Wednesday, December 31, 2008

ABBA - Happy New Year

Lyrics | Abba - Happy new year lyrics

JibJab - 2008 Year In Review

2009 baby New Year being scared away by the 2008 one detailing the events whose aftermath he will inherit.

2008 - In Memoriam

A selection of famous people who have passed away this year:

Remembering the life and career of Paul Newman:

2008 - Global Headlines

Thursday, December 25, 2008

2008 - The year in pictures

Friday, December 19, 2008

Report: Nation’s Wealthy Cruelly Deprived Of True Meaning Of Christmas

Alternative Christmas speech

PG Tips puppet monkey to deliver alternative Christmas speech
The puppet monkey from the PG Tips tea adverts will dress as the Queen to deliver an alternative Christmas speech this year.
By Murray Wardrop (The Telegraph)

Dressed in regal attire including a white frock, pearls and blue sash, the knitted woollen doll called Monkey will brief the nation on the highlights of 2008.

The speech, which features the puppet sporting a grey wig, red lipstick, and spectacles perched on its nose, will appear on the video sharing website YouTube from Monday.

The content of the festive address has not yet been revealed. The stunt comes ahead of a new advertising campaign for the tea brand.

It is a prelude to a pastiche of the Morecambe and Wise breakfast sketch starring the chimp and comedian Johnny Vegas that will air for the first time on Christmas Day.

The brand’s most recent advertising, which also features Vegas and Monkey, highlighted its deal with the Rainforest Alliance. By 2010 it will buy all of its tea from plantations guaranteed by the alliance. The duo have starred in adverts for PG Tips since 2006.

The breakfast sketch is one of Morecambe and Wise’s most famous scenes, in which they make breakfast to the classic striptease theme tune The Stripper.

The new advert will screen on ITV1 on Christmas Day between 9.05pm and 9.25pm.

The brand, owned by Unilever, claims that Britons drink 35 million cups of its tea every day.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Relient K - 12 Days of Christmas

Special thanks to Isabel for sending me this song and many other ideas for the blog ;-)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Band Aid - Do they know it's Christmas

"Do They Know It's Christmas?" is a song written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1984 specifically to raise money for relief of 1984–1985 famine in Ethiopia. Geldof put together a group called Band Aid, consisting of leading Irish and British musicians who were among the most popular and recognized of the era. The original version was produced by Midge Ure, and released by Band Aid on November 29, 1984.

The name 'Band Aid' was chosen as a pun on the name of a well known brand of adhesive bandage, also referring to musicians working as a band to provide aid.

Among other artists, the original Band Aid ensemble consisted of Phil Collins, Bob Geldof, Spandau Ballet, Ultravox, Duran Duran, Paul Young, Bananarama, Bono (U2), George Michael (Wham!), Sting, David Bowie, Boy George and Paul McCartney.

A new version was recorded under the name of Band Aid II in 1989, produced by the popular Hit Factory team of Stock, Aitken and Waterman and featuring a number of the year's most accessible artists, including Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan or Lisa Stansfield. The song again reached #1 for Christmas, raising more money.

Band Aid 20 recorded a third version of the song in November 2004 for the twentieth anniversary of the original recording, and again got to #1. The idea was prompted by Coldplay singer Chris Martin, although Geldof and Ure both got quickly involved. Some of the artists who participated are: Bono (U2), Travis, Daniel Bedingfield, Natasha Bedingfield, Sugababes, Busted, Coldplay, Dido, Dizzee Rascal – the only artist to add lyrics to the song (a rap* in the middle of the "here's to you" section), Katie Melua, Snow Patrol, Joss Stone and Robbie Williams.




Spare a thought this Yuletide for the deprived

If the table was turned, would you survive

You ain't gotta feel guilt, just selfless

Give a little help to the helpless

Word of the week 15 - 21 December 2008 FREAK OUT

1. Lose one's nerve, panic, be overcome by a sudden fear behave or cause to behave irrationally and uncontrollably, with enthusiasm, excitement, fear, or madness. For example:

The band's wild playing made the audience freak out.

The students freaked out when told that final exams were less than a week away.

It was such a close accident that it really freaked me out.

She freaked out and ended up in the psychiatric ward.

2. Experience or cause to experience hallucinations, paranoia, or other frightening feelings as a result of taking a mind-altering drug [Slang; mid-1960s]. For example:

They were freaking out on LSD or some other drug.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Don McLean - Vincent

The song with images of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings, the lyrics
and information about bipolar disorder:

Don McLean singing the song live in 1972:

Monty Python - Michaelangelo and the Pope

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Word of the week 8 - 14 December 2008 AVATAR

An avatar (from the Sanskrit word avatara, meaning "incarnation”) is a computer user's representation of himself/herself or alter ego, usually in the form of a three-dimensional model used in computer games or a two-dimensional icon (picture) used on Internet forums and other communities. It is an “object” representing the embodiment of the user.

You can create your own avatar on

BBC Radio 4's Crossing continents: Spain

The BBC's Madrid correspondent, Steve Kingstone, examines the growing antagonism between Spain's Socialist government and the Roman Catholic Church.

You can hear Steve Kingstone's report about Spain on BBC iplayer

You can also read his article Moral battle over Spanish schools on the BBC website:

Thanks for the link, Almudena.

Monty Python - Airplane sketch

Thanks for helping me complete the script, Phil.

For more air travel humour (and a listening exercise) you can watch

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Learn English funny commercials

In the beginning of the video, the former German coast-guard is instructing the new colleague on how to use the radar base (in German language).
- Mayday, mayday. Hello, can you hear us? Can you hear us? Can you xxx over. We are sinking, we are sinking.
- hello, this is a German coast-guard
- we are sinking! we're sinking!
- what are you thinking about?

MAYDAY= Mayday is an emergency code word used internationally as a distress signal in voice procedure radio communications. It derives from the French "venez m'aider", meaning 'come to my aid', "come [to] help me." It is used to signal a life-threatening emergency by many groups, such as police forces, pilots, the fire brigade, and transportation organizations. The call is always given (or it should) three times in a row ("Mayday Mayday Mayday") to prevent mistaking it for some similar-sounding phrase under noisy conditions, and to distinguish an actual mayday call from a message about a mayday call. If the distress message is not voice generated then we use SOS with the same meaning.

The confusion here is between "sinking" and "thinking", because with a German accent, "think" is pronounced "sink".

Les Luthiers - The importance of learning English

Thanks Sofía!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Luis Piedrahita's monologue on bad translations

Instructions of Action Yess

The video is In Spanish, but interesting to watch for learners of a foreign language, as well as witty and funny.

The king of small things

Luis Piedrahita (born in 1977 in A Coruña) is a Spanish stand-up comedian , magician, script writer, broadcaster and author.

He became widely known as scriptwriter in three seasons of the Spanish TV programme El Club de la Comedia (The Comedy Club). Nowadays he occasionally collaborates in the Spanish TV programme El Hormiguero.

He has published 3 books: A peanut floating in a swimming pool (2005), How often should you throw pyjamas to the wash? (2006) and God created the world in seven days ... and you can see it (2007).

In 2008, he directed the film Fermat's room, a psychological thriller, in which 4 mathematicians who do not know each other are invited by a mysterious host on the pretext of resolving a great enigma. The room in which they find themselves turns out to be a shrinking room that will crush them if they do not discover in time what connects them all and why someone might wish to murder them.

To find out more about Luis Piedrahita you can visit his blog El ojo boquiabierto at

Thanks to Cristina for the tip.

Monday, December 1, 2008

X-Factor UK 2008 - Ruth Lorenzo, not a prophet in her own land

A Spanish contestant, Ruth Lorenzo, is the sensation of this year's edition of the X-Factor in the UK. Unfortunately, in spite of her talent and great voice, she was voted out of the programme by the audience this weekend.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Chocoholic is one of a number of recent words formed by analogy with alcoholic, a word with an interesting history of its own. Alcohol originally came from two Arabic words: al, or 'the', and kohl, the black eyeliner widely used in Arabic countries. How this came to refer to alcohol is a bit obscure, but the suffix -ic was added at some stage to refer to a person addicted to alcohol. Since then, the word has been chopped about, and the suffix -oholic or -aholic is now added to other words to refer to various kinds of addiction.

The commonest of these is workaholic, someone unable or unwilling to stop working. Chocoholic, is another common variant of 'alcoholic', and can be spelled 'chocaholic' or even 'choc-a-holic'. Many young (and not so young) people are textaholics or addicted to text messaging.

The -oholic suffix is often used to generate new words for humorous effect. For example, a driver unwilling to leave his car behind has been described as a 'diesel-holic'. In addition, it has been said of the Rangers manager Dick Advocaat that he is a 'football-holic'.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Air Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones & Anonymous

This book, Air Babylon, claims to give the inside story about what really happens at airports and on flights. Here you have some interesting questions answered:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

One Man's Work

Justo Gallego is a man who is building a cathedral in Mejorada del Campo (Madrid) with his own hands. If you want to listen to his story, click on this link:

You can also see some photos of the cathedral here:

Word of the week 24 - 30 November 2008: EMO

Emo (pronounced /'i:m@U/) is a genre of music that originated from hardcore punk and later adopted pop punk influences when it became mainstream in the US. It has since come to describe several variations of music with common roots and associated fashion and stereotypes.

Today emo is more commonly tied to fashion than to music, and the term "emo" (short for emotional) is sometimes stereotyped with tight jeans on males and females alike, long fringe brushed to one side of the face or over one or both eyes, dyed black straight hair, tight t-shirts (sometimes short sleeved) which often bear the names of emo bands (or other designer shirts), studded belts, belt buckles, canvas sneakers or skate shoes or other black shoes (often old and beaten up) and thick, black horn-rimmed glasses. Body and facial piercings are very common among girls.

In recent years the popular media has associated emo with a stereotype that includes being emotional, sensitive, shy, introverted, or angsty. It is also associated with depression, self-injury, and suicide.

Here you can see funny Emo pictures

Friday, November 21, 2008

An Italian man who went to Malta

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A review of a book: Everything But The Squeal By John Barlow

The joy of pork
The whole hog

Oct 30th 2008
From The Economist

JOHN BARLOW, a British expatriate in Galicia, the rain-swept region of the Spanish north-west that gave birth to Franco, has an odd ambition: to eat every bit of a pig, from its tail to its snout. The ambition persists despite marriage to the long-suffering Susana, perhaps the only Galician vegetarian, despite the menace of cholesterol from all those fat-laden pork sausages and despite the threat (kindly pointed out by Susana) that eating pig brain will lead to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

What follows is a quixotic quest for the recipes that give good countryfolk—and doubtless Mr Barlow—ample waistlines and cheerful characters. The cocido (pork stew) from the politically conservative town of Lalín is nothing short of heroic in its mix of ingredients; there are kind words for Doña Aurora’s trotter stew; and an enthusiasm for blood sausages whatever the gruesome process of making them.

All this may be great fun for foodies, but the attraction of Mr Barlow’s book is that he goes well beyond the business of eating. He gives us a fascinating journal of his Galician wanderings, from village carnivals in the pouring rain to a hippy commune in the back of beyond via the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. What comes through is a deep affection not just for Galicia’s pigs—Mr Barlow singles out the long-backed Galician Celtic, hips swaying like Jayne Mansfield’s, for special mention—but also for Galicia’s people and culture.

No answer is ever a straightforward yes or no. No bureaucratic process is ever simple. No bit of history is without its compelling trivia (how many others would know, for example, that in Santiago de Compostela’s 12th-century church of Santa María Salomé there is a statue of an angel wearing glasses?). Mr Barlow pokes his nose in everywhere, and almost without exception people are kind and hospitable.

He meets all sorts, from Fidel Castro’s favourite cousin to Mañuel Fraga, minister under Franco, co-author of Spain’s democratic constitution and still Galicia’s political godfather. The charm is that Mr Barlow is so self-deprecating: his interview with Don Mañuel is a classic encounter between clueless journalist and superior, but patient, politician; his account of teaching phonetics at La Coruña’s university will make many a teacher blush with self-recognition; his Yorkshireman’s contempt for the posh British expatriate with barely a word of Spanish will amuse anyone with a knowledge of Britain’s class system.

None of this yet puts Mr Barlow in the Eric Newby category of travel writer, but he comes close enough in this, his third book. As for Susana and baby Nico, they are sometimes there, and sometimes not. But Susana, it seems, never complains, even though Mr Barlow’s ambition is clearly to indoctrinate Nico into the pleasures of pork.

If you want to know more about this book: