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And the Oscar goes to…. February 25, 2013

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As you probably know, last night in L.A. the most glamorous ceremony took place… The Oscars.

If you are one of those who love films, I guess you would pay attention to this event. As every single year actresses and actors tried to impress everybody on the red carpet… as someone said, the biggest fashion show all around the world. And, as usual, some got it, but unfortunately, someone was completely wrong (just take a look at Anne Hathaway’s dress…).

Here you can see a funny summary of the 2013 winners, some of them very surprinsing, but on the whole not many big surprises.

Perhaps you disagree with the winners, so tell us what your bet was…

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Affluenza February 20, 2013

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The old English proverb says “Money is the root of all evil”. Psychologist Oliver James – not to be confused with Jamie Oliver the cook- poses this highly controversial claim in his book Affluenza: capitalism is bad for your mental health. What is your personal take on the issue? Send your comments in.

Here’s an interesting site for you to explore www.affluenza.org

And here’s a documentary on Affluenza (a few minutes short of an hour).

SOUND CITY February 9, 2013

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David Grolh the frontman and lead singer of Foo Fighters, is this time starting his career as a film director. His  brand new documentary is obviously about something related to music, which is his passion and his job. Here you can see the trailer of  David’s work, which is called: “Sound City”, which is a musical studio in L.A. According to Grolh, it has a special touch, a kind of traditional sound with a different atmosphere.. something that you can notice in every record made there…. we could say: made in an old-fashioned way.

A plethora of bands have recorded in these studios, from Metallica to Ratt, Pat Benattar, Guns and Roses, etc… and most of them have started their careers recording their albums in this studio.

So take a look at this video and you can know more about a mythical place for many rockers, why and how they started….

 

 

 

In plain English January 31, 2013

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Retrieved from El País on 31-01-13

BÁRCENAS’ SECRET PAPERS

Top PP officials shown to have taken payments on the side

Ledgers reveal that PM Rajoy was apportioned annual sum of 25,200 euros for 11 years

Documents include donations from construction firms and businessmen implicated in Gürtel

The ex-treasurer of the Popular Party, Luis Bárcenas, pictured outside his home in Madrid. / ÁLVARO GARCÍA

The ruling Popular Party’s internal accounting between 1990 and 2008, to which EL PAÍS has had access, shows that the conservative grouping’s leading members were paid regular sums of money aside from their official salaries. The files, kept by former PP treasurers Álvaro Lapuerta and Luis Bárcenas, comprise a series of incoming items in the form of donations from companies, especially construction firms, and outgoing expenses, which include the payments to party leaders.

Among those who received payments on the side, according to the accounts kept by Bárcenas, is Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. The PP president first appears listed in 1997, with sums of money next to his name that consistently add up to 25,200 euros a year, divided either in quarterly or six-monthly payments, and continuing up to 2008.

The party’s current secretary general, Dolores de Cospedal, also figures in the papers, with two entries of 7,500 euros next to her name in the second half of 2008, immediately after she had been ratified in her post by the PP convention in June of that year. De Cospedal has publicly denied knowledge that these payments were made by Bárcenas to party officials.

Examples of the secret accounts kept by former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenas show the names of leading party figures.

Mariano Rajoy, who was asked by this newspaper to comment on this story, declined to do so via a spokesperson. The prime minister said that he will not make any comment until he has seen the results of internal and external audits, ordered by him into the party’s finances in the light of the revelation earlier this year that Bárcenas had kept millions of euros in a Swiss bank account.

The secret ledgers also include regular payments of similar quantities to those noted down next to Rajoy’s name for previous PP secretary generals (Ángel Acebes, Javier Arenas and Francisco Álvarez-Cascos), leading figures Rodrigo Rato and Jaime Mayor Oreja, and the party’s deputy leaders.

The accounts, which also include other kinds of expenses, such as training courses, show final balance figures for each year. The books corresponding to the years 1993 to 1996 inclusive were not included in the documents seen by EL PAÍS.

The periodical payments began in 1997, a year after Aznar had led the PP into government

The periodical payments to leading party members are first registered in 1997, a year after then-party leader José María Aznar had led the PP into government for the first time in its history. Among the notes for the first months in the 1990 ledger and during two months in 1997, payments to “J. M.” are present. All of the outgoing payments recorded in 1990 are listed next to the same initials.

Among the donors listed as having given money to the party are businessmen implicated in the Gürtel kickbacks-for-contracts scandal, which has seen several PP officials resign from their posts in regional and municipal administrations. One of those noted as having made donations is Pablo Crespo, the number-two man in Francisco Correa’s PP-linked corruption network, who has since become a target of the ongoing judicial probe into Gürtel. Alfonso García Pozuelo, the owner of the building company Constructora Hispánica, and Valencian assembly speaker Juan Cotino, are also shown to have given money to the party treasurers. Like Crespo, both were later accused of wrongdoing in the Gürtel case.

According to Bárcenas’ bookkeeping, every year part of the total quantity of donations received was set aside and paid into a bank account at Banco de Vitoria (absorbed by Banesto in 2003). The fact that only part of the money received ended up being transferred to this bank account under the heading “donations” could imply that the Popular Party was engaged in illegal financing in as far as it was not declaring all of its income.

Inglés, Internet y Pizarra Digital January 15, 2013

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I’m very satisfied to announce that my latest book -Inglés, Internet y Pizarra Digital- is now out. This is a methodology book for English teachers written in Spanish and it focuses on the fascinating world of blogs, wikis, social networking sites, podcasts, text chat,  videocasts, videoconferences and visual online presentations among others and how they can be integrated into the English classroom by means of an interactive whiteboard (or a screen, a data projector and an Internet connection).

portada definitiva

It’s an ebook download available from Google books. Then you may print copies or read it from your computer screen, tablet, smartphone or ebook reader. Click on the picture below to download a copy.

snapshot google

It’s that time of the year again: karaoke competition December 18, 2012

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On December 20th, starting at 17:30 our school will be celebrating another edition of our world famous karaoke competition. Featuring this year… WE ARE ON TWITTER. You can send in or read tweets here: #eoiastorgakaraoke. You may want to encourage people to participate, invite your friends to attend the event or ask for votes before and during the competition. Share the news with friends as well and tweet and retweet! Keep those messages coming!!

What we don’t know about marriage December 16, 2012

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Advanced class. In connection with today’s topic, here’s a very thought-provoking and funny TED talk (for all those who don’t know this site, you need to check it out, it’s simply great). Jenna McCarthy lets the audience know what they don’t know about marriage. When you play the video you can actually get a full transcript of the talk if you want. And here are the key ingredients for a healthy marriage. If you want the details, watch the video.

– The wife is thinner and better looking than the husband. She doesn’t have to be thin. Just thinner than her husband.

– The husband does housework.

– People who smile in childhood photos are less likely to get a divorce.

– Do not by any means win an Oscar.

– Do not watch romantic comedies.

Link to video: http://www.ted.com/talks/jenna_mccarthy_what_you_don_t_know_about_marriage.html

HURRICANE SANDY BENEFIT GIG December 15, 2012

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Last 12/12/12 a charity concert in support of Sandy hurricane victims took place in New York’s Madison Square Garden. As usual in these kinds of events, it was a huge success, and tickets were sold out, more that 12,000 people attended the concert according to the organization. Hovewer I’m afraid it was not enough due to the enormous damage and destruction caused.

Rock stars are usually willing to help in this sort of situations, and this case was an excellent example. You could see on stage people like Aerosmith, Rolling Stones, The Who, Bon Jove, Eric Clapton …..and Nirvarna, yes you’ve read well… Nirvana.

Obviously it was just a piece of  Nivarna, its three alive members, plus McCartney, but it was worth it!!  They sang a brand new song by David Grohl called “Cut me some Slack”… and to be honest it sounded well, althought Sir Paul was a bit out of place.  But not everybody got happy…. the black widow, Ms. Love, said: “I’m not amused, to say it politely”….

You can see here the performance by the former members of Nivarna, it is cool, isn’t it?

Annoying habits December 6, 2012

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Do you have any annoying habits? Does your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, brother, sister, mother, father, son, daughter or flatmate have an annoying habit? Type your comments in!!

It’s all in the news December 5, 2012

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Looking forward to reading your news stories exemplifying distancing. Send them in as comments!