Jun 26, 2017

The making of the U.S.A.

     At the end of the eighteenth century the thirteen English colonies in America rebelled against England. They wanted to have representatives in the English Parliament and refused to pay the heavy taxes imposed on them by the English Government.
     As the taxes were not cut down and as American representatives were not admitted to the English Parliament, the American Colonies decided to become independent from their mother-country.
The representatives from each colony met in congress in Philadelphia and gave the command of the American army to George Washington. This general proved to be a great military genius and in the first period of the war he succeeded to defeat the English at Boston.
     In 1776 Congress voted in favour of the Declaration of Independence.
     This declaration stated that all men are equal, that all have the right to life and liberty and that the thirteen colonies were the free and independent United States of America. 
     The English Government didn’t recognize the independence of these States and the war went on for several years. At last, in 1781 the American army definitely defeated the English at Yorktown with the help of a French fleet. Peace between England and the new independent States of America was signed in 1783. 
George Washington

Jun 20, 2017

The age of technology

The age in which we live is an age of extraordinary scientific and technological progress. It is the age of space flights, of television, of nuclear power, of clever chemistry, of automation and computers, of the transplant of living organs, of sensational discoveries in biology and medicine.
It is an age of wonders.
The trouble is that too many benign conquests also have their negative sides. Inventions and discoveries that open up new worlds of peace and power also open up new worlds of war and destruction. The creation of new terrible arms, the tragedy of pollution, which is gradually destroying so many forms of life on our planet, are but a few examples of man’s offenses against the world we live in. 
Source: Colle – Meloni, News. For Juniors, Lattes, an old Italian book 1979. 

Jun 16, 2017

The United States

The United States is a federal republic of 50 states including Alaska and the Hawaiian Islands. It stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Canada to Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico.
It’s a huge country where distances are so vast that town are often hundreds of miles apart. On arriving in New York, a traveller from Europe is only half-way to Hollywood, and to complete a journey to California it would take him about a week travelling by car.
Many of the States are larger than whole European countries; the Mississippi-Missouri, the largest stream of water in the world, is 9 times as long as the Po; and the surface of the five Great Lakes along the border with Canasa – Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Lake Huron and Lake Superior – could cover the whole area of Italy.
The durface of the United Stated consists of vast central plains bounded by two high mountain ranges: the Rocky Mountains, or Rockies, in the west and the Appalachians in the east. The Rockies, so bare and rugged with their towering rocks and mighty canyons, offer a picturesque world-famous scenery.
The principal rivers of the United States are the Connecticut, the Delaware, the Potomac and the Hudson flowing into the Atlantic Ocean, the Mississippi-Missouri and its tributaries, the Ohio, the Illinois, the Tennessee and the Arkansas flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, the Columbia and the Colorado flowing into the Pacific Ocean.
Within its borders, America has almost every type of climate. In summer you would feel as hot in Washington or Mississippi as in Singapore. A severe winter in North Dakota or Nebraska might be as uncomfortable for you as the cold winters in the steppes of Russia. To enjoy a really temperate climate you should go to the Pacific coast.
Though the original settlers of the United States were essentially of British stock, immigration over the last two centuries has made the United States the melting pot of the world. Practically every country is represented by immigrants and their descendants: Germans, Italians, Greeks, Jews, Chinese, Negroes, etc. the Negroes, the descendants of the claves brought over from Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries, make up about 10% of the total population, while the American Indians, the descendants of the early inhabitants of the country, represents only 0.3%. 
Source: R. Colle – I. Vay, L’esame di inglese, Lattes, an old Italian book 1974. 
United States

Jun 12, 2017

The Civil War and the Negro Problem

Abraham Lincoln Memorial
Abraham Lincoln MemorialTowards the middle of the 19th century the conflicting interests if the Northern and Southern States became manifest. While the North based its economy on industry and trade, the South concentrated mainly on agriculture carried on by the labour of the Negroes who had been imported as slaves from Africa.
The problem of abolition of slavery was the main question about which the States were divided, resulting in a bitter civil war which lasted from 1861 to 1865.
When Abraham Lincoln, the great enemy of Negro slavery, won the Presidential Elections, eleven Southern States seceded from the Union and formed a Confederacy. Was broke out. The confederates were defeated, and in 1865 Lincoln declared that all the 4 million Negro slaves of the rebel States should be free. In the same year the President was assassinated by a fanatic.
the civil war
Secret societies were organized in the South (the Ku-Klux Klan was one of them) to terrorize Negroes and prevent them from voting.
The Negro questions is still alive in the United States and the Ku-Klux Klan is still powerful. There is brutal discrimination in the South and a subtler from of inequality in the North.
In many southern towns Negroes are treated as outcasts in their own country, they are kept in an inferior and subservient position, they are obliged to take the humblest, jobs as waiters, porters and labourers, they cannot enter certain public buildings (hotels, restaurants and even churches) and they are obliged to live segregated in special quarters. 
Source: R. Colle – I. Vay, L’esame di inglese, Lattes, an old Italian book 1974.

Jun 8, 2017

The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America

Usa Flag
« I pledge allegiance
to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic
for which it stands:
one Nation
under God,
with liberty
and justice
for all »

Flag of the United States
     The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States is an expression of allegiance to the Flag of the United States and the republic of the United States of America, originally composed by Colonel George Balch in 1887, later revised by Francis Bellamy in 1892 and formally adopted by Congress as the pledge in 1942. The official name of The Pledge of Allegiance was adopted in 1945. The last change in language came on Flag Day 1954 when the words "under God" were added.
     The Pledge was supposed to be quick and to the point. Bellamy designed it to be recited in 15 seconds.
     On September 8, 1892 a Boston-based youth magazine "The Youth's Companion" published a 22-word recitation for school children to use during planned activities the following month to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America. Under the title "The Pledge to the Flag", the composition was the earliest version of what we now know as the Pledge Of Allegiance.
     After the Columbus Day celebration the Pledge to the Flag became a popular daily routine in America's public schools.

1892 to 1923 (first version)
"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all".
"I pledge allegiance to my the Flag of the United States and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all".
1924 to 1954
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all".

United States Flag
     The last change in the Pledge of Allegiance occurred on June 14 (Flag Day), 1954 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved adding the words "under God". As he authorized this change he said: "In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war".
     This was the last change made to the Pledge of Allegiance. The 23 words what had been initially penned for a Columbus Day celebration now comprised a Thirty-one profession of loyalty and devotion to not only a flag, but to a way of life....the American ideal.
1954 (current version)
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all".

     Let's examine these 31 words a little more thoroughly:
I Pledge Allegiance I Promise to be faithful and true (Promise my loyalty),
to the flag to the emblem that stands for and represents,
of the United States all 50 states, each of them individual, and individually represented on the flag,
of America yet formed into a UNION of one Nation,
and to the Republic And I also pledge my loyalty to the Government that is itself a Republic, a form of government where the PEOPLE are sovereign,
for which it stands, this government also being represented by the Flag to which I promise loyalty,
one Nation under God, These 50 individual states are united as a single Republic under the Divine providence of God, "our most powerful resource" (according to the words of President Eisenhower),
Indivisible, and can not be separated. (This part of the original version of the pledge was written just 30 years after the beginning of the Civil War and demonstrates the unity sought in the years after that divisive period in our history),
with Liberty The people of this Nation being afforded the freedom to pursue "life, liberty, and happiness",
and Justice And each person entitled to be treated justly, fairly, and according to proper law and principle,
for All. And these principles afforded to EVERY AMERICAN, regardless of race, religion, color, creed, or any other criteria.   Just as the flag represents 50 individual states that can not be divided or separated, this Nation represents millions of people who can not be separated or divided.

USA Flag No BackgroundThus it is that when you Pledge Allegiance to the United States Flag, You:
Promise your loyalty to the Flag itself.
Promise your loyalty to your own and the other 49 States.
Promise your loyalty to the Government that unites us all,
Recognizing that we are ONE Nation under God,
That we can not or should not be divided or alone, 
And understanding the right to Liberty and Justice belongs to ALL of us.

For a better reconstruction of the facts:
http://www.homeofheroes.com/hallofheroes/1st_floor/flag/1bfc_pledge.html .

Jun 4, 2017

For he's a jolly good fellow

American version
For he's a jolly good fellow, for he's a jolly good fellow
For he's a jolly good fellow (pause), which nobody can deny
Which nobody can deny, which nobody can deny
For he's a jolly good fellow, for he's a jolly good fellow
For he's a jolly good fellow (pause), which nobody can deny!

For he's a jolly good fellow
     It’s a popular song widespread in many countries.
     According to the Guinness World Records, is the second-most popular song in the English language, following "Happy Birthday to You" and followed by "Auld Lang Syne".
     The melody originates from the French song "Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre" ("Marlborough Has Left for the War"). It was composed the night after the Battle of Malplaquet in 1709, during the War of Spanish Succession. The battle was a Pyrrhic victory for the Austrians under the British General John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, and the French began to laugh at this song. The British then composed of new words to exalt him and in fact the "good guy" (the "jolly good fellow") was originally the Duke. The air origins date back, according to Chateaubriand, an Arab song of the times of the Crusades.
     It became a French folk tune and was popularized by Marie Antoinette after she heard one of her maids singing it. 
For he's a jolly good fellow
     The melody became so popular in France that it was used to represent the French defeat in Beethoven's composition "Wellington's Victory" Opus 91 written in 1813.
     The melody also became widely popular in the United Kingdom. By the mid-19th century it was being sung with the words "For he's a jolly good fellow", often at all-male social gatherings. By 1862, it was already familiar in America.
For he's a jolly good fellow

     Today "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" is a popular song that is sung to congratulate a person on a significant event, such as a promotion, a birthday, a wedding (or playing a major part in a wedding), a wedding anniversary, the birth of a child, or the winning of a championship sporting event. The traditional children's song The Bear Went Over the Mountain is sung to the same tune.

British version
For he's a jolly good fellow, for he's a jolly good fellow
For he's a jolly good fellow (pause), and so say all of us
And so say all of us, and so say all of us
For he's a jolly good fellow, for he's a jolly good fellow 
For he's a jolly good fellow (pause), and so say all of us!

May 30, 2017

13 going on 30 soundtrack Head over heels – The Go-Go’s

Poster 13 going on 30
Been running so long
I've nearly lost all track of time
In every direction
I couldn't see the warning signs
I must be losin' it
'Cause my mind plays tricks on me
It looked so easy
But you know looks sometimes deceive

Been running so fast
Right from the starting line
No more connections
I don't need any more advice
One hand's just reaching out
And one's just hangin' on
It seems my weaknesses
Just keep going strong

Head over heels
Where should I go
Can't stop myself
Outta control
Head over heels
No time to think
Looks like
The whole world's out of sync

Been running so hard
When what I need is to unwind
13 going on 30 movie
The voice of reason
Is one I left so far behind
I've waited so long
So long to play this part
And just remembered
That I'd forgotten about my heart

Head over heels
Where should I go
Can't stop myself
Outta control
Head over heels
No time to think
Looks like
The whole world's out of sync

Head over heels
Where should I go
Can't stop myself
Outta control
Head over heels
No time to think
Looks like
The whole world's out of sync
13 going on 30 movie movie

Head over heels
Where should I go
Can't stop myself
Outta control
Head over heels
No time to think
Looks like
The whole world's out of sync...

Head over heels
Where should I go
Can't stop myself
Outta control
Head over heels
No time to think
Looks like 
The whole world's out of sync...

May 26, 2017

The Civil War

The civil War Loving San Francisco
     In the days of colonization, both people in the North and people in the South kept slaves. Little by little the northern States became industrialized and slavery was gradually abolished.
     The South, on the contrary, remained essentially rural, and the landowners, who needed slaves to cultivate the land and chiefly to produce cotton, didn’t want to abolish slavery.
Abraham Lincoln November 1863     In 1860 Abraham Lincoln became the sixteenth President of the United States of America. He was a well-known lawyer who had always fought against slavery and so it happened that the southern States, which needed negro slaves, withdrew from the Union and elected their own President, Jefferson Davis.
     Civil war was inevitable and, in fact, it broke out a few months later, and lasted four years. In the end the southern commander, General Lee, had to surrender to the northern General Grant. 
     In this war thousands of soldiers died and a great number of houses and farms were set on fire chiefly in the South. But slavery was abolished at last. 

May 22, 2017

The making of Australia

Australia. History
     The settlement of Australia by the Aborigines is at least 25,000 – 40,000 years old. They immigrated from South East Asia and there were about 300,000 of them when Europeans arrived.
     The Dutch came in 1616, and in 1644 Australia was called New Holland. The British first arrived in 1688. It Was in 1770 that James Cook, a British explorer, took scientists to study the plants, animals and native people, in his first ship, the Endeavour. He wanted to claim the land for Britain and, in April 1770, he charted the east coast of Australia, and named it New South Wales. There was a scientist on the ship, Joseph Banks who was so fascinated by the range of plants in a bay, that the British named it Botany Bay.
     Sailing north, the ship was damaged when it ran into coral on the Great Barrier Reef. After repairing the ship they sailed back to Britain, arriving in July 1771. In London, Joseph Banks suggested that Botany Bay would be a very good place to start a colony.
James Cook Australia Trip
     In 1788 the first feet of eleven ships from Britain landed in Botany Bay to establish the colony of New South Wales. There were about 1,050 people, mostly prisoners from British prisons sent to begin a colony. They moved from Botany Bay to Sydney Cove where there was fresh water and better soil. The settlers called the place The Rocks. Later free settlers began to arrive from Britain wanting to start a new life. Most immigrants to Australia for the next 150 years were of British origin. 
Source: Excursion, an old Italian book. 
Captain James Cook portraitJames Cook Australia

May 20, 2017

Simple origami: shirt with tie in your car

Hang it in your car, near the window.
The classic T-shirt says “Baby aboard”, but we have to make the difference. 
In this case the message (in English) is: “Little boy aboard”.
Bimbo a bordo maglietta camicia cravatta origami Auto - Blog

May 18, 2017

Sports in Britain

British sports
     Sport plays an important part in many British people’s lives. Most towns, cities and villages have their own sports centres, cricket clubs and football clubs, and many big firms have their own sports facilities. Sport is also considered important in children’s education, for developing important qualities such as team spirit and as a way of keeping physically fit.
     Many secondary schools in Britain have a gym, playing fields and some have a swimming pool. Most school children spend about half a day a week playing games. In the past boys learned football, or cricket, while girls played hockey or netball. Now this is changing and children have more choice. Many schools offer other sports such as badminton, tennis, boxing, judo and rugby.
     Apart from practising a sport, British people also like watching sporting events live, or staying at home and watching them on TV.
     For sports in which people want to participate, Britain offers facilities for almost every sport and leisure activity. Around the coasts and lakes there are opportunities for swimming, surfing, sailing and water-skiing; in the mountainous regions there is skiing, climbing, and hiking; rivers are very good for fishing; while pony-trekking, riding and walking are very popular. 
     Source: Excursion, an old Italian book. 

May 14, 2017

Shakespeare. Focus on The Tempest

Prospero, Duke of Milan, deposed from his throne by his brother Antonio, has been shipwrecked on a lonely island with his daughter Miranda. Thanks to his knowledge of magic, Prospero has released the spirit Ariel who was imprisoned by a witch called Sycorax, and who now becomes Prospero’s servant. He also has another servant, Caliban, the witch’s own son. Caliban is a monstrous creature and was the sole inhabitant of the island until Prospero’s arrival. Prospero has spent twelve years on the island and during these years he has perfected his knowledge of magic.
The Tempest William Shakespeare
The play begins with a storm raised by Prospero’s magic which causes the ship carrying Antonio, Alonso King of Naples, his brother Sebastian as well as Alonso’s son Ferdinand to be shipwrecked off the island. The passengers are miraculously saved but are dispersed about the island in different groups. The members of each group believe themselves to be the only survivors. This gives rise to three sub-plots:
1) Ferdinand meets Miranda and the couple fall in love but Prospero puts a spell on Ferdinand to protect his daughter’s virtue before finally permitting the couple to marry at the end of the play.
2) Meanwhile on another part of the island Antonio and Sebastian, the villains of the play, are planning to kill Alonso and his honest counsellor Gonzalo, but they fail.
3) Caliban persuades two Of the ship’s crew, Stefano, a drunken hurler, and Trinculo, a jester, to try to murder Prospero and take control of the island. This plot forms a comic counterpoint to Antonio’s conspiracy.
At the end of the play, after Prospero has used the spirit Arid to manipulate events and defeat the various conspiracies, all the characters are finally reunited. Prospero forgives Antonio on the condition that he returns his dukedom to him, and before they all embark tot Italy, he sets Caliban and Ariel free, renouncing both his political and magic powers.
Features of the play
The text probably derives from more than one source. Some passages echo the English translations of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, while among its other influences are Montaigne’s Essays as well as travel literature, particularly the accounts of the shipwreck of the Sea-Adventure off the coast of the Bermudas in 1609, before its passengers arrived safely in Virginia.
William Shakespeare
The Tempest is a complex play where illusion and reality intermingle. It is a play about power in all its forms: the power of European culture over non-European cultures, the power of language and the power of the artist to create illusion. The relationship between Prospero and Caliban reflects the power of the colonisers over colonised peoples, while the figure of Ariel stands as a metaphor for the powers of art and language that the artist may borrow to create his works but can never master completely. Just as Prospero must set Ariel free at the end of the play, so too must Shakespeare set his play free once it is complete, thus relinquishing his control over its ultimate meaning. Art and language have a life of their own, beyond the author.
On a different level, Prospero’s release of Caliban at the end of the play is accompanied by an acknowledgement that he too contains something of Caliban’s savage uncontrollable nature. This has been much commented on, particularly in post-colonial readings of the play. 
Source: Thomson – Maglioni, Literary Links. Literature in time and space, Cideb, an old Italian book 2000. 

May 10, 2017

The Spanish Armada

Spanish Armada Invincible Armada
England and Spain had been at war for several years when in 1588 a mighty fleet sailed from Spain to conquer England. On that occasion the Island was saved by her ships and brave seamen.
The Spanish Armada, which was composed of 130 ships, sailed up the Channel to meet the English fleet which was waiting at Plymouth.
The English ships were as numerous as the Spanish galleons but the former were smaller than the latter and therefore they could steer more rapidly to escape the enemy’s fire. Moreover, the English were led by Lord Howard of Effingham and by many famous seamen such as Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins. 
The two fleets fought against one another for nine days but in the end the Spaniards had to take shelter in Calais. There they were attacked by six English ships loaded with gun powder and sent to drift among the enemy fleet. The final battle was fought off Gravelines where most Spanish ships were destroyed by the English and the others were driven away by a strong south-west wind. Spain was no longer a sea power. 

May 6, 2017

The Conquest of the West

The victory of the thirteen American colonies over their mother country in 1781 and the declaration of their independence were followed by a long period of organization for the new nation. In 1789 the constitution of the United States was ratified and George Washington was elected first President.
The first half of the 19th century was marked by considerable territorial expansion: Louisiana was bought from Napoleon for $ 14,500,000 and Florida from Spain for $ 5,000,000. Texas and California were annexed from Mexico.
the conquest of the american west
The Far West was explores and reports of rich gold mines in California started the famous “Gold Rush” which is one of the most colourful pages in the history of the Far West. People began moving westwards. Pioneers packed their families and furniture into big covered wagons, crossed the Appalachians and set out to the West. This Expansion was marked by a long and bitter conflict against the Redskin Indians, who attempted bravely to defend their hunting grounds from the invaders. Many were the great Indian chiefs who led their people against the white men: Black Hawk was the hero of the resistance to the Palefaces east of the Mississippi; Sitting Bull was the great Sioux leader who defeated Colonel Custer; and Cochise at the head of his warlike tribe, the Apaches, spread terror among the Whites in Arizona.
But the Indians’ struggle was a vain one. They were practically exterminated by the white men and only a few survived the massacre. Their descendants can still be found in the reservations of Arizona, Utah, Nevada and Oregon, where they are nothing but a tourist attraction. They welcome foreign visitors and entertain them with their colourful dances, their rainbow-hued costumes, the beat of their drums and their ancient chants. Some are willing to pose for photographs.
This is all that is left of the culture, the customs, the beliefs of a proud and ancient people. 
Source: R. Colle – I. Vay, L’esame di inglese, Lattes, an old Italian book 1974. 

May 2, 2017

The Mayflower

During the reign of the Catholic King James I the Puritans were persecuted because they wanted to purify the English Church. In September 1620 a group of them, being tired of persecution, sailed from the port of Plymouth on board the Mayflower, a three-masted ship. These Puritans, called The Pilgrim Fathers, were in search of a new land to settle in. It was a very long and difficult voyage across the stormy Atlantic Ocean and many times the ship was on the point of sinking. Nine weeks later, the Pilgrims reached Cape Cod in North America. That spot was rocky and bare but some Pilgrims went ashore all the same, hoping to find a good place where to live. One month later, those who had landed discovered a good natural harbour where all the Pilgrims settled at last. The colony they founded was named New Plymouth. Many other English colonies were funded after this one and all of them were called New England. These settlers together with others coming from many European countries were the founders of the United States of America. 

Apr 28, 2017

The Oregon trail

nasa topo Oregon trail
In the first half of the 19th century thousands of Americans left their homes in the East and travelled westwards. Some of them were going to California where gold deposits had been discovered, some others were going to settle in the Oregon country where they could find fertile land and pleasant climate.
Few migrants travelled alone. Most went in parties with a guide who knew where to find water and grass for the animals. The first large party went over the Oregon trail in 1843. There were 200 families (about 1,000 persons) and they travelled in 120 covered wagons. They had almost 800 cattle and 700 oxen.
Pioneers used oxen to carry their wagons because Indians did not know how to use these animals and therefore they would not steal them. Moreover, oxen would be very useful to pioneers when they reached Oregon and began farming.
The migrants moved like an army; they camped; at night arranging their wagons in a circle to defend themselves and their cattle from the Indians. It was hard to avoid the Indians as caravans travelled slowly and kicked up enough dust to he seen for miles.
Some Indian tribes were very fierce and hated the Whites as, on their way to Oregon, they killed many buffalo that the Indians lived on. 
The Indian chief Colorow said: Colorow owns this country. Buffalo are Indian cattle. White man’s cattle eat all grass. Buffalo die, no food. No hunting, no meat, no robes. 
Oregon trail

Apr 24, 2017

The English at Home

The English don’t like to live in busy city streets. They dislike blocks of flats which are all alike and have no individuality. They prefer to buy or to rent a small house on the outskirts, away from the noise and the traffic of the town centre.
United Kingdom
The typical suburban house is a two-storey building with six rooms and two gardens: a front garden full of flowers and a back garden with fruit-trees and vegetables.
Instead of a number each house has a pretty name which distinguishes it from the house next door: “May Flowers”, “Red Roses”, “The Cottage”, and the like.
The first thing an Englishman does with his house is to surround it with a fence or a hedge in order “to shut out the neighbours” and to preserve his privacy and freedom. Freedom, in fact, for an Englishman means above all the right to live his private life, a private life into which he refuses to admit any but his closest friends.
Behind the closed door of his “castle” the Englishman enjoys being alone with his family, looking after his pets, reading his favourite newspaper, smoking his pipe, or spending a quiet evening sitting in front of the television set.
In summer, when the weather is nice and sunny, he likes to spend his spare time in the garden, watering the flowers, cutting the hedge or mowing the lawn. He loves flowers, and gardening is one of his favourite hobbies.
Sometimes he has tea in the garden with his wife, while his children play on the grass with their pets. Pets live in the house and are considered members of the family. English people are very fond of animals, and you can hardly find any English family who does not have a dog, a goldfish, a bird or even a pony as a pet. 
Source: R. Colle – I. Vay, L’esame di inglese, Lattes, an old Italian book 1974.