A minha Lista de blogues

sábado, 30 de junho de 2012

What´s a yankee?

The Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture describes a yankee as :
1.BrE a citizen of the United States of America.
2.AmE a person born or living in the northern or northeastern states of the US. This word is connected with the American Civil War when northerners (Yankees) fought southerners (Rebels).
The origin of the word is unknown. It can be a corruption of the Dutch Jan Kees (John Cheese). It seems Jan Kees was a nonce name for a Dutchman in America (like John Bull for an Englishman).
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language explains the name yankee probably came from the Dutch “Janke”, a nickname of Jan (John).

Nowadays the term carries little emotion except for baseball fans.

Yankee Doodle
Yankee Doodle is a patriotic American song which became popular during the American Revolutionary War. British soldiers made fun of the Americans:
“Yankee Doodle went to town, a-riding on a pony;
Stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni.”

Yankee Doodle- the lyrics
Yankee Doodle went to town, a-riding on a pony;
Stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni.
Yankee Doodle keep it up, Yankee Doodle dandy,
Mind the music and the step and with the girls be handy.
Father and I went down to camp along with Captain Gooding
And there we saw the men and boys, as thick as hasty pudding.
There was Colonel Washington, upon a strapping stallion,
A-giving orders to his men, I guess there was a million.
And there I saw a cannon barrel as big as mother's basin,
And every time they touched it off they scampered like the nation.


America was named in honour of AMERIGO VESPUCCI (1454-1512) who was also known as Americus Vespucius, a Latinized form of his name. He was born in Florence, Italy and became a businessman involved in trading goods (perhaps that is why he became familiar with ships).
 After his explorations, he was one of the first navigators to come up with the idea that the land he had visited (South America) was not part of Asia (as Columbus thought) but rather part of a "New World”. Vespucci made four voyages to the New World without ever seeing North America. (He also participated as an observer, in many voyages invited by King Manuel I of Portugal).

A contemporary mapmaker, Martin Waldesmueller, put Americus´s name on the map and it stuck. Vespucci himself preferred the name Mundus Novus, “New World”. If the latter was used our American friends would now be called MUNDUS NOVIANS. Imagine how that would have been like?

sexta-feira, 22 de junho de 2012

Summer is here!

Puerto Azul

I love summer. It means warm lazy days filled with sun and trips to the beach. Holidays!...

I lived near the quiet Padanaram village in South Dartmouth, Massachussets.

I enjoyed exploring the beautiful Cape Cod beaches, and the Islands of Nantucket and Martha´s Vineyard in the same American state (MA).

Summertime is an aria composed by George Gershwin (1898-1937) for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess.


Okay (or OK, O.K.) is the most versatile colloquial English word.

As a noun (I need your OK) it means approval.

As an adjective (Lunch was OK) it means acceptable.

As an adverb (We did OK) it means adequately.

As a verb (Can you OK this for me?) it means consent.

As an interjection (Ok. I´ll do that) it means compliance, agreement (Shall we go? OK.) or great enthusiasm (OK!.) by using the appropriate voice tone.

The most widespread of all English words can also be used as a filler of space (Ok, can I have your attention, please?) or to seek confirmation (Is that OK?)

The Origin of OK

According to Bill Bryson (Mother Tongue The English Language, Penguin 1990) it became fashion in Boston and New York as a comic misspelling of Oll Korrect (OK) apparently used by President Andrew Jackson´s bad spelling.  Coincidentally in 1840 supporters of President Martin Van Buren (Andrew Jackson´s protégé) founded an organization to help his campaign The Democratic O.K. Club. O.K. stood for Old kinderhook, a nickname for the democratic candidate who was a native of Old Kinderhook, New York.

Vote for OK sounded better than his Dutch name…

sábado, 16 de junho de 2012

June 17- Father´s Day

Father´s Day celebrates the importance of fathers. It is celebrated on the third Sunday of June in the UK, Ireland, Canada, USA and some other countries. In Portugal it is celebrated on March  19, Saint Joseph´s Day.
 My grandfather              

 The first photograph I know of my father (1909)

Mario Lanza (1921 -1959) was an American tenor and Hollywood star of the late 1940s and 1950s. The son of Italian emigrants, he began studying to become a professional singer at the age of 16. Mario Lanza  inspired successive generations of opera singers. In 1994, tenor José Carreras said "If I'm an opera singer, it's thanks to Mario Lanza".  Placido Domingo added: "Lanza's passion and the way his voice sounds are what made me sing opera”.
Granada is one of the hightlights of the film Because you are mine(1952), which earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Song. It was chosen for the inaugural Royal Command Film Performance of Queen Elizabeth II´s reign, and was a box office success.
Father’s Day is not just another holiday to buy a gift or to peruse endlessly through a shopping centre for that amusing postcard. No. It is much more. Unlike other holidays celebrating soldiers, saints or historical events, Father’s Day celebrates someone close to us. Our closest family members are our stepping stones to the future: they teach us how to be in the world and provide us with our first impressions of society, music and art. Yet, more importantly, fathers, like mothers, give us that life-element essential to all of us: LOVE!

terça-feira, 12 de junho de 2012

Saint Anthony

Saint Anthony (1195-1231) is Portuguese by nationality and a native of Lisbon, although he is better known as Saint Anthony of Padua, where he made his last home.

St Anthony was born in Lisbon, on the site of this church 

He was born Ferdinand and his parents, members of the Portuguese nobility, confided his early education to the clergy of the cathedral of Lisbon. At the age of 15 he joined the canons of the St Augustine Order, who were settled near the city.

The Cathedral of Lisbon

Two years later he was transferred to the priory of Coimbra. There he devoted himself to prayer and study, acquiring an extraordinary knowledge of the Bible. 

He was still living in Coimbra eight years later when he heard of the death of the five Franciscan martyrs: St. Bernard, St. Peter, St. Otho, St. Accursius, and St. Adjutus, who shed their blood for the Catholic Faith in the year 1220, in Morocco, North Africa.

St Anthony joined the Franciscan Order when he was 26 years old. He was permitted to embark for Morocco with the intention of preaching the Gospel there, but an incident happened: he became very sick and needed to return to Europe. The vessel in which he sailed drove off its course and he found himself in Italy. In Forli he was told to deliver an address. People who heard it were amazed by its eloquence, spirit, persuasiveness, and the learning it displayed. As a consequence he was appointed lector in theology to his Order- the first member to fill such a post. He settled in Padua, Italy after 1226.


He attracted huge crowds everywhere he preached. St. Anthony died at the age of 36. He was canonized (declared a saint) less than one year after his death. In 1946, Pope Pius XII made him a doctor of the Church.

He is typically depicted with Baby Jesus, a book, a lily and bread

Saint Anthony is the patron saint of Lisbon.
His feast day is June 13.


Saint Anthony is revered as a matchmaker and the patron saint of marriage. Therefore the municipality organizes free wedding services to groups of young couples.


The city of Lisbon celebrates him with a parade held on Liberdade Avenue. Groups of marchers, each one representing an old Lisbon district come down the avenue, dancing to the sound of popular tunes especially written for the occasion, and competing for the Best Marcher’s Group of the Year.

The celebrations won´t be complete without “a manjerico” (a basil pot decorated with a carnation and popular verses).

Manjericos evoke the legend associated to Saint Anthony of growing a carnation flower in a basil pot.

Barros, Jorge e Soledade Costa. Festas e Tradições Portuguesas. Círculo de Leitores, 2002
Saint Benedict Center. The Communion of Saints. MA, 1967
Butler´s Lives of the Saints. Harper Collins, 1991

quinta-feira, 7 de junho de 2012

Would anyone like a cup of tea?

A cup of tea is the greatest of all British traditions.

Taking time for tea is meant to be a short period for conversation, enjoyment and releasing the stress of everyday life. 

Whether the tea is loose leaf or a simple tea bag, served in a silver teapot, fine china or in a mug, it is guaranteed to provide refreshment.

This revitalizing and comforting drink is served in every household or workplace throughout Britain from Buckingham Palace to the most modest place.

How to make the perfect cup of tea:
-         Warm the teapot with boiling water. After 2-3 minutes pour the water away.
-         Spoon one teaspoon of tea per person plus one for the teapot.
-         Pour over boiling water until the pot is three-quarters full. Leave to steep for 2-3 minutes, stirring once to ensure the leaves infuse properly.
-         Strain the tea into teacups.
In Britain people usually add milk.
No English tea would be complete without cucumber sandwiches, cakes,

or these scones:

Teatime Scones
450g self-raising flour
100g butter
100g caster sugar
250ml milk
1 small egg, beaten
Mix the flour, butter, sugar and milk using your fingertips to form a smooth ball. Divide it into 12 small balls and place them on a greased baking sheet. Brush the tops with beaten egg and bake for 12-15 minutes.
Serve split and buttered, with Bramble jelly.

More posts about tea:

Tea time - uma pausa para o chá

The Tea Spy

quarta-feira, 6 de junho de 2012

June 2012 Newsletter

© Clever Pants 2011

Music Quotes.
This month’s quotes are all to do with music!

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”

Aldous Huxley

“Music can change the world because it can change people.”


“When you get music and words together, that can be a very powerful thing.”

Bryan Ferry

“If music be the food of love, play on.”

William Shakespeare

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”

Victor Hugo

Weather idioms!

 This month’s idioms are all related to weather. How many do you know?

.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.

A face like a wet weekend

If you have a face like a wet weekend, you look very unhappy.

"What happened to you today? You walked through the front door with a face like a wet weekend!"

Raining cats and dogs

If it's raining cats and dogs, it's raining very heavily.

"Let’s stay in and watch a film. It’s raining cats and dogs out there!"

Make hay while the sun shines

To take advantage of a good situation that might not last long.

“While you’re having all this good luck you should make hay while the sun shines!”

Face like thunder

If someone has a face like thunder, they look very angry.

"When Dad is really angry, he has a face like thunder!"

Fair-weather friend

Someone who acts as a friend when times are good, and is not there when you are in trouble, is called a fair-weather friend.

"I thought I could count on Bill, but I've discovered he's just a fair-weather friend."

Under the weather

If you are under the weather, you are not feeling very well.

“I’ve been a bit under the weather lately, but I’m doing fine now.”

A storm in a teacup

A problem or setback that is over-dramatised.

“Don’t worry about these problems you’re having. I’m sure it’s all just a storm in a teacup.”

Chasing rainbows

Someone who is chasing rainbows is trying to get something they will never obtain.

"People who go on these TV talent shows are just chasing rainbows."

The Beatles - Here Comes the Sun!

Here___________ the sun (doo doo doo doo)
Here comes the ____________, and I____________
It's all right
Little ___________, it's been a long cold
Little darling, it feels like years since
it's _____________here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right
Little darling,______________ the returning to
The ________________
Little darling, it seems like years since
it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly
Little darling, it seems like years since
it's been
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right
It's all right

  Listen again and fill in the gaps
The text was taken from:
 © Clever Pants 2011
See you in September!