ESL Podcast Home ESL Podcast Store
HOME > BLOG > Archive for October, 2008

Archive for October, 2008

Thursday - October 30, 2008

Where to Meet Singles in United States

US SinglesIf you want to come to the United States and meet a handsome (attractive, good looking) single (unmarried) man or beautiful single woman, where should you go?

Recently someone looked at the number of single men versus single women who live in large cities in the United States.  In some cities, there are many more single women than single men, meaning these would be better places for a man to meet a single woman.  In other cities, there are far more single men than there are women, meaning that these would be  good places if you want to meet a man (and a bad place if you want to meet a woman!).

According to the Boston Globe newspaper, here are some of the best places to meet single women (or at least, the cities that have a lot more single women than single men):

  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Detroit
  • Chicago

In general, large cities in East and Midwest tend to have more women than men.  The exception to this rule seems to be the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, where I grew up.  Perhaps it is a good thing that I left there!

The following cities would be the best ones for a woman to meet a man (or the worst places for a man to meet a woman):

  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco
  • Phoenix
  • Seattle
  • San Francisco
  • Las Vegas

Large cities in the West and Southwest have more single men than single women.  So although many men come to Los Angeles to become famous in the movies or on television, it’s not the best place to meet your future girlfriend.

What explains this difference in the number of single men and women in different cities?  One theory is that men are more likely to leave their hometown (the place where they were born or grew up) and move to another city that has more job opportunities.  In the last 30 years, many of the new jobs have been created in places such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, and other large cities in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest (in states such as Washington and Oregon).   States in the East and Midwest have lost many jobs, and since women are less likely than men to move to find a new job, you find more single women in eastern cities than in western cities.

What city can you go to where there is an almost equal number of single men and single women?  The answer is Boston, Massachusetts, although no one understands why that is.


Tuesday - October 28, 2008

“Desperado” by the Eagles

It’s difficult to think of classic American rock without thinking of the Eagles. The Eagles formed in the early 1970s in Los Angeles and broke up (stop working together) in 1980. They were one of the most successful rock groups and had two of the best-selling albums (recording with many songs) of all time.

In 1994, they reunited (became a group again) to go on a tour (performing in many cities) called “Hell Freezes Over.” We use the expression, “when hell freezes over,” when we want to say very forcefully that we don’t intend for something to happen again. For example, if your wife or girlfriend asks you every week if you will take her dancing, but you hate to dance, you may get angry at her and say, “I’ll take you dancing when hell freezes over!” (That’s not a very nice thing to say, but you get the point.) To freeze over means for a liquid (something wet) to get so cold that it becomes solid or hard. Hell is the very hot and horrible place that Christians believe bad people go to after they die. So by naming their tour “Hell Freezes Over,” the Eagles is saying they they had never intended to get back together and to tour; this is something very unexpected.

The title of this song is “Desperado.” A desperado is someone who is reckless or who doesn’t think of what will happen before doing something. Desperado can also refer to a criminal or someone who does not follow the law or society’s rules.

~ Lucy


by the Eagles

Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses (think clearly; act sensibly)?
You been out riding fences (sitting on the divisions or barriers between two properties or two options) for so long now
Oh, you’re a hard one
I know that you got your reasons
These things that are pleasing you
Can hurt you somehow

Don’t you draw (get a card in a card game) the queen of diamonds, boy
She’ll beat you if she’s able
The queen of heats is always your best bet (something that gives you the best chance for success)
Now it seems to me, some fine things
Have been laid (put carefully) upon your table
But you only want the ones that you can’t get

Desperado, oh, you ain’t getting no younger
Your pain and your hunger, they’re driving you home
And freedom, oh freedom, well, that’s just some people talking
Your prison (jail) is walking through this world all alone

Don’t your feet get cold in the wintertime?
The sky won’t snow and the sun won’t shine
It’s hard to tell the nighttime from the day
You’re loosing all your highs and lows
Ain’t it funny how the feeling goes away?

Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences, open the gate (door in a wooden barrier or fence)
It may be raining, but there’s a rainbow (an arch of many colors in the sky) above you
You better let somebody love you,
You better let somebody love you, before it’s too late

Tuesday - October 21, 2008

NEW: “Simple English Stories” for Children (and Adults)!

ses_new.jpgOver the past several years, many of our listeners have asked us about English courses for children, especially at a low English level. We have finally completed three courses called “Simple English Stories” just for children — and for adults who want to learn English, too!”

Stories for Children
“Simple English Stories” are children’s stories written at a low level. These fun and exciting stories include useful vocabulary that is repeated many times in an interesting and meaningful way within the story. Hearing English used many times while hearing a fun story will help children learn English quickly and in a fun and exciting way!

Something For Adults and Older Children, Too!
For older children and adults, each set of “Simple English Stories” contains a “Bonus Story” that takes a fresh and different look at the traditional classic story (Story A). This is a humorous and fun way to introduce useful vocabulary. Children and adults can listen together to Simple English Stories — and learn English together!

Find out more about “Simple English Stories“!

We hope that these stories will be useful to you and to your children!

~ Jeff and Lucy

Thursday - October 16, 2008

Bracelets for Every Cause

In the past few years, several organization have decided to promote (to let people know about, to advertise) their cause (some issue or problem they want to solve) by using bracelets, a thin piece of plastic, metal, or other material that you wear around your wrist (where your arm is attached to your hand).  These bracelets are often sold to raise money for these organizations and causes, and to let other people know about them.

I think the first one I remember seeing was a yellow “LiveStrong” bracelet that was to support the fight against cancer.  This was started back in 2004 by Lance Armstrong, the American cyclist (someone who races bicycles) who won the Tour de France.  Now every group is making its own bracelet, each with a different color.  Here are some of the colors that you will see people in the US wearing and what cause or organization they support.  Notice that some colors are used by several different causes, but many are related to some disease people are trying to cure or prevent:

  • Green – kidney (part of your body that cleans your blood) disease, but also muscular dystrophy and the crisis in Darfur, in Africa.
  • Purple – Alzheimer’s disease, lupus
  • Orange – multiple sclerosis
  • Blue- Crohn’s disease, autism, stopping childhood bullying (when children make fun of or threaten each other)
  • White – poverty
  • Red – diabetes, AIDS

Although the popularity of colored bracelets is a recent phenomenon (happening, situation), bracelets originally became popular back in the 1970s and 1980s to show support for soldiers who had died in a war or were prisoners of war (POWs), and are still worn for that reason as well.  These are usually black or made of stainless steel.

Are bracelets like these popular where you live?  Do you wear one?


Thursday - October 9, 2008

Correction to English Cafe 150

In English Cafe 150, I talked about a group of Americans called the Amish. They are a group of Christians who have very traditional values and don’t have a lot of modern technology in the places where they live. They speak a language called Pennsylvania Dutch, but they also learn English in school.

In the podcast, I said that Pennsylvania Dutch is related to a language spoken in the Netherlands, but this was incorrect. Pennsylvania Dutch is actually related to German.

I want to thank Martin, a listener from Germany, for pointing out (finding and telling us) our mistake. We try to be as accurate (correct) as possible in our podcasts, but sometimes there are errors.


Tuesday - October 7, 2008

The Flavor is in the Nose

chimp_smell_roses_health_and_wellness_expert1.jpgEarlier this year, I had a pretty bad sinus infection. The sinus is the passageway (long, narrow way) in your nose; an infection is when something that causes disease in the body makes that part of your body red and swollen (bigger than its normal size), and pus (thick yellow or green liquid) comes out. Yes, you’re right. That is gross (disgusting) and not too comfortable either.

However, one symptom (sign of illness) surprised me. I lost my sense of smell. I only lost it for a short time during the infection, and it slowly came back in the three weeks it took to fully recover (get well). In that time, however, it became very clear to me what every doctor knows: The flavor of food comes largely from the smell of the food and not from the taste in your mouth.

I like to eat. I like to eat a lot. Not being able to smell the delicious foods that I normally ate made eating a much less enjoyable experience. In fact, it became just a necessity (requirement) and no longer a pleasure.

There are many flavors I would miss if I lost my sense of smell permanently (forever). What flavors would you miss if you lost your sense of smell? What flavors would you be happy to never experience again?

~ Lucy

Wednesday - October 1, 2008

Plunges and Dives

CrashI don’t know enough about the financial crisis here in the U.S. to explain why our economy is having so many problems, but I can explain some of the headlines (titles) that have appeared recently in U.S. newspapers for those of you who are interested in reading the news in English.

Here is the main (most important, largest) headline from today’s Wall Street Journal:

Bailout Plan Rejected, Markets Plunge, Forcing New Scramble to Solve Crisis

Let’s begin with bailoutTo bail something/someone out literally means to remove water, usually from a boat or ship that has a leak (where water is entering the boat and causing it to go down or sink).  A bailout (noun), however, is when you give money to someone or some company to help them when their business is failing.  The U.S. government has been giving money to large financial companies to prevent them from failing in the past two weeks.  Yesterday, the U.S. Congress (the part of the government that makes and approves new laws) rejected or said no to a plan to provide even more money to these businesses.  Because they said no, the stock markets plunged.  To plunge means to go down very quickly or rapidly.  You can also use plunge when something goes down in the water very quickly.  Plunge is similar here to the verb to dive, which again means to go down quickly.

So the bailout plan was rejected by the U.S. Congress, causing the stock markets to plunge.  Now what happens?  Well, the U.S. government has to find a new solution, so they are looking desperately – scrambling – to solve this crisis or serious problem.  To scramble, then, means to move quickly after something goes wrong, usually something you didn’t expect to go wrong.  Many people thought that Congress would approve the bailout plan, so when it failed to pass yesterday, there was a scramble to find a new solution.

The New York Times‘ headline was similar:

Defiant House Rejects Huge Bailout; Stocks Plunge; Next Step is Uncertain

A defiant person is someone who disobeys or says no to something.  The House refers to the House of Representatives, which is one half of the U.S. Congress (the other part is called the Senate).  So the House rejected the large or huge bailout plan, the stock market plunged, and now no one knows what will come next.  The next step or action for the government is uncertain.