Sunday, March 29, 2009

Word of the week 30 March - 5 April 2009 SWISHING

Swishing is a new social movement that is spreading fast with new online communities, regular swishing events and mass media coverage. Swishing parties are being hailed as the new fun and free way to walk away with a new wardrobe while helping to save the planet.

A swishing party starts with drinks, nibbles and conversation and then guests start swapping clothes.

The term “swishing” may come from the sound of clothes swishing quickly along the clothes rails, or it may refer to the noise that certain clothes, particularly silk ones, make when rustled.

The word "swish" can be a noun referring to a rustling sound or a verb meaning to move with or cause to move with a whistling or hissing sound, as well as an adjective meaning elegant and fashionable.

Here's a children's song with some onomatopoeias. "Swish" is one of them:

MAD' DONNA - The wheels on the bus

The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round

The wheels on the bus go round and round all through the town.

The wipers on the bus go "Swish, swish, swish, swish, swish, swish, swish, swish, swish"

The wipers on the bus go "Swish, swish, swish" all through the town.

The door on the bus goes open and shut, open and shut, open and shut

The door on the bus goes open and shut all through the town.

The horn on the bus goes "Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep"

The horn on the bus goes "Beep, beep, beep" all through the town.

The money on the bus goes "Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink, clink, clink, clink, clink"

The money on the bus goes "Clink, clink, clink" all through the town.

The baby on the bus says, "Wah, wah, wah! Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah!"

The baby on the bus says, "Wah, wah, wah!" all through the town.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Michael Palin, the traveller

Michael Palin answers the Wanderlust travel magazine's travel CV questions:

Watch Michael Palin's travel documentaries online on GUBA.COM or on MAZALIEN.COM.

Michael Palin talks about acting

Michael Palin, the actor

Michael Palin A Fish Called Wanda as Ken, the stuttering, animal-loving hit man who continually messes up his one big assignment: killing a little old lady (it isn't that he has any qualms about knocking off the old dear; it's just that her pet dogs keep getting in the way).

In Life of Brian, Palin played Pontius Pilate:

Michael Palin and Monty Python

Michael Palin explains the origin of the name Monty Python:

Michael Palin in the Lumberjack sketch:

MontyPython - Script Lumberjack MontyPython - Script Lumberjack greatsage

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Creature comforts - Self image

Word of the week 23 - 29 March 2009 SLUMDOG

The term slumdog was invented for the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, which shows how a poor boy from the Mumbai slums comes to win a TV quiz show. The title of the film has caused some controversy, especially in India, where some people have been offended by the suggestion that people from the slums are no better than dogs. However, screenwriter Simon Beaufoy has explained that the term was intended not as an insult but as a metaphor. He noticed how the dogs and cats of the Mumbai slums just sat there watching everything: ‘I thought it was a fantastic metaphor—of somebody who’s apparently not worth anything, is actually looking, eyeing everything and knowing everything—just like the boy in the game show knows everything.’ Slumdog also suggests the more positive associations of underdog: a person, team or country that is thought to be in a weaker position than others and is not expected to win or be successful.

The title of the film Slumdog Millionaire is an ironic juxtaposition of two extremes, the poor on the one hand (‘the slumdog’) and the rich on the other (‘the millionaire’). It has therefore caused an unlikely collocational patterning for slumdog.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Japanese gestures

What does this gesture mean?

Note: Yakuza are members of traditional organized crime groups in Japan, and also known as "violence groups".

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Body language

From the BBC documentary The Human Animal by Desmond Morris:

An interesting article to read (click on the headline below):
The top 10 hand gestures you'd better get right

Just for fun:

Note: Bears refers to an American football team, the Chicago Bears.

Vocabulary associated with body language and gestures


Brian McKnight and Cleo the Lion present "Homophones"

I read this book, it's red, come look

A book about a special love, homophones!
Right here, you'll hear.
Two words that sound the same
But don't look the same, here's the name
I know there's no one else who loves them so
You're right, let's write these words all day and night
They're out of sight
Yes, they're so sweet

That's why we always meet
But not that kind of meat
But you can't beat homophones
Two words that sound the same
But they're not spelled the same, homophones

Silent -e

Tom Lehrer

Music man

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ernie and Cookie Monster from Sesame Street explain the Madoff scandal

Bernard Lawrence "Bernie" Madoff is an American businessman and former chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange, who may have operated the largest investor fraud ever committed by a single person. On March 12, 2009, Madoff pled guilty to an 11-count criminal complaint admitting to defrauding thousands of investors through a massive Ponzi scheme (a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors rather than from any actual profit earned).

Thanks for the link, Carmela.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day old cards
Click HERE to see a beautiful animated e-card.

Give up yer aul sins: St Patrick

This Oscar nominated short film features 6 episodes. It is based on the 1960s recordings of young children telling Bible stories in a classroom to their schoolteacher. When a film crew arrives at an inner city Dublin National School to record the children, the result is a warm, funny and spontaneous animated documentary, featuring young children telling the story of John the Baptist, the birth of Jesus, the Crucifixion, Saint Patrick and others.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Word of the week 16 - 22 March 2009 JIG

The jig is a Celtic dance which takes its name from the type of music to which it is danced, also called a 'jig.' The music takes its name from the French word 'gigue,' which is an older word for a fiddle (violin). Therefore, an Irish jig is one of many cultural dances that is done to fiddle music, specifically, Celtic fiddle music. There are Irish and Scottish variants of jig music, but the most well known of the jigs is the Irish jig.

A jig is danced with a lot of hopping, making it into a joyful dance; jigs are often danced at weddings and other types of celebrations.

A traditional Irish jig is a series of hops and steps that repeat themselves over and over again. The steps are very simple, either stepping forward or taking steps backwards, but the hops can require some practice in getting the timing and coordination right.

The (funny) history of St Patrick

A very funny, entertaining and informative video on the history of St. Patrick.

St-Patrick's day is about more than drinking alone, find out why on one day everyone's Irish.

The legend of St Patrick

The Legend of St Patrick

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mono and Me2 - Heads, shoulders, knees and toes

The Corrigan Brothers - An Irishman invented rock&roll

Failte is Scots and Irish Gaelic for "Welcome".
Slainte is Scots or Irish Gaelic for "Health" and is a toast, equivalent to English "Cheers!".

For those interested, here you can find some Irish Gaelic lessons.

The Corrigan Brothers - There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama (new video)


JFK are the initials of US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Riverdance is traditional Irish dancing, with rapid leg movements while body and arms don't move.

The Blarney Stone is a block of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, about 8 km from Cork, Ireland. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of gab (great eloquence).

Hockey Mom is a term widely used in Canada and USA, where mothers (and fathers) often take their children to ice hockey rinks. Sarah Palin described herself as a hockey mom.

Canon Stephen Neill is the Church of Ireland rector.

Auld Sod is an affectionate name for Ireland, meaning "the old country".

Here is the old video in a previous post.

St Patrick's Day - Guinness ads

The song in the ad is Kiss my Irish ass by The Keltic Cowboys

Oh me dad, he'd be drunk on the lawn,

Yelling and screaming like he do

But sometimes my old man felt what he was feeling,

Sometimes Mr. Mackey spoke the truth

We're as stubborn as mules
With our blood on fire

When we ain't at Sunday mass

We'll look any man straight in his eyes and say
Kiss my Irish ass!

You better kiss my Irish ass!

Irish Spring Body Wash

Where does green beer come from?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Men and beer

The link to this article was sent to me by a follower of the blog. Thanks a lot.

Thanks for the ads, Isa.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Amy Sutherland: How To Train Your Husband

"Today" show host Matt Lauer talks to Amy Sutherland and Dr. Gail Saltz about how to reinforce your man's good behaviours and get rid of the bad ones.

Click HERE for another interview with Amy Sutherland. You can also download the full script.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

This hour has 22 minutes - Time capsule: Global warming

This Hour Has 22 Minutes is a weekly Canadian TV comedy. The show's format is a mock news programme, with comic sketches, parody commercials and humorous interviews of public figures. In the Time Capsule they take a warped look at future predictions as seen from a 1950's perspective.

This hour has 22 minutes - Time capsule: Cigarettes

Blockbuster Museum

Historic ‘Blockbuster’ Store Offers Glimpse Of How Movies Were Rented In The Past

Monday, March 2, 2009

Elia Zedeño, a survivor from the World Trade Center

Elia Zedeño was born in Cuba and entered the United States in 1971. She was in the North Tower on September 11, having just completed 21 years working there as a Financial Analyst for the Port Authority of NY and NJ. Having also survived the 1993 WTC bombing, Elia has learned that survival goes beyond the act of merely escaping disaster. For her, the aftermath of survival becomes the greatest challenge. Through her work with the Steering Committee she tries to demonstrate by her example that the process in healing really does exist. Elia also volunteers her time to lead tours for the WTC Tribute Center. She likes to say that through the tours she tries to "remind people of the great damage and pain our actions can bring about when we close our eyes to the infinite number of choices." Elia currently serves as the Corporate Secretary of the WTC Survivors' Network, and has been a member of its Steering Committee since 2003.

Click here in order to read about Elia's story of survival in the first chapter of Amanda Ripley's book The Unthinkable: Who survives when disaster strikes - and why.
And here's a video of Elia in Profiles of Intolerance, a documentary featuring extraordinary individuals who survived unimaginable conditions of intolerance.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Word of the week 2 - 8 March 2009 VOIP (SKYPE)

VoIP is an acronym of Voice over Internet Protocol, and is now used as a verb which is synonymous with the idea of ‘making a telephone call over the Internet’, e.g. Do you want to try voiping me? Voip him at 416-907-9848.

A number of VoIP operators currently exist, but the best known and most widely used is Skype™ – so much so that the company name has also morphed into a noun Skyp(e)ing and a verb Skype or skype, e.g. I Skyped you this morning. He regularly skypes me when he's travelling on business.

The huge advantage of VoIP is that it can be very cheap relative to conventional or mobile telephone services, and sometimes even free. It also enables users to travel anywhere in the world and, providing they have access to the Internet, still make and receive calls regardless of their location.

What Language do I speak when I say VoIP?