English & The Biello

Welcome and make yourself comfortable. The second act starts now, I hope you enjoy the contents. And remember: The more you learn, the more you learn! Best regards.

03 September, 2009

Full Moon Names and Their Meanings and a few Songs!

Full Moon names date back to Native Americans of northern and eastern parts of America.
The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which occurred. There was some variation in the Moon names, but in general, the same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior. European settlers followed that custom and created some of their own names. Since the lunar month is only 29 days long on the average, the full Moon dates shift from year to year. Here is the Farmers Almanac's list of the full Moon names.

Full Wolf Moon - January Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages.
Full Snow Moon - February Since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month. Also called Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions made hunting very difficult.
Full Worm Moon - March As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins.
Full Pink Moon - April This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring.
Full Flower Moon - May In most areas, flowers are abundant everywhere during this time.
Full Strawberry Moon - June This name was universal to every Algonquin tribe because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during the month of June. Full Buck Moon - July July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur.
Full Sturgeon Moon - August The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish.
Full Corn Moon - September This name is attributed to Native Americans because it marked when corn was to be harvested. Most often, the September full moon is actually the Harvest Moon.
Full Harvest Moon - October This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October. At the peak of harvest, farmers can work late into the night by the light of this Moon.
Usually the full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the Moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe.
Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice the chief Indian staples are now ready for gathering.
Full Beaver Moon - November This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter. It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon.
Full Cold Moon - December During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest.
The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun.

Neil Young´s Harvest Moon:

Come a little bit closer
Hear what I have to say
Just like children sleeping
We could dream this night away.

But theres a full moon rising
Lets go dancing in the light
We know where the musics playing
Lets go out and feel the night.

Because I´m still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I´m still in love with you
On this Harvest moon.

When we were strangers
I watched you from afar
When we were lovers
I loved you with all my heart.

But now its getting late
And the moon is climbing high
I want to celebrate
See it shining in your eyes.

Because I´m still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I´m still in love with you
On this harvest moon.

What is a Blue Moon?

Modern Definition:
A Blue Moon is commonly the name given to the second full moon in a month.
Since a full moon occurs every 29 1/2 days, if there is a full moon on the 1st or 2nd day of a month, there is a good chance that there will be a second full (or blue moon) that month.

In 1999, there were two blue moons very close together. One on January 31st (after the full moon on Jan. 2nd) and the other on March 31st (after the full moon on March 2nd).
There was another in November 2001, but not again until July 2004.
There was a blue moon in May 2007 (and one in June 2007 for those in Europe and Asia), and December 2009.
The next ones will be August 2012, then July 2015.
And we won't see two blue moons in one year again until 2018!

Sorry, it's not really blue : (

Older Definition:
More traditionally, a blue moon was referred to as the 4th full moon in a season.
That is, each of the 4 seasons of the year has 3 months, and will usually have 3 full moons. Each of these 12 moons has a name like "Harvest Moon," "Hunter's Moon" and the like.
But, when a season occurs that contains 4 full moons, there is no name for this occasional moon and it was given the name, "Blue Moon."

That´s the meaning of the idiom “Once in a blue moon”: very rarely, not very often, as for example in: I go to the theatre once in a blue moon.

Billie Holiday, Blue Moon

Blue moon! You saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own

Blue moon! You know just what I was there for
You heard me saying a prayer for
Someone I really could care for

And, then, there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms will ever hold
I heard somebody whisper: Please, adore me!
And when I looked, the moon had turned to gold

Blue moon! Now I´m no longer alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own

The Waterboys, The Whole of the Moon

I pictured a rainbow, You held it in your hands
I had flashes, But you saw the plan.

I wondered out in the world for years
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent, You saw the whole of the moon!
The whole of the moon!

You were there at the turnstiles, With the wind at your heels
You stretched for the Stara And you know how it feels
To reach too high, Too far, Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon!

I was grounded While you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truths, You cut through lies
I saw the rain-dirty valley, You saw brigadoon
I saw the crescent, You saw the whole of the moon!

I spoke about wings, You just flew
I wondered, I guessed and I tried
You just knew
I sighed, But you swooned
I saw the crescent, You saw the whole of the moon!
The whole of the moon!

With a torch in your pocket And the wind at your heels
You climbed on the ladder And you know how it feels
To reach too high, Too far, Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon!
The whole of the moon!

Unicorns and cannonballs,
Palaces and piers,
Trumpets, towers and tenemets,
Wide oceans full of tears,
Flag, rags, ferry boats,
Scimitars and scarves,
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars

You climbed on the ladder, With the wind in your sails
You came like a comet, Blazing your trail
Too high, Too far, Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon!

The Waterboys, The Fisherman´s Blues

I wish I was a fisherman tumbling on the sea
Far away from dry land and it's bitter memories
Casting out my sweet land with abandonment and love
No ceiling bearing down on me save the starry sky above
With light in my head and you in my arms

I wish I was the brakeman on a hurtling fevered train
Cashing a-headlong on into the heartland like a cannon in the rain
With the beating of the sweepers and the burning of the coal
Cunting the towns flashing by and the night that's full of soul
With light in my head and you in my arms

Tomorrow I will be loosened from the bonds that hold me fast
With the chains all hung around me will fall away at last
And on that fine and fateful day I will take thee in my hand
I will ride on the train, I will be the fisherman
With light in my head you in my heart…


Two young tourists enter a pub in Scotland, near Loch Ness where an old man tells them a story:

A boy found a very strange egg in a tidal-pool and he took it home. He put it in a shed. When the egg hatched there was an extraordinary creature and only the boy, his sister and the handy man knew this. It grew and grew and it had to live in the water so, eventually, they took it to the big lake (loch) by van.
At the same time, there was a war against the Germans.
A coupe of fishermen saw this very big creature and showed a fake picture of the famous ''Monster'' in Loch Ness.
Afterwards, everybody goes to Scotland and tries to see Nessie.
Cris Palacio

17 June, 2009




04 June, 2009


George Gershwin  was an American composer and pianist. (September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) 
Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are universally familiar. 
He wrote most of his vocal and theatrical works in collaboration with his elder brother Ira Gershwin. 
George Gershwin composed music for both Broadway and the Classical Concert-Hall, as well as popular songs which brought his work to an even wider public. Gershwin's compositions have been used in numerous films and on television, and many became jazz standards recorded in numerous variations. Countless singers and musicians have recorded Gershwin songs. 

Gershwin was named Jacob Gershowitz at birth in Brooklyn on September 26, 1898. His parents were Russian Jews. His father, Morris (Moishe) Gershowitz, changed his family name to 'Gershwin' sometime after immigrating to the United States from St. Petersburg, Russia in the early 1890s. George Gershwin was the second of four children.  He first displayed interest in music at the age of ten, when he was intrigued by what he heard at his friend Maxie Rosenzweig's violin recital. The sound and the way his friend played captured him. His parents had bought a piano for lessons for his older brother Ira, but it was George who played it.  Gershwin tried various piano teachers for two years, and then was introduced to Charles Hambitzer by Jack Miller, the pianist in the Beethoven Symphony Orchestra. Until Hambitzer's death in 1918, he acted as Gershwin's mentor. Hambitzer taught Gershwin conventional piano technique, introduced him to music of the European classical tradition, and encouraged him to attend orchestra concerts. 
At the age of fifteen, George quit school and found his first job as a performer. 

In 1924, George and Ira collaborated on a musical comedy Lady Be Good, which included such future standards as "Fascinating Rhythm" and "Lady Be Good". 
Also in 1924, Gershwin composed his first major classical work, Rhapsody in Blue for orchestra and piano. Rhapsody in Blue is a musical composition by George Gershwin for solo piano and jazz band , which combines elements of  Classical Music with Jazz-influenced effects. The piece received its premiere in a concert entitled An Experiment in Modern Music. Two audio recordings exist of Gershwin performing an abridged version of the work with Whiteman's orchestra: An acoustic recording made June 10, 1924, this recording includes the original clarinetist, Ross Gorman, playing the glissando . And an electrical recording made April 21, 1927.

Gershwin stayed in Paris for a short period, where he applied to study composition with Nadia Boulanger. Finally, growing tired of the Parisian musical scene, Gershwin returned to the United States.
His most ambitious composition was Porgy and Bess (1935). Gershwin called it a "folk opera," and it is now widely regarded as the most important American opera of the twentieth century.

"Summertime" is the name of an aria composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The lyrics are by DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin. The song soon became a popular Jazz standard. Gershwin began composing the song in December 1933, attempting to create his own spiritual in the style of the African American folk music of the period. It is sung multiple times throughout Porgy and Bess, first by Clara in Act I as a lullaby.

And the livin’ is easy 
Fish are jumpin’ 
And the cotton is high 
Oh your daddy’s rich 
And your mamma is good lookin’ 
So hush little baby 
Don’t you cry 
One of these mornings 
You’re goin’ to rise up singin' 
Then you’ll spread your wings 
And you’ll take the sky 
But till' that mornin' 
There’s a nothin’ can harm you 
With daddy and mammy 
Standin’ by

Listen and Watch in a Film version of Porgy and Bess http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tElL6kWwmv4&feature=related
Now, listen to the powerful Billie Holiday versionhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4PSju9HYwU&feature=related

26 May, 2009


If I were a swan, I'd be gone.
If I were a train, I'd be late.
And if I were a good man, I'd talk with you more often than I do.
If I were to sleep, I could dream.
If I were afraid, I could hide.
If I go insane, please don't put your wires in my brain.

If I were the moon, I'd be cool.
If I were a book, I would bend.
If I were a good man, I'd understand the spaces between friends.

If I were alone, I would cry.
And if I were with you, I'd be home and dry.
And if I go insane, will you still let me join in with the game?

If I were a swan, I'd be gone.
If I were a train, I'd be late again.
If I were a good man, I'd talk to you more often than I do.

Pink Floyd


by David Garcés Gracia and Laura Piedrafita

On a wonderful spring morning, we went to Guara on a school trip.

At first, it was cloudy but sunny. We were lucky: it didn´t rain at all!
In fact, it was hot!
As soon as we arrived, we had lunch in the park and went to the toilet.

Next, we saw a film about the Sierra, and listened to explanations about the Nature, the special flowers, the animals…but also about the geology in that area.
We also took notes because we have to do a Science Memorandum.

Afterwards, we travelled to Alquezar by bus and then we started the excursion. It was getting hotter, we sat under a tree (Olea europea), and saw some insects, flowers, vultures and small birds, too (swifts and swallows).

Then, we went down the ravine and saw the beautiful crystal clear river, running between two enormous colourful walls showing the geological strata (lime-stone and conglomerate rocks).
We even got into the amazing pale green water: it was warm.

Last of all, we climbed back the steep way with the special flowers in bloom (Ramonda myconi) to the beautiful quiet village where we had lunch again in the square, near the fountain.

Finally, we all got on the bus and returned home, happy, tired and always noisy!!!

24 May, 2009

Kevin Ayers, May I?

I just came in off the street
Looking for somewhere to eat
I find a small cafe
I see a girl and then, I say:

'May I, sit and stare at you for a while?
I'd like the company of your smile'

You don't have to say a thing
You're the song without the sing
The sunlight in your hair
You look so good just sitting there

'May I sit and stare at you for a while?
I'd like the company of your smile' 

Summer is about to arrive in Great Missenden.

 At this time of year, wrote Roald Dahl, nature starts to come alive again:

“In May the hawthorn blossoms make the hedges look as though they are covered in snow and the buttercups are beginning to appear in the fields… Swallows and house martins are building their crazy mud nests all over the place… We have a pair of swallows that have built their nest in exactly the same place on a wooden beam in the tool shed for the past six years, and it is amazing to me how they fly off thousands of miles to North Africa in the autumn with their young and then six months later they find their way back to the same tool shed at Gipsy House, Great Missenden… It’s a miracle and the brainiest ornithologists in the world still cannot explain how they do it.”

Seems our feathered-friends are smarter than you thought.

10 April, 2009

Going Out

I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

Second Nature
When I was seventeen in 1959, the lake was as wild a place as I knew. My friend Jeremy Hooker and I would arrive there at around four a.m. in early summer, ditch our bikes in the tangle of rhododendrons, and pick out the narrow path by torchlight as we tiptoed, in existentialist duffel coats, through the brush. Still a long way from the water, we moved like burglars, since we attributed to the carp extraordinary sagacity and guile, along with an extreme aversion to human trespassers on its habitat. Crouched on our knees, speaking in whispers, we assembled our split-cane rods. In the windless dark, the lake’s dim ebony sheen was at once sinister and promising. Somewhere out there, deep down, lay Leviathan, or at least his shy but powerful cyprinid cousin.
Jonathan Raban

Ghost Species
The spectres of the Norfolk Fens
On a cold morning last January, I travelled out to the Norfolk Fens to see a ghost. First, I caught a train twenty miles north from Cambridge to Littleport, a market town on the Cambridge–Norfolk border. At Littleport I was met by a friend called Justin Partyka, and Justin drove me in his little white baker’s van up into the Fens proper.
Robert Macfarlane

We face south-west towards the Isles of Scilly. To our left is a coastal hill, Carn Gloose. On our right is Cape Cornwall and beyond, exactly a mile offshore, I’m told, is a series of rocky outcrops known as the Brisons. In Priest’s Cove we hop from boulder to boulder towards a series of larger, weed-mottled granite monoliths. They stand closer to the tide edge and offer us a perfect view of the incoming tide.
Mark Cocker

Butterflies on a Wheel
Migrants meet in western Wyoming
B etween 1995 and 2005, because of graduate school, jobs, wanderlust and love, I moved across America sixteen times. Always by car, always in spring or fall. The drive I made most often was a 2,000-mile stretch between Idaho and Ohio, in either direction, sometimes alone, sometimes with my dog, once with a goldfish named Fran riding shotgun in a one-gallon water jug. Eastward, westward, I travelled the great unspooling latticework of American interstates – sun-baked juniper flats of southern Idaho, incandescent canyons of Utah, rambling prairies of Nebraska, the deep, heavy damp of Iowa in August.
Anthony Doerr
Granta 102 Essays

12 March, 2009

The Sierra

What wonders lie in every mountain day!. . . Crystals of snow, splash of small raindrops, hum of small insects, booming beetles, the jolly rattle of grasshoppers, chirping crickets, the screaming of hawks, jays, and Clark crows, the ‘coo-r-r-r’ of cranes, the honking of geese, partridges drumming, trumpeting swans, frogs croaking, the whirring rattle of snakes, the awful enthusiasm of booming falls, the roar of cataracts, the crash and roll of thunder, earthquake shocks, the whisper of rills soothing to slumber, the piping of marmots, the bark of squirrels, the laugh of a wolf, the snorting of deer, the explosive roaring of bears, the squeak of mice, the cry of the loon-loneliest, wildest of sounds. . . .
Mountain Thoughts, John Muir.

Only the unimaginative can fail to feel the enchantment of these mountains.


We, Jah people, can make it work;
Come together and make it work, yeah!
We can make it work;
We can make it work.

Five days to go: working for the next day;
Four days to go: working for the next day;
Say we got: three days to go now:
working for the next day;
Two days to go (ooh): working
for the next day, yeah.
Say we got: one day to go: working for the -
Every day is work - work - work - work!

We can make it work;
We can make it work.

[Short guitar break]

We, Jah people, can make it work;
Come together and make it work.
We can make it work;
We can make it work.

We got: five days to go work, oh! -
working for the next day, eh!
Four days to go: working for the -
Three days to go now: working
for the next day, yeah!
Two days to go: working for the next day
Say we got: one day to go now: working for -
Every day is work, wotcha-wa!

(Work!) I work in the mid-day sun;
(Work!) I work till the evening come!
(Work!) If ya ain't got nothing to do!
(Work!) Ooh-ooh-ooh-oo-oo-ooh!

22 February, 2009

The terrible lesson of the bee orchid

We must fight to protect not only biodiversity, but bioluxuriance

Richard Mabey

At a stroke, the bee orchids have gone from our lane. Two summers of tropical grass growth have brought the verge-cutters out early, before the orchids flower and seed, and we won't any longer be able to see those fabulous, chimerical blooms, with their velvet bodies and sculpted pink wings, just an amble from the front door. It's a man-made demise, but not the end of the world. There are bee orchids a mile away in the opposite direction, round a patch of dry wasteground used for bike scrambles. They teem in countless millions around the Mediterranean. I've seen them sometimes with extraordinary opportunist impertinence poking up on people's lawns.

Yet the neighbourliness of our local patch is something that can't be replaced. For me, settling down in a new habitat in Norfolk, they completed a circle opened up one June day half a lifetime ago, when I saw my first on a picnic in the Chilterns, and knew that I had gone through some subtle graduation in the rites of botany. And, in a less dramatic way, their passing seems like a stitch dropped, part of a great unravelling.

It is these subtle processes of attrition, cultural and ecological, that are highlighted in the new British Red Data Book of plants. In May this revealed the shocking statistic that 340-odd species - 20% of our flora - are in danger of becoming nationally extinct. Note the qualification. These are not species about to vanish from the face of the earth. Many vulnerable plants of open habitats are at the edges of their range in our inclement island climate, and are abundant on the continent. The arable weeds, such as corn buttercup, that figure prominently in the list aren't even true natives but ancient, accidental introductions from southern Europe that are doing very well in their home countries. The species chosen as the symbol of the report - the beautiful blue field gentian - is prolific in Scandinavia.

This botanical Domesday Book is less about true extinction than impoverishment: the closing down of personal experiences, the vanishing of living landmarks that help define places and communities, the eclipse of the fundamental elements of those intricate, mutually dependent networks of animal and plant that make up ecosystems. It suggests that alongside the sometimes crude index of biodiversity, we need another: bioluxuriance, a measure of the spread of organisms, of their living where they belong, not herded into biological ghettoes and token nature reserves.

Yet if we're beginning to acknowledge and document this creeping erosion of the living systems we inhabit, why aren't we more bothered? Why isn't local extinction - the first, inexorable step towards a more comprehensive termination, after all - a source of horror, of self-interested panic, of public response? Perhaps, ironically, the acceptance of the process of evolution has credited it with almost supernatural regenerative power: the great engine of life will cope, somehow. Or perhaps we believe we will eventually be able to do the job ourselves, putting back into the wild species we've nurtured in captivity, even recreating vanished plants from strips of DNA.

Extinction is a fact of life, and doesn't have the power to shock any more. Stephen Jay Gould's extraordinary book, Wonderful Life, put paid to any lingering beliefs in the sanctity of species, or the inexorable "upward" progress of evolution. Five hundred million years ago there was an explosion of biological creativity that generated a variety of life far surpassing that existing on the earth today. All of it has vanished, been discarded, without a single human lifting a destructive finger.

Knowledge makes extinction a moral problem as well as a material one. Can we accept being conscious witnesses - or worse, accomplices - in the erasure of the unique outcomes of hundreds of millions of years of natural trial and error? And do we think we know enough to draw ethical lines, decide population sizes, judge which species are of most importance - not for us, but for the biosphere?

In the 1930s Walter Benjamin described the changed status that technological intervention gave to works of art. His celebrated essay could well be retitled Nature in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: "Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be." Authenticity in the natural world isn't only about humans' aesthetic experiences; it is about the actual existence of living organisms.

So many of the arguments about extinction are couched in human-centred terms. The arable weed will tomorrow be the staple crop. The wild orchid has an aura that the garden specimen lacks. Forgetting their hubris for a moment, these only work for a few species. At the end of the line, the one solid argument for the preservation of species is an a priori ethical one: they are important in their own right, simply because they exist, as part of the unfathomable intricacy of life. So, of course, are we, and if we can enjoy our common inheritance and good fortune - celebrate the inexplicable, extravagant mimicry of the self-pollinating bee orchid - then so much the better.

Richard Mabey's books include Flora Britannica and Nature Cure


It was at the height of this drenching in the summer of 1996 that the notion of a long swim through Britain began to form itself. I wanted to follow the rain on its meanderings about our land to rejoin the sea, to break out of the frustration of a lifetime doing lengths, of endlessly turning back on myself like a tiger pacing its cage. I began to dream of secret swimming holes and a journey of discovery through what William Morris, in the title to one of his romances, called The Water of the Wondrous Isles. My inspiration was John Cheever's classic short story 'The Swimmer', in which the hero, Ned Merrill, decides to swim the eight miles home from a party on Long Island via a series of his neighbours' swimming pools. One sentence in the story stood out and worked on my imagination: 'He seemed to see, with a cartographer's eye, that string of swimming pools, that quasi-subterranean stream that curved across the county.'

When you swim, you feel your body for what it mostly is - water - and it begins to move with the water around it. No wonder we feel such sympathy for beached whales; we are beached at birth ourselves. To swim is to experience how it was before you were born. Once in the water, you are immersed in an intensely private world as you were in the womb. These amniotic waters are both utterly safe and yet terrifying, for at birth anything could go wrong, and you are assailed by all kinds of unknown forces over which you have no control. This may account for the anxieties every swimmer experiences from time to time in deep water. A swallow dive off the high board into the void is an image that brings together all the contradictions of birth. The swimmer experiences the terror and the bliss of being born.

Natural water has always held the magical power to cure. Somehow or other, it transmits its own self-regenerating powers to the swimmer. I can dive in with a long face and what feels like a terminal case of depression, and come out a whistling idiot. There is a feeling of absolute freedom and wildness that comes with the sheer liberation of nakedness as well as weightlessness in natural water, and it leads to a deep bond with the bathing-place.

I am no champion, just a competent swimmer with a fair amount of stamina. Part of my intention in setting out on the journey was not to perform any spectacular feats, but to try and learn something of the mystery D. H. Lawrence noticed in his poem 'The Third Thing':

Water is H2O, hydrogen two parts, oxygen one,

But there is also a third thing, that makes it water

And nobody knows what that is.

O Altitudo!

An Interview with Robert Macfarlane

Brian Dillon

On 2 August 1802, Samuel Taylor Coleridge - who was already in the habit of scaling mountains and, instead of descending by the safest available route, making his way back down by the first, often perilous, pathway that presented itself—ascended Scafell, England´s second-highest mountain, in the Lake District. This time, on the way down, he got stuck, and found himself facing a twelve-foot drop to a ledge so narrow that "...if I dropt down upon it I must of necessity have fallen backwards and of course killed myself".
Coleridge survived, and in the account he later gave of the escapade, rehearsed some key terms from a mountainous aesthetic that has flourished for at least two centuries: the experience, he said, was one of prophecy, trance, delight, shame,
pain, dreaming, madness, and laughter.
Robert Macfarlane is a fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he teaches English literature. He has recently published Original Copy: Plagiarism and Originality in Nineteenth-Century Literature (2007) and The Wild Places (2007), a tour and study of the wildernesses of Britain and Ireland. Macfarlane´s first book, Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination (2003), essays a historical and personal description of the mixed aesthetic, moral, and scientific modes of mountain appreciation: from the crossing of the Simplon Pass by Thomas Burnet in 1672 to the disastrous attempt on Everest by George Mallory in 1924.

10 December, 2008

John Robert Cozens (1752 - December 14, 1797), was an English draftsman and painter of romantic watercolor landscapes.

The son of the Russian-born drawing master and watercolorist, Alexander Cozens, John Robert Cozens was born in London. He studied under his father and began to exhibit some early drawings with the Society of Artists in 1767. In 1776, he displayed a large oil painting at the Royal Academy in London. 1776-79 he spent some time in Switzerland and Italy, where he drew Alpine and Italian views. In 1779 he went back to London. In 1782, he made his second visit to Italy, spending much time at Naples. In 1783, he returned to England. In 1789, he published a set of Delineations of the General Character ... of Forest Trees. Three years previous to his death he became a lunatic and was supported by Dr. Thomas Monro. He died in London.

Cozens executed watercolors in curious atmospherical effects and illusions which had some influence on Thomas Girtin and J.M.W. Turner. Indeed, his work is full of poetry. There is a solemn grandeur in his Alpine views and a sense of vastness, a tender tranquillity and a kind of mystery in most of his paintings, leaving parts in his pictures for the imagination of the spectator to dwell on and search into. John Constable called him "the greatest genius that ever touched landscape." On the other hand, Cozens never departed from his primitive, almost rudimentary, manner of painting, which causes several of his works to look very like colored engravings.

See also English school of painting

All the beautiful birds flew away

back to Africa warm nests, whereas the solitary Robin has nowhere to go.
She stays and he stays and they never meet because the rule for the ones in their species
is to stay put and alone.
It´s autumn, looks like winter, miss all the colourful birds of spring
but in the pale misty days the red chest brings some hapinness,
his song big joy.
The Cow

The friendly cow all red and white,
I love with all my heart:
She gives me cream with all her might,
To eat with apple tart.

She wanders lowing here and there,
And yet she cannot stray,
All in the pleasant open air,
The pleasant light of day;

And blown by all the wind that pass
And wet with all the showers,
She walks among the meadow´grass
And eats the meadow flowers.

by Robert Louis Stevenson

05 November, 2008

Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen

Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

11 March, 2008

Three Little Birds

Dont worry about a thing, ´cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singing: dont worry about a thing, ´cause every little thing gonna be all right!

Rise up this morning,
Smiled with the rising sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singing sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Saying, (this is my message to you-ou-ou:)

Singing: dont worry bout a thing, ´cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singing: dont worry (dont worry) ´bout a thing, cause every little thing gonna be all right!


There is a town in north Ontario,
With dream comfort memory to spare,
And in my mind I still need a place to go,
All my changes were there.

Blue, blue windows behind the stars,
Yellow moon on the rise,
Big birds flying across the sky,
Throwing shadows on our eyes.
Leave us
Helpless, helpless, helpless
Baby can you hear me now?
The chains are locked and tied across the door,
Baby, sing with me somehow.

Blue, blue windows behind the stars,
Yellow moon on the rise,
Big birds flying across the sky,
Throwing shadows on our eyes.
Leave us
Helpless, helpless, helpless.

Francis Bacon

The contemplation of things as they are,
Without error or confusion,
Without substitution or imposture,
Is in itself a nobler thing
Than a whole harvest of invention.

John Donne

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a
promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend or of thine own were.
Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for thee.

John Lilly by Laurie Anderson

Now in this book there are a lot of stories about talking animals: talking snakes, and birds, and fish; and about people who try to communicate with them.
John Lilly, the guy who says he can talk to dolphins, said he was in an aquarium and he was talking to a big whale who was swimming around and around in his tank. And the whale kept asking him questions telepathically.
And one of the questions the whale kept asking was: "Do all oceans have walls?"

19 February, 2008

They Are Not Long

Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam.
Horace , Odas 1.4

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter.
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

Ernest Dowson, 1896

17 February, 2008


I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander ...
Byron, 'Darkness'

In 1815, on the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia, a handsome and long quiescent mountain named Tambora exploded spectacularly, killing a hundred thousand people with its blast and associated tsunamis. No-one living now has ever seen such fury. Tambora was far bigger than anything any living human has experienced. It was the biggest volcanic explosion in ten thousand years - 150 times the size of Mount St Helens, equivalent to sixty thousand Hiroshima ­sized atom bombs.

News didn't travel terribly fast in those days.
In London, The Times ran a small story - actually a letter from a merchant - seven months after the event. But by this time Tambora's effects were already being felt.
Two hundred and forty cubic kilometres of smoky ash, dust and grit had diffused through the atmosphere, obscuring the Sun's rays and causing the Earth to coo1. Sunsets were unusually but blearily colourful, an effect memorably captured by the artist J.M.W. Turner who could not have been happier, but mostly the world existed under an oppressive, dusky pall. It was this deathly dimness that inspired Byron to write the lines quoted above.

Spring never came and summer never warmed: 1816 became known as the year without summer. Crops everywhere failed to grow… Yet globally the temperature fell by less than 1 degree Celsius. The Earth´s natural thermostat is an exceedingly delicate instrument.

Bill Bryson
from A Short History of Nearly Everything


was the little Pacific island of Mas-a-tierra in the Juan Fernandez group off the coast of Chile.
It was uninhabited, well wooded and mountainous, a useful point of call for a buccaneer to fill his water casks, cut wood for the gallery fire, and refresh his crew ashore without being seen.
In 1703, one of William Dampier's ships called at the island. Her quarter­master, a twenty-eight-year old Scot named Alexander Selkirk, quarrelled with his captain and asked to be left behind when the ship sailed.
No doubt he expected another ship to call soon, but in fact it was over four years before he was rescued, by Captain WoodesRogers. Rogers found 'a man clothed in goatskins who looked wilder than their first owners. He had so much forgot his language from want of use that we could scarce understand him.'
He had built him­ two huts; one he used as a kitchen, in the other he read and sang psalms. He had lived mainly on goats, cray-fish and fruit. He had tamed hundreds of cats to sleep round him at night and keep the rats from gnawing his feet. Here was Defoe's Crusoe in the making.
When accounts of the voyages were published in London, the story of Selkirk made a sensation. Journalists made much of it, one of the most popular of them, Richard Steele, giving up to it a special number of his periodical the Englishman. But it was left to Daniel Defoe to give Selkirk his pseudonymous immortality.

Recibimos a Andersen y a la infancia.

En el bicentenario del nacimiento del cuentista da­nés, Gustavo Martín Garzo nos explica por qué la vida sin amor carece de sentido.

Augusto Monterroso dijo que la literatura aspiraba a representar la totalidad de la vida, y puesto que la vida era triste también la literatura, la gran literatura, lo tenía que ser.
Pero hay obras que son tristes a su pesar, porque lo que cuentan lo es y no quieren renunciar a reflejado, y hay obras que lo son por vocación, ya que parecen haber surgido para enfrentarse a ese enigma, el de la tristeza.
La obra de Andersen pertenece a ese segundo grupo, y la razón de su éxito arrollador, de su indiscutible poder de seducción, me atrevo a pensar que se debe precisamen­te a eso. En realidad, todos los personajes de Andersen buscan denodada­mente el amor y no logran encontrarlo. Ésa es la enseñanza de sus cuentos: que la vida sólo merece la pena si hay amor, y que éste no con­siste en pedir sino en dar. Por eso ni a la princesa de Los cisnes salvajes ni a la protagonista de La sirenita les importa su sufrimiento. La princesa tendrá que tejer camisas de ortigas con sus propias manos para salvar a sus hermanos; y a la sirenita el simple hecho de andar le causará un dolor tan insoportable que apenas podrá mantenerse en pie. Pero esto no es bastante, ya que mientras llevan a cabo su misión, ninguna de ellas podrá hablar. Es decir, que tienen que abstenerse de pedir.
A algo así es a lo que se refiere Simone Weil cuando, al analizar el cuento de los cisnes, escribe: “Actuar nunca es difícil: siempre estamos actuando en exceso y dispersándonos incesantemente en actos desordenados. Hacer seis ca­misas de ortigas y estar callados: ese es nuestro único medio de adquirir un poder”
Eso es la tristeza en los cuentos de Andersen, una forma de conseguir poder.
W. Faulkner, en una de sus novelas, hizo decir a uno de sus personajes: «Entre la nada y la pena elijo la pena». Y eso hacen todos los grandes personajes de Andersen: entregarse a la pena como si fuera la más dulce y extraña de las aventuras.

Gustavo Martín Garzo

John Steinbeck, Viajes con Charley

Las secoyas, una vez vistas, dejan una impresión o crean una visión que permanece con uno siempre.
Nadie ha conseguido nunca pintar o fotografiar con éxito una de ellas.
La sensación que producen es intransferible. Llega de ellas silencio y sobrecogimento. No es sólo su talla increíble, ni el color que parece cambiar y modificarse ante tus propios ojos, no, no son como ningún otro árbol que yo conozca, son embajadores de otra época.
Tienen el misterio ­de los helechos que desaparecieron hace un millón de años convirtiéndose en el carbón de la era carbonífera. Poseen una luz y una sombra propias.
Hasta los hombres más vanos y más despreocupados e irreverentes se sienten dominados por un asombro, un respeto mágicos ante la presencia de las secoyas. Respeto ... ésa es la palabra. Siente uno la necesidad ­de inclinarse ante unos soberanos indiscutibles.
Conozco a estos grandes desde mi más tierna infancia, he vivido entre ellos, he acampado y dormido junto ­a sus cálidos y monstruosos cuerpos, y pese a la estrecha relación que he tenido con ellos no he sido capaz de llegar a menospreciarlos nunca.
Y se trata de un sentimiento que no es exclusivamente mío ni mucho menos.

14 February, 2008

Missing My Son, Tom Waits

I was in a line at the supermarket the other day, and uhm... y'know, I had all my things on the little conveyor belt there. And uh... there's a gal in front of me that is uh.. well, she's staring at me and I'm getting a little nervous and uh, she continues to stare at me. And I uh, I keep looking the other way. And then, finally she comes over closer to me and she says: "I apologise for staring, that must have been annoying. I, I... You look so much like my son, who died. I just can't take my eyes off you." And she precedes to go into her purse and she pulls out a photograph of her son who'd died. And uh, he looks absolutely nothing like me. In fact he's... Chinese. Uh... anyway, we chatted a little bit. And uh, she says: "I'm sorry, I have to ask you. Would you mind, as I leave the supermarket here, would you mind saying "Goodbye mom" to me? I, I know it's a strange request but I haven't heard my son saying "Goodbye mom" to me, and "So long" and it would mean so much to me to hear it. And uh, if you don't mind I... " And I said: "Well, you know, okay, yeah, sure. Eh.. uh... I can say that." And, and so, she uh gets her groceries all checked out. And uh, as she's going out the door she waves at me and she hollers across the store: "Goodbye son!" And I look up and I wave and I say: "Goodbye mom!" And then she goes, and uh... So I get my few things there, on the conveyor belt and the checker checks out my things. And uh, and he gives me the total and he says: "That'll be four hundred and seventy nine dollars." Uh... and I said: "Well, how is that possible! I've only got a little tuna fish, and uh some skimmed milk, and uh mustard and a loaf of bread..." He goes: "Well, well you're also paying for the groceries for your mother. She uh, told me you'd take care of the bill for her." And I said: "Well, wait a minute! That's not my mother!" And he says: "Well I distinctly heard her say as she left the store "Bye son!" and you said "Bye mom!" and so what are you trying to say here, uh..." I said: "Well, JESUS!" And I looked out into the parking lot and she was just getting into her car. And I ran out there. And she was just closing the door, and she had a little bit of her leg sticking out of the door and she was pulling away and I grabbed her leg and I started PULLING it! Just the way... I'm pulling yours...

Pegaojos , Hans Christian Andersen

Al anochecer, cuando los niños están aún sentados a la mesa o en su escabel, viene un duende llamado Pegaojos; sube la escalera quedito, quedito, pues va descalzo, sólo en calcetines; abre las puertas sin hacer ruido y, ¡chitón!, vierte en los ojos de los pequeñuelos leche dulce, con cuidado, con cuidado, pero siempre bastante para que no puedan tener los ojos abiertos y, por tanto, verlo.
Se desliza por detrás, les sopla levemente en la nuca y los hace quedar dormidos.
Pero no les duele, pues Pegaojos es amigo de los niños; sólo quiere que se estén quietecitos, y para ello lo mejor es aguardar a que estén acostados.
Deben estarse quietos y callados, para que él pueda contarles sus cuentos.
Cuando ya los niños están dormidos, Pegaojos se sienta en la cama.
Va bien vestido; lleva un traje de seda, pero es imposible decir de qué color, pues tiene destellos verdes, rojos y azules, según como se vuelva.
Y lleva dos paraguas, uno debajo de cada brazo.
Uno de estos paraguas está bordado con bellas imágenes, y lo abre sobre los niños buenos; entonces ellos durante toda la noche sueñan los cuentos más deliciosos; el otro no tiene estampas, y lo despliega sobre los niños traviesos, los cuales se duermen como marmotas y por la mañana se despiertan sin haber tenido ningún sueño.


If you were to give me the pleasure of showing you Yosemite Valley for the first time,
I know just how I would want to do it. I would take you by night from the San Joaquin Valley up through the forested mountains and out to the Valley's rim, so that when sunrise carne you would be standing on Glacier Point. Up before dawn, you would lean against the railing, trying to see down into the shadows for the first sight of something whose descriptions you never quite believed.
Perhaps a shining morning star would be burning in steel-blue space over the notched rnystery of the horizon. Even by its light you could make out the great looming hulk of Half Dome, nearly 2.000 feet above our eyrie. I can well imagine your reactions with the coming of the first bit of sun­light. The constant thunder of the falls leads your eye to find their whiteness as the deep cut canyons are first illuminated.
Bit by bit, the obscuring darkness melts away, sculptured gray walls emerge, and the form and incredible depth of the canyons becomes apparent. You can begin to see where the heavy, scouring glaciers came grinding down the tributary canyons, to meet in a giant Y and gouge out the deep, straight-walled valley which lies more than 3,000 feet below our vantage point.
You suddenly become aware of a growing chorus of chirps and squeaks and scufflings as birds and squirrels begin to stir in the nearby trees. And soon afterward you see the first kindling of light on the summit crags of Mount Hoffinan, far to the north across the canyon. Gradually the golden light reaches farther down the slopes, moving slowly over cliff and forest, firing every rack and tree into green-golden flame.
Soon the shadows in which we stand will be swept away as the sun bursts upon us with an atomic blaze over the helmet curve of Half Dome.
Ansel Adams
From "Yosemite," Travel and Camera , October 1946

11 February, 2008

Bobby McFerrin´s Don't Worry, Be Happy

YouTube - Bobby Mcferrin - Don't Worry, Be Happy

Here is a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don't worry be happy
In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double Don't worry, be happy......
Ain't got no place to lay your head
Somebody came and took your bed Don't worry, be happy
The land lord say your rent is late
He may have to litigate Don't worry, be happy
Look at me I am happy Don't worry, be happy
Here I give you my phone number When you worry call me I make you happy
Don't worry, be happy
Ain't got no cash, ain't got no style
Ain't got not girl to make you smile
But don't worry be happy
Cause when you worry Your face will frown
And that will bring everybody down So don't worry, be happy (now).....

There is this little song I wrote
I hope you learn it note for note
Like good little children
Don't worry, be happy
Listen to what I say
In your life expect some trouble
But when you worry You make it double
Don't worry, be happy...... Don't worry don't do it, be happy
Put a smile on your face
Don't bring everybody down like this
Don't worry, it will soon past
Whatever it is Don't worry, be happy.

07 February, 2008

Ben Harper

With My Own Two Hands
I can change the world
With my own two hands
Make a better place
With my own two hands
Make a kinder place
With my own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands
I can make peace on earth
With my own two hands
I can clean up the earth
With my own two hands
I can reach out to you
With my own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands
I´m gonna make it a brighter place
I´m gonna make it a safer place
I´m gonna help the human race
With my own
With my own two hands
I can hold you
With my own two hands
I can comfort you
With my own two hands
But you got to use
Use your own two hands
Use your own
Use your own two hands
With our own
With our own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands

My Favourite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with string
These are a few of my favorite things.
Cream coloured ponies and crisp apple strudel
Door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things.
Girls in white dresses and blue satin sashes
Snow-flakes that stay on my nose and eye-lashes
Silver white winters that melt into spring
These are a few of my favorite things,
When the dog bites, When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad.


Shiny happy people
Shiny happy people laughing
Meet me in the crowd
People people
Throw your love around
Love me love me
Take it into town
Happy happy
Put it in the ground
Where the flowers grow
Gold and silver shine

Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people laughing

Everyone around love them, love them
Put it in your hands
Take it take it
There's no time to cry
Happy happy
Put it in your heart
Where tomorrow shines
Gold and silver shine