Mar 30, 2017

S.O.S. Save Our Souls

It was a stormy night on the Atlantic Ocean.
The liner Carmania which was crossing the Atlantic bound for Europe, picked an S.O.S. signal coming from the ship Volturno. This liner was asking for help as she was on fire.
In spite of the storm, the Carmania proceeded at her maximum speed towards the ship on fire.
But she was not the only liner to go to the rescue.
At dawn ten vessels could be seen around the Volturno.
Something terrible had happened on board the burning ship: some passengers had thrown themselves into the sea to escape the fire and had been drowned; others had tried to save themselves in the life-boats, but most of these had capsized. The ships around could do nothing because of the rage of the storm. 
All the passengers would have died if a tanker hadn’t arrived. She poured her oil on the water and so the waves abated. All at once the ten liners lowered their life-boats and so all those who had remained on hoard the Volturno were saved. 

Mar 24, 2017

Gulliver’s Travels. Focus on the text

Gulliver's Travels (by Jonathan Swift) is divided into four books:
Gullivers travels
In Book 1 the hero, ship’s surgeon Lemuel Gulliver, tells of his shipwreck off the island of  Lilliput. The Lilliputians, he discovers, are a tiny people, only six inches high. During his stay on Lilliput he learns about the local customs and culture, and about the country’s political system. He offers to help the people in their war against another island, Blefuscu, after which he returns to England.
In Book 2 Gulliver sets off for India but after a series of misadventures finds himself abandoned on the island of Brobdingnag whose inhabitants are all giants. The situation of Book 1 is reversed, as Gulliver finds himself regarded  as something like a living doll for children to play with. He is sold to the Queen and has some interesting discussions with the King about the political situation in Europe, before returning once again to England.
Book 3 sees Gulliver land on the amazing flying island of Laputa with its capital Lagado which is populated by philosophers and scientists, all involved in bizarre and ultimately futile scientific research and speculations.
From here he Journeys to another two islands, Glubdubdrib and Luggnag, each with their own absurdities.
Book 4 finds Gulliver in a land ruled by intelligent horses who  call  themselves the Houyhnhnms and who are served by a filthy, bestial, subhuman race called the Yahoos. Again Gulliver spends his time trying to learn the language and ways of the Houyhnhnms, and assimilates them so well that when he returns home to his wife and children he finds himself disgusted by their humanness.
Gulliver’s Travels has for a long time been considered a children’s classic because of the wonderfully absurd imagination of its images and the simplicity of its prose. But its dense mixture of fantasy, political satire and moral fable render it a highly complex work and there has been much debate among literary critics in the centuries alter its publication as to what Swift’s intentions in writing it actually were. Many have regarded it as a misanthropic hook, a vicious attack on the human race as a whole.
The hook’s defenders, on the other hand, say that the book is a satire of man’s hypocrisy, vanity and cruelty, his small-mindedness and absurd pretensions.
According to this last scheme the four voyages might be read as follows:
First Journey
The diminutive Lilliputians, although a well-organised society, can be seen to represent cruelty, pettiness and provincialism (arguably the way Swift saw the England of his time). To their eyes Gulliver is like a giant baby, a huge body controlled by its physical needs. Their only use for him is as a weapon to destroy their enemies.
Second Journey
The giants of Brobdingnag represent human vanity and self-love. Gulliver’s descriptions of their bodies (which to him are enormous) reveal a mixture of fascination for, and disgust and repulsion towards the human body, which may be seen as an obstacle to spiritual growth. But here the diminished Gulliver is identified with the Lilliputians. This parallel is further emphasised by the King’s response to Gulliver’s account of England, when he says that the majority of the English appear to be ‘the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.’
Third Journey
Gulliver's Travels
The Laputans can be seen as a parody of the pretensions of abstract intellectual thinking, which has no connection to reality (the island flies above the ground), and also as a satire on Britain’s military and colonial ambitions (the king threatens to land the island on any dissenting subjects, literally crushing them to death).
Fourth Journey
The land of the Houyhnhnms where horses rule over a bestial subhuman race is one of the best examples of Swiftian reversal. We are made to see Gulliver from the perspective of the horses whose only experience of the human race is with the savage Yahoos. Gulliver tries to convince them that his own race dry not at all like the yahoos but from the horses’ point of view, the picture he portrays of the violent and vicious society he conies from merely confirms that underneath the masquerade of civilisation, humans are indeed lost like the Yahoos – only more sophisticated it their barbarism. 
Source: Thomson – Maglioni, Literary Links. Literature in time and space, Cideb, an old Italian book 2000. 

Mar 20, 2017

“The Devil’s advocate” Monologue, Al Pacino

I want you to be yourself. You know, boy, guilt is like a bag of fucking bricks. All you gotta do is set it down… Who are you carrying all those bricks for anyway? God? Is that it? God? Well, I’ll tell ya, lemme give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He’s a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts! He gives this extraordinary gift and then what does he do? I swear for his own amusement his own private cosmic gag reel – he sets the rules in opposition. It’s the goof of all time! Look. But don’t touch! Touch. But don’t taste! Taste. Don’t swallow! And while you’re jumping from one foot to the next, he’s laughing his sick fucking ass off! He’s a tight ass, he’s a sadist, he’s an absentee landlord! Worship that never!
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven, is that it?
Why not? I’m here on the ground with my nose in it since the whole thing began! I’ve nurtured every sensation Man has been inspired to have! I cared about what he wanted and I never judged him. Why? Because I never rejected him. In spite of all his imperfections, I’m a fan of man! 
I’m a humanist. Maybe the last humanist. Who, in their right mind, Kevin, could possibly deny the 20th century was entirely mine? All of it, Kevin, all of it! Mine! I’m peaking here! It’s my time now. It’s our time. 
The devil's advocate

Mar 16, 2017

The English at Table

english breakfast
English women don’t devote so much time to cooking as women on the Continent do, and they often use tinned food. Still they are very fond of making cakes, puddings and innumerable cups of tea.
Early in the morning, while they are still in bed, the English like to have their first cup of tea with a biscuit. Later on they have breakfast, which is a more substantial meal than on the Continent. Some people eat porridge or corn-flakes with hot or cold milk to begin with. Then the main course is served. It generally consists of eggs and bacon, sausages with tomatoes, and a few slices of toast and butter. Coffee and tea are the most popular drinks at breakfast.
Lunch is usually a lighter meal in England than on the Continent. Many children have their midday meal at school, and most working people, having no time to go back home for lunch, have just a snack at a self-service restaurant or a coffee bar. Fish and chips, cheese, salads, omelettes are among the most typical dishes.
The English drink no wine during their meals because wine in England isn’t as cheap as it’s in Italy. They generally have milk, lemonade, fruit-juice or beer instead.
At about five o’clock, most people have afternoon tea. The English are great tea-drinkers: they have tea at any time of the day: early in the morning, at breakfast, after lunch, in the afternoon, after supper and again before going to bed. They generally drink tea with milk and not with lemon as we do in Italy. Since they are very fond of sweet things they always have cakes and biscuits with their tea.
Dinner is the biggest meal of the day. It generally consists of three main courses: soup, meat or fish with vegetables, and dessert.
The English don’t eat as much bread during their meals as we do. They have sliced bread instead of rolls and usually spread butter on it. 
Source: R. Colle – I. Vay, L’esame di inglese, Lattes, an old Italian book 1974. 

Mar 12, 2017

Problem child soundtrack Bad to the bone - George Thorogood

Problem childOn the day I was born, 
the nurses all gathered 'round
And they gazed in wide wonder, 
at the joy they had found
The head nurse spoke up, 
and she said leave this one alone
She could tell right away, 
that I was bad to the bone
Bad to the bone
Bad to the bone
B-B-B-B-Bad to the bone
Bad to the bone

I broke a thousand hearts, before I met you
I'll break a thousand more baby, before I am through
I wanna be yours pretty baby, yours and yours alone
I'm here to tell ya honey, that I'm bad to the bone
Bad to the bone
Bad to the bone

I make a rich woman beg, 
I'll make a good woman steal
problem child Loving San FranciscoI'll make an old woman blush, 
and make a young woman squeal
I wanna be yours pretty baby, 
yours and yours alone
I'm here to tell ya honey, 
that I'm bad to the bone
Bad to the bone

Mar 9, 2017

Pedagogy in the pocket

Pedagogy in the pocket
Silvana Calabrese, Pedagogy in the pocket, Leucotea Editions, Sanremo (Italy) 2017.
     A journey in which we will invite pedagogy to show its identification. To continue we will ask school to give us the compass to guide us through the different social ages, past, present and future predictions or intentions. Don Lorenzo Milani and students of the School of Barbiana deliver us a map. With the proper tools, we will begin our investigations, analyzing the value of education through social bumps. We will streak the skies of school and academic worlds
Cover Silvana Calabrese La pedagogia nel taschino Pedagogy in the pocket
     It will be a tumultuous flight which will force us to make an emergency landing on an abandoned runway, the attitude to studies. From this point we will make provisions because we need energy to journey along the steep and rough path of vocation for teaching. We will reach a vantage point overlooking the valley of live observation. It will be possible seeing the effects of reading nourishment, of infant capacity in the composition of social and anthropological themes, of fantasy that is a rich repertoire of resources. The reached peak is very high and the sky is ominous: the only path we can take is parachute us in the middle of the storm, a risky practice like educating one’s own child. Once the celestial turbulence ended we will have by then touched the ground, where we relish in the joy of planning projects because they are educational. We return to the city, in a large sports field where we will understand the importance of physical training. We will have a vision in which appear us some children comfortably sitting on a sofa while they watching television alone. Looking towards another direction we will see technological tools that promote distance education, a new frontier of education intent on the unknown. We will wake up from this dream feeling a thump and a noise because will be fallen on our head the best-selling and the least read book: the Bible. At this point we will make a camping and we will find ourselves seated around a fire. We will hear the crackle that will relax us. We will chat and talk about carry out research, doing research and the function of the books. The intellectual level achieved, combined with a spark from the fireplace, will allow us the first real journey into the past, in historical periods and different places. We will meet and hear the words of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Maria Montessori and Benjamin Spock. Their words will be a source of critical reflections and insights. We will come back in the present and we will stop in a very friendly ambience: the small room of the Middle School “G. Santomauro” where took place my teaching experience and where lies my nostalgia. With the spirit of exploration as lively as that of a little child, we will share on the route of my research. We will observe junctions, as many as are born from reading books and newspapers.
Pedagogy in the pocket Silvana Calabrese
     Being a guide to daily education because the educational process has not rest periods, and if it had the education could not be accomplished.
     Providing the tools needed to face contemporary challenges with a perspective vision that promotes the formulation of predictions. In pedagogy every moment is critical and spends quickly. Every moment is to be consecrated to education.
     The extension to the welfare of the country. Contemporary pedagogy appears in a new guise, that of the child’s guide that is about to become a citizen who looks to his country proudly and that with common sense it lead him into more quiet and reasonable social contexts.
     For what readership
     For the mother, curator of the destinies of the world.
     For the father who will feel encouraged to do their job to the fullest.
     For grandparents who are now very present and influential in the lives of their grandchildren.
     For each baby-sitter self-respecting, in order that she may have a personal copy of the guide that will facilitate her the work.
     For teachers who will find a catharsis from prejudices about them and will find or will seek or create from scratch the vocation for teaching, because for many years they still influence thousands of generations.
     For public employees, so that they find the heat of reconciliation with their duties because they all lead our country toward creating a stable and functioning system.
     For high schools, vessels filled with young people which day by day are in contact with the educational institution and takes the nightlife in clubs, recreational institutions par excellence. Young lives are master of their own existence and unaware of that is in their souls that dwell the strong feelings so sought. With the guidance of Pedagogy in the pocket they can return to the lane of the great circuit of life in which they can qualify as real champions. 
Silvana Calabrese, Pedagogy in the pocket, Leucotea Editions, Sanremo (Italy) 2017.

Mar 8, 2017

Robin Hood

Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a young man who lived during the reign of the Norman king Richard I called the Lion-Hearted. Robin was the son of the Earl of Huntingdon.
While Robin Hood was at the Crusades John the Lackland King Richard’s brother, killed many Saxon nobles and took their lands.
Among these nobles there was also the Earl of Huntingdon.
When Robin returned to England, King John’s soldiers tried to imprison him, but he succeeded in hiding in Sherwood Forest where he was compelled to live as an outlaw.
In the long run many rebels joined Robin who became the chief of a powerful band of outlaws. 
Robin and his friends robbed the rich to help the poor. That’s why they were very popular and were always helped to escape from the King’s soldiers. 

Mar 4, 2017

American History from the Colonial Period to the Atomic Age

The Colonial Period
Cristoforo Colombo
The first inhabitants of America were the Indians. They were the only masters of the continent living in complete freedom and developing customs of their own.
The ‘New Continent’ became known only after Columbus’s discovery in 1492. In the 16th century most European nations began to be interested in the American continent.
In 1607 a group of some 120 English colonists landed in Virginia and founded Jamestown which was the first permanent English settlement. In 1620 a hundred men and women known to history as the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ came to the Massachusetts shores on board the ‘Mayflower’. They were a group of Puritans escaping religious persecution in England.
Farther down the American coast a group of English Catholics colonized Maryland. and the tolerant and peaceful Quakers, led by William Penn, gathered in Pennsylvania.
Little by little thirteen colonies came into existence along the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to the Carolinas.
The American Revolution
American Revolution
Since the beginning the colonies had considered themselves self-governing units within the British Empire. Britain, however, didn’t want the colonies to govern themselves and regarded their people as foreigners. She forced them to serve England’s interests by providing new markets for goods and supplying raw materials for English industry, compelled them to trade only with the mother country or its Empire, and imposed arbitrary taxes on glass, lead, paper and even stamps. Agitation arose against these Impositions and the situation reached Its climax with the so-called  ‘Boston tea-party’. The Bostonians refused to pay a new tax on tea and threw all the tea the British had just brought over into the harbour. The other colonies decided a meeting in order to find a solution. A committee of five members. including Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, drew up a Declaration of Independence which was adopted on July 4, 1776, the birthday of American Independence.
Having cut with England and established the United States of America, the new nation had to struggle for survival. Life was really hard for George Washing-ton, the Commander-in-Chief, who had only a very small army of farmers. After several defeats, however, the new nation made alliance with France, and the wheel of fortune turned. The war ended with the defeat of the English at the battle of Yorktown in 1781. The Treaty of Versailles ratified the independence of the 13 colonies in 1783.
The Conquest of the West
gold rush
The new Federal Government proved to be a good one and was able to assure the nation 70 years of constructive growth.
The U.S. devoted itself to enlarging its possessions. Louisiana was bought from France, Florida from Spain and Alaska from the Czar of Russia. A brief and successful war against Mexico gave the nation vast portions of the South-east including California, New Mexico and Arizona. The addition of all these territories extended the U.S. to practically its present size. The vast western deserts and plains. inhabited by Indians and buffaloes, were an appeal to pioneers. especially since reports of gold mines in California had spread throughout the country. starting the famous ‘Gold Rush’. Pioneers packed their families and furniture In 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.
The Civil War and the Negro Problem
Presidents Rushmore from left Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln
Towards the middle of the 19th century the conflicting interests of the Northern and Southern States became manifest. The problem of the abolition of slavery was the main question about which the States were divided. In the North a group of abolitionists agitated for the immediate stamping out of the institution. Anti-slavery sentiment, however, was growing not only on moral grounds, but for political and economic reasons as well. Both free and slave states had so far been able to balance each other’s influence. But time came when the interests of the two parts became incompatible, since one was mainly industrial and the other agrarian. The Northern States, starting up their own factories, needed protection and claimed high custom duties on foreign imports, while the Southern States, which shipped raw materials abroad to be turned into manufactured goods, claimed free trade.
When Abraham Lincoln won the Presidential Elections in 1861, eleven Southern States seceded from the union and formed a confederacy. War broke out. The Confederates were defeated, and Lincoln declared that all the 3,500,000 Negro slaves of the rebel states should be free. In 1865 the President was assassinated by a fanatic.
America Becomes a World Power
By the end of the 19th century the United States had filled up their borders from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, reaching a population of 76 million.
America had become a world power. Nevertheless, when World War I broke out among the European countries, the United States, acting under the policy of the ‘Monroe Doctrine’ declared its neutrality. The States entered the war only in 1917, after a harsh submarine warfare had sunk several American ships. The war ended in 1918. Although America had been a late-corner to the war and had suffered relatively few losses, its weight in men, money and supplies had been great; therefore President Wilson could ask for a ‘League of Nations’, embracing victors and vanquished alike in a democratic brotherhood. This organization would assure every nation a right peace.
The Atomic Age
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Just when the United States seemed to go through a period of welfare, the sudden crash of the New York Stock Exchange started the Great Depression (1929-1933), which plunged the nation from prosperity to near ruin.
To protect industry, high custom duties were levied, thus hindering free trade with foreign countries. Mass production reached a gigantic level and the market was soon overflowing with goods. Demand was lacking, so production declined, factories closed and millions of people were out of work. The man capable of overcoming the crisis was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945) with his ‘New Deal’ program. According to this, the Federal Government favoured reciprocal trade agreements, repealed prohibition. regulated wages and prices in industry and controlled farming.
Under Roosevelt’s leadership, the U.S. entered World War II in 1941. after Japan had launched a surprise attack on the naval base of Pearl Harbour. By the middle of 1945 Europe had surrendered, while Japan still had a big army and a fanatical determination to hold her homeland. To put an end to the war, the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, on August 6. Japan surrendered. The Atomic era had started. 
Source: Colle – Meloni, News. For Juniors, Lattes, an old Italian book 1979. 
formation Etats Unis