Showing posts from September, 2009

Do we deserve the politicians we have?

Most world leaders try to avoid repeatinggaffes. Not Silvio Berlusconi. The Italian Prime Minister has called President Obama “tanned” again — but this time he did not miss the opportunity to joke about the First Lady’s skin colour as well.

After his return from the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, Mr Berlusconi told a rally of conservative supporters that he was bringing greetings from someone in the United States.

“What’s his name? Some tanned guy. Ah, Barack Obama,” he said. He then added: “You won’t believe it, but the two of them sunbathe together, because the wife is also tanned.”

This is not the first time Mr Berlusconi has made reference to the US president’s race. Soon after Mr Obama won the election in November 2008, and became America’s first black president, Mr Berlusconi raised eyebrows by saying the victor was “young, handsome, and even has a good tan”.

Mr Berlusconi’s latest comments followed a seemingly tense greeting from the Obamas, who hosted the Pittsburgh G20 summit last…

especially v specially

What's the difference between specially and especially?

These two words often have the same meaning.

Especially is often used before prepositions and conjunctions.
I play a lot of tennis, especiallyin summer.My neighbour really annoys me, especiallywhen he plays loud music.And specially is often used with past participle.The cake was speciallymade for the occasion.The building was speciallydesigned for disabled access.Or especially is used for emphasis, like particularly.The people are friendly, especially in the north of the country. His latest film was especiallygood.And specially is used to describe a particular purpose.I like this coat, specially for the cold weather.It's a funny film, specially for young people.Are you still confused?

Controversial photo with Obamas

Mystery surrounds a photo including the two daughters of the Spanish Prime Minister.

El Mundo reports that photos of Barack and Michelle Obama with José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and his wife, Sonsoles Espinosa, and the Spanish couple’s two daughters, were taken in New York on Thursday, but initially not distributed by the EFE news agency.

The paper claims that a phone call was made reminding the agency that Zapatero did not want photos of his daughters released, not even with their faces pixeled out, as is the norm for those under 18 years of age in Spain. Zapatero’s daughters, Laura and Alba, are 16 and 13.

However a statement from EFE said that it had been an internal decision by them not to distribute the photo, and that they had received no phone call from the Moncloa palace. Finally the photo, released by the White House in the State Department photo gallery on Flickr, has now appeared widely on the Internet and two Spanish newspaper front pages, in El Mundo and ABC, with the fac…

Bullfighting goes pink

Advertisers find new space -- on matador capes
An underemployed Spanish matador is breaking tradition and carrying advertising on his capes in the bullring -- promoting a soft drink aimed at gays.

While fighting bulls, matador Joselito Ortega will use capes embroidered with the words "Gay Up," the name of the energy drink.

The move has many in the macho-steeped world of bullfighting seeing red.

But Ortega, 29, told CNN, "I'm glad to be the first person (in bullfighting) whom the gay community will take as an icon."

"People think the bullfighter is very tough, very rude and they only like women," Ortega added. "But we are in 2009. Everything must change."

Industry experts said it would be the first time advertising will appear on bullfighter's capes -- the large one used when the bull rushes into the ring, and a smaller one used later as the matador moves in for the kill.

In the 1980s, matador Luis Reina had a contract showing the bran…

relation v relationship

What's the difference between relation and relationship?

This isn't an easy one. They are sometimes similar in meaning but cannot be used interchangeably.

It's best to look at examples in context.
Is she in a relationship? = Does she have a boyfriend? or Is she seeing anyone?She finished their relationship because he didn't want to have children. This is more than friendship; it involves romantic feelings.Is there a relationship between Swine Flu and the human form of the disease? = Is there a connection?Since the election of the President, the relationship between the two countries has deteriorated rapidly. The way the two groups behave towards each other has changed.They have an excellent business relationship. You should indicate the connection between the two people otherwise it could be understood as a romantic one.What are your relations like? = What are the people in your family (relatives) like? Srephen Connor and Mary Connor (no relation) are both government mi…


This is another photo of me. I am often sitting on a wall in my holiday pics for some reason.
My name is Graham. It's a name that is difficult to pronounce for most Spanish people at first.
I was born in the North of Scotland. I think that most people agree that it is a beautiful part of the world. I acted as aguide for a friend this summer and we drove all over the country. You can never guarantee the weather but the beauty of the landscapes is always guaranteed.
I left home in 1994 and started teaching the same year. I went to Rome and for one reason or another, I ended up staying for seven and a half years. Rome is an amazing city and I have some wonderful memories of my life there. However, it is a difficult city to live in for a foreigner and I grew tired of the Italian mentality in the end.
So I decided to packmy bags and come to Spain. I spent two months here initially and I used the time to travel around a bit. I knew I had to come to live in Madrid after just my first weekend…

Raise v rise

What's the difference between raise and rise?

Both verbs mean to move upwards.

Rise is an intransitive verb while raise is a transative verb.

And what does that mean?!

Rise does not need an object:

The sun rises every morning.Hot air rises.Inflation rose last month to 5%.The unemployment rate has risen again. Raise needs an object:
Raise your hand when you don't understand.He never raised his head from his book when I came into the room.They had just raised the theatre curtain when my mobile phone rang.The government has raised the rate of VAT.
What things have been rising recently? What has been raised?

Puma and Adidas make up

Adidas and Puma end 60-year feud
The German sportswear companies Puma and Adidas are to end a feud started 60 years ago by their founding brothers.

Adi and Rudolf Dassler started making sports shoes together in their mother's wash-room in the 1920s.

They fell out* during World War II, probably over political differences, and founded firms on either side of a river in southern Germany.

On Monday 21 September, employees of both companies will shake hands and then play a football match.

It is a big deal in the cobblestoned Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach, where two of the world's largest sportswear companies are based.

First joint activities

When the brothers set up* their separate companies in 1948 the town was also split, with residents loyal to one or other of the only major employees.

In a joint release, the two companies said they were making up* to support the Peace One Day organisation, which has its annual non-violence day on Monday.

They say that the events will be the f…

Meet the tallest and shortest men in the world

World's tallest man, Sultan Kosen, is looking for a girlfriend who isn't scared of him

All Sultan Kosen wants is a woman to look up to – but finding love is a tall order when you are 8ft 1in.

The 27-year-old farmer from Turkey said he’s never had a girlfriend.

But he hopes his luck will change after being named the world’s tallest man by the Guinness Book of Records yesterday.

At the event in London he towered over 4ft 6in Josh Henderson from Surrey.

Sultan said: “I want a car I can fit into, but more than that I want to get married. Until now it’s been really difficult to find a girlfriend. They’re usually scared of me. But hopefully now I’m famous I’ll meet lots of girls. I’d like to get married.”

Sultan also boasts the globe’s biggest hands (10.8in) and largest feet (14.4in). And he needs crutches just to walk.

Maybe it’s not his height that’s scaring the ladies after all, but the thought of his supersized smelly socks.

Source: Daily Mirror

What he lacks in height, he more t…

Summercat - Estrella Damm Spot

Is this "the song of the summer" this year? It is certainly catchy.

Do you like the advert? What is happening in it?

I kissed you good bye at the airport.
I held you so close to me.
I said ’So here we are now and I can’t stop from crying Lilly’.
And you said ’Hey hey hoo, you know this is the way to go
You will forget about me when I’m on that plane.
Forget about me when I’m on that plane.’

Tonight tonight tonight tonight
I wanna be with you Tonight tonight tonight tonight
I wanna be with you tonight

The plane took off and my love went with it.
The chilly wind whipped my both cheeks hard.
And the man next to me said ’Everything is gonna be alright’.
I said ’Nothing is gonna be alright, but thank you anyway’.
And then I saw your face in the airplane window.
I waved my hands and I shouted to you:

Tonight tonight tonight tonight
I wanna be with you Tonight tonight tonight tonight
I wanna be with you tonight

I wore a T-shirt and my worn out hat.
Abandoned as a summer cat.
And as …

Madrid 2016 - another broken dream?

Setback for Madrid in latest Olympic candidate report

Rio de Janeiro, Chicago and Tokyo get better reviews in the latest report from the International Olympic Committee

An evaluation report from the International Olympic Committee into the possible host cities for the 2016 games has put Rio de Janeiro, Chicago and Tokyo ahead over Madrid.

The report outlines opinions on all the candidate cities, and Madrid falls down on its organisation structure and also on how its documentation was presented.

The report says Madrid ‘does not show a complete understanding of the need for a clear delimitation of the roles and responsibilities, including financial interests between different interested parties. Given the current complicity and magnitude of the task to organise a multi-sports event such as this, this situation could cause financial or organisational setbacks’.

There is also criticism in the report on whether Spanish anti-doping legislation is in line with world requirements, and there ar…