Sunday, March 31, 2013

When is Easter in 2013? Today!

You would know this if you had paid attention in your astronomy class.

Easter is a so-called moving feast of the Christian church: in the year 325 the first synod of Nicea decided that in every year the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox we celebrate the Easter Sunday. Why the bunny? In the old, pagan times, this time of the year was the rebirth the nature and the feast of fertility, somewhere around the spring equinox.

The dates of Easter are tied to the full Moon and the vernal equinox (not the civil calendar).

  • Christian churches that follow the Gregorian calendar, such as many Western Christian churches, celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the paschal full Moon on or just after the vernal equinox. For simplicity, the equinox is considered March 21. The paschal full Moon always falls on the 14th day of a lunar month; because ancient calculations did not take into account certain lunar motions, this date may be slightly off from the astronomical full Moon date.

  • In Christian churches that follow the Gregorian calendar for determining the date of Easter, the observance can never occur before March 22 or after April 25. In Christian churches that follow the Julian calendar for determining the date of Easter, the observance can occur between April 4 and May 8 (using Gregorian calendar dates).

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bike Pumps with Style

London has begun installing tire pumps for cyclists around the city. This is a good way to appreciate the fact that some people are doing the responsible thing and trying to limit their carbon emissions and stay healthy at the same time--both things are greatly beneficial to society.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Valencia CF Players in World Cup Play

Valencia CFs international players in action on Tuesday, March 26th, were decisive in wins for their respective national teams. Ever Banega and Sofiane Feghouli scored key goals, Joao Pereira was victorious and only Nelson Valdez was on the losing side.

Banega scored for Argentina against Bolivia, with a headed goal that tied the game and kept his team top of their group in the World Cup qualifying stage. Feghouli opened up the scoring against Benin with a shot from the far post, in a game which eventually ended 3-1.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spanish Proverbs

Start Them Young!

The Spanish are known for their proverbs and sayings (refranes y dichos). I’m sure that I know more proverbs in Spanish than in English although no one would accuse me of being a refranero (a person who has a proverb for every occasion). Proverbs are an important part of the language but some of them may require a little in the way of explanation. Here are a few choice examples.

A mal tiempo, buena cara
In bad times, a face held high
We are advised to face adversity with valor and good spirits, and not to let disappointment show and prevail over us.

A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda
God helps him who rises early
In Spanish we have a special verb to say “to get up early”: madrugar.
For those wishing to attain success, diligence is in good order. Exert yourself and help from Above will follow, says this famous Spanish saying.

Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres
Tell me who you are friends with and I´ll tell you who you are
Much can be inferred about a person´s character and tastes by noting who his friends are and in what circles he moves. Also, we are reminded that whom to choose as friends is not a matter to be taken lightly, as the people we socialize with won't fail to influence us, for better or for worse.

En casa del herrero, cuchara de palo
In the blacksmith´s house, a wooden spoon
It notes that in the place where it would be most expected to find something it´s often absent. It´s used as well when children don´t follow on their parents´ footsteps.

En boca cerrada no entran moscas
Flies don´t enter a shut mouth
Keep your fat gob shut and you will avoid a lot of problems.

En tierra de ciegos, el tuerto es rey
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king
Even a mediocre person can stand out if surrounded by morons.

Más vale ser cabeza de ratón que cola de león
Better to be a mouse´s head than a lion’s tail (A big fish in a small puddle)
According to this famous Spanish saying, it is preferable to lead at a more modest level than to be one-among many in higher circles.

En todas partes se cuecen habas
”Habas” everywhere are cooked
Habas are a type of broad bean. They used to be regarded as food for the poor as well as for animals.

No one and no place is exempt from problems and unpleasantness.

Errando se aprende a herrar
By making mistakes (errar: “to make mistakes”) one learns the blacksmith's trade (herrar)
By trial and error we learn.

Gato con guantes no caza ratones
A cat with mittens cannot hunt mice
One cannot knead dough without getting one’s hands into the thick of it. To get a task properly done one must forgo elegancies and refinements that are out of place.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spain vs France @ 21.00 (Telecinco)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Barcelona says defender Jordi Alba will be sidelined at least a week with a leg injury, ruling him out of Spain's World Cup qualifier against France on Tuesday.

The left back is also doubtful for the first leg of Barcelona's Champions League quarterfinal at Paris Saint-Germain on April 2.

Alba injured a muscle in his right leg during Spain's 1-1 tie with Finland on Friday. The former Valencia player played in 35 games for Barcelona since joining the club during the offseason.

He was a regular for Spain last summer when the world champions won their second straight European championship.

Spain trails France by two points in Group I. The game in Paris could go a long way in determining which team wins the group and the automatic berth for the 2014 World Cup.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Degustar Espana (A Taste of Spain)

Degustar España is a radio program that takes you around the country to taste everything Spain has to offer. You can download podcasts of the program and listen to them at your convenience. An excellent way to learn about the great food and drink Spain has to offer and improve your Spanish. ¡Buen provecho!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Espanoles en el Mundo

Españoles en el Mundo is my favorite TV program in Spain if you don't count football. In each episode we see where and how Spanish expats live around the world. You can watch the program from the home page. You can watch it Wednesdays at 23:30 on TVE.

Friday, March 22, 2013

World Cup Qualifier: Spain vs Finland @ 20:45

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has included Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea in the Spanish national squad the World Cup qualifiers.

Spain will face Finland in Sporting Gijon`s el Molinon Stadium on March 22 in a World Cup qualifying game, before traveling to Paris on March 26 for what is likely to be the decisive qualifying game, after the two teams drew at the Vicente Calderon earlier in the group stage.

With both sides having dropped just two points each, the reigning World Champions need to avoid defeat in France to avoid the prospect of a potentially difficult qualifying round, in order to reach the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

VIDEO: how does Globexs work?