Merry Christmas!

Oh, I’m definitely going back to take more pictures of this house on Washington Avenue. A very good friend of mine says that if they, John and Ethelyn Unger, dared do this in Spain, their neighbours would burn the house down. He’s right. I bet they would. Merry Christmas and welcome to America!



10.07.07. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Happy Halloween!

Jack O' Lantern, by B.A. Pabón

Jack O’ Lantern, by B.A. Pabón

All Hallows Night

A poem by Lizette Woodworth Reese (1856 –1935)

Two things I did on Hallows Night:

Made my house April-clear;

Left open wide my door

To the ghosts of the year.

Then one came in. Across the room

It stood up long and fair—

The ghost that was myself—

And gave me stare for stare.

Halloween Costumes

10.07.07. Art Forlorn, Intermediate. Leave a comment.

Refills Require Authorization

Ciprofloxacin in Superrealistic Colour by B. A. Pabón

Ciprofloxacin in Superrealistic Colour, by B. A. Pabón

All right, so let’s say you need to visit a GP, or General Practitioner, for a prescription while in the U.S.A.  The RPH, that is, the Registered Pharmacist, is going to prepare the drug for you, and, if you’re lucky, it will be ready in twenty minutes. Here’s a matching exercise for NB2 students. Enjoy!



10.07.07. Basic, Force-Feeding, Headings. Leave a comment.

Good is Not Best

diamonds_best_friendI have here a headings exercise for NA1 students. You have to read the text and match those paragraphs that are numbered with one of the headings in the box below, as in the example (0). There are three headings you will not need.



10.07.07. Advanced, Force-Feeding, Headings. Leave a comment.

Bay Rum Cologne

bay_leavesWas this what they used as aftershave in westerns? I wonder.

2 ½ ounces crushed bay leaves;

1 ½ teaspoon ground cardamom;

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon;

½ teaspoon ground cloves;

1 pint Jamaican rum.

Add bay leaves and spices to the rum and shake well. Strain and bottle. This cologne will stay true for months if kept at room temperature.

10.07.07. Intermediate, Recipes, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Of Those Bonfires, Only the Ashes Remain

She was a great twentieth-century beauty. What she lacked in acting skills, she made up in personality, which she had in formidable excess. She didn’t have a powerful voice, but she did have a style all her own, which is more than one can say of many, much more talented, singers. Her films weren’t anything special, they were all pretty much the same, but, because she had star quality, they were entertaining and highly watchable. Like Norma Desmond said, ‘They don’t make faces like that anymore.’ Here she is in La Bella Lola (1962), singing Puerta Cerrada. The angels must be having a ball in Heaven tonight.

10.07.07. Diary, Films, Music. Leave a comment.

We All Fall Down


A pocket full of posies;

Ashes! Ashes!

We all fall down.

Shoot! They’re dropping dead so quickly, one after another, those icons of my youth, it’s scary and ever so depressing. In loving memory of Japanese filmmaker Nagisa Oshima, here goes a Cloze for NA2 students.



10.07.07. Advanced, Cloze Tests, Films, Force-Feeding, Vocabulary. Leave a comment.

Old Dogs, New Tricks

a-friend-in-need-cassius-marcellus-coolidgeI know it’s awfully kitsch and lowbrow, but it’s also kind of a classic in a cheesy, tastless way, this painting by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge from the 1900s, very aptly titled A Friend in Need. A Headings exercise for Advanced students.



10.07.07. Advanced, Art Forlorn, Force-Feeding, Headings, Humour. Leave a comment.

Vegan Stuffing

dining_roomLet me see. It’s 1 cup lentils and 4 cups water which you bring to a boil and let simmer for 1 hour. Then it’s 1 cup rice and 1½ cups water in the rice cooker. Goodness gracious! There are so many instructions to remember. Here’s a vegan stuffing which serves 4 from the November issue of Hour Detroit Magazine, which was meant for Thanksgiving, but which could have been done for Christmas, as well, and there’s still Epiphany coming, at least in Spain, right? My favourite holiday ever. Though soon enough no one will be able to afford turkey or have a holiday, for that matter. In Spain or elsewhere.


Olive oil for sautéing

1 cup shitake mushrooms, finely chopped/diced

1 small poblano pepper, finely chopped/diced

1 sweet potato, cut in small cubes (almost diced)

1 onion, finely chopped/diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, finely chopped/diced

6 slices bread with veganically grown grains (no animal-derived fertilizers used)

Water, enough to moisten the bread (about ½ cup)

¼ cup smoked almonds, chopped

Pink Himalayan sea salt

Soy sauce, to taste

Splash of truffle oil

1 handful spicy baby greens mix

Cooking Instructions

Sauté vegetables (except greens) in olive oil. Fold in the bread cubes. Add water. Add nuts, salt, soy, and oil. Fold in greens. Place mixture in a pre-oiled vessel and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for at least 40 minutes. If possible, make stuffing early in the day on the same day as the dinner. Uncover when done and cover again for reheating.

Now, a simple question: is there anything such as ‘vegan turkey,’ a contradiction in itself? I really wonder. A vegan consumes no animal food or dairy products. But then, vegan burgers do exist, which leads me to assume there is such a thing—or should be. The picture, from Clare Barnes, Jr’s Sleeping Under Blankets, and the level is NI1.

10.07.07. Humour, Intermediate, Recipes. Leave a comment.

Domestic Violence

wsickert_camdentownThis cloze test is meant for Intermediate students. I found the original text on my first visit to the Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. What you have here is an adaptation of it. The painting that illustrates this post is The Camden Town Murder, by Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942). If you are interested in seeing more of Sickert’s artwork, I strongly recommend visiting the link at the end of this post.



10.07.07. Art Forlorn, Cloze Tests, Force-Feeding, Intermediate. Leave a comment.

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