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136 Topics: The Betty Ford Center; poker; to be short on time versus time is running out, past year versus last year, supervisor versus manager

Complete Transcript
You’re listening to ESL Podcast’s English Café number 136.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 136. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in the beautiful City of Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at eslpod.com. Download our 8 to 10 page Learning Guide for each current episode that will give you some additional help in improving your English. You can also look at our ESL Podcast Store, with additional courses in English, as well as our ESL Podcast Blog, where several times a week we provide even more help in helping you increase your language proficiency.

On this Café, we’re going to focus on the Betty Ford Center. We’ll talk about where and what that is in the United States. We’re also going to talk about a popular card game, poker. And as always, we’ll answer a few of your questions. Let’s get started.

Our first topic is the Betty Ford Center. The Betty Ford Center is a treatment or rehabilitation center for people who have drug or alcohol addictions. “To treat” something is to try to make it better, perhaps to cure it. “To rehabilitate” means to take someone who has some problem and make them well again – make them normal again. So, treatment or rehabilitation center is a place for people to go and become better, in this case, to “recover,” or to get better from their addiction. An “addiction” is when you have a deep need for something, we would say a “dependence” on something. An “addict” is the person who has an addiction. Addicts often have a hard time trying to stop taking a drug or stop drinking alcohol; they sometimes need help to end this addiction. That’s why they may go to a drug or alcohol rehab center, like the Betty Ford Center. “Rehab” is short for rehabilitation.

The Betty Ford Center was founded, or started, by the wife of former President Gerald Ford; her name was Betty Ford. She was the wife of the President of the United States in the mid-1970s. The Betty Ford Center was founded with the help of her friend Leonard Firestone, an ambassador, or representative, for the United States. Gerald Ford was president from 1974 to 1977. The Betty Ford Clinic was founded in 1982.

Betty Ford decided to build this center because she had been addicted to alcohol and painkillers herself. A “painkiller” (one word) is a type of drug that helps relieve the pain; it helps stop the pain you feel in your body. Betty Ford had a difficult time trying to end her addictions and finally, in 1978, her family staged an intervention. “To stage,” or “to do an intervention” is when members of your family or your friends work together, often meeting with you and trying to get you to see that you have a problem. Many times addicts don’t realize they have a problem, so they need their friends and family to get together and to help them realize this; this is called “staging an intervention.”

Well, Betty Ford went into treatment, that is, she went to a place to get better from her addiction, and after she was successfully treated for her addictions, she decided she wanted to open a center that would help others, especially women, with their addictions. The Betty Ford Center, then, was started here in Southern California, in the city of Rancho Mirage, which is out in the desert near a more famous city called Palm Springs. Palm Springs is famous in the United States as being a place where people go to golf, especially older people. Many of them retire there; they buy a house and live there. President Ford was a big golfer; he loved to golf, and so they had moved to this area. That’s where the Betty Ford Clinic was started.

The Betty Ford Clinic is very well known, most Americans have heard of. It started, in fact, to become a place where famous people or celebrities would go if they had an addiction. Part of the reason is that the treatment at the Betty Ford Center is expensive, so it’s difficult for less famous and less wealthy patients to be treated. Many people who go to the Betty Ford Center are what we would call “residential patients,” meaning you actually live at the center during the time of your treatment. That can be quite expensive; you may have to pay $25,000 for a one-month stay.

The Betty Ford Center is not the only well known center for addiction in the United States, especially here in Southern California. You may have heard about some celebrities, such as Britney Spears, who recently went into rehab. One famous place where many celebrities go is called Promises in Malibu, California, which is on the ocean next to Los Angeles. Promises is a residential facility, or center. There’s also another one in Malibu that you sometimes hear about called Passages. Malibu is a city where many wealthy people live and many celebrities – many movie stars and rock stars. It’s not surprising that you would find those kinds of very expensive rehab centers in that particular area. Both of these centers only admit or allow a few patients at a time. For example, Passages allows only 12 patients to come there at any one time.

In addition to different types of doctors and “counselors,” or people who give help and guidance to another person, these centers also have amenities or features that other treatment centers often don’t have. An “amenity” is some nice feature, often, of a hotel or a place where you go on vacation. Many of these treatment centers for the very rich and famous are almost like resorts, places you might go on a vacation to. They have personal chefs, or cooks, for each of the patients. They also have luxurious or very beautifully decorated, large rooms. You will also find tennis courts and other sports facilities there. They often have a “masseuse” (masseuse), who is a person who uses his or her hands to rub the muscles in your body in order to help you relax and make you feel better. They give you a “massage,” we would say. At ESL Podcast, my personal masseuse only comes three times a week, so I am not like those at the Betty Ford Center!

Some people have criticized these types of treatment facilities, saying they are more like resorts, as I mentioned earlier. Other people say that they pamper the patients in order to help them recover better and faster. “To pamper” (pamper) means to make someone very comfortable. Usually we use this verb in talking about a hotel or a resort where they try to make you very comfortable, give you nice pillows and towels, and so forth.

That’s the Betty Ford Clinic. It is, as I said, very famous in the U.S. for famous people who go and have drug and alcohol addiction problems, which unfortunately, many famous people – famous celebrities do.

Our second topic today is a popular card game called “poker.” Poker is played with a deck of cards. We call the 52 cards you use for card games a “deck” of cards. A deck of cards, you probably know, has small pieces of paper that have numbers and pictures on them. These cards are passed out to players who try to get the best “hand,” or best combination of cards. Normally, poker is played as a type of gambling game, so people “bet,” they try to win money by winning the game.

In the U.S., especially in the last – oh, I don’t know – five to seven years, poker has become extremely popular. In the old days, when I was growing up, people played poker mainly when they went over to the house of another friend. They would play, and maybe drink something, talk; it was done mostly for enjoyment. When I was growing up – when I was in high school, we used to get together about once a week at someone’s house and we would play poker. We were all men – boys really, who didn’t have girlfriends, so that’s probably why we played poker! We would get together and we would bet, usually with pennies or nickels; not very much money, because we were high school students we didn’t have very much money. But it was a time to sit around and talk and to have fun playing this game of poker. It was a very informal experience.

Today, there are many different versions of this game and you can play this game in many different places now, not just at someone’s house. In addition to playing at home, you can also play online on your computer, you can go to one of the many casinos that we now have in the United States; you could also go to a poker room where there are many poker games going on at one time, these are often found in a casino or a gambling place.

There are hundreds of tournaments now for poker worldwide. A “tournament” is a series of games where each winner plays the winners of the other games until there’s just one person left who wins the big prize, usually a lot of money. People can even take poker cruises in the U.S., or vacations on a ship, where you play the game. Each year there is a world “champion” or winner of poker, named at the World Series of Poker. This event is nationally televised, meaning people all over the U.S. can watch it on TV. These winners sometimes become famous, where they get a lot of money and they get what we would call “endorsements.” “Endorsements” are contracts with companies to promote their products. For example, the golfer Tiger Woods works for the shoe company Nike; he has an endorsement contract with them. He wears their clothing and produces ads for them and so forth. It’s possible now to turn on the television and to find poker games being played – poker tournaments, often in Las Vegas. I don’t really understand why these are popular – why it is popular to watch other people play cards, but some people love it and watch them all the time.

There are a lot of terms used in poker that are part of our everyday language; even if you don’t play poker you may hear some of these expressions used in other places. For example, we talked about your “hand” being the cards that you have. “To show your hand” would mean to reveal or show your cards to someone else, something that you don’t want to do in a game like poker because you are trying to get a better hand than other people, and you can’t bet very effectively if other people know what your cards are – what your hand is. We also use this expression in normal conversation; to show your hand means to tell other people your secret plans or intentions, often when you are not yet ready to do so. For example, let’s say your boss asks you and another employee to come up with, or to invent, a plan for a project. Since the two of you are competing – you each have to come up with your own plan – neither of you wants to show your hand before you give your proposal to your boss. You don’t want to tell the other person what your ideas are.

A “poker face” is an expression on your face that doesn’t show your emotions. If you are playing poker, you don’t want other people to know what your cards are, so you can’t have any expressions on your face – you can’t make an expression on your face that would indicate that. So the opposite of that is a poker face, someone who doesn’t show any emotions on their face. You can’t tell whether the person is sad, or happy, or angry; that’s a poker face. You can use a poker face in the following way: Let’s say your wife comes home and the house is very dirty – very messy, and there are empty pizza boxes and beer cans all over the living room, she may ask you, “Did you have party while I was gone?” This is a good time to put on your poker face and say, “Why do you ask dear?” I’m not sure if it will work, but it’s worth a try. It’s never worked for me; I have a very bad poker face. My wife always knows if I’m not telling the truth – which is probably a good thing. It doesn’t matter, of course, I always tell my wife the truth!

Finally, there’s an expression “to raise the stakes” (stakes). “Stakes” are the money that we are betting on a poker game. To raise the stakes is an expression we use in normal conversation to mean to put more things at risk or to invest more into a plan or a project, hoping that you will get something better in return. To raise the stakes means, in poker, to bet more money so that you try to force your opponent, the other players, to drop out, or leave the game. At work, if your boss gives a reward to the employee who sells the most of your particular product, he might come to you next year and say, “I’m going to raise the stakes: instead of giving you one week of paid vacation, the winner will get two weeks of paid vacation.” He’s raising the stakes – he’s making the reward, in this case, even higher.

Now let’s answer some of your questions.

Our first question comes from Sylvia (Sylvia) in Brazil. Sylvia wants to know the meaning of the expressions “to be short on time” and “time is running short.”

“Short,” here, means not enough, not having enough of something. For example, you could say, “I’m short on time” to mean I don’t have very much time. There isn’t enough time to do something. You could also say, “I’m short on patience.” I don’t have a lot of patience; I don’t like, for example, going to a meeting that takes more than 30 minutes. So, “to be short on” means not to have enough of something; “to be short on time” means you don’t have enough time.

Similarly, when we say something is “running short,” we mean that there is not enough of something. “I’m running short on patience” means my patience is becoming less and less – I have less and less patience. We often use this expression, “running short,” when you are not quite out of whatever it is, but you are coming close. “I’m running out of time” means I still have a little more time, but not very much.

Rachel (Rachel) in Korea wants to know the difference between “this past year” or “in the past year” and “this last year” or “in the last year.”

To understand when to use “in the past year” versus “in the last year,” you have to understand how these expressions relate to today. For example, if today is February 1st, 2008, and I tell somebody in the past year our sales have increased 30%, I mean that between February 1st, 2007 and today, February 1st, 2008, our sales went up 30% in that twelve-month period. That’s how we would use “past year.”

“Last year” usually refers to the calendar year, January to December. So, if today is February 1st, 2008, last year would be January 1st, 2007 to December 31st, 2007. “I turned 21 last year” means I celebrated my 21st birthday. Really, I did!

So that’s the difference between past year and last year. Last year can also refer to the final year that something happens. For example: “This is my brother’s last year in college” – it’s the final year. There, the meaning is somewhat different.

Finally, George (George) in China wants to know difference between the term “supervisor” and “manager.”

A “supervisor” is anyone who is in charge of, or supervises, the work of other employees, usually to make sure they’re doing things right or they’re doing them on time. A “manager” is, and can be, very similar. A manager is a person who controls or directs an institution or a certain part or division of a business. Normally a supervisor is someone who works with a small group of employees, and a manager is someone who is responsible for a much larger part of the company. In a nice restaurant, there can be a supervisor of the people who work in the kitchen, and a different supervisor for the people who are waiting on tables, the waiters. A manager supervises the supervisors; a manager is charge of everyone. That’s the typical use of those two terms.

We’re running short on time, but if you have a question or comment, you can email us. Our email address is eslpod@eslpod.com. We can’t answer everyone’s questions on the Café, but we will certainly try.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time on the English Café.

ESL Podcast’s English Café is written and produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse. This podcast is copyright 2008, by the Center for Educational

addiction – a deep need for something; a dependence on something

* No one knew that Dan had an addiction to gambling until he lost all of his money and his house.

rehab – short for “rehabilitation”; getting treatment to slowly recover from an illness for addiction; being treated so one can get back to one’s normal way of life

* After the football player hurt himself badly in a game, he had to undergo six months of rehab for his knee before he could play again.

painkiller – a type of drug that helps relieve pain; a type of medication that helps to stop the pain one feels in one’s body

* Cherise didn’t want to take any painkillers after her accident, even though she was in a lot of pain.

intervention – action taken to improve a situation; coming between something to change the events

* Without my bosses intervention, I think my supervisor would have fired me, because he was jealous of my success.

residential – designed for people to live in; providing a place to live in addition to other services

* The new private high school will have classrooms as well as several residential buildings.

counselor – a person trained to give professional help and guidance; a person who gives advice on a specific topic

* The students who didn’t know which career they wanted to pursue were encouraged to make an appointment with their guidance counselor.

hand – the combination of cards a player is given in a game of cards; a set of cards given to a player in a card game

* The player with the best hand isn’t always the winner. It’s a matter of how he or she plays the game.

tournament – a series of games where the winner of each game plays the winners of the other games until there is just one player left who wins the big prize

* Enid won the tennis tournament after defeating 12 other players.

champion – winner; the person who has defeated all of the other players

* The boxing champion was accused of using drugs to make him a better fighter.

endorsement – contract with companies to promote the company’s products; money received from a company to tell others about a product

* The basketball player made more money from his endorsements of running shoes than from playing professional basketball.

to show (one’s) hand – to reveal your secret plan, often when you’re not ready to do so; to tell others of your intentions, after keeping it a secret

* We didn’t know what the company’s management planned to save money, but it finally showed its hand when it began to fire employees.

poker face – an expression on one’s face that doesn’t show one’s emotions; an expression on one’s face that hides one’s feelings

* We tried to put on our poker faces when Kim told us that she was going to quit school to join the circus.

to raise the stakes – to put more at risk; to invest more into a plan or project, with the hope of winning or getting something better in return

* Our boss raised the stakes when he told us that the best salesperson this month would get a promotion.

to be short on time – to not have enough time to do something or to complete something

* If you’re short on time, just finish drying my hair. You don’t need to style it.

time is running short – not having enough time remaining to complete a task; having not enough time

* The doctors are working as quickly as they can, as time is running short to save the dying woman.

past year – the 12 months before today; the one-year period that began one year ago today

* In the past year, I’ve made just enough money each month to pay my rent and living expenses.

last year – January to December of the year before this one; the 12 months between January and December that occurred most recently in the past

* The bonus we received from the company last year was 10% more than our bonus this year.

supervisor – a person who watches over the work of employees to ensure quality and good use of time

* At the sandwich shop, our supervisor watches us carefully as we make each sandwich.

manager – a person who has control or direction of an institution, business, or other group; one who has control of a part or phase of a project

* Our store manager has to check over the finances each month to make sure we are making enough money to pay the store’s employees.

What Insiders Know
The Song “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse is a talented and popular British singer and songwriter. In 2008, she won three “prestigious” (highly respected) Grammy Awards – the top U.S. awards for music – for a song called "Rehab."

The lyrics or words in the song are “autobiographical,” which means they are about Amy herself. The song is about her “refusal” (saying no) to go to rehab, even though she has had a very public problem with drugs and alcohol.

This is the “chorus,” or the part of the song that is repeated:

They tried to make me go to rehab but I said 'no, no, no'

Yes, I've been black but when I come back, you'll know know know

I ain't got the time and if my daddy thinks I'm fine

He's tried to make me go to rehab but I won't go go go

After Amy Winehouse won a total of five Grammy Awards in 2008, some singers and musicians criticized the organization that gave out the awards for rewarding her for her continued problem with drugs and alcohol. Giving her the awards, some said, “set a bad example” or gave young people the wrong idea that being a drug and alcohol addict is a way to succeed in the music business. Other people “defended” (spoke in favor of) Amy Winehouse by saying that her music and her lifestyle should be judged separately, and that there was a long history of singers and artists who had drug and alcohol problems.

Everyone agreed, though, that she needs “to get her life together,” doing what is best for her so that her life is better and she is happier. No one wants to see her “overdose” (take too much of a drug) as many artists have done, and people want her to continue making good music.