28 January, 2012

Prominent Italian Americans

Today’s session at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk started with a cross-cultural topic  about “Prominent Italian Americans”. This topic was illustrated with a colorful book display about US entertainment celebrities and included documents about Madonna, S.Stallone, L.Di Caprio and others.
The slide show introduced famous American directors of Italian background. The movies by these directors from the WOA collection were presented to the club members.
Our American friend Sam was open to the conversation about the American movie industry and her favorite movies. The club members also asked her questions about her opinion on Ukrainian movies. They were asked to recommend the best Ukrainian productions to Sam, we hope she will enjoy the recommended films.

The official part of the Club’s session was dedicated to the numerous memorable dates of January. We saw slide show. Have a look at
F.D. Roosevelt whose birthday is on January, 30 was discussed in more detail.
We have watched the You Tube videos about his biography and his achievements in New Deal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9r0UFi86hs  slide show of quotes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzFKwa8V0Qs&feature=related  biography
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ9oBg6T2UE&feature=related new deal by FDR

To close up the session we have completed some exercises based on FDR biography and translated some of his popular quotes.
Have a look at more pictures, please  

25 January, 2012

Rebel Without a Cause

The film "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955) was presented to all who wish to improve their language skills.

A rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.
As an actor who spoke for an entire generation, James Dean brought his explosive presence to the screen in Nicholas Ray's "tense, exciting melodrama".
•    Starring: James Dean, Natalie Wood
•    Directed by: Nicholas Ray
•    Runtime: 1 hour 51 minutes
•    Release year: 1955
•    Studio: Warner Bros.

With TRICKY ENGLISH excerpts by Joseph E Battilega. 

They had him on the carpet down at headquarters.

He called me a dirty tramp!

That's enough static out of you!

You mean a head shrinker?

He's just loaded, honey.

You could have gone to juvenile hall.

You want to bug us till we have to lock you up.

He called me chicken.

If the pot starts boiling again, will you see me before you get in a jam?

...I couldn't swallow until recess.

But life is crushing in on me.

You know, I bet you're a real yo-yo.

You stepped on the school insignia. Nobody does that, ever!

The shortness of time between our planet's birth and demise.

You shouldn't monkey with him.

He's a wheel.

What are you hanging around such rank company for?

How did you get here? - I hitched.

I want him to teach me because I know he won't get mad if I goof.

You flipped or something?

Do we have to listen to a sermon now?

Forgot to wind your sundial.

21 January, 2012

Sustainable Energy for all

Today’s session started with the somewhat forgotten introduction  -  some old members appeared after a long absence and new patrons joined the club.
A diagram about energy saving tips in everyday life triggered a discussion about Ukrainian realities.


The session was dedicated to the topic "2012 – International Year of sustainable energy for all".
Solar cells and wind farms are good solutions for some countries
We have read an article that explained the goals.This initiative will engage governments, the private sector, and civil society partners globally with the goal of achieving sustainable energy for all, and to reach three major objectives by 2030:
•    ensuring universal access to modern energy services
•    doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency
•    doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
We have learned about the initiative for the developing countries –  clean cook stoves. Julia Roberts, a famous American actress, is a leader in the promotion of this initiative.
Several relevant You tube clips were watched and discussed.
We have read and discussed a diagram about the energy saving tips for Australia, Unfortunately, not all of these tips were applicable to our country conditions.

Some unorthodox opinions were expressed about the reasons why  the sustainable energy implementation is so difficult in many countries.
Have a look at more pictures, please 

18 January, 2012


«Wednesday Movie Club». The film «Ali» (2001) was presented to all who wish to improve their  language skills.
A biography of sports legend, Muhammad Ali, from his early days to his days in the ring.

Director: Michael Mann
Writers: Gregory Allen Howard (story), Stephen J. Rivele (screenplay), and 3 more credits »
Stars: Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and Jon Voight 

The number of visitors – 8 persons.

With TRICKY ENGLISH excerpts by Joseph E Battilega
English is an easy language to learn, but a hard language to master.
'Cause it make you groove right when you feel the feelin'

To turn the other cheek to the brutality of the white man...

Cassius, you're a  -  underdog

Cassius, now you're being truculent.

Another boxing milestone is at hand.

Looking as malevolent and baleful as ever.

His survival to this juncture...

The predictions are going down the drain... as Liston is listless.

It's absolute bedlam in the ring!

And how you do that? You jump over a broom and, shazam, you're a Muslim?

And get me a kosher cook.

Fifty G a year just for drivin' and jivin'.

I'm not gonna be on the payroll. I'm freelance.

I am submissive to you.

Whup on him now.

And to think I gave up a lucrative practice for the likes of you.

I'm glad you were here to witness this-- this assault.

Have a little coffee with your sugar. (The reverse order makes this a joke.)

Refusal to accept a lawful induction order... constitutes a felony...

Are you gonna dodge the draft?

This court is adjourned.

They bust you out.

Man, you scribble. You can't even write.

We lost on the appellate level...

I'm petitioning on a conscientious objection basis. Religious belief.

It don't ever waiver.

Bring me Howard Cosell's toupee!

The crowd is getting frantic.

I do a prelim in Atlanta against Jerry Quarry...

But we got to get this steamroller movin' right now.

Ain't no kryptonite in this ring tonight.

The messenger has lifted your suspension.

I begged my father to reinstate you.

When I got leery and talked up why I'm broke...

You won an eight-to-zero unanimous decision.

The heavy weight champion is taking the mandatory eight-count...

The discouraged, dispirited, denigrated denizens of the demimonde that is called the ghetto.

Look here, man, my fiduciary responsibility..
It's analogous to a garden in the African sun

14 January, 2012

a Slavic celebration, Malanka

Tamara with rushnik
session at the WOA Center was dedicated to the cross-cultural enrichment.

We decided to invite our American friends to celebrate the New Year according to the Julian Calendar.

The celebration was planned as a tea ceremony in Slavic tradition.

A lot of authentic arte facts were collected from home and friends to create the atmosphere of a Slavic celebration.

Patrick likes Ukrainian doll
 The discussion table and the interior of the Centre were decorated with authentic Ukrainian embroidered hand towels (“rushnyk”s) and famous local painting ornament “Petrykivka”.

 The Slavic dolls added extra fun to the design of the interior - a colorful Russian “Matreshka” and traditionally dressed Ukrainian rug- dolls “motanka”s (from the verb “motaty” – to wind, to coil ).

Some rustic household ware reminded us how ancient are the traditions of the Orthodox Christians - a clay porridge pot and milk pitcher, a wooden mortar and pestle, wooden spoons, etc.

The WOA staff and Club members dressed up in traditional outfits – Ms.Tamara presented Ukrainian style while Nastya Burova was wearing a national Russian dress “sarafan” with crown-like decoration headgear 'kokoshnik'.

The Slavic tea ceremony traditions were introduced by the set of classical Russian paintings depicting people drinking tea.

Our American guests were impressed by the beautiful historic costumes on some paintings and received explanations from the club members.

The samovar is the central symbol of the Russian Tea Ceremony. As a combination “teapot & brewing device” it is a truly unique creation. The lower unit is an urn like unit where the water is boiled, with a tap to pour out the brewed water. A teapot rests on top using heat generated from the lower unit to create strong infusions. These strong infusions, zavarka, are then diluted with hot water from the lower unit to suit personal tastes.

 Tea is traditionally consumed with lemon, honey and jam. Popular deserts for Russian tea party are ‘bubliki” (bagels) and “prianiki” (honey breads). In old times it was a habit to drink hot tea from a cup’s saucer – in order to cool the hot liquid faster. But we did not offer this unusual manner to our guests!

Sam and Kathryn are drinking tea the Russian way
We suggested to try the lemon tea from a glass. In the Russian tea culture the hot glass was served in a special glass-holder and the metal tea spoon was used to keep the thin glass from cracking from the boiling water. A spoon in the glass also helps to cool the drink. Our American friends seemed to enjoy both tea and snacks!

In Ukraine we did not produce any special style in drinking tea. But Ukraine boasts its beetroot sugar and numerous porcelain factories.

To balance the Russian tea ware we presented a fine tea set by Baranovka porcelain factory founded in 1802 in the Zhytomir region of Ukraine. The elaborate sugar basin with mother of pearl and gold decoration and floral design contained sugar in cubes – also an old fashion in Slavic tea drinking.

Our American guests were sincerely surprised with all the new facts they have learned at our tea ceremony. And we hope they will remember this educational tea ceremony!

The club members asked numerous questions about the favorite drinks in the USA and learned new facts about the modern trends in tea and coffee drinking.

From the tea ceremony we logically proceeded to discuss ethnic traditions of celebrating New Year in Ukrainian countryside. Many details of such traditions were unknown even to the Ukrainian club members.

Malanka is a Ukrainian folk holiday celebrated on January 13, which is New Year's Eve in accordance with the Julian calendar .

Malanka commemorates the feast day of Saint Melania the Younger. On this night in Ukraine, carolers traditionally went from house to house playing pranks or acting out a small play (similar to Vertep), with a bachelor dressed in women's clothing leading the troop.

Malanka caps off the festivities of the Christmas holidays, and is often the last opportunity for partying before the solemn period of Lent which precedes Easter.

In the western Ukraine the Malanka traditions have been preserved best and have acquired features of a true folk carnival.

The climax of Malanka celebrations is best to be watched. Hundreds if not thousands of people wearing masquerade costumes of Devils, Gypsies, Bears, Goats and other creatures pour out into the streets engaging the passers-by and spectators in their boisterous and sometimes wild fun. The participants and spectators let themselves go — but there is never any violence or “violations of public order” to such an extent that it would require the police interference.

The traditional meal often consists of kutia (a wheat, poppy seed and honey mixture, symbolizing peace, prosperity and good health), meat or cheese varenyky, buckwheat pancakes and sausages.

 The 14th is the feast day of Vasyl (Basil) the Great, one of the Church fathers.

These Christian holidays coincide with the solar cycles recognized in pre-Christian times. As an agrarian society, it was at this time of the year that ancestors of the Ukrainian people performed rituals to ensure plentiful crops, peace and well-being for all. The Malanka celebration serves as a bridge between the old and new religious traditions.

At the end of the session we have talked about the Slavic characters of New Year celebrations – Ded Moroz and Snow maiden.

 The session was a success and thoroughly enjoyed by all the participants!

11 January, 2012

The Shawshank Redemption

«Wednesday Movie Club». The film «The Shawshank Redemption» (1994) was presented to all who wish to improve their  language skills.

Crime | Drama 

Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Director: Frank Darabont

Writers: Stephen King (short story "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption"), Frank Darabont (screenplay)

Stars: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman and Bob Gunton

The Shawshank Redemption

With TRICKY ENGLISH excerpts by Joseph E Battilega
English is an easy language to learn, but a hard language to master.
The confrontation was bitter. I knew she hated all the sneaking around.

Where I get hazy is the part where the cleaning woman finds your wife and her lover in bed, riddled with .38 caliber bullets. Does that strike you as a fantastic coincidence?

He picks up a revolver, spins the cylinder before their eyes like a carnival barker spinning a wheel of fortune.

I submit to you this was not a hot-blooded crime of passion! That could at least be understood,
if not condoned.

(Judge speaking) I hereby order you to serve two life sentences, back to back.

Smokes. Put me down for two.

High roller.     Who's your horse?   That gangly one.    I'll take that action.   I stake half a pack.

I am Mr. Norton, the warden. You are sinners and scum. Rule number one: no blaspheming.

Half-blind from that delousing stuff they throw on you...

Now don't you listen to these nitwits, hear?

What's your malfunction?

(Question) How did you know that?      (Answer) I keep my ear to the ground.

A toothbrush, see, is a non-lethal sort of object.

I'm a rock hound.

The sisters have taken a real shine to you.

When they check you into this hotel one of the bellhops …..

It landed him in solitary confinement.

It was outdoor detail …

Cons shuffle past...

I think a man feels more like a man if he can have a bottle of suds.

The convicts stand gaping, all pretense of work gone. They look like they've been pole-axed.

The colossal jerk even managed to sound magnanimous.

We drank the beer. As for Andy, he spent that break hunkered in the shade …

You could argue he'd done it to curry favor with the guards.

...and totally inexplicable.

Andy spent a month in traction.

They scheduled the start of the intramural season to coincide with tax season...

Ain't that bad, old hoss. Won't be long till you're squiring pretty young girls on your arm.

The parole board got me into a halfway house and a job bagging groceries at the supermarket.

(Speaking of opera singers) I tell you, those voices soared. Higher and farther than anybody in
a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made
these walls dissolve away....

Andy got two weeks in the hole for that little stunt.

In 1959, the folks up Augusta way finally clued in to the fact ..

He's got scams you haven't dreamed            of. Kickbacks on his kickbacks.

A phantom. An apparition. Second cousin to Harvey the Rabbit. I conjured him out of thin air.

They'll wind up chasing a figment of my imagination.

You did a stretch in prison too?   That was an easy ride, work programs, weekend furloughs.

The cat shimmied up the tree and crept stealthily out on the limb...

I get a new cellmate. Big twitchy guy.  Kind of roomie...  High-strung as he was...

I got me this job one time bussing tables at a country club. So I could case all the rich folks that come in. I pick out this guy, hotshot banker.

How can you be so obtuse?

Andy is diligently shining Norton's shoes.

They got this skinny kid …. He wasn't much in the brains department...

It appealed to his meticulous nature.

There is a harsh truth to face. He pauses at a pawnshop window. An array of handguns.

04 January, 2012

The Graduate

The film "The Graduate" (1967) was presented to all who wish to improve their language skills.
DIRECTOR :  Mike Nichols
STARRING :  Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross
Dustin Hoffman, in his film debut, stars as Benjamin, a young college graduate who is seduced by Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the wife of his father's boss. The plot is complicated when Hoffman falls in love with Mrs. Robinson's daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross). The film won the Golden Globe award for Best Picture & Mike Nichols won the Oscar for Best Director.  Brilliant performances & an unforgettable music score by Simon and Garfunkel make this film, the masterpiece that it is. 
"The Graduate" is considered by some to be one of the finest films ever made. Don't miss it.


The Dnipropetrovsk  WINDOWS ON  AMERICA center featured Movie, January 4, 2012

With TRICKY ENGLISH excerpts by Joseph E Battilega

English is an easy language to learn, but a hard language to master.

The sacrifices made for those we love

Uncompromising ambition

I shall endeavor to carry it...

We will make our four hour flight plan smack on the nose.

What's the matter?

Hey - there's our award winning scholar

Is that the new car out there? The little red Wop job?

The girls.  The chicks.  The teeny-boppers.

Here's the track star himself.

Ben - we're all so proud of you.

Would you mind walking ahead of me to the sun porch.

I'm very neurotic.

I feel rather flattered that you...

Would you like me to seduce you?

I'm getting tired of all this suspicion.

You look a little shaken up.

Sow a few wild oats.  Take things as they come.  Have a good time with the girls and so forth.

You have yourself a few flings this summer. 

One of the most astounding events ever to take place in this particular backyard.

Wait a minute - let me amend that
Just hang on a minute

One of the leading seats of learning in this country

Are you here for an affair, sir? (double entendre)

I will have a martini.

Well, I am a bit nervous.  I mean it's – it's hard to be suave when you're -

Will you bring me a hanger?

You’re afraid of being - inadequate -

After a few weeks a person should take stock in himself, think about getting off his ass.

I don't know the risk involved.

Let's drop it.

I'm a dirty degenerate, aren't     I?  I'm not fit to -

I'm good enough for you but I'm too slimy to associate with your daughter.

This is absurd.

Don't you think that she's a terribly attractive girl?

It's pretty embarrassing.  It's awkward and strained for me...

They cling exhausted to the raft …

I've had this feeling – this - kind of compulsion that I have to be rude all the time.

I'm asking you please not to wreck it.

This whole idea sounds pretty half-baked.

I am growing somewhat weary of family life.

I have been meaning to stop by and pay my     respects

You're not one of those agitators?

I was wondering where you were headed.

But you're not enrolled. No. I just sit in. They don't seem to mind.  They've been very congenial.

I don't think we'll have any more of this agitation. 
Do you have a special grudge against me?  Do you feel a strong resentment for me?

Is it something I've said that caused this contempt?  Or do you just despise the things I stand for.

Do you want to unclench your fists?

I don't want to mince words with you.

I think you are filth. I think you are scum.

He's probably still in the sack.

Where's the Make Out King getting married?

The other guests are ad-libbing their confusion.

03 January, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, dear friends!

The last Year of the Dragon, which occurred in 2000, was fraught with fear. There was a lot of hand wringing about the collapse of our technological world, the Y2K bug and other millennial prophecies that turned out to be more hype than bite.

The Year of the Dragon is again just around the corner and fear and trepidation are once more an issue. This time it’s the Mayan Calendar and the alleged 2012 Armageddon prophecy. Is the Chinese Year of the Dragon, which comes around every 12 years, truly something to be feared?

Unlike the wicked, fire-breathing dragons of Western mythology, China’s celestial dragon symbolizes potent and benevolent power. Dragons are ancient, majestic, wise, and intelligent, and Dragon years are considered particularly auspicious for new businesses, marriage and children. Dragon years also tend to boost individual fortunes and the world economy.

It’s also true, however, that all five of the Chinese Dragon years — Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water — tend to magnify both success and failure. So while they can mark huge achievement, disasters can be equally immense. The Year of the Fire Dragon (1917, 1976, and 2036) typically wreaks the most havoc.

However, the Year of the Water Dragon (1992, 1952 and 2012) is noted for its calm, visionary intelligence, and balance of right brain creativity with left brain logic.

What influence might the Water Dragon, which rules from January 23, 2012 to February 9, 2013, have on the powerful energies already anticipated at that time?

Like all Dragons, the Water Dragon is an innovative, fearless leader. But the Water Dragon is also far more sensitive to others’ needs, and is more likely to be progressive and diplomatic, as well as socially and environmentally conscious. Because Water bestows a more peaceful disposition, this Dragon will act wisely and intelligently, and unlike his fellow Dragons, is willing to set aside his ego for the good of all.

This Dragon is a successful negotiator, and while he is adept at marketing, he also knows how to apply force skillfully when necessary. On the down side, the Water Dragon sometimes forgets to build a solid foundation for his grand plans, and he can hold on too long to pet ideas and projects, and thus create a famous Dragon-sized disaster.

If you subscribe to the dawn-of-a-new-era theory of 2012, then it’s easy to see how the influence of the Water Dragon will increase the likelihood of success for progressive movements gaining momentum all across the globe. Energy conservation and green energy-producing technologies, curtailing Global Warming, challenges to multinational corporations, attention to world hunger and the renewed health of the oceans and sea creatures will all likely fare well.

If your expectations tend more toward disaster, then you might expect tsunamis, hurricanes, monsoons and other weather extremes to be in the headlines.

But of all the Dragon years, the 2012 Water Dragon is most likely to bestow the Chinese Five Blessings of harmony, virtue, riches, fulfillment and longevity, adding even more weight to the growing belief that 2012 will be about breakthroughs, not disasters.