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Tuesday - July 28, 2015

Are You A Hoarder?

smaug_the_magnificent__fanart__by_redwryvenart-d6qfma1“Hoard” is not an everyday word, but the idea of hoarding often appears even when the word isn’t used. Let me give you a couple of examples.

Some of my students have enjoyed The Hobbit and Treasure Island – two books that have been made into movies. In The Hobbit, Smaug is the dragon that kills most of the dwarves (imaginary creatures that look like small men), takes their gold and other treasures (something valuable), hides them deep inside Lonely Mountain, and uses them as a bed. Smaug is a hoarder.

In Treasure Island, Jim finds a map and, together with some others, follows it to an island where a very large treasure has been buried by a pirate (someone who robs or steals from ships at sea) named Flint. Flint is also a hoarder.

A hoard is a large collection of things that someone hides so no one else can find it. Sometimes people will hoard things like food to have it in an emergency, for example, during a war.

When we hear the word hoard or hoarder today, we often think about something a little different. We think about people who become so attached to things with little or no value that they find it difficult to throw them away.

Elizabeth is a good example. She is a writer. And she worries that she and her partner are hoarders because their small house is full of things they have collected but never use. She writes:

I’m pretty sure my partner and I are hoarders, or least well on our way. We have one entire room in our house that’s too full of clutter (a large number of things that are scattered around) to walk through — a library of junk (old unwanted objects)….

What’s in there? Comic books. Textbooks. A shoe collection. Costumes. Sewing notions (supplies). Slightly used wrapping paper. Old photos. Plastic bugs. Real dead bugs…. Pulp fiction (popular stories). Action figures. Notebooks. Items carelessly chewed by long-dead pets. Wine goblets (glasses)….

The junk room door is always closed. My daughter doesn’t even know we have a third bedroom.

The rest of the house isn’t much better.

For some people, hoarding is not just a bad habit (something you do automatically without thinking). It’s a serious problem. It’s irrational (it doesn’t make sense) and compulsive (they can’t stop). Their houses and apartments become so full of junk that they are no longer safe or healthy to live in. And they do everything they can to make sure that other people don’t find out what they are doing.

Elizabeth worries that they’re hoarders. But her partner thinks they’re just messy. And she says that he’s probably right for now. But she worries that they might become hoarders after her daughter leaves home.

One short note: there is another word – horde – that sounds the same as hoard. Horde refers to a large group of people – for example, “A horde of soccer fans ran onto the field after the soccer game.”

~ Warren Ediger – ESL tutor/coach and creator of the Successful English web site.

Photo of Smaug from deviantart.net is used under Creative Commons license.

 


Sunday - July 26, 2015

Podcasts This Week (July 27, 2015)

icon_51812We are grateful to our members and donors, because we are only able to produce this podcast with the generous help of our listeners.

If you enjoy our podcasts, please consider supporting ESL Podcast by becoming a Basic or Premium Member today!

………

ON MONDAY
ESL Podcast 1124 – Hiding Money Offshore

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “paper trail” and “to come clean.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Offshore Amnesty Programs.”
“A ‘tax amnesty program’ is a period of time when ‘taxpayers’ (people who pay taxes)…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 513

Topics: Famous Americans – The Fox Sisters; Famous Songs – “I’m a Little Teapot”; to lack versus to be short of versus to be shy of versus to be out of; to clean versus to wash; pronouncing “Wh”

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “Chung Ling Soo.”
“William Ellsworth Campbell Robinson was a famous performer in the mid 1800s…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 1125 – Serving Alcoholic Drinks

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “neat” and “to top off.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “American Cocktails.”
“In the United States, ‘bartenders’ (people who work in a bar, serving drinks to customers)…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide


Wednesday - July 22, 2015

10th Anniversary Video Episode – Happy Birthday, ESL Podcast!

It’s here – our 10th Anniversary Video!

Help us celebrate 10 years of English as a Second Language Podcast, one of the most popular podcasts on the Internet.

With more than 1,600 episodes, 500 hours of lessons, and millions of listeners in 189 countries, ESL Podcast thanks all of you, our listeners, and especially our members, for making the past 10 years possible.

We’d also like to thank the members of our hard-working team – Adriano, Jessica, Pao, Warren, LeeAnn, and Alison – for making ESLPod.com possible.

We hope you enjoy this little video celebration.

~Jeff & Lucy

P.S. All the really bad jokes in this video were written by Jeff, who is definitely not the most wonderful scriptwriter on the Internet.

P.P.S. No cats were harmed in the making of this video (well, not very many, anyway . . . ).


Sunday - July 19, 2015

Podcasts This Week (July 20, 2015)

icon_51812Is your limited English standing in your way? Do you want to improve your English now?

Learn English even faster with the help of the Learning Guide. In it, you’ll get more vocabulary, language explanations, sample sentences, comprehension questions, cultural notes, and more.

Get the Learning Guide and support ESL Podcast today by becoming a Basic or Premium Member!

………

ON MONDAY
ESL Podcast 1122 – Making Peace

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “in kind” and “to get old.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Symbols of Peace.”
“In the United States, there are many common ‘symbols’ (small images and other things that represent…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 512

Topics: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire; Radio City Music Hall and The Rockettes; Satan versus Devil versus demon versus evil; to know best; with regard to; to clean versus to wash

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “The Garment District.”
“The Garment District is a ‘neighborhood’ (an area forming a community within a town or city) located in Manhattan…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 1123 – Describing Pleasant Scents

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “fresh” and “to pass up.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Scratch-and-sniff Products.”
“‘Scratch-and-sniff products’ are items that ‘release’ (emit; allow to escape) a scent when the ‘surface’…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide


Tuesday - July 14, 2015

Let The Kids Do The Cooking!

Food-Ball-AZTVI ran across (found by chance) some interesting advice recently in the On Parenting (about being a parent) section of the Washington Post newspaper:

“Every kid 16 and older should be making the entire dinner once or twice a week as one of their chores (regular responsibilities). And kids 12 and older should be responsible for at least making one dish at every family meal.”

The writer believes that we need to prepare our children to be self-sufficient (able to take care of themselves) when they leave home to go to school or begin their first job. Teaching them to cook – and giving them opportunities to practice cooking – is part of that preparation.

If we prepare our children in this way, the writer believes they will eat better-tasting, less expensive, and healthier food. So she thinks we should teach them to follow a recipe (instructions for preparing food), use basic cooking equipment, and all the other things a good cook needs to do. And she believes that we should give them as many opportunities as possible to practice what they are learning.

This article brings up an interesting question: What should parents do to prepare their children to leave home to go to school or begin a job? What did your parents do? What did you do with your children?

In the same article, another writer argues (says it’s true) that it’s “my job as a parent to give my kids” what she calls “life skills (abilities) that will help children succeed after they leave home.” Her list of skills includes things like cooking, cleaning, laundry (washing and taking care of clothes), being organized, and managing money and time.

My mother was one of those people. She wanted to be sure that we – her two boys and three girls – could take care of ourselves when we left home to go to school. She taught us to cook, wash and dry the dishes (we didn’t have an automatic dishwasher), clean the house, take care of our rooms, do our own laundry, and even sew buttons on our clothes. Then she made sure we got a lot of practice. I’m glad she did.

~ Warren Ediger – ESL coach and tutor, creator of the Successful English web site.

Photo from Raising Arizona Kids.


Sunday - July 12, 2015

Podcasts This Week (July 13, 2015)

icon_51812Get the full benefits of ESL Podcast by getting the Learning Guide. We designed the Learning Guide to help you learn English better and faster. Get more vocabulary, language explanations, sample sentences, comprehension questions, cultural notes, and more.

Get the Learning Guide and support ESL Podcast today by becoming a Basic or Premium Member!

………

ON MONDAY
ESL Podcast 1120 – Breaching a Contract

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “to dodge” and “all the more reason.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “The Uniform Commercial Code.”
“In the United States, each state has its own set of laws….” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 511

Topics: American Movies – Toy Story; The United States Naval Academy; buddy versus chum versus pal; fee versus pay; Clean clams crammed in clean cans

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “The Origins of Pixar.”
“Pixar Animation Studios is an animation film ‘studio’ (film company) located in Emeryville, California that produces animated films…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 1121 – Outdoor Sun Protection

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “fair” and “cape.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Sunless Tanning Options.”
“Most Americans believe that a ‘tan’ (a brown skin color from exposure to the sun) is attractive…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide


Tuesday - July 7, 2015

So Many Ways to Murder, So Little Time

And_Then_There_Were_None_US_First_Edition_Cover_1940One of my favorite things to do in my spare (free; extra) time is to read mysteries, fictional (not true; invented) stories about a crime — usually murder (killing another person) — and finding out who committed it. I started reading mysteries or detective (person solving a crime) novels (book-long stories) when I was a kid, and I’ve continued reading them to this day (to the present time).

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t like blood and guts (violence and lots of blood). I’m not a big fan of modern mysteries where crime scene investigations (CSI; careful examinations of where a crime was committed) find traces (indications; small amounts) of evidence that solve the crime. I prefer old-fashioned murders with very little gore (blood from violence) called “cozies.”

Having read mysteries for many years, I’ve developed my favorite ways to murder. Currently, my favorite method is to garrote someone. To garrote someone means to strangle them (stop them from breathing), usually using a piece of wire or thin rope wound (wrapped) around each hand and then pulled back on someone’s throat (part of the body between the head and the shoulders) so they can’t breath. The reason this is my current favorite method for murder is that it’s difficult for someone to escape (get away from it) if they are taken by surprise.

Here’s why and a tip (piece of advice): If I ever try to garrote you, your natural instinct (what you naturally feel you should do) will be to reach up to your neck to pull the garrote — wire or rope — away from your throat. This is nearly impossible to do because you have little leverage (means of using power) compared to me because of our relative positions (place in relation to the other person). Instead, you should twist (turn) your body to the side to try to dislodge (move from its place) the garrote. That’s very hard to remember when someone is garroting you, but don’t say I never taught you anything useful.

One more tip: Since I am relatively (compared to others) short, for me to garrote you, you will have to be shorter than me, walking ahead of me on a set of stairs, or be seated. So don’t walk ahead of me or sit down in my presence (when I am with you). (Again, you’re welcome.)

Garroting supplanted (replace; took the place of) my previous favorite method of murder: poisoning. Poison refers to any substance that can make you ill or kill you. It’s difficult today to find a poison that is undetectable (not easily noticed) and untraceable (leaving no indication of what it was afterwards). In the old days — and in my old mysteries — it was simple to visit an out-of-the-way (remote; with few people) place where these poisons seemed to be plentiful (with many available), at least in the authors’ imaginations. Those were the good old days.

In fact, with today’s scientific and technological advances (improvements), life is hard on (difficult for) murderers. Crime scene investigators have a lot of tools to use to help them find the perpetrator (criminal; person who commits a crime). Forensic science (using science to investigate crime) can give the police a lot of information from minute (very small, pronounced “my-NOOT”) tissue (material from the bodies of animals or humans), blood, and other types of samples (small amounts of something taken for scientific tests). Lab (laboratory; place where science tests and experiments are performed) tests can determine when, how, and under what circumstances you died. Forensic accountants (investigators of records relating to money earned, spent, and moved) and forensic computer experts can trace a victim’s (person who is hurt or killed) background and past activities, possibly finding out my motive (reason) for killing you.

So, as you see, although I have a passion for murder, it’s hard to indulge in (allow myself the pleasure of) it. By the way, if you are with the Los Angeles Police Department and are reading this, please do not be alarmed (shocked and worried). I have not (yet) committed any murders and I don’t have any immediate (short-term; right now) plans to do so. Rest assured (don’t be worried), I would only ever kill on paper (in writing).

– Lucy

Image Credit: First edition book cover of 1940 US edition of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None  from Wikipedia


Sunday - July 5, 2015

Podcasts This Week (July 6, 2015)

icon_51812We are grateful to our members and donors, because we are only able to produce this podcast with the generous help of our listeners.

If you enjoy our podcasts, please consider supporting ESL Podcast by becoming a Basic or Premium Member today!

………

ON MONDAY
ESL Podcast 1118 – Bidding on Online Auctions

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “bid” ” and “to list.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Seized Property Auctions.”
“Sometimes ‘law enforcement officers’ (police officers and people with related jobs) have to ‘seize’ (take without permission)…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 510

Topics: American Presidents – Benjamin Harrison; to call the shots versus to wear the pants; inquiry versus enquiry; There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “Wovoka and The Ghost Dance Movement.”
“The Ghost Dance was a religious ‘movement’ (people working together to create or advance an idea)…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 1119 – Methods for Quitting Smoking

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “for good” and “last resort.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Tobacco Growing in the United States.”
“The ‘tobacco’ (the leaves used in cigarettes and related products) plant ‘is native to’ (comes from; was originally found in) the Americas…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide


Tuesday - June 30, 2015

The Running Of The Interns

enhanced-buzz-29438-1372264124-17You may have heard of the Running of the Bulls (male cows) in Spain, especially the most famous in Pamplona, or seen it on television. This yearly event began many years ago to solve the problem of moving bulls from the corrals (a place to temporarily keep animals) to the bullring, where bullfights are held. The bulls are released from the corrals and allowed to run through the streets to the bullring. Foolhardy (taking unnecessary risks) – in my opinion – young people run in front of the bulls and try to get to the bullring before the bulls. Many are hurt every year. Occasionally some are killed.

The running of the interns (someone who works for a short time in a job in order to get experience), in Washington, D.C., solves a different problem and may seem a little crazy to some. But no one, as far as I know, has been hurt or killed.

The U.S. Supreme Court announces many of its decisions near the end of their yearly term (time of meeting) – in May and June. Some of the decisions are important enough to attract reporters from around the world.

Here’s the problem. The Supreme Court has banned (doesn’t allow) all recording devices – video cameras, audio (sound) recorders, etc. – from the Supreme Court building. Reporters sit in the press room and listen to the Supreme Court proceedings (series of things that happen). When the justices (judges) announce an important decision, reporters in the press room quickly write a report, print it, hand it to an intern, and the running begins. Every television network wants to get their report on air first.

The interns race down a short hallway and out of the Supreme Court building. They cross the courtyard (open area outside), dodging (moving quickly to avoid someone/something) tourists, protestors, and others until they make a hard (sudden) left turn at the sidewalk and sprint (run at full speed) the final yards (meters) to where they breathlessly hand the report to a reporter waiting in front of the television cameras.

The running of the interns is only for the young and fit (in good physical condition). It’s about a quarter of a mile – approximately 400 meters – from the press room to the cameras. And in June, it’s usually hot and humid in Washington.

The winning intern last week, when the Supreme Court announced its decision on Obamacare – the Affordable Care Act – was Lauren Langille from CNBC, an American television business news channel. Congratulations, Lauren!

Here and here are two articles – both with animated (action) photos – that will help you experience this year’s running of the interns.

~ Warren Ediger – ESL tutor/coach and creator of the Successful English web site, where you’ll find clear explanations and practical suggestions for better English.

Photo from The Laurel


Sunday - June 28, 2015

Podcasts This Week (June 29, 2015)

icon_51812Why are you only getting half of the benefits of ESL Podcast? The Learning Guide will help you learn English even faster.

Get the Learning Guide and support ESL Podcast today by becoming a Basic or Premium Member!

………

ON MONDAY
ESL Podcast 1116 – Reading and Processing Emails

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “to scan” and “to process.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “E-cards.”
“Americans often send ‘greeting cards’ (printed, folded cards with an image on the front and a kind…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 509

Topics: American Playwrights – Arthur Miller; Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood; to evoke versus to invoke; fluently versus fluency; pronouncing bought and boat, late and let, and beer and bear

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “The Electric Company.”
The Electric Company is an American educational series that first aired on October 25, 1971…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 1117 – Assembling Furniture

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “part” and “bent.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Buying Used Furniture.”
“People who don’t want to pay “full price” (the price being charged for a new item in a store)…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide