Thursday, 9 August 2012

We are as happy as we choose to be!

 What is happiness? We all have asked ourselves this question at least once in our lives. Mostly we like to contemplate and philosophize about happiness and how to find it. Happiness is different for everyone. For some to be happy is to have a lot of money and to live in a luxurious house somewhere in a heavenly beautiful place. Others find happiness in their job which they adore. Many people are happy to spend time with their nearest and dearest and make their lives brighter. We are all different.  But what is common for all of us is that we all can be happy, if we choose to be. 

It dawned upon me recently how much we miss in our lives. We all rush through life forgetting to pay attention to important things. We all go to work, spend the usual office hours there (or even more), hurry home to take care of our families, go back to work and basically that is it. Some lucky ones find time for hobbies, others don’t. I have always been amazed how my American friends from Oregon treat their lives. They are grateful for every single day they spend on this planet, for every minor thing. 

I woke up early one of these days and noticed how beautiful is the beginning of  the day. I felt an itch to go outside and to enjoy it. I did not fight the impulse and went outside. It was peaceful and silent. Not many people around, no fuss. The sun was rising, lighting the tops of the trees. The air was crisp and fresh even though later during the day it will be scorching hot. I went to the small pond there is nearby and observed the little ducks playing in the water. It was a beautiful morning! I usually am not outside at such an hour- I am either going to work, or sleeping or taking care of household chores. It was a rare moment for me to enjoy. Then I remembered a wonderful poem we learned at school and the whole meaning of it opened to me anew.

W. H. Davies
WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

I realized how important it is in our busy lives to take a moment in time, to pause and forget about our everyday fuss and just enjoy – the gorgeous nature and amazing landscapes, the beautiful music, the heart-warming people around us. Life is worth living J I heard someone said: “Love life and it will love you back”. So let’s be happy, I know we can. 

Many people subconsciously or not, with or without admitting it still want to live as long as they can for the chance to realize their dreams and to follow their ambitious plans or just to live and enjoy. So here are some rules to help us realize our secret wishes. Give it a read and I hope you will have a laugh because smiling and laughing make out life happier J But as you know I always want you to learn something from every extract I present here. This time I would like you to use the comparative and superlative expressions given below to complete this humorous article.

a-g  by far the lowest      compared with        even worse      little safer        
 a lot more                much better                      world’s highest

h-n  10%  longer      as famous as       half as many         a little more     
  one of the best          significantly happier       twice as likely 

How to live forever: 8 golden rules
Rule 1 Don’t live in Iceland. With long dark winters, sub-zero temperatures and active volcanoes, it has the (a)____________ suicide rate. Move to Palm Beach, Florida, where you have a (b)______________ chance of living to be over a 100 – like the rest of the residents.
Rule 2 Don’t go to Johannesburg. It is the murder capital of the world. Statistically, it is (c)_____________  dangerous than Sao Paolo or New York. Milan’s  a (d)_____________  but try not to breathe. The pollution’s (e) _______ than in Mexico City.
Rule 3 Don’t get sick in Equatorial Guinea. There’s only one doctor to every 70,000 patients and no anaesthetic. If you have to be ill, be ill in Kuwait. It has (f) )____________ death rate in the world. Only 3.1 people per thousand dies annually, (g) ______________ 11.2 in Britain.
Rule 4   If you’re a man, think of becoming a woman. On average, women live (h)___________ than men. If you are a woman, stay single. Crime figures show women are (i)____________  by their partners than anyone else.
Rule 5 Smoke one cigarette a day. It won’t do you much harm and, according to some doctors, it’s (j)______________ ways of avoiding senility (слабоумие) in old age.
Rule 6 Drink red wine – in moderation. (k) ___________ red wine drinkers suffer from heart attack conditions as white wine and beer drinkers. Drinking all three is not an option!
Rule 7 Become a “chocoholic. Chocolate isn’t good for you, but it releases chemicals in the brain that make you (l)_____________ . And it’s a medical fact that happiness prolongs life.
Rule 8 Die young and famous – like Elvis, James Dean and John Lennon. People will keep believing  you are still alive. Even if you can’t be (m) ___________ Marilyn Monroe or Kurt Cobain, you can (n) ____________ careful than they were. No sex, no drugs, no rock’n’roll. You won’t actually live longer. It will just seem like it!

            I hope you enjoyed the article and won’t take it seriously. Let’s live and be happy, learn and get to know something new and amazing. I have a song to share as well J Just listen and enjoy – no tasks. 

 From In Company  Intermediate (second edition) by Mark Powell

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

My PC is my world?

    Several years ago we could not imagine that our everyday life could depend so much on technology. Nowadays we can hardly imagine the usual day without iPods, iPhones, mobile phones, electronic books, laptops, PCs, mp3 players and other gadgets. It’s disputable whether it is a good thing that we can’t survive a day without modern technology. But life is life, it is moving fast bringing about inevitable changes. Computers and laptops are widely used both in offices and in households. People browse the web, listen to music, watch films, chat, play computer games and do other activities using these devices. Technology is an indispensable part of our life now so when it refuses to work at some vital moment, it might seem the end of the world. The song I offer you here is the new technology version of the traditional English song “My Bonnie lies over the ocean”. Complete the song with the verbs on the right. Use the rhyme and rhythm to help you. And then let’s sing it J I hope you enjoy the song :

My Pc is giving me problems
(to the tune of My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, traditional)
My Pc is giving me problems.
 My PC is giving me hell.
It says it’s got Intel inside it.
But it’s Intel inside is not well.
Bring back, bring back, oh bring back the typewriter please, oh please.
Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my typewriter, please.
1.      It __________ on me three times this  morning.                                        Virus
         And wouldn’t connect to the ______________.                                         Net
         It _______________ my trash without warning.                                        Crashed
         It’s some kind of ______________ I bet.                                                    Emptied

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Thank you and You are welcome

Hello dear friends. I have come across an interesting article recently and this post is to comment on it.

All of us know beginning from childhood are taught  that to be polite we should always use Please and Thank You when asking for something and expressing how grateful we are to receive. Please usually does not cause many problems and misunderstandings, it is advisable to use it every time we are asking for something politely. The same can't be said about the usage of Thank You and the answer to it. So a little clarification of it wont hurt anyone I believe.

Thanks is a nice way to show appreciation for what someone has done. In  Malaysian  the meaning of Thank You is  Received with Love. Is there a better meaning than receiving something good with love? So saying Thank You to a person for something good he or she has done  is actually not just an atomatic responce- it is full of meaning.

The author of the article "Whatever happened to "You are welcome" Ben Yagoda suggests us paying more attention to the way we answer to Thank You. In his opinion, the You are welcome answer is very rare nowadays. He offers a number of equivalents that people are using nowadays to answer to Thank You. They  are :
Sure thing/sure, you bet/you betcha, you got it, my pleasure/the pleasure is mine, don’t mention it, not at all, no biggie, no problem/no problema/no probs, of course!, and the all-time favorite of National Public Radio  interviewees, thank YOU!
 The author doubts that the usage of No problem and No worries is appropriate, because when used to answer to Thank You they somehow turn out to be "the ungracious implication that the action inspiring the thanks was even potentially burdensome". The author feels like replying  “Of course it’s not a problem—what gave you the idea it might be?” to such phrases used in this definite case.

Having analized how the expressions mentioned above are used in literature, mass media and speech the author suggests us acting like deity when  being thanked.  And what does the deity say after being thanked? Nothing. One imagines, if anything, a graceful smile, with an implied “That’s why I’m here. Never “Not a problem!”

To finish off the author points out that he is eager to start  the NVYW (Non-Verbal You’re Welcome) movement.He offered  to acknowledge thank yous with a smile and a slight bow, possibly an arms-extended I-am-not-worthy gesture.

So, dear friends, in the light of everything written above I would like you to  think twice before giving an answer to Thank Yous. Remember what the real meaning of the phrase  is (Received with Love) and maybe you will abstain from using No problem or No worries and answer the traditional You are welcome or just give a slight bow with a smile in responce.

Based on "Whataver happened to "You are welcome"" by Ben Yagoda (

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A job interview (Past Simple tense)

Hello  all,
I found an interesting joke in one of the coursebooks I use for teaching English. I would like to share it with you but to make you practice English a little - there is a task. Please, complete the joke using the Past Simple of the verbs in brackets. The first one is done for you.

A businessman (a)  wanted (want) to interview applicants for the position of divisional manager. There (b)___________ (be) several strong candidates, so he (c) _____________ (decide)  to devise a simple test to select the most suitable person for the job. He (d) _________________(ask) each applicant the simple question, "What is two and two?"

The first applicant (e) ____________(be) a journalist. He (f) _____________(light) a cigarette, (g) _________ (think) for  moment and then (h) ______________ (say) "twenty-two".

The second applicant (i) _______________ (have) a degree in engineering. He (j)___________ (take) out his calculator, (k) __________________ (press) a few buttons, and (l) ______________(show) the answer to be between 3.999 and 4.001.

The next applicant (m) _____________(work) as a corporate lawyer. He (n) _______________(state) that two  and two can only be four, and (p) _______________ (prove) it by referring to the well-known case of Gates v Monopolies Commission.

The last applicant (q) ___________________ (turn) out to be an accountant. The businessman again (r) ______________ (put) his question, "What is two and two?"

The accountant (s) _________________(get) up from his chair, (t) ___________ (go) over the door, (u) ______________(close) it, then (v) ______________ (come) back and (w) _______________ (sit) down. Finally, he (x) ___________ (lean) across the desk and (y) ____________ (whisper) in a low voice, "How much do you want it to be?"

From In Company  Intermediate (second edition) by Mark Powell