A minha Lista de blogues

sábado, 28 de julho de 2012

The Olympic Games

London 2012

27 July-12 August

Originally, the ancient Olympic Games were held in Olympia, Greece from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. They continued for nearly 12 centuries, until Emperor Theodosius decreed in 393 A.D. that all "pagan cults" be banned.

The idea of reviving the Olympic Games came from Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, as a way of promoting understanding across cultures and a philosophic ideal of athletic competition where the competition itself became more important than winning. Athens hosted the first Olympics of the modern era in 1896.

 London hosted the Olympic Games three times: in 1908, 1948 and 2012.

The symbol of the Olympic Games is composed of five interlocked rings coloured blue, yellow, black, green, and red. They were originally designed in 1912 by Pierre de Coubertin, and represent the five continents involved in the Olympics.

The London 2012 Opening Ceremony

The 2012 Olympics have opened in London in a spectacular ceremony, “this is for everyone”, celebrating the history and culture of Britain and its contributions to the world through innovation and revolution.

One of the highlights of Daniel Boyle`s imaginative film for the celebration were the Queen and James Bond together in Buckingham Palace. For a moment we thought 007(Daniel Craig) was going to escort the “real” Queen to the opening Ceremony, when she said “Good evening, Mr. Bond” and rose from her desk.

In the stadium England's countryside was quickly transformed into a centre of industrial activity, celebrating Britain's role as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

A pastoral scene representing England before the industrial revolution.

The rings representing the Games and the industrial revolution were lit and lifted during the ceremony.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web that has changed the way we communicate forever.

Even Britain´s best loved nanny, Mary Poppins flew inside the stadium.

Mr Bean (Rowan Atkinson) also made an appearance as a keyboard player at the ceremony while Sir Simon Rattle conducted the London Symphony Orchestra.

The people on the bikes represented doves, which were released at the ancient Greek games.

The torch formed of 205 copper petals representing the competing nations coming together for the Games was lit by seven young Torchbearers nominated by Britain’s greatest Olympians. After the Games each of the petal-torch will be given to each of the national teams.
The ceremony also paid tribute to four decades of British Music. Sir Paul McCartney performed “Hey Jude” at the end.

The Royal Family and the Olympics

King Edward VII opened the 1908 London Olympic Games.

King George VI at the opening ceremony of the 1948 London Olympic Games.

Queen Elizabeth II had the honour of opening the London Olympics, as Head of State. She was accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen previously opened Canada´s Montreal Games in 1976.

This dress inspired by the official Olympic symbol was worn by The Queen during her attendance at the Montreal Olympics. 

The Duke of Edinburgh opened on her behalf the  Melbourne Games in Australia, in 1956.

The Princess Royal is the only member of the Royal Family ever to have competed in the Olympic Games (1976).

The Princess Royal's daughter, Zara Philips, will compete in the London 2012 Olympics on her horse High Kingdom .

quarta-feira, 25 de julho de 2012

The Electric Suction Sweeper

James Murray Spangler (1848-1915) invented the vacuum cleaner or the electric suction sweeper as he called it, an invention that revolutionized carpet cleaning. J. Spangler was an asthmatic who was frustrated at his dusty work of sweeping the carpet in the department store where he worked as a janitor.

He first tested his invention in 1907. During the next year, he refined the vacuum numerous times, and received a patent for his sweeper. However he didn't have the capital to mass-produce his gadget. He turned for advice to W.H. Hoover (1849-1932), a leather-goods manufacturer who knew nothing about electrical appliances, but recognized a good business opportunity. Hoover bought the patent in 1908. After Spangler´s death his family continued to receive royalties until his patent expired in 1924. Hoover was credited with a great invention he had nothing to do and the inventor was forgotten.

In Britain Hoover turned into a verb (to hoover means to clean with a vacuum cleaner) and a noun:
It´s your turn to do the hoovering!


He started a business, but went bankrupt when the recession started.
The bank was declared insolvent.

Unfortunately sentences like these ones are quite common nowadays.

The word “bank” originally meant the same thing as “bench”. The Medieval Venetian banks were set up in main squares by men who both changed and lent money. The Italian word for bench or counter is “banco” from which the English word “bank” is derived. 

What is the origin of the word BANKRUPT?

It was taken from the Italian expression banca rotta, which means “broken bench”. 

When banking was developing in Italy, the open air markets were the original shopping centres where merchants would set up their businesses either on tables or benches. When a banker became insolvent- could no longer afford to stay in business- his bench was broken to symbolize that he was no longer welcome to do business with the other merchants.

segunda-feira, 23 de julho de 2012

quarta-feira, 18 de julho de 2012


The New Yorker Cartoons

Just what I need now.

I have many ideas in the shower and then forget them...


The New Yorker Cartoons via Facebook

sábado, 14 de julho de 2012

State Visits

Queen Elizabeth II and President Craveiro Lopes and his wife

In Palácio Nacional de Belém, The Queen was offered a Pure Blood Lusitano, a Portuguese horse breed

Queen Elizabeth II and Presidents of Portugal

18-21 February 1957, Queen visiting Portugal, President Craveiro Lopes

25-29 March 1985, Queen visiting Portugal, President Eanes

25-28 October 1955, President Craveiro Lopes visiting England, Queen Elizabeth II

14-17 November 1978, President Eanes visiting England, Queen Elizabeth II

27-30 April 1993, President Soares visiting England, Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II and President Eanes

Presidents of Portugal                    English Monarchs

Craveiro Lopes: 1952-1958                                        Queen Elizabeth II: 1952-

Américo Tomás: 1958-1974

António de Spínola: 1974

Costa Gomes: 1974-1976

Ramalho Eanes: 1976-1986

Mário Soares: 1986-1996

Jorge Sampaio: 1996-2006

Cavaco Silva: 2006-2016

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa: 2016-

Tomato: from South America to the rest of the world

The story of the tomato (from tomatl, a Nahuatl term like so many other food words-avocado, chocolate, chili) originated in South America. The Aztecs used it in their cooking. The Indians explained to the first colonists that tomato made good sauces.
After Christopher Columbus and the Spanish colonization, it was spread around the world. By way of Naples, a Spanish possession at the time, the tomato entered Italian cuisine in the XVI century. We wonder now how the people managed to do without it for so long!
 British colonists also found the tomato in North America but it was treated as a decorative curiosity. People distrusted the tomato because it was regarded as poisonous. Curiously  Thomas Jefferson, who ate tomatoes in Paris, sent some seeds back to America.
From being an ingredient in a sauce the tomato became a dish in itself: as a salad, soup, juice or even jam ( I love crepes filled with tomato jam). They are delicious in stews, complement pasta when raw or cooked and are a classic topping for pizza.

Tomato is a fruit although it is used as a vegetable for most culinary recipes.
 In the summer I always have a great craving for tomato juice, sometimes seasoned with a little salt and pepper (but I do not enjoy Bloody Mary, an alcoholic drink made by mixing vodka with tomato juice)

In Turkey I have eaten the best tomatoes ever, so sweet and juicy.
My suggestion:
Scrambled eggs with tomatoes
Peel, seed and dice the tomatoes (1 medium tomato for each egg). Scramble the eggs as usual, adding seasoning and fresh chives. Before they are set, stir in the tomatoes to heat through, but not for them to cook. Serve immediately.

quinta-feira, 12 de julho de 2012

The Story of the Singer Sewing Machine.

Elias Howe (1819-1867) was born in Massachusetts, USA. He produced the first sewing machine in 1846. Despite securing his patent it was very difficult to find investors to finance his invention. He travelled to England where he hoped to have a better reception. After two years of seeking finance he returned penniless to Boston. He discovered that in his absence Isaac Singer had stolen his patent and set up a sewing machine factory that was making money out of it. Howe took Singer to court and after a fight that lasted from 1849 to 1854 Singer was eventually compelled to pay Howe considerable royalties on every machine sold. However it is Singer´s name, not Howe´s that is commonly associated with the sewing machine.

In 1851 Isaac Merritt Singer (1811-1875) and Edward Clark
founded the Singer Corporation.

Best known for its sewing machines, Singer was also involved in Manhattan real estate in the 1800s through Edward Clark (Clark had built The Dakota apartments, at 72nd Street and Central Park West in New York , where John Lenon was shot in 1980).

The Dakota apartments

In 1955 one of the heirs of the Singer sewing machine fortune, Robert Sterling Clark (1877-1956) and his wife Francine Clark opened the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamsworth, MA. The Clark Collection includes XIX century paintings from French impressionism and works by American masters – Winslow Homer and John Singer Sergeant, among others.

domingo, 8 de julho de 2012

The Sound of Music

 The Story of the Trapp Family Singers

The Sound of Music is not just a 1965 musical. It is a family film for all times, although it was released 47 years ago.

The film is based on the Broadway musical with the same name, which originated from the book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers written by Maria Augusta Trapp. Much of the movie was filmed in Salzburg, Austria, where this family had lived.

Maria von Trapp (1905-1987) Maria surrounded by a few of her favourite flowers

The Trapp Family Singers

With the rise of the Nazis in Austria the Von Trapps fled to the United States, more specifically to Stowe in the state of Vermont, a place which can still be visited today.

This was the original Trapp Family Lodge, in Stowe, VT.
It was destroyed by a fire in 1980.

The Trapp Family Lodge and Guest Houses offer spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

On October 28, 2010, Julie Andrews

 and the seven former child stars from the film appeared together for the first time since the film's release in honour of the film's 45th anniversary.


I visited the Trapp family Lodge in 2001. It is a beautiful area and well worth seeing!