Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Bob Marley song

We have listened in class to
Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. It's a very simple, easy to follow song. You can find the lyrics in many places over the internet, for example here. You can listen to the song below:

Here are some facts about Bob Marley. Three of them are false. Which ones do you think are the false ones?

1.Some people think he's the prophet of a religion called Rastafarianism.
2.He's the grandfather of Beyonce Knowles.
3.His father was white, and some people treated him badly for this reason.
4.He died of foot cancer.
5.He could play 9 different instruments.
6.He had 13 children.
7.He was awarded the Peace Medal of the Third world by the United Nations.
8.He is Jamaican, but he was born in Ethiopia.

(Hint: try looking at the Wikipedia article on Bob Marley)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Sing and complain

It all began when two Finnish artists,Telervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, realized people put a lot of energy into complaining. There is an expression in Finnish, "Valituskuoro", that literally means Complaint's choir. The two artists thought it would be interesting to make that expression a reality. They started in the city of Birmingham. The members of the Choir collected their complaints about everyday life and then put music to it. Soon, the Complaint's choir became a worldwide phenomenon. There are Complaints Choirs in Birmingham, Helsinki, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Jerusalem, Melbourne and many places more. You can see the full choir list and other videos at the website, as well as the full history of the choirs.

Here is the Canadian example -- don't worry, the song has subtitles!

What things would you complain about?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Before we watch Nightmare before Christmas

I think it would be nice that you listen to one of the songs of the film. The song on the video is a more animated version by the singer of the rock band Fall Out Boy

Here are the lyrics of the song. Remember you can look up any word you don't understand at the Wordreference dictionary.

What's this? What's this?
There's color everywhere.
What's this?
There's white things in the air.
What's this?
I can't believe my eyes.
I must be dreaming.
Wake up, Jack, this isn't fair.
What's this?

What's this? What's this?
There's something very wrong.
What's this?
There's people singing songs.

What's this?
The streets are lined with,
Little creatures laughing.
Everybody seems so happy.
Have I possibly gone daffy?
What is this?
What's this?

There's children throwing snowballs,
Instead of throwing heads.
They're busy building toys,
And absolutely no one's dead.

There's frost on every window.
Oh, I can't believe my eyes.
And in my bones I feel the warmth,
That's coming from inside.

Oh, look.
What's this?
They're hanging mistletoe, they kiss.
Why that looks so unique, inspired.
They're gathering around to hear a story.
Roasting chestnuts on a fire.
What's this?

What's this?
In here they've got a little tree, how queer.
And who would ever think?
And why?

They're covering it with tiny little things.
They've got electric lights on strings,
And there's a smile on everyone.
So, now, correct me if I'm wrong.
This looks like fun.
This looks like fun.
Oh, could it be I got my wish?
What's this?

Oh my, what now?
The children are asleep,
But look, there's nothing underneath.
No ghouls, no witches here to scream and scare them,
Or ensnare them.
Only little cozy things,
Secure them in their dreamland.
What's this?

The monsters are all missing,
And the nightmares can't be found.
And in their place there seems to be,
Good feeling all around.

Instead of screams, I swear,
I can hear music in the air.
The smell of cakes and pies,
Are absolutely everywhere.

The sights, the sounds,
They're everywhere and all around.
I've never felt this good before.
This empty place inside me has been filling up.
I simply cannot get enough.

I want it, oh, I want it.
Oh, I want it for my own.
I've got to know.
I've got to know.
What is this place that I have found?
What is this?

Fall Out Boy - What's This? (Nightmare Before Christmas Cover) Lyrics

Question: At which point in the film do you think this happens? (Leave your answer in a comment)

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Can you save energy just by changing your search engine?

That's what the people from Blackle think. According to them, a monitor uses more energy when it is displaying a white screen, so if the screen in your computer is showing a dark website, you are actually saving energy. So if the original version of Google was black, it is believed that we could all save up to 750 Megawatt-hours a year.

Critics argue, on the other hand, that the site is difficult to read, and that the energy you can save is less than the site claims. For a more detailed discusssion you can go to the wikipedia article on Blacle

What do you think? Do you think it is a useful initiative? Would you use this search engine?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A transparent frog!

Hiroshima scientists create transparent frogs ::: Pink Tentacle

The Japanese scientists that have created them claim that transparent frogs will help them observe different processes like cancer or other changes in internal organs. Besides, the frogs will not be harmed.

What do you think? Do you think it is right to experiment with animals in some cases? How about genetically modifying them? What are the advantages and the disadvantages of it? Do you think the creation of these transparent frogs is going to be useful?

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The world from an anorexic girl's eyes

This is a Swedish ad against anorexia. One of the biggest problem that anorexic people have is that their way of seeing the world is distorted.

How about you? Do you think you see yourself as you really are?

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

What do teachers make? -- a poem by Taylor Mali

The following video is a slam poem by the New York city poet and teacher Taylor Mali.

Slam Poetry is a type of poetry that is performed live and is very close to rap, but without music.The name "slam" comes from the fact that this kind of poetry is competitive. Just like with rappers (as you could see in Eminen's movie 8 Mile), there are slam poetry contests, and Taylor Mali is actually one of the most successful slammers of all time. In the United States, some people use the saying "those who can't do, teach", meaning that teachers are usually professionals who could not find jobs related to what they studied, and are "stuck" with a job that is usually not very well paid. The expression "what do teachers make?" is a pun -- the expression "what do you make" generally means "how much money do you earn", but Mali changes it to express that teachers make students work and think, among other things.

What do you think is more important? the amount of money you earn or the impact your job has in other people? (for ideas, you can check also the comments on the original youtube site for this video)

Please read the written version of the poem here. In that website you will also find information about Taylor Mali as well.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The shoe song


In this song, Paolo Nutini talks about how great his new shoes make him feel. First, I want you to listen to the song and see how much you understand just listening and looking at the video without looking at the lyrics.



Artist: Paolo Nutini
Song: New Shoes
Album: Popular Songs


Now, look at the lyrics of the song. The paragraphs are jumbled (in a different order).

Which paragraph is the chorus?

Can you order the rest of the paragraphs correctly? You can listen to the song again.

A. Hey, I put some new shoes on,
And suddenly everything is right,
I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody's smiling,
It so inviting,
Oh, short on money,
But long on time,
Slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine,
And I’m running late,
And I don’t need an excuse,
'cause I’m wearing my brand new shoes.

B. Woke up cold one Tuesday,
I'm looking tired and feeling quite sick,
I felt like there was something missing in my day to day life,
So I quickly opened the wardrobe,
Pulled out some jeans and a T-Shirt that seemed clean,
Topped it off with a pair of old shoes,
That were ripped around the seams,
And I thought these shoes just don't suit me.

C. Take me wandering through these streets,
Where bright lights and angels meet,
Stone to stone they take me on,
I’m walking to the break of dawn.

Take me wandering through these streets,
Where bright lights and angels meet,
Stone to stone they take me on,
I'm walking to the break of dawn.

D. Woke up late one Thursday,
And I’m seeing stars as I’m rubbing my eyes,
And I felt like there were two days missing,
As I focused all the time,
And I made my way to the kitchen,
But I had to stop from the shock of what I found,
A room full of all my friends dancing round and round,
And I thought hello new shoes,
Bye-bye them blues.


Now, match these words with their definition looking at the text



  1. To be short on money

  1. To stroll/ to wander

  1. Brand new

  1. To top it off

  1. Ripped

  1. Seams

  1. To suit

  1. Dawn

  1. To take a walk

  1. To have very little money

  1. Broken, when we refer to clothes or shoes (rasgados)

  1. To look good on somebody

  1. To complete something successfully

  1. The borders of clothes or shoes (costuras)

  1. When the day begins

  1. Completely new


What things make you feel better? Leave a comment!

Monday, May 7, 2007


This is the last Spiderman trailer. What do you think the film is about? What kind of deductions can you make from the trailer?

Friday, April 20, 2007

A science fiction book about the early days of American history

Jamestown -a Novel

Check it out at You can also read the interview with the author, Matthew Sharpe:

The life of a Japanese college girl

Is her life very different from yours?

What things are similar?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"you can change the spelling without changing the language"

That's what the The Simplified Spelling Society. believes. They are campaigning for a way to spell English that reflects better how it really sounds. Similar reforms have been done in Spanish, French or German, but the transformation of English would probably be much greater.
Simplified Spelling Society: "Let's get phonetic" - Yahoo! News

What do YOU think? Do you think it can be done? Would it really be a good idea? What about things written in the old spelling?

At English Spelling Problems you can find many of the biggest problems with spelling in English. Surely you know already there are more than a few ;-)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


This is going to become a class blog. For the time being, just a little welcome picture....