Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Scares up Tricks, Treats in US

VOAVideo: Halloween Scares up Tricks, Treats in US

Every year, on the last day of October, children in the U.S. dress up in their most creative costumes to celebrate Halloween. In this report by VOA's Laura Ellsworth, Jim Bertel tells how this big event for children has also become an event that means big profits for some businesses.

ESL Discussions: Halloween

  • What do you think about Halloween?

Friday, October 30, 2009

ESL 5 Summary of Vocabulary and Idioms Oct 26-30, 2009

Click the picture to enlargen and download.

“I have 3 children and another on the way.”
Ail / ailing / ailment
Allergy / allergies
Appear <> disappear
Brochure / pamphlet / catalogue
Carve / carving
Chicken pox / Shingles
Comfortable <> Uncomfortable
Complicate / complications
Daily habits
Defecate / stool / poop
Describe / description
Epidemic / Pandemic
Examine / examination
Explain / explanation
Flu / H1N1 flu / Influenza
High risk
Imagine / imagination
Immune / immunity
Immunize / immunization
Inject / injection
Intensive Care Unit / ICU
Mild <> Significant
Open heart surgery
Polio/ Mumps / Measles
Predictable <> unpredictable
Preservative / preservation
Reveal / revealing
Tetanus / Diphtheria
Urine / urinate / pee
Vaccine / vaccination
Virus / viral
Worse / worst / worsen

Numbers of things
10 Decade
12 Dozen
13 Baker’s dozen
20 Score
100 Century

Breathing System
Bronchial tubes

External Canal
Ear drum
Middle Ear
Inner Ear
Eustachian Tube

Optic Nerve

Female Genitals
Fallopian Tubes

Male Genitals
Prostate Gland
Vas Deferens

L / R Atrium
L / R Ventricle

Lymphatic System
Lymph Nodes
L / R Lymphatic Duct

Organs in the Abdomen
Small Intestine

Subcutaneous Layer
Sweat Glands

Cervical Vertebrae
Thoracic Vertebrae
Lumbar Vertebrae
Coccyx (tailbone)


Thursday, October 29, 2009

H1N1 Flu Rising: Vaccine Starts to be Available

VOAVideo: H1N1 Flu Rising: Vaccine Starts to be Available

Senior administration officials have told a Senate panel that there is currently not enough H1N1 vaccine for those Americans who want it. But they said the vaccine should be widely available by mid-November. As VOA Correspondent Cindy Saine reports, swine flu is hitting pregnant women, children and young people the hardest.

VOANews: Government Officials: US Equipped to Handle Swine Flu Epidemic

U.S. health officials say that while the H1N1 swine flu is widespread in the nation, the country is better equipped than any time in history to deal with the epidemic.

VOANews Special Report:H1N1 Flu Pandemic

All the VOA articles and videos about the H1N1 Fu.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Words and Their Stories: Money, Part 2

Many people believe that money makes the world go around. Others believe that money buys happiness. I do not agree with either idea. But I do admit that money can make people do strange things. Let me tell you about a person I once knew who liked to play card games for money. He liked to gamble.

Also see: Words and Their Stories: Money, Part 1

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Swine Flu: Spreading Rapidly In the Northern Hemisphere

VOAVideo: Swine Flu: Spreading Rapidly In the Northern Hemisphere

The first H1N1 swine flu vaccinations are being given in the U.S. today. More than 4,000 people have died from H1N1 since March when the virus was first identified, according to the World Health Organization (from October 2). Nearly three fourths of the fatalities were in the Americas. A few years ago, health officials were concerned that the bird flu would be the next viral pandemic. VOA's Carol Pearson looks at the differences between the H1N1 swine flu with the H5N1 bird flu.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Taiwan President Vows to Seek Eternal Peace With China

Taiwan's president has marked the 60th anniversary of a key battle against Chinese Communist forces by vowing to seek eternal peace across the Taiwan Strait.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

English in 30 Seconds: Common Internet Acronyms

English in 30 Seconds: Common Internet Acronyms

You have probably seen these acronyms. But what do they mean?

  • IMHO
  • LOL
  • NSFW
  • BRB
  • FYI
  • NP
  • TTFN

Friday, October 23, 2009

ESL 5 Summary of Vocabulary and Idioms Oct 19-23, 2009

1. Affidavit
2. Anti-bacterial soap / Bacteria
3. Apparently
4. Brown lung disease
5. Complain / Complaint / Plaintiff
6. Contagious
7. Defend / defendant
8. Effect / effective / efficient
9. Germs / to spread germs
10. Hygiene
11. Infect / infection / disinfectant
12. Lawsuit / sue
13. Occupy / occupation / occupational
14. Organize / organization
16. Productivity
17. Profit
18. Sick days
19. Spread of illness
20. To concentrate one’s attention
21. To do more harm than good
22. To eliminate
23. To give pointers
24. To infect
25. To prevent
26. To sterilize
27. To take one’s turn
28. Training
29. v. / vs. / Versus / Pro / Con
30. Virus / viruses
31. What a pain!
32. Work environment
33. Workplace conditions
34. You’re kidding!

Money Idioms
1. a windfall.
2. born with a silver spoon in his mouth
3. bottom dollar
4. burning a hole in his pocket
5. cheapskate
6. chicken feed
7. deadbeat
8. down and out
9. feel like a million dollars
10. flat broke
11. foot the bill
12. hand-outs
13. hard up for cash
14. hit the jackpot
15. lottery
16. make money hand over fist
17. money to burn
18. nest egg
19. penny wise and pound foolish.
20. pick up the tab
21. pinched pennies
22. scraped together
23. splurged
24. strapped for cash
25. strike it rich
26. to live on a shoestring

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ESL Podcast 254 – Good Hygiene

Bill: the management wants to reduce the spread of illnesses around the office. They say that people are taking too many sick days and it’s bad for productivity.

Juanita: So, we all have to sit through a training. What a pain! It’s not like we don’t know how to wash our hands.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

VOANews: Vietnam's Economic Recovery Spurring Foreign Investment

VOANews: Vietnam's Economic Recovery Spurring Foreign Investment
By Ron Corben Bangkok, 16 October 2009

Vietnam's economic recovery from the global financial downturn has been marked by large increases in government spending. Much of the expenditure has been directed towards infrastructure. But economists say the concern now lies in the government ensuring the recovery is sustained into 2010.

ESL Discussions: Vietnam

  • What do you think Vietnam will be like 50 years from now?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Money Idioms Part 1--definitions

This portrait of George Washington
was made by carefully arranging dollar bills.
You can see this portrait
at the SF de Young Museum, 2nd floor, the American Art collection.

VOANews: Words and Their Stories: Money, Part 1

I think people everywhere dream about having lots of money. I know I do. I would give anything to make money hand over fist...


  • a windfall: win a huge amount of money

  • born with a silver spoon in his mouth: to have a rich family

  • bottom dollar: the very last amount of money that one has

  • burning a hole in his pocket: to spend money quickly.

  • cheapskate: person who does not like to spend money

  • chicken feed: very little money

  • deadbeat: a person who never pays the money he owes

  • down and out: to have no money left.

  • feel like a million dollars: to feel very happy.

  • flat broke: to have no money at all

  • foot the bill: to pay the bill for everyone’s meal

  • hand-outs: gifts from his family and friends

  • hard up for cash: not have much money

  • hit the jackpot: to win a great deal of money.

  • lottery: If your a ticket with combination of numbers is chosen, you win.

  • make money hand over fist: to earn large amounts of money.

  • money to burn: to have more money than you need

  • nest egg: money that you save to invest, pay for an education, or buy a house.

  • penny wise and pound foolish: To be wise about small things, but not about important things.

  • pick up the tab : to pay the bill for everyone’s drinks

  • pinch pennies: to be very, very careful with money

  • scraped together a few dollars: put small change together

  • splurge: to buy expensive things you would normally would not buy.

  • strapped for cash: not to have enough money

  • strike it rich: to gain lots of money unexpectedly

  • to live on a shoestring: to live on a very low budget.

Friday, October 16, 2009

ESL 5 Summary of Vocabulary and Idioms Oct 12-16, 2009

A. Arawak > Indians > Native Americans
B. closet /wardrobe
C. Columbus / Columbia > Washington D.C.
D. commotion
E. continent
F. hands-free driving
G. judo
H. knitting
I. maiden name
J. marital arts
K. ooze / oozing
L. ping-pong
M. The Three Strikes Law
N. to compliment
O. Vikings
P. volleyball
Q. xylophone

1. access
2. according to
3. admit / hospital admissions
4. advertise
5. adviser
6. assault
7. attach
8. behavior
9. capable
10. catalog
11. combine
12. concern
13. connector
14. course
15. deadline
16. defendant
17. efficient / efficiency
18. endorsed
19. entire
20. evict
21. extension
22. garage
23. hazard
24. inherit
25. injury / injuries
26. insert
27. insider
28. inspection
29. install
30. involve
31. lawsuit
32. offense
33. overburden
34. path
35. physician
36. plague
37. plaintiff
38. political
39. pre-registration
40. prerequisite
41. priority
42. provide
43. receptionist
44. revert
45. reward
46. satisfied <> dissatisfied
47. semester
48. signal
49. squat / squatter / squatters’ rights
50. substantial
51. summons
52. tail
53. transcription
54. transfer
55. valuable

Beautification plans
Floating garden
Silver bubble

Hutong (courtyard houses)

“Bring _____ into the 21st century.”
Residential buildings

Thursday, October 15, 2009

ESL 5 Birthday Party

The ESL 5 Class @ Milpitas Adult School threw me a suprise birthday party.

Thank you, ESL 5 students!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Futuristic Addition Adorns Traditional Beijing Courtyard Home

VOAVideo: Futuristic Addition Adorns Traditional Beijing Courtyard Home

One of the biggest costs of Beijing's rapid economic development has been the destruction of many of the city's old courtyard houses, which line the once numerous alleys known as hutongs (hoo-tohngs). The crux of the problem is how to preserve the old buildings and, at the same time, bring them and the rest of the city, into the 21st century. Stephanie Ho spoke with one of China's most famous up-and-coming architects, who has devised a striking solution.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cities Now Home to More Than Half of All People

VOANews: Cities Now Home to More Than Half of All People

Planners will need to develop not just new lands, but also new uses for existing spaces, as the world becomes increasingly urban. Transcript of radio broadcast: 09 October 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Obama Becomes Japan’s English Teacher

Obama Becomes Japan’s English Teacher By MIKI TANIKAWA, NYTimes

A compilation of President Obama’s speeches has sold half a million copies in Japan, and publishers are trying to tap into the education market with new titles.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ten for 10/10!

Taiwan aborigines pass on spiritual tradition
An aboriginal tribe in Taiwan starts classes to pass on its fading spiritual traditions to a younger generation, as the BBC's Cindy Sui reports. 6 Oct 2009

Summer Deaf Olympics Kick Off in Taiwan
Games offer Taiwan an opportunity to show a positive image to world after an August dominated by negative headlines related to government's response to Typhoon Morakot 06 September 2009

Deaflympics an Opportunity for Athletes to Break Sound Barrier
Games are an opportunity for deaf to showcase their abilities 10 September 2009

Taiwan Deaflympics Finish With A Feast
Record 4,000 athletes from 81 countries participated in games, which featured 20 sports, including tennis, wrestling and judo 15 September 2009

Dalai Lama Visits Taiwan Typhoon Victims
Tibetan religious leader also says Taiwan should build closer relations with China, while enjoying its democracy and prosperity 31 August 2009

Chinese Spouses in Taiwan Seek Equal Rights
Women organize protest to demand equality, end to discrimination 28 May 2009

Beating the recession in Taiwan
Weird but lucrative - the unemployed of Taiwan find innovative ways to make a living in the recession, as the BBC's Cindy Sui reports from Taipei. 19 May 2009

Taiwan Urges China to Scrap Anti-Secession Law
Mainland Affairs Council also calls on Beijing to dismantle missiles aimed at island in order to further promote cross-strait relations 14 March 2009

Chinese Pandas Arrive in Taiwan
Endangered animals are goodwill gesture from Beijing, symbol of improving relations 23 December 2008

China, Taiwan Start Direct Air, Sea, Postal Links
The move Monday marks a historical milestone in cross-strait relations, after the two sides split following a civil war nearly six decades ago 15 December 2008

Friday, October 9, 2009

ESL 5 Summary of Vocabulary and Idioms Oct 5-9, 2009

1. “I've been meaning to talk to you about...”
2. “Two’s company, three’s a crowd!”
3. a pile
4. aborigines / aboriginal
5. adequate
6. annex / annexation
7. attractive trade partner
8. cream of the crop
9. critical concerns
10. Double Ten!
11. crushed
12. destiny / destination
13. disembark
14. early bird <> night owl
15. extra credit
16. family emergency
17. getting on
18. groggy
19. hitch
20. keep one’s fingers crossed
21. one’s days are numbered
22. one’s first crack at something
23. Pro <> Con
24. productive
25. reconcile / reconciliation
26. referendum
27. re-unification
28. reverse / reversible <> irreversible
29. rivalry / to rival/ long-time rivals
30. routine
31. run of the mill
32. segment of the day
33. self-determination
34. stressed out
35. syllabus / “Green sheet”
36. Taiwan Strait
37. to be fraught with
38. to be in the dog house <> to kiss and make up
39. to convince <> to be unconvinced
40. to cram
41. to ditch someone
42. to do chores <> to run errands
43. to doze off
44. to engage with
45. to hook up with someone
46. to knuckle down
47. to look into something
48. to lose sleep over something
49. to make a fuss over something
50. to pull one’s leg
51. to pull up one’s grade
52. to run
53. to slack off
54. to slate
55. unprecedented
56. up to / What’s up?
57. young at heart

To Walk
• Leisurely: meander, mosey, saunter, stroll, wander
• Slowly: edge, shuffle
• Quickly: hurry, stride
• Gracefully: parade, prance, strut, swagger
• Uniformly: march, pace
• Heavily: lumber, plod, slog, stomp, trudge
• Secretly: creep, sneak, tiptoe
• Childlike: toddle, totter
• Awkwardly: limp, lurch, hobble, stagger, stumble, trip

• to make money hand over fist
• born with a silver spoon in his mouth
• lottery, windfall, strike it rich, hit the jackpot, nest egg
• foot the bill, pick up the tab, feel like a million bucks
• hard up, chicken feed, handouts, deadbeat, to pinch pennies, cheapskate, flat broke, scrap together, down and out, strapped for cash, live on a shoe string, penny wise and pound foolish, bottom dollar

Taiwan Hopes Close Economic Ties Will Boost Growth

VOAVideo: Taiwan Hopes Close Economic Ties Will Boost Growth

The thawing of relations between Taiwan and China over the past year brought unprecedented economic exchanges between the long-time rivals. But as Heda Bayron reports from Taipei, critics say the government is moving too fast.

Read the VOA article: Taiwan Sees Gains in Closer Ties With Mainland China

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Taiwanese Aboriginal Music

This is Taiwanese Aboriginal music the artist is Samingad. Samingad's chinese name is 紀曉君 Also check out Hoaenjiajia 浩恩家家曉君and 家家are sisters. They are quite popular now

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

ESLPodcast 54 - Talking to the Professor

ESLPodcast 54 - Talking to the Professor

Jeff: Hi, Julie. Have a seat. What can I do for you?

Julie: I wanted to come see you during your office hours because I missed class last week. I had a family emergency .

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rebalancing the World Economy

VOANews: Rebalancing the World Economy
The G20 meeting in Pittsburgh included an agreement by rich nations to give developing economies more influence in the I.M.F. and World Bank.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mooncake Mania

NTDTV: Mooncake Mania

As Chinese around the globe celebrated the Moon Festival this weekend, many found themselves swept up in the search for the perfect mooncake.

For Chinese people around the world it's that time of year again...

Every year as the Chinese Moon Festival approaches, from Hong Kong to Shanghai to London--Chinese people around the world are buying boxes of sweet bean paste pastries as gifts for family and friends.

They're called mooncakes. And, like the holiday fruitcake in Western culture, the mooncake in Chinese culture is more important for its symbolism and tradition than for its taste. In fact, many of these cakes are said to go uneaten.

But that may be changing.

As Chinese tastes become more "global," there is an ever-greater variety of mooncake flavors on the market. It's no longer just limited to the traditional lotus seed paste or red bean paste. Now mooncake enthusiasts can enjoy dainty custard-filled cakes, or delicate white sugar powder confections. Flavors like green tea and even shark's fin have come into fashion.

And jumping on the trendy mooncake band wagon, ice cream giant Häagen Dazs has created a line of high-end, ice cream-filled mooncakes for those really seeking to make an impression. In these "cakes," the traditional preserved duck egg yolk is replaced by a sphere of mango sorbet.

Some mooncake purists are, of course, crying foul--commenting that these days anything round can be called a mooncake. But the cornucopia of new mooncake flavors and styles is sure to bring one welcome change: more mooncakes in the belly and less in the bin.

Friday, October 2, 2009

ESL 5 Summary of Vocabulary and Idioms Sept 28-Oct 2, 2009

Types of Government (Legal Systems)
Capital / capitalism /
Community / communism / communist
Confederacy /
Democracy / democrat
Despotism / despot
Dissent / dissident
Fascism / fascist
Federal / federalism / federalist
Feudal /
Monarchy / monarch
Nation / national / nationalist
Reign /
sovereign /sovereign
Republic / republican
Social / socialist / socialism
Terror / terrorism / terrorist

1. “Down the road”
2. Big ticket items
3. Black market / bootleg
4. Breathtaking
5. Capacity
6. Challenge
7. Chamber of commerce
8. Chaos / upheaval
9. Characteristics
10. Contain / container <> uncontainable
11. Decade
12. Descendants / generations
13. Diminish
14. Disappoint / disappointment
15. Drama / dramatically
16. Examination system  public officials
17. Exert
18. Expert
19. Feudal / feudalism
20. Gateway
21. Icon / iconic
22. Import <> export
23. Indicator
24. Infant mortality
25. Legacy
26. Liberty / liberal / liberalize / liberalization
27. Life expectancy
28. Living standards / Quality of life
29. Low-risk
30. Luxury / luxuries
31. Macro-economy
32. Mass / massed / “the masses”
33. Moon cakes!
34. Moonlighting
35. Privately-owned / private property
36. Realize /. Realization
37. Recognize / recognition
38. Reform / reformer
39. Restrict / restrictions
40. Robust
41. Rule of law
42. Significant
43. Slump
44. Stature
45. Stimulus spending
46. Sympathy / sympathizer
47. To bask in the glow of something
48. To travel abroad
49. Urban / suburban / rural
50. Wealth

Thursday, October 1, 2009