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1002 An Unwelcome Business in the Neighborhood

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 1002 – An Unwelcome Business in the Neighborhood.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 1002. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

We have a website. Yes, we do. We have a website. How about you? Well, our website is ESLPod.com. If you go there, you can become a member of ESL Podcast and, yes, download a Learning Guide for this episode.

This episode is called “An Unwelcome Business in the Neighborhood.” Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Patricia: Finally! That empty building has a new tenant. That’s great for the neighborhood.

Francois: Think again. The new tenant plans to open a strip club.

Patricia: A strip club in the middle of a residential neighborhood?! That must be a violation of city ordinances. The city won’t allow that.

Francois: I’m not so sure. The tenant has already started moving in, and there is no sign that the city is going take action.

Patricia: Then we have to do something to let the city know that we object to a strip club going into that space.

Francois: Good luck getting the city to do anything, much less file an injunction. The mayor is very pro-business, and it won’t look good if he tries to shut down any business that could bring revenue and jobs to this dying town.

Patricia: But at what cost? Our kids will have to walk past the strip club every day to and from school. That’s outrageous!

Francois: I suggest channeling that energy into action. If we make a stink and get media coverage, maybe we’ll get some action.

Patricia: Good idea. How can we get the local media to cover a neighborhood protest?

Francois: How about nude picketing?

Patricia: I think that would send the wrong message.

[end of dialogue]

The dialogue for this episode is entitled “An Unwelcome Businesses in the Neighborhood.” When we say a business or a person is “unwelcome,” we mean they are not welcome. The prefix “-un” in English means “not.” To say someone is a “welcome visitor” or a “welcome business” means you want them there. You are happy that the person or the business is there. So, if you have an unwelcome business, you have a business that you don’t want in your neighborhood – the area where you live in your city or town.

Patricia begins our dialogue by saying, “Finally!” – at last! – “That empty building has a new tenant. That’s great for the neighborhood.” A “tenant” (tenant) is a business or a person who rents a certain house or building. A tenant is someone who pays rent, who pays money, to usually live in or work in a certain area. So, if you have an apartment, you will have to pay rent, and that makes you a tenant. Patricia is happy that the empty building near their house has a new tenant.

Francois doesn’t think this is good news. He says to Patricia, “Think again.” Patricia says it’s great news, but Francois says, “Think again.” “Think again” means you should consider this situation again. You should think about it again. Usually, it means the other person is wrong. The conclusion that the other person has reached is incorrect in your view.

So, if someone says to you, “Oh, I’m going to go to Minnesota” – in the northern part of the U.S., where I’m from – “for a winter vacation. I’m going to bring my bathing suit and my sunglasses because I expect it will be very warm and sunny,” someone from Minnesota would say to you, “Think again,” meaning you’re wrong. The way you are thinking is not correct, or you have reached an incorrect conclusion.

Francois says, “The new tenant plans to open a strip club.” A “strip club” is a place where, typically, women take their clothes off for men. Patricia says, “A strip club in the middle of a residential neighborhood? That must be a violation of city ordinances. The city won’t allow that.” Patricia is surprised that this kind of business – which of course you would not want near your house, if anywhere – is opening up in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

A “neighborhood” is an area of a town or a city. “Residential” (residential) refers to homes and apartments and condominiums. A “resident” is a person who lives in a certain area. “Residential” refers to an area where there are mostly houses and apartments. The opposite of “residential” is “commercial.” A commercial area has mostly businesses and stores, but residential areas have mostly houses and apartments.

Patricia says that they can’t open this kind of business in the middle of a residential neighborhood. She says, “That must be a violation of city ordinances.” A “violation” is when you break the law or you break some rules. You don’t follow some regulation. That would be a violation. “Ordinances” (ordinances) are laws, usually laws for a city or a town. It could be laws for a county, I suppose, also. Normally, the word “ordinance” is used to refer to a law of a city or a town.

Patricia says, “The city won’t allow that.” The city won’t permit that. Francois says, “I’m not so sure. The tenant has already started moving in, and there is no sign that the city is going to take action.” Francois says the tenant has already started “moving in.” The person has already started to bring things into the building. He also says there is no sign, there is no indication, that the city – the government of the city – is going to take action. “To take action” here means to do something.

Patricia says, “Then we have to do something to let the city know that we object to a strip club going into that place.” “To object (object) to” something is to express your disagreement about something, to protest about something, to let people know that you don’t like something.

If you watch a crime show in English, a television program about the law and courtrooms and judges, you will probably hear this word “object.” It’s something that the lawyers say when they don’t like what the other side has said or they don’t think what the other side has said should be part of the legal case. The lawyers will often stand up and say, “I object, Your Honor.” “Your Honor” here refers to the judge. Well, here we’re talking about “objecting to” something – objecting to this business coming into the neighborhood.

Francois says, “Good luck getting the city to do anything.” When he says, “Good luck,” he’s not actually wishing Patricia good luck. What he’s really doing is indicating that what she wants will not happen, or that what she is hoping to happen probably won’t happen. Francois says, “Good luck getting the city to do anything, much less file an injunction.” An “injunction” (injunction) is when the government, often the court, will tell someone or some business that they can’t do something. They stop someone from doing something that they’ve believed to be illegal.

That’s what Francois is referring to here. He doesn’t think the city is going to file an injunction. The verb “file” (file) here means simply to try to get an injunction from a judge. An injunction has to come from a judge, from a court. But the city government – the mayor or other people who work for the city – can ask the judge to stop a business from doing something. That would be “filing an injunction” – asking the judge to stop this person from doing something.

Francois says, “The mayor,” who is the leader of the city or town, “is very pro-business, and it won’t look good if he tries to shut down any businesses that could bring revenue and jobs to this dying town.” The mayor is very “pro-business.” When we say someone is “pro (pro) – something,” we mean they are in favor of, or they support, that thing.

So, someone who is “pro-business” is someone who is in favor of business, who tries to help companies. Someone who is “pro-labor” (labor) would be someone who is trying to help workers, especially labor unions. So, you’ll see that prefix “pro-” in front of a word when someone is in favor of that or supports that. The mayor is “pro-business,” Francois says, and it won’t look good if he tries to “shut down” this business. “To shut down” is a two-word phrasal verb meaning “to close.”

The mayor is interested in the “revenue and jobs” that the business can bring to this dying town. “Revenue” (revenue) refers to money, specifically taxes that the business will pay the city. Patricia says, “But at what cost? Our kids will have to walk past the strip club every day to and from school. That’s outrageous!” “Outrageous” means that’s crazy. That’s a terrible thing.

Francois says, “I suggest channeling that energy into action.” “To channel (channel) your energy into” something means to put your energy into something. “To channel” anything means to take it and use it for a specific purpose. He continues, “If we make a stink and get media coverage, maybe we’ll get some action.” “To make a stink” (stink) is an interesting expression. It means to create problems so that other people notice that you don’t like something. You complain or you do something to get attention so that other people will realize that you’re not happy and, you hope, do something about it.

“Media coverage” refers to newspapers, television stations, radio stations, magazines, or Internet websites talking about your issue or talking about you. Media coverage is when the press, the media – the newspapers and television stations – talk about your story. They tell other people about what you are doing. Patricia says, “Good idea,” meaning that’s a good idea; we should make a stink.

“How do we get the local media to cover a neighborhood protest?” Patricia is thinking of an idea to get the local media ­– the newspapers and television stations in that town or city – “to cover,” that is to report on, the neighborhood protest. A “protest” is when you get together in public to indicate your belief about something, often your unhappiness about something.

Now remember, they’re protesting a strip club, a place where usually men pay money to see women take their clothes off. So, Francois suggests “nude picketing.” “To picket” (picket) means to walk back and forth on the sidewalk with signs in the air that indicate what you are angry about, what you are protesting about. “Nude” (nude) means without any clothing on.

Francois is suggesting that they could get attention from the local media if they picketed without wearing any clothing. Of course, they’re nude because that’s of course the kind of business that a strip club is. So, they are calling attention to this issue. Patricia says, however, “I think that would send the wrong message.” The expression “to send the wrong message” means you are doing something that will give people the wrong idea about what you want or what you are trying to accomplish.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Patricia: Finally! That empty building has a new tenant. That’s great for the neighborhood.

Francois: Think again. The new tenant plans to open a strip club.

Patricia: A strip club in the middle of a residential neighborhood?! That must be a violation of city ordinances. The city won’t allow that.

Francois: I’m not so sure. The tenant has already started moving in, and there is no sign that the city is going take action.

Patricia: Then we have to do something to let the city know that we object to a strip club going into that space.

Francois: Good luck getting the city to do anything, much less file an injunction. The mayor is very pro-business, and it won’t look good if he tries to shut down any business that could bring revenue and jobs to this dying town.

Patricia: But at what cost? Our kids will have to walk past the strip club every day to and from school. That’s outrageous!

Francois: I suggest channeling that energy into action. If we make a stink and get media coverage, maybe we’ll get some action.

Patricia: Good idea. How can we get the local media to cover a neighborhood protest?

Francois: How about nude picketing?

Patricia: I think that would send the wrong message.

[end of dialogue]

The script for this episode, like all of our episodes, was written by the wonderful 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.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2014 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
tenant – renter; a person or business that pays money each month to use an apartment, home, or business space

* The tenants are responsible for the garbage service, but the owner pays for the yard work.

to think again – to rethink something; to reconsider something; to question what one previously thought and possibly reach a new conclusion

* Hearing about how animals are treated on large farms made Monte think again about his eating habits.

strip club – a place of business where women remove some or all of their clothing while dancing in a sexual way in front of an audience

* It’s completely inappropriate to take a business client to a strip club.

residential neighborhood – a part of city where there are many homes and few or no businesses

* They’re looking for a small home in a quiet, residential neighborhood far from the airport.

violation – an instance of lawbreaking; when laws, rules, or regulations are not followed

* Smoking near the building entrance is a violation of the city’s ban on smoking in and near businesses.

ordinance – an official rule or regulation, especially at the city level

* The city passed an ordinance against using car horns unnecessarily near hospitals and schools.

to object to – to express one’s disapproval and dislike of something, and to protest against it or show one’s opposition to it

* I object to girls not being allowed to join the football and soccer teams.

injunction – a warning or an official order to stop doing something

* During the drought, failure to obey the injunction against watering your lawn for more than 10 minutes a day could result in a fine of $500.

pro-business – in favor of businesses and doing things to encourage the establishment and growth of businesses

* As a pro-business politician, he wants to lower business taxes and provide free services for the city’s largest employers.

to shut down – to make something stop or to make a business close so it is no longer in operation

* The health inspector has the power to shut down our restaurant if she finds major problems in the kitchen.

revenue – income; money coming in, especially money from the sales of something

* On average, how much revenue does each salesperson bring in per month?

to channel – to focus something in a particular direction or for a particular purpose

* I wish Gerald could channel his anger into something productive rather than just drinking and getting into fights.

to make a stink – to complain and create problems for other people so that one cannot be ignored

* Some of the parents made a stink when they saw the teacher’s negative comments on their children’s report cards.

media coverage – publicity; how information or a story is presented in newspapers, television, radio, magazines, and on the Internet

* Having a celebrity speaker would increase the media coverage of our event.

protest – a public gathering of people expressing their disapproval of something and their desire to change it; a demonstration

* The students organized a protest about the firing of their favorite professor outside the president’s office.

nude – naked; without any clothing on one’s body

* Have you ever posed for a nude photo?

picketing – a protest, strike, or demonstration where people walk around an area while holding signs with images and/or text that express their disapproval of something

* Picketing doesn’t seem like a good way to change the law. Wouldn’t it be better to talk to your congressional representative?

Comprehension Questions
1. Why does Patricia object to the strip club?
a) Because she doesn’t think it’s appropriate for children to see.
b) Because she doesn’t think it will create new jobs.
c) Because she thinks it will harm the natural environment.

2. What might they do to “make a stink and get media coverage”?
a) Refuse to pick up the garbage for a few weeks.
b) Send stink bombs to local journalists.
c) Complain loudly in a public way.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to shut down

The phrase “to shut down,” in this podcast, means to make something stop or to make a business close so it is no longer in operation: “The city may have to shut down the public transit system if ridership doesn’t increase.” When talking about a computer, “to shut down” means to turn off the device: “Don’t forget to back up your files before you shut down the computer.” The phrase “to shut down” can also mean to stop sharing one’s feelings and/or stop communicating with others: “After his wife died, Spencer seemed to shut down and didn’t want to see anyone.” Finally, the rude phrase “to shut up” means to be quiet or to stop talking: “Will you please shut up? I’m trying to sleep.”

to make a stink

In this podcast, the phrase “to make a stink” means to complain and create problems for other people so that one cannot be ignored: “The customer made a stink about the slow customer service.” The verb “to stink” means to smell bad: “Your gym bag stinks!” And the phrase “to stink to high heavens” means to smell extremely bad: “The animal waste from the farm stinks to high heavens!” Or, “Wow, that blue cheese stinks!” The phrase “to stink of” means to smell like something: “His breath stank of beer.” Finally, the phrase “to stink” can also mean that something is unfair or bad: “You lost your job? That stinks!” Or, “It stinks that I have to study while all my friends are playing outside.”

Culture Note
Minsky's Burlesque

American “burlesque” is a kind of “variety show” (entertainment on a stage with live actors, singers, and dancers performing many “acts” (small parts or short scenes)). Minsky's Burlesque was a type of burlesque created by the four Minsky brothers in New York City. The shows began in 1912 and “lasted” (continued) until 1937. At the time, the shows were considered “obscene” (vulgar; inappropriate) and they were “outlawed” (forbidden or prohibited under law).

The brothers owned a theater and soon “turned to” (began using or relying on) burlesque to attract a larger audience. The poor “immigrants” (people who come from another country) liked “risqué” (shocking, especially in a sexual way) shows, and the Minsky brothers “obliged” (did what the audience wanted them to do).

Their theater was the first one in the United States to have a “runway” (a long walkway that goes from the stage into the center of the audience, often used in fashion shows), where the brothers “featured” (put a lot of attention on) attractive young women. They advertised their shows as “Burlesque as You Like It – Not a Family Show,” meaning that audiences would see things that are not appropriate for children.

The audiences loved the shows, but other people were shocked to learn that women were removing their clothes in front of the audience and walking around “topless” (without a shirt on). Citizens’ groups began “rallying” (protesting) against the theater, and in 1937 the theater lost its “license” (permission to operate) and had to “close its doors” (go out of business).

Comprehension Answers
1 - a

2 - c