2-Wheeled Therapy

People who have tried it say it’s therapeutic. What they mean is that doing it makes them feel calm and relaxed. It helps them feel better about themselves and their lives.

Forty years ago, a little-known organization called Adventure Cycling began promoting (encouraging) what they call “self-contained camping tours.” Bicycle riders, sometimes alone, sometimes with a small group of other riders, ride 40-70 miles (65-115 km) a day for a week, two weeks, or even several months. They carry everything they need on their bicycles. If they need more food and water, they stop along the road to buy it. When it’s time to eat, they prepare their own food. At night they camp out, sleep outside in tents and sleeping bags. When they’re in a scenic (impressive or beautiful) area, they stop to enjoy it.

One rider, on the Adventure Cycling website, said that her body and mind felt younger after riding 700 miles over 14 days, camping near beaches, going to sleep hearing crashing (loud noise of) waves, forgetting her work password and even forgetting what day of the week it was. She said the experience helped her prioritize (decide what’s important) the rest of her life.

Tyler Metcalfe was a photographer for National Geographic magazine. Earlier this year, he quit his job to ride Adventure Cycling’s most iconic (best known) ride, the TransAmerica Trail, from Washington, D.C. to the Pacific Ocean in the state of Washington (see map), by himself. That’s 4228 miles (6804 km), across 11 states, through 3 national parks, surrounded by  “diverse landscape (different scenery) that reflects (shows) the heart of America.”

He finished recently, 109 days after he started. He wrote that he “decided to cross the country by bike so that I could be captivated (have his attention filled) by every moment along the way.” Sometimes that meant cooking dinner with someone he met on the trail, sometimes it meant riding through a heavy rainstorm, or sleeping outside, “under the stars,” for several nights in a row. “I wanted to feel it all,” he wrote, and the experience “gave me an appreciation for the small details of every day.”

Some people, who only thought about the hard work of riding so far for so many days, said he was crazy. But Metcalfe said that traveling like this made it possible for him to slow down and experience the world at his own speed. It gave him “an opportunity to get lost, to spend time talking to strangers, and to fully embrace (welcome) the unexpected.”

Ready for some 2-wheeled therapy?

You can read Tyler Metcalfe’s articles on the National Geographic website.

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

Map from National Geographic.

Posted in Life in the United States | 9 Comments

NEW Lessons This Week (December 5, 2016)

icon_51812To listen to these and other Daily English and Cultural English lessons, become a Select English Member!

………

ON MONDAY
Daily English 1266 – Being a Refugee

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 “possession” and “to be damned.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “The Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program.”
“The Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is designed to help…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
Cultural English 584

Topics: Famous Americans – Bob Hope; severe versus serious; bill versus check; pronouncing words with the silent “b”

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “Spongebob Squarepants.”
SpongeBob SquarePants is an ‘animated’ (cartoon; with moving drawings) American television show and a ‘highly rated’…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
Daily English 1267 – Types of Nurses

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 “bedside manner” and “to hack it.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Where Nursing Professionals Work.”
“Most nursing professionals work in hospitals and in doctor’s offices, but there are other ‘workplaces’…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

Posted in Announcements | 2 Comments

IMPORTANT Changes to ESLPod.com – Please Read

info-553639_1920We want to let you know of some big changes to ESLPod.com. We have completely redesigned (changed the look and function of) our website. We have also changed how you can listen and read our lessons.

WHAT ARE THE CHANGES?

We are very excited to be launching (starting) our new Select English Membership. We designed the new Select English Membership to be an even better way for you to listen and learn.

As a Select English Member:

  • You can choose any of our 1800+ lessons.
  • Each lesson you choose comes with MP3 audio and PDF Learning Guide files you can download to listen and read anywhere.
  • You can choose from regular podcasts (now called “Daily English” lessons) and English Café episodes (now called “Cultural English” lessons).
  • The choice is yours: You pick only the lessons you want and only on the topics you need.

Get more information about the Select English Membership.

BASIC AND PREMIUM MEMBERS:  Don’t worry!  If you like your membership, you can keep it! The main difference will be a new way of downloading your audio and PDF files. To get detail instructions, go to “How to Log In and Download Basic and Premium Learning Guides.

Have more questions? See our new Frequently Asked Questions page for more details, including questions and answers in 11 different languages. Get help with:

How to Sign Up for a Select English Membership
How to Find and Download Select English Lessons
How to Download Files for English Collections + Special Courses
How to Log In and Download Basic and Premium Learning Guides

WHY DID WE MAKE CHANGES?

We made these changes so that we can still make our lessons available to everyone at a low price.

Please keep in mind that:

  • ESLPod.com began over 11 years ago. Since we began offering Basic and Premium Memberships, we have never raised (increased) our prices. At the same time, the number of lessons Premium Members have access to has gone from a few dozen to over 1800. During the same period, our production costs (cost of making podcasts/lessons) have gone up 670%.
  • ESLPod.com does not have any advertising on its website, audio lessons, or blog so that you can listen and read without being bothered by ads.
  • ESLPod.com does not receive any money from the government or from any other source. We are supported solely (only; completely) through your memberships and donations.
  • Neither ESLPod.com nor Jeff (nor Lucy) have ever been paid for endorsements (getting a fee for saying they like or use a product or service) or promotions (activities to increase sales).
  • ESLPod.com has never accepted money by partnering with larger companies or organizations that wanted access to our listeners and users. We have never sold our email lists.

We have kept our independence because we wanted the freedom to create the best lessons we could for our listeners. If we had advertisers, sponsors, or partnerships, we would not have complete freedom to do what we know is right and best for the English learners who visit our website and listen to our lessons.

This is why we need listeners like you to become Select English Members. With your membership and your support, we can continue to make our lessons available to everyone at a low price.

Thank you for your understanding and your support. ESLPod.com would not exist (be here; be alive) without your generous help.

~ Jeff McQuillan + Lucy Tse

(1) If you are a Basic or Premium Member, you should have received an email from us already explaining our changes, with a limited time special offer that will give you a low price on our new Select English Membership. If you did not get that email, please email us at eslpod@eslpod.com.
(2) We will not be using our iTunes or podcast feed for the audio files for Basic and Premium Memberships. We will still have sample lessons on our iTunes podcast, however.
(3) The new Select English Membership gives you the most for your money, but you can also buy lessons without becoming a member – see our English Collections option.
Posted in Announcements | 14 Comments

Podcasts this Week (November 28, 2016)

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 1264 – Customer Loyalty Programs

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 “reward” and “to adopt.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “S&H Green Stamps.”
“S&H Green Stamps were ‘stamps’ (pieces of paper with a printed image and text on one side, and a glue that becomes…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 583

Topics: Andersonville Prison; garbage versus litter versus trash versus rubbish; downtime; pronouncing eight, height, and weight

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “The Dix-Hill Cartel.”
“During the American Civil War, ‘Major’ (a military leader) Dix of the Union and Major Hill of the Confederacy signed an agreement…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 1265 – Watching a Fight

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 “blow” and “round.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Mixed Martial Arts and the UFC.”
“‘Mixed martial arts’ is a sport that uses ‘techniques’ (ways of doing things) from many other types of ‘combat sports’…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

Posted in Announcements | 17 Comments

A Very L.A. Thanksgiving

turkey-218742_1280Welcome! We’re so glad you could join us for Thanksgiving. Come in out of the cold. It’s dipped below (fallen under) 70° F (20° C) outside. Brrrrrrrrr!

Jeff has been slaving away (working very hard) in the kitchen all day baking a big turkey (see photo). It’s free range (raised in a natural environment that allows movement) and pasture-raised (with some of its food coming from the natural environment). Its feed (food for farm animals) has always been non-GMO (not genetically modified; without their genetic material changed to make it better), of course! It has received no  antibiotics (medicine to stop the growth of bacteria (germs)) or hormones (a substance usually used to make animals bigger).

Jeff also asked the turkey if it would mind (dislike) being cooked and eaten, and it said it didn’t mind as long as Jeff took a selfie (photo of yourself, taken by you) with it and remembered to put up the photo on the turkey’s Facebook page.

Jeff has also made mashed potatoes, stuffing (bread and seasonings cooked in a turkey or out of it), and cranberry sauce (a sweet red sauce made from a tart (sour) berry). It’s quite a spread (large number of dishes)!

The table is set (prepared). There is a cornucopia (horn filled with food) centerpiece (decoration for the middle of a dining table). There are enough place settings (sets of plates and bowls for use by each person) for all of us, along with polished (with a bright shine) silverware (knives, forks, and spoons). Here’s your seat.

Lucy would have helped with all of the preparations, but she is recovering from her latest (most recent) nip and tuck (plastic surgery; surgery to make her look better). She noticed a new wrinkle (fold of skin) on her left knee (joint connecting the two parts of the leg) and had lifts (surgery to pull the skin tighter) done on both legs. She won’t be able to walk, but she’ll look marvelous (wonderful; amazing)!

But, in all seriousness (not joking), Thanksgiving is a time to remember all of the good things in our lives. Here, at ESL Podcast, we are very grateful to have wonderful listeners and readers like you all over the world.

From the bottom of our hearts (very sincerely), we wish all of you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving wherever you are!

~ The ESLPod.com Family

Posted in Life in the United States | 14 Comments

Among the Noise, Silence

Gwen_Ifill_PBS_Newshour_cropped_retouchedAmong all the recent political noise, a piece of silence has been noticed by many. The silence is the missing voice of Gwen Ifill, one of the PBS (Public Broadcasting System) Newshour’s co-hosts (two main reporters), who died on Monday, November 14.

Gwen, an award-winning journalist (news reporter), was the first African American woman to host a major political talk show, Washington Week. She and Judy Woodruff were the first women to co-host a major news program, the PBS Newshour.

Since her death, many people have written about her. When you read their comments, you see a good reporter, a good person, a friend to many people, even people who hadn’t met her. She enjoyed life, and when she smiled, the room she was in got brighter. Here, to celebrate (say good about) and learn from this special woman, are a few of the things people wrote (some have been revised (changed) to make them shorter or easier to read):

Gwen was always the one famous person I wanted to have for dinner. I know she would love us and our friends. She would be her beautiful, smart, insightful (wise), kind and generous self, and we would not feel intimidated (afraid) or dumb. I never met her face to face, yet I feel like I have lost a close friend (Martha Richards).

How do you explain the deep friendship you feel for someone you’ve never met, but know in your heart that you’d love her even more if given the opportunity? Her loss is incalculable (can’t be measured), such a brilliant smile, a mind to match that smile, a sense of humanity (kindness, respect) that was ever-present in every minute of her time on air; she was the genuine article (real) (boxerlover).

Gwen has been my idol (someone you want to be like) since I was a young girl growing up in South Texas and wanted to become a reporter. My parents made me watch the PBS news shows every Friday night. I still carry the letter Gwen (or her staff, but that’s OK) sent me after I hand-wrote her a letter of appreciation as a middle schooler (Katherine Fuller).

My heart is heavy and my soul has been fractured (broken). I have admired this lady from afar for many years. Her grace (kindness), beauty, intellect, integrity, and professionalism is unparalleled (not equaled). I certainly hope the young ladies of today were watching, particularly those looking to become journalists (Sherail Boswell).

One does not need to be Black, young, or a journalist to consider Gwen a mentor (teacher) and a role model (someone to be like). She is the kind of person I strive (work hard) to be. My unreachable goal is to be as smart, well-informed, and articulate (able to speak) as her, while being able to discuss complex (difficult) and often controversial (disagreeable) subjects while maintaining a pleasant demeanor (manner) and a great sense of humor (Char Berry).

I always admired Gwen’s skills as a journalist and news anchor, and I was not at all surprised to learn that she was as wonderful behind the scenes as in front of a camera. And so alive! I remember her as giddy (excited) as a schoolgirl at a Beatles concert. Her joy at meeting them was off the charts (couldn’t be described) (Thomas Calhoun).

You can learn more about Gwen from this article and this short interview.

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

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Posted in Life in the United States | 4 Comments

Podcasts this Week (November 21, 2016)

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 1262 – Failing a Driving Test

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 change lanes” and “to cry uncle.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “A Car’s Title.”
“The ‘certificate of title,’ also known as a ‘vehicle title’ or a ‘car title’ is a document that officially identifies who…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 582

Topics: Traditional Gospel Music and Thomas A. Dorsey; cliché versus stereotype; chicken versus hen; to nail it

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “The Ozark Folk Center.”
“The Ozark Folk Center is a state park that ‘showcases’ (features; shares with people in a public way)…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 1263 – Bragging About Success With Men

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 wait around” and “to toy with.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Puffery and Puff Pieces.”
“In ‘advertising’ (promotions; materials that encourage people to buy one’s products), companies often ‘overstate’…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

Posted in Announcements | 12 Comments

If You Like Short Skirts, Thank World War II

War has many unintended consequences (things that happen that no one intended). poster-316690_1280World War II shrunk (made smaller) the skirt.

During World War II, the United States experienced a major change in gender roles (views and responsibilities of men and women). According to the National Archives, every one in three American men left home to serve in the military between 1941 and 1945, and women worked in civilian (not related to the military) jobs out of the home.

These women not only continued to manage their households (homes and the people who live there), but they also worked in factories (large buildings used for making many products for sale), laboratories (where scientific experiments are done), power plants (where electricity and fuel are stored and/or managed), government organizations, and military organizations. The war completely changed the responsibility of women in the workforce (entire population of workers) during these years—and this transformed (completely changed) how they dressed.

Because women were doing more tasks requiring labor (physical activity) like driving trucks, flying military aircraft, and working in shipyards (where ships and boats are built), safety and practicality (suitability for the situation) took precedence (became more important) over glamour (looking attractive) and femininity (being like a woman).

Working women put away their high-heeled shoes and silk (a soft, expensive fabric) dresses and wore cotton shirts and blue jeans instead. They also began pinning (using small, long metal hair clips to fasten) their hair back to avoid getting it caught in the machines used on the job.

During the war, certain materials were reserved (kept for use) for military purposes. And to conserve (use less of) fabric, clothes makers began designing shorter skirts and slimmer (more narrow; less wide) silhouettes (shapes of clothing). Before the war, most women wore panty hose or nylons, a very strong but thin material like a very long sock covering the legs, made from the material also called “nylon.” Because of this, women went barelegged (with no covering over the legs).

By the end of the war, over six million American women had joined the workforce, and nearly one out of every four married women worked outside the home. Although many were replaced by men once the men returned from war, working out of the home changed people’s perceptions (views) of what women could do.

So if you prefer wearing slim and short skirts with bare legs, you have World War II to thank.

~ Lucy

Image Credit:  Rosie the Riveter Poster, War Production Board 1942-43

Posted in Life in the United States | 7 Comments

Podcasts this Week (November 14, 2016)

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 1260 – Transport and Shipping Mishaps

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 “delivery” and “port.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Nautical Terms used in Daily Conversation.”
“Many ‘nautical’ (related to boats, sailing, and the ocean) ‘terms’ (words) have ‘worked their way into’ (become a part of)…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 581

Topics: The John Peter Zenger Trial; tone versus hue versus tint versus shade; wherewithal; pronouncing saw, sew, sow, and sue

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “All-points Bulletins.”
“An ‘all-points bulletin,’ also known as an ‘APB,’ is an announcement sent to all the ‘personnel’ (employees; staff members)…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 1261 – Reading About Research on Health

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 put (someone) on” and “ray.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Junk Science.”
“The ‘term’ (word or phrase) ‘junk science’ is used to show ‘criticism’ (dislike or anger with someone or something)…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

Posted in Announcements | 13 Comments

It Isn’t Over Until . . . Later

Winner-ButtonToday is election day in the U.S.

By the end of the day, we’ll probably know who the next president will be. I say “probably” because today is not the end of the process. Voting on election day is the most important step, but it’s not the last step in choosing a new president.

The men who wrote the U.S. Constitution were cautious (careful to avoid problems). They thought about having Congress choose the next president. And they thought about having the president chosen by popular vote (vote of the people). They compromised – they came up with (created; made) a process that includes some of both.

The Electoral College is an important part of the process. It’s a group of people, called electors, who are appointed (chosen) by each state to meet and formally (officially) elect the next president.

When U.S. citizens vote for a presidential candidate (someone who wants to be president), they are choosing electors from their state. The presidential candidate who wins the popular vote in each state usually gets all of the electors from that state (Maine and Nebraska are exceptions).

There are 538 electors, the number of members of Congress plus 3 for the District of Columbia, where our capital, Washington, is. Each state has one elector for each of its senators (2) and representatives (more for larger states, fewer for smaller). California, for example, has 55 electors. A presidential candidate must receive 270 electoral votes to become president.

The U.S. election is always held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November – November 8 this year. After the election results are added up, the governor of each state sends an official copy of the election results and a list of electors to Congress.

In the middle of December, the electors meet in their home states and cast (make) their votes. The electors’ votes are counted and put onto an official list, called a “Certificate of Vote,” which is sent to Congress.

On January 6, the House of Representatives and the Senate meet together to count the electors’ votes. The vice president, who is the president of the Senate, leads this meeting and, after the votes have been counted, he officially announces the newly-elected President and Vice President of the United States.

Is all of this necessary? And is it fair (best for everyone)? There’s a lot of disagreement about that. Some election results have been decided by the Electoral College – it is possible to win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote. That’s what happened in 2000. Al Gore received more popular votes than George W. Bush, but Bush became president because he won in states with more electoral votes.

In 1824 both candidates received the same number of electoral votes. When that happens, the Constitution requires that the House of Representatives choose the president. The House chose John Quincy Adams, who won fewer popular votes than Andrew Jackson.

If you’d like to know more about the process, here are two very good, easy-to-understand explanations:

~ Warren Ediger – ESL tutor/coach and creator of the Successful English website

Photo from parade.com.

Posted in News and Current Events | 30 Comments