The best of Prog rock

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Milton Hatoum is a Brazilian writer, award winning author of Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) and Cinzas do Norte (Ashes from the North). He was born in Manaus in 1952, lived in Brasilia and also in Spain, France and in the US. He has lived in São Paulo since 1999. His new novel, Órfãos do Eldorado (Eldorado Orphans) will be released in a few months. Here is an interview with him:

1. Which was your best trip ever?
The trip that I took with my father to Lebanon, in July 1992. He had not seen his Lebanese family for over 30 years. Visiting Lebanon and meeting dozens of relatives was a very emotional experience.

2. Which is your dream trip?
I dream of going to Kashmir and some parts of India. I also would like to visit several African countries.

3. In what country would you like to live?
Well, I have already lived in three countries and eight different cities. At the moment I want to stay around here. But when I think of Provence or Tuscany, I feel like spending some time in France and Italy.

4. What do you most admire about a person?
His or her character. What elevates or demeans a human being is not religion, gender, color, ethnicity – none of these. It´s the character.

5. What do you most hate in a person?
I think and arrogant person looks ridiculous. I hate meanness, deceit, dishonest people.

6. Would you be happy without friends?
I would be very unhappy without them.

7. What animal would you like to be?
The very same one I was destined to be. Our fate is to be human.

8. What do you do when you have nothing to do?
I get bored when I don´t do anything. Right now, after finishing a novel I always have a book to read, or reread.

9. Who is your favorite film director?
I love Rossellini, Visconti and the directors of Italian neo-realism.

10. What character would you like to be?
It´s hard to say... I would be a terrible actor. But all the characters in my novels have a little of me in them.

1. Qual (is) informação (ões) abaixo sobre Milton Hatoum está (ao) correta (s)?
I – Viveu em diferentes países e cidades e pretende conhecer lugares na Índia e na África.
II – Destacou a viagem ao Líbano, com seu pai, há 30 anos, como uma das mais marcantes de sua vida.
III – Elegeu Provença ou Toscana para fixar residência.
a)  apenas a I                                                 d) apenas I e II
b) apenas a II                                                 e) nenhuma
c) apenas a III

2. De acordo com a entrevista, Milton Hatoum:
I – é um renomado escritor, que recebeu premiação recentemente pela novela Dois Irmãos.
II – costuma reler suas obras quando está com tempo livre.
III – reconhece características pessoais nos personagens que cria.
Está (ao) correta (s):
a) apenas a I                                                  d) apenas I e II
b) apenas a II                                                 e) todas
c) apenas a III

3. According to the text, Milton Hatoum:
a) has visited Lebanon many times since July 1992.
b) wants to visit many countries of another continent.
c) would like to be another animal, not a human being.
d)  lived in eight cities in the same country.
e) doesn´t give much importance to friendship.

4. False Cognates are words in English which are similar to the ones in Portuguese but with a different meaning. Which word from the text is a false cognate?
a) favorite                                                      d) novel
b) experience                                                 e) arrogant
c) visit

5. Regular verbs are the ones that have the suffix ED in the past and past participle and irregular verbs don´t have that suffix. Which verb from the text is irregular?
a) to like                                                        d) to live
b) to admire                                                   e) to feel
c) to stay   
6. How come is an interrogative pronoun which is a synonym of why. The  question above using why is:

a) Why only he gets a discount?                                d) Why does only he get a discount?
b) Why did only he get a discount?                            e) Why is only he get a discount?
c) Why gets only he a discount?

7. In the picture we can see a barber cutting Jimmy Five´s hair and three guys sitting down.
Based on it, choose the incorrect option:
a) There is a guy complaining because he´s going to pay more money than Jimmy Five to
have his hair cut.
b) Jimmy Five will get a discount probably because he doesn´t have much hair.
c) The barber is using a pair of scissors to cut Jimmy Five´s hair.
d) There is a mirror behind the barber and his client.
e) The three guys seem to be very satisfied with that situation.

8. Mark the option with the name of an object that we cannot see in the picture:
a) drawer                                                       d) boot
b) belt                                                            e) comb
c) wallet


The last Harry Potter film has been incredibly successful around the world.
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows - Part 2 has shattered box office records in the UK and Ireland with an opening weekend of £23 million.
The final adventure of the film series based on the books by J.K. Rowling opened on Friday with fans across the country queuing for hours to be among the first to see the film.
In the US in its first weekend it is estimated to have grossed more than $168m.
It's already the most successful movie franchise in history, but a decade after the young wizard's first film debut, the final chapter 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II' has broken box-office records. 

In the US alone the finale of the eight-film series is estimated to have brought in over $168.5m in its opening weekend, ten million dollars more than the previous record set by the 2008 Batman film 'The Dark Knight.' 

The film, which has featured the same lead actors throughout, also became the highest-earning movie on its opening day. Its distributor, Warner Brothers, said the last Harry Potter instalment broke international records as well with highest-ever weekend figures in the UK and Australia. 

Hollywood-watchers are estimating the film is on track to break a rare barrier to become a billion-dollar movie.
                                                             Alastair Leithead, from Los Angeles, with adaptations.
movie franchise - a series of films produced by the same company with the same characters

first film debut - first appearance on film (Harry Potter had previously appeared in books)

has broken box-office records - has made more money from people going to see the film than any previous film

the finale of - the last in a series

brought in - made an amount of money

distributor - the company that arranges for films to be shown in cinemas

instalment - one of a series, episode

Hollywood-watchers - people in the media who are interested in what is happening in the movie-making industry

on track to - looks like it will

a rare barrier - a limit that is not often reached

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Singer Amy Winehouse, infamous for erratic public behavior, arrests and drug problems, was found dead at her apartment in London Saturday, police and her publicist confirmed. She was 27.

Her death came less than two months after her latest release from a rehabilitation program and weeks following a disastrous performance where she was booed off a Belgrade, Serbia, stage by disappointed fans.

Winehouse died at the same age as four other music legends. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison each died of drug overdoses when they were 27. Kurt Cobain was 27 when he committed suicide, soon after his release from rehab.
London Police Superintendent Raj Kohli said at this "early stage" of the investigation the death remained "unexplained."
"I am aware of reports suggesting this death is the result of a suspected drugs overdose, but I would like to re-emphasise that no post-mortem examination has yet taken place and it would be inappropriate to speculate on the cause of death," Kohli said.
Police were called to her Camden Square apartment just after 4 p.m. Saturday in response to report of "a woman found deceased," he
"On arrival officers found the body of a 27-year-old female who was pronounced dead at the scene," he said. She was later identified as Winehouse.
Winehouse spokesman Chris Goodman confirmed her death for CNN Saturday.
"Everyone who is involved with Amy is shocked and devastated," Goodman said. "Our thoughts are with her family and friends. The family will issue a statement when ready."
The "Rehab" singer had a history of battling drugs and alcohol and recently left a British rehab program that a representative said was intended to prepare her for scheduled European concerts.
But she cut short the European concert tour last month following a concert in Belgrade, where she staggered around the stage and stumbled through several songs.

Audience members booed Winehouse off the stage that night just a few songs into the concert, the first of the tour.

Winehouse spokeswoman Tracey Miller told CNN at the time that the singer "agreed with management that she cannot perform to the best of her ability and will return home."
"Everyone involved wishes to do everything they can to help her return to her best and she will be given as long as it takes for this to happen," representative Chris Goodman said in a statement in May.

A new, but almost identical, similar statement appeared on her website Saturday, saying "Amy Winehouse is withdrawing from all scheduled performances." None of her representatives immediately responded to CNN requests for comment.
Winehouse's soulful, throaty vocals brought the British musician stardom in 2007, but her off-stage life gained her notoriety. The lyrics of her songs, especially the hit "Rehab," chronicled her troubled life. The song, in which she sang "They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no," helped form the public's view of Winehouse.
"I don't care enough about what people think of me to conform to anything," she said in a 2007 CNN interview.Fans r

Winehouse, born in London in 1983, became a picture of a tattooed teenage rebel after she was expelled from a prestigious performing arts school.
Her first album, "Frank," debuted in 2003, when the singer-songwriter was 19.
International success came with her 2007 album "Back To Black," which included the single "Rehab." She dominated the 2008 Grammys, winning five awards that night and delivering, via satellite from London, a strong performance of "Rehab."
Winehouse's volatile marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil took a toll on the singer's career. The couple divorced in 2009 after a stormy two years filled by drug addiction and arrests.
Winehouse's parents went public with their efforts to help their daughter, telling the London Telegraph in 2009 that she was on the road to recovery.

"A gradual recovery, which is good," Winehouse's father, Mitch, told the Telegraph. "With slight backward steps -- not drug backward steps, more drink backward steps if you follow my drift. I think that will be the pattern of recovery."

Her father got word of his daughter's death Saturday while in New York preparing for a Monday night show with his band at the Blue Note club, his publicist said. He immediately canceled the performance and caught a flight back to London, the publicist said.
The organization that awards the Grammys issued a statement Saturday calling Winehouse "a dynamic performer and musician who seamlessly blended rock, jazz, pop, and soul and created a sound all her own."

"Her rich, soulful and unique voice reflected her honest songwriting and earned her a devoted fan following, critical acclaim, and the genuine respect and admiration of her musical peers," the Recording Academy statement said. "She will forever be remembered for her immense talent, and her music will live on for generations to come. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends, and fans during this difficult time."


Tuesday, July 19, 2011


The logical song is unique. I don´t know any other song in English with more adjectives than this one. Believe it or not, it has twenty-three adjectives and three adverbs. It was originally recorded by the British band Supertramp in 1979. And here it´s played by Roger Hodgson (ex-member and principal lyricist of the band) with an orchestra.
Listen to the song and then complete with the adjectives and adverbs missing in its lyrics. If you have any difficulty, take a look at the two lists:

When I was _________
It seemed that life was so ___________
A miracle, oh it was _________, ___________
And all the birds in the trees
Well they'd be singing so ___________
Oh _________, oh __________ watching me
But then they sent me away
To teach me how to be ___________
__________, oh __________, ____________
And they showed me a world
Where I could be so __________
Oh _________, oh __________, _____________

There are times when all the world's __________
The questions run too _________
For such a __________ man
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds __________
But please tell me who I am
Now watch what you say
Or they'll be calling you a __________
A ___________, oh ___________, _____________
Oh won't you sign up your name
We'd like to feel you're
__________, __________, oh ___________, a vegetable

At night when all the world's _________
The questions run so ________
For such a ___________ man
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds __________
But please tell me who I am, who I am, who I am, who I am

practical           simple             young                 acceptable                   deep
asleep             responsible     wonderful           magical                        absurd
criminal            radical             intellectual          beautiful                      logical
sensible           clinical             liberal                 dependable                 respectable
cynical              fanatical          presentable

joyfully             playfully           happily 

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Expressions with water are very common in the English language, many of them having unpleasant meanings:

The expression ”to be in hot water” is one of them. It is an old expression. “Hot water” was used many years ago to mean being in trouble. One story says it got that meaning from the custom of throwing extremely hot water down on enemies attacking a castle.

That no longer happens.  But we still get in hot water.  When we are in hot water, we are in trouble. It can be any kind of trouble - serious or not so serious. A person who breaks a law can be in hot water with the police. A young boy can be in hot water with his mother, if he walks in the house with dirty shoes.

Being in “deep water” is almost the same as being in hot water. When you are in deep water, you are in a difficult position. Imagine a person who cannot swim being thrown in water over his head.

You are in deep water when you are facing a problem that you do not have the ability to solve. The problem is too deep. You can be in deep water, for example, if you invest in stocks without knowing anything about the stock market.

To keep your head above water” is a colorful expression that means staying out of debt. A company seeks to keep its head above water during economic hard times. A man who loses his job tries to keep his head above water until he finds a new job.

Water over the dam” is another expression about a past event. It is something that is finished. It cannot be changed. The expression comes from the idea that water that has flowed over a dam cannot be brought back again.

When a friend is troubled by a mistake she has made, you might tell her to forget about it. You say it is water over the dam.

Another common expression, “to hold water,” is about the strength or weakness of an idea or opinion that you may be arguing about. It probably comes from a way of testing the condition of a container. If it can hold water, it is strong and has no holes in it.
If your argument can hold water, it is strong and does not have any holes. If it does not hold water, then it is weak and not worth debating.

Throwing cold water” also is an expression that deals with ideas or proposals. It means to not like an idea. For example, you want to buy a new car because the old one has some problems. But your wife “throws cold water” on the idea because she says a new car costs too much.

                                   From – Adapted by Milton França 

Sunday, July 3, 2011


For more than fifteen years it was available all over Brazil my first book called "Inglês no Vestibular". As the vestibular was practically extinguished, I´ve decided not to use that name anymore.
In September 2010 I finished writing a new book and decided to call it EASY ENGLISH, due to the fact that it is explained in an easy and very understandable way. It is much more complete than the previous one, with more chapters, texts and exercises in almost 400 pages.
This year it is being used only in São Luis, in 2012 in the whole state and afterwards in all the states of Brazil.
If you know the book already, I would like you to use this space here for your comments so that we can improve it more and more.
Milton França


Like many people, animals are getting fatter. At least, that is the finding of a report published in the British press.

Weight gain is often blamed on too much fatty food and too little exercise.  But Professor Allison and his research team say there may be reasons other than these traditional ones.
The researchers studied body weight changes in more than 20,000 animals.  The animals came from 24 populations of eight different species, or groups, across North America.

“Each animal was said to be in early middle age for its species.  Yann Klimentidis worked on the study with David Allison.  Mr. Klimentidis said they considered animals with at least two body weight measurements in the past 60 years.  At least one measurement was made in the last half of the twentieth century.  One exception was non-laboratory rats.  Their body weight was first measured in 1948.

The study involved creatures as different as large animals in research centers and rats living free around Baltimore, Maryland.  All the animals demonstrated major gains in average body weight over ten-year periods.

For example, chimpanzees in captivity showed a 33% increase in weight each decade.  Laboratory marmosets increased weight at a rate of 9% over a ten-year period. 

Laboratory mice became fatter at a rate of 10%.  And laboratory rats increased at a 3% rate.
The study also showed that pet animals are fatter.  The average house cat weighed almost 10% more each decade.  Dogs’ weight increased at a rate of 3%.”

A virus called AD36 could be involved in the gain.  Its presence has been connected to obesity in adults. And the team says changes in time spent in light or dark environments influence eating habits.

David Allison says earlier studies found that light differences may be part of the reason for fatter animals.  For example, one kind of animal – the lemming – experiences body weight changes at different times of the year.

“We know that light affects weight gain in species like lemmings that gain or lose a great deal of weight in different times of the year, when there is much sunlight versus little sunlight.  That is the natural thing for them.  So our brains are responsive to light and in ways that may relate to body weight.”

David Allison says changes in environmental temperature affect weight in both people and animals.  The body produces more energy to keep itself warm in the cold.  But it produces less energy to cool itself in heat.

“That all other things being equal, if you put a warm-blooded species like humans or mice or dogs into a colder environment, then they will need to expend more energy to maintain their body temperature.  And so, being in a cold environment increases energy expenditure, and if you eat the exact same amount, will lead to lesser body weight.  Being in a warmer environment, up to a point, will lead to decreased energy expenditure, and therefore, at the same amount of food intake, weight gain.”

Yann Klimentidis says knowing causes of weight gain in animals may help researchers as they deal with overweight human beings.

at least – pelo menos                                            finding – descoberta
British press – imprensa britânica                           weight – peso
blamed on – atribuído a                                         research team – equipe de pesquisa
measurements – medidas                                      century – século
creatures – criaturas                                             average - média
captivity – cativeiro                                               increase – aumento, aumentar
marmosets – saguis (macacos pequenos)               mice - ratos
environments – ambientes                                     lemming – lemingue
a great deal of – muito                                          brains – cérebros
both …. and… - tanto …. quanto                              to cool – esfriar
expenditure – gasto                                              lesser – menor
therefore – portanto                                              intake – ingestão
to deal with – lidar com

1. In the beginning, the text says that “like many people, animals are getting fatter”. This means that the article is about:
a) people losing weight                                      d) people dying
b) animals getting heavier                                  e) animals losing weight
c) animals getting sick

2. Which of the following is not a possible cause of weight gain in animals?
a) the virus called AD36
b) amount of time spent in light and dark environments
c) environmental temperature
d) fast food (hamburger, French fries, etc)
e) none of the answers above

3. According to the article, why is understanding weight gain in animals important?
a) It will make the animals happier.
b) It will give us information about diseases.
c) It´s interesting, but not important.
d) It may help researchers deal with overweight people.
e) It will make us fatter.

4. “Fatter” is in the comparative of superiority. Which of these words is not in the comparative?
a) slower                                                        d) heavier
b) sinner                                                         e) thicker
c) thinner

5. “Mice” is the plural of mouse. It is an example of irregular plural. Which noun also forms its plural in an irregular way?
a) goose                                                          d) marmoset
b) lemming                                                       e) monkey
c) brain

6. Which of these words from the text is NOT in the plural?
a) changes                                                      d) studies
b) says                                                            e) reasons
c) creatures

Original text by with adaptations by Milton França