Archive for December, 2009


An American visiting England walked into a hotel lobby.

“The lift will be down presently,” the receptionist told him.
“The lift?” said the American. “Oh, you mean the elevator?”
“No, I mean the lift,” replied the Englishman.
“I think I should know what it is called,” said the American. “Elevators were invented in the States.”
“Perhaps,” retorted the Englishman. “But we invented the language.”

Union Stars & Stripes Jack

A university professor once said, "There are no such things as American English and British English - it's either English or American. And we only have the English department at school."

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WEAK OR STRONG?

I am clearly aware that different people have different personalities.  But which is the stronger and which is the weaker – showing or hiding feelings?

In my life, I have always shown my feelings and opinions in whatever situation possible though there have been times when I did not open up for I did not feel appropriate.  Especially, when I’m going through some emotion, I never hid my feelings: I cry, I laugh, I crack jokes, I get crazy and even angry.  Like I have always said, I like expressing things, expressing myself and letting others know things.  Most of the ones who like me like me because of this.  On the other hand, some others say that is a weakness and I should get rid of that weird habit or freaky tendency tendency.  But I am not willing to change myself for any reasons whatsoever.

I know different kinds of people … though not a lot.  Some make very impressing first impressions; some, I have to learn to like gradually; some, misunderstood for quite some time to have a certain personality which they later prove to not have; and some, bitter form the first sight and I can never get along with.  I learn to know about these kinds of people by letting them know about me.  I value “Love and Trust”“If you want somebody to trust you, you’ve got to trust that person first,” somebody (who later claimed I never trusted him) told me when we first met.  When I meet somebody new and if I like them on the spot, I make myself a point that that person is going to like me in return and we are going to find out something real and interesting about each other.  I do that by expressing myself fully – as far as words or actions can take me.  And I always succeed in that.

That is my first (kind of) step in making a new friend for a firm relationship.  If somebody I met is somebody I will have to work together with for some time or somebody in whom I find something special, I take another step.  I try to find out their values – I ask them what they value in life, what they want from life, what they want from what they do and what they expect from me.  Everybody finds that a bit odd when I have such conversations with them and often refuses to tell me their insights.  Since somebody’s got to make a move for further things, I give away my profiles.  It’s no big deal!  There’s nothing lost and yet you can even have them opening up and telling you things.

With my close friends, I don’t keep anything from them.  I tell them what I’m going through – good or bad – when it comes to my mind.  They listen and we usually work things out together.  Everything works out in the end … though not every close friend is a reliable confidant or a good friend.  Among my friends and acquaintances, whenever they have something wrong anything bugging them, I strongly suggest them that they bring it up as some kind of discussion.  I like to get my problems solved in a group and I like having other people’s problems solved.

Some lovely feedback I get back from my behaviour of being open and frank is “Ooh, have you no shame bringing this problem up to be solved by a whole group?”, “You gotta be more self-dependent – get it over yourself!”, “You are always telling others how you feel or think: that is so emotionally weak and socially immature.”, etc.  It’s not that I don’t agree with these words, but I also must say they are not always right.  Anyway, I try to fight these things back and the discussion whether to show or hide feelings still remain unfinished.

Very frequently, I tell others that I AM an artist and I create and present or express new things or things that come to my imagination.  Therefore, as encouragements for my nature, I get things like “No, you’re not weak; that is so artistically strong!”, “I like that.  You always tell me what’s on your mind and so I can tell you my feelings, too.”, “You’re such a gentle person.”, etc.  People who say these words are usually my kind of people and I especially like them.  At the same time, I try to get along with people who don’t agree with me and learn to like them.  At times, they seem stronger mentally than us unquestionably.  They seem to be able to withstand tough things by themselves, which is impressive but by which I’m not impressed.

I think that “emotionally enclosed” people are usually misunderstood to have a personality that they don’t really possess.  They are believed by most people to be heartless, insensible, robotic or inhumane in some way.  Generally, most of them have pretty good reasons as to why they hide what they feel.  Some have certain mental trauma, some just like to be alone, some used to be expressive but found out that it doesn’t work for them and so on.  One of my closest friends has had little love and care from his parents and doesn’t know well how to express love, care or other feelings well.  He just puts a stern face on as if he’s trying to prevent people from harming him.  (He must have had some trauma but I’m not sure.)  There is another friend – a girl – who is regarded by many to be heartless for she is an extreme bookworm and studies all the time.  She has a very restricted social life with only a few friends.  As I came to know her, she opened up little by little because I kept poking her to tell me more about her.  And later, it turns out that she admires my perspective of things and is fond of me and what I do.  That’s how I form relationships.

This whole thing is like the Dashwood sisters form Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility.  I came to be more aware of this issue after reading the 11th and 14th chapters in A.J. Cronin’s Adventures in Two Worlds.  I couldn’t finish reading the Jane Austin novel because I lost interest in it and it got boring enough for me to stop.  But Cronin gave me the message that even though we may look tough on the outside, we have the same kind of soft tender hearts inside prone to getting hurt.  My inference is that we become either soft or hard on the outside, i.e. whether we show or hide our feelings, depends how we reflect upon what comes from inside.   We should not condemn people who openly express their emotions: they are just being sincere.  And we should not be hard on those who look tough: they have the same kind of hearts inside which could break.  Letting others know what you feel has its own good points and bad points.  We just need to act upon the situation.

1. Céline Dion This French diva from Canada is my all-time favourite artist.  She can sing in all colours of both Anglophone and Francophone music and versatile tones – from classical to rock – with sweet romantic voice.  Besides her artistry, her friendly personality and cheery disposition also make a great impression on my personal life.  Her husband (who is also her manager) says her voice counts only 20% for her success but her personality contributes to the rest of the percentage!

–        She is a soprano with a vocal range of 3.4 octaves from B2 to E6.
–        My favourite album of hers is the Anglophone album ‘A New Day Has Come’.
–        My favourite song of hers is the classic ballad ‘My Heart Will Go On’ – love theme from the movie ‘Titanic’.

Céline Dion

"Coz you're my lady, and I am your fan ..."

2. ABBA The 4 performers of this 2-couple pop group really knows how to groove. Their allegro rhythms, soothing melodies, highly advanced piano arpeggios and the simple words composed by the male performers can move me indeed.  Also, the strong vocals of the two female performers, accompanied by the bouncing music, raise my spirits up and make me want to sing my heart out.  They inspire me a lot through both their vocal and instrumental performance.

–        I don’t have a definite favourite album of theirs.
–        My favourite song of theirs is the disco pop song ‘Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie (A Man after Midnight)’.

3. Michael Jackson He is entitled the ‘The King of Pop’ but I’d like to call him ‘The Emperor of Music’ or ‘The Grandfather of Every Contemporary Music’.  I admire him mainly as a performer – for his androgynous but unique vocal displays, avant-garde and eye-catching dance moves and – of course – for his strong, passionate creativity and vision.  Although he is no more, he is believed by everyone to linger in the history of music and in the hearts of his fans.  He came up with new ideas and pathways for music and entertainment and totally revolutionized music videos and live concerts.  Being able to cope with many genres of music, he was the idol and role model for many artists – some of whom are in this list – influencing their artistic creations and performances. He made a great impact on many genres of music, but why didn’t he touch country music?  Anyhow, such an all-rounded versatile artist is to live only once in this whole world.

–        He was a boy-soprano and had an androgynous tenor voice with a 3.6 octave range from E2 to B5.
–        My favourite album of his is ‘Number Ones’.
–        My favourite song of his is the rock song ‘Beat It’ which sings against gang violence.

4. Whitney Houston She is an African-American diva popular for her movie soundtrack albums.  She is good with all areas of music, especially with soul, R&B, jazz and gospel songs.  Her powerful voice enables her to move my heart with great force.  She is (to me) the female version of Michael Jackson in making music videos and also has substantial impact on today’s R&B artists.

–        She is an ex-soprano who is now a mezzo-soprano and has a vocal range of 3.3 octaves form A2 to C#6.
–        My favourite album of hers is her ‘Greatest Hits’ album with 4 new songs and several remixes.
–        My favourite song of hers is ‘I Will Always Love You’ – the original soundtrack from the movie ‘The Bodyguard’.

5. Sarah Brightman This British diva is unquestionably the “Queen of Operatic Pop and Classical Crossover”.  She can combine classical, pop, rock and other forms of music with her soft and sweet vocal and musical skills.  Moreover, she is also a skilful dancer and has played remarkable roles on Broadway … but I don’t know much about that.  She has collaborated with many artists who specialize in different kinds of music.  She is one of a kind.

–        She is a soprano and has a vocal range of 3.5 octaves form B2 to F6.  (I’m not sure about the lowest note.)
–        My favourite album of hers is ‘Harem’ which features great Middle-eastern music influenced by pop and dance styles.
–        My favourite song of hers is ‘Question of Honour’ – the official song of the championship boxing between Henry Maske and Graciano Rocchigiani – which takes the first verse form the Alfred Cantalani opera “La Wally”.

6. Christina Aguilera This lady has a great sense for pop, soul and blues.  She has always been regarded as ‘the girl with the big voice’.  I’d frankly like to call her voice a fierce one which can feature various emotions from aggression and regret to romance, etc. Some say her voice is sexy but I don’t get it.  One thing special about her is that she pays much respect and credit for her works to those who have influenced her artistry.  She is a visionary and inspirational artist, and is the creative director in most of her music videos and concerts.  For taking time to compose music, her creations usually show genuine originality though there is much gap between them.

–        She is a soprano with a vocal range of 4 octaves from C3 to C7.
–        My favourite album of hers is her 2-disc album ‘Back to Basics’.
–        My favourite song of hers duet with Ricky Martin ‘Nobody Wants to Be Lonely’.

7. Boney M All 5 artists of this disco group are the ones who triggered my interest and passion in music and dancing.  Their disco music is closer to rock and Latin rather than pop and dance.  The songs hold simple melodies and simple words but strong beat with loud bass, drums and percussion; I call their music “alternative disco”.  The singing of the 3 male performers is supported by the bass vocals of the male performers and his awkward yet attractive dance moves.

–        I don’t have a definite favourite album of theirs.
–        My favourite song of theirs is ‘Rasputin’.

8. Leona Lewis She has the ability to captivate me in her music.  Her voice holds great attraction, though not very sweet.  The lyrics of her songs are especially visual and features strong emotions, and her music, which is usually pop or R&B, goes in perfect match with her powerful mezzo-soprano voice.  Despite words she sings and her remarkable voice being of stellar grade, the melodies and musical arrangements seem to be almost mediocre.

–        She is a mezzo-soprano with a vocal range of 3.2 octaves from D3 to Eb6.
–        My favourite album of hers is her debut album ‘Spirit’.
–        My favourite song of hers is Bleeding Love’.

9. Carrie Underwood She has stolen this place on this list from Shania Twain.  She has greatly impressed me with her pure country music.  Her music involves authentic country rhythms, flamboyant vocal displays and jazzy country electronic instrumental plays.  Also, she can rock very well with her country music.  The words used in her songs reveal her keen faith in God.  She is a special female country artist like no other.

–        She is an alto whose vocal range I don’t know.  (Some say she can belt a G5 but … I don’t buy it.)
–        My favourite album of hers is ‘Carnival Ride’.
–        My favourite song of hers is ‘Flat on the floor’.

10. Mariah Carey I admire her vocal versatility.  Her thrilling voice spans a remarkable range of 5 octaves, and she uses her head voice properly as whistle ringers.  Her song-writing skills and other musical capabilities add on to her vocal abilities.  She is unquestionably the “Queen of R&B”.  But one should wonder … “Why is she at the bottom of my favourite 10?”  Well, at least, she is still one of my favourites.
–        She is an incredible alto with a vocal range of 5 octaves from A2 to Ab7.
–        My favourite album of hers is ‘E =mc2.
–        My favourite song of hers is ‘We belong together’.

NOTE: You will see only one male artist here because I listen to female singers more.  So what?  I’m a guy and I am more attracted to female voices!  And my list continues in the poll.  Please vote and leave comments …

GOOD EGG, BAD EGG?

What happens to an egg over time? Here’s a way to tell how old your eggs are …

The quality of an egg deteriorates right after it leaves the hen.  A fresh egg white will be cloudy but, as the egg ages, the white becomes more clear and runny.

A fresh yolk has more dissolved molecules than the white, and this osmotic imbalance creates a natural pressure for water in the white to migrate across the yolk membrane.   Each day, five milligrams of water cross from the white to the yolk in each of your refrigerated eggs; the water causes the yolk to swell, thinning it and weakening the membrane.

The egg itself also loses water daily, causing the yolk and white to shrink while the air cell at the wide end of the egg expands.  Because of this moisture loss, there is an easy way to gauge the freshness of your eggs.

Fill a bowl with water and drop your eggs in.  A fresh egg has less air space; therefore it is denser than water and will sink to the bottom.  But, as the egg ages, the loss of water causes the air cell to expand.  The older the egg, the higher the wide end of the shell will rise in a bowl of water.

Egg

Check it before you eat!

An egg that actually floats is very old and should be discarded.

NOTE: This is a post I found on somebody’s blog.

CONSECUTIVE NUMBERS

A lunatic asylum was noisy with the patients shouting a certain number.  They were saying, “37 … 37 … 37 …!”

A doctor, being annoyed, turned to the patients and asked, “Why is the reason that you all are yelling that number, 37?”

In unison, the patients pointed at the floor above.  And so, the doctor went up the stairs to find out.  There on the nest floor, he found the patients shouting the same number as well.  He asked the same question.  The patients gave the same reply by pointing at the next floor.  Then, he went up the stairs again to the next level.  This way, he climbed to the 4th level to find all the patients in each floor shouting, “37 … 37 … 37 …!”

When the doctor had reached the top level –which is the 4th – and had asked the patients his questions, one of the patients pointed out the window at something on the grown.  Finally, he was getting something.  He bent over to look down the stairs.  Suddenly, the patients standing near him grabbed him and threw him down the windows.

And then they all cried, “38 … 38 … 38 …!”

NOTE: I translated this form Burmese into English so there might be some odd language usages in it.