Showing posts from February, 2011

and the Oscar for best film goes to ...

Below is the speech by George VI on September 3rd 1939:

In this grave hour, perhaps the most fateful in history, I send to every household of my peoples, both at home and overseas, this message, spoken with the same depth of feeling for each one of you as if I were able to cross your threshold and speak to you myself.

For the second time in the lives of most of us, we are at war.

Over and over again, we have tried to find a peaceful way out of the differences between ourselves and those who are now our enemies, but it has been in vain.

We have been forced into a conflict, for which we are called, with our allies to meet the challenge of a principle which, if it were to prevail, would be fatal to any civilized order in the world.

It is a principle which permits a state in the selfish pursuit of power to disregard its treaties and its solemn pledges, which sanctions the use of force or threat of force against the sovereignty and independence of other states.

Such a principle, stripped …

Academy Awards A - Z

Click on the main title to see the complete A - Z.


Created as a non-profit organisation in 1927, the original Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was made up of 36 producers and film-makers. Led by MGM studio chief Louis B Mayer, its membership included such notables as Douglas Fairbanks, Harold Lloyd and Mary Pickford. It now boasts more than 6,000 members, a quarter of them actors.


The time-honoured practice of opening the golden envelope to reveal the winner's name is a pivotal part of Oscar lore. It has not always been so though. For the first 10 years, the Academy informed the press ahead of time in order to accommodate their print deadlines. After one newspaper broke the embargo in 1939, the decision was made to keep the results a closely guarded secret.


The Oscars have thrown up more than their fair share of fashion faux pas over the years. Who could forget the bizarre Indian headdress sported by Cher in 1986, or Bjork's swan gown in 2001, …

The Big Apple

This is a text from Voice of America, which contains many interesting to read and listen to. Click to see original text and then click on listen at the end of the text.

Now the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.

A nickname is a shortened form of a person's name. A nickname also can be a descriptive name for a person, place or thing. Many American cities have nicknames. These can help establish an identity, spread pride among citizens and build unity.

A few years ago, some marketing and advertising experts were asked to name the best nickname for an American city. The winner was the nation’s largest city, New York. The top nickname was The Big Apple.

You mightwonder how New York got this nickname.In the early nineteen seventies, the city had many problems. The number of visitors was falling.So a campaign was launched to give the city a new image. The head of the New York Conventions and Visitors Bureau decided to call the city, The Big Apple.

There are several ex…

Pre Int - File 3 Vocab

Complete the sentences with a suitable word.
A: Are you looking f___ to going back home? B: I can't wait.Can you l___ me $50? I'll pay you back when I get paid.C___ up! Things aren't so bad.Hurry up or we'll m___ the train.Can I s___ seats with you? I don't have my glasses and I can't see the board from here.My teacher gave me some t___ to help me improve my English.A: How would you like your s___? B: Well done.I think there's a mistake in the c____. We didn't have any coffee with our meal.A: I have an interview this afternoon. B: Good l___!A: How long will the speech l___? B: about half an hourI had a horrible n____ last night. I dreamt I was falling into a dark tunnel.I think his new company will be s____. He has a  good head for business.

Pre Int - File 3 Grammar

Correct the following sentences if they have mistakes.
A: What do you do tonight? B: Nothing special.They going to get married in the summer.I'm meeting my friends for a drink tomorrow.A: When do you coming back? B: Next Friday.Be careful! The books are going to fall on the floor.Do you think Real Madrid will win their next match? I hope so.I'm going to a conference in London in March. I won't to understand a word.A: That's the last bottle of beer. B: Really? I'm going to go and buy some then.A: Would you like the fish too? B: No, I have the chicken.Do I open the window? It's very warm  in here.I'll call you on Monday morning - promise!What do you think of his new film?Are you agree with me?A: Are you going away for the weekend? B: I think not.I often dream with winning the lottery.

Cry baby Brits

The myth of Britain's stiff upper lip

The death of Diana is often said to be the moment the UK lost its stiff upper lip and the British started being comfortable crying in public. But has the UK always been a nation for mass outpourings of national grief?

In recent years it seems Britain has become a nation of cry-babies, despite its long-held reputation for keeping emotions firmly buttoned up.

From the most unlikely politicians and public figures - including Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell - to just about everyone on a TV talent show, the tears are coming thick and fast.

Often, this shift towards public crying is linked with the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997. This collective moment of mourning is seen as releasing a nation from the restraints of being reserved and stoical.

But the British actually have a long history of very public outpourings of grief and their reputation for being emotionally reserved is only a relatively recent thing, says historian Dr Thom…

and the winner is ....

Which film do you think will win the Oscar for best film?

Below are some film critics giving their opinions on which one should win.

Watch the other reviews of nominated films.

Have you seen any of the nominated films? Would you recommend seeing them?

Read all about the Oscars 2011.

Listen (with transcripts) to info on the Oscars.


Slow down while driving

Spain to lower speed limit as oil prices rise

Spain will lower motorway speed limits, cut train ticket prices and use more biofuel under an emergency energy-saving initiative because of soaring oil prices brought on by unrest in Libya, an official said Friday.

The Libya crisis has sharply reduced exports from the oil-rich nation, and about 13% of the oil Spain consumes comes from Libya.

Deputy prime minister, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, said Spain's energy supply is not in danger, despite shutdowns by oil companies operating in Libya, but the national energy bill will rise significantly because of the sharply higher petroleum prices.

He said a €10 per barrel (£8.50 per barrel) increase in oil prices will cost Spain an extra €500m (£425m) per month.

Spain's energy saving measures will be approved formally next week and take effect on a temporary basis on 7 March.

The maximum speed limit on Spanish motorways is 120kph (75mph) and this will be reduced to 110kph (68mph). The governme…

Fake smiling makes you miserable

When you're Smiling - Louis Prima

When you're smilin'....keep on smilin'
the whole world smiles with you
and when you're laughin'....keep on laughin'
the sun comes shinin' through
But when you're cryin'.... you bring on the rain
so stop your frownin' happy again
cause when you're smilin'....keep on smilin'
the whole world smiles with you

Pretending to be happy can actually make you more miserable - especially if you're a woman, according to a new study.

Researchers found that walking around with a forced smile and faking happiness simply led to people feeling gloomier.

So, putting a brave face on your woes could actually be counterproductive.

The research found that women suffered more than men when pretending to be happy.

Psychologist Dr Brent Scott, who led the study, said employers should take note because forcing workers to smile when dealing with the public can backfire.

He said: "Smiling for the sake of

Reading dreams

Dream recording device 'possible' researcher claims

A US researcher has said he plans to electronically record and interpret dreams.

Writing in the journal Nature, researchers said they have developed a system capable of recording higher-level brain activity.

"We would like to read people's dreams," says the lead scientist Dr Moran Cerf.

The aim is not to interlope, but to extend our understanding of how and why people dream.

For centuries, people have been fascinated by dreams and what they might mean; in ancient Egypt for example, they were thought to be messages from the gods.

More recently, dream analysis has been used by psychologists as a tool to understand the unconscious mind. But the only way to interpret dreams was to ask people about the subject of their dreams after they had woken up.

The eventual aim of Dr Cerf's project is to develop a system that would enable psychologists to corroborate people's recollections of their dream with an elec…

Another helping of bugs

Insects - they’re what’s for dinner - High in protein and low in fat, insects are what some are calling the meat of the future.

“The new meat is bugs (bleh) Yeah.”
Video HLN
“1/3 of the planet eats bugs as a part of their regular diet …”
Treehugger Radio
“It’s time for some wax worm tacos ... You have to taste this to believe this.”
Girl Meets Bug

Making your skin crawl yet? - Two researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands started their campaign for cricketsand the like in the 1990s and recently released a study saying bugs are the solution to the world’s foodshortage.

According to Daily Tech: “Between 2020 and 2050, researchers predict that Westerners will consume insects regularly as an answer to our increasing population needing more meat-related resources. In fact, beef may become a luxury food item like caviar by 2050.”

But Care2 reports insects are already more mainstream than you may think...

“According to the FDA, chocolate can contain around 60 insect fragmen…

30 years since 23F

Read thisreport on the attempted coup30 days ago to the day.

Vocabulary Practice:

Complete the following sentences with a green word or expression, in the correct form, from the above text.
I'm going to ________ for a while. I'm really tired and I don't feel very well.The President came to power after a _____ and there hasn't been elections since then.The secret services managed to foil the bomb _____ .Shop windows were broken and cars set alight during the _____ .The police _________ the area as they hunted the gunman.I was so hungry. My stomach was ___________ during the  meeting. It was embarrassing.A: How long does the film _____? B: around three hoursPeople drove to work _________ the warnings about the contaminaton.The terrorists released a number of ________ from the hijacked plane.The manager _________ because he disagreed with company policy.Everyone was watching te cup final. ___________ on the streets, everything was quiet.I ________ where Gill is. She isn'…

Henry VIII - mad or bad?


THE Queen is to be asked for permission to exhume the body of Henry VIII in a bid to prove that a rare ­disease caused his ferocious temper and may* havedriven him to have two of his six wives executed.

American researchers Catrina ­Whitley and Kyra Kramer believe that Henry had “Kell-positive” blood, and ­suffered from the related genetic ­disease McLeod’s syndrome.

Dr Whitley, a bioarchaeologist, said: “This could* vindicate Henry in history. Knowing he was mentally ill offers a different explanation for why Henry, who was greatly loved as a young prince, became a ­tyrant in ­later life.”

Henry, who died in 1547 at the age of 55, is buried under the floor of St George’s Chapel, in Windsor ­Castle. Permission to unearth his remains and take hair and bone samples for DNA tests must have royal approval.

Dr Whitley added: “McLeod’s ­syndrome causes muscle weakness and even schizophrenic behaviour. It usually reveals itself at around the age of …

Get me an invite to royal wedding

Source: maomaotqh (You Tube) Key words Royal wedding hunger strike
A Mexican teenager is staging a hunger strike outside the British Embassy in Mexico City in a bizarre attempt to secure an invitation to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Estibalis Chavez, 19, said she had not eaten for the past eight days and was living on just water as she camps in a blue tent near the gates to the embassy.

"Are they going to let me die just because they wouldn't give me an invitation to the royal wedding?" Miss Chavez wrote on one of the flyers she has plastered near the entrance to the colonial-style building.

"This is my only dream," read another flyer next to a picture of the smiling royal couple who will marry at Westminster Abbey on April 29.

Miss Chavez, wearing braces, pigtails and glasses, said the late Princess Diana had inspired her campaign.

"I think she was one of the most interesting women in history, and one of the best and most beautiful…

Prepositions of Time

Some of the following sentences use the wrong time preposition or wrong in some way. Correct them.
What are you going to do on the weekend?Did you go home the last Christmas?What did we study in class the last day?They got married on July 7th.Are you going away in Easter?I don't have to get up so early on Saturday mornings.We usually have our holiday on August.She was born in the 1960s.We go skiing in the winter.I have a meeting at 10 tomorrow morning.I don't go to the gym in Tuesdays.I came back to Madrid at New Year's Eve.The Second World War started in 1939.She is leaving the day after tomorrow.Shall we meet again on the next Thursday?

The weather forecast

Look at the forecast for the next three days for my two homes of Invernessand Madrid; and Rome, my home for many years.

What is the weather like for the next three days?

Compare the weather in the three cities.

Wet weather Vocabulary:

It's raining.

I don't mind the rain.

Another rainy day!

It must have been raining. The streets are wet.

It's a damp day. The clothes will take ages to dry.

There was a light shower earlier but it's fine now.

There'll be scattered showers in the north of the country.

There'll be heavy rain this weekend.

It's been drizzling all day.

We haven't had a drop of rain for weeks.

It's pouring. Take your umbrella.

It's teeming rain. Let's wait until it stops.

What a downpour!

I'm soaked. I need to get out of these clothes.

I got drenched. I left my umbrella at home.

There was a lot of flooding last year causing millions of pounds worth of damage.

It's raining cats and dogs.

Singin' in the Rain - Gene Kelly


Supergran revealed

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I can't provide you with subtitles but here are some of the words and expressions from the video.
a jewellery heisther handbag wielding, arm swinging actsix would be robbersThe video is striking and so were the sledgehammers… that they would dare to do a daylight robbery… and why should they get away with it?… they didn’t get away with anything but handcuffs and perhaps a few bruisesThe courage shown … showed the skills of a proSupergran does not mess aroundIn for a penny, in for a pound.You were just madyou sometimes need to use a wheelchairan amble up the hillthe legs wobbledthreatened meeyeball to eyeballan old biddythey grabbed the guyI did stand still for a secondMy lips were tremblingI was speechlessI’d have to hang up and call my momIt’s been plaguedwith prostitution and drug dealersAlleyways which became known as rat runs… were wired off, fenced off…Does it bother you that….?They were mesmerizedThey t…

Sister Internet

Spanish nun expelled from order over Facebook usage
A Spanish nun has been kicked out of the religious order where she lived the last 35 years in seclusion after spending too much time on the social networking site Facebook.

María Jesús Galán, dubbed "Sister Internet" by her fellow nuns, announcedon her Facebook page that shehad been asked to leave the convent after disagreements over her online activities.

The 54-year old, who lists her hobbies as "reading, music, art, and making friends" had almost 600 Facebook "friends"at the time of her eviction and now has fan pages with thousands of supporters from around the globe calling for her to be allowed back into the order.

A computer was first brought onto the premises of the 14th century Santo Domingo el Real convent in Toledo, central Spain 10 years ago after the Mother Superior was persuaded it would lessen the need for nuns to enter the outside world.

"It enabled us do things such as banking on…