There is no Frigate like a Book - Emily Dickinson


Call Me By Your Name

Posted by Professor G on March 9, 2018 at 2:25 AM Comments comments (1)

Cerebral and carnal.

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman (professor at the Graduate Center of City University of New York) was first published in 2007 and has recently seen a major surge in popularity thanks to the release of the transcendent film of the same name.

Rarely is a film able to hold ground with its literary counterpart, but in this case both the novel and the film are each legends of their own merit. Both complimentary and independent, the novel and film are lovingly intertwined both offering their own insight and emotions serving only to augment and not detract from the other.

The novel, a Proustian styled romance as told from the recollections of its main character Elio, unguardedly recounts the events of Elio’s first love during an Italian summer some 20 years prior. Aciman transports and immerses the reader into the emotional and tender realm of the awakenings of a boy on the cusp of becoming a man struggling with identity, desire, love and loathing.

The film, expertly directed by Luca Gaudagnino with a screenplay by James Ivory, is a slow-burning, emotive visualization of the angst of first love. The outstanding performances of Timothée Chalamet (Elio Perlman), Armie Hammer (Oliver) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Elio’s father) only lend further depth to the rich tapestry of the emotional longing and turmoil laid out in the source novel.

A new page on EnglishCaddy has been created to host different book and film activities for English learners and lovers of the story in general.  Many of these activities are designed to help develop a personal relationship with the story, and find some of the deeper conections we find with the summer story of Oliver and Elio.  Click here to visit the Call Me By Your Name page on EC.

Experience the novel, the film or both. As Elio confirms while trying to rationalize his sexual feelings, “We are not written for one instrument alone; I am not, and neither are you.”, and neither is this this story.

Carrie Fisher, October 21, 1956 - December 27, 2016

Posted by Professor G on December 27, 2016 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (1)

When a good book is made into a film, the role can make the actor, but when an original story is born in the cinema, it's the actor who makes the role. 

In 1977 the world fell in love with Star Wars.  The relatively unknown actors who first appeared to the public in the roles of the iconic characters of the Star Wars saga, quickly became fused with their parts and it was difficult for the fans to seperate the actor from the role. For us, Carrie Fisher was Princess Leia, and Princess Leia was Carrie Fisher.   So when the woman we first fell in love with as Leia died, our Princess died with her, and it hurt. 

Godspeed Carrie and thank you for the joy you brought to so many people.

14 Great Facebook Pages for Science Lovers of All Kinds!

Posted by Professor G on September 17, 2016 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Really Great Facebook Pages for Science Lovers

Facebook isn’t just about Justin Bieber…! Here is a list of some very interesting, informative and active Facebook pages. On these pages you will find information, pictures, facts and discussions about the latest discoveries, research techniques and news in the world of Science.


I Freaking Love Science: facebook.com/I-freaking-Love-Science
The Beauty of Science and Nature: facebook.com/RealityIsGreat


The Universe: facebook.com/AstrophysicsAndAstronomy
NASA Universe Education: facebook.com/NASAAstrophysicsEducation




Microbiology & Immunology: facebook.com/MicrobiologyAndImmunology
Cell Image Library (with app.): facebook.com/CellImageLibrary
Cell & Molecular Biology: facebook.com/cellandmolecularbiology


Chemistry Quizzes: facebook.com/chemistryforums
Analytical Chemistry Techniques: facebook.com/AnalyticalChemistryTechniques



These pages are a great way to integrate learning into your social media and spice it up with a little science and knowledge.  Enjoy!


Why I (Personally) Dislike TED

Posted by Professor G on May 11, 2016 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Many students are quite surprised when I list "No TED!" as one of the class rules each semester.  Certainly when we teach in language resource center, TED Talks would be a wonderful resource for undergraduate and graduate students learning English. 

But here's a few notes on why I disagree.

1) The over vulgarization of Science.

The short videos offered by TED Talks, are just that too short.   In attempt to condense the information into bite size, consumer digestible morsels, a lot of the important information is sacrificed.  This presents a problem for the viewer because with the simplification and omission of many of the unfortunately tedious details that is Science, the viewer and in many cases the media, simply does not have enough of the facts and details to form an educated opinion or complete understanding of the subject presented. (See video below)

2) The credibility of the information

While I don't believe that all guest speakers for TED are not credible, it seems the motivation of many of the speakers is questionable.  Many of the speakers seem to be "selling" and not explaining their studies.

Cases in point:

  • Human head transplant.  In September of 2015 Dr. Sergio Canvero appeared on TED Talks.  Presents that is is possible to transplant a human head, but doesn't disclose the reality that the head would have no control over the host body's functioning.  See video here. (https://youtu.be/_EHCHv5u3O4)
  • Solar Roadways. In September 2010 TED Talks published a video featuring presenter Scott Brusaw presenting his idea of replacing the nation's traditional roadways with a "glass" based solar capable material.  He just need money to do it, and so he created an indiegogo account and raised over $2 million dollars. (See marketing video)  However from both an engineering standpoint and scientific standpoint, very little of this project is feasible.

Just a couple of harmless (unless you donated money) examples, but there are many TED Talks where presenters speaking about health issues, are simply using TED to increase their visibility, prolong their funding or seek funding.  In these cases the information presented in usually incompletely, poorly gathered, and falsely presented.

3) The misrepresentation and false depiction of science. 

In part because of the over simplification practices the videos employ, the presenters/speakers give the impression that we have everything we need to "cure" or "solve" something, we just need to "change our perception"  and it will be all better. When in fact, we still have a long way to go, and a lot of research needs to be performed in many of the areas of science.  Miracle cures are seldom miracles, and instead behind scientific discoveries are years of research, teams of scientists, hundreds of publications, and pages and pages of peer review and hours and hours of testing.  Also a large percentage of topics are merely anecdotal and have endured no science based analysis at all.

Asking students to use TED Talks to learn both English and Science is the same as asking students to use  tabloids to learn about news events and the world around them.  Is TED all bad, no of course not.  For example, TED Ed provides many wonderful informative videos that correspond with what students are learning in schools and help supplement that learning with visuals and detailed explanations, that can watched and rewatched. 

As teacher's it is our responisibilty to elevate the students' knowledge and cognitive abilities, and for me tabloids and tabloid science only do the opposite.

Here are some interesting videos on the subject.  The first to TED's credit, is a TEDex Presentation by Benjamin Bratton, and the second a parody of TED Talks by John Oliver May 8, 2016.  Because there's always a truth in humor.  Enjoy!

New Perspective: What's Wrong with TED Talks (San Diego, 2013, Benjamin Bratton.

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

TODD Talks John Oliver, May 8, 2016 (A spoof/parody)

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

The Force Awakens. Star Wars English

Posted by Professor G on December 26, 2015 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (1)

Recently in our very own galaxy...

A very special film has appeared... A film that has awoken the Force
planted in the soul of a generation of children long ago.

Several films were introduced in an evil attempt to
exploit this seed and make huge amounts of money, but this generation remained
wary... and the Force remained dormant.

Until a new film was released... A new film nurtured and formed
in the very bosom of the generation in which the original seed was planted.

And this time the Force awoke...

Let it in...


13 Days of Hallowe'en!

Posted by Professor G on October 18, 2014 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

It's time to celebrate Hallowe'en! 

So let's do it with class with a 13-day evil advent calendar!

Starting tomorrow, and ending with the holiday of holidays on October 31st, EnglishCaddy will be posting free and fun things for Hallowe'en everyday for the next 13 days!

Lot's of stuff coming your way!

For updates check back here on the Blog or follow EnglishCaddy on Facebook today.  You won't regret it!

Upcoming Stuff

Posted by Professor G on September 13, 2014 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Hello everyone!

Well school is now upon us! I hope the rentrée has been kind to everyone :).

Coming up this year is the return of many popular TV series and films and here are a few that have tie-in pages on EnglishCaddy!

The Walking Dead

Season 5 of The Walking Dead is scheduled to air on AMC on October 12, 2014, and is part of this year's English Challenge!

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

Click here to find zombie based activities and exercises. 

Click here to see the Zombie English Challenge.

Click here to see the many books that the series is based on.


Part 1 of the 3rd film of the Hunger Games trilogy is scheduled to be released in France on November 19, 2014.

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

Click here for fun Hunger Games based activities. 

Click here for the past Hunger Games English Challenge.

Click here to see the original books of the trilogy.

And finally,

A Game of Thrones

While the premier of season 5 has not been officially announced, I'm predicting that it will be aired on HBO on April 6, 2015.

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

Click here for book and series based activities for A Game of Thrones. 

Click here for last year's English Challenge.

Click here to see the book series of A Song of Ice and fire.

There are many exciting ways that you can learn and improve your English.  Why not attack the language from your favorite series?!

Have a good school year!, and enjoy your English!


Game of Thrones English Challenge

Posted by Professor G on September 6, 2013 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

This year I'm happy to announce the theme and challenge for 2013/14!
A Game of Thrones. 

I also don't mind bragging a bit when I say there was a lot of work involved.  The size and the scope of the story is enormous, so it only stands to reason that adopting it as a theme would be an enormous undertaking as well.  And thus, as a direct result, this year's challenge and activity collection is the biggest and boldest thus far on EnglishCaddy. 

But that being said, the yearly theme and challenges are designed for your enjoyment and to provide you with a completely different approach to improving your English skills. 

Some of the new things to look forward to..

  • A very challenging challenge, with many more task, higher points, more competition and physical challenges as well ;). (You could be asked to locate objects in Strasbourg.)
  • An open forum discussion.  A place for you to ask questions, share ideas and practice speaking in English.
  • Fun handicrafts and games.  If you're feeling creative and like to work with your hands, there are some interesting projects.  Also games, on line or offline. Have fun learning English while you play!
  • Epic video exercises.  20 + videos about the history of the houses, lands and peoples of the seven kingdoms, all with short listening comprehension quizzes!


If you have any comments or suggestions please don't hesitate to contact me at englishchallenge@hotmail.com

Bon voyage!


Movies, Movies, Movies ...

Posted by Professor G on August 21, 2013 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Did you know there are over 200 films on EnglishCaddy? 

For the rentrée 2013, the movie pages on EnglishCaddy have been completely updated and redone!  All movies and films are now completely searchable and classified according to genre.

 Here is a list of the what you can find:

  • What kinds of films you can see:
  1. Action and Adventure: http://www.englishcaddy.org/apps/videos/channels/show/3625213-action-and-adventure-movies
  2. Animated:http://www.englishcaddy.org/apps/videos/channels/show/3894572-animated
  3. Classics: http://www.englishcaddy.org/apps/videos/channels/show/4089722-oldies-but-goodies
  4. Comedy: http://www.englishcaddy.org/apps/videos/channels/show/3607972-comedy-movies
  5. Documentary: http://www.englishcaddy.org/apps/videos/channels/show/3962536-documentaries
  6. Drama: http://www.englishcaddy.org/apps/videos/channels/show/3607973-drama-movies
  7. Fantasy: http://www.englishcaddy.org/apps/videos/channels/show/3807454-fantasy-movies
  8. Horror: http://www.englishcaddy.org/apps/videos/channels/show/3608029-horror-movies
  9. LGBT: http://www.englishcaddy.org/apps/videos/channels/show/4075920-lesbian-gay-bi-trans-themed-films
  10. Literary Classics:http://www.englishcaddy.org/apps/videos/channels/show/3709062-literary-classics
  11. Musical: http://www.englishcaddy.org/apps/videos/channels/show/3788621-musicals
  12. Science Fiction: http://www.englishcaddy.org/apps/videos/channels/show/3852761-science-fiction-movies
  13. Suspense and Thriller: http://www.englishcaddy.org/apps/videos/channels/show/3607986-suspense-movies

There are even silent films!  http://www.englishcaddy.org/apps/videos/channels/show/4089769-silent-movies

 Stay tuned there are many, many more to come.

 Happy Cinema!




Lot's for everyone: The Rock, Zorro, Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, The 6th Sense, Jaws, Narnia, Spielberg, Sherlock Holmes, Peter Pan, Pretty Woman, Titanic, Superman, Shakespeare, Dangerous Minds, Romance, and many more to come!

9 Simple Tips That All Students Should Know

Posted by Professor G on August 21, 2013 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (99)

Soon it will be back to school and back to books!  Here is a list of 10 things you should know that will make your life much easier.

1)  Need more room for beer (or soda bottles lol). use a binder clip to stack your beer higher.

2) Need coffee to wake up for class, but don't have a coffee machine?  Here are 2 ways to make coffee without one.

Take an empty paper or plastic cup.  Cut out the bottom,  Insert a coffee filter, fold over the edge and fix it with an elastic band.  Then, put in your ground coffee and pour hot water over it.

Or, Take a coffee filter, fill with your ground coffee, close like a purse, tie off with dental floss. Then immerse in hot water like a tea bag, and voilà, fresh coffee!

3) Can't hear your smart phone?  Put your smart phone into a glass (empty of course) and you'll hear it much better.  Or take a toilet paper roll, cut a slot for your phone and presto;  instant diy speakers!

4)  When you give a presentation in class, plan in advance to have a friend/classmate ask you a question that you already know the answer to.  It's not cheating, and you'll look smarter.

5) Too many potato chips in your keyboard.  Clean them out easily with a sticky note!

6) Are your hands tired from typing your English papers?  Use 2 sponges as wrist supports.  You can even cover them in fabric if you want them to be pretty.

7) Do you need a stronger WiFi signal?  Use this beer can trick to improve your reception.

8. Organize your cables by clipping binder clips to your desk or table.

9) And these 2 great microwave tips!

Make more room in your microwave by using a coffee cup!

There you go!  Some simple life hacks that every student should know!

If you have any other ideas, don't hesitate to share them in the comment section below!