Friday, September 30, 2011

Johnny English is back !

Johnny English ,the famous MI7 spy , is back  ! This new parody of the James Bond films   is being released in Spanish cinemas today .

After receiving spiritual and physical training from Buddhist monks , Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson)  is summoned (convocado) by Pamela ( Gillian Anderson)   the head of the MI7 . Pamela wants Johnny to go on a mission to Hong Kong. Accompanying English on the mission is Agent Tucker (Daniel Kaluuya). In Hong Kong, English uncovers a plot (complot) by a group of international assassins  who are  planning to eliminate the Chinese prime minister .

Watch the latest Johnny English Reborn Trailer  !

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Going Shopping in Britain

Do you like window shopping [1]? I do! I love going window shopping and then buying things. Most shops in Britain open at 9 a.m. and close at 5:30 p.m. Most towns also have a market day when you can buy clothes, food or flowers from stalls [2] in the street. London also has specialised markets in Portobello Road and Petticoat Lane where you can often find bargains [3].

Most towns in Britain have a High Street [4], which is where lots of the shops are located. You will find lots of world famous shops there – Marks and Spencer’s, Boot’s the chemist’s, W.H. Smith’s the newsagent’s [5] or Virgin, the record [6] shop. Apart from those famous shops, there are other traditional shops where you can buy food or other goods [7]. For example, if you need meat, you have to go to the butcher’s [8], but if you want fish, you have to go to the fishmonger’s [9]. And where would you buy vegetables and fruit? In the greengrocer’s [10], that’s right. You can buy stamps at the tobacconist’s, or buy a lottery ticket at the Post Office [11]! The British lottery is on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

In many British town centres, the shopping area is pedestrianized.[12] But if you have to cross a road, pay attention: in Britain, and in other countries like Ireland, Australia and India which were once British colonies, people drive on the left, so when you cross the road you have to look right first!

[1] ir de escaparates, [2] tenderete, [3] ganga, [4] calle mayor, [5] quiosco, [6] disco, [7] artículo, [8] carnicería, [9] pescadería, [10] verdulería, frutería, [11] correos, [12] convertir en zona peatonal

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Benjamin Franklin ( 1706-1790)

 This famous son of Pennsylvania  proved that lightning is a form of electricity and invented the lightning rod (pararrayos) to protect buildings.He invented the bifocals, glasses with two lenses, one for seeing at a distance and the other for reading.He invented many other things, including musical instruments, a stove,a printing press,  an electric generator and a chair with a desk on one arm !!  During the convention to write the American Constitution , he asked each of the men there to "doubt a little of his infallibility".

Don't try this  !!

Words of Wisdom

Benjamin Franflin was also one of  America's most brilliant thinkers. Here are a few quotes from his "Poor Richard's Almanac":
"Speak little, do much" 
"No gains, without pains"
"A good example is the best sermon"
"Time is money" 
"Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise" 
" Little strokes fell great oks"
"Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead"
" A penny saved is a penny earned".

Monday, September 19, 2011

English Spelling is Dumb!

English Spelling is dumb! As you painfully know, the spelling of a word has nothing to do with how it’s pronounced! Unfortunately, you have to learn how to spell English words correctly, so that people know what you are writing about! The video below demonstrates how dumb English spelling is.

So, do you think English spelling should be changed so that words are spelled like they sound?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Americans are NOT stupid (with subtitles)

A lot of people give Americans a bum rap ( acusación falsa o injusta)  for being stupid and knowing nothing about the world but the reality couldn't be further from the truth... (no podría estar más alejada de la verdad . ..).

These are some of the questions American citizens were asked:

Could you name a country that begins with U ?
What's the religion of Israel ?
What religion are Buddhist monks ?
How many sides does a triangle have ?
Who is Fidel Castro ?
What is the currency (moneda) used in the UK ?
..and the next country to invade ?
What is a mosque (mezquita) ?
Star Wars is based on a true story. True or False.
How many Eiffel Towers are there in Paris ?
Where was the Berlin Wall ?

Now check their answers and ... have fun !

Monday, September 12, 2011

Spending a Day in London

What can you do in London? Well, let’s visit some of the city’s most famous sights. [1] Let’s start the day at Victoria Station. Victoria Station is a train station in the centre of London. If you’re hungry, you can go to a small café and eat a good English breakfast of sausage, bacon and eggs.

Now, what about [2] a visit to Buckingham Place? It’s only a 10 minute walk along Buckingham Palace Road from Victoria. You can see the Changing of the Guard [3] at Buckingham Palace when the Queen is at home, and you can walk along The Mall to Trafalgar Square to see the pigeons.[4]  From Trafalgar Square, you can walk along Whitehall and stop on the right to look at 10 Downing Street, the home of the British Prime Minister. From there, it’s only a five minute walk to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. You can visit The Houses of Parliament and then go to Westminster Abbey across the road. Go inside and visit Poets’ Corner[5]

Big Ben

What about lunch? You can catch the tube[6] to Oxford Circus and go for a drink and a snack in a pub, or you can go to Leicester Square and have lunch in a Mexican, French, Italian or Chinese restaurant. After lunch, you can go shopping in Oxford Street, Carnaby Street or Regent Street. Or you can visit the British Museum in Russell Square or the Science Museum in South Kensington.

From Oxford Street, you can go to Soho where there are some very good restaurants and clubs. In Shaftesbury Avenue, have a look at all the theatres and cinemas. Then you can go to Piccadilly Circus where you can have something to eat and then later you can go to a pub or a club.

Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? Enjoy your day in London!

[1] monumentos, puntos de interés, [2] ¿Qué te parece? [3] el cambio de guardia, [4] paloma, [5] el rincón de los poetas – donde los poetas ingleses más ilustres están enterrados, [6] el metro

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Prohibition Era

During the prohibition era the sale or use of  alcoholic beverages was outlawed . Chicago was famous for its gangsters, who produced and sold illegal alcohol. Federal agents destroyed large quantities of it, but without much success.When you wanted an alcoholic drink during those days, you had to buy the alcohol illegally, or you went to an illegal bar called Speakeasy. Prohibition lasted for 13 years , in 1933 alcoholic beverages became legal again.
Federal agents getting rid of  (deshaciéndose de) illegal alcohol.
Durante la época de la prohibición la venta o el uso de bebidas alcohólicas fue prohibido (hecho ilegal). Chicago era famoso por sus gangsters,que produjeron y vendieron alcohol ilegal. Los agentes federales destruyeron grandes cantidades pero sin mucho éxito.Cuando se quería una bebida alcohólica durante aquellos días se tenía que comprar el alcohol ilegalmente o se acudía a un bar ilegal llamado "Speakeasy".La prohibición duró 13 años, en 1933 las bebidas alcohólicas fueron (se hicieron) otra vez legales.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Weather Channel

An important social skill is small talk (comadreo). And few subjects are as popular and universal as the weather. In order to learn typical weather vocabulary and expressions, a good resource is the Weather Channel (

Read the vocabulary below to familiarize yourself with what you will hear in a recent 3-day national forecast (previsión) of US weather. Just be patient during the half-minute commercial.

rain gear = ropa por la lluvia

cold front = frente de aire frió
hanging out = pasar el tiempo
showers and storms = chaparrones y tormentas
dumped = inundar
flooding = inundación
running high = subiendo mucho
drizzly = de llovizna
spotted showers = chubascos aislados
fall-like = parecido a otoño

The end of August and the first half of September is Hurricane season in the US. Below, is an impressive satellite video of Hurricane Irene’s path last week.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The hippy movement

By the late sixties, San Francisco had become a mecca for young people. They gathered on Haight Street and Ashbury Avenue, in the panhandle, the long narrow extension of Golden Gate Park, and in small dirty apartments, to smoke marijuana, play the guitar, take L.S.D. and listen to rock music. They called themselves "hippies" and called the rest of society "straight"(recta).They said they had "dropped out "(Decían que "pasaban" ), meaning they did not accept the values and moral standards that had defined American culture since the end of the Second World War. At first the middle class was amused by these flower children.Certainly  they seemed better than the political activists of the previous years.But later when their own children began taking drugs and running away (escaparse) from home, they decided that this new movement was a serious threat (amenaza) to their system.

Who were the hippies? It's difficult to say precisely. But in general they were young people from a variety of economic and racial backgrounds who had become disillusioned with American society.No doubt, many of them had been involved in the civil rights movement and anti-Vietnam war protests until they realized that their protesting wasn't doing any good. There was still racial discrimination.There was still war in Vietnam. But they had gone so far, they couldn't turn back (no podían volver atrás) and accept their parent's beliefs. So, they dropped out and looked for alternative life styles in communes, drugs and eastern religions.

What's your opinion ? Was the hippy movement good or bad ? Are there any hippies in your country now ?