Joe's Cafe

Joe's Cafe

Personal blog of EnglishClub founder Josef Essberger - see Menu

Colour of the Year 2016

Here is the Colour of the Year for 2016 chosen by paint company Benjamin Moore:


Which raises two questions:

  1. Is white a colour?
  2. What’s YOUR colour of the year?

Please leave your answers in the comment box below. Thanks!

Change the World

Change the World
What is this advertisement trying to say? It appears to show two different “worlds”, but which should be changing to which? Should they both be changing to something else? Please give your views about the implications of the photograph.

Why? What? Where? When? How?

extreme (adjective): to the greatest degree; very great; very severe; very serious
poverty (noun): the state of being very, very poor; the state of being extremely poor
inequality (noun): difference in size or amount
combat (verb): fight
do your part (phrase): participate; help
implication (noun): a conclusion that you can draw from something even though it is not actually stated

Ad links to: Shown here as “fair use” for educational purposes.

Migrants or Refugees?

As thousands of people from the war-torn regions of the Middle-East (Syria, Iraq…) and North Africa (Libya…) cross the Mediterranean Sea to seek safety in Europe, the European media and politicians struggle to avoid using the term refugees and instead label them migrants. But what’s the difference?

migrants or refugees?


Birds migrate. The verb migrate simply means to move from one region to another. In the case of birds it is to find a suitable habitat (living space) according to the season. In the case of humans, it is usually to find Read on »

Hiroshima 80000 / Nagasaki 40000

A Tale of Two Cities

Today, the Japanese city of Hiroshima commemorates the moment 70 years ago that the USA dropped a nuclear bomb on the city, directly killing some 80,000 people. In three days’ time, another Japanese city, Nagasaki, will commemorate the killing of another 40,000 civilians when the USA dropped a second bomb.

Audio, video and quick quiz for learners:

This Week in History: USA Drops Nuclear Bombs On Japan

Veni, vidi, vici

The Latin phrase “Veni, vidi, vici” was an elegant way of saying “I came, I saw, I conquered”. The Roman general Julius Caesar allegedly first used the phrase c46 BC in his report to the Senate after quickly defeating Pharnaces II of Pontus at the Battle of Zela. Hillary Clinton famously abused the expression on being advised of the murder of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in 2011 (“We came, we saw, he died”).

Who would you have dinner with?

table laid for twoImagine that you could have ONE dinner with any ONE person in the world — rich or poor, famous or unknown etc.

Who would you choose?

Please give your reasons!

Is the world better or worse today?

Do you think the world today is better or worse than it was 100 years ago?

And will it be better or worse 100 years from now?

What would you take to a desert island?

The ChapelYou have to stay alone on an uninhabited desert island for a year. But you can take five things of your choice (no animals).

What five things would you choose to take with you and why?

uninhabited (adjective): without inhabitants; with nobody living there
desert island (noun): a small tropical island in the middle of the ocean, usually uninhabited

Please leave your comments below :)

Would you choose the Future or Past?

Somebody locks you in a time-machine and you have to go forward (the future) or backward (the past). You will never come back to “now”.

You can go any length of time, one day, a thousand years, a million years… Which would you choose? Future or past?

And why?

Please leave your comments below :)

time-machine (noun): an imaginary machine that lets people travel in time and go to the future (for example tomorrow or next year) or past (for example yesterday or last year)

Would you like to be famous?

Would you like to be famous? And what would you like to be famous for?

If achieving fame meant that you would lose all your friends, would you still want to be famous?

Please leave your comments below :)

famous (adjective): known by many people
achieve (verb): successfully get or reach
fame (noun): the state of being known by many people