Wednesday, December 16


Today is the 20th Anniversary of the first episode of the Simpsons series.
The celebration of this 20 years will culminate in January 2010 with a documentary special entitled "The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special in 3D on Ice".
This special will examine the cultural phenomenon of "The Simpsons" and will document how the world sees the Simpsons and how The Simpsosns family has seen the world for two decades.
It will be produced and directed by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, star of "Super Size me" and "30 Days".
Here it's a video with the song "Lisa it's your birthday", a tribute to Michael Jackson

video

Tuesday, December 8

The Girl Who Silence the World

Now that Copenhagen in Denmark is hosting the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference from the 7th to the 18th of December 2009, it is a good moment to see this video.

I am sorry it is not of a good quality but I only want you to focus your attention on the girl's message.

video

Wednesday, November 25

El antes y el ahora


Creo que no son necesarias muchas palabras, estas viñetas ilustran claramente la transformación que ha experimentado la enseñanza y la sociedad española en las últimas décadas.
La violencia de baja intensidad es uno de los principales problemas a los que nos enfrentamos los profesores en nuestras aulas. Son agresiones leves como insultos, desprecios, desplantes, descalificaciones, desobediencias que nos van minando y que a veces desmotivan y desestabilizan psíquicamente a muchos docentes.
Si hacemos una pequeña historia de la enseñanza en nuestro país nos daremos cuenta cómo hemos llegado a esta situación.
Cuando en 1970 se promulgó la Ley General de Educación, establecía la enseñanza obligatoria hasta los catorce años y fomentaba además los valores cívicos como la solidaridad, el respeto, la generosidad, el esfuerzo y la responsabilidad.
La Logse en 1990 alargó la obligatoriedad de la enseñanza hasta los dieciséis años pero con un sistema que no favorecía ni promovía una actitud activa, esforzada y responsable de los alumnos. Se reducían los contenidos, se eliminaba el esfuerzo individual y la promoción era automática. Ya no estaba bien visto el enseñar valores y llegaron los "objetores escolares", alumnos obligados a permanecer en clase desinteresados, desmotivados y que sólo se dedican a molestar a los demás.

Al mismo tiempo, la sociedad ha ido evolucionando en algunos aspectos e involucionando en otros, digamos en la pérdida de respeto y responsabilidad. Unos jóvenes que no son respetuosos consigo mismos ni con los demás. Antes era habitual el intentar parecer una persona educada, culta y refinada. Aceptábamos la autoridad de cualquier persona mayor que podía reprendernos sin temor a la reacción de nuestros padres que seguramente le darían la razón. Éramos educados por todos, no solamente por nuestros padres y profesores. La urbanidad no era un esnobismo sino una forma de relacionarse con respeto.
Actualmente, no hay más que ver la televisión para cerciorarnos de que lo que prima es el vociferar, el hacer alarde de grosería y de una incultura supina. Tanto en las clases como en la calle hemos pasado del respeto (no miedo) al desprestigio y la mofa.
A ver quién se atreve a reprender una conducta inadecuada a un niño. Primero el niño se te rebota con gran descaro y te mandan "a que te pique un pollo", por no decir "a que te folle un pato loco" o lindezas por el estilo. Y los padres no se quedan atrás; te recriminan, en el mejor de los casos, con qué autoridad te dignas reñir a sus retoños sino llegan a más.

Friday, November 13

"Sonne". Rammstein

video

"Sonne", (German for "Sun") is a song by the German Tanz Metall group Rammstein.

This is a classical musical video with a twisted version of the Snow White tale. The band members play the 7 Dwarves. They mine gold for a gold-addicted Snow White who snorts it like cocaine. One day she overdosis while she was having a bath and the dwarves put her in a glass coffin and carry her up a hill to bury her. An apple falls from the tree above the grave and cracks open the coffin and Snow White wakes up.

Apparently, this idea came about while several of the band members were watching the Disney film, and had "Sonne" playing in the background. There were many other ideas for the video, one of them was a video about the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

I like this rhytmic song, here you have the lyrics in German. Enjoy it!

Sonne


Eins, zwei, drei, vier, fünf

Sechs, sieben, acht, neun, Aus.

Alle warten auf das Licht

Fürchtet euch fürchtet euch nicht

Die Sonne scheint mir aus den Augen

Sie wird heute Nacht nicht untergehen

Und die Welt zählt laut bis zehn

Eins

Hier kommt die Sonne

Zwei

Hier kommt die Sonne

Drei

Sie ist der hellste Stern von allen

Vier

Hier kommt die Sonne

Die Sonne scheint mir aus den Händen

Kann verbrennen kann euch blenden

Wenn sie aus den Fäusten bricht

Legt sich heiss auf das Gesicht

Sie wird heute nacht nicht untergehen

Und die Welt zählt laut bis zehn

Eins

Hier kommt die Sonne

Zwei

Hier kommt die Sonne

Drei

Sie ist der hellste Stern von allen

Vier

Hier kommt die Sonne

Fünf

Hier kommtdie Sonne

Sechs

Hier kommt die Sonne

Sieben

Sie ist der hellste Stern von allen

Acht, neun

Hier kommt die Sonne

Die Sonne scheint mir aus den Händen

Kann verbrennen, kann dich blenden

Wenn sie aus den Fäusten bricht

Legt sich heiss auf dein Gesicht

Legt sich schmerzend auf die Brust

Das Gleichgewicht wird zum Verlust

Lässt dich hart zu Boden gehen

Und die Welt zählt laut bis zehn

Eins

Hier kommt die Sonne

Zwei

Hier kommt die Sonne

Drei

Sie ist der hellste Stern von allen

Vier

Und wird nie vom Himmel fallen

Fünf

Hier kommt die Sonne

Sechs

Hier kommt die Sonne

Sieben

Sie ist der hellste Stern von allen

Acht, neun

Hier kommt die Sonne

Aus

Sunday, November 8


Today Berliners celebrate the Fall of the Wall with major celebrations on this 20th anniversary of the Wall's collapse, after nearly three decades - between 1961 and 1989 (28 years) - keeping East and West Berliners apart.
The opening of the Berlin Wall was preceded by a series of events in East Germany such as Mass demonstrations against the Government and the system beginning at the end of September and took until November 1989.
The World has changed since that Wednesday 9th November 1989; the comunism collapsed, the Soviet Empire imploded and Berliners were reunited in 1990.
Here are some data of the Wall:
Total lenght: 155Km.
In Berlin: 43,1km.
Concrete wall: 107,3km.
Guard dogs: 600
watch towers: 302
Bunkers: 22
Border guards: 14,000
Arrested people: 3221
Successful flights: 5,043
Dead people trying to scape: 239 or 800 (depending on the source)
Dead policemen and soldiers: 27
Grafitty at the Wall (" Some time, every wall will fall")

People tried to escape by means of different methods; they used the sewage system, tunnels, hiding places in cars, fake passports, light aircrafts and event balloons.

Pity not to be at the Branderburg Gate today celebrating this special anniversary. Congrats Berliners!!

Wednesday, November 4




To my friends from the Comenius "Overcoming Stereotypes to Reach Understanding and Acceptation"
It has been a great pleasure to have all the Comenius participants (teachers and students) from Turkey, Poland and Italy (Sora and Palermo) in our school IES Val do Tea in Ponteareas - Galicia (Spain).
Thanks a lot to everyone.
Enjoy the photos!

Sunday, November 1

video




"Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" is an evocative beautiful folk song. It was written by Pete Seeger inspired by a poem in a Russian Mikhail Sholojov's novel "And Quiet Flows the Don".
This anti-war song reflects the senseless of dying in battle. It's rethorical "Where?" falls in the uby sunt tradition, a meditation on mortality and life's transcience.
There are many versions of this song in different languages. I only will mention the one performed by Marlene Dietrich in French, English and German and the ones by Joan Baez and Pete Seeger.
Enjoy this lovely song!

Tuesday, October 27




Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe




Eenie, meenie, miney, moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe.
If he hollers, let him go.
My mother said to pick
The very best one And you are noooot (not) it


Choosing or counting – out rhymes are an important part of childhood. If a game is being set up and nobody wants to volunteer for a particular part or position, then a selection rhyme is used to choose one from the group.
All rhymes begin with the players in a circle. Then one of them, the singer, begins the rhyme and points around to the left or to the right, until they get to the end of the song. Whoever is being pointed at during the last word is either chosen or eliminated depending on the version or how the children choose to play.
When you sing this as a choosing game, you break it down by word. It's said like this below. On each line you're choosing a different one.
Eenie,
meenie
miney,
moe,
catch a
tiger
by the
toe.
If he
hollers,
Let him
go.
My
mother
said
to
pick
the
very
best
one
and
you
are
noooot (not)
it.

Sometimes people are counted and sometimes each person’s hands, so that you are only safe once both hands have been removed from the circle.

"Eenie, meenie, miney, moe," is the most popular selection rhyme. It was first used in the 18th Century and there exists multiple versions differing from region to region.
Some of these variations of the chants are also used to choose who would be “it” for games of tag or hide and seek.

Below there are some versions.

Eenie meenie miney moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe,
If he squeals, let him go,
Eenie meenie miney moe,


Eeny, meeny, miny moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe.
If he hollers make him pay,
Fifty dollars every day.

Eeeny, meeny, miney, mo.
Put the baby on the po.
When he's done,
Wipe his bum.
And tell his mother what he's done

Eenie meenie sicileeny,
Ooh ah zambalini,
Achi cachi Liberache,
I love you,
Take a peach,
Take a plum,
Take a stick of bubble gum,
Not a peach,
Not a plumb,
Not a stick of bubble gum.

Eeny, meany, tortellini
Beep, bop, bopellini
Etchy-sketchy, liver-etchy
I like you.
Take a peach,
take a plum
Take a stick of chewing gum
Stick it here,
stick it there
Stick it in your teacher's hair
No more school,
no more books
No more teachers' dirty looks
Yeah.

Eeny meeny desimeeny,
Ooh lah ooh lah a meeny,
Atchy atchy boomeratchy,
Bo-di-ac doh.
Take a peach,
take a plum,
Take a stick o' bubble gum.
No more schoolwork,
No more books,
No more teacher's Dirty looks.
Yeah!


There is even a controversial version when “politically correct” did not exist and children sang this rhyme using “nigger” instead of “tiger” (no offence intended!)
But it is not clear its origin if it refers when slaves were captured in Africa or when they ran away from plantations. In any case children sang the rhyme that way.

Eenea, meenea, mina, mo,
Catch a nigger by the toe;
If he hollers let him go,
Eenee, Meenee. Mainee, Mo.


Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo,
Catch a nigger by his toe,
If he won't work then let him go;
Skidum, skidee, skidoo.
But when you get money, your little bride
Will surely find out where you hide,
So there's the door and when I count four,
Then out goes you

Maybe some other time I would write about other counting rhymes. I find them very interesting.

Tuesday, October 20






Today the first 100% blue rose has come out in Tokyo, Japan.




Suntory Holdings has shown the flowers that are said to be the world's first roses with nearly 100 per cent blue pigments in the petals.


It has taken 20 years to grow these blue roses and they will be sold in major cities in Japan starting November 3rd (Bunka day) at about €20 each.

"Suntory blue rose Applause" have a bluish tinge remembering the sky just after dawn and they possess an elegant, alluring fresh fragance.

So, with a unique coloring and fragance, they will create an exquisite relaxed atmosphere and they will make a memorable gift for any special occasion.

The name "Applause" was chosen to congratulate those who have fulfilled a dream and to encourage those who have worked conscientiously towards this goal. In Japanese "applause" rhymes with rose.

It's a dream fulfilled because it seemed impossible to obtain blue roses since they lack the blue pigment delphinidin but it has been proved once again that working hard and pursuing one goal can culminate in a great success.


Congrats to Suntory Holdings for this challenging success. No doubt "Applause blue roses" will be my favourite ones from now on, as I love blue colour and roses.




Thursday, October 1

video

Jeff Dunham, American ventriloquist and comedian has become an entertainment phenomenon including record-breaking television specials.

Apart from Achmed, the Dead Terrorist he has other characters: Peanut, Walter, José Jalapeño on a stick, Bubba J., Melvin the Superhero Guy and Sweet Daddy Dee.

Enjoy this video!

Monday, September 28




"The Elegance of the Hedgehog" , Muriel Barbery's second novel is a beautifully written book which elegantly treats the line between literary and commercial fiction. However, I must confess it didn't capture me , at least initially. Several times I was on the point of giving up and starting any other book, but slowly this novel and its characters drew me in and I was completely hooked by the end.


It's a very Fench novel: tender and satirical in its overall tone, but absorbing because of its reflections on the nature of beauty and art, the meaning of life and death. These strands provide Muriel Barbery - one-time philosophy teacher who now lives in Japan - with the opportunity to explore her favourite theme: philosophy as applied to everyday life. Clever, informative and moving, it is essentially a course in philosophy interwoven with a platonic love story. In her brief chapters, more essays than fiction, Renée Michel, its main character, offers a mini-treatise on phenomenology, discuss the function of literature in life and the barrenness of a certain kind of scholarship.


The story provides the confession of two women: Renée Michel, a 54-year old concierge in a Parisian block of luxury apartments, and Paloma Josse, a precocious 12-year old girl, daughter of a wealthy family in the house.


The two narrators alternate chapters, but the book is written from the viewpoint of Renée, with the Paloma's story woven into it. Renée's story is addressed to no one, while Paloma's takes the form of a diary crammed with what she labels "Profound Thoughts" in which she jots down haiku and tanka.


The hedgehog of the title is a witty metaphor for Renée who calls herself "short, ugly and plump", a self-consciously stereotypical working-class nobody, but despite her appearance and outward manner, she possesses a mind of the most infinite refinement and precision. She is an autodidact who loves Mozart, adores Tolstoi, is a devotee of Japanese cinema, listens to Mahler, secretly disdains Husserl's philosophy and even practices the Japanese tea ceremony in her private backroom.


In short, she is more aware and more cultivated than anyone around her. Nevertheless, her inner life is entirely clandestine and she pretends to be far more stupid and uncultivated than she is in order to keep with society's expectations of what a concierge should be.


Her unlikely counterpart is Paloma Josse. Acutely intelligent, introspective and philosophical, this precocious girl views the world as absurd and records her observations about it in her diary. She despises her coddled existence, her older sister and her well-to-do parents, especially her plant-obsessed mother. She believes her life is meaningless and has secretly decided to commit suicide on her 13th birthday.


But halfway through "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" the lives of Paloma and Renée are unexpectedly transformed when a cultured Japanese gentleman named Kakuro Ozu moves into the building. Though clearly rich, he is also immensely courtous, mysterious and shrewd. He immediately perceives that neither the little girl nor the concierge is just what she seems and he decides to discover more about their secret lives. He quickly discerns Renée and Paloma intelligence and taste; he and Renée begin a sentimental friendship based on a shared love of beauty.


As the two characters' lifes overlap, Paloma discovers Renée secret gifts and she writes in her diary: "Madame Michel has the same simple refinement as the hedgehog", a real fortress, bristling with quills on the outside... "deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary but terribly elegant" within.


These two characters provide the double narrative of "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" and you will fall in love with both. Humour and humanity exude throughout the novel, until by the last chapter you will have a tear in your eye.


I enthusiastically recomment this novel for anyone who loves books that grow slowly and then blossom suddenly.

Tuesday, September 22

Autumn Haikus





AUTUMN HAIKUS



Autumn: my yearly
clash with conflicting feelings
of joy and despair


Yellow autumn moon ...
unimpressed the scarecrow stands
simply looking bored


Oh scarlet autumn!
that profound punctuation
to shamrock summer


autumn dusks
carecrow points
to the rising moon


first autumn trees
begin to blush
before disrobing


your eyes catch mine
as I stare into the clouds-
autumn daydream


On a withered bough
A crow alone is perching,
Autumn evening now.


The carpet of leaves
dying in silence , deadens
the passing of love.


Sunday, September 20

I Look to You

video

Wow! Welcome back Whitney Houston!

What an amazing song, for God's sake!

She is back again with this powerful song. Congrats on your beautiful video. I love it.

Monday, September 14

You. Are. Great.

"Validation", Kurt Kuenne's short film, is a tiny little masterpiece, remarkably simple, turning on the premise: what if parking validations aren't just about getting free parking but also validations of your existence?
In this 16-minute fable, a parking attendant gives his customers more than just free parking, he also gives compliments to everyone by telling them their good features.
You are hooked from the initial sweep when gentle Hugh Newman starts "validating" a "customer": "You've got powerful features, man, anyone ever tell you that? Listen, you look a little down... someday people are going to see you for who you really are. You. are. Great."
So, stop what you are doing and devote the next 16 minutes of your life to this magical short, "Validation". Sure you will smile.


video

Saturday, September 12

As I promised here is the solution of the puzzle.



In this case we were shown a sketch of the brooch exactly as it appeared after the four rubies had been stolen from it. The reader was asked to show the position from which the stones "may have been taken"; for it is not possible to show precisely how the genes were originally placed, because there are many such ways. But an important point was the statement by Lady Littlewood's brother: "I know the brooch well. It originally contained forty-five stones, and there are now only forty-one. Somebody has stolen four rubies, and then reset as small a number as possible in such a way that there shall always be eight stones in any of the directions you have mentioned".



The diagram shows the arrangement before the robbery. It will be seen that it was only necessary to reset one ruby -the one in the centre. Any solution involving the resetting of more than one stone is not in accordance with the brother's statement, and must therefore be wrong. The original arrangement was, of course, a little unsymmetrical, and for this reason the brooch was described as "rather eccentric".

Sunday, August 30

Henry Ernest Dudeney






Henry Ernest Dudeney (1857 - 1930) was born in the village of Mayfield, East Sussex, England. He was England's greatest composer of math and logic puzzles. Dudeney is best known for his publications of mathematical problems and pasttimes, some of which provoked serious mathematical research.

He came from a family which had a mathematical tradition and also a tradition of school teaching.

Henry learnt to play chess at a young age and soon became interested in chess problems. From the age of nine he was composing problems and puzzles which he published in a local paper. Although he only had a basic education, never attending college, he had a particular interest in mathematics and studied mathematics and its history in his spare time.


One of the most famous of his geometrical puzzles is the "Haberdasher's problem" (Cut an equilateral triangle into four pieces that can be arranged to make a square)

He was a near - contemporary of Sam Loyd, America's greatest puzzle expert and the two men frequently exchanged puzzles and ideas. Many of Loyd's and Dudeney's published puzzles show strong similarities, demonstrating how close their collaboration sometimes was.


One of his publications was "Amusements in Mathematics", you have here an example of one of his puzzles.

"The Ruby Brooch"


The annals of Scotland Yard contain some remarkable cases of jewel robberies, but one of the most perplexing was the theft of lady Littlewood's rubies. There have, of course, been many greater robberies in point of value, but few so artfully conceived. Lady Littlewood, of Rowley Manor, had a beautiful but rather eccentric heirloom in the form of a ruby brooch.
While staying at her town house early in the eighties she took the jewel to a shop in Brompton for some slight repairs.
"A fine collection of rubies madam" said the shopkeeper, whom her ladyship was a stranger.
"Yes", she replied; "but curiously enough I have never actually counted them. My mother once pointed out to me that if you start from the centre and count up one line, along the outside and down the next line, there are always eight rubies. So I should always know if a stone were missing".


Six months later a brother of Lady Littlewood's, who had returned from his regiment in India, noticed that his sister was wearing the ruby brooch one night at a county ball, and on their return home asked to look at it more closely. He immediately detected the fact that four of the stones were gone.
"How can that possibly be?" said Lady Littlewood. "If you count up one line from the centre, along the ede, and down the next line, in any direction, there are always eight stones. This was always so and is so now. How, therefore, would it be possible to remove a stone without my detecting it?"
"Nothing could be simpler", replied the brother. "I know the brooch well. It originally contained forty-five stones, and there are now only forty-one. Somebody has stolen four rubies, and then reset as small a number of the others as possible in such a way that there shall always be eight in any of the directions you have mentioned."
There wasn't the slightest doubt that the Brompton jeweller was the thief, and the matter was placed in the hands of the police. But the man was wanted for other robberies, and had left the neighbourhood some time before. To this day he has never been found.
The interesting little point that at first baffled the police, and which forms the subject of our puzzle, is this: How were the forty-five rubies originally arranged on the brooch? The illustation shows exactly how the forty-one were arranged after it came back from the jeweller; but although they count eight correctly in any of the directions mentioned, there are four stones missing.

Prove how clever you are and try to solve it.
I'd like to have comments with the solution. In any case, I´ll give you the solution in a next post in a few days. And if some of you are interested in these puzzles I´ll publish some more in the future.

Thursday, July 30

video



Alesha Dixon widget by 6L & Daxii



Enjoy gorgeous and talented Alesha Dixon's video "The boy does nothing" dancing with professional dancers.


Tuesday, July 21



Bajo un sol abrasador hemos visitado el Castro de Yecla la Vieja y nos ha sorprendido gratamente su buen estado de conservación.













Se halla situado al Noroeste de la provincia de Salamanca, a 8 kilómetros de Vitigudino, en la confluencia del arroyo Varlaña con el río Huebra.





Este emplazamiento defensivo se levanta sobre una abrupta plataforma y presenta una forma aproximadamente triangular ocupando una superficie de unas 5 ha. El poblado aprovecha para protegerse las defensas naturales que tiene el terreno con escarpadas pendientes y completa su protección con una ancha muralla de más de 1200 metros de longitud que es posible recorrer en todo su perímetro y un grosor de unos 7 metros. Se adapta a las ondulaciones del terreno y su pared externa - paramento - está inclinada para dar una mayor estabilidad a la fortificación.




La puerta principal se defendía con un grueso bastión y un campo de piedras hincadas frente a ella. También presenta una forma de embudo, estrechándose las paredes hasta hacerse un callejón que discurría paralelo a la muralla.
Existen además otras puertas en embudo a lo largo de ella. También hay portillos del que destacamos el abierto en la parte septentrional con una escalera que desciende hasta el arroyo Varlaña.




Como no todo el terreno que rodea a la muralla tiene una elevada pendiente, necesitaba aumentar la protección de las zonas llanas. Para ello se sirvieron de una barrera de piedras hincadas al pie de la muralla, eran grandes y puntiagudas lajas de granito que dificultaban el avance del enemigo a pie o a caballo.
El castro de Yecla la Vieja ha sufrido sucesivas ocupaciones. Tiene sus orígenes hacia el siglo V a. C. en la Segunda Edad del Hierro y fue poblado por un pueblo prerromano, los vettones, pueblo celta que introdujeron la cultura de los verracos.
A comienzos del siglo I d. C. se produjo su romanización como atestiguan las numerosas inscripciones latinas y estelas funerarias encontradas.
En la época visigoda se produce el inicio de su decadencia y comienza a despoblarse, aunque no es hasta finales del siglo XII cuando sus habitantes se trasladan a un kilómetro dando origen a la actual Yecla de Yeltes.






Tras su abandono, en época de los Reyes Católicos se construyó en el recinto la ermita de la Virgen del Castillo que se conserva y está en uso.





Los restos arqueológicos que se conservan son de gran riqueza, especialmente grabados rupestres, tallas en piedra en todo el conjunto, tanto en las rocas cercanas al castro como en las situadas en el interior y exterior de la muralla. Son grabados simples, esquemáticos que representan sobre todo caballos pero también cabras, jabalíes, un impresionante toro y escenas de caza. También curiosos símbolos, signos geométricos como cruces, espirales y retículas.

Como complemento del recorrido del castro se puede visitar el Aula Arqueológica instalada en las antiguas escuelas en la Plaza Mayor de Yecla de Yeltes que alberga una maqueta del conjunto del castro, unas cabezas humanas esculpidas en granito que debieron ir incrustadas en los muros, cerámicas, armas, adornos, estelas funerarias y una magnífica escultura de jabalí descubierta en recientes excavaciones.



Ha sido una excursión muy grata y desde aquí os animo a visitar este interesante castro.


Tuesday, July 14

Señor Wences






Que nadie es profeta en su tierra es un dicho fácilmente constatable en el caso del Señor Wences, este ventrílocuo salmantino de Peñaranda de Bracamonte (1896 - 1999) casi desconocido para los españoles pero que gozaba de una extraordinaria popularidad en Estados Unidos y otros paises americanos.
Aparecía regularmente en los shows de Ed Sullivan en la CBS y en "The Muppet show".






Sus personajes más conocidos fueron Pedro (una cara dentro de una caja), Cecilia (una gallina parlanchina) y sobre todo Johnny Martin (un descarado niño que en realidad era la mano izquierda del Seño
r Wences disfrazada con una peluca, unos botones a modo de ojos, boca pintada en sus propios dedos con un pintalabios - lo hacía directamente en escena - con una especie de cuerpo que hacía que se moviera por debajo).
Su gran éxito residía en no ser jamás grosero ni decir cosas que pudieran molestar al público porque consideraba que esto le haría perder su dignidad profesional. Siempre iba elegantemente vestido con un frac confeccionado en las mejores sastrerías de Londres.
Sociable, tierno, socarrón e ingenioso desarrollaba una técnica irreprochable; dominaba once registros diferentes de voz con los que dialogaba en ocho idiomas a gran velocidad cambiando instantaneamente la voz de sus personajes.
En su dilatada carrera (llegó a actuar hasta los 90 años) entabló amistad con personajes como Spencer Tracy, Frank Sinatra, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcok y Walt Disney. Pero también con literatos como Miguel de Unamuno, Ernest Hemingway, Juan Ramón Jiménez y con el doctor Gregorio Marañón. LLegó a actuar en la Casa
Blanca para los presidentes Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower y Nixon.


Siempre será recordado por su peculiar forma de presentarse pronunciado su nombre como en español "Señor Wen-thess" y por las frases que popularizó también con su acento español " 'sOK?" (it's OK?) y "s'awright?" (it's all right?) a lo que el muñeco de la caja contestaba "s'awriiight!" (it's all right!) que aún se siguen utilizando en Estados Unidos y aparecen con frecuencia en conocidas series o dibujos animados como en los Simpsons.
En la Gran Manzana, donde residía se le dedicó el nombre de una calle, un tramo de la calle 54 entre la Octava Avenida y la Avenida de Broadway.
A pesar de su gran popularidad en América, el Señor Wences nunca se olvidó de su pais y todos los años regresaba a su Salamanca natal, concretamente a Alba de Tormes donde pasaba sus veranos. Los últimos años de su vida los pasaba entre Salamanca (unos seis meses) y Nueva York donde murió a la edad de 103 años y se le rindieron toda clase de homenajes.
Recientemente se ha publicado un libro en España sobre su vida "La extraordinaria vida del Señor Wences" de Jorge San Román.

Disfrutad ahora con un video suyo.



video

Friday, July 3

Independence Day




To celebrate Independence Day I mark the occasion with Patrick Henry's passionate and radical "Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death" speech, declaring his opposition to King George III.

Patrick Henry was a prominent figure in the American Revolution, stateman, fine orator and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He is mainly known and remembered for this remarkable speech declared to the Virgnia Convention gathered at St John's Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia.






"Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death"


Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775


No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The questing before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free - if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending - if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained - we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!


They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable - and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace - but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me,
give me liberty or give me death!

Tuesday, June 30

Amy McDonald


Young singer-songwriter Amy McDonald, 21, was born in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow, Scotland.

She taught herself how to play the guitar. When she was 15 she started doing shows down Glasgow.

Her first album, "This is the life" was released in 2007 and she has sold over 2.5 million records worlwide.

She will be live in Santander (Spain) in Sonorama Festival on 14th August, 2009.

video


Amy MacDonald widget by 6L & Daxii

Sunday, June 28

Slumdog Millionnaire






I've just seen "Slumdog Millionnaire" and I am greatly surprised.







Generally I feel disappointed with films which have won Oscars (maybe I expect too much from them) but this time this explosion of light, colour, magnificent images and the exciting story at the same time emotive and stimulating left me breathless.







Probably it should have shown India slum boys' problems more deeply and people could think that eight Oscars are too many. They may be right.







But this is a delicious film and we are overtaken by emotions as varied as joy, pity, happiness, anger, revulsion and surprise that together with the superb exhilarating final dances when the credit lines appear provoke unforgettable memories of this delightful film.










"Slumdog Millionnaire" is the story of a Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionnaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown in flashbacks which explains why he knows the answers.






Jamal Malik,an 18 year old orphan is about to experience the biggest day of his life.
With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India's "Who
Wants To Be A Millionnaire? But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him: how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to pove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show's questions.

But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on the game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out.

Sunday, June 21

"Waltzing Matilda"


video











"Waltzing Matilda" is Australia's best known and much loved national song. It is recognized by every Australian, and has attained status as the nation's unofficial national anthem.


For over 100 years "Waltzing Matilda" has been passed on by word of mouth, in written forms, in sound recordings and other media. It has been represented in countless artistic works, through music, films, television, dance and literature. The song appears in multiple genres -parodies and painting, in travel stories, in children's books, at sporting events.


The words of "Waltzing Matilda" were written in 1895 by the famous Australian poet Andrew Barton Paterson. The music was written by Christina Macpherson (based on a folk Scottish tune).


"Waltzing Matilda" is the story about a tramp who camps by a creep and steals a sheep. Three policemen arrive and he escapes arrest - and certain hanging - committing suicide by leaping into the billabong, where his ghost may be heard by all who pass by.



Glossary of the Australian terms:


WALZING MATILDA: The act of carrying the "swag"


BILLABONG: Section of still water adjacent to a river


COOLIBAH: A species of gum or eucalyptus tree


SWAGMAN: An Australian tramp or itinerant farm hand, carrying his "swag" (his provisions and blankets)


BILLY: An open topped tin can, with a wire carrying handle, used as a kettle for boiling water into which tea is thrown


TUCKER BAG: A bag for "tucker" or food, part of the "swag"


JUMBUCK: A sheep


SQUATTER: A grazier or farmer owner. The meaning of this word has changed later in the twentieth century to mean a person who occupies a property illegally


TROOPERS: a cavalry soldier or a policeman on horseback.



The only one of these words that has basically died out of Australian English is "jumbuck". "troopers" is a bit dated, and "Waltzing Matilda" only survives because of this song.



Who'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me? the swagman asks, a century later. And a warm, dry wind from the gracelands of australia bears the burden of his sorrow to the world.

Sunday, June 14

A true story



This is a true story it happened to me two years ago.
One winter afternoon, I was walking with my mother in law when it suddenly started to rain quite heavily. As it was also cold we decided to go to the bus station where we could sit down for a while and she could talk to other old people who also went there when the weather was unpleasant.
As I would need to spent there some time I bought a magazine and a packet of chocolate biscuits (my favourites). We sat down on some armchairs in the open waiting room of the station and I started to read.
Beside the armchair where the packet of biscuits lay, an old woman sat down in the next seat, she greeted me and then started to talk to the other ladies there.
When I took out the first biscuit, the woman took one also. I was surprised but said nothing.
For each biscuit I took, the woman took one too.
When only one biscuit remained, the woman, taking the last biscuit, divided it into half, giving me one half. I felt happy of sharing my biscuits with her.
Then she said she had to go, took her things and said goodbye.
Some minutes later, I looked into my bag to take my glasses and to my surprise my packet of chocolate biscuits was there, untouched, unopened.
I felt so amazed and ashamed!
I had forgotten that my biscuits were kept in my bag.
The old woman had shared her biscuits with me and even had divided her last one without feeling irritated or angered by my behaviour.
And now there was no chance to explain myself... nor to apologize.
I had a strange impression of desolation that evening and I felt unhappy and unsatisfying.

Sunday, May 24

Baby bear

video

Hope you have a new vision of animals now.

It's so tender!

Sunday, May 10



Here is a "word cloud" for "Love and Time" my previous post. The cloud gives a greater prominence to words that apperar more frequently in the text. Love is the winner word so that it has a bigger size than the others which are decreasing according to their frequency in the post.



Sunday, May 3




Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings and

human values lived: Happiness, Sadness, Richness, Knowledge,

Wisdom and all the others including Love.

One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink. So all of them built boats

and scaped from the island, except Love who stayed there. He wanted to hold out until the last

possible moment.

When the island had almost sunk, Love decided to ask for help.

There was a boat passing by, it was Richness passing by on a big boat.

Love said, "Richness, can you take me with you?

Richness answered, No, I am sorry I can't. There is too much gold and silver in my boat there is

no room for you. And Richness left.

Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel.

Vanity, please help me! I can't help you Love. You are all wet and you might damage my boat.

Sadness was close by. So Love asked, "Sadness, let me go with you"

Oh, Love I am so sad that I need to be by myself.

Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she

didn't even hear when Love called her.

Then suddenly there was a voice, a very stong voice.

"Come Love, I will take you". It was an elder.

So blessed and and overjoyed, Love even forgot to ask the elder where they were going. When

they arrived at dry land, the elder went his own way.

Love started asking to himself, realizing how much was owed to the elder. So Love asked

Knowlwdge, another elder, "Hey!, who helped me?" Oh, of course the elder said, you don't really

know who helped you?

It was Time, Knowledge answered.

Time? asked Love. "But why did Time help me? Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and

answered:

"Because only Time is capable of understanding how valuable Love is"





Thursday, April 23

Congratulations to my Community on 23rd April!



Celebrating the Community Day in "Villalar de los Comuneros"

Castile and Leon is a magical land of castles and impressive Gothic cathedrals, a land with a vast wealth of historic and cultural treasures. It is also blessed with a lovely scenery including dramatic mountain landscapes and protected nature reserves with woods of oaks and cork-oaks. It is crossed by the river Duero and has the "Lago de Sanabria", the largest lake of Spain and the only one of glacial origins.


Wednesday, April 22




Thanks to my dear friend a.c.g.a. who told me about this video by William Bouguereau.

Tuesday, April 21

Leonid Afremov

THE BRIDGES OF AMSTERDAM

THE LONELINESS OF AUTUMN
AUTUMN MOOD

THE LIGHT OF THE NIGHT

CENTRAL PARK
SUNSET BY THE LAKE
DANCE UNDER THE RAIN
NIGHT RESTING
STROLL IN AUTUMN PARK



TODAY I FORGOT MY UMBRELLA

RIVER WHARF


MISTY ALLEY


AFTER THE RAIN


HAPPY SEPTEMBER


FALLS PATH


NIGHT AMSTERDAM


DELIGHTFUL TANGO


TWO SISTERS


Beautiful! Amazing!

Afremov's works are addicting. Each piece tells a story and has incredible depth. They are fascinating and I find myself looking at these stunning colourful masterpieces over and over again.
I love them all, they are astounding.
I wish I could afford to buy some of them.

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