ESL Podcast Home ESL Podcast Store
HOME > BLOG > Archive for June, 2010

Archive for June, 2010

Monday - June 28, 2010

Podcast This Week (June 28, 2010)

ON MONDAY
ESL Podcast 594 – Competition and Prizes

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 take (someone) on” and “to play for.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Popular Children’s Games Requiring Little or No Equipment.”
“Toy stores sell many “elaborate” (fancy; with many pieces) games for children to play with, but many of the best children’s games are played with little or no special equipment…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 248

Topics: Area 51 and Roswell; American Cities: Baltimore; that versus which; right away versus straightaway

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about the movie E.T. The Extraterrestrial
“Many of us are curious about “outer space,” the large and “mysterious” (difficult to understand or know) areas beyond the planet Earth. One thing that has “captured our imagination”…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 595 – Suffering from Allergies

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 tilt” and “to spot.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Common Allergies Among Americans.”
“Many Americans have allergies and these are some of the most common. Common food allergies include peanuts, “dairy” (milk and milk products), wheat, soy, and “shellfish” (fish from the ocean with hard shells, like oysters and crabs)…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

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

Thursday - June 24, 2010

If You Aren’t In, You Might Get Left Out!

Bars, night clubs, and dance clubs are popular places for people to get together with their friends at night. A bar is a place for drinking, talking to your friends, and possibly watching your favorite team on a big-screen TV. Night clubs are similar, but usually have live entertainment, like a band (musical group) or a DJ (disc jockey, someone who plays CDs), and a dance floor. Dance clubs are night clubs especially for dancing.

When you arrive at a popular bar or night club, you’ll often find a long line of people waiting to get in … and a bouncer.

A bouncer is a security guard (someone who protects a building or something valuable). He’s responsible for making sure the waiting people don’t cause problems and to decide who gets in and who doesn’t. That’s what this blog post is about: how does a bouncer decide who gets in and who doesn’t?

If you’re waiting in a long line at a concert or some other event, you assume (believe it is true) that the people at the front of the line (closest to the door or entrance) will get in first. Hopefully the line will move quickly, and you’ll be able to get in, too. At popular bars and night clubs, you might be surprised to learn that the people at the front of the line don’t always get in first.

Lauren Rivera is a sociologist, a scientist who studies how groups of people act. She was curious how bouncers decided who to let into a club or bar, so she got a job in a New York night club and became friends with the bouncers.

Rivera says that “bouncers are status (importance in society) judges (someone who gives an opinion).” In other words, bouncers decide who is important enough to be allowed into the club or bar. Usually they have to make these decisions with very little information about the people, so Rivera asked them how they did it.

The bouncers told Rivera that they look first for people who will enhance (add to) the image (reputation) of the club. Secondly, they look for people who will probably spend a lot of money.

The bouncers said that if you really want to get into a popular club, one thing will help you more than anything else – your social network. Social networks are the people you know and the people who know you. If the bouncers recognize you, and you are someone famous, you get in. And if you are connected to (have a relationship with) someone famous, you get in. They bouncers also told Rivera that you have a better chance of getting in if you are white (not dark-skinned) or if you are an attractive woman.

Rivera discovered one thing that might surprise some people: bouncers look down on (don’t appreciate) people who try to bribe them (try to give them money to influence their decision).

Did you figure out what the title of this post means? The title is a message to anyone who is thinking about going to a night club or bar controlled by a bouncer: if you aren’t in (fashionable, connected, attractive), you’ll be left out (not allowed to go in or participate).

I hope you get in!

~ Warren Ediger – English tutor and coach, creator of www.successfulenglish.com where you’ll find something new every week to help you improve your English.

Photo: Hans-Petter Fjeld (CC-BY-SA)

Tuesday - June 22, 2010

You Have Work/a Job To Do

QUESTION:
Emiliano from Spain, and friend of the podcast, is reading a book in English and wants to know if the sentence “You have a job to do” is correct or if it should be “You have a work to do.”

ANSWER:
Both of these sentences are correct and commonly-used in English:
“You have a job to do.”
“You have work to do.”  (We would not say, “We have a work to do.”)

The reason we say “a job” and “work” (without the article “a”) is because “job” is a count noun and “work” is a mass noun.  A count noun allows you to put an article (“a” or “the”) in front of it or to put a number in front of it:  “a job,” “the job,” “one job,” “two jobs,” “three jobs,” etc.  Mass nouns, such as “work,” do not take an article (not “a work” or “the work) and we cannot say “one work,” “two works,” etc.

Both sentences — “You have a job to do.” and “You have work to do.” — mean about the same thing, that you have tasks or work that needs to be completed.  However, “a job” may sometimes be used to refer to a specific task, often something that you have already talked about or referred to earlier in the conversation or that both people know about.  Here are a couple of examples:
A:  “Firing (dismissing someone from his/her job) employees isn’t easy.”
B:  “No, it isn’t easy, but I have a job to do and I plan to do it.”

Lucy:  “Why are you working so late?”
Jeff:  “I have a job to do and I’m not leaving until it’s done.”

“You have work to do” can be used to refer to a specific task, but may also be used more generally to say that this person should be working, not doing something else, like having fun.
– “Why is everyone standing around?  You all have work to do.”

Lucy:  “Today is Friday. Why can’t we leave work early?”
Jeff:  “We have work to do.  This is no time to think about goofing off (playing or having fun when we should be working).”

Thanks to Emiliano for the question and I hope this is helpful.

~ Lucy

Monday - June 21, 2010

Podcasts This Week (June 21, 2010)

ON MONDAY
ESL Podcast 592 – Dealing with Website Hackers

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 “server” and “patch.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Famous American Hackers.”
“Some American hackers have “gained” (earned; received through their actions) “notoriety” (fame for something bad that one has done) for their computer-related crimes…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 247

Topics: Psycho & Alfred Hitchcock; The Gettysburg Address; to get the most out of versus to take advantage of; who versus whom; status quo

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about the band Talking Heads and their classic song “Psycho Killer.”
“If you were “around” (alive) in the 1970’s and 1980’s in the United States, you may have been listening to new wave music.  “New wave music” combined many musical styles, including “pop” or popular music, “funk”…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 593 – Staying Home from School

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 fake” and “to forge.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Acceptable Excuses for Missing School.”
“American students are expected to go to school each day, but “perfect attendance” (going to all classes every day) is rare. Schools understand that students “occasionally” (sometimes, but not very often) need to miss class…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

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

Thursday - June 17, 2010

Looking Forward to 50?

A recent article in the New York Times reported on a recent study on aging (getting older) and happiness.  The study was based on a scientific poll of 340,000 Americans of all ages.  One of the questions related to how satisfied people were with themselves, a measure (indication) of happiness.  According to the study, people at age 18 begin life feeling pretty happy, but soon they start to feel worse and worse.  However, this process reverses (goes in the other direction) at age 50.  Beginning at age 50, people begin to feel better about themselves again.

There are a number of possible explanations for this finding (result of research).  First, by the time you are 50, you are likely to be advanced in your career, making a good salary (money for work), and feeling in control of your life better than when you first started out working in your 20s and 30s.  Second, if you have children, they are likely to be older adolescents or adults, which leaves you more time for yourself.  Third, you may have a more balanced, realistic view of life in general (overall) and your life in particular (specifically).  By 50, you have seen more of the world and the people in it, and can perhaps see that temporary setbacks (problems) are just that – temporary, for a short time only.

I’m only 46, so I have four more years before my life gets better.  I can’t wait to be 50!

~Jeff

Tuesday - June 15, 2010

I am Not Lucy Tse

A couple of weeks ago, we received a listener email message about the podcast. In the message, the listener said that he was glad to see a picture of me on the Internet and to know what I looked like.  Curious to know what I looked like, too, I did an image (picture) search and found a few of my Googlegangers.

I found this woman who works as a community coordinator (organizer) in Canada, but sadly, I’m not Canadian.

I found these woman with Facebook pages, but sadly, I’m not active on Facebook.

Finally, after a lot of searching (looking), I spotted (found) a video of me.  I’ve told people for years that I’ve started to age backwards (starting with the end and going to the beginning), much like Benjamin Button.  Now, maybe they’ll believe me.

Check out my fancy moves (dance steps)!  I bet you didn’t know I was this nimble (able to make quick and graceful movements).  If this whole podcast thing doesn’t work out (become successful), I know I have a backup plan (something else I can do if I fail at the first thing).

~ Lucy

Monday - June 14, 2010

Podcasts This Week (June 14, 2010)

ON MONDAY
ESL Podcast 590 – Paying Airline Fees

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 tack on” and “to turn back.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Types of Airline Employees.”
“Airlines “employ” (hire; give jobs to) people in many different “positions” (job descriptions). Most fliers interact only with a few airline employees, like “reservation agents”…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 246

Topics: Ask an American – Father Damien and leprosy; bring versus take; And you?; trustworthy versus honest

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about the television show “Hawaii Five-O.”
Hawaii Five-0 was a popular American television series that “ran” (was shown on TV) from 1968 to 1980. It was “shot on location” (filmed where a movie or show is set or placed)…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 591 – Handling a Traffic Stop

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 flash” and “to run.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “How to Avoid Getting a Traffic Ticket.”
” The easiest way to “avoid” (not let something happen) getting a “traffic” (related to driving) ticket for “speeding” (going faster than the allowed “speed limit” (maximum speed)) is to not speed. However, many drivers want to drive faster than the speed limit…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

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

Thursday - June 10, 2010

Traveling California – Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is certainly not the fastest way to travel from San Diego to San Francisco, but it is, without a doubt (certainly), the most scenic (with beautiful scenery, or views)! The PCH – California Highway 1 – is a narrow (small, not wide), two-lane highway that hugs (stays very close to) the coast (where the ocean touches the land) as it carries travelers 485 miles (780 km) from near San Diego, in southern California, almost all the way to San Francisco.

PCH is interrupted (stops for a short distance) occasionally as it winds (doesn’t travel in a straight line) its way up the coast. For the most part (usually), it treats (gives) patient (not in a hurry) travelers to beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. It begins along the warm, sandy beaches of southern California and travels to Big Sur. There large waves crash (make a loud noise) on the rocks far below as the road hangs precariously (dangerously) from the cliffs (edge of mountain that goes straight down) near Ragged Point and crosses deep gorges (narrow valley with vertical sides) on bridges like the Bixby Creek Bridge.

In southern California, the views of the Pacific are punctuated (interrupted) by cities, like San Diego, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara. As the PCH continues north, the cities and towns grow smaller. The view (what you see) is filled first with gentle hills and vineyards (where grapes grow) and, later, with rugged (rocky, rough) mountains and forests (place with many trees).

The PCH also carries the traveler through significant (important) moments (times) in California history. The California Missions Trail follows Highway 101, which runs parallel to (goes the same direction), and occasionally joins (comes together with) the PCH. Between 1769 and 1823, the Franciscans (followers of St. Francis of Assisi) established 21 Roman Catholic Missions (churches) beginning near San Diego and extending (continuing) all the way to Sonoma, north of San Francisco. Most of the missions have been preserved (saved; protected) and some, like Mission San Juan Capistrano, between San Diego and Los Angeles, give tourists a very real taste (experience) of what life was like in California more than 200 years ago.

If you’d like to begin to explore the PCH for yourself, start with this short video, then check out (look at) Driving California’s coast in 10 days from the Los Angeles Times or Pacific Coast Highway California from the National Geographic Traveler.

To really experience the PCH, however, you have to come to California, rent a car, and try it for yourself!

~ Warren Ediger – ESL tutor and coach, creator of Successful English, where you can learn more about how to improve your English.

photo of California coast near Ragged Point by W. Ediger

Tuesday - June 8, 2010

Queen – “We Are The Champions”

As Jeff has mentioned before, the sport of soccer is not as popular in the United States as other sports.  (The sport is, of course, called “football” in British English.)  The most popular professsional sports here are football (American), basketball, and baseball.  However, the U.S. has many residents (people who live in a place) who are from other countries and many people in countries around the world are very excited about the FIFA World Cup, the most important international soccer tournament (a competition which begins with many teams and ends with one team as the winner) in the world.  And if you are a soccer fan then you know that the 2010 World Cup begins June 11 and ends July 11, when we’ll know which team is the champion (winning) team.

If the winner is the United States — yes, I know that’s a long shot (a small possibility, a very, very, very, very, very small possibility!!) — the players may sing “We Are The Champions” by Queen.  This is a very popular song played or sung in the U.S. when people celebrate a victory (win), especially in sports.  If you know the lyrics (words), you probably know why.  If you don’t, take a look at them below.  If you’re not already in the mood (state of mind or feeling) to cheer on (send encouragement to) your favorite team, then maybe this song will help.  I know that those of you who are rabid (extreme; crazy about something) soccer fans don’t need anything more to help get you in the mood for the World Cup.

But who will win?  Which team will be able to say, “We are the champions?”

~ Lucy

We Are The Champions
by Queen

I’ve paid my dues (earned something through hard work or suffering)
Time after time (again and again)
I’ve done my sentence (completed my period of punishment)
But committed no crime
And bad mistakes
I’ve made a few
I’ve had my share of sand (very small bits of rock found at the beach) kicked in my face (“sand kicked in my face” = had obstacles; met people who did not respect me)
But I’ve come through (passed through or survived a period of difficulty)

We are the champions, my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions, of the world

I’ve taken my bows (bent at the waist, leaning forward, after a performance to acknowledge people’s applause and cheers)
And my curtain calls (after a performance, for the audience to continue clapping to encourage the performers to come back on stage to receive the audience’s appreciation)
You brought me fame (being known to a lot of people; being famous) and fortune (money) and everything that goes with it
I thank you all

But it’s been no bed of roses (easy thing)
No pleasure cruise (vacation on a large ship)
I consider it a challenge before the whole human race (all the living people in the world)
And I ain’t gonna lose

We are the champions, my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions, of the world

Monday - June 7, 2010

Podcasts This Week (June 7, 2010)

ON MONDAY
ESL Podcast 588 – Hiring Business Consultants

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 call the shots” and “to contract.”
In the “Culture Note,” read about “Advice for Hiring Consultants.”
“Companies can “benefit” (receive advantages) in many ways when they hire consultants, but they have to make sure they hire consultants in the right way…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 245

The Grand Canyon; Famous Americans: Georgia O’Keefe; shanty versus apartment versus tenement; alert the media; now what?

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “Sedona, Arizona.”
“After visiting the Grand Canyon, many visitors choose to visit other interesting places nearby.  Some choose to drive about six hours west to the exciting city of Las Vegas, Nevada, for some “gambling”…”
– READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 589 – Having Skin Problems

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 start out” and “mole.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Common Types of Skin Products.”
“People use many different “beauty products” (products designed to make one more beautiful) to treat skin “blemishes” (unwanted, unattractive marks) and improve the “condition” (state; health) of their skin…”- READ MORE in the Learning Guide

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