“Any teacher that can be replaced with a computer, deserves to be.” – David Thornburg

25 March 2015


"Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May" - "Carpe Diem" - "Seize the Day!"
Inspiring but unorthodox Welton Academy English teacher John Keating (Robin Williams) spoke to his male prep school students after taking them out of the classroom into the main entranceway or hallway. He had them first discuss the phrase "Carpe Diem" (or "Seize the Day") from a hymnal (page 542), then had them approach glass display cases filled with trophies, footballs, and team pictures. He emphasized that they should make the most of their short lives:
'O Captain, my Captain.' Who knows where that comes from? Anybody? Not a clue? It's from a poem by Walt Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Now in this class, you can either call me Mr. Keating, or if you're slightly more daring, O Captain, my Captain. Now let me dispel a few rumors so they don't fester into facts. Yes, I too attended Hell-ton and survived. And no, at that time I was not the mental giant you see before you. I was the intellectual equivalent of a ninety-eight pound weakling. I would go to the beach and people would kick copies of Byron in my face....
'Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.' The Latin term for that sentiment is Carpe Diem. Now who knows what that means?...Seize the day. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. Why does the writer use these lines?...Because we are food for worms, lads. Because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day gonna stop breathing, turn cold, and die.
Now I would like you to step forward over here and peruse some of the faces from the past. You've walked past them many times. I don't think you've really looked at them. They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you. Their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen. Do you hear it? (whispering in a gruff voice) Carpe. Hear it? (whispering) Carpe. Carpe Diem. Seize the day boys. Make your lives extraordinary.

Where there's a will, there's a way
That's what they'll say
A friend in need is a friend indeed
He'll be there every day
And if it's trouble that's in store
You know they'll tell you even more
Where there's a will, there's a way
That's what they'll say

When the writing is on the wall
And if you could fall
When your best ain't good enough
And life's tough

When the lad of hope and dreams
Isn't always what it seems
Where there's a will, there's a way
They always say

You may be sorry, you may be sad, you may be blue
You think you'll never see the sun come breaking thru
You struggle morning noon and night
And you still I can't get it right
But where there's a will, there's a way
Just say it every day

Well so much for trouble, so much for heartache
so much for pain
You just gotta get up, you just gotta reach out
You gotta try and try again
You think you'll never see it thru
But what the hell you gonna do
Where there's a will, there's a way
You've heard'em say

Well I don't no nothing 'bout this world
and all it's wrong
I can tell you now,
why we all can't get along
But after all is said and done

We gotta keep on, keepin' on
'Cos where there's a will, there's a way
I don't know what to say

Thru all your sorrows
all your dreams, and all your joys
In times of sadness,
in time of grief
and even times that you enjoy
As your life you live it through
You know it all depends on you

And if where there's a will, there's a way
You better get down and pray
From the cradle to the grave
You better say it every day

When the crime's above the law
When the plane's about to fall
When the mighty oceans roar
When tomorrow's at your door
Where there's a will, there's a way
That's what they'll say

18 March 2015


 Put silk on a goat and it is still a goat and other Irish sayings.

Saint Patrick's Day symbols.

History channel video: Saint Patrick's Day traditions

  St Patrick's Day: Ireland goes global as famous world landmarks get a 'greening'

  Tell me ma song:

http://www.rte.ie/ Ireland's National Television and Radio Broadcaster

The Savage Eye series: How to become a Garda (One Garda, two Gardai)
Warning: Irish pronunciation. Don't panic!

16 March 2015


UN-PC HUMOUR (politically correct)



Another example of satire is Irish writer Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal. It begins by lamenting the sad fate of the poverty-stricken Irish who have to spend all their time looking for food to stuff in their kids' mouths. Luckily, the author has come up with an excellent way to put the brats to good use: raise them as food for wealthy citizens. Really, it all makes perfect sense. If you aren't entirely convinced right away, he proceeds to spell out the benefits. 
By the way, do you know what day it is tomorrow, March 17th? Yessss! Saint Patrick's Day.




the goodies and the baddies
skull /skʌl/

The difference between British and American humour

Funny puns:

Both toad and towed are pronounced /təʊd/

Titanic /taɪˈtæn.ɪk/


06 March 2015


have in stitches

Visual phrasal verbs: Gags for laughs 1
Visual phrasal verbs: Gags for laughs 2

Phrasal verbs with Sherlock 1
Phrasal verbs with Sherlock 2

Despite the continuing widespread popularity of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Doyle did not originate the detective story. This credit must be given to another author of the 19th century, Edgar Allan Poe. In addition to being a major contributor to the literary traditions of Gothic horror and romanticism, Poe also originated the detective story with his character C. Auguste Dupin, which first appeared in “The Murders in The Rue Morgue” (1841),  introducing for the first time the analytical detective. 

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson Camping

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. As they lay down for the night, the fire dwindling nearby, Holmes said: "Watson, look up and tell me what you see".

Watson said "I see a fantastic panorama of countless of stars".

Holmes: "And what does that tell you?"

Watson: "Astronomically, it suggests to me that if there are billions of other galaxies that have roughly similar stellar population densities as represented by my view, that, potentially, trillions of planets may be associated with such a galactic and, therefore, stellar population. Allowing for similar chemical distribution throughout the cosmos it may be reasonably implied that life-and possibly intelligent life-may well fill the universe.

Also, being a believer, theologically, it tells me that the vastness of space may be yet another suggestion of the greatness of God and that we are small and insignificant.
Meteorologically, the blackness of the sky and the crispness of the stellar images tells me that there is low humidity and stable air and therefore we are most likely to enjoy a beautiful day tomorrow.
Why? - What does it tell you, Mr. Holmes?"

Holmes: "Someone stole our tent".

Phrasal verbs in songs (featuring The Strokes)


04 March 2015

Iglesia Saint George's. Calle Nuñez de Balboa, 43 (Madrid)


Phrasal verbs quizzes (Quiz 1, Quiz 2, Quiz 3)

For older posts about phrasal verbs, click here.

02 March 2015

HOW TO... improve your conversational skills

How to... (by BBC Learning English). These programmes have useful language for when you're chatting to someone. They include: 

- extending a conversation 
- closing topics 
- talking about things you like 
- talking about things you don't like 
- expressing no strong feelings 
- responding to compliments 
- telling someone about a funny incident 
- gossiping 
- getting back on topic 
- telling someone about a serious incident 
- chatting someone up 
- being sarcastic 
- agreeing in informal situations 
- showing interest 
- telling a story 
- being vague 

Public speaking tips