Streets, Beats & Eats – Philadelphia

Posted on 28. Jan, 2015 by in Uncategorized

Join us on a video tour of the City of Brotherly Love – Philly. Get a history lesson at Independence National Park, try the city’s famed cheesesteak, peruse art, funky shops, and enjoy Happy Hour on South Street, and get rowdy with some awesome live music at City Bisco.

YouTube Preview Image

“Welcome to Philadelphia – also known as the City of Brotherly Love and the Birthplace of America. Our trip begins with a little history lesson at the Independence National Park. Here, you can see the Liberty Bell, an iconic symbol of American independence. As you can see, it’s a popular place for a photo. A few famous people have posed with the iconic bell – Martin Luther King, Thomas Edison, and even the Dalai Lama. Here, you can also visit Independence Hall, where you’re greeted by a statue of George Washington. Join the tour to see where the Founding Fathers drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. After all that history, it’s time for some local food.

Geno’s has been cooking up Philly’s signature sandwich since 1966. Order one up and watch the masters at work. It’s pretty huge, so you might want to share. Across the street you’ll find Pat’s, who claim to have invented the cheesesteak. Their sign teaches you how to order one in case you’re confused. To be honest, they’re both pretty awesome.

Follow the lead of these giant statues and go for a walk on this famous street. There’s a lot to see and do here, but perhaps nothing is more interesting than the Magic Gardens. Created by local artist Isaiah Zagar, this incredible mosaic was made with cement, bicycle spokes, bottles, ceramic shards and other random knick-knacks. The artist and his wife moved into the area in the 60s, when it was slated for demolition to build a highway. That would never happen, as Isaiah and other entrepreneurs helped fuel a renaissance for South Street. It is now a thriving neighborhood and a popular place for both locals and tourists to visit. After you’ve explored the outdoor space, head inside to see some more of his work, including a bunch of interesting self portraits.

Before there were the Magic Gardens, there was the Eyes Gallery. The artist couple bought this store in 1968, and it was the first building in Philly that he would mosaic. This is one of the most colorful and interesting shops you’ll find, with three levels of Indian and Latin American folk art on display. After working with the Peace Corps for three years in Peru, they opened this place with nothing but leftover crafts. It’s a great story, and an excellent place to pick up some unique souvenirs.

Continue your stroll along South Street, and you’re sure to see lots of other interesting shops. This once desolate and dangerous neighborhood is now a great place to hang out and do some window shopping. Philly has more public art than any other American city, and you’ll see it everywhere you go. There are plenty of options for food as well here, such as European Republic, where you can fill up your belly without emptying your wallet with a tasty gyro.

With dinner in the books, it’s time for Happy Hour. Head to Redwood and grab a spot at the bar or a table outside. You can try a sampling of different craft beers, or one of their fancy cocktails.

If you visit in the fall, you just may catch a mini music festival thrown by Philly’s own the Disco Biscuits. The event, called City Bisco, takes place throughout the weekend. Inside the show, you can hit up a food truck and warm up with a laid back DJ set in the tent. Head into the main venue, where there is music going on all day. Put on your best sparkly dress and get ready to rage with the Biscuits.

When the band takes a set break, the party moves over to the tent, which is now packed. Outside, you’ll find plenty of hula hoopers and people playing with glow toys. Get back in there for the second set.”

Famous movie quotes in English

Posted on 27. Jan, 2015 by in Culture, English Language

Gone with the wind book.

Image by Razi Marysol Machay on Flickr.com

Famous lines from movies (or movie quotes) are a fundamental part of everyday English language and culture. People often remember famous movie lines and use them in their own lives when the moment is appropriate. Often people quote movie lines, but don’t even know what movie the line comes from, they have just heard the lines so many times they start using it. So, it is fair to say that movie quotes have become an important part of our modern culture and vernacular. So, let’s take a look at this piece of American culture and learn a little about the movies that five famous movie lines come from. I’ve chosen five quotes for us to look at today, but if this is a post you enjoy and you’d like to see another one like it (with different famous movie quotes) let me know, by leaving a comment below.

Note: Spoiler alert! In talking about famous movie lines and the movies they come from and in doing so I definitely give away what happens in the movies.

“You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya punk?”

This quote comes from the movie Dirty Harry. The actor Clint Eastwood, the star of this film, says this line. This movie is about a serial killer and the police detective (played by Clint Eastwood) who tracks him down. This line in the movie comes near the end, when Clint Eastwood, the inspector, says “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya punk?” to the serial killer before killing him.

“If you build it, he will come.”

This line comes from the movie Field of Dreams. Kevin Costner is the actor who says this line, in his role as an Iowa farmer named Ray Kinsella. In this film Kevin Costner’s character starts hearing voices, while working in his fields.  The voices say the line quoted above. He interprets these voices as commands to build a baseball diamond in his cornfields. After some chastising, and with some help, he builds a baseball field in his backyard and the Chicago Black Sox come and play!

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

This quote is from the classic movie The Wizard of OZ. The actress Judy Garland, who plays the roles of a girl named Dorothy, says this line. In this film, Dorothy, a farm girl from the state of Kansas gets swept away by a tornado to a magical land called OZ.  When she lands in OZ and sees this land for the first time, she says this line to her dog Toto. Then she sets out on a journey to find the Wizard of OZ to see if he can help her return home.

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

This movie line is from the film The Godfather. This film is about the mob or the mafia. In this movie the actor Marlon Brando, plays the role of an aging patriarch in a crime family. He is the person who says this famous line. In this film, Marlon Brando’s character is transferring the control of his mafia empire to his son.

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

This, perhaps the most famous movie quote of all time, is from the movie, Gone with the Wind. This is a very old film about the life of a rich Southern woman during the American Civil War. The film follows the rise and fall, or ups and downs, of her life. This quote is from an interchange between the main actress, Vivien Leigh, and the main actor Clark Gable. Leigh’s character asks Gable’s character “Where shall I go? What shall I do?” and he responds by saying, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Some tricky English prepositions

Posted on 20. Jan, 2015 by in English Grammar

Tricky English prepositions.

Image by Grammar.net.

Learning to use prepositions correctly in a new language is not easy! Anyone who says differently is wrong, at least if you ask me. Part of what makes prepositions so tricky is that by themselves prepositions are rather meaningless and almost impossible to define. Prepositions only get their meaning by describing the relationship between other words in a sentence.  This means their meaning can change at times and a lot of their meaning is depending on the circumstances they are used in.

There are some particularly tricky prepositions in English for sure, but this inofgraphic from Grammar.net does a great job of pictorially illustrating and explaining how to use some of these really difficult ones. For example, the difference between ‘in to’ and ‘into’ is really hard to grasp, even for native English speakers.  This infographic does a nice job of highlighting the differences between these two similar prepositions and also giving some hints on how to check to make sure you are using the right one (into vs. in to) in the right context. This infographic also looks at three phrasal verbs that contain prepositions. Knowing the meaning of phrasal verbs, and how the meaning changes, depending on which preposition is used, can be particularly confusing. Again this infographic does an ice job of helping to sort this out.

Here are some more tricky English prepositions that are found in phrasal verbs that you may also want to take note of:

‘provide to’ vs. ‘provide with’
provide to = emphasizes the people receiving something that is provided
provide with = emphasizes what is being provided

Examples:
Donations were provided to the disaster victims.
The victims will be provided with clothing, blankets, and food.

‘apply for’ vs. ‘apply to’
apply for = people apply for a thing (i.e. a job, a positions, a loan, etc.)
apply to = people apply to a place (the bank) or person (the banker)

Example:
Ruth applied to the bank for a loan.
Ruth applied for a car loan.

‘ask for’ vs. ‘ask to’
ask for & ask to = to try to obtain something by requesting or asking

Examples:

ask + somebody + for + something
I asked him for help.

ask + to + infinitive + somebody
I asked to help him, he said he was fine without help.