Feb 28, 2017

The Sporting Spirit

sport activity
The word sport, as well as many other English words associated with sports and games, has no translation. Sportsmen all over the world use such words as corner, offside, hands, dribbling, tackling, net and even those who are not boxing fans know the meaning of round, ring, knock-out, or uppercut.
Many of the most popular sports practised all over the world are of British origin and the English are traditionally considered good sportsmen.
The English think, however, that to be a good sportsman does not necessarily mean to play well and be able to beat the opponents. Beating the opponents is not the only reason for playing. Of course winning is important, but a game has a value in itself, for its own sake. It is first and foremost recreation and fun, and not a war for the ambitious.
In order to be a good sportsman one must be able to play with respect for the rules and the referee’s decisions, be modest when one wins and patient when one loses. This is what the English call sporting spirit.
In this sense, sport and fair play have a great educational importance, and this is the reason why British schools pay so much attention to them. Every English schoolboy is taught to live life with a sportsman’s attitude: to endure hardships, to respect his opponents, and above all to play the game, that is to act and to behave honestly.
When an Englishman wants to refer to something unfair, he usually save: That isn’t cricket!. For the English, in fact, cricket is something more than their national game: it is the pattern for a gentleman’s behaviour. 
Source: R. Colle – I. Vay, L’esame di inglese, Lattes, an old Italian book 1974. 
SPORT multiple

Feb 24, 2017

John Fitzgerald Kennedy's courage

John Fitzgerald Kennedy president
J. F. Kennedy, the late president of the United States of America, was very brave and active since he was young.
During the Second World War he enlisted in the Navy and as he showed a great sense of responsibility on several occasions, he was given the command of a torpedo boat.
On an August night his ship was sunk by a Japanese destroyer not far from the Solomon Islands. Kennedy and the ten survivors swam for many hours till they reached an island but what is astonishing is that Kennedy, though he was wounded, succeeded in bringing ashore one of his sailors who was badly hurt. As the island was deserted, the next morning Kennedy and his sailors moved to another island and from this to a third one. There, at last, they found some friendly Melanesians who helped them and carried Kennedy on board an Australian ship. 
The ship’s radio transmitted the survivors’ position and at last all of them were saved. 
John Fitzgerald Kennedy president

Feb 22, 2017

One tree hill soundtrack I don’t want to be – Gavin DeGraw

One Tree Hill Loving San FranciscoI don't need to be anything other
Than a prison guard's son
I don't need to be anything other
Than a specialist's son
I don't have to be anyone other
Than the birth of two souls in one
Part of where I'm going, is knowing
where I'm coming from
I don't want to be
Anything other than what
I've been trying to be lately
All I have to do
Is think of me and I have peace of mind
I'm tired of looking 'round rooms
Wondering what I've got to do
Or who I'm supposed to be
I don't want to be anything other than me
I'm surrounded by liars everywhere I turn
I'm surrounded by imposters everywhere I turn
I'm surrounded by identity crisis everywhere I turn
Am I the only one who noticed?
I can't be the only one who's learned!
I don't want to be
ONE TREE HILL telefilm
Anything other than what I've been trying to be lately
All I have to do
Is think of me and I have peace of mind
I'm tired of looking 'round rooms
Wondering what I've got to do
Or who I'm supposed to be
I don't want to be anything other than me
Can I have everyone's attention please?
If you're not like this and that,
you're gonna have to leave
I came from the mountain
The crust of creation
My whole situation-made from clay to stone
And now I'm telling everybody
I don't want to be
Anything other than what
I've been trying to be lately
All I have to do
Is think of me and I have peace of mind
I'm tired of looking 'round rooms
Wondering what I've got to do
Or who I'm supposed to be
I don't want to be anything other than me 
I don't want to be

Feb 18, 2017

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Life and works 
Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley, born in 1797, was the only child of Mary Wollstonecraft, the famous feminist, and William Godwin, a philosopher and novelist. Mary’s parents were instrumental in shaping the Romantic sensibility and the revolutionary ideas of the time and from an early age she was surrounded by famous philosophers, writers, and poets. She met Coleridge when she was only two years old. Mary’s early years were influenced by a macabre Gothicism. Almost every day she would go with her father to ‘St. Pancras churchyard where her mother was buried. Godwin taught Mary to read and spell her name by having her trace her mother’s inscription on the stone. At the age of sixteen Mary ran away to live with the twenty-one-year-old poet Percy Shelley. Although she was banished from society, even by her father, this inspirational liaison helped her to produce her masterpiece, Frankenstein, when she was only nineteen. The idea for the book was conceived during one of the most famous house parties in literary history when staying at Lake Geneva in Switzerland with Byron and Shelley.
Later, the couple decided to get married. Fierce public hostility drove them to Italy where they were initially happy but where their two young children died. Mary never fully recovered from this trauma, and when she was only twenty-four, Percy Shelley drowned, leaving her penniless with a two-year-old son. Poverty forced her to live in England which she despised because of the conformism and social system. She was ignored by conventional circles and worked as a professional writer to support her father and her son. Her milieu, howewer, included literary and theatrical figures, artists, and politicians. Her other works included The Last Man (1826) which tells the story of the end of humanity, wiped out by a plague, and of the only survivor. Mary became an invalid at the age of 48. She died in 1851 of a brain tumour.
Focus on the text: Frankenstein
Frankenstein the monster
The story concerns a brilliant scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who believes he has discovered the secret of generating life and decides to create a living being from parts of dead bodies. However, the creature he generates turns out to be a destructive and homicidal monster who is beyond his control. The novel can be seen as a critique of male rationalism and of the idea that science can reveal all the secrets of the universe.
Through the figure of the mad scientist, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley shows us the irrational desires which lie behind supposedly rational scientific enquiry. Frankenstein gives us the first indication of the repressed side of the 19th century. The novel is subtitled The Modern Prometheus, referring to the myth of Prometheus who stole fire from the Gods and gave it to mankind. As a punishment, he was chained to a rock where an eagle ate his liver.
Frankenstein is structured as an epistolary novel and also includes aspects of Chinese-box narration. The narrator is an explorer who meets the scientist Frankenstein, now a mad and dishevelled figure, shortly before he dies. He is, Frankenstein explains, hunting the monster he has created, chasing it around the earth. But the novel is much more sophisticated than an ordinary Gothic romance. At a certain point the perspective shifts to that of the monster and we gain an insight into how an ostensibly innocent creature is corrupted by a hostile society to the point where he swears revenge.
Above all, Frankenstein is a novel about the mystery of creation in all its forms and warns of the dangers of interfering with the natural order
Source: Thomson – Maglioni, Literary Links. Literature in time and space, Cideb, an old Italian book 2000. 

Feb 14, 2017

Horatio Nelson

Horatio Nelson
     One of the first things a stranger can admire in Trafalgar Square is a high column with the statue of Horatio Nelson on top of it.
     Horatio Nelson was one of the greatest admirals of the British Royal Navy. He became a sailor at the age of twelve. Because of the courage and ability he had shown on several occasions he was appointed admiral when he was very young.
     During the occupation of Corsica he lost his right eye and in another battle his right arm was injured. On that occasion he was so brave that he continued to direct the military operations while his arm was amputated.
     He fought many battles against Napoleon and at Trafalgar he was fatally wounded just when victory was sure. 
     Although he was suffering great pain he had enough strength to direct the final stages of the battle. When he knew that the enemy fleet had been destroyed he said: “Now I am satisfied, thank God I have done my duty” and shortly after he died. 

Feb 10, 2017

London. A simple summary for pupils

Great Britain Map
The most unforeseeable city
London is the capital of England and the Great Britain (United Kingdom). The name London comes from the Latin londinium, given by the Romans who founded a fortified town in the first century A. D.
London is one of the most important financial centres in the world. It’s a cosmopolitan metropolis, where people coming from every part of the globe, form a melting-pot of cultures. It’s the most visited city in the world. London Chinatown is the largest in Europe.
The Thames is the river which flows through London and is the symbol of the city.
London past
The great fire is 1666 destroyed London, that was built again thanks to sir Christopher Wren. During the second world war the bombs of German destroyed the city, that was rebuilt in the post war-period by its inhabitants.
The most important attractions and monuments of London
Big Ben is the famous clock tower on the north side of the Palace of Westminster.
The Houses of Parliament is the palace of the British government with the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
Victoria Tower, built in 1858, is the tower where parliament is gathered in sessions.
The Tower Bridge is a suspensions bridge over the river Thames. Is an example of Victorian gothic architecture and is the symbol of the city.
Great Britain

The Tower of London is a historic castle founded in the end of 1066 as part of the Norman conquest by William the Conqueror.
The British Museum is one of the major attractive for many people. There are collections of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Chinese art. Here we find the Rosetta’s Stone.
Buckingham Palace built between 1701 and 1705, is the residence of the royal family from 1837 (during the Victorian age).
Mansion House is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London.
Natural History Museum keeps the wonders of natural history with five major departments (zoology, entomology, paleontology, anthropology, botany and mineralogy). Here we can find the skeleton of Lucy, one of the rests of the oldest human in the history of mankind.
Piccadilly Circus is the most known square in London. The statue of the archer Eros is placed in the centre of the square.
Big Ben London Great BritainRoyal Air Force Museum is a largest museum with the exhibition of military planes (English, American, German and Italian) from the beginning of aviation history till today.
The National Gallery is the most important art gallery in the world with a lot of paintings, including the most important collection of Italian paintings, outside Italy.
Science Museum shows the history and the discoveries in natural science, industry, technology and medicine. We (visitors) can do experiments.
Trafalgar Square it’s the main square of London. It’s very popular with tourists.
St. Paul’s Cathedral is the mother of Anglican church built by the architect Christopher Wren.
Westminster Abbey is the burial place of British sovereigns. It’s one of the most meaningful buildings of London, with an exceptional variety of architectural styles.
Union Jack
Westminster Cathedral is the most important catholic church of the reign. It was built using red bricks.
The London Eye is the new symbol of London, built to celebrate the new millennium. It’s a gigantic wheel offers the most exciting view of the city.
Hyde Park is the largest park of London where Londoners go to relax, walks, sport, picnic or simply idle about.
Green Park in old times was the favourite place of the duellists.
Kensington Gardens are famous for the Italian gardens, for the statue of Peter Pan and for ducks and squirrels.
St. James’s Park. Today it’s considered the most beautiful park. In the past, Henry VIII reclaimed the marshes and transformed them into a hunting reserve.
Richmond Park is the largest and wooded town park of all Great Britain. It was a hunting reserve during the time of king Charles I (1637). 
Regent’s Park is a wide greed area for free time, where people can do canoeing in the lake, practice sports, watch concerts or walk in a rose garden. 

Feb 6, 2017

Grandparents: support network or parental substitute?

Is wonder in observing the changes that have involved our society in last years. The stability objectives have become utopian velleity. Still remember your childhood? As children, the days were marked by play and study with the supervision of our parents. On Sundays or holidays we went by our grandparents, the darlings of the children, with silver hair and the spirit of a little child. Not often we could see them, but we adored them. It’s essential to weave a loving relationship with the parents of our parents. Then, they were retired, uncertain element for the new generations, and had time and serenity to spend with grandchildren.
Grandparents and grandchildren Silvana Calabrese
Following the social mechanism is changed, the past has become a nuanced memory as a dream vision that fades away slowly. Inebriated by the idea that progress was the key to achieve a living standards equal or higher than that of our parents; deluded by the expectation that the world itself has triggered in all of us, we obeyed to the system with the secret hope to realize the unrealized dreams. We enrolled at the university, rather, we have invested in the education achieving medium–high levels. The immediate consequence concerned the personal ambitions of success that result by the active and stable insertion in the working world. The desire to make a career emerged almost immediately. Women’s employment has been more suffered the effects of social frictions, however were recorded vital signs. But this has caused further problems related to conciliation of roles assumed by the woman worker, housewife, wife and mother. Sometimes the challenges are unisex and look after the children, no longer conceived at a young age, it’s a serious challenge. In this emergency situation intervene the network of family support for excellence: the support provided by grandparents. Similar to the handyman they provide a free service, wide–ranging and flexible with the undisputed advantage of the trust relationship. They are available to look after their grandchildren, allowing to the married couple to overcome the assumption of a baby–sitter and save money for their children’s future. By the observation of the current reality I perceive a feeble alarm: grandparents are omnipresent in their grandchildren’s life to the point that they no longer constitutes a mere support, but a parental surrogate, the free from educational tool that only a father and a mother may be using. There’s a subversion from the past, now children spent Sunday with their parents, who are losing the best years of their children. 
Source: “La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno”, an italian newspaper, October 14, 2013, p. 16. 

Feb 2, 2017

A short history of Britain

antique english map
History of Great Britain700 BC
The Celts came to the British Isles from Europe about 2,700 years ago. They lived in tribes and became known as Britons. They lived in round houses grouped in small villages, but then they built towns that became trading centres.
55 BC
Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 BC. But Emperor Claudius conquered it and made Britain part of the Roman Empire a hundred years later. The. Romans built important towns such as London, Bath and York. They also built long straight roads. Latin, the Roman language, is the basis of many English words today.
c. 400 AD
The Anglo-Saxons came from Germany across the see and began to settle in Britain. They were farmers and lived in small villages along the banks of the rivers. One of their kings was King Alfred (871-899).
789 AD
Between 789 and 899 the Vikings came in wooden ships from Scandinavia. They attacked the north and east coasts of Britain, settling in many areas. They made Jorvick (York) their capital. Their greatest Saxon adversary was King Alfred.
1066 AD
In 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, defeated the Saxons at the battle of Hastings and was crowned King William I. The English did not want a Norman king and there were many revolts. King William gave land to French barons to build their castles. In 1086 the King sent officials to ask questions and write information in a book called the Domesday Book. It was the first census!
11th – 15th century
During the Middle Ages a series of ten different kings and their barons ruled England. They were rich and powerful, while most people who lived in the country were very poor. Towns like Bristol and Norwich grew up as trading centres. Many monasteries were built. The universities of Oxford and Cambridge were started. The Plague killed about one third of e population (1347-50).
Tudor Henry VIII
1485 – 1603 The Tudors
Tudor Elizabeth IFrom 1485 until 1603 the kings and queens of England came from the Tudor family. Henry VIII had six wives, and created the Cjurch of England because he wanted to divorce his first wife. One of his daughters, Elizabeth I was a great queen. Her reign was a time of progress and discovery. Raleigh brought tobacco and new foods, such as turkey and potatoes, from the Americas and Shakespeare wrote plays for the theatre. When the Spanish sent an Armada to attack Britain, Sir Francis Drake beat them.
1603 – 1714 The Stuarts
From 1613 to 1714 the Stuarts of Scotland ruled Britain. They brought great changes and in 1707 England, Wales and Scotland became one country called Great Britain. James I was king when Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. His son Charles I was king in 1642 when a Civil War began between the king’s supporters (the Cavaliers) and Parliament (the Roundheads, led by Oliver Cromwell). Charles was beheaded in 1649, and England then became a republic for eleven years. In 1666 there was a terrible fire in London which destroyed 80 per cent of its buildings.
The Georgians – 1714 to 1837
In the Georgian period the four king who ruled Britain were all called George. British prime ministers became more powerful while the king became less important. Britain was at war for about one third of the period. Most of the wars were against France. At Trafalgar, Lord Nelson sank most of Napoleon’s ships and Napoleon’s soldiers were beaten by Wellington at Waterloo.
Life changed with the start of the Industrial Revolution. Before, most work was done by hand. But during this period, the invention of new machines transformed Britain into the leading industrialized country in the world.
Victorian Times – 1837 to 1901
Queen Victoria
In 1837 the eighteen-year-old Queen Victoria came to the throne. During her 64-year reign she built up an enormous empire that included Australia, India Canada and many African nations. It was a time of emigration from Britain and many Scots and Irish people went to America.
Britain became very rich, but not all the British lived a happy life. Hours of work were long and workers had very poor living and working conditions – many young children and women had to work in coal mines and factories.
Many schools were built. In 1870 Parliament insisted that every child must go to school from the age of five to thirteen, and that parents must pay a little of the cost. Classes of 60-80 children had one teacher and the lessons were usually religion, reading, writing and arithmetic.
Present day
In our century Britain has seen many events. First there was World War I. Then came the Great Depression in the 1930s. This was a bad time, when there was high unemployment. Many families were poor, and there was rationing, even of bread and potatoes. World War II began in 1939 and went on until 1945.  Britain fought as a member of the Allied Forces.
Since 1945 there have been a lot of changes including the introduction of important social reforms, a decline in industry, the loss of the colonies, and Britain’s transformation into a multi-racial society,  as people came from countries such as India Pakistan, the West Indies, etc.
Many immigrants are now British citizens with second and third generation families, often with their own religions and cultures.
Britain is also a trading partner of European nations. In 1971 it became a member of the EEC. The Channel Tunnel has been built to help trade with other members of the EC, now known as the EU (from 1973 to 2016 Brexit). 
Source: Excursion, an old Italian book.