Blog de Cristina

a new language means a new vision of life

Archive for October, 2008

A Practical Joke

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Funny Stuff, Students' Corner
According to the definition of the Wikipedia  a practical joke or prank is a stunt or trick to purposely make someone feel foolish or victimized, usually for humor. The term “practical” refers to the fact that the joke consists of someone doing something (a practice), rather than a verbal or written joke.
In Western culture, April Fools’  Day  is a day traditionally dedicated to performing practical jokes. Another day common for pranks and practical jokes is Halloween, in the form of Trick ot Treat.
And… I fell prey to  practical jokers, namely , my closest friends. . I’ll tell you what happened. It was Christmas time and I had decided to invite my friends for dinner on New Year’s Eve. They were about 14 people .My friends tried to put me off the idea of celebrating at home because they thought  it was going to be too much work  for me. But I happily told them that I was going to have everything delivered to me by the Corte Inglés Catering Service.So, I called this company and agreed on the menu and on having it delivered on the afternoon of the 31st .And I proudly told my friends that I had everything under control. Silly of me!
On the morning of that very same day  I got a phone call , very businesslike by the way, where a very professional voice ,or so it seemed to me ,asked to talk to Ms Cabal  and told me that she was going to put me through the Catering Department of El Corte Inglés. I thought it was to confirm the delivery time. To my surprise , I was told that my menu could not be delivered as I had failed to book it within the deadline. Politely , I told them I had phoned them within  the right period but they apologised and said it couldn’t be done. The more I tried to convince them , the angrier I got until finally I threatened to sue them . I was so angry and frustrated. I asked to talk to whoever was in charge of The Customer’s Service .When they put me through and I started to complain I heard people laughing . It had all been a practical joke from my friends phoning from the office they work in and everybody in the office had listened to me as they had set the phone in the  hands-free mode and about 10 people  were laughing at my frustration.
 What about you? Have you ever played a practical joke on someone  or maybe been the victim of one?


Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Funny Stuff, General

I have always wanted to have a Warhol  and now with this program I could make my dream come true for FREE. Have a go at it!
It’s fun!!


Click here  if you want to try.

Piano man

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Music, Students' Corner
Sent by Mario Pelaez, one of my students. Thanks a lot, Mario
“I’ve liked this song since I was a child” Mario says
It was released in 1973. The title track is one of Joel’s signature tracks and a seminal song in piano rock. It remains a concert standard, and is the source of Joel’s nickname, Piano man.
About the song…well, I think it’s so moving. It’s a song about people who are disappointed with a part of their lives, about people who still believe in their dreams even thought they haven’t been able to make them come true, and the central character of the song is the pianist, the “piano man”, who plays to alleviate their pain, to make them forget about their lives for a while…

Unusual jobs

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under The English Language
I am a teacher, well I am an English teacher, and I do not know whether people might   consider this an unusual job but it is.
And why the hell is it an unusual job? Some of you might be wondering, when the very first thing that comes to your mind is the outrageous amount of holidays teachers enjoy.
Nothing is easier than being a teacher. You have to be  mother, father,  friend, counsellor, psychologist, actor,lawyer… You have to be motivating, energetic,enthusiastic, flexible, hard , understanding, strict, compassionate, well-mannered,well-meaning, well-balanced,well-educated,loving, tender….and you can never ever complain as you , as everybody knows, enjoy a scandalous amount of holidays. But /and this is why I love being a teacher.
But I have also cleaned windows, worked as a waitress(I was made redundant after two months), picked apples in a Canterbury Farm ( I was one of the fastest), been an au-pair of dearest David ( I wonder where he is now), worked in a pub….
Surfing the Net I have gathered this bunch of unusual occupations.One might think some of them are made up.

House sitting : This is quite simply moving into someone’s house while they are away, a kind of ‘live- in burglar alarm       and       someone to keep the house kept and warm. Could be for two weeks or six month’s, you don’t know.
Odor Judgers :Odor Judgers get to smell armpits all day to help make deodorants that will work well. I’m not sure why somebody other than some strange fetishist would want this job
Chicken Sexer This is a real job title. A chicken sexer sorts through baby chicks to determine if they are male or female, and then segregate them.
Hot Walker:This is the person that walks the racehorses around after a race. It is important, because if a horse doesn’t cool down before returning to his stall, the overheating can cause kidney damage.
Saddle consultants: The people who ensure equine enthusiasts have the most comfortable ride possible and that their horses have the perfect riding accessory.
And you? What about you? Have you got or have you had any interesting,safe,dangerous, boring occupation? Leave me a comment and let us know.

Bush bloopers

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Funny Stuff, Listening
These are the top 10 bloopers (in case you are wondering  “a blooper” is a clumsy mistake made in public) of George W. Bush. Sorry Bush ,this is just one of the downsides of being in the limelight.

Roald Dahl

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Listening
Roald Dahl was  one of the world’s most beloved children’s authors. Not only did he create such memorable characters as Willy Wonka, Danny the Champion of the World and The BFG, but he also had a very successful career writing short stories for adults. Many of his stories, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach, have become classics in their own time.
He was born in Llandaff, Wales. His parents were Norwegian. He did not have a very happy time at school. As soon as he could, he went abroad, first to Newfoundland at 18, and then to East Africa, to train with the Shell Oil Company.
            In World War Two Dahl became a Royal Air Force pilot, fighting Italian planes over the Libyan Desert. He started writing after his plane was shot down, and the description of this adventure was so successful that he became a full-time writer in the US.
            He was a successful screenplay writer, working on movies like James Bond’s You Only Live Twice. Dahl moved back to England in 1960’s.
if you want more information about this author, click here to visit his website, one of the funniest I’ve ever visited. 
There is also a listening activity which you might want to try in my website. Click here


Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Listening, Music
Duffy is said to be one of the developers of what the media are calling “The Sound of 2008″, which is a combination of modern pop music with the retro sound of the late sixties.
Ironically, Duffy ,born in Wales ,  was asked to leave her school choir because her voice was “too big” and she “didn’t fit in” and now she has become the first Welsh female to achieve a number one pop single in the past 25 years with her single “Mercy”. So far, her album Rockferry has sold 3.4 million copies worldwide.
In my website there is an interview with Duffy with some questions about it to practise your listening. I’d recommend it for advanced students.  
Here is the video for Stepping Stone, one of my favourites. Click here if you want to read the lyrics.

Crisis Subprime- The last laugh

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Funny Stuff, Listening
This is something you just can’t miss.Hilarious, witty , accurate,controversial… you name it. Anyway, just watch it and let me know what you think. It comes with subtitles so if you can’t follow their discussion, just read them. It is worth it.

The English Language

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Funny Stuff, The English Language
Have you ever wondered why foreigners have trouble with the English Language?
Let’s face it
English is a stupid language.
There is no egg in the eggplant
No ham in the hamburger
And neither pine nor apple in the pineapple.
English muffins were not invented in England
French fries were not invented in France.
We sometimes take English for granted
But if we examine its paradoxes we find that
Quicksand takes you down slowly
Boxing rings are square
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
If writers write, how come fingers don’t fing.
If the plural of tooth is teeth
Shouldn’t the plural of phone booth be phone beeth
If the teacher taught,
Why didn’t the preacher praught.
If a vegetarian eats vegetables
What the heck does a humanitarian eat!?
Why do people recite at a play
Yet play at a recital?
Park on driveways and
Drive on parkways
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy
Of a language where a house can burn up as
It burns down
And in which you fill in a form
By filling it out
And a bell is only heard once it goes!
English was invented by people, not computers
And it reflects the creativity of the human race
(Which of course isn’t a race at all)
That is why
When the stars are out they are visible
But when the lights are out they are invisible
And why it is that when I wind up my watch
It starts
But when I wind up this observation,
It ends.

A puzzle to rack your brains

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under The English Language
Can you solve this puzzle?
My name’s Frank. Who is my  mother’s younger sister’s father’s bother-in-law’s wife’s father’s only great grandson? My uncle is called John and his father is called Jim. Jim has got two brothers Jack and Jeremy.
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