Finding Forrester

Posted in Homework on 17/01/2011 by mareikegrest

The film „Finding Forrester“ from 2000 was written by Mike Rich, directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Sean Connery and Rob Brown.

It deals with the black 16-year-old Jamal Wallace who lives in the Bronx and becomes friends with the reclusive white writer William Forrester by accident. Because of his very good test results and his talent in playing basketball he is sent to a private school in Manhattan. It seems that he doesn’t fit in, especially his literature teacher (F. Murray Abraham) has prejudices against Jamal being a black boy from the Bronx who plays basketball. He tries to make his life as hard as possible, claiming that the text, Jamal handed in for a writing competition he did not write himself to get him thrown out of school. Forrester helps Jamal to improve his writing abilities while Jamal shows Forrester the life outside his appartment.

 It is not just a movie against racism towards blacks, it is also about the student/teacher relationship between Jamal and Forrester, about writing and about following dreams. Because of that the movie is not telling a story we have already seen before, although the constellation of sympatic characters and unlikable characters, the lack of tension in dramas and the happy end can be found in many other movies. Other things I like about this movie are the great actors and the dialogues, which are funny and intelligent .


Grandmaster Flash – “The Message”

Posted in Other on 15/12/2010 by mareikegrest
It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder
How I keep from going under
It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder
How I keep from going under

Broken glass everywhere
People pissing on the stairs, you know they just don’t care
I can’t take the smell, I can’t take the noise no more
Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice
Rats in the front room, roaches in the back
Junkies in the alley with the baseball bat
I tried to get away, but I couldn’t get far
Cause a man with a tow-truck repossessed my car

Don’t push me cause I’m close to the edge
I’m trying not to lose my head, ah huh-huh-huh
[2nd and 5th: ah huh-huh-huh]
[4th: say what?]
It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder
How I keep from going under
It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder
How I keep from going under

Standing on the front stoop, hangin’ out the window
Watching all the cars go by, roaring as the breezes blow
Crazy lady livin’ in a bag
Eating out of garbage pails, used to be a fag-hag
Said she danced the tango, skipped the light fandango
The Zircon Princess seemed to lost her senses
Down at the peepshow, watching all the creeps
So she can tell the stories to the girls back home
She went to the city and got social security
She had to get a pimp, she couldn’t make it on her own

[2nd Chorus]

My brother’s doing bad on my mother’s TV
She says: “You watch it too much, it’s just not healthy!”
“All My Children” in the daytime, “Dallas” at night
Can’t even see the game or the Sugar Ray fight
The bill collectors they ring my phone
And scare my wife when I’m not home
Got a bum education, double-digit inflation
I can’t take the train to the job, there’s a strike at the station
Neon King Kong standin’ on my back
Can’t stop to turn around, broke my sacrophiliac
A mid-ranged migraine, cancered membrane
Sometimes I think I’m going insane, I swear I might hijack a plane

My son said: “Daddy I don’t wonna go to school
Cause the teacher’s a jerk!”, he must think I’m a fool
And all the kids smoke reefer, I think it’d be cheaper
If I just got a job, learned to be a street sweeper
I’ll dance to the beat, shuffle my feet
Wear a shirt and tie and run with the creeps
Cause it’s all about money, ain’t a damn thing funny
You got to have a con in this land of milk and honey
They pushed that girl in front of the train
Took her to the doctor, sewed her arm on again
Stabbed that man right in his heart
Gave him a transplant for a brand new start
I can’t walk through the park, cause it’s crazy after dark
Keep my hand on my gun, cause they got me on the run
I feel like a outlaw, broke my last glass jar
Hear them say: “You want some more livin’ on a seesaw?”

[4th Chorus]

A child is born with no state of mind
Blind to the ways of mankind
God is smiling on you but he’s frowning too
Because only God knows what you’ll go through
You’ll grow in the ghetto, living second rate
And your eyes will sing a song of deep hate
The places you’re playin’, where you stay
Looks like one great big alley way
You’ll admire all the number book takers
Thugs, pimps, pushers and the big money makers
Driving big cars, spending twenties and tens
And you wanna grow up to be just like them, huh,
Smugglers, scrambles, burglars, gamblers
Pickpockets, peddlers even panhandlers
You say: “I’m cool, I’m no fool!”
But then you wind up dropping out of high school
Now you’re unemployed, all non-void
Walking ’round like you’re Pretty Boy Floyd
Turned stickup kid, look what you’ve done did
Got sent up for a eight year bid
Now your manhood is took and you’re a may tag
Spend the next two years as a undercover fag
Being used and abused to serve like hell
Till one day you was found hung dead in a cell
It was plain to see that your life was lost
You was cold and your body swung back and forth
But now your eyes sing the sad, sad song
Of how you lived so fast and died so young

Don’t push me ’cause I’m close to the edge
I’m trying not to lose my head
It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under
It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under

Yo Mell, you see that girl there?
Yo, that sounded like Cowboy man
Yo, what’s up Money?
Yo, where’s Cooly an Raheim?
They is downstairs coooling out
So what’s up for tonight y’all?
We could go down to Phoenix
We could go check out “Junebug” man
Hey yo, you know that girl Betty?
Yeah man
Come on, come all man
Not like it
That’s what I heard man
What’s this happening, what’s this?
What’s goin’ on?
Don’t nobody move or nothin’
Y’all know what this is (What’s happend?)
Get ’em up, get ’em up (What?)
Oh man, we’re (Right in there) Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
What is that, a gang?
Shut up
I don’t wanna hear your mouth
Shut up
Officer, officer, what is the problem?
You the problem
Hey, you ain’t gotta push me man
Get in the car, get in the car
Get in the god…
I said, “Get in the car”
Why is he?

Biography of the grandfather – Abe Wiggins (1866-1925)

Posted in Homework on 24/11/2010 by mareikegrest

I was born in spring 1866 as the first child of my parents. They named me Abe, in honor of the dead president Abraham Lincoln, who abolished slavery in 1863. Until that year my parents had also been slaves.

My whole life I didn’t do anything else than work hard in hopes of a better future. I still live in the same small hut my father rented from a white plantation owner right after he and my mother were free. I was born in this hut and I think, I will die here soon. But I am glad I had such a long life. My sister Rose, who was born after my brother Sam as the third child of my parents, died when she was three years old. She was ill, but we couldn’t effort to pay a doctor or medicine and the land owner didn’t help us. I was six years old at that time and don’t remember much. I only remember that it was a cold and rainy winter day when she died. My mother cried the whole day. The next days she visited some relatives and when she came back she didn’t cry any more. My parents never talked about her again and we kids were too afraid to even mention her name. Two years later I became another brother.

My family had always been poor so I had to help my parents on the cotton field. I couldn’t go to school because the next school was too far away and my father needed my help on the fields. But we were very lucky with our neighbours. They were poor whites who also had to be sharecroppers. The women could read and write and sometimes, in winter when we could not work on the fields, she tought me and my brothers reading and writing.

When I was 11 years old the Jim Crow Laws came into force. I didn’t notice that until I went to town with my father to buy some seed and fertilizer. There were new signs everywhere saying “for whites only”. Blacks couldn’t go into some shops any more or had to go in the backway. On the country where we lived these separations between blacks and whites weren’t so hard, but I remember the fear my father had of white men. When I was about 13 I fell in love with the daughter of our land owner. On my walks through the fields I always passed their house and sometimes I saw her playing in the garden. I was too afraid of talking to her, which – I now know – was great luck. My father catched me one day I was watching her. Back home he shouted at me and hit me. He said some white men kill blacks for even talking to a white girl. From that day on I was too afraid to see that girl again. My youngest brother was not as careful as me. One week after his 18th birthday he moved to some relatives to New Orleans. He said he wanted to become a politician. I don’t know how he could convince our father to let him go or what his plans were, I wasn’t very close to him. After four month we heard he was killed by a white men. He should have been in love with a white girl. When her father found out that he shot him.

My wife I got to know when her family moved near to our field. I loved Margaret from the first time I saw her. At that time I was about 16 years old, but I already knew, I would marry that girl one day, what happened five years later. We lived together with my parents because being the eldest son I wanted to support my father on the fields. Until they died we had a wonderful life together. My mother loved Margaret like she was her own daughter and she helped us a lot when our children were born. When my parents died we stood in the hut. We raised our three children, worked hard on the fields and I was content with my life. After 37 wonderful years of marriage my wife died last year. I miss her so much and I can’t wait to follow her.

Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings

Posted in Exercises, History on 25/08/2010 by mareikegrest

– Sally Hemings was the legitimate daughter of Thomas Jeffersons father-in-law John Wayles and his slave Betty Hemings
– Jefferson had a long relationship and children with her

Timeline: Slavery in the USA

Posted in Exercises, History on 06/08/2010 by mareikegrest

1501: Spanish settlers brought African slaves to America 
1522: Slave revolt on the carribean isle Hispaniola (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic)
1619: The first african slaves were brought to today’s USA
1705: A new law in virginia allows to bequeath slaves, describing them as real estate and allows owners to kill them when they try to run away
1712: Slave revolt in New York. Rebels were executed
1775-1783: American Revolution
1784: Thomas Jefferson’s proposal to ban slavery in the new USA was defeated
1808: Importing slaves was forbidden
1850: The “Compromise of 1850” devided states in slave and free states
1860: Abraham Loncoln became President and made a program of limiting slavery -> US civil war
1865: Legalized slavery was ended

Summary: “Cut! …” (Viewfinder p.25)

Posted in Homework on 16/04/2010 by mareikegrest

The article “Cut! Why Tv mustn’t go soft on hard news”, written by Martin Bell and published in The Indepentent on 26 June 2005, deals with violence on Tv and why the news should not be sanitised.

The decision of the BBC to broadcast news with a time delay, so that the people get not upset with unedited images, is wrong. The viewers could think that the BBC hides something, when they sanitise the news and they would watch other news channels.

It is also not right to broadcast breaking news without verification of their truth. Rapidity could increase the risk of mistakes.

So it is better to proof the information, before they go to publicity, but this should happen as quick as possible.

Online Exercises

Posted in Exercises on 07/04/2010 by mareikegrest

I tried out the tests on and I think they are very useful. After filling out the empty passages of the texts you can see how many mistakes you made and what was wrong. T he site give the correct answers and explains why they are right.
On the page there are also overviews about grammar and tenses with examples, which is good for repeating. is also a great site for doing tests and getting an overview about the grammar.