responsibilities of today’s administrative workforce.

Over the years, Administrative Professionals Week has become one of the largest workplace observances. The event is celebrated worldwide, bringing together millions of people for community events, educational seminars and individual corporate activities recognizing support staff.

Today, there are more than 4.1 million secretaries and administrative assistants working in the United States, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, and 8.9 million people working in various administrative support roles. More than 475,000 administrative professionals are employed in Canada. Millions more administrative professionals work in offices all over the world.

APW is always the last full week in April. In 2010, Administrative Professionals Week is April 18-24 with Administrative Professionals Day on Wednesday, April 21.

quarta-feira, 21 de abril de 2010


A tourism concept film made for Kenya that we put together out of our archive. Uncommissioned-mainly for fun and for the love of our country!

What's IN a Preposition?

What's IN a Preposition?
Josef Essberger

Prepositions can be divided into:

•one-word prepositions (eg at, into, on)
•complex prepositions (eg according to, in spite of)
The name "preposition" (pre + position) means "place before". Prepositions usually come *before* another word, usually a noun or noun phrase:

•noun (I will meet you IN *London*.)
•pronoun (Give it TO *her*.)
•noun phrase (I'm tired OF *all this work*.)
•gerund (verb in -ing form) (It crashed ON *landing*.)
If a preposition does not come before another word, it is still closely associated with another word:

•*Who* did you talk TO?
•TO *whom* did you talk?
•I talked TO *Jane*.
Notice that many prepositions can also be adverbs:

•He walked DOWN the hill. (preposition)
•Please sit DOWN. (adverb)
A few prepositions can also be conjunctions:

•Everyone came BUT Tara. (preposition)
•I asked her BUT she didn't answer. (conjunction)


How many prepositions are there in English? It is not possible to give a definite answer, partly because complex prepositions are "open class", which means that new ones could be invented at any time. But for a list of almost all the one-word and complex prepositions in common use, see English Prepositions Listed which includes 370 example sentences.


Many words are associated with a particular preposition. When you learn a new word, try to learn the preposition associated with it. A good dictionary usually gives you examples.

Here are some common verbs that are associated with a particular preposition:

•to agree WITH somebody
•to agree ABOUT a subject
•to agree ON a decision
•to agree TO a proposal
•to arrive AT/IN a place
•to ask FOR something (but to ask a question/the time/directions etc)
•to borrow something FROM somebody
•to depend ON somebody/something
•to explain something TO somebody
•to insist ON -ing
•to laugh AT somebody/something
•to listen TO somebody/something
•to participate IN something
•to pay FOR something
•to be rude TO somebody
•to shoot AT somebody/something
•to smile AT somebody
•to succeed IN something
•to talk TO somebody
•to talk WITH somebody (US)
•to worry ABOUT something
•to write TO somebody
Here are a few common expressions with particular prepositions:

•to be afraid OF somebody/something
•to be angry WITH somebody
•to be angry ABOUT something
•to be bad AT something
•to be clever AT something
•to be good AT something
•to be interested IN something
•to be kind TO somebody
•to be nice TO somebody
© 2001 Josef Essberger

Source: http://www.englishclub.com

Poolside Interview

Meet the creator of Grammarman, the world's first and only grammar superhero
Josef Essberger of EnglishClub.com interviews Brian Boyd

Josef: Grammarman has to be one of the most imaginative ideas I've seen in the learning or teaching English field. And the whole concept seems to be very well executed. But before we talk about Grammarman in detail, can you tell me a little about yourself?

Brian: Right now I'm teaching English with the British Council here in Thailand, but my background is British. I was doing a degree in Education at Goldsmith's College in London, specializing in design and technology with computers, and I got involved with a publisher of educational materials...with the result that I ended up working for a time on educational computer games and books for children, all built around fantasy lands and characters, and involving interactive puzzles and quizzes. My job title was "multiple media designer". But even as a child I was always drawing cartoons and comic characters. I used to photocopy and sell them sometimes, you know, the way children do. I had no idea then that one day Grammarman would be born!

Josef: So who or what exactly is Grammarman?

Brian: I like to describe Grammarman as "the world's first and only grammar superhero". He's a comic-strip character in the style of Superman or Batman. Essentially, Grammarman is a hero who belongs to a distant group of beings called the Librarians. The Librarians live at the end of time in a city suspended in Space at the end of the Universe. They're a peace-loving people devoted to the English language and they live surrounded by endless shelves of books and reference works. The Librarians sent Grammarman to Earth as a baby to take care of the English language and defend Earth from the enemies of grammar. On Earth, Grammarman lives in Verbo City. He has the ability to detect errors. He's also the world's greatest reader and can sometimes read thoughts.

Josef: And what about Alpha-bot and Syntax? Who are they?

Brian: Grammarman can't possibly defend the Earth against grammar crimes all alone! So he's helped in his mission by two other heroes. Alpha-bot is one. He's the world's smartest android. There's nothing about grammar that Alpha-bot doesn't know, and his brain works at speeds we can only imagine. The other hero, Syntax, is an unusual visitor from a distant galaxy. He originally came to Earth to learn English, but decided to stay and help Grammarman in the fight against crime.

Josef: And villains? Who are the bad guys?

Brian: Of course, there are more villains than heroes. The Article Ants steal articles like "a" or "the". Anna Gramme is a mixed-up lady who scrambles words, but she's no match for Grammarman's superior brainpower. Then there's The Interrupter. He doesn't actually break the law but he's a real pain in the neck. Another is Uncle Uncountable who likes to use uncountable nouns in his crimes against his archenemy Grammarman. And Sammy Colon uses bad punctuation to cause confusion at the scene of a crime. There are more of course, because the battle against grammar crime is endless.

Josef: What was the idea behind Grammarman? How did it come to you?

Brian: It all started when I was having a drink with my good friend Thom Kiddle. We were talking about how Thai students love reading comics. I mean, even in class I'll sometimes find a student secretly reading some Manga comic! They read them everywhere, and at all ages. And we were thinking--if only they loved to read English comics. How about a superhero that teaches English? And really I have to thank Thom. He knew about my background in illustration and educational games and he really urged me on. And in fact he still helps tremendously, with ideas and advice. Although he's no longer in Thailand, we're always in touch by email, coming up with new exploits for Grammarman.

Josef: How do students learn with Grammarman?

Brian: Each episode of the comic works on two levels. Students can read the comic once, just for enjoyment...then each episode ends with a grammar puzzle. The reader is encouraged to read the story again looking for clues and answers. The solution to the problem is included at the bottom of each comic.

Josef: Who is Grammarman's target audience?

Brian: Really I'd say that anyone learning English could enjoy Grammarman. The language may be a little too much for very young readers, but that can be good because it stretches them. And even though it's a comic, adults love comic characters. In general, I'd say pre-intermediate and above.

Josef: Where and when does Grammarman appear?

Brian: I have a website that carries the early episodes of Grammarman. And then all the latest episodes of Grammarman are syndicated to newspapers and magazines around the world. They usually publish Grammarman once a month, though it's up to their schedule. Publications like The New Straits Times in Malaysia or The Buenos Aires Herald in Argentina.

Josef: Who or what inspires you?

Brian: It's mostly the comics that I read when I was eight years old and upward. Since then I've always enjoyed reading comics. Because of the nature of Grammarman it can't really work as a serious comic story. It tends to spoof and make reference to those comics of the 40's and 50's when it was all a lot more innocent. Nowadays comics have matured, they're more violent, more for an adult audience, but back in their heyday they were much more colourful and larger than life. Children would happily believe things like alien invasions. Nowadays Batman is very sort of dark and gritty, but back then he had a utility belt and he could always pull out all kinds of ridiculous stuff - like a fish&whatever he needed happened to be in that utility belt. So Grammarman's more like that. It sort of harks back to the comics when they were more innocent. And then another influence would be the huge amount of movies, the TV shows I've watched over the years. You can draw on all of that, when you're trying to come up with a story to fit a grammar point. It's just a wealth of stuff that you can use to your own ends.

Josef: What else do you have on your website?

Brian: The website started really as a showcase for the Grammarman comic. Apart from the early episodes of Grammarman, there are mini-biographies of each of the heroes and the villains. There's also some free clipart so students can download images of Grammarman, Alpha-bot etc and create their own stories. I extended the concept with more fun material such as interactive games, a downloadable maze book, reading resources, joke-of-the-day and puzzles. And then there's the student comics gallery. It's very creative what some of these young students have come up with.

Josef: I was very impressed by the audio. It sounds great, and very funny. How did you do that?

Brian: All the Grammarman episodes on the website have audio so that a student can read them and listen to the characters at the same time. I was able to do that because a friend of mine is a sound engineer. The sound is thanks to him really, and six or seven friends who helped out with their voices. The robot voice is me. I had to speak in a dead flat voice then my sound engineer friend made it sound electronic. He used his sound library to add lots of effects like explosions, cars screeching to a halt, audiences applauding and so on.

Josef: How do you get new ideas for each episode?

Brian: There are two approaches basically. One is to look through grammar books for a point to work on, and then think of a story to illustrate the point. And two, think of an adventure for Grammarman and then find a grammar point that would fit.

Josef: How do you actually produce Grammarman? I mean, who does the artwork and who looks after the website? How long does each episode take you?

Brian: Basically, I do the artwork alone, though Thom's a massive help with the ideas. Normally it takes about a week to produce one episode. It starts with scribbled notes for the ideas, then rough pencil sketches with the characters as stickmen, mainly to check that the text can fit the space. Then I draw outlines for each frame in blue pencil on A3 paper. Blue because it isn't picked up by the scanner later on, so those drawings can still be quite loose. It gives me freedom to make sure the images are how I want them before committing anything to a finished drawing. The next step is to go over the blue outlines more carefully in black ink. After that, I scan the drawing into the computer and use a graphics program to tidy up the black line-work further. Then, still in the computer, add colour, shading and shadow to give a more 3D effect. The next step is to add the text balloons and the text inside them. And finally the title bar finishes it all off. Another friend of mine has been a great help with the website, though I'm learning how to take care of that more and more.

Josef: What feedback have you had? All positive? Any negative?

Brian: Mostly good. Very good really. Most of the emails I get say things like great idea, my students say it's fun. Teachers often write to say they've use Grammarman in class. It's a great thrill to get feedback from around the world from people I've never met and who are enjoying my jokes and stories. But I'm also pretty sensitive, so I cringe a bit when I get the occasional negative comment. I also have to be on the lookout for any real grammar mistakes because some people would be only too happy to point out errors. Fortunately I've got Grammarman to help me.

Josef: What plans do you have for the future?

Brian: Lots! Based on the current episodes of Grammarman I have plans for a collected volume, probably in book and, hopefully, CD form with audio. And then I'm also working on a Grammarman board game and Grammarman card game. I think they will be fun. When I have more time I'd like to find someone willing to produce a Grammarman computer game and some animated cartoons. And another idea is a Grammarman Fun Book on "fun" English, you know, quirky things like silent letters and palindromes&

To find out more about Grammarman visit: http://www.grammarmancomic.com

Source: http://www.englishclub.com

sexta-feira, 2 de abril de 2010

Welcome to a Celebration of Easter

Easter is the springtime holiday marking the rebirth of Jesus and the renewal of the Christian faith.

It is a blessed time for the faithful to celebrate the life, death and resurrection of the Savior... and a magical time for children to enjoy chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks and jellybean-filled Easter eggs.

Did You Know?
Facts & Figures About the Holiday of Easter

Did you know that religion historians believe that the holiday of Easter originated with the pagan festival of Eastre, a Saxon celebration of spring and fertility? The April holiday included a number of the same springtime rituals and symbols that today feature in Christianity's celebration of Easter. Included among these are the rabbit and the egg, both ancient Pagan symbols of fertility.

Did you know that thousands of Christian pilgrims converge on Jerusalem every year to celebrate the Holy Week of Easter? On Palm Sunday, pilgrims march through the Holy City, waving palm branches and retracing the steps of Jesus as he made his triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. Then, five days later, pilgrims walk solemnly along the fourteen Stations of the Cross, reenacting Jesus' procession toward his crucifixion.

Did you know that Ash Wednesday gets its name from the practice of painting ashes on the forehead as a sign of repentance? The movable holiday, which falls anytime between February 4 and March 10, is the first day of the Lenten Period. The ashes are saved from the burning of the previous year's Palm Sunday palm branches.

Did you know that in Russia, Easter eggs are dyed on Holy Thursday? The traditional method involves boiling the eggs in a mixture of onion peels and silk scraps. Russian Easter eggs are thoughts to possess magic powers, including bringing prosperity and warding off evil spirits.

Did you know that in Greece, children and adults alike play an egg cracking game called tsougrisma on Easter? Players attempt to crack their eggs against their friend's egg; the last person with an un-cracked egg is considered the lucky one. The Greeks traditionally dye their eggs red, symbolizing the blood and passion of Christ.

Did you know that Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the full moon of the vernal equinox? In Western churches, this can occur any Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th. In Orthodox Churches, Easter falls a bit later -- between the beginning of April and the beginning of May. The difference in dates is due to varying calculations of when the vernal equinox takes place. In 2009, Easter will be celebrated on Sunday April 12; Orthodox Easter will be celebrated on April 19.

Did you know that the trumpet shape of the Easter Lily is considered symbolic of the heralding of Jesus on his triumphant entry into Jerusalem? Biblical scholars also tell us that lilies may have grown in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Judas betrayed Jesus.

Did you know that 95 percent of the world's Easter Lilies are produced by just ten growers along the California-Oregon border? Known as the Easter Lily Capital of the World, this area sees more than 15 million lily bulbs planted each year to meet the Easter demand.

Did you now that Palm Sunday is also known as Passion Sunday in many Orthodox churches? Palm Sunday celebrates the triumphant entry of Jesus in Jerusalem, commemorated in many churches by processionals of parishioners who hold palm leaves tied to crosses. The Orthodox church view this as a solemn day of reflection since it portents Jesus' death just five days later. The term passion is used in Christian parlance to refer to the suffering of Jesus on the Cross.

Did you know that in many Catholic churches, Good Friday services begin at precisely 3 o'clock? This is the time that Jesus is believed to have died on the Cross. Good Friday is a solemn day of prayer, repentance and, in some churches, fasting in commemoration of Jesus' death. Catholics, Greek and Russian Orthodox, and many Protestants celebrate Good Friday.

Did you know that Americans eat more candy at Easter than at any other holiday besides Halloween? An average of seven billion pounds of candy is consumed over Easter weekend. Sales of Easter candy top nearly $2 billion; in contrast, just over $1 billion of candy is sold for Valentine's Day.

Did you know that the most popular Easter confection is Marshmallow Peeps? More than 700 million of these chick, bunny and egg-shaped marshmallows are purchased every year. A meager 90 million chocolate bunnies are consumed. At peak production, over four million Marshmallow Peeps can be made each day.

Did you know that eating Easter candy is a relatively modern tradition? The first chocolate eggs, for example, were made in Europe in the 1800s. And Marshmallow Peeps, produced by the Russian-born U.S. confectioner Sam Born, didn't get their start until the 1950s in the United States.

Did you know that the most popular treat to hide inside an Easter egg is jellybeans? Americans consume more than 16 billion of them at Easter -- enough to circle the circumference of the globe three times!

Did you know that over one billion Easter eggs are hunted every year in America? The most popular (or at least the most televised) Easter egg hunt is the one held at the White House. President Hayes hosted the first White House egg hunt in 1878, launching a tradition that has continued to this day. President and First Lady Obama will sponsor their first Easter egg hunt on April 13, 2009. The event -- themed as "Let's Go Play" -- is intended to encourage America's youngsters to lead active, healthy lives. Tickets can be downloaded from the White House website beginning Thursday, March 26, 2009.

Did you know that ham is the most commonly served meat at Easter dinners in America? The tradition has its roots in Northern Europe, where, in the days before refrigeration, hogs were slaughtered in the fall. They were then cured for seven months � and ready to eat just in time for Easter. If you aren't a fan of the other white meat, turkey and lamb are also popular choices for Easter dinner.

quinta-feira, 1 de abril de 2010


The uncertain origins of a foolish day
by David Johnson and Shmuel Ross

April Fools' Day, sometimes called All Fools' Day, is one of the most light-hearted days of the year. Its origins are uncertain. Some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it stems from the adoption of a new calendar.

New Year's Day Moves
Ancient cultures, including those of the Romans and Hindus, celebrated New Year's Day on or around April 1. It closely follows the vernal equinox (March 20th or March 21st.) In medieval times, much of Europe celebrated March 25, the Feast of Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year.

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar (the Gregorian Calendar) to replace the old Julian Calendar. The new calendar called for New Year's Day to be celebrated Jan. 1. That year, France adopted the reformed calendar and shifted New Year's day to Jan. 1. According to a popular explanation, many people either refused to accept the new date, or did not learn about it, and continued to celebrate New Year's Day on April 1. Other people began to make fun of these traditionalists, sending them on "fool's errands" or trying to trick them into believing something false. Eventually, the practice spread throughout Europe.

Problems With This Explanation
There are at least two difficulties with this explanation. The first is that it doesn't fully account for the spread of April Fools' Day to other European countries. The Gregorian calendar was not adopted by England until 1752, for example, but April Fools' Day was already well established there by that point. The second is that we have no direct historical evidence for this explanation, only conjecture, and that conjecture appears to have been made more recently.

Constantine and Kugel
Another explanation of the origins of April Fools' Day was provided by Joseph Boskin, a professor of history at Boston University. He explained that the practice began during the reign of Constantine, when a group of court jesters and fools told the Roman emperor that they could do a better job of running the empire. Constantine, amused, allowed a jester named Kugel to be king for one day. Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day, and the custom became an annual event.

"In a way," explained Prof. Boskin, "it was a very serious day. In those times fools were really wise men. It was the role of jesters to put things in perspective with humor."

This explanation was brought to the public's attention in an Associated Press article printed by many newspapers in 1983. There was only one catch: Boskin made the whole thing up. It took a couple of weeks for the AP to realize that they'd been victims of an April Fools' joke themselves.
Spring Fever
It is worth noting that many different cultures have had days of foolishness around the start of April, give or take a couple of weeks. The Romans had a festival named Hilaria on March 25, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis. The Hindu calendar has Holi, and the Jewish calendar has Purim. Perhaps there's something about the time of year, with its turn from winter to spring, that lends itself to lighthearted celebrations.

Observances Around the World
April Fools' Day is observed throughout the Western world. Practices include sending someone on a "fool's errand," looking for things that don't exist; playing pranks; and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things.

The French call April 1 Poisson d'Avril, or "April Fish." French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying "Poisson d'Avril" when the prank is discovered.

Humor: It’s great being a woman because…

14It’s great being a woman because…

1.We got off the Titanic first.
2.We can scare male bosses with the mysterious gynaecological disorder excuses.
3.Taxis stop for us.
4.We don’t look like a frog in a blender when dancing.
5.No fashion faux pas we make, could ever rival the Speedo.
6.We don’t have to pass gas to amuse ourselves.
7.If we forget to shave, no one has to know.
8.We can congratulate our team-mate without ever touching her rear end.
9.We never have to reach down every so often to make sure our privates are still there.
10.We have the ability to dress ourselves.
11.We can talk to the opposite sex without having to picture them naked.
12.If we marry someone 20 years younger, we are aware that we will look like an idiot.
13.We will never regret piercing our ears.
14.There are times when chocolate really can solve all your problems.
15.We can make comments about how silly men are in their presence because they aren’t listening anyway.

Source: http://www.teclasap.com.br