Tanya's Posts (77)

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Happy Valentine's Day!

My dear friends! After reading the official EC blog dedicated to this great holiday, I decided to add some more romance. Sure, all the legends about Valentine are just legends. Feeling of love is just a biochemical reaction. But this illusory feeling is so powerful that it makes people create great masterpieces and destroy civilizations. Have you ever thought why the red color symbolizes love? Love and death always come together! So, let's listen to what Valentine could tell us if he were alive.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Valentine. I lived in Rome during the third century. That was long, long ago! At that time, Rome was ruled by an emperor named Claudius. I didn't like Emperor Claudius, and I wasn't the only one! A lot of people shared my feelings.

Claudius wanted to have a big army. He expected men to volunteer to join. Many men just did not want to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and families. As you might have guessed, not many men signed up. This made Claudius furious. So what happened? He had a crazy idea. He thought that if men were not married, they would not mind joining the army. So Claudius decided not to allow any more marriages. Young people thought his new law was cruel. I thought it was preposterous! I certainly wasn't going to support that law!

Did I mention that I was a priest? One of my favourite activities was to marry couples. Even after Emperor Claudius passed his law, I kept on performing marriage ceremonies -- secretly, of course. It was really quite exciting. Imagine a small candlelit room with only the bride and groom and myself. We would whisper the words of the ceremony, listening all the while for the steps of soldiers.

One night, we did hear footsteps. It was scary! Thank goodness the couple I was marrying escaped in time. I was caught. (Not quite as light on my feet as I used to be, I guess.) I was thrown in jail and told that my punishment was death.

I tried to stay cheerful. And do you know what? Wonderful things happened. Many young people came to the jail to visit me. They threw flowers and notes up to my window. They wanted me to know that they, too, believed in love.

One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed her to visit me in the cell. Sometimes we would sit and talk for hours. She helped me keep my spirits up. She agreed that I did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor and going ahead with the secret marriages. On the day I was to die, I left my friend a little note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. I signed it, "Love from your Valentine."

I believe that note started the custom of exchanging love messages on Valentine's Day. It was written on the day I died, February 14, 269 A.D. Now, every year on this day, people remember. But most importantly, they think about love and friendship. And when they think of Emperor Claudius, they remember how he tried to stand in the way of love, and they laugh -- because they know that love can't be beaten!

So, if I were a man, I would take my hat off before a person who sacrifised his life in the name of love, of human procreation, of everlasting ability to enjoy our closeness with those we love.

Happy Vatlentine's Day, my friends! Love and be loved! Hurry up to say the words of love as there is nothing after death. Be creative and inspired by love in everything you do!  Love is a great power that moves the world. It may kill but it can revive!

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A Blog Challenge: NEITHER/EITHER

Well, when I am up to something, I usually realize my ideas. So, here we are with one more piece of English grammar.

Speaking about our everyday life, business, science and many other things, we often want to make a statement about TWO people, ideas, options at the same time or to connect two alternatives in one sentence. Fortunately, we don’t have to reinvent a wheel as we have all necessary ” tools”  in English grammar. These are words NEITHER/EITHER. Let’s start with EITHER.

EITHER means one or the other of the two or each of the two.

You may sit at either end of the table.

There are trees on either side of the river.

Either of us is able to answer your questions. (I mean my hubby and me).

NEITHER is negative. It means not the one or the other of the two. We seem to use it more often.

In formal English, we use it with a singular noun as a subject.

Neither parent came to the meeting.

Neither dress was good for that occasion.  (She had only two dresses).

However, we may use NEITHER OF + a plural noun with some attribute like an article, possessive pronoun, etc.

Neither of our (two) friends agreed to come.

Neither of us knows what to do.

Now, let’s see how to use these words in other cases.

First of all, we often use these words in a dialogue replying to a negative statement.

A:  I haven’t eaten today.

B: I haven’t, either.


B: Neither have I.

Now, if I want to say the same using only one sentence (like in the reported speech) I would say:

I knew he hadn’t eaten that day and neither had I.


I knew he hadn’t eaten that day and I hadn’t, either.

Let me say that the first sounds more natural for me although I am not a native speaker. However,  I have been living among them for many years.

Now, let’s see how to use NEITHER… NOR…

The rules are the same as for NOT ONLY… BUT ALSO…. But, please, pay your attention to the following rule.

If you use this construction as a noun, a verb must be in the same person and number as the last noun or pronoun:

Neither he nor I am going to take a rest.

Now, let’s see how to use the inversion and to make your sentence more emotional. We also use it after the negative clause speaking about the same person.

I don’t know him neither do I want to!

He hadn’t done any homework neither had he brought any of his books to class.

And now, I will ask you to write something using these expressions. It may be a short story, a dialogue, a news report or some poetry or anything you like.

If you still have any questions about this grammar, please ask before writing, OK?

Either I or Dan will correct your writing and explain your mistakes.

Ready to start a new challenge?! It is for you not to be bored! Hahaha!

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Hi, my friends! I was not active for rather long because of a few reasons. I was busy not only teaching but also nursering my little grandniece (almost 5 years old), my big kid (i.e., my hubby thinking about retirement) and our lovely pets (of different age). But my hubby went on a business trip, my grandniece's mom took a health leave and I am able to write a few lines here at last! So...

Not only do I want to thank our dear Onee for such a great blog and challenge, but also intend to show you how to use some other similar constructions.

My husband, as well as I, has been trying to teach you good grammar and vocabulary for a few years. Both Danny and I would like you to write and to speak correctly, but neither of us can learn any grammar rules or vocabulary for you. I am happy to see you not only take part in our grammar tests but also try using the complicated grammar writing your blogs. Not only Danny but also I am happy to correct fewer and fewer mistakes in every next blog written by you. It is great to realize that many EC learners have improved not only grammar but also vocabulary and have learned many new words, expressions and idioms. Either of us can answer any of your questions, but neither of us can practice instead of you. Neither Dan nor I am immortal, so learn from us as much as you can until we pass away. LOL!

I think it is clear what I am up to, isn’t it?  I am going to follow Onee’s  example and to post the similar blog dedicated to NEITHER/EITHER. Would you like me to do it while Danny is on a business trip?

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Hi, ladies and gentlemen! Here is the breaking news on our EC channel! Stay with us!

After returning to EC megalopolis, one of our favorite teachers suddenly changed his traditional orientation and started going nuts! His traditional learning blogs about idioms, phrasal verbs and grammar have been replaced by his sarcastic blogs deriding learners’ mistakes. He must have rested his brains somewhere in the jungle of the blunders he faces every day! He writes down all your mistakes in a long hand on the paper not to lose them due to a blackout, flooding or any other trouble. He locks his notes in the safe for nobody to read them. He started seeing nightmares, eating his dirty clothes and munching! He has been accustoming his coach to drinking hard and a great athlete is about to become a zombie or a ghost living in our house!

The problem is that a bad example is infectious. Following their idol, many EC learners decided to change their orientation, too. Now, instead of correcting their mistakes and learning from them, they started providing their favorite teacher with more and more funny expressions he can’t help laughing at!

The last breaking news is that EC learners decided to compete in making as many mistakes as they can to win in this endless marathon.

I think it is time for the community to pay attention to what is going on in our purpose-oriented megalopolis although its citizens prefer to learn being unconscious.

Stay with us!

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Wearing a witch’s costume and high-heeled knee-long boots these days has reminded me of my favorite comfortable clothing I prefer to all others. This style won most of young hearts long ago but now it is about to become one of the most popular among people of any age.

I mean sportswear style. Such clothing was already known when I was a kid but it was worn only by sportsmen at the stadiums or in the gyms. Little by little, it came out onto the streets and we started calling it street wear. Now, in my native country, Ukraine, as well as in many western countries such clothing is in fashion and is considered to be very stylish.

Yes, it is very comfortable wear in any weather! Any strong wind will not blow you down! If it is hot, you can take off a jacket. If it is cold, you can have a hood on. These clothes don’t bother you to move or do anything you like.

Does it sound like an advertisement? You are right, my friends! I do want to introduce you one of my real English students, a rather young but already famous Ukrainian clothes designer Marina Polykarpova who dressed up Ukrainian Olympic team for the last games and designed my witch costume. She is not only my student but also a good friend as well as her husband.

Although her design of my witch dress is so impressive, I prefer to wear something like this!

Well, I do want to ask if this style is popular in your countries and what you think about people’s wearing such clothing wherever they go.

Isn’t it a nice topic to discuss?

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Luci's Halloween Challenge

My friends! My story is based on "Viy" story by the famous Ukrainian/Russian writer Nikolay Gogol. On the other hand, it is also based on my memories about your mistakes and Danny's blogs. So, there we go!

In the middle of the night I woke up lying on the path in the dark forest.  Suddenly I heard soft steps nearing stealthily. I raised my head and saw two green spots glowing in the dark. I looked closely and saw a familiar silhouette! “Shoo! Shoo!” I cried and she disappeared with her tail between two legs! It was a female black cat for sure, who else? I looked around and recognized the place I had been to many times. It was the famous Bold Hill on the bank of the Dnieper River where all European witches come together for the witches' Sabbath at least once a year. I heard some noise from far, got up and started walking in that direction hoping to see my old friends.

A few minutes later I saw a clearing crowded with a lot of my female friends dressed up for the party. Although I hadn’t seen them for long, I recognized most of them. One of them was scratching some poetry on the handle of her broom, another was wearing only one shoe, one more was about to get rid of her brain going to burn it down and to throw the ashes into the Dnieper waters. The rest were flying their brooms maneuvering among the flying coffins. All were laughing and fooling around. One who seemed to be the queen of the party was riding Pegasus looking very much like my hubby. So, everything was so habitual, close and dear. The picture gladdened my eyes.

But suddenly one of the coffins flew up to me, a corps sat up, stretched out his hand and said, “Give me your soul!!!” I looked closely and recognized my hubby who couldn’t stand laughing at your mistakes and died. I thought, “What’s the hell? Will he get me being out of here?” And I said, “Darling, if you died let it be so! If you remember, you were a materialist when alive. People don’t have soul and I have nothing to give you”. He gave me his last glance and whispered, “I have always known all women are witches. Why did I marry?” He sat back in his coffin and flew away.

However, the party was not over. My friends gave me a broom and we went on kidding around!

Happy and funny Halloween!

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Grammar Test IV

Hi, my friends! It is time to post one more grammar test, isn’t it? You know what to do! You should correct all the mistakes without changing the meaning of my sentences. This test is not easy but it is not the toughest I can propose. So, here you are!

  1. At the bar I didn’t recognize the guy stared on me despite he rode the same with me cab.
  2. We were standing by window and watched the falling down snow.
  3. Serving the dinner, the committee went on to work.
  4. I am sorry did not to follow your advice getting into a trouble as a result.
  5. Best thing you can do is forgetting her until it is not late.
  6. Being heard someone’s calling me I looked from out the window to see whom was it.
  7. If I knew she would be upset by my call, I wouldn’t have never dialed her number.
  8. This castle is considered to found with the help of Romans.
  9. She didn’t expect his coming so early and didn’t get herself ready before he arrived.
  10. I didn’t know when was his plane arriving and I called the airport so that I find it out.

The deadline is October 30.

Have a great time!

The correct sentences:

  1. I didn’t recognize the guy staring at me in the bar although we had ridden the same cab.
  2. We were standing by the window (and) watching the snow falling down.
  3. Having been served dinner, the committee went on working.
  4. I am sorry not to have followed your advice and to have got into a trouble as a result.
  5. Best thing for you to do is to forget her before it is too late.
  6. Having heard someone call me I looked out of the window to see who it was.
  7. If I had known she was going to be upset by my call, I would have never dialed her number.
  8. This castle is considered to have been founded by the Romans.
  9. She hadn’t expected him to come so early and hadn’t got herself ready before he arrived.
  10. I didn’t know when his plane arrived and (I) called the airport to find it out.

Thanks for participation!

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Grammar Test III

Hi, everyone! Despite your not being very active on my last test, I decided to post one more as teachers never give up trying to teach you at least something. So, you know what to do, don't you? Just make my sentences correct!

Here is your task.

  1. I didn’t know was he able to answer to my question as he didn’t attend last briefing.
  2. She listened to his singing. His voice had sounded charmingly.
  3. Mother made her son don’t to lean out from window.
  4. He felt like he wanted to improve anything.
  5. I asked what would he do if he would lose his job.
  6. When he appointed meeting for Monday, he recalled it to be a holiday.
  7. She asked her husband who he accompanied with to the trip.
  8. When Nick and Peter met, he asked how was he doing.
  9. We thought our kids would go to bed before we would return.
  10. If you'd like to go on to learn English you may participate in this test.

The deadline is September 25.

Of course, I will interpret the meaning of the sentences if some of them are not clear enough.

Good luck!

Hi, my friends! Hee are the correct sentences. You ask me your questions if you still have some.

  1. I didn’t know if he was able to answer __ my question as he hadn’t attended thelast briefing.
  2. She was listening to him singing. His voice sounded charming.
  3. Mother made her son not lean out of the window.
  4. He felt like improving everything/something.
  5. I asked what he would do if he lost his job.
  6. When he had set/was setting the meeting for Monday, he recalled it was a holiday.
  7. She asked her husband whom he had been accompanied by on/during the trip.
  8. __Nick met Peter and asked how he was doing.
  9. We thought our kids would have gone to bed before we returned.
  10. If you want to go on learning English you should participate in this test.

Thanks for the active participation!

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I believe you all know the story about the three little pigs two of whom were too lazy to built their houses with bricks. The result is well-known. If they hadn't had the third hardworking brother, they would have become a delicious dinner for a hungry wolf. But the third brother who had made his house with bricks managed to serve them the cooked wolf for desert.

The present situation on the Florida Keys and other Caribbean islands reminds me of that tale. I can't help wondering why people construct their houses of wood or even plasterboard if they live in the area where storms and hurricanes are a regular event! Such constructions can hardly be insured and as a result, many people may become homeless after such hurricanes like Irma, Catherine, Andrew or even much weaker ones. Sure, I undersatand that people may have too little money, but to construct such houses in our area is the same as to place them on a volcano slope. People who work can always get a mortgage or a loan, especially in emergency situations. But I am almost sure that most of Floridians will start constructing wooden houses again.

I'd like to ask what people do in your countries to avoid the sequences of such disasters.

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Hi, my friends! I hope you will exscuse us for not being active these days. You may know that hurricane Irma hit Florida a few days ago and now it is recognized as the most severe huricane in history. We are lucky to be in Ukraine now, but we have lost at least a half of our real estate in Florida these days. I have been living in America for many years but I have never seen cars or boats or buses flying over the cities! The hurricane is calming down a little but is still dangerous and moving North. There are human victims and a lot of distructions all over. There is no power, no connection and we can only hope that the people we know are safe. We can't get in touch with anyone in the storm zone. The area where we live is flooded, many small towns are destroyed or washed off. So, it will take us many months to come to after such distructions and loses. Of course, nobody is guilty as it is a natural disaster but we are mourning for all the victims of this tragedy.

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Grammar Test II

Hi, my friends! I'd like to think you are waiting for one more test. Today is Day of Knowledge in my country, the beginning of the academic year. So, here I am with your new task. This test is almost the same as previous. And you know what to do, don't you? You have to correct all the mistakes in each sentence. 

  1. She had looked forward for him to come.
  2. I didn’t see his coming and scared with his voice.
  3. He stopped to study so that he would earn for living.
  4. She forgot plugging off the iron and must return home.
  5. He was pondering why did she leave him.
  6. It looked like the rain would be soon.
  7. He thought what would he do if he couldn’t find any job.
  8. She wanted to know who present was it.
  9. Cats usually don’t eat what like people.
  10. It was the snow heavily and I decided don’t drive.

The deadlive is September 11.

Good luck and have a great weekend!

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My friends, I'd like you to recall Danny's and my lessons and to correct the mistakes again. Your task is the same as in "Find and correct the mistakes". For those who are newbies or don't remember, I will explain once again.

There may be a few mistakes in each sentence. You should find and correct them all without changing the vocabulary. It is a grammar test. As usual, I will lead you explaining your mistakes.

Are you ready?

Here is your task:

  1. Were you there ever or did you see it by the TV?
  2. He stopped looking around and to see was he followed.
  3. There was no time enough so that I make up my mind.
  4. I didn’t notice his going out of the party and started to ask the questions where was he.
  5. He didn’t remember to call up her and again he called.
  6. Women prefer to accompany with family members where one man is must.
  7. Don’t forget shutting the windows when you will leave.
  8. She asked what would we do if we couldn’t check to any hotel.
  9. I thought it going to never end.
  10. Why don’t again to check your English level?

The deadline is August 21.

Have a great time!

Here are the correct sentences.

  1. Have you ever been there or (you haveseen it on __ TV?
  2. He stopped to look around and to see whether/if he was being followed.
  3. It was not enough time for me to make up my mind.
  4. I didn’t notice him go off/leave the party and started asking the questions where he was.
  5. He didn’t remember calling her up and (he) called her again.
  6. 6.  Women prefer to be accompanied by the family members one of whom must be a man.
  7. Don’t forget to shut the windows when you_ leave (are leaving).
  8. She asked what we would do if we were not able to check into any hotel.
  9. I thought it was going never to end.
  10. Why not to check your English level again?

Of course, you can ask me any questions as always.

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Our dear Onee-Chan asked me if we can play Jeopardy again. Sure, we can. The question is whether you would like to play it. So, I would like you to answer three easy questions:

1. Would you like to play Jeopardy without Danny?

2. If yes, when would you like me to start it, now or in September?

3. Would you like to play the Wheel of Fortune?

Thank you very much in advance.

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                                            A Sceleton in a Closet

Moving to a new apartment about a month ago I decided to look through all the papers and documents kept at my home for many years. There were mostly the death certificates as most of my relatives had passed away. But suddenly I noticed a secret pocket in the folder where I found one unopened envelope yellowed with time. I had never seen it before. It was addressed to me. Sure, I got curious and opened it. It was a letter from my granny and a key. I immediately recalled my beloved granny, a masterful, demanding, proud, wise woman who kept under control both her daughter’s (my mom’s) and her son’s families.

The letter said:

“Dear Tanya, when you read this letter, both your mom and I will have been dead for long.  Although I was strict with you, I have always loved you more than your mom who learned nothing from my lessons opposite to you. You are very much like me and I will tell you one secret you should know to make the right conclusions.

You have always asked where your grandpa is and why I am single. Now, it is time for you to know the truth. Your grandpa was a great professional in his field. He was socially active and one day he became a mayor of Kiev.  Also, he was an outstanding sportsman, one of the founders of the “Dynamo” Club.  He was very famous and influenced that time. But he was also very handsome, athletic and…. Charming dandy. Although he loved me and our kids, he couldn’t help dangling after any pretty woman he saw. Wherever we might have been, he stared at women as if trying to undress them with his eyes. He sang dithyrambs to them, he complimented them. Women were his true passion. First, I didn’t mind as he was the same to me and it was even funny to see him admired by others. But with time he started paying less and less attention to me as a woman spending all his time at work and at the sports club. He might not have had lovers, but it didn’t matter as I stopped existing for him. I was just a housewife, a mother of his kids. So, one day when he refused from making love saying he was so exhausted, my patience gave away. I took a gun from under my pillow and fired at his handsome face for nobody to see it again. I bricked up his body in the wall of our old house’s basement where you used to play hide-and seek with your brother. Here is the key to the basement door if you want to see your grandpa at last. You will find him in the right hand wall behind the old wardrobe. I hope you have got what I wanted to tell you, dear.  Be happy!”

“Well, well,” I thought. “I have always expected my granny to have had a skeleton in her closet, but I didn’t mean it literally!” I had a lot of doubts whether to go to our old house where I was born and raised but my curiosity came out on the top. When I reached the place I disappointedly saw our old house demolished and there was a new building constructed over the place where my grandpa was said to have been buried.

“Well,” I thought, “It must be for the better as I am not an archeologist to dig out bones.” But I also thought, “My sweet grandma, you have always given me wise advices and I found your letter just in time as my hubby reminds me of my grandpa so much! Thank you, my dear! One day I will know what to do!”

And I went to the cemetery to leave my granny’s favorite flowers on her grave.

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Danny's Challenge: Travel in Time

If I could travel in time, I would return to 70's or even 80's in Western Europe and America. I'd like to be at the begging of our feminization. I don't mean the country of my origin as our women have been independent and equal for more than 100 years. Well, a few previous generations of Western women made the revolution in attitude to us. Now, we enjoy our being free and independent, our being equal and even superior. But why have we started considering men as a tool for making sex and conceiving kids? Why don't we allow them to speak out their minds and express their feelings? Why don't we allow them to be respectful and helpful? Sure, we can do everything ourselves, but why we don't allow them to open the doors before us or give us a hand when we need it. When I come to Ukraine after living in America, I often hit my head against the doors and fall out of the city transport as no one is going to give me any support and I don't like it although I am very independent at work and in my family. I don't like to see a woman lying on the ground without any attention to her possible problems. I remember my stumbling and falling down on New York street. There were so many thoughts about avoiding injuries in my mind! But when I "fell" I landed to the tens of arms! And if you, ladies, say they just pretended, I will never belive as I live with one of them. They do it automatically without thinking. We ARE independent, but let men take at least some part in our lives! Let them respect and cherish us, let them say we are "the best thing ever happened to them". Let them stay men we are about to annihilate as a species. They will never be superior again. But let them give at least some chance to survive and to prove their usefulness. I believe our ancestors didn't want us all to become lesbies and refuse from men's attention and care

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Indifference Kills!

Well, I have been a member of EC since 2009 and many of you know me well enough. And I tell you, before joining EC I searched through all the network. There is no site like this! I am happy and proud of being one of its members. There were active and passive periods of my being EC member, but I have always been  aware of what is going on here. I believe, you don't think I am postng this blog because Danny is my husband. I am posting it as we both are teachers.

Teachers are to teach and they invest all their lives in the process of education hoping to see students gain knowledge. But when we feel indifference of our students or their desire to use the knowledge they got to make everything worse than it is, we get frustrated, disappointed and even angree.

Knowlege and common sense are light and power, while their absence is darkness and helplessness.

I will not ask you why you killed my husband with your indifference. He had been killed by his university before. Danny is one of the best teachers I have ever seen. He has been cut out for teaching. I am a teacher, too but if I were a man, I would take off my hat before his capabilitiy of understanding his students and explaining their mistakes in his way! You should have heard his lectures!

And I wonder you made him leave.

So, it is OK, but my man is suffering because of being killed with your indiffernce. He would gladly die fighting for his ideas but he can't stand indifference to learning.

Please, don't kill great teachers! You will feel sorry for that sooner or later!

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To Danny's Challenge

If somebody wears a gold liripipe on his biretta, it is just a tribute to his doctorate degree, but nothing more for me. Our same mortarboards sit next to each other in the closet and I am sure that my biretta always asks her companion what its master is up to. And, I tell you, his master is always up to something! To be a good chemist is a true temptation! He always knows the right mix to make a man get drunk or to make a lady feel excited. He is a great mixologist and a great deipnosophist and all women around flip over him! But just come home, darling! And never say it was a dry run of your concert so, you had to have a keg of beer to relax and to be dead to the world! I don’t like to sleep with a corps in my bed! My silent treatment and my cold shoulder mean nothing for you. So, I will meet you at the door with my rolling pin your face will feel for sure and I will not call the ambulance. No gurneys any longer!  I do know that trick! But I love you so much that I don’t want you to suffer! So, I will probably use my bow and arrows to be sure you will not suffer any more as I am a perfect shot, you know! So, what do you prefer: to have one more plastic surgery and wearing casts or to pass away without even realizing it? We live in a democratic country, you always have a choice, but if I were you, I would choose the last!


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Happy New Year to Everyone!

My dear friends! I am really sorry I can't often be here now. But I'd like to tell you, I love you all! I love you jokes, your kidding, your mistakes and your reaction to our corrections. I love your being so curious, positive, smart and alive! Dan and I stick here because you are better than many of our real students and we feel like doing something useful here. I like our "battles" on some discussions, I like your humorous replies, I admire our challenges, your stories, so different but but meaningful. I like everything EC can offer, bear and afford! So, Happpy New Year, my friends and let's not disappoint Josef who invested his good will, knowledge, his heart, his great desire to teach in the best sense of the word in for us to feel good and comfortable here.

Josef, Sir! Here is to you and to all our members! HAPPY NEW YEAR! Long happy years!

Результат пошуку зображень за запитом "new year champagne cards"

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Let's Discuss and Estimate your Fables

My dear friends! I have promised to start the discussion of your fables and parables, so here I am with all your great stories. You know what to do as it is not the first time we ask you to criticize your stories and choose the best (the “like” list is more preferable as usual). I like all the stories. They are so different, but all are so smart. So, let’s see whose story is the best in your opinion.


No 1.

The King and Salt

There was a king who had three daughters. When they grow up, he wanted to decide which one should be his successor to the throne. So he wanted to test their love. He had only one single question and he asked his daughters to answer very honestly.
His question was: "How much do you love me?"
The first one, the eldest, answered: "Oh my dad, my love is worth more than all __ your gold and diamonds in your treasury." He smiled and was happy.
The second one said: "Oh, my father, I love you more than the flowers in your garden and more than all your horses in your stables." The king smiled and caressed her cheeks tenderly.
The third and the youngest daughter said: "My dearest dad, I love you like salt." 
The king got very angry and didn't understand why his daughter said so. He banished her from the castle and he __commanded to exterminate every single corn of salt in his kingdom. The next day the king wanted to enjoy breakfast but all the dishes were tasteless. The bread was bland, the ham had no taste and__ it was the same when he had lunch or dinner. The days were passing and everyone was complaining of __ missing salt. Nobody in the kingdom enjoyed eating. And much more .. people became ill because salt is more than only taste. Salt contains minerals which people need for __ living. Without salt every life will die. The king realized that he had a very smart daughter. He asked her to come back and to forgive him. He was sure she would be the perfect queen of his kingdom after his death.

No 2.

The Famer and the Pumpkin

There lived one farmer who kept on questioning what the logical reason for plants’ and animals’ existence wasOnes in the afternoon while he was resting he was staring at his pumpkin that was so big but__ its stems and leaves didn’t match __ its strong character as they were weak. “Why does a strong vegetable like you have such weak stems and leaves, why were you created like that? Why don’t you have a bigger tree to fit your character?” –he murmured. Afterwards he looked at his black palm tree. The tree was big giving enough shade for him to ponder gazing at its top, noticing its fruits and saying with a wry smile, “…and you, palm tree, why do you have such a big trunk? __Look at your fruits, though there are so many of them, they are small and soft. What irony!…” he said in sleepy tone.. All of a sudden, the gusty wind approached and the black palm tree started shaking. As a result,__ some tiny stems broke and a bunch of fruits fell down right on the farmer’s head!

The farmer, almost sleeping, got so wonder-struck and said with a very humble voice: “Thank you, Lord, for not making a pumpkin a big tree! __I could have been dead by now…” he said in his prayer to God.

The Moral__: Don’t question the wisdom of your Creator. If you can’t understand now, it doesn’t mean it is meaningless. It means you can’t fathom His unfathomable power.

No 3.

Whom to Blame?

Once upon a time there was a land in the Middle East and there lived happy animals_ in peace. God had __endowed them with abundant lands and for years and for ages, the bright sun shone on them__. They had never needed anything from any foreign animals. But one day some greedy arrogant animals like wolves and foxes got an eye on that land. Every day more of them appeared messing up the land with their crap__.
In the end, most of happy animals began to disappear and to die due to __discomfort and cruelty.

On the other hand, some of the animals from that land immigrated to other lands which didn't belong to them. They faced myriads of problems, some of them died, some were humiliated, some were insulted but none of them paid attention to the reasons for such happy animals’ having left their land. None paid attention to those who occupied their land. None talked about wolves and foxes. All they did was to blame and to accuse the results.

No 4.

The Crow and the Nest

There lived a crow in a swampy forest. He was very generous and good looking. One day like others he found his soulmate. They were very happy with each other. After a year of their getting married, the lady crow met__ a duck who seemed to be very outspoken and proud! She asked the lady crow: ‘What about your maleDoes he like to find food for you like my male?’ Lady crow said: ‘Yes, why not?’ Then, the duck asked, ‘Has he ever flown__ a long distance to get you something different?’ It took Lady crow long time to reply. Lady duck sensed crow’s uncertainty and, proceeding in her way, at last she defiantly said that her male was going to build a new dwelling very soon. Lady crow felt some stomach ache. Really, it was something to envy!

After reaching home in the evening, the male crow found his lady a bit different. When he greeted her, she did not even smile back. “What the hell is wrong with you! Why do you look so pale and dull today when I am going to surprise you?!’ ‘ Surprise, what do you mean?’, asked  lady crow  in a timid voice.

‘ Oaky, come on fly with me’, said the crow. And, they flew almost half a mile towards the nearest sandy hill. And to her surprise, lady crow found a very nice nestling which her male had made for the upcoming summer. It was up above the birch tree beside the hill and waterfront!

From that moment and onward,__ lady crow never became upset hearing about any gifts or wealth of others!

Moral is: people should be satisfied with what they have!

No 5.

The Forest Elections

It was Tuesday morning and all the animals living in the forest knew that it would be a very special day. Everybody woke up earlier and the nervousness was everywhere around. No wonder... That day the animals would vote for their president. It was a very important step for the forest and also for other forests situated behind the borders. As every ant, bear or bird knew there were two candidates: Mr. Snake and Mrs. Fox. Mr. Snake was able to use his every lie against Mrs. Fox without hesitation and couldn’t stand any animals, that had moved to the forest recently, whereas Mrs. Fox was a smart two-faced, cunning beast with martial tendencies and smile on her face one could hardly believe. Some animals were confused and felt like no matter, whom they would vote for, their forest would fall into the wrong hands. Others had their favorite candidate and believed in the better future of the forest! Who would win? In fact, it was not important at all, who would reign in the forest... Mr. Snake or Mrs. Fox...both were tricky and they also had one more thing in common: they wouldn’t care about other animals or the forest after being _elected, they would just care about their own incomes and all the promises they gave to the animals, would be forgotten...as __even a smart owl forgot that such a situation repeated once in four years with the same result...

Moral: It doesn't matter, which "pig" is at the "trough"!

No 6.

The pig and the Bees

Flowers blossomed in Henry’s farm and the bees swarmed enjoying the view and gathering nectar. The pig who lived in the farm said: ‘You all live so far from the farm, yet, you come here every year as soon as the flowers start blossoming. How do you all find it out? The Bees said: 'By the sweet smell of the flowers’. The Pig said ‘I have been living in this farm for many years and yet, I do not feel the smell. What is it likeThe Bees answered: “ We can tell you about the smell, but we cannot provide you with the nose that can feel it. The Pig asked: ”Can you teach me to smell the blossom and enjoy the honey?”  “That’s impossible as we have already told you, __ the sense of fair and sweet ___must be in us when we begin to exist’, replied the bees.

No 7.

The Lion and the Label

One night, in some Jungle, its king, the Lion, was decided to be humbled. While he was sleeping, somebody glued a label reading "An Ass (a donkey)" on his forehead. When the Lion woke up and started telling the Jungle he was awoke, no one paid attention to his roaring. He was surprised and started examining his territory. But all the animals he met on his way pointed a finger to him saying: "Look, here is an ass walking around pretending to be our Lion" and no one showed him usual respect or obedience. The Lion started going nuts and went to the court.

He said: "I am a Lion! Don’t you see it?!"

But the judge looked at him and replied: "Sir! You may be a Lion, who knows? But the fact you are an ass is just written on your forehead!"

The moral of the fable is: some patterns can be more powerful than common sense.


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Power of Music: Desirable or Scaring

I've decided to write this blog after Mary's "Hallelujah" in Sing a Song group. She posted her discussion dedicated to Leonard Cohen who died last week. I believe that most of you have heard this song. It sounds in "Shrek" animation and has been sung by so many famous singers and arranged by so many composers. The question is why? Some melody influences us so much that we can't forget it. We hear it even sleeping and when we wake up we still going on singing it. We can't get rid of it. It means we like this melody and it touches some strings of our souls. But, in fact, it influences our brains.

Have you ever heard about brain's mappping? It is a good idea to find out what zones of our brains are responsible for what we do and feel. It may help the mankind overcome many uncurable diseases. But on the other hand, it may become one of the leathal weapons and music can be one of them.

One of Danny's questions in Jeopardy was about that. He asked why music makes us feel, move and so on. The answer is that sounds of music are well-organized, they sound harmonic and, as a result, music influences almost all zones of our brains. Music has great influnce on our behavior.

But, look here! Some music makes us cry, other makes us regret,  other makes us feel happy and enjoy our lives, other make us think and so on. But who said it is impossible to compose some music which will make people hate and kill each other?! Who said that news media is the third power? I would say that music means more.

I will be happy if you share  your ideas with me! 

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