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0010 Relaxing, Reading the Mail, and the Trash

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 10: Relaxing, Reading the Mail, and the Trash

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

In this episode, the ninth of our 10-part special series on daily English, I’ll talk about relaxing, reading the mail, and taking out the trash. Let’s get started.

[Start of story]

With the dinner dishes done, my wife and I each sit down on the couch to chill out and watch the national news which comes on at 6:30. During the newscast, I sort through the day’s mail. Most of it is junk mail and bills. There are also several fliers for houses for sale in the area. I check the front stoop and see that there are no packages.

I like to watch TV and my wife likes to watch reality shows. One thing I hate is having to watch all of the commercials, so I turn the sound down when they come on. After the show is over, I thumb through the latest issue of the Atlantic Monthly, while my wife reads a novel by her favorite mystery writer.

At around 9, I remember that tomorrow is trash day, so I take the kitchen garbage out and dump the recycling bins as well. I roll the trash container out to the street ready for the garbage trucks, which come by early in the morning.

[End of story]

We begin with the sentence “With the dinner dishes done.” The dinner dishes are the dishes we use to eat our dinner, and when I say they are done, I mean that they are washed and dried. So, with the dinner dishes washed and dried, “My wife and I sit down on the couch to chill out.” “To chill (chill) out (out) – two words – means to relax. Sometimes we use this expression as a command. If someone is very excited, you may say, “Hey, chill out,” means relax, don't be so excited. You will also hear just the word chill. “Hey, chill,” that's informal for relax, don't be so excited. You will also hear people say, “I'm just chilling.” I am just chilling means I'm just relaxing. Again, that's very informal.

Well, my wife and I are chilling, and we're watching the national news. The “national news” is the news broadcast on television, and in Los Angeles, this is at 6:30 in the evening - it comes on at 6:30. When we say a television show “comes on,” we mean that that is when it begins - that is when you can watch it. The national news can also be called a “newscast” (newscast). A newscast is a news program. You could have a local newscast, with just news about Los Angeles, for me, or a national newscast.

Well, “During the newscast, I sort through the day’s mail.” “To sort (sort) through,” means that I am looking at today's mail and usually I am separating it so that I separate the different kinds of mail - the different kinds of letters - that I got that day.

Most of my mail - and this is true - is either junk mail or bills. “Junk (junk) mail” is mail that you get that you don't want. Usually it is advertisements, people trying to get you to buy something; we call that junk mail. Most of my mail is either junk mail or it's “bills.” And a “bill” is a statement - a piece of paper from some company that you have to pay money to. You get a bill for your electricity, for your phone, for your Internet access. You have to pay your bills. Well, you should pay your bills; maybe you don't.

“There are also several fliers for houses for sale in the area.” A “flier” (flier) – the plural is fliers, with an “s” – is an advertisement - it's an announcement or an advertisement. Usually it's one or two pages - one or two pieces of paper. Sometimes the advertisements, or the fliers, are folded up. And, it's very popular for people who are selling houses to use fliers that they mail you or they put on your house - outside of your house. These fliers are for houses that people are selling - “houses for sale in the area.”

“I check the front stoop and see that there are no packages.” “I check” - I look out at “the front stoop.” “A stoop” (stoop) is the stairs in front of your house. Often this word is used when we are talking about large buildings - apartment buildings or condominium buildings. In New York or Boston, some of the cities on the eastern coast of the United States, people talk about sitting on the stoop, that mean you're sitting on your stairs. But, you can also use the word to talk about your own stairs in front of your house. The top of those stairs is where you might find packages. A “package” (package) is usually a box or something that is bigger than just a regular letter that you receive in the mail or that is delivered to you by some private company.

Well, I look at my stoop and I see “there are no packages” - no one loves me; no one sent me a package. I then talk about how I like to watch television, and so does my wife. “My wife likes to watch reality shows.” A “reality show” (reality) is a type of television show where they have a competition or a contest. “Big Brother” and “American Idol” are two examples of popular reality shows. They take people - average people, they say - and they have a competition or a contest.

“One thing I hate” about watching television - something I don't like - “is having to watch all the commercials.” A “commercial” is the same as an advertisement on television or radio; it's an announcement from a company that wants you to buy what they are selling. Well, I don't like watching the commercials, “so I turn the sound down.” “To turn the sound down” means to lower the volume, to make it so that it is less loud - it is quieter. “I turn the sound down when” the commercials “come on.” Again, that verb, “to come on,” means that they are on the television - that they start.

“After the show is over,” - after the show is done - finished - “I thumb through the latest issue of the Atlantic Monthly.” “The Atlantic Monthly” is a monthly magazine in the United States. “To thumb through something” – (thumb) through – two words – means to look through something, but usually not to be paying too much attention. You're sort of looking but you're not necessarily reading very carefully. We use that expression – that verb – when we are talking about magazines in particular. You're looking at them, perhaps waiting in a doctor's office - in the waiting room of a doctor's office you thumb through the magazines. Well, I'm thumbing through the Atlantic Monthly, and my wife is reading a novel. A “novel” (novel) is a fictional book - a book that is not a true story.

“At around 9,” that is at 9 p.m., “I remember that tomorrow is trash day.” “Trash” (trash) is anything that you are getting rid of - that you are throwing out - that you don't want anymore, and trash day is the day that the garbage trucks come by and take the trash away. Now, in Los Angeles we have a public trash service, so that the government has trucks that it sends out, and it picks up your trash - it takes your trash and puts it into the truck, and then takes it away. That is trash day. In my neighborhood it is on Fridays and every neighborhood is different, they do a different part of the city each day.

So, this is trash day and I need to “take the kitchen garbage out and dump the recycling bins as well.” The “garbage” (garbage) is just another word for trash. We sometimes talk about garbage that is trash in the kitchen in particular. This is the kitchen garbage, and I have to take it out, meaning I have to take the bag and put it outside so that the garbage truck can come by and pick it up.

In Los Angeles, and in many cities, we also have recycling bins. “To recycle” (recycle) means to use again, and in Los Angeles, we have a recycling bin where you can put your newspapers and other things that they can use again - they can recycle. A “bin” (bin) is just another name for a box, usually a plastic box.

In my city, we have trash containers that you can roll; they have little wheels on them. A container is like a big box that you put something in, and so a trash container is a big, in my case, plastic box that has wheels that I can then put it down on the street. You have to put your trash containers on the street.

Each container has a different color. In my case, black is the color for trash; blue is the color for recycling trash, so newspapers, for example; and green is where you put things like leaves and grass, things that you have in your - outside of your house that you want to get rid of, that are plants, that sort of thing.

I put the trash containers out on the street because the garbage trucks “come by early in the morning.” They “come by,” a two-word verb, which means that they come to your house - they drive to your house. And, in my neighborhood, they come by very early, so at six o'clock on Friday morning I can hear the trucks outside my window. I don't like it, but I need to have my trash taken away, so one day of the week I wake up early because I can hear the garbage trucks outside.

Now let's listen to the story, this time at a native rate of speech.

[Start of story]

With the dinner dishes done, my wife and I each sit down on the couch to chill out and watch the national news which comes on at 6:30. During the newscast, I sort through the day’s mail. Most of it is junk mail and bills. There are also several fliers for houses for sale in the area. I check the front stoop and see that there are no packages.

I like to watch TV and my wife likes to watch reality shows. One thing I hate is having to watch all of the commercials, so I turn the sound down when they come on. After the show is over, I thumb through the latest issue of the Atlantic Monthly, while my wife reads a novel by her favorite mystery writer.

At around 9, I remember that tomorrow is trash day, so I take the kitchen garbage out and dump the recycling bins as well. I roll the trash container out to the street ready for the garbage trucks, which come by early in the morning.

[End of story]

Before you chill out after listening to this episode, be sure to thank our wonderful scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan, thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

This course has been a production of the Center for Educational Development, in beautiful Los Angeles, California. Visit our website at eslpod.com.

This course was produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse. Copyright 2006.

Glossary
to chill out – to relax

* He chills out by listening to his favorite jazz CD and drinking a glass of wine.

national news – information about what happened in the country that day, usually found in a newspaper or on a TV news broadcast

* Did you know that the flooding in this area was on the national news last night? It must be more serious than I thought.

newscast – a news program on television or radio

* I heard in yesterday’s newscast that price of beef will probably go up in the next few months.

to sort through – to put objects in order; to look for one object in a group of objects

* The team thought of many great ideas during the meeting. Now they need to sort though them and select the best ones.

junk mail – unwanted mail that will be thrown away usually without being read

* I never give my address to companies but I still get a lot of junk mail.

bill – an invoice; a piece of paper that states how much money one needs to pay for something (such as a credit card, electricity, gas, or phone)

* When I saw the phone bill for this month, I knew that there was a mistake. I never called Peru!

flyer – a piece of paper that advertises an event or product

* The soccer club put fliers all over the school to let people know when its next meeting would be.

stoop – porch and stairs; the area in front of a home’s front door, with steps down to the sidewalk

* During the summer, their house gets really hot so they usually sit on the front stoop and drink lemonade in the evenings.

package – a box that contains a gift or something that one purchased

* His grandparents always send him Christmas packages that are full of cookies and gifts.

reality show – a television show with real people (not actors) in their daily life or in a special situation that is part of the show

* MTV’s “Real World” put strangers in a house to live together for several months and was one of the most popular early reality shows in the United States.

commercial – an advertisement on television or radio

* Although it was only a two-hour movie, it was on TV for three hours because there were so many commercials.

to thumb through – to quickly turn the pages of a book, magazine, or newspaper

* As I was thumbing through the magazine, I was surprised to see an article written by my cousin.

novel – a book with an imaginary story, such as a romance or a mystery

* He loves reading novels, but his wife only reads biographies.

trash day – a regular day of the week when trucks come to collect garbage from houses on a street

* I’m glad tomorrow is trash day since we have so much trash from moving over the weekend.

garbage – trash; waste; items that one doesn’t want and should be taken away

* After the party, her parents were shocked to see how much garbage people had left on the floor.

recycling – treating used items so that they can be used again

* Does this city have good plastic and glass recycling programs?

trash container – a tall, plastic container for storing garbage, often on wheels

* Last night some dogs opened the trash containers and now there is garbage all over the street.

garbage trucks – trucks that come to collect garbage from houses

* I don’t like driving behind garbage trucks because they are very slow and they smell bad.

Culture Note
Athletic Trainers

Overview

Athletic trainers specialize in “preventing” (keeping from happening), “diagnosing” (identifying the problem or illness), and “treating” (giving medical care to improve) muscle and bone injuries and illnesses. They work with people of all ages, from young children to “soldiers” (people whose job is in the military) and professional athletes. They follow instructions from doctors and other healthcare providers.

Athletic trainers are usually one of the first healthcare providers “on the scene” (at the location) when injuries occur. With a doctor, they often discuss specific injuries and treatment options or “evaluate” (examine to reach a decision) and treat patients. Some athletic trainers meet with a team of “physicians” (doctors) regularly.

Many athletic trainers work in educational facilities, such as high schools and colleges. Others may work in doctors’ offices or for professional sports teams. Some athletic trainers work in “rehabilitation” (course of treatment done to return one to normal health and activity) clinics, in the military, or with “performing artists” (people who perform in the arts, such as dancers). They may spend much of their time working outdoors on sports fields in all types of weather.


Education, Training, and Certification

Athletic trainers need at least a bachelor’s degree, although both bachelor’s and master’s degrees are common. In most states, athletic trainers need a “license” (piece of paper stating one’s qualifications) or “certification” (permission given after passing an exam or satisfying the requirements), although specific requirements “vary” ( are different) by state.

Nearly all states require athletic trainers to be certified. The independent Board of Certification (BOC) offers the standard certification examination that most states use to give licenses.