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domingo, 27 de novembro de 2011

FADO- intangible cultural heritage




Today in Bali, Indonesia, Fado, a unique musical genre that opens a window into the Portuguese soul, has been classified by Unesco as intangible cultural heritage. The application to recognize Fado’s unique sphere in universal culture started as far back as 2005. Besides the music, the historical neighbourhoods of Alfama, Mouraria and Madragoa, where Fado is sung almost daily, will also be recognized.



The singing of Fado began in Lisbon in the XIX century but its popularity waned in the mid 20th century, regaining popularity in recent years. A younger generation of Portuguese and curious foreigners have now begun to attend new places dedicated to this genre of music. For example, the recently opened POVO bar/restaurant near Cais do Sodré seeks to expound Fado to cater for the growing demand of young listeners.


Paintings by José Malhoa and Paula Rego

From the NY Times to Oporto

.".. Oporto, with its high bridges, its tall hills and the succinct labyrinth of narrow, cobbled streets in its scruffy old heart, snug against the river".

Frank Bruni in Portugal Old, New and Undiscovered. The New York Times. May 26, 2010


Read the articles:

36 Hours in Porto, Portugal by Seth Sherwood:
http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/travel/36-hours-in-porto-portugal.html?smid=fb-share


Portugal Old, New and Undiscovered by Frank Bruni
http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/05/30/travel/30Douro.html


In Portugal, Daring Design in a Laid-Back City by Fred A. Bernstein
http://travel.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/travel/19surf.html?_r=1


Casa da Música


See the beautiful sights and enjoy the local gastronomy.




segunda-feira, 21 de novembro de 2011

Adventures Abroad 1



The Lake District
The county of Cumbria, also known as The Lake District, is an area of great natural beauty which offers an enormous range of attractions including mountain scenery, sixteen lakes and a countless number of very charming villages.

This mountainous region in North West England is often associated with Romanticism, a movement in the arts and literature, during the late 18th century and early 19th century, which recognized the importance of emotions and imagination.


William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Samuel Coleridge (1772-1834) were the first British Romantic poets.
The Lyrical Ballads (1798), a collection of poems by these two poets, is generally considered to have marked the beginning of the Romantic Movement within literature in England.

 The unsurpassed landscape was also an inspiration for the artistic works of many painters.

The English romantic painters John Constable (1776-1837) and William Turner (1775-1852) also painted this area.




Windermere

Constable




Farmhouse by a Lake in the Lake District

Turner



William Wordsworth declared that the Lake District was ‘the loveliest spot that man has ever known’ and John Constable described the Lake as ‘the finest scenery that ever was’.

Windermere is the largest natural lake in England. Grasmere village, near the lake with the same name, is probably one of the Lakes´ most popular villages, thanks to Wordsworth who lived there in a house that is now a museum, Dove Cottage.
Dove Cottage







I wandered lonely as a cloud 

I Wandered Lonely as a cloud


That floats on high o'er vales and hills, 


When all at once I saw a crowd, 


A host, of golden daffodils;


Beside the lake, beneath the trees


Fluttering and dancing in the breeze


.......


William Wordsworth

sábado, 19 de novembro de 2011

Lewis e Clark




Em 1803, o território dos EUA quase duplicou de extensão, quando Napoleão I vendeu aos Americanos todo o território francês a oeste do rio Mississipi, incluindo a atual Louisiana e uma enorme área a norte e a noroeste.

Em 1804, o presidente americano Thomas Jefferson enviou uma expedição chefiada por Meriwether Lewis e William Clark com o objetivo de procurar um caminho até ao Pacifico e fazer a cartografia do território (a expedição de Lewis e Clark 1804-06). Durante grande parte do caminho percorrido a índia Sacagawea da tribo Shoshone  revelou-se fundamental, quer como guia quer como diplomata e interprete, ajudando aqueles dois exploradores nas suas relações com as tribos índias encontradas no caminho.   


Além do interesse político, a ideia de enviar exploradores para reconhecimento do novo território tem muito a ver com a curiosidade infinita do presidente. Thomas Jefferson foi um prestigiado advogado, um político hábil, um diplomata com sucesso, mas era também astrónomo, arqueólogo, inventor e, sobretudo, um naturalista. Todas as questões relacionadas com a natureza fascinavam-no e a enorme vastidão das novas terras a oeste proporcionava a oportunidade de descobertas sem limites.

As conclusões dos exploradores provaram que os Oceanos Atlântico e Pacífico não estavam ligados por qualquer sistema hidrográfico, como na altura se pensava. Contudo, deram a conhecer um novo, rico e vastíssimo território, capaz de empolgar o jovem estado americano, tornando-o um país transoceânico. Tinha obstáculos por vencer, como a falta de água em algumas regiões e zonas com clima de extremos, variando entre um sol abrasador no verão e um frio gelado no inverno, mas era, ao mesmo tempo, uma promessa segura de crescimento. E foi exatamente através da expansão sistemática para oeste, já na segunda metade do século XIX, que muitos dos mitos e folclore americanos se inspiraram.   



Wyoming, Devil´s Tower em 2004




Referências:
Murphy, Dan. Lewis and Clark. The Story Behind the Scenery. KC Publications, 2003




segunda-feira, 14 de novembro de 2011

The Story of Thanksgiving


Don’t we all have someone to be grateful for? Well, that is what Thanksgiving is all about!

In the USA, there is a national Thanksgiving Day, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.




It is the peak travelling weekend of the year as families strive to be together on this important day.



It all started in 1620, when a group of British settlers called Pilgrims, who had separated from the Church of England, sailed from England to America in order to start a new life and practise their religion in freedom.





They sailed on a ship called the Mayflower. There were 102 people on the ship, but only 99 arrived alive. They went ashore at a place on the north-east coast of America they decided to call Plymouth after their motherland. They were far away and life was hard. They had little food and they knew little about the New World. Their first winter in America was very cold. Many of them became ill and died. Only half of the population survived.





However, the Native Americans who lived there decided to help them. They taught the newcomers how to grow corn and other plants to eat, and they gave them medicine to treat their illnesses. They also showed them how to hunt for food and how to build better houses. The Pilgrims worked hard but it was worth it to see their crops growing. Five years later they were self-sufficient. They avoided wars with the Indians by signing treaties and they devoted all their energy to farming, fishing, hunting and trading.


Presently children in kindergarten dress up as Indians and have lots of fun.

To thank the Native Americans, the Pilgrims invited them to a special dinner to celebrate their friendship. This special dinner was the first Thanksgiving and it lasted for three days.

Eating turkey became a tradition as a reminder of the turkeys they ate at their first Thanksgiving (nowadays Americans eat 45 million turkeys for Thanksgiving).


Salad, corn, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, apple pie, pumpkin pie and pecan pie are also found on almost every table.





This was a delicious pecan pie


Read The New York Times Guide to a Thanksgiving menu here.



American families like watching an American football game as part of the celebrations (American football is played with helmets and pads and the ball has the shape of a rugby ball).






Macy´s Thanksgiving Day parade is also a tradition that started in 1924 (Macy is a big department store in New York, where the film Miracle on 34th Street took place)


If you visit Plymouth in the state of Massachusetts you can see the landing place of the Pilgrims- Plymouth rock- that is part of the Pilgrim Memorial State Park.
You can also watch a 17th century English Village:






In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October, as a way to thank the bounty of the harvest season.











References:

sábado, 12 de novembro de 2011

Winston Churchill

Churchill com o seu "V" de vitória e o charuto, tornou-se o símbolo da resistência a Hitler

Winston Churchill nasceu em 30 de Novembro de 1874 no Palácio de Blenheim propriedade dos duques de Marlborough (o sétimo duque era seu avô). Era filho de Randolph Churchill, um politico de sucesso na era vitoriana e de Jennie Jerome, cidadã americana. Como era habitual na época, foi entregue cedo aos cuidados de uma ama, Mrs. Everest que Churchill adorava. Mais tarde, quando casou e se tornou pai chegou a dizer ao seu filho “ nestas férias falámos mais um com o outro do que eu falei com o meu pai durante toda a vida dele” (Haffner 80).
Winston não foi um estudante com muito sucesso. Tornou-se cadete no colégio militar de Sandhurst, onde se revelaram os seus dotes militares. Em 1895, durante o conflito hispano-americano, por ocasião da luta pela independência de Cuba, foi correspondente de guerra em Havana, descobrindo assim a sua profissão de jornalista. Mais tarde tornou-se escritor, publicando diversas obras e foi ainda colunista, escrevendo um comentário semanal sobre política externa, publicado em Inglaterra e em outros países de língua inglesa.
Em 1900, surge a oportunidade de tentar a carreira política e é eleito para a Câmara dos Comuns. Segundo as suas próprias palavras: “ Na guerra só podemos ser abatidos uma vez, mas na política vezes sem conta”(Haffner 32).
Em 1908, casou com Clementine Hozier. Tiveram cinco filhos. Em 1922 compraram Chartwell, uma casa de campo em Kent, onde viveria até morrer.
Teve diversos cargos governamentais e participou na I Guerra Mundial. 









Ganhou o gosto pela pintura para a qual revelou talento. São conhecidos e apreciados os seus quadros com vistas da baía de Câmara de Lobos, na ilha da Madeira.










Contudo, foi durante a II Guerra Mundial que Churchill se tornou no homem do momento, ao assumir o cargo de Primeiro-ministro. Mostrou-se um chefe de governo hábil ao reforçar as relações do Reino Unido com os Estados Unido. Todavia, o seu talento de grande líder afirmou-se de forma notável pela determinação e coragem que conseguiu incutir aos seus compatriotas na luta sem tréguas contra a Alemanha nazi. Transformaram-no numa figura incontornável da História Universal. São diversos os discursos que proferiu com grande eloquência como o de “Sangue, suor e lágrimas” e “Nunca nos renderemos”.

 Já no fim da guerra tornou-se líder da oposição, porque perdeu as eleições. Voltou a ser primeiro-ministro, em 1951.
Em 1953 ganhou o prémio Nobel da literatura.
Morreu em 24 de Janeiro de 1965 e teve um funeral de estado.

Referências:
Haffner, Sebastian. Winston Churchill. Lisboa: Expresso, 2011

domingo, 6 de novembro de 2011

Poppy Day




A.Y. Jackson(1882–1974). House of Ypres. 1917


"What to paint was a problem for the war artist. . . . The old heroics, the death and glory stuff, were gone for ever; The impressionist technique I had adopted in painting was now ineffective, for visual impressions were not enough." 


In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae 1872-1918

As a colony of Great Britain, Canada was automatically at war. Almost totally unprepared for battle in 1914, Canada enrolled 625,000 military personnel by 1918. Most served in the Canadian Corps, which became one of the foremost fighting formations. The cost, however, was enormous: of the Canadians serving overseas, one in seven died.



The Canadian doctor John McCrae (1872-1918), who was fighting in the war, wrote a poem to honour his deceased comrade in arms. Soon after its publication the poem became very popular and the poppy became a symbol of Remembrance Day that is also known as Poppy Day, because it is traditional to wear an artificial poppy. In the United Kingdom poppies are sold by the Royal British Legion, a charity dedicated to helping war veterans.



Some of the battles of World War I took place in Flanders, which was located in the Western Front. There, many poppy fields existed.




Poppy Day or Remembrance Day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that put an end to World War I, which started in 1914 and ended in 1918, causing 37 million casualties, among them more than ten thousand Portuguese soldiers.



The war ended exactly at 11 o’clock, on the 11th day in the 11th month (November) of 1918.


Prime Minister David Cameron and former prime ministers.


It is traditional to wear an artificial poppy on this day



The Cenotaph in Whitehall, London is the United Kingdom's primary national war memorial. It was built in 1920 by the British architect Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens. It is the site of the annual National Service of Remembrance held at 11:00 am on Remembrance Sunday, the closest Sunday to 11 November.


Ceremonies are held at war memorials and two minutes of silence are observed just after 11 o´clock. The start and end of the silence is often marked by the firing of a cannon. Following this, "Last Post" and “The Rouse” are sounded after which wreaths are laid by the Queen and senior members of the Royal Family attending in military uniform. Other members of the Royal Family usually watch the service from the balcony of the Foreign Office.



After the Funeral March the politicians lay their wreaths. The Queen leaves after the national anthem is sung by all those attending the ceremony. 










11-11-11 


It is an interesting coincidence that this year Poppy Day is on a lucky date with a symmetrical number. This will only happen again in one hundred years.






World War I – known at the time as The Great War - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on November 11, 1918.

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day, but in 1954, after World War II President Eisenhower changed the name "Armistice Day" to Veterans Day.

In the USA Veterans Day is an important holiday and many marches take place in order to honour the veterans of all wars (a veteran is a soldier who has fought in a war), including World War II (1939-45), the Korean War (1950-53), the Vietnam War (1965-1975), the First Gulf War (1991), the Iraq War (2003-2010) and the war in Afghanistan (2001- present).

Read also:


quinta-feira, 3 de novembro de 2011

November 2011 Newsletter


© Clever Pants 2011
Quotes on the subject of Genius!
This months quotes are all about the idea of genius, and they all come from - arguably – geniuses
“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”
Albert Einstein

“True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.”
Winston Churchill

“I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.”
Oscar Wilde

Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind.”
 F. Scott Fitzgerald

Idioms – Go bananas
This month we have gone bananas for idioms related to madness!
Idiom: (n). an expression, word or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is separate from the literal meaning or definition of the words of which it is made.

Go bananas
If someone becomes very emotional and starts behaving in a crazy way, they go bananas.
"If you announce that you're going to drop out of school,your parents will go bananas!

Away with the fairies
To say that someone is away with the fairies means that they are in such a dreamy state that they are not totally in touch with reality and give the impression of being slightly mad.
"It's no use trying to explain the problem to her - she's away with the fairies!"

Basket case
A person who's agitated mental state leaves them helpless or unable to cope with things is called a basket case.
"Jenny will turn into a basket case if this stressful situation continues."
The lights are on, but no one is home
A humorous way of referring to a person who is lacking intellect and/or sanity,or to someone who is simply preoccupied and not paying attention.
"Forget about Andy today - the lights are on but no one is home!"

Have you gone out of your mind?
If you ask someone if they've gone out of their mind, you think they are crazy, foolish or insane.
"You're going to ask for a 100% increase in salary?Have you gone out of your mind?"

Go nuts
To say that a person has gone nuts means that they have become completely foolish, eccentric or mad.

Have a screw loose
If someone has a screw loose, their behaviour is strange and they appear slightly mad.
"She wears a fur coat in summer - she must have a screw loose!"


The text was taken from:

© Clever Pants 2011

quarta-feira, 2 de novembro de 2011

English Showcase III

This showcase has a chart of all the Kings and Queens of England.

The recent news about the rights of succession to the throne of England (read: More Queens in the Future ? in the blog) is also mentioned in the article from International Herald Tribune.


November is a month of important celebrations in the English Speaking Countries.

5th November is Guy Fawkes´ Night or Bonfire Night in Britain

11th November is Poppy Day / Remembrance Day in UK and some Commomwealth Countries and Veterans Day in USA

24th November is Thanksgiving in USA