Monday, March 10, 2014


Those interested in this blog can have access here

I keep posting new material to practice with the language.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Listen to this review and answer the questions:

1. Who wrote the book the Great Gatsby and when?
2. Why are the fans of the book concerned about movie adaptations?
3. What is the plot about?
4. Is the movie faithful to the book?
5. Does it show the emotional weight of the book? Why?
6. What does he think of the soundtrack?
7. Why does he think that the movie was fake?
8. What did the director lose sight of when making the film?
9. When he says, "It didn't feel like it had any substance"... Why does he think like that?
10. What's his opinion about the 3D?
11. What does he say about Carey Mulligan?
12. Does he recommend the movie?

Other approaches to this movie:
Movie review: Beyond the trailer

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


  • St George was born to Christian parents in A.D. 270 (3rd Century) in Cappadocia, now Eastern Turkey
  • He moved to Palestine with his Mother and became a Roman soldier, rising to the high rank of Tribunus Militum
  • However, he later resigned his military post and protested against his pagan leader, the Emperor Diocletian (245-313 AD), who led Rome’s persecution of Christians
  • His rebellion against the Emperor resulted in his imprisonment, but even after torture he stayed true to his faith
  • The enraged Diocletian had St George dragged through the streets of Nicomedia, Turkey, on the 23rd of April 303 AD and had him beheaded
  • The Emperor’s wife was so inspired by St George’s bravery and loyalty to his religion, that she too became a Christian and was subsequently executed for her faith
The medieval legend of St George and the dragon is over a thousand years old. The tale goes that the dragon made it’s nest by the fresh water spring near the town of Silene in Libya. When people came to collect water, they inadvertently disturbed the dragon and so offered sheep as a distraction.
After time, there were simply no sheep left to offer the dragon and so the people of Silene decided to chose a maiden from the town by drawing lots. When the results were read, it was revealed that the princess was to be the dragon’s next victim. Despite the Monarch’s protest his daughter Cleolinda was offered to the dragon...
However, at the moment of offering, a knight from the Crusades came riding by on his white stallion. St George dismounted and drew his sword, protecting himself with the sign of the cross. He fought the dragon on foot and managed to slay the beast and saved the princess. The people of Silene were exceptionally grateful and abandoned their pagan beliefs to convert to Christianity.


  • St Bede the Venerable (c.a. 673-735) from Northern England, also made reference to St George in his writings
  • As the Crusaders returned to England from foreign shores, they brought with them tales of St George, and his reputation grew
  • A church in Fordington, Dorset, records the ‘miracle appearance’, where St George presented himself outside Jerusalem in 1099 and led the Crusaders into battle. The story is etched into stone over the southern door of the church which still stands today. It is the earliest known church in England to be dedicated to the patron Saint
  • English soldiers wore a sign of St George on their chest and on their backs in the 14th century, as the Saint was regarded as a special protector of the English
  • King Edward III (1312-1377) founded the Order of the Garter (1348), the premier order of chivalry or knighthood in England. The Order was put under Saint George’s patronage and the medal is awarded on the 23rd April by the reigning Monarch
  • The King’s predecessors Edward IV & Henry VII, oversaw the construction of the beautiful St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, which presented itself as the chapel of the Order
  • It was in the year 1415 AD that St. George became the Patron Saint of England when English Soldiers under Henry V when he won the battle of Agincourt

Monday, April 8, 2013


A look back at the life and legacy of Margaret Thatcher. On becoming Britain's first female prime minister in 1979, she promised harmony – but became one of the most divisive figures in postwar politics.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, the saint's religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years. On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast--on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.

St. Patrick and the First St. Patrick's Day Parade

Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. In the centuries following Patrick's death (believed to have been on March 17, 461), the mythology surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture: Perhaps the most well known legend is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.

Since around the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17. Interestingly, however, the first parade held to honor St. Patrick's Day took place not in Ireland but in the United States. On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched throughNew York City. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as with fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.
The Shamrock
One traditional symbol of Saint Patrick's Day is the Shamrock.
"Shamrock" is the common name for several different kinds of three-leafed clovers native to Ireland.
The shamrock was chosen Ireland's national emblem because of the legend that St. Patrick had used it to illustrate the doctrine of the Trinity. The Trinity is the idea that God is really three-in-one: The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.
Patrick demonstrated the meaning of the Three-in-One by picking a shamrock from the grass growing at his feet and showing it to his listeners. He told them that just as the shamrock is one leaf with three parts, God is one entity with three Persons.
The Irish have considered shamrocks as good-luck symbols since earliest times, and today people of many other nationalities also believe they bring good luck.

The name leprechaun comes from the old Irish word "luchorpan" which means "little body."
A leprechaun is an Irish fairy who looks like a small, old man about 2 feet tall. He is often dressed like a shoemaker, with a crooked hat and a leather apron.
According to legend, leprechauns are aloof and unfriendly. They live alone, and pass the time making shoes. They also have a hidden pot of gold!
Treasure hunters can often track down a leprechaun by the sound of his shoemaker's hammer. If the leprechaun is caught, he can be threatened with bodily violence to tell where his treasure is, but the leprechaun's captors must keep their eyes on him every second. If the captor's eyes leave the leprechaun - he's known to trick them into looking away - he vanishes and all hopes of finding the treasure are lost.

The Harp
The harp is an ancient musical instrument used in Ireland for centuries. It is also a symbol of Ireland. Harpists, who were often blind, occupied an honored place in Irish society. Harpists and bards (or poets) played an important role in the social structure of Ireland. They were supported by chieftans and kings.
Although it is not as recognizable as the shamrock, the harp is a widely used symbol. It appears on Irish coins, the presidential flag, state seals, uniforms, and official documents.
O'Carolan was one of the most famous harpists, and many Irish melodies inspired by him still survive to this day.
The Blarney Stone
The word "Blarney" has come to mean nonsense or smooth flattering talk in almost any language. Tradition says that if you pay a visit to Blarney Castle in County Cork and kiss the Blarney Stone, you'll receive the gift of eloquence and powers of persuasion, a true master of the "gift of gab."
The Blarney Stone is a stone set in the wall of the Blarney Castle tower in the Irish village of Blarney.
The castle was built in 1446 by Cormac Laidhiv McCarthy (Lord of Muskerry) -- its walls are 18 feet thick (necessary to stop attacks by Cromwellians and William III's troops). Thousands of tourists a year still visit the castle.
The origins of the Blarney Stone's magical properties aren't clear, but one legend says that an old woman cast a spell on the stone to reward a king who had saved her from drowning. Kissing the stone while under the spell gave the king the ability to speak sweetly and convincingly.
It's difficult to reach the stone -- it's between the main castle wall and the parapet. Kissers have to lie on their back and bend backward (and downward), holding iron bars for support.
The world famous Blarney Stone is situated high up in the battlements of the castle. Follow one of the several long, stone spiral staircases up to the top and enjoy the spectacular views of the lush green Irish countryside, Blarney House and The Village of Blarney.
The stone is believed to be half of the Stone of Scone which originally belonged to Scotland. Scottish Kings were crowned over the stone, because it was believed to have special powers.
The stone was given to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314 in return for his support in the Battle of Bannockburn.

The Celtic Cross
Saint Patrick was familiar with the Irish language and culture, because of his time as a slave there. When Patrick went back to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity, he was successful because he didn't try to make the Irish forget their old beliefs. He combined their old beliefs with the new beliefs.
One example of this is the Celtic Cross. Saint Patrick added the sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that the new symbol of Christianity would be more natural to the Irish.