W., the new film by Oliver Stone, director of one of my all-time favourites Wall Street, recounts the career of President George W. Bush. W. scores 57% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer and Rotten Tomatoes is the place to go if you want to read reviews. RT sums up the film as follows: 'A surprisingly sympathetic portrayal of the 43rd American president, W. is fascinating in spots, but merely rudimentary as a whole'. We can safely wait for the DVD then.
There have been a series of scares involving food produced in China recently. First, there was a scandal about contaminated milk and now eggs. This CNN video looks at what food China produces and who buys it. I've provided a transcript below. The Guardian has a good article on the background to worries about Chinese food safety.
Lesson idea: You could use this video as part of a lesson on food vocabulary. A good site for learning food vocabulary is LanguageGuide.org.
Food from China - Transcript
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Chinese import more food than they sell to the rest of the world. Even so, they've managed to corner the market on things like garlic. This country produces about 75% of the world's garlic. That's one reason, perhaps, why food exports from China have increased by almost 30% this year alone. And Japan is China's number one customer. Last year, the Japanese bought about $9 billion U.S. worth of food, and a third of that was seafood. The United States also bought more than a billion dollars worth of seafood, and overall, the U.S. is China's number two customer for food. And despite all the controversy there over Brand China, the Americans are actually buying more food from China than ever before, up almost 20 percent this year alone, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
So, what are the Americans buying? So far this year, Americans have bought more apple juice than they did for all of 2007, spending half a billion dollars, a lot more than any other country. The same deal with canned mushrooms. In fact, China is one of the biggest exporters of fruit and vegetables, sending apples to Russia, tea to Morocco, rice to Korea, and last year, selling a million tons of fresh eggs around the world. But it's still not known what impact the contaminated milk scandal will have on exports. Tainted milk powder ingredients have been found in everything from cookies to chocolate to pizza in more than a dozen countries so far. In the coming months, the world might just lose its appetite a little for food coming from China. John Vause, CNN, Beijing.
It’s that time of the year again - a slow news Friday turns into a
Halloween logo design contest. All the web companies will try to show
off how cool, funny, and unbusinesslike they are by adorning their
logos with cute little pumpkins and ghosts. See the logos >>
One of my favourite cartoonists is KAL, who does a weekly cartoon for The Economist. KAL's official website is Kaltoons, where you can find a portfolio featuring his favourite cartoons and magazine covers from his 30-year career. KAL also produces animation clips and has his own channel on YouTube. Here's a clip featuring the future ex-President of the U.S.A.
Portfolio.com, the online edition of Condé Nast's Portfolio magazine, has an excellent collection of multimedia business resources including interactive features, videos, slideshows, audio slideshows and graphics.
Verdict: A great source of material for the Business English teacher.
Here's a topical cartoon from the weekly editorial cartoons slideshow (click to enlarge):
Hallowe'en (derived from "All Hallow's Eve," so called as it is the day before All Saints day) is celebrated on the night of October 31, usually by children dressing in costumes and going door-to-door collecting sweets.
In some countries, notably the USA, Halloween is big business. A few years ago it looked as though Halloween was going to become popular in France. Marketers invested a lot of money in promoting it but it hasn't really caught on and is now just a minor distraction. Full marks to the French for resisting American cultural imperialism!
If are interested in Halloween, you can find articles, stories, games, cartoons and trivia relating to Halloween on the British Council's LearnEnglishCentral site.
In this election, YouTube has provided a new way for people to consume and communicate their views - from the serious to the silly, the official to the outrageous. BBC News has compiled a list of the Top Ten YouTube Election videos. No Paris Hilton I'm afraid but here's one of the most powerful:
Here's a Halloween slideshow I created for use with my English for Marketing students. There are some graphs and charts at the end which would be useful for practising the language of trends and numbers.
Forget about Halloween, the big marketing sensation in France at the moment is the DVD release of the film Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis (Welcome to the Sticks). The shops are full of Ch'ti merchandise and spin-offs. The film, which tells the story of a a post office manager from Provence in southern France who is relocated to Bergues, a small town in the north, was a surprise box-office hit earlier this year. Over 20 million people went to see the film, a figure bettered only by Titanic. It fared less well in the UK despite an ecstatic review in The Guardian:
An unexpected pièce de résistance emerges from a surprising quarter.
The subtitler succeeds in matching French mis-speaks with plausible
English equivalents in a tour de force which merits the creation of a
whole new Oscar category and provides British audiences (insofar as
there are any) with an extra layer of entertainment denied to their
Will Smith's production company has bought the rights to remake the film in the U.S. I wonder how they will adapt the story. Much of the humour in the French original comes from the fact that the southerner can't understand the local dialect (Ch'ti). I suppose a west-coast yuppie ending up in Harlem might be one possibility... Or is that too obvious? Any suggestions?
While we're all waiting for that, here's the French trailer with English subtitles.