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.

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.

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.

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.

4-Bean Chili


24 oz Bean Appétit Chili Mix

8 cups water for cooking

1 lb ground beef, turkey or chicken

1 ½ cups onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup green, sweet pepper

4 cups canned tomatoes

1 8-oz can tomato sauce

2 tbsp chili powder or to taste

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp sugar


Sort and rinse bean mix. Soak beans overnight in refrigerator. Or, quick soak by bringing beans to boil in water. Immediately remove from heat and leave covered for 30 minutes prior to use. Drain. Cook beans. Brown ground meat. Sauté onions, garlic, and green pepper. Combine all ingredients. Cover and simmer on low approximately ½ hour. Makes 12 1-cup servings.

The Bean Appétit Chili Mix is a mixture of kidney beans, navy beans, cranberry beans and black beans, packaged by Carlson-Arbogast Farm, in Howard City, Michigan.  I added, as I usually do, 1 tbsp of baking soda to the beans and let them soak in water overnight.  I didn’t brown the ground meat, I used leftover roast chicken instead.

The painting that illustrates this post is by Caroline Magert and its title is Kitchen Floor. Those of us who enjoy the company of cats know how true to life this picture is. I love it.

10.07.07. Advanced, Art Forlorn, Recipes, Vocabulary. Leave a comment.

Missing You Already

Well, not exactly. I’d been so waiting for ages to shake the dust from my feet that when time was nigh to perform the actual deed, I was beguiled into not doing so, which is why I’m publishing this post tonight, lest I forget at eight past three p.m. on 29th June I abandoned  those horrid, horrid, rotten creatures to their fate—and was born anew. Ta-ta! I hope not to see you tomorrow, nor next year, nor in heaven, nor anyfuckingwhere. In a year or so I hope to feel as carefree and blasé as the model on page 68 of Clare Barnes, Jr’s Sleeping Under Blankets below. Just without the black drop.

10.07.07. Diary, Humour. Leave a comment.

Introducing Tim

This is Tim, Tim of the Wistful Eyes, who shares his territory with Harold. They don’t get on too well. Tim is always making mischief and Harold has to bear the brunt. Do as Harold does and just ignore him.

10.07.07. Art Forlorn, Diary. Leave a comment.

Ciudad Real, Wednesday IV.VIII.MMX

Unfair systems, networks and behaviours were, he (Thomas Wakely) and others believed, poisoning all of Great Britain’s institutions.

Wise, S. (MMIV). The Italian Boy.

Does it or does it not ring a deafening bell? The following are two other very true, especially interesting passages from Sarah Wise’s The Italian Boy, winner of the Golden Dagger Award for Non-fiction 2004.

(Joseph Sadler) Thomas felt that he had been humiliated once too often ‘in a neighbourhood where I had been for 20 years with an unpolluted character’; he would, he said, ‘as well have met my death’ than endure the disgrace of suspension. On 22 July 1833 he resigned from the Metropolitan Police, and with his wife and three children moved north, becoming deputy constable of Manchester’s ‘old police’, and being among the first of Manchester’s ‘new’ Borough Police Force, when this Met-style organisation was created in 1839. His salary—600 per annum—was three times his Covent Garden rate of pay.

He did not stay long with the new force, however. His health deteriorated, and for the last two years of his life he was unable to work and was supported by a public subscription—a vote of thanks from many in Manchester who had appreciated his work as a constable. He died in October 1841.

Wise, S. (MMIV). The Italian Boy.

Bravo, Manchester! That’s the way you do it. I’ve always felt this city had a good vibe to it. As for the second (rather long) quotation, I fully agree—for once—with Dickens. Journalists should not make heroes out of criminals. (That goes for you, too, Mr Capote.) Murderers are not role models: there is nothing in their behaviour that is commendable or worthy of being copied.

Furthermore, (Charles) Dickens came to disapprove strongly of newspaper accounts of murderers in the dock, execution scenes, last dying words and official confessions. It is difficult to date with precision this change of heart—the point at which the author of such grand guignol passages as the death of Bill Sikes, the murder of Nancy, and Fagin’s last night alive decided that criminals’ final hours should not be committed to print; but it was certainly felt by 1849. On 17 November of that year Dickens wrote to The Times to explain his disgust at public executions. (He had recently gone to Horsemonger Lane Gaol, Newington, South London, and reported on the dreadful public scenes at the hanging of husband and wife Charles and Maria Manning, condemned to death for killing a former lodger.) ‘I would place every obstacle in the way of his sayings and doings being served up in print on Sunday mornings for the perusal of families,’ wrote Dickens of the executed murderer. Seven years later he expanded on this theme—claiming that the way in which the press reported the final days of murderers made killers appear noteworthy, even admirable—in two articles in his magazine Household Words, ‘The Demeanour of Murderers’ (published 14 June 1856) and ‘The Murdered Person’ (published 11 October 1856).

Wise, S. (MMIV). The Italian Boy.

I wonder what Dickens would have to say about all the violent rubbish we are being served on TV and at the cinema or if he would have gone with the flow and hashed up the script of a videogame for the love of money.

10.07.07. Diary. Leave a comment.

À Table!

"À Table!": A Portrait of Harold, the Cat, by B. A. Pabón

I took this picture of Harold on New Year’s Eve, 2009, while the table was being set for dinner. Well, what did you expect, mein Lieber? The cat behaved as Nature intended.

10.07.07. Art Forlorn, Diary. Leave a comment.

Housing in Berlin


Das ist Berlin, Berlin! A cloze test for EOI NA1/NA2 students.




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

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