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Sunday - March 1, 2015

Podcasts This Week (March 2, 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 1082 – Traveling to a Remote Island

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 “remote” and “to make.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Remote U.S. Possessions.”
“A U.S. ‘possession’ or ‘territory’ is an area that is ‘governed’ (ruled) by the United States…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 492

Topics: Movies – Twelve Angry Men; Washington National Cathedral; cool versus awesome; closure and mental loafer; no biggie

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “Jury Nullification.”
“In the United States, legal cases that need a ‘verdict’ (court decision) of ‘guilty’…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 1083 – Types of Pants

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 “slacks” and “broken in.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Women in Pants.”
“In the past, women almost always wore dresses or skirts, not pants…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide


Wednesday - February 25, 2015

This Cookie’s On A Roll*

Happy Cookie FridayA glass of milk, and as many Oreo cookies as her mother would let her eat. That’s what my wife had for a snack (a small amount of food eaten between meals) after school almost every day when she was young. Oreos were her favorite.

Oreos, if you’re not familiar with them, are like a sandwich – two round chocolate wafers (a thin, flat, sweet cookie) with a white, sweet, creamy (soft, smooth) filling (something that you put inside of a pie, etc., or in inside a sandwich), called a creme filling. Sometimes Oreos are called “Chocolate Sandwich Cookies.”

Oreos have been around for a long time – more than 100 years. The first Oreos appeared in 1912, the year the Titanic sank, and the year that the first explorers made it to the South Pole in Antarctica. And, as our title suggests, they’ve been on a roll every since.

Oreos have always been popular. Last year, in 2014, people around the world bought more than three billion dollars’ worth of Oreos. That’s three times more than the next most popular kind of cookie. People love Oreos!

Today there are many kinds of Oreos. The Double Stuf Oreo has twice (two times) as much white creme filling as the regular Oreo. Big Stuf Oreos are much larger than normal Oreos. The Mini Oreo is bite-sized, small enough to eat in one bite. And the Mega Stuf Oreo, introduced two years ago, are similar to the Double Stuf Oreos, but with even more white creme filling.

There are many ways to eat Oreos. You can, of course, eat them the way they come out of the package. Or, if you’re like my wife, you can dunk them in milk – put them into the milk until they get soft – and take them out again to eat them. Some people like to “twist and lick” – turn the outer parts of the Oreo in a circle so that it comes apart, then use their tongue to lick off the sweet, creamy filling before eating the chocolate wafers. Still others like to break the Oreos into small pieces and sprinkle (scatter small pieces onto something) them onto ice cream. One of my favorite kinds of ice cream, Cookies and Cream, is a mixture of ice cream and pieces of Oreo cookies.

What kinds of snacks do you enjoy? Have you ever had Oreos? Did you like them?

* The title is a pun, and is supposed to make you smile or laugh. The pun in the title comes from two different ways of using the word “roll.” A roll is a small, often round, piece of bread for one person; sweet rolls are usually filled with or covered by something sweet. To be on a roll could mean to be on top of a roll or, as I’m using it here, to be having success with whatever you are doing.

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

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.


Sunday - February 22, 2015

Podcasts This Week (February 23, 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 1080 – Automating Production

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 “tricky” and “on (one’s) hands.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Robotic Competitions for  Students.”
“American ‘policymakers’ (legislators; people who create laws) and educators want to increase students’ interest…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 491

Topics: American Presidents – Rutherford B. Hayes; emission versus propagation; he/she don’t; to do (someone’s) bidding

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “The Easter Egg Roll at the White House.”
“Easter is a Christian holiday held each year on a Sunday usually in March or April…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 1081 – Personal Grooming

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 shave” and “to pluck.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “New Beauty Treatments.”
“‘Beauty salons’ (businesses that provide beauty services and treatments, especially for women) are always ‘innovating’…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide


Tuesday - February 17, 2015

The Worst Valentine’s Day Song Ever

Last Saturday, February 14th, was Valentine’s Day, the holiday that celebrates love. If you celebrated it, I hope you had a romantic (inspiring love and warm feelings) time with your sweetheart (the person you love romantically). We talked about this popular holiday on one of our regular podcasts (ESL Podcast 659) and in one of our English Cafes (English Cafe 13).

Now that the holiday is over, I can introduce you to the worst Valentine’s Day song ever composed (written (music)). It’s called “My Funny Valentine” and it was most famously recorded by the great Frank Sinatra. The song actually debuted (was performed for the first time) in 1937 in a musical (play with songs) called Babe in Arms. But since then, many famous singers have covered it (sung their own version), and it is considered a standard (classic song known and sung by many people).

You’ve probably heard this song in one form or another, but have you ever listened to the lyrics (words in a song)? I hadn’t until last week. And now I consider (judge) this to be the worst song you could ever sing to your valentine on Valentine’s Day.  I’ll explain the lyrics below and you can tell me if you agree.

“My Funny Valentine”
by Frank Sinatra

My funny (making one laugh or strange) valentine (loved one)
Sweet comic (funny; making one laugh) valentine
You make me smile with my heart.

Your looks (appearance) are laughable (so ridiculous that they makes others laugh)
Unphotographable (cannot be photographed because of its ugliness)
Yet (Despite this; Even so) you’re my favorite work of art (artwork, such as a painting or statue).

Is your figure (curves of a person’s body, usually a woman’s) less than Greek (as in a Greek statue, often showing an ideal human form)?
Is your mouth a little weak (small and not strong looking)?
When you open it to speak
Are you smart? (This is a rhetorical question, one that doesn’t need to be answered because we all know the answer. In this case, it’s no.)

But don’t change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay, little valentine, stay
Each day is Valentine’s Day

Is your figure less than Greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?

But don’t you change one hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is Valentine’s Day

There you have it (That was what I wanted to show you). The singer tells his sweetheart she is ugly, she has a bad figure, and she is stupid. Yes, the larger message is that despite all of your flaws (faults; things that make you not perfect), my valentine, I love you and I don’t want you to change. That’s a lovely sentiment (emotional message) and certainly something I would want to hear from my sweetheart. But after being insulted (treated disrespectfully), do you think your sweetheart would hear the real message of the song? I’m not sure. Maybe it would only work for someone as suave (charming (man)) as Frank Sinatra.

Now that Valentine’s Day is over and the pressure is off (there is no stress to do something good or nice), please try this song on your sweetheart and let me know if you get a slap (hit with an open hand, usually on the face) or a kiss.

- Lucy

Sunday - February 15, 2015

Podcasts This Week (February 16, 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 1078 – Watching Action Movies

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 hot pursuit” and “to straddle the line.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Swashbuckler Films.”
“‘Swashbuckler films’ are a ‘genre’ (type of story or art) of action films with strong heroes who ‘engage in’ (participate in) many fights…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 490

Topics: Famous Americans – Muhammad Ali; The Golden Gate Bridge; valuable versus invaluable; north/south versus northern/southern; common ground and universal experience

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “Bridge to Nowhere.”
“The term ‘bridge to nowhere’ is used to refer to building projects that are incomplete or has not been finished…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 1079 –Receiving Letters and Packages in the Mail

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 “letter” and “to be forwarded.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Suspicious Packages.”
“A ‘suspicious package’ is an envelope or package sent through the mail that ‘raises suspicion’…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide


Tuesday - February 10, 2015

So, Where Is Downtown Los Angeles?

Downtown_Los_Angeles_SkylineA few weeks ago, I was planning to spend an afternoon and evening with a visiting Russian student. He asked me to suggest what to do, so I gave him two choices: we could stay along the coast (where the land meets the ocean) or we could go to downtown Los Angeles. “What,” he asked, “and where is downtown Los Angeles?”

Good question. Usually, when we talk about downtown, we’re referring to the center or main business part of a city. In contrast, the suburbs are areas away from the center of a city where people live.

When you’re talking about Los Angeles, though, the downtown/suburb contrast doesn’t tell the whole story. For one thing, downtown isn’t in the center of the city.

Many years ago, someone described Los Angeles as “…72 suburbs in search of (looking for) a city.” The reason is that much of the area that we now know as Los Angeles was made up of many smaller towns in the past. Those towns grew until they connected with other towns around them and, eventually (after a time), with Los Angeles to become the large city we have today. Hollywood, for example, was once a small community (an area where people live) that merged with (became part of) Los Angeles in 1910.

Today, most people agree that downtown Los Angeles includes a small area framed (surrounded) by the 101, 10, and 110 freeways (a wide road designed for fast travel). And that’s where my student and I decided to go.

If you’d like to see some of the highlights (most important or interesting parts) of our time downtown, you can do that by going to the Downtown Los Angeles Walking Tour web site and click on the maps to move from one place to another. We visited parts of the New Downtown (ND) and the Historic Core (HC). Here are the highlights:

  • Pershing Square (HC)
  • The Biltmore Hotel (ND). This was the largest hotel in LA when it was built in 1923.
  • The Central Library (ND), across Grand Avenue from the Biltmore, a historic building with modern touches (details or additions).
  • The Bunker Hill Steps (ND) take you to the top of the hill and the historic center of the old financial district.
  • The California Plaza (ND)
  • Angel Flight (ND)
  • The Grand Central Market (HC) and Bradbury Building (HC). The Bradbury, built in 1893, is one of the oldest buildings in downtown LA.
  • The Westin Bonaventure (ND) hotel, a good place to go after the sun goes down for lattes (strong coffee drink with steamed milk) in the revolving (turning in a circle) lounge (place to sit and relax) at the top of the hotel.

Hope you enjoyed downtown Los Angeles as much as we did! And I hope you can experience it for yourself sometime soon.

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

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.


Sunday - February 8, 2015

Podcasts This Week (February 9, 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 1076 – Celebrity Product Lines

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 lend (one’s) name ” and “upside.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Celebrity Product Lines.”
“Many celebrity product lines are ‘a match made in heaven’ (two things that are very well suited for each other)…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 489

Topics: American Authors – Alex Haley; American Bandstand; continuous versus contiguous; let alone and to kick the bucket; the birds and bees talk

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “Soul Train.”
“Television shows ‘featuring’ (has as its main topic) music have been popular since nearly the start of television…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 1077 – Buying Travel Insurance

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 “loss” and “remains.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Types of Travel Insurance.”
“In addition to the travel insurance and medical insurance discussed in this podcast…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide


Tuesday - February 3, 2015

Honking: An L.A. Story

EXASPERATED MAN IN HIS CAR   Original Filename: 10135102.jpgEvery city has its particular characteristics that, for whatever reason –  the culture of the city, the geography (the physical area) of the city, the history of the city – help shape (change) the people who live there. People adapt (take on) certain attitudes, certain characteristics, certain behaviors.

Someone who lives in Los Angeles is called an Angelino (Angelino). In Los Angeles, we Angelinos have our own personality and characteristics. The one I want to talk about today is feeling entitled.

To feel entitled means to feel like you deserve whatever you get, that, in a sense, the world owes you something. To be entitled means to feel that you’re number one, you’re important, and that whatever good things you get, you get because of who you are or what you did. In other words, you’re so good, you’re so wonderful, that the world should treat you like a king or queen.

This is, of course, is a very negative way to describe someone’s personality, but I think it really is true in the city where I live. One of the places you see this sense of entitlement in Angelino culture is on the freeways.

We spend a lot of time in our cars in L.A., and for that reason, we have some of the worst traffic (too many cars on the road) in the United States. We have too many cars for too small of a space, and we don’t have a good public transportation system.

Logically, when you have a lot of people spending a lot of time in their cars and those same people feel entitled, well, that leads to certain problems.

On the freeways, it leads to (results in) a lot of honking. To honk means to make a loud noise with your car by using your car horn. We also use the verb “to beep” your horn. Beeping your horn usually means you are making noise with your horn but for a short time. Honking your horn means that you make noise for a longer time, especially when you’re angry.

When you feel entitled, you feel that everyone else should just get out of your way! This means that there are a lot of impatient drivers in LA. And they honk. A lot.

The situation is very different in other parts of the United States. Back in Minnesota, where I’m from, people honk, of course, but it’s not considered a very nice thing to do. You don’t do it very often, and if you can avoid honking, you do.

The size of the city certainly makes a difference. Los Angeles, like New York or Chicago, is such a big city that you think, “Well, I’m never going to see these people again anyway, and so I don’t really have to care about them.” In a smaller city or town, you may actually know the person you’re honking at, or at least see them again.

So if you ever come to Los Angeles, and you hear me honking at you, don’t take it personally – but do get out of my way!

~Jeff

Photo credit: John Greenfield, CC


Sunday - February 1, 2015

Podcasts This Week (February 2, 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 1074 – Becoming a Vegetarian/Vegan

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 “cheese” and “to guard against.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Types of Vegetarianism.”
“There are many types of vegetarianism, and some are considered easier to ‘adopt’ …”- READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 488

Topics: American Musicals/Movies – The Producers; The Statue of Liberty; sponsored by versus powered by versus encouraged by; putting the crunch back; hoochie

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “Lesser-Known Members of a Film Crew.”
“Many professionals work on a film between ‘conception’ (having the idea) and ‘completion’ (finishing)…”- READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 1075 – Defying Orders

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 “order” and “to squeal on (someone).”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Types of Military Court-Martial.”
“A ‘court-martial’ is a military court that is used for lawsuits against ‘members of the armed services’ …”- READ MORE in the Learning Guide


Tuesday - January 27, 2015

What Did You Learn From Your First Job?

first-jobRemember your first job? I do. And I remember learning something very important from it.

I got my first “real” job when I left home after high school to go to college. My parents couldn’t afford (didn’t have enough money) to help me, so I worked my way through college (paid for my education by working).

I went to class in the morning and, occasionally, in the evening. Every afternoon I went to work in a small manufacturing company where I was responsible for the mail room.

I did the things you might expect. I went around to all the offices, picked up the day’s outgoing (being sent) mail, and made sure it was ready to be picked up by the mail truck. After the incoming (received) mail was delivered, I distributed (took it around) it to each of the offices.

Most of my time, however, was spent preparing the day’s promotional (advertising) mail. Each salesman scheduled multiple (more than one) mailings to each of their customers. For example, they would send one promotional piece the first month, a different one the second month, and so on.

Every day I would take the envelopes for that day from a large file cabinet. I put the appropriate promotional pieces into the envelopes, put postage (money charged for sending a letter) on them, sorted (organized in groups) them according to their destinations (where they were going), and put them into large mailbags.

The flow (smooth steady movement) of mail was important to the company. And I was responsible to see that the flow was not interrupted (stopped).

Several weeks before Christmas, I went to see the office manager, to tell him that I would be gone for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. We didn’t have school during the holidays, and I planned to spend them with my family.

George invited me to come into his office and sit down across the desk from him. He listened attentively (thoughtfully) to what I had to say. When I finished, he was quiet for a short time and then asked, “Where do you plan to work when you return after the holidays?”

I must have looked puzzled (confused), so George explained. “You may get time off during the holidays, but we don’t. Our work continues. If you leave, I’ll have to hire someone to take your place. I can’t do that and then ask him or her to leave when you come back. So you need to decide if you want to continue to work here.”

Happily, George and I were able to work out a compromise (a different way to solve the problem). I worked until the day before Christmas, took the train home so I could enjoy Christmas with my family, and returned to work a day or two after Christmas.

George taught me an important lesson: when you are given a job, you are responsible to do that job. You’re a part of a team, and when the team works, you work. You can’t come and go whenever you want to.

What did you learn from your first job?

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

Today’s photo comes from www.definitelyfilipino.com.