Google+ Followers

domingo, 31 de julho de 2011

Royal Wedding: Zara Phillips Weds Mike Tindall


      For the second time in a year the royal family dusted off their gladrags to watch one of their own marry a commoner, albeit this time of sporting heroic stock. But all eyes were on the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips when she arrived at Canongate Kirk on Edinburgh's Royal Mile for her marriage to the England rugby player Mike Tindall.
      Thousands lined the narrow city street hoping to catch a glimpse of Phillips, once considered a royal rebel due to her low-cut tops, daring miniskirts and tongue piercing. But as she stepped from the car outside the church she revealed an ivory silk faille and silk duchess satin gown by British and Edinburgh-trained designer Stewart Parvin.
      The Queen also wore a Parvin outfit in apricot with matching straw hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan.
      As the moment of the wedding drew near, royals began arriving from the nearby Palace of Holyroodhouse. As they stepped from their chauffeur-driven limousines they were welcomed by the Queen's pipe major, Derek Potter, who played a simple tune on the bagpipes.
      Among the first to arrive were Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, followed by Prince Andrew and his daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.
      They were all cheered by the waiting crowds as they emerged from their cars, but the loudest roar was reserved for Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, as well as Prince Harry. As William and the former Kate Middleton walked into the church they acknowledged the crowd with a brief wave.
      The last of the senior royals to arrive were Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who again were cheered loudly by the thousands camped behind crash barriers.
      The couple were soon followed by the Queen and Prince Philip, who received an enormous roar from the well-wishers, which was acknowledged by both of them with a short wave before they were greeted, like all members of the royal family attending the service, by the Rev Neil Gardner, presiding over the service.
      The mother of the bride, Princess Anne, and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence arrived just before this group to take their places in the church. All the royal men were dressed in morning suits, while the women wore stylish gowns.
      Some of the most famous names from English rugby were also in attendance, reflecting Mike Tindall's standing in the game as a former captain. Current national coach Martin Johnson stepped off one of the many buses taking guests to the ceremony. Johnson strolled into the grounds of the church, pausing to shake the hands of friends and colleagues he spotted just outside the building's entrance.
      His predecessor Sir Clive Woodward was also on the guest list, along with Zara's godfather, former Formula One racing champion Sir Jackie Stewart.
      Unlike William and Kate Middleton's ceremony in April, the service was not broadcast on television, and crowds gathering in Edinburgh were told by police there would be little for them to see. However, the prospect of a brief glimpse of the royal family was enough to entice hundreds to Scotland, including a few dozen people who camped overnight to win a front row view.
      Tindall, 32, proposed to Phillips, 30, in December at their £800,000 regency townhouse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, after they had been together for the previous seven years. The England rugby star staged his stag do in Miami while Zara – one of Britain's leading equestrian competitors – held her hen party at a spa in Portugal.
      Phillips and Tindall hosted a glitzy cocktail party late on Friday for relatives and guests aboard the former royal yacht Britannia, which they had hired for the occasion. But the party was a rare moment of public glamor for the usually down to earth Phillips, who will celebrate with a private wedding reception at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the queen's official home in Scotland.
      The couple are known for putting their devotion to sport ahead of their celebrity, and plan to postpone their honeymoon as both are due to feature in major events next week the bride in horse trials, and the groom in England's rugby international against Wales. Phillips also plans to continue to use her maiden name when she competes.

quarta-feira, 27 de julho de 2011

The Duchess of Cambridge's Wedding Dress: A story of Great British Design

      The Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress is now on display at Buckingham Palace, along with the wedding cake, a replica of the wedding bouquet and Her Royal Highness's earrings, specially commissioned by the Middletons for the occasion of their daughter's wedding.

sábado, 23 de julho de 2011

RIP Amy Winehouse

Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was an English singer-songwriter, known for her powerful contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of various musical genres including R&B, soul, and jazz.
Amy Winehouse has been found dead at her home in London.
The Back To Black singer was found at the property by emergency services at 3.54pm. Her death is being treated as 'unexplained' by police.
Winehouse was apparently 'beyond help' when paramedics arrived at her house in north London.

Amy Winehouse, the Grammy-winning singer and songwriter, has been found dead in her London apartment at age 27. Sky News has more.
“Doomed love and addictions were the inspiration for so many of her songs. Her career was short, her meltdown rapid. She became as well known for her personal problems as her music.”
 Since breaking onto the music scene in 2003, the singer has made headlines for more than her soulful voice. Drugs, drinking, arrests and a troubled marriage were just the beginning, says Bloomberg.
“As she became more famous, Winehouse’s appearance became increasingly distinctive: lots of tattoos, enlarged Cleopatra kohl wings around her eyes, bigger heels, shorter skirts, and her beehive hair piled ever higher. Her pictures were everywhere: stumbling out of bars, dressed only in bra and shorts, clutching cigarettes and bottles. The U.K. tabloids called her Declinehouse, Wino and Wineglass.”
 Winehouse spent years in and out of rehab-- the most recent stint coming in May.
Last month, the singer cancelled all her tour dates and engagements after being booed off stage during a disastrous performance in Belgrade.
Reports say paramedics were called to Winehouse’s home just after 4 p.m. Saturday, but found her beyond help. Authorities are treating the death as “unexplained” and inquiries continue. Fans and celebs immediately took to Twitter, lamenting the loss.
Anderson Cooper tweeted: “Just heard a report Amy Winehouse has died. If true, such a waste of a great talent.”
And fellow entertainer Kelly Osbourne wrote...
“I cant even breath right my now im crying so hard i just lost 1 of my best friends. i love you forever Amy & will never forget the real you!”
A Forbes blogger notes-- the songstress isn’t alone in her untimely death.
“Amazingly, or maybe not so amazingly, Winehouse joins an unfortunate ‘club’ of famous musicians who died at age 27, including Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain.”
And a Telegraph writer says it’s a sad reminder that addiction isn’t entertainment
“Of Winehouse, someone told a newspaper: ‘She is rattling about at home in north London drinking herself into oblivion. Three times this week she has been so drunk she passed out.’ Addiction is a matter of life and death, not a soap opera.”

Crowds have gathered outside Winehouse’s Camden home, as well as The Hawley-- a pub the singer frequented.

Apple walnut rugelach

(click on the picture)

segunda-feira, 18 de julho de 2011

Harry Potter breaks box office records


The last installment to the Harry Potter Series “Deathly Hallows” debuted with a bang over the weekend - breaking 2 box office records.
Here’s Fox News.

“Well, harry potter is breaking records again. Harry potter and the deathly hallows part 2 raked in $92 million on the first day out. That is almost $20 million more than the previous record holder that was the Twilight saga New Moon. It's more than four of the previous seven potter films made in entire opening weekend.”

And The
New York Times explains the magical series’ other record.

“...‘the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,’ the first film in the series to be released in premium-priced 3-D, sold $168.6 million in tickets in North America alone — the biggest opening weekend in history, not adjusting for inflation.’The Dark Knight’ previously held that record with $158.4 million...”

Reviews have been mostly positive.
As of Sunday, part 2 had a 97 percent “freshness” rating on review site Rotten Tomatoes.
And famed movie critic
Richard Roeper gave the flick an A- minus.

“When the first Harry Potter movie was released a decade ago I called it The Wizard of Oz of our time. I stand by that opinion about the J.K. Rowling books and film adaptations. This remarkable, magical, unforgettable franchise reaches it’s conclusion with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.”

A writer for
InsidePulse thinks the finale’s performance is fitting for the beloved franchise.

“If there’s no more Harry Potter to be had after this one, it’s not a bad thing. It walks away with perhaps the best film in the franchise itself as its denouement.”

domingo, 10 de julho de 2011

Hollywood and Movie Stars! British Royals Do California


With all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood -- this weekend, California stars are shining a little brighter.
Prince William and his new bride Kate are in town, and taking the city by storm.
Greeted Friday --with open arms by the good folks of California:

“They arrived here at LAX this afternoon, sweeping in on a Candaian air force jet -- Also, getting off the plane and receiving red, white, and blue flowers, a bouquet, being greeting by the governor of this state, the mayor of Los Angeles and the ambassador, the British ambassador to the US.” (Video:

It’s Kate’s first trip state-side, but instead of a grandeur Beverly Hills hotel, the couple is opting to stay at the British consul general’s residence.
Curbed LA has pictures of the security and media frenzy around the location. And, according to KTLA, paparazzi don’t stand a chance:

“Neighbors had to sign no trespassing contracts to make sure that paparazzi will not try and use their prime location. (FLASH) If any paparazzi are caught on property where a no trespass letter has been signed, they will be arrested, immediately and could face tough fines and a misdemeanor.”

So -- what’s on the agenda for the Duke and Duchess? Charity stops, meet-and-greets for official British business, and a night at the BAFTA awards -- the British Academy of Film and Television Arts -- as they recognize future British stars. (Video:

His Royal Highness also competed in a polo match Saturday -- which drew big bucks.
CBS explains just how far people will go to play with the prince.

“Its going to raise a staggering amount of money. People have paid as much as up to $60,000 to play alongside William. There are three teams playing today. People have paid $4000 to be in the marquee to be eating alongside the royal couple. They’ve even paid $400 for a packed lunch and a bare glimpse in the far distance!”

But perhaps the biggest focus from American media during the royals’ 9 day tour -- had nothing to do with business and politics... unless you’re talking about the fashion industry.
As ABC notes:“The cameras have been focused almost entirely on Kate. What she wears seems to make bigger news than anything William says.”
Headlines like:
“What Kate Wore: At the Zoo and Leaving Canada”
and “The Royal Trunk: Kate Middleton’s Fashionable Travel Trousseau”

As she sports outfits paying homage to British, Canadian, and American designers. (Image: The Sun)

CNN reports --The couple will end their American tour Sunday -- with a visit to Skid Row to view an arts program for inner city children and a stop at a military veterans job fair.

sábado, 9 de julho de 2011

The Black Eyed Peas - Where is the love?: Listen, watch, read & sing...

Click on the picture and you can find the music video and the lyrics right next to it.

So you can sing along while watching, learning and enjoying the song.

This is a great way to improve your listening, vocabulary and pronunciation, my dear pupils.


Balsamic strawberry salsa

(click on the picture)

segunda-feira, 4 de julho de 2011

Listen to the days of the week...

July 4th, 2011

Today, July 4th, is  Independence Day in the U.S.A. This cartoon shows a father and son sitting on the sofa watching TV. Fireworks, an essential part of Independence Day celebrations, can be seen through the window. The father tells his son, "If only I had to go back to work when the fourth of July is over".
People normally complain about the fact that they do have to go back to work the day after a holiday. However, we are meant to understand that the man is unemployed, that's why he doesn't have to go back to work the next day. The cartoon is a comment on the terrible state of the U.S. economy, where unemployment stands at 9%.

The Fourth of July is a federal holiday marking the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
It’s also associated with flags, carnivals, barbecues -- and of course, fireworks.
Here’s a look at what news media and commentators have to say -- about the most patriotic day of the year.

Top 5 myths about July 4th
Back by popular demand, here are the top five myths about Independence Day, adapted from George Mason University’s History News Network:

1. Independence was declared on the Fourth of July.
America’s independence from Great Britain was actually declared by the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. That’s why John Adams thought July 2 was going to be the day future Americans celebrated.
On the night of July 2nd, the Pennsylvania Evening Post published the statement: “This day the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States.”
So what happened on the Glorious Fourth?

The document justifying the act of Congress -- you know it as Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence -- was adopted on the Fourth, as is indicated on the document itself, which is, one supposes, the cause for all the confusion. As one scholar has observed, what has happened is that the document announcing the event has overshadowed the event itself.
When did Americans first celebrate independence? Congress waited until July 8, when Philadelphia threw a big party, including a parade and the firing of guns. The army under George Washington, then camped near New York City, heard the news July 9 and celebrated then. Georgia got the word Aug. 10. And when did the British in London finally get wind of the declaration? Aug. 30.
John Adams, writing a letter home to his beloved wife Abigail on July 3, predicted that from then on:
“the Second of July, 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.”
A scholar coming across this document in the 19th century quietly “corrected” the document, with Adams predicting the festival would take place not on the second but the fourth.

2. The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4.
Hanging in the grand Rotunda of the Capitol of the United States is a vast canvas painting by John Trumbull depicting the signing of the Declaration.
Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams wrote, years afterward, that the signing ceremony took place on July 4. When someone challenged Jefferson’s memory in the early 1800’s, Jefferson insisted he was right.
Really? As David McCullough remarks in his biography of John Adams, “No such scene, with all the delegates present, ever occurred at Philadelphia.”
So when was it signed?
Most delegates signed the document on Aug. 2, when a clean copy was finally produced by Timothy Matlack, assistant to the secretary of Congress; some waited even later to sign, and the names on the document were made public only in January 1777.
Years later Jefferson offered details of the event — even “remembering” flies circling above the signers — but, since he was wrong about the date, he probably was about the flies, too.
The truth about the signing was established in 1884 when historian Mellon Chamberlain, researching the manuscript minutes of the journal of Congress, came upon the entry for Aug. 2 noting a signing ceremony.
As for Benjamin Franklin’s statement, “We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall hang separately” ... well, there’s no proof he ever made it.

3. The Liberty Bell rang in American Independence.
The story goes like this: A boy with blond hair and blue eyes was posted next to Independence Hall to give a signal to an old man in the bell tower when independence was declared. When the signal was given, the Liberty Bell was rung.
Except for this: It never happened.
The story was concocted in the middle of the 19th century by writer George Lippard in a book intended for children. The book was aptly titled, “Legends of the American Revolution.” There was no pretense that the story was genuine.
The bell was not even named in honor of American independence. It received the moniker in the early 19th century when abolitionists used it as a symbol of the antislavery movement.
The famous crack? The bell cracked because it was badly designed.
The Liberty Bell can be viewed in all of its glory in Philadelphia, where it is displayed in a glass chamber in the appropriately named Liberty Bell Center on Market Street. Available are a video presentation and exhibits about the bell, “focusing on its origins and its modern day role as an international icon of freedom,” as the Web site about the center says.

4. Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag.
The story goes like this: George Washington himself asked Betsy to stitch the first flag. He wanted six point stars; Betsy told him that five point stars were easier to cut and stitch. The general relented.
Except that it is bogus
A few blocks away from the Liberty Bell is the Betsy Ross House. And every year crowds still come to gawk: behind a wall of Plexiglas, a Betsy Ross mannequin sits in a chair sewing the first flag.
But there is no proof Betsy lived here, as the Joint State Government Commission of Pennsylvania concluded in a study in 1949. And the flag story was made up in the 19th century by Betsy’s descendants.
The real Betsy Ross was an unheralded seamstress. Her bones, which had lain in a colonial graveyard for 150 years, were dug up so she could be buried again beneath a huge sarcophagus located on the grounds of the house she was never fortunate enough to have lived in.
Who sewed the first flag? No one knows. But we do know who designed it. It was Frances Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration.
Records show that in May 1780 he sent a bill to the Board of Admiralty for designing the “flag of the United States.” A small group of descendants works hard to keep his name alive.
Just down the street from Betsy’s house is Christ Church Burial Ground, where Benjamin Franklin is buried and Hopkinson is too, along with three other Declaration signers: Dr. Benjamin Rush, Joseph Hewes and George Ross.

5. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the Fourth of July.
Okay, so this really happened. But the well-known story isn’t all true.
On July 4, 1826, Adams, the second president, and Jefferson, the third president, both died, exactly 50 years after the adoption of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. The country took it as a sign of American divinity.
But there is no proof to the long-told story that Adams, dying, uttered, “Jefferson survives,” which was said to be especially poignant, as Jefferson had died just hours before without Adams knowing it. Mark that as just another story we wished so hard were true we convinced ourselves it is.
By the way, James Monroe, our fifth president, died on July 4, 1831. And Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president, was born on July 4, 1872.

sábado, 2 de julho de 2011

U.S. Civilization Game

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's Tour of Canada

Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit eight cities during their tour of Canada, from June 30 to July 8, 2011.  This will be the third time His Royal Highness has visited Canada.  His previous visits were in 1991 and 1998.  This will be the first visit to Canada for Her Royal Highness. 
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit:
•           the National Capital Region (Ottawa, Ontario, and Gatineau, Quebec)
from June 30 to July 2;
•           Montréal, Quebec, on July 2;
•           Québec City, Quebec, on July 3;
•           Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, from July 3 to July 4;
•           Summerside, Prince Edward Island, on July 4;
•           Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, from July 4 to July 6; and
•           Calgary, Alberta, from July 6 to July 8.

A full itinerary is being developed in collaboration with a number of municipal, provincial, territorial and federal partners, and private organisations.  The complete official itinerary will be announced closer to the start of the Royal Tour.
The theme of the 2011 Royal Tour is ‘Moving Forward Together’ from Past Accomplishments to Current Service to Future Achievements.
 In California, United States of America, Their Royal Highnesses will visit Los Angeles and surrounding areas from July 8 to July 10.  

The following text is courtesy of the Department of Canadian Heritage:
The 2011 Royal Tour of Canada by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will give the Royal Couple the opportunity to visit every region of the country—east, centre, west, and north—on their first official tour as a married couple. It will enable them to meet as many Canadians as possible and, in the process, come to know Canada even better. It is hoped that, upon their departure, they will come to regard Canada as their second home—a term of endearment often used by The Queen to describe her special bond of affection for and pride in this country, which has developed over many years since her first tour of Canada as a princess in 1951 at the age of 25.
The planned events of the Royal Tour will highlight the ‘Canadian Continuum’ by focusing on a unique combination of what Canadians have accomplished together (the past), how Canadians define themselves through active service (the present) and why Canadians will continue to strive to attain other goals and aspirations (the future). Just as the Royal Couple reflect the generational continuum and vitality of the Canadian Crown, the various events will include those who have built the country (for example, seniors, veterans, and community leaders); serve to reinforce shared values (such as volunteers, artists, and the military); and even now prepare for the many challenges and promises of the future (youth).
The tour will also serve to reinforce the significant milestones already celebrated by Canadians and usher in Canada’s future milestones, moving toward the 150th anniversary of confederation in 2017.