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Archive for April, 2012

Monday - April 30, 2012

Podcasts This Week (April 30, 2012)

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ON MONDAY
ESL Podcast 786 – Going to a Bar

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 “shot” and “impression.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Types of Bars and Pubs.”
“Americans enjoy going to many types of “drinking establishments” or “bars.” A “dive bar” is the least “sophisticated” (elegant; refined) type of bar…” - READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 344

Topics: American Playwrights – Tennessee Williams; how to become a real estate agent; thief versus burglar versus robber versus mugger; to sell someone a bill of goods; to hold up one’s end of a bargain; momentum

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “The Multiple Listing Service.”
“If you want to buy or sell a home in the United States, your real estate agent or broker will very likely use the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  The MLS is a…” - READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 787 – Speaking to a Baby or Young Child

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 look after” and “no-no.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Terms for Relatives.”
“Very few children call their parents “mother” and “father,” which sounds too “formal” (very respectful and polite, but not relaxed or comfortable). Instead…” - READ MORE in the Learning Guide

Monday - April 23, 2012

Podcasts This Week (April 23, 2012)

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

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 784 – Socializing With Clients

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 win over” and “a few too many.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Common Sites for Business Socializing.”
“‘Socializing’ (interacting with other people in social situations) is an important part of modern business, and business socializing can ‘take place’ (happen) almost anywhere…” - READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 343

Topics: Famous Americans – Mary Tyler Moore; Famous Songs: Dem Bones; to straighten up versus to straighten out; (you’re) tripping; to get/fall into the groove

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “Nicknames for Doctors.”
“Americans like to give each other “nicknames” (a familiar name that someone is known by other than their real name), so it’s not surprising that the most common…” - READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 785 – Consulting a Pharmacist

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 “rash” and “monitor.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “How to Become a Pharmacist.”
“In the United States, it takes many years of study to become a pharmacist. While still in high school, “aspiring” (wanting to have or do something) pharmacists…” - READ MORE in the Learning Guide

Thursday - April 19, 2012

Let’s Go to Coachella!

For two weekends every April, the town of Indio in the Coachella Valley (a low area of land between hills or mountains) becomes a happening (fashionable, popular) place. More than 75,000 will flock (go in large numbers) to Indio each Friday evening. And many won’t leave until Sunday night.

The Coachella Valley hides between the San Jacinto/Santa Rosa Mountains and Little San Bernardino Mountains about 80 miles inland (away from the Pacific Ocean) in southern California. At the north end of the valley you’ll see golf courses, tennis courts, and retirees (people who have retired from full-time work) in the cities of Palm Springs and Palm Desert. At the opposite end, near the U.S. border with Mexico, you’ll find the Salton Sea, which is about 225 feet (69 meters) lower than the Pacific Ocean.

Since 1993, when the rock band (musical group) Pearl Jam performed in front of almost 25,000 fans (people who like something very much), the Coachella Valley Music Festival (an organized series of concerts) has been drawing (attracting) performers and fans from around the world. It’s become one of the largest and most important festivals in the U.S. It’s so popular that the first weekend sold out (all the tickets were sold) in less than one hour. The tickets for both weekends disappeared in less than three hours.

Music at Coachella is non-stop (it’s happening all the time). Music fans can choose from five stages (raised areas that bands perform on) and a dance tent with DJs (people who play recorded music for dancing). Many Festival-goers camp (sleep in tents or recreational vehicles) in a field next to the Festival site (location).

Festivals like Coachella are becoming more and more important in the world of popular music. Because of the Internet, it’s difficult for musicians to make money selling their recordings. A writer on The Atlantic Cities website explains that many bands sell their songs online (on the Internet) but don’t make a profit (money you earn after paying expenses). So they tour (travel and give concerts) to develop a following (group of fans, supporters) and try to get noticed by (attract attention of) major labels (companies that make and sell recordings).

Festivals are an important part of this process. If groups and musicians do well at a festival like Coachella, they will be noticed by major labels and other tastemakers (someone who decides or influences what will become popular). The result could easily be a recording contract (agreement), greater popularity, and more money.

The 2012 Coachella lineup (list of performers) has a few surprises. If we measure the number of acts (groups of performers) for every one-million people in a city, Stockholm, Sweden, has the largest number of acts at the Festival, followed by Austin, Texas (U.S.). London and Los Angeles are near the top of the list. And cities like Portland, Oregon (U.S.), Manchester, England, and Toronto and Montreal, Canada, are in the top ten. This year more than half of the acts come from outside the U.S.

Headliners (main performers) at this year’s Festival include Radiohead, The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Squeeze, and well-known reggae performer Jimmy Cliff. If you’d like to see a list of past performers, you can visit the Festival Wikipedia page.

This year’s Festival began last weekend – April 13-15 – and will conclude (end) this weekend. If you’d like to learn more about it, try a Google news search using “Coachella” and “2012”.

~ Warren Ediger – creator of Successful English, where you can find practical suggestions for better English.

Photo by Flickr user Mick O.

Monday - April 16, 2012

Podcasts This Week (April 16, 2012)

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

………

ON MONDAY
ESL Podcast 782 – Expressing Bitter Feelings

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 “bitter” and “absolute.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Classic Break-up Songs.”
“A lot of “pop music” (popular songs) is about romantic love and relationships, but some are about breaking up. Some people believe that listening to…” - READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 342

Topics: Movie - Apocalypse Now; getting your child into a private school, K-12; relating to versus related to; down with (the king); to qualify

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.”
“In today’s episode of the English Cafe, we talked about the movie Apocalypse Now.  The film was based, “in part” (some but not all), on a “novella” (short novel; short book)…” - READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 783 – Different Political Philosophies

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 get back on (one’s) feet” and “to pass the buck.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Common Terms Used When Talking About Capitalism.”
“Capitalists believe most businesses should be owned by individuals and government interference should be…”  - READ MORE in the Learning Guide

Tuesday - April 10, 2012

Art in the 21st Century

I’ve recently started reading a book by English historian Paul Johnson called Art: A New History. I confess (tell you a secret) that I don’t know very much about art, although I took a class in art history when I was in college in the Pleistocene era. One of the things that fascinates about Johnson’s book is his exploration of (discussion; investigation into) the ways in which people have made art across the centuries (over many hundreds of years). The Ancient Egyptians, for example, mastered (became experts at) the cutting of stone to make complex, highly ordered (following a pattern) art. The hieroglyph for “art” in Ancient Egyptian was in fact a borer, a tool used to make a hole into a piece of stone.

If we jump (move) ahead five thousands years, to our century, we find artists continuing to use new techniques and tools, some of which are barely (just) a few years old. One of these new tools is the computer, specifically the tablet computer, such as an iPad. Like a piece of stone or paper, the iPad can be used to make art, some of it quite amazing and beautiful.

Here at ESL Podcast, our very own webmaster (person who sets up and runs a website), Adriano Galeno, is one of those who has begun to use the iPad to make art. His work, all created on the iPad, has recently appeared on the cover (front) of a Canadian magazine, and has drawn the attention (received the notice) of people from all around the world.

Take a look at Adriano’s wonderful artwork on his website here. More of his amazing work can be seen on Flickr as well.

Congratulations, Adriano, on your creative and beautiful art!

~Jeff

P.S. Click on the picture in this post to see a larger, even more impressive version of it.

Art credit: Kiwi by Adriano Galeno, used with permission

 

Monday - April 9, 2012

Podcasts This Week (April 9, 2012)

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 780 – Being Sued

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 “rundown” and “to lay off.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about the “LSAT.”
“The “LSAT” is the “Law School Admission Test,” or the “standardized exam” (a test taken by people in many different places and at many different times…” - READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 341

Topics: Ask an American: Historic court case on gender equal rights; incident versus accident; to throw good money after bad; adding shm- before another word

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “Gender-Bending Roles in Movies.”
“A “gender bender” is someone who “defies” (confronts; does the opposite of what is expected) “gender roles,” or expectations of how men and women should…” - READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 781 – Filming a TV Show or Movie

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 “crew” and “production.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Famous Filming Locations.”
“Many American movies and TV shows are filmed in Hollywood, but there are a lot of “sites” (locations; places) across the country that are famous because…” - READ MORE in the Learning Guide

Thursday - April 5, 2012

Some Wars Make Me Hungry

A recent New York Times article brought to mind (made me remember) some early memories, memories of a different kind of war, called price wars. Price wars begin when one business drops (reduces) its price to try to get customers from another similar business. Soon the other business does the same. And they continue – one drops its price, then the other. Price wars don’t usually last long, but while they do, customers enjoy the benefits of lower prices.

When I was young, price wars seemed to occur most often among gas stations, or filling stations as they were sometimes called. One would drop the price of gas. And soon the station across the across the street, or down the street (a short distance away), would drop its prices, and the war would be on (would start). Every day, or sometimes several times a day, stations in the area (nearby) would drop their prices, usually just a few cents at a time. Everyone rushed to fill their cars with gas before the prices returned to normal.

My favorite price war took place in Salina, Kansas, a city of about 50,000 almost exactly in the center of the U.S. There are few reasons for you to be familiar with Salina. Years ago it was a rest stop on the old Smoky Hill Trail across the U.S., according to Wikipedia, a trading post (place to buy or trade for supplies) for immigrants moving west, prospectors (people looking for gold) on their way to Pikes Peak (a mountain in the state of Colorado), and Native Americans (sometimes called “American Indians”) who lived nearby. Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado stopped just outside of Salina in about 1540 during his search for the mythical (imagined in stories) Seven Cities of Gold and built a small fort (a building for protection) there before he returned to Mexico.

My best memory of Salina was the great hamburger war! This was before the days of (prior to; before there existed) McDonald’s. Hamburgers were sold by small, independent, one-owner hamburger shops scattered (spread over a large area) around town. Shortly after the great hamburger war started, I visited my cousin who lived in Salina. The first price I remember was five or six hamburgers for $1.00 – about 20 cents apiece (each). Then the price dropped to eight for a dollar. The lowest price I remember before a truce* was called (the war ended) was 15 hamburgers for a dollar – less than seven cents each! Needless to say (obviously), we ate a lot of hamburgers that week!

“In Manhattan Pizza War, Price of Slice Keeps Dropping” is the New York Times article that started all this reminiscing (talking about pleasant events in your past). Pizza usually sells for about $1.50 per slice at Bombay Fast Food in Manhattan (the “downtown” part of New York City). At least it did until Joey’s Pizza offered (sold) its pizza slices for $1.00. Soon after, Bombay shrank (reduced) its price to $1.00, and everything seemed to be good. That is until 2 Brothers Pizza, almost next door to Bombay, dropped its price to 75 cents per slice including sales tax. The Bombay owner is upset. He thinks 2 Brothers is trying to put him out of business (ruin his business). But not everyone agrees. Many in the neighborhood say that Bombay started the war. Oren Halali, a member of the family that owns 2 Brothers, says they’re determined to win and promised that “We might go to free pizza soon.”

You’ll have to excuse me (allow me to leave) now. I’m on my way (going) to Manhattan. If they’re giving away free pizza, I want to be there!

* A truce is an agreement to stop fighting; it can be temporary or permanent.

~ Warren Ediger – creator of Successful English where you’ll find clear explanations and practical suggestions for better English.

The pizza picture is in the public domain.

Monday - April 2, 2012

Podcasts This Week (April 2, 2012)

Don’t be a fool when it comes to learning English. Become a Basic or Premium Member and learn the language even easier and faster.

When you become a member, you get the Learning Guide with each new episode. In the Learning Guide, 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 778 – Getting Your Pocket Picked

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 bump” and “to stall.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Police Reports.”
“In the United States, each “municipality” (city) has different “procedures” (ways to do things) for filing police reports. In general…” - READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 340

Topics: Rodney King Trial and the 1992 Riots; Dick Tracy detective stories; third world; from versus out of; to pull (oneself) together versus to get a hold of (oneself)

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “The Watts Towers.”
“The Watts Towers were “designated” (officially given the status of) a National Historic “Landmark” (site or place that has historic importance) in 1990…”
- READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 779 – Giving CPR

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 “arrest” and “still.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “CPR Certification.”
“In the United States, many jobs require CPR certification. The certification needs to be renewed “periodically” (every few months or years), usually by taking…” - READ MORE in the Learning Guide