20 March 2014

The King's Singers

Two days ago I went to see The King's Singers. Honestly, I had never heard about them, but a friend of mind told me that were really good. They are good indeed. So I bought a ticket and went to Sala Koncertowa, here in Warsaw. They sang a cappella for about 90 minutes, but it looked like half an hour. Their amazing voices made me travel back in time to the 16th century while they were singing music written by Orlando Di Lasso (1532-1594) and the Polish composer and organist Mikolaj Zielenski (1550-1616).




In addition, they also sang five songs written by Pawel Lukaszewski ( born 1968), who appeared on stage, to everybody's joy.



The entire concert was sung in Latin except for the last 30 minutes in which they spent some time singing popular American songs from the 1920's and 30's.



I had a great time and hope to see them again.

2 February 2014

1066-2014

I have prepared a short and practical list of the Kings and Queens of England from 1066-2014.


The House of Normandy (1066-1154)
William I
William II
Henry I
Stephen

The House of Plantagenet (1154-1319)
Henry II
Richard I
John
Henry III
Edward I
Edward II
Edward III
Richard II

The House of Lancaster (1399-1461)
Henry IV
Henry V
Henry VI

The House of York (1461-1485)
Edward IV
Edward V
Richard III

The House of Tudor (1485-1603)
Henry VII
Henry VIII
Edward VI
Jane
Mary I
Elizabeth I



The House of Stuart (1603-1714)
James I
Charles I

(__Cromwell __)

Charles II
James II
Mary II
William III
Anne

The House of Hanover (1714-1901)
George I
George II
George III
George IV
William IV
Victoria

The House of Saxe-Coburn (1901-1910)
Edward VII

The House of Windsor (1910- today)
George V
Edward VIII
George VI
Elizabeth II





 
I have also found the traditional aid used in English schools to help students remember the English kings and queens from 1066-2014. 

Willie Willie Harry Stee
Harry Dick John Harry three;
One two three Neds, Richard two
Harrys four five six....then who?
Edwards four five, Dick the bad,
Harrys (twain), Ned six (the lad);
Mary, Bessie, James you ken,
Then Charlie, Charlie, James again...
Will and Mary, Anna Gloria,
Georges four, Will four Victoria;
Edward seven next, and then
Came George the fifth in nineteen ten;
Ned the eighth soon abdicated
Then George six was coronated;
After which Elizabeth
And that's all folks until her death.

31 December 2013

12 grapes

If you wish to give a very traditional end to 2013 with a Spanish touch, you have to eat twelve grapes at twelve o'clock at night.

It is said that in 1909 there was a surplus of grapes in Alicante (Spain) and someone came up with the idea of  eating a grape for each stroke of the bell at twelve at night. Certainly, that was an excellent idea to encourage people to eat grapes and, little by little, what started as a local tradition ended up in a national tradition, and a must to most Spaniards.

If you wish to try, there are three very simple steps to follow:

- Switch on any Spanish channel at 1200 pm. If you do not have a TV but you have a computer at hand, get connected here: canal via Internet.
- Prepare twelve grapes.
- You must eat a grape for each stroke of the the bell.

That's it! Some say that if you do so, 2014 will be an excellent year full of health, money and love for you :)

21 December 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2014


I wish you in tenths of different languages a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2014! 

Español - Felices Pascuas y Feliz Año Nuevo
English - Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
Polish - Wesołych Świąt i Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku
Afrikaans - Geseende Kerfees en 'n gelukkige nuwe jaar
Amharic - Melkam Yelidet Beaal
Arabic - I'D Miilad Said ous Sana Saida


 Armenian - Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
Azeri - Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun
Bahasa Malaysia - Selamat Hari Natal
Basque - Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
Bengali - Shuvo Baro Din - Shuvo Nabo Barsho
Bohemian - Vesele Vanoce
Brazilian - Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo
Breton - Nedeleg laouen na bloav ezh mat
Bulgarian - Vasel Koleda; Tchesti nova godina!
Catalan - Bon nadal i feliç any nou!
Cantonese - Seng Dan Fai Lok, Sang Nian Fai Lok
Choctaw - Yukpa, Nitak Hollo Chito
Cornish - Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth
Corsican - Pace e salute
Crazanian - Rot Yikji Dol La Roo 
Cree - Mitho Makosi Kesikansi
Creek - Afvcke Nettvcakorakko
Croatian - Sretan Bozic
Czech - Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Danish - Glaedelig Jul
Duri - Christmas-e- Shoma Mobarak
Dutch - Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!
Egyptian - Colo sana wintom tiebeen
Eskimo - Jutdlime pivdluarit ukiortame pivdluaritlo!  
Espańol - Feliz Navidad y Próspero Ańo Nuevo
Esperanto - Gajan Kristnaskon
Estonian - Rőőmsaid Jőulupühi
Euskera - Zorionak eta Urte Berri On
Faeroese - Gledhilig jol og eydnurikt nyggjar!
Farsi - Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad
Finnish - Hyvää Joulua or Hauskaa Joulua
Flemish - Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig nieuw jaar
French - Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année!
Frisian - Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!
Gaelic - Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath
ur
Galician - Bon Nadal e Ano Novo
German - Froehliche Weihnachten und ein gluckliches Neues Jahr!
Greek - Kala Christougenna Kieftihismenos O Kenourios Chronos
Hausa - Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!
Hawaiian - Mele Kalikimaka & Hauoli Makahiki Hou
Hebrew - Mo'adim Lesimkha. Shana Tova
Hindi - Shub Naya Baras
Hungarian - Kellemes Karacsonyiunnepeket & Boldog Új Évet
Icelandic - Gledileg Jol og Farsaelt Komandi ar!
Indonesian - Selamat Hari Natal
Iraqi - Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah 
Irish -Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Italian - Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo
Japanese - Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
Jčrriais - Bouan Noué et Bouanne Année
Jiberish -Mithag Crithagsigathmithags
Korean - Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Krio - Appi Krismes en Appi Niu Yaa
Latin - Natale hilare et Annum Nuovo!
Latvian - Prieci'gus Ziemsve'tkus un Laimi'gu Jauno Gadu!
Lausitzian - Wjesole hody a strowe nowe leto
Lithuanian - Linksmu Kaledu
Low Saxon -Heughliche Winachten un 'n moi Nijaar
Macedonian -Streken Bozhik
Malay - Selamat Hari Natal
Malayalam - Puthuvalsara Aashamsakal
Maltese - Nixtieklek Milied tajjeb u is-sena t-tabja!
Mandarin - Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan
Manx - Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa
Maori - Meri Kirihimete
Marathi - Shub Naya Varsh
Mongolian - Zul saryn bolon shine ony mend devshuulye
Norwegian - God Jul og Godt Nyttĺr
Occitan - Polit nadal e bona annada
Oriya - Sukhamaya christmass ebang khusibhara naba barsa
Papiamento - Bon Pasco
Papua New Guinea - Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go long yu
Pashto - De Christmas akhtar de bakhtawar au newai kal de mubarak sha.
Pennsylvania German - En frehlicher Grischtdaag unen hallich Nei Yaahr!
Portuguese - Boas Festas e um feliz Ano Novo
Punjabi - Nave sal di mubaraka
Pushto - Christmas Aao Ne-way Kaal Mo Mobarak Sha
Rapa-Nui - Mata-Ki-Te-Rangi.
Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua
Rhetian - Bellas festas da nadal e bun onn
Romanche - Legreivlas fiastas da Nadal e bien niev onn!
Rumanian - Hristos s-a Nascut si Anul Nou Fericit 
Russian - Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
Sami - Buorrit Juovllat
Samoan - La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Sardinian - Bonu nadale e prosperu annu nou
Scots Gaelic - Nollaig chridheil huibh
Serbian -Hristos se rodi
Serb-Croatian - Sretam Bozic. Vesela Nova Godina
Singhalese - Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa
Sorbian - Wjesole hody a strowe Nowe leto.
Somali - ciid wanaagsan iyo sanad cusub oo fiican. 
Slovakian - Sretan Bozic or Vesele vianoce
Slovak - Vesele Vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok
Slovene - Vesele bozicne praznike in srecno novo leto
Spanish - Feliz Navidad y Próspero Ańo Nuevo
Swahili - şKrismas Njema Na Heri Za Mwaka Mpyaş
Swedish - God Jul och Gott Nytt Ĺr
Sudanese - Wilujeng Natal Sareng Warsa Enggal 
Tagalog - Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon
Tamil - Nathar Puthu Varuda Valthukkal
Thai - Suksan Wan Christmas lae Sawadee Pee Mai
Tok Pisin - Meri Krismas & Hepi Nu Yia
Tongan - Kilisimasi Fiefia & Ta'u fo'ou monu ia
Trukeese - Neekirissimas annim oo iyer seefe feyiyeech!
Turkish - Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun 
Ukrainian - Veseloho Vam Rizdva i Shchastlyvoho Novoho Roku!
Urdu - Naya Saal Mubarak Ho
Vietnamese - Chuc Mung Giang Sinh - Chuc Mung Tan Nien
Welsh - Nadolig LLawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
Xhosa - Siniqwenelela Ikrisimesi EmnandI Nonyaka Omtsha Ozele Iintsikelelo Namathamsanqa
Yayeya - Krisema
Yoruba - E ku odun, e hu iye' dun!
Zulu - Sinifesela Ukhisimusi Omuhle Nonyaka Omusha Onempumelelo

9 December 2013

The poetical works of John Milton

A few weeks ago I went to Aberdeen to visit a friend. Apart from having a beer in good company, we love spending time in second-hand bookstores, and although we could not find many, we saw one pretty close to the city center.

What a surprise when I saw a book in blue cover entitled: "The Poetical Works of John Milton". I opened it and on the first page I read: "From Lily, Christmas 1908". While I was thumbing through Paradise Lost,   I noticed that there were beautiful pictures signed by A.A.Dixon 1903 all over it.

Price: 2 pounds.

There are books that are priceless.

24 November 2013

Areopagitica




369 years ago, Areopagitica was published in 23 November 1644, at the height of the English Civil War. When John Milton wrote in his political tract that “[a] good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life” (Milton 27), he would have never imagined that his words would welcome visitors to the New York Public Library in the 21st century.

Today, John Milton is still remembered not only because “his literary art places him in the small circle of great epic writers” (Abrams 649), the arch important among them being of course his famous Paradise Lost, but also for his entire prose work. In fact, he was a very prolific author who wrote about education, logic, religion, politics, divorce and many other subjects. However, there is something special in Milton´s short tract. First of all, Areopagitica shows very clearly that Milton’s arguments are often contradictory, which makes his ideas even more appealing and provoking. Secondly, his attack to censorship is outstanding. 

It seems to me that even though John Milton wrote his tract in 1644, its content and the spirit of it is still quoted as a powerful reference in our lives. In many respects Areopagitica is a timeless text that has never belonged to any specific era, and probably, the source of such timelessness is undoubtedly Milton´s strong defence of freedom of speech, freedom of expression and press freedom.

You can read it here: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/areopagitica/

Bibliography:

Abrams, M.H. 1986. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 5th ed. W.W Norton & Company Ltd., New York and London


Milton, John. 1905. Areopagitica, Letters on Education, Sonnets and Psalms.  
Cassell and Company Limited, London, Paris, New York and Melbourne.


 




12 October 2013

The Piccadilly Circus murderer. End of the story.



Colette produced the piece of paper out of her pocket and unfolded it. It was the same document the chief inspector had left in the banker’s house. The very same document that Frank the Knife had found at the crime scene and dropped when he got in the wardrobe.

GREAT BANK
6 Piccadilly Circus
London
SW1Y 4ND
                                                                            
                                                                                              
                                                                                                 19th November 1930
Please pay to :
Mr. Mortimer Brown the amount of  15.000 pounds---------------------

Signed
ﭺﭮﭩﭴ   ﮜﮢﮠﻁ
Clem Smith
GENERAL DIRECTOR


The chief inspector turned pale. The sense of frustration and inarticulateness was agony to him. He himself filled up his glass with more than a dash of sherry and downed it at once.

Turpin´s eyes glistened in his rounded face and directing his voice to the two policemen who were still holding their weapons in their hands, he said:

    “Gentlemen, arrest the chief inspector for the murder of the banker. Monsieur Brown, you murdered the banker.”

A cold long silence filled up the entire room. The two policemen looked at each other not knowing what to do. Colette looked at her husband with pride. Then Frank the Knife had a fit of the giggles and broke the deadly silence by saying:

    “I never expected you to find out so fast, monsieur Turpin.”

Colette’s face was either smiling or frowning but she kept quiet.

In despair, the chief inspector made his way to the window, opened it and jumped to the ground. In unison, the two policemen, Colette, Turpin and even Frank the Knife leaned out of the window just to see the dead body of the chief inspector lying down in the ground. A thin line of blood was coming out of his left ear.

Frank the Knife, relieved by all that had happened, asked Turpin:
 
    “How did you know he committed the crime?”

And before he could open his mouth, Colette replied:

    “When the inspector asked what time it was, I realized he was not wearing the gold watch with diamonds he had bought in Paris last summer. He never took it off. Actually he mentioned once something that I still remember by heart: ‘I will wear this watch till the end of my days’. It suddenly dawned on me that perhaps, due to his current financial situation, he went to the banker’s house, forced him to fill out the cheque and then when he heard noises coming from the entrance door because you were breaking into the house, the inspector killed the banker and ran away.”

Looking at Frank and without letting Colette carry on, Turpin added:

    “You were in the wrong place at the wrong time and the chief inspector found in you the perfect culprit.”

Turpin smiled. Colette approached him and, while kissing him in the cheek, she whispered:

    “I am very proud of you.”

Then she looked back over her shoulders and saw the two policemen and Frank leaving the hotel room.

                                               THE END
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