Genre: Castle on the Hill

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This Genre profile is also a classroom activity to be used to talk about memories and past tense. This song, Castle on the Hill, was written by Ed Sheeran and released two years later. It focuses on memories of a childhood where one experiences his ups and downs, his firsts and lasts, his friends and foes, and his love for the land he grew up. It talks about friendships and love, experiences that are worth remembering and those that are worth forgetting, and lastly what has changed between now and the time then. Have a look at the piece that is worth watching and listening to:

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Now comes the exercises that are worth doing. You can do one or all of them, but they all talk about the same thing- memories of growing up.

  • Experiences- Make a list of personal experiences you had in your childhood, both good and bad. Then choose one out of each and tell us a story about the experience- when it happened, why you did it and the result. Most importantly, each story must include a lesson to share with everyone.
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  • Friends- Make a list of friends with whom you hung around with during your childhood. Then you can do one or more of the following:

_Who was your best friend? Tell us about him/her?

_Tell us about your circle of friends- each one about his/her life, characteristics, like/dislikes/ hobbies, etc., and what happened to them in the present.

_Your experiences hanging out with your friends- what you normally did and the events that happened that were good or bad

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  • Place of childhood- Tell us about the place where you grew up. What did the community have while you were growing up and what has changed between now and then.
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  • Favorite Foods- Tell us your favorite foods you had while growing up and why you liked it so much. Would you recommend it to others and if so, why? Apply this to other topics, like TV shows/movies, music, books/magazines, cars, places to visit, etc. Anything that comes to heart and mind and you wish to talk about.
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  • Life with your family- What kind of family did you have? Tell us about your parents and siblings. What kind of life did you have with the family? Some events that happened that had a defining moment in your life would be helpful but not a must.
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  • What things did you wish you could have done but didn’t? Every single one of us has done this and has a list of regrets. List them and ask what would have happened had you done what you regretted not having done.
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  • Random Questions. Then feel free to add a few questions of your own on some index cards and have your students pick a card, read the question and talk about it. The questions must have to do with childhood memories and must be appropriate for classroom use.

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The song itself received numerous accolades and ended up as nr. 2 in the hit charts in most countries. It’s one song where you can close your eyes and return to the day of what you were as a child, reliving the days and trying to ask yourself, what-if. Therefore, it’s worth listening to in class, but just as valuable sharing your childhood experiences, regardless of where you came from and what you experienced. Our past helps us determine who we are at present but provides lessons to the future generations.

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A Wish and a Decidation that Made it Happen- Coca Cola Christmas Commercial

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What is your wish for Christmas and what would it take for your wish to come true? This is the main theme for a truly, heart-wrenching commercial that was released in the media by Coca-Cola this year. The first Coca-cola commercial with Santa came in 1986, with the Santa train being introduced in the late 1990s. And while people can associate the Santa train with the Coca-Cola commercials, not to mention the title oft he song, The Real Thing by the late Melanie Thorton, this commercial hits the spot because of the love and dedication that it took to make the wish happen.

So have a look at the commercial and think about what you wish for- carefully. Then ask yourself what it would take to make this wish come true.

As a bonus, enjoy the song, The Real Thing by Melanie Thorton……..

I myself have a personal wish for you all, which you will find in the Advent Calendar that you will see quite soon.

Happy Holidays! 🕯️🕯️❤️❄️☕☃️🎄⛪🎁🎉⛄🌨️🤠🚛🚛🚛

Genre of the Week: A Tribute to the Swing

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This week’s Genre of the Week pays a tribute to some of the greatest soul and R&B (rhythm and blues) singers who have passed recently. One of them happened to be the predecessor to Elvis Presley in terms of fame during the infancy of rock music, Little Richard. Known as the Innovator, the Originator and the Architect of Rock and Roll, Little Richard was known as the person who created rock and roll with its combination of piano, brass and swing, and set the foundation for other artists of his time to follow suit, namely, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Eddie Cochran and especially, Elvis, who later became the King of Rock and Roll. While Little Richard provided the swing, especially with his smash hit, Tutti Frutti (released in 1955), other musicians experimented with instruments which led to rock music splitting into its many forms later on during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, such as heavy metal, R&B, dance (including disco) and pop music. Little Richard continued his career in R&B and soul music, thus leaving 73 years of legacy for many generations to listen to and learn about how rock music was born, raised and fanned out into the forms we listen to today. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. The Swing died on May 9th at the age of 87.

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One of the first things that came to mind upon hearing of his passing was a mixture of swing and rock, where Tutti Frutti was paid a tribute. In 1989, Jive Bunny and the Master Mixers created a mix of techno, pop, jazz, classic rock and swing with the release of Swing the Mood.

Little Richard’s masterpiece was included together with what other pieces of music? Hint: One of them was a song by Elvis, another was first used in a TV sitcom Happy Days. There are two versions. Listen to them and try to figure out who sang what song and in which year. Enjoy this one as we pay tribute to Little Richard.

Short Version:

 

Long (12 Inch Record) Version:

 

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Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers also had two other songs that were released, paying tribute to classic rock and swing, That’s What I Like and Let’s Party. They too were released in 1989 and all three of them reached Nr. 1 in the Bilboards. The group from Yorkshire, England later became known as Mastermix DJ Music Service and to this day, produce music and dance mixes for radio and for online streaming.

 

Fl Fi USA

 

Photo Flick 19- Corona Special

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In light of the Corona Virus, combined with the planned easing of restrictions by the governments of many countries, this drawing tells all.  Based on the painting The Scream, I’m not sure how Edvard Munch (1863- 1944) would react to the current situation had he been alive today and not during the time he painted the original (1893), let alone if he would’ve done what I did, kept his original as is or did it differently.  Who knows?

We do know is this can be interpreted in many ways and spawn an interesting dinner table conversation in the process- and this going beyond the circle of artists and historians. 😉

Stay safe, folks! 🙂

FlFi10

The Gambler: A Tribute to Kenny Rogers

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There are many cultural aspects that are typical of the US. Country music is one of them. It is not like our German Volksmusik because it talks about love Bavarian style. It’s a type of music where you need a guitar, a road, a set of cards and some love stories of women in the past and present, who put a stamp in the heart of a man, dressed up in a cowboy hat and riding a stallion or a horse.

We’ve had many country music singers come and go in the last 50 years or so, like Wynonna Judd, Glen Campbell and Garth Brooks. But one person left over 40 years of country music on the highway as he left to join the Lord.

Kenny Rogers died on 20 March, 2020 at the age of 81 years. He was a talented singer, who started his career in 1976 and retired in 2017, leaving behind 36 albums with 24 songs receiving national and international accolades. His second, not to mention hardly ingnorable second job was an actor, who made his debut in 1973 but last appeared in 2009. He will be remembered as the rustling cowboy, who was a fast shooter and stole the hearts and minds of many women in the Wild, Wild West.  His most famous role that will be remembered by many is the man who cleaned town, Brady Hawkes, in the Gambler series, five films that were released from 1980 until its last one in 1994. He also played Jack MacShayne in the MacShayne film series in 1994.

As mentioned before, Rogers left a legacy that spanned 40 years in the show business. Many of us grew up listening to his songs and watching him clean town in the Wild West. When asked what country music means to them, seven out of ten will mention Kenny Rogers in one form or another because of his style, his tender heart, and lastly, as a lifelong teacher.  When hearing the news of his passing, one song came to mind that best describes his legacy, which is The Gambler.  Watch the video and ask yourselves these two questions:

  1. What was meant by his lessons brought up in the video in the literal sense? Remember, the song has to do with Poker and other card games that were popular in the Wild West, as much as today.
  2. At the same time, what do these lessons mean in the moral and figurative sense? Each lesson does have an underlying meaning that we can take with.

 

To close with a quote: Life is like a game of cards. How lucky we are depends on what hand we have. Some of us will be lucky, some won’t. Some will keep trying, some won’t. Some will find ways to win, some will find ways to hinder it. And lastly, some will find ways to stop the immorals from ruining their lives, others will simply watch and learn, to be used when the next window of opportunity opens.

RIP, Gambler.

 

Fl Fi USA

Christmas Genre: The Twelve Days of Christmas

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The last Christmas genre of this holiday season features a very popular song, whose melody will get a person’s ears ringing thanks to the singing earworm. The 12 Days of Christmas was first produced in 1780 in England as a set of lyrics only. The melody was produced as a folk song by Frederic Austin and with its various forms and tricks, has been the standard Christmas song.  Recently, in a book entitled Ideals Christmas, Rebecca Barlow Jordan traced the Twelve Days of Christmas to not only the 12 days of celebrating the birth of the Lord, Jesus Christ, but also to the twelve days journey by the three Wise Men, who traveled to see the baby Lord, carrying with them the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh- both of which were pinpointed to the time between Christmas Day (the 25th of December) and the Day of Epiphany (the 6th of January).

In either case, the lyrics remain the same, as in the graphic above, yet the many variations of the 12 Days of Christmas have existed and are growing. I have three versions that are worth watching as we wind down the holiday season and prepare for the next one- the first in the third decade of the third millennium.  The first one features a classic produced by John Denver and the Muppets from 40 years ago. The Muppets variation has changed five times since the origin from 1979, using five different sets of characters, still, they are fun to watch, nonetheless:

The next version is a rather wild and funnier version of the 12 Days of Christmas, with two actors imitating the gifts given on each of the 12 days- until they are pooped out. This was done by the Crossroads Bible Church Group:

And the last example was performed by the Angel City Chorale, where the song is interrupted by first, many Christmas carols and then by the song Africa, by the pop group Toto. It’s one worth the laughs:

The reason for presenting the 12 Days of Christmas on Epiphany?  To close out the holiday season for Epiphany represents the confirmation that the Lord hath Cometh. A perfect way to begin with the Year of the Lord and honor him for what he did for humanity.  Case closed!  🙂

Seasons eatings  FlFi10

 

 

 

Home Alone: 30 Years Later

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Keeping with the trend of revitalizing films from 30+ years ago, I have one worth showing. Home Alone was released in 1989, with its sequel showing in theaters two years later with MacCaulay Culkin as the main character, Kevin McAlister.  In honor of the film’s 30th anniversary, Google released a Commercial of Kevin, home alone- only 30 years later. In his 40s and showing age, Kevin uses Google Assistant to order his famous cheese pizza and guard his house from the likes of Marv and Harry. Have a look at the Video:

Ironically, the character who played Marv (Joe Pesci), produced a counter ad of his own:

Honestly speaking, I have a question for one and all: Do you really think a network like Google or Amazon will be able to do what is shown in this ad alone? And while you are watching TV and enjoying Mac and Cheese?

In my humble and honest to Jesus Christ theory, I don’t think so.

It would ruin the fun of doing that all by yourselves.  No computer network program can scare burglars away with a filmmed gunning, a shot in the balls with a BB-gun, race cars at the bottom of the stairs, a nail in the foot, paint cans in the face, and all.

So go away from the screen, get off the couch and get it done. 🙂 We can do it better- and genuinely! 😉

 

Seasons eatings

Christmas Lights Poem by Keith Darnay

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FlFi FTA

There are many poems that have been written about Christmas lights over the past half a century. Some tied in together with the Christmas trees, some deal with the struggles with decorating them with lighting. However, this poem, written by Keith Darnay, puts the Christmas lights in the forefront, as they represent the color, love and true meaning of Christmas.  This video and poem were released 35 years ago on a TV Station in Minot, ND, as Mr. Darnay was starting his promising career in broadcasting, which has been 40 years and counting. Enjoy the video but especially the poem. 🙂 ❤

 

The Files has a quiz on Christmas lights and ist history. Feel free to challenge yourselves and click here.

Seasons eatings

 

A Tribute to Roxette

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1989 was the era of change in many aspects. With the Fall of the Wall, it ushered in a transition from what we knew in the past and what we should know about for the future. It was a bridge connecting the usual environment to the new usual. It was an era of change, where the greats from the 70s and 80s were replaced with those who would eventually lead us into the new millennium and beyond.

One of the changes that was taking shape was the style of music. During the 1980s, we were greeted with a combination of rock, techno, pop and disco music, while some of the greats from that era, influenced us through their lyrics that combined events with the past with lessons for the present. Much of that had to do with the Cold War, which was winding down, thanks to Michail Gorbachev’s policies of openness. The 1990s, however, brought a wider, more modern selection of pop and rock music, but also dance music and rap, and it would carry us through, while focusing on the good, the bad and the interesting sides of society.

Yet the 1990s would not have been possible had it not been for some musicians that were up and coming in the late 1980s- before the Revolution of 1989- the ones that would make the 1990s the unforgettable decade that would set the precedent for the future. One of the musicians that led the procession was the music duo Roxette.

Consisting of Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle, the Swedish pop group was formed in 1986 and its style of music consisted of pop and dance, with some contemporary hits to add to their storied list of songs produced. Yet their breakthrough came in 1988 with the release of the album “Look Sharp!”. With this album, five singles were released, all of which made it to the top 10 in one way or another through 1989 and into 1990. The album was an immediate commercial success in Sweden, selling over 140,000 copies within ten days of release. In the US, the album was certified platinum on 20 January 1990 by the RIAA for shipments in excess of one million units. It peaked at number four in the UK, where it spent over a year on the charts. It was certified platinum by the BPI in December 1990 for sales in excess of 300,000. The album set the foundation for multiple successes for the group over the course of the next two decades, as eight more albums were released, each one with at least three singles, some of them have garnered additional awards.

If there were three songs that defined 1989 and helped usher in the 1990s and a new era of change, they would be (in no certain order):

Dangerous

The Look

 

Dressed for Success

These three songs looked at society and its strive for success both for individuals as well as a whole. It defined the changes that were going to happen and changes which people can simply embrace and take advantage of. Yet during the first half of the 1990s, a lot of Roxette’s songs dealt with love and heartbreak, including:

Listen to Your Heart

Sleeping in My Car

How do You Do?

Spending my Time.

These songs were solely performed by Marie, whose soprano voice was moving to many, as if an angel was talking to the listener and showing him/her where to go. Marie’s career went back to the 1970s, but she’s best remembered for her time with Roxette, where for 30 years until her retirement in 2016, she and Per had a wonderful joyride, impressing her fans and winning the hearts of millions more. Roxette was one of the top 10 music groups of the 1990s and 2000s and there was no household in America or Europe that did not have an album from Roxette.

Sadly, after 17 years of battle, Marie Fredriksson died of cancer on 9 December, 2019. She was only 61. She had undergone years of treatment and operations until it was time to hang it up for her career and enjoy the last moments of her life. As I was compiling a tribute for Roxette, I ran across Marie’s farewell speech when the group was forced to cancel the last leg of a concert in 2016: “Sadly, now my touring days are over and I want to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful fans that (have) followed us on our long and winding journey.” Her partner’s response was a classic: “The joyride on the road is over now – but we sure had fun, didn’t we?”

My response: We did have one heckuva joyride- one that will last forever in our memories. You will be missed for helping usher in an era of opportunity and success, after years of division. Many thanks for that wonderful journey, Marie and God Bless. ❤

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Christmas Pyramid: Fun Facts and Activities

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One of the main features of Christmas in Germany are the Pyramids. Christmas pyramids have existed for centuries but can be found at every Christmas market big and small. Even some markets in other countries have adopted the pyramid as one of the key attractions for tourists to see, especially as the blades are turning, powered by candles.

But what are they, really?

To answer that, I’ve compiled a pair of activities for you to try out. They include a Guessing Quiz and a wordfind with some words describing figures that you will most likely see in a pyramid. An answer sheet is enclosed so that you can display the colorful murals on the white board while answering the questions on a sheet of paper.

The answer sheet can be found by clicking here. Without further ado, have fun with the activities that you are about to do. 🙂

Christmas Pyramid Fun Facts Part 3

BONUS QUESTION:  Which motif is most likely found on every Christmas pyramid?

a. Nativity set with the Birth of Jesus

b. Winter landscape

c. Miners and angels

d. The Church of our Lady (Frauenkirche) in Dresden?

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The printable worksheets you can download via pininterest here:

Christmas Pyramid Fun Facts Part 3a

Christmas Pyramid Gun Facts Part 5

If you don’t have pininterest, you can access the worksheets via link below:

https://www.canva.com/design/DADuEEup26I/Rz1FBuIT8MMQv8fVLusAow/view?utm_content=DADuEEup26I&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link&utm_source=sharebutton

For both versions, just simply save as jpeg, then open before you print. 🙂

Please keep in mind that although the words in the Wordfind and the diagram can be used only once, there is one word in the worksheet in the Pyramid diagram that can be used twice. Can you find that word? thinking-face_1f914

Seasons eatings