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上一篇:002 Topics: New Year’s Resolutions; best sellers; “Oh, my goodness!”; dead weight, dead right, and dead broke

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003 Topics: Famous Americans: Queen Latifah; Smoking bans; at this point; trade-off; driveway versus parkway

时间:2018-05-01   访问量:3146   View PDF
Complete Transcript
You are listening to ESL Podcast’s English Café number 3.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast’s episode 3. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

On this Café, we’re going to talk about how I met the queen. Well, not exactly met the queen. I saw the queen, and I'll tell you all about it in a minute. Our second topic will be smoking bans – when you are not allowed to smoke. Where are you not allowed to smoke in the United States? Or perhaps the better question is: where are you allowed to smoke in the United States? We'll talk about that. And, as always, we’ll answer some of your questions. Let's get started.

Recently, I was at dinner in a very nice part of Los Angeles called Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills is, oh, four or five miles or so from where I live. It is considered the richest part or one of the richest areas in Southern California. It is its own city, Beverly Hills. It's not part of the city of Los Angeles. Beverly Hills is famous internationally for a lot of different reasons. You may have seen it in movies or mention made of it in movies. It's very expensive to live in Beverly Hills. That's why I don't live there.

It can also be expensive to go to a restaurant in Beverly Hills. I went to a restaurant that was not very expensive, but it was still a nice restaurant, an Italian restaurant. I was there in the early evening. It must've been seven o'clock or so, and my wife and I were finishing our dinner. We decided to stand up and leave the restaurant. We were finished with our meal. We had paid for our meal. As we were walking out of the restaurant, which is located right in the center of Beverly Hills and a very popular area of Beverly Hills, there was a group of women who were coming into the restaurant, and one of these women was the queen.

Now, when I say “the queen,” most people think of, for example, the Queen of England or the queen of some country. This was not, however, the queen of a country. It was instead a well-known singer and actress who has the name “Queen Latifah.” “Queen Latifah” (Latifah) is a very well-known singer and actor. We’ll talk a little bit about her career in a minute.

Back to my story, though, we were in this restaurant then, and we were walking out and there were three women who were walking in to the restaurant. The third one held the door for me and my wife. It was very nice of them. I was going to hold the door for them. “To hold the door” means to keep it open so someone else can walk through.

In any case, this woman held the door for my wife and me, and we thanked her. Then we looked at her closely and we realized it was this famous actress, Queen Latifah. She was talking on a cell phone, which is quite popular nowadays when people are walking around. So, we didn't actually get to talk to her. She was, of course, with her friends and she didn't really want to talk to us, even though she was holding the door for us. Nevertheless, I can now say that I met a queen: Queen Latifah.

Queen Latifah is actually an interesting character in American popular culture. She began her life as a singer. She was born in New Jersey, in the eastern part of the United States, in 1970. During the 1980s, she became one of the first females, one of the first women, to enter into the area of rap music. “Rap” music is a music where there is a lot of rhyming and a very definite . . . what we would call a “beat.” I'm not going to attempt to rap for you. You probably know what rap music is and can listen to much better examples than I can give you. Queen Latifah was one of the first women rappers. Rap has always been, and continues to be, in some ways more popular with male singers than female singers, but Queen Latifah was one of the first to do that.

You may be wondering about her name, “Latifah.” Latifah wasn't the name that she was given when she was born. That was “Dana Elaine Owens.” Latifah was a nickname that she was called when she was growing up. “Latifah” is, I'm told, Arabic for “delicate” or “sensitive.” She later decided to use this as her name, her – what we would call here in Los Angeles – “stage name.” Your “stage name” is the name you use in movies and in television, even though it's not your real name. Jeff McQuillan is my real name, however, not a stage name.

Queen Latifah became quite popular with her music. When she was only 18 years old, she released, or made available to the public, her first song. Afterwards, being a very bright woman, a very smart woman, she started her own company – her own management company – so that she could manage, or take care of, other singers. In 1991, just a few years after she became popular as a singer, she became an actress in a movie called Jungle Fever. She continued acting throughout the 1990s. Her fame, however, her popularity, really increased dramatically in 2002/2003.

In 2002, Queen Latifah was in a popular movie called Chicago. In fact, Queen Latifah was nominated for an Academy Award. This gave her great popularity. Many people went to see this movie, and when Latifah became much, much more famous, she went on to make other movies – has continued to make movies – including Beauty Shop in 2005 and The Secret Life of Bees in 2008.

Like a lot of actresses and actors here in Hollywood, Queen Latifah has also made animated movies. That is, she's provided the voice for a character in different animated movies. An “animated movie” is sometimes called a cartoon movie. It is a movie that is most popular among children, although many of these animated films are very popular among adults as well. Queen Latifah was in the Ice Age series of movies. So, if you have young children and you've watched the Ice Age movies, maybe you've heard her.

Our next topic has nothing to do with queens or Beverly Hills. We’re going to talk about smoking bans. The word “ban,” both as a noun and as a verb, is related to the idea of not permitting something, not allowing something. If there is a ban on watering your lawn – on using water to help your grass grow, which happens sometimes in places like California where we don't have enough water – that means that you can't use water on your grass, on your lawn. A “drinking ban” would be where you don't allow anyone to drink alcohol. No one is allowed to drink. There is a ban on drinking.

“Smoking bans” then, of course, relate to situations, laws, rules that have to do with preventing people from smoking. The verb that’s sometimes used here is “prohibit.” “To prohibit” (prohibit) means the same as to ban – to not allow someone to do something. In many states in the United States – as you'll discover if you come here, if you're not already here – there are what are called “anti-smoking laws.” These are basically smoking bans: laws that tell you places where you cannot smoke.

It's important to understand why a lot of governments in the U.S. – state governments and city governments, as well as our national government – have passed laws banning smoking or regulations that ban smoking in certain places. The reason behind these bans, at least part of the reason behind these bans, is the concept of “second-hand smoke.” “Smoke” is what comes out when you breathe in with your cigarette and then you blow out something. That something is called “smoke.”

The term “second-hand” refers to something that is from someone else. We use this adjective to describe things that are used, things that are not new. “It's a second-hand car.” That means it's a used car. It's not a new car that was just made a few months ago. It's an old car, a second-hand car. “Second-hand smoke” refers to not smoke that you produce by smoking, but smoke produced by other people, that you inhale. “To inhale” (inhale) means to breathe in, to take something into your lungs.

If you are inhaling smoke, you are putting that smoke basically inside of your body, in your lungs. Smoking involves typically inhaling smoke into your lungs. The possible exception to that would be “cigar smoking.” A “cigar” (cigar) is a thick tube of tobacco that you often don't inhale – usually, you don't inhale. You just have it in your mouth and you blow it out. But cigarette smoking is definitely a case where you inhale the smoke, typically.

Of course, there are other kinds of smoking – smoking illegal drugs such as marijuana, for example. There was a somewhat funny expression, a funny phrase, that was used by then Governor Bill Clinton as he was trying to become president of the United States back in the early 1990s, in 1992. He said that he had tried smoking a marijuana cigarette, but he didn't inhale. He didn't actually put the smoke into his lungs. I'm not sure if you want to believe that, but that's what then Governor, later President, Bill Clinton said.

Back to our story here about anti-smoking laws. When you have second-hand smoke and you inhale that, you and your body are affected by that. So, even though you're not smoking, you can also get sick from inhaling second-hand smoke. There are now a lot of research studies that show the possible dangers of second-hand smoke. That's the reason, at least the medical reason, why a lot of governments have started these smoking bans preventing you from smoking in areas where other people are located, especially what we would call “public areas” – places such as restaurants, bars, cafés, airplanes, and other places where you have other people who may not want to inhale your second-hand smoke.

Some of the earliest anti-smoking laws were passed in my home state of Minnesota. Minnesota started passing laws about smoke and smoking bans back in the mid-1970s. When I was growing up, when you walked into a restaurant, there were always two sections. There was a smoking section and a non-smoking section. The non-smoking section was, of course, for people who didn't want to smoke or inhale smoke. Unfortunately, if there’s one person smoking five feet from you, even though they’re in the non-smoking section, you're still going to inhale that second-hand smoke.

So, what happened, especially during the 1980s and 1990s, is that governments started passing smoking bans that prohibited smoking anywhere in certain places. Now, in most big cities and in the entire state of California, it is illegal to smoke inside of a public restaurant. It's also illegal in California to smoke inside of a bar. A lot of people complained about these laws when they took effect. “To take (take) effect (effect)” means to actually begin. Usually, the government will approve a law and then it will take effect – perhaps a month later or two months later, the law will actually begin.

When a lot of the laws began to take effect, especially here in California, there were a lot of people who complained, who wanted to be able to smoke in a bar, for example. However, the laws were not changed, and there are still smoking bans in most public places now in California, at least in most restaurants, bars, and cafés. You can still smoke in other public areas, but the laws have been getting stricter. The laws have been getting tougher so that there are fewer and fewer places where you are allowed to smoke.

For example, it's been the case for many years now that you are not allowed to smoke on any airplane flight within the United States. So, if you're flying from Los Angeles to New York, which is a five-hour or so flight, you are not allowed to smoke at any time when you are on the airplane. In some cities, such as Los Angeles, it's illegal to smoke even close to the door of a restaurant, café, or bar. You have to be at least ten feet away from the door to smoke.

Some people think this is too restrictive. Some people believe these laws go too far ??– that is, they’re too extreme. Other people – people who don't smoke, which is the majority of people – like the laws and think that it's a good idea to discourage people from smoking. “To discourage” means to try to convince someone not to do something. What happens if you smoke in a restaurant or a bar? Well, you will have to pay a fine if you are caught by the police. A “fine” (fine) is a penalty that involves money. You have to pay money to the government, just as you would if you were driving too fast on the freeway.

So, it's important to be aware of these regulations, these rules about smoking, when you come to the United States, and if you live here you are probably already very aware of them – that is, you know about them already.

Now let’s answer some of the questions that you have sent to us.

Our first question comes from Vladimir (Vladimir). Vladimir is originally from Ukraine and now living in Toronto, Canada. He wants to know the meaning of the expression “at this point.” “At this point” means currently – at present. It's a phrase we use in a situation that may not be the same as it was in the past, or may not be the same as it will be in the future. So, for example, if you see clouds in the sky, you expect it might rain. You may say to your friend, “Well, at this point it's not raining.” At this point in time – presently, currently – it's not raining. The idea is that maybe that will change in the future or maybe it was different in the past; maybe it was raining an hour ago and now it's not.

We often use this expression when we are trying to accomplish something and we’re not being very successful. We may decide to change things. We may say, “Well, I've tried to get this girl to give me her phone number in many different ways. At this point, I think I will find another girl.” That would be an example of that usage – and pretty good advice, actually, gentlemen. Thank you, Vladimir, for that question.

Another question comes from Marcos (Marcos) in Brazil. Marcos wants to know the meaning of the term “trade-off.” A “trade- (trade) off (off)” is when you have a situation where there are two things that you can get, two things that you can have. You may want both of them, but you can only have one, so you may give up something or exchange something that you like for something else that you like better. The term “trade-off” always relates to the idea of a sacrifice, of giving up something that you like for another thing.

“The trade-off for living in Minnesota – which is a beautiful state and a state that doesn't have a lot of crime and violence – is that the winters are very cold.” There's an example where you have a negative thing and a positive thing. The negative thing would be living in Minnesota in the winter. The positive thing would be living in an otherwise nice and safe area. The “trade-off” here is more like the price you have to pay. If you want X, you have to pay Y. You have to do something.

Here's another example. You like to live in a part of the city where there is a lot of action – where there are a lot of bars and restaurants and clubs, where there are a lot of places to meet new people. However, you are also a light sleeper. When we say someone’s a “light sleeper,” we mean that he wakes up very easily. If you hear any noise or any loud sound, you find it difficult to sleep. Now you have to decide which is more important, the excitement of living in the city or being able to sleep easily. It's a trade-off. You can't have both. You have to give up one in order to get the other.

Our final question is one I actually read in a book that I thought was very interesting. This was a book about the English language. Someone asked about the meanings of the words “driveway” and “parkway.” The question was, “Why do we park in a driveway and drive in a parkway?” To understand the question we have to understand the definition of these two common words.

Let's start with a “driveway.” A “driveway” (driveway), one word, is a place typically where you park your car. The verb “to park” (park) means to bring your car to a stop and to leave it there. We talk about parking our car in front of our house. We can also park our car in a driveway. Now, you would guess that the word “drive” would mean that you are moving, so that you wouldn't be parking a car in a driveway. You’d be driving a car in the driveway.

This is a case where the original word “driveway” did actually mean a place where you drive. However, it originally referred to a private road off of a main public road that went up to, typically, a large house. If you can think of watching a movie where there's a big house – what we might call a “mansion” (mansion), a large house – there would be a long road leading up to this house. It was only a road that people who lived in the house or who were visiting the house would drive on. That was called a “driveway,” and you drove on the driveway.

Now, however, in modern American houses, there isn't a long distance between the place where you park your car – a garage – and a public street. You can still drive on a driveway, but you're only going to drive maybe 30 feet until you get to your garage – the place where you store your car. So, nowadays we park in our driveways because it's a place for us to keep our cars. It's not very long, so there really isn't much to drive on anymore. If you’re rich and live in a big house, and have your own private road, like the people who live, oh, I don't know, in Beverly Hills here in Southern California, then you would have a driveway that you would actually drive on.

“Parkway” is a little more confusing. “Park,” I mentioned earlier, as a verb means to stop your car in turn it off and leave it there. “Park” also can be a nice place that has trees and grass, maybe even a little lake – a place where you can walk and enjoy yourself. There are two meanings, then, of that word “park.” It's the second meaning that is related to the second word here, which is “parkway.” A “parkway” is a road that is supposed to look a little like a park.

When you think of busy roads in a big city or freeways in a big city, usually they aren't very good looking. Usually there is nothing in between, for example, the lanes that are going in one direction versus those that are going in the other. There are some roads, however, that have trees and grass in between – sort of in the middle of the road, in between the lanes that are going in different directions. The reason they have that space with grass and trees is to make it look nicer, to make it look more like a park.

So, we drive on a parkway because it's supposed to look like a park. That's why we call it a “parkway” – not because we stop our car and leave it there.

If you have a question or comment, you can email us. Our email address is

From Los Angeles, California, I'm Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on the English Café.

ESL Podcast’s English Café was written and produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse. Copyright 2006 by the Center for Educational Development.

Beverly Hills – a city near Los Angeles, California, where many actors, singers, entertainers, and other rich people live

* Debi dreamed of being wealthy enough to live in Beverly Hills one day.

queen – a female leader or ruler, or a woman married to a king (male leader or ruler); a woman who is treated with a great amount of respect, as though she were royalty or a ruler

* Queen Victoria reigned over England from 1837 to 1901.

to be nominated for – to be chosen as someone who might win a prize or honor

* Due to his wonderful performance at work, Ike was nominated for the employee-of-the-month award.

Oscar – an award given to actors and others involved in making a movie for doing the best work for a specific year; an award given every year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to films and those involved in making them

* Tom Hanks won the Oscar for Best Actor in 1993.

to hold the door – to keep the door open for someone else, allowing that person to walk through the doorway; to hold a door open so that it does not close on someone else who is walking through it

* When Xenia saw that the elderly man walking in behind her had his hands full, she held the door open for him.

anti-smoking law – a rule preventing or stopping people from smoking tobacco products, like cigars and cigarettes, in certain locations

* Ohio passed an anti-smoking law that prohibits people from smoking inside restaurants.

to inhale – to breathe in; to take air into the lungs

* Edgar took a breath, inhaling deeply, before diving into the water.

second-hand smoke – tobacco smoke created by someone other than the person breathing in the smoke; smoke that comes from one person’s cigarette and is breathed in by someone else

* Vania does not smoke, but most of her family does, so she breathes in a lot of second-hand smoke whenever she visits them.

to ban – to make a rule that forbids or stops people from doing something; to create a rule that makes something illegal

* Jerrell got a ticket for talking on his cell phone because the city he lived in banned the use of cell phones while driving.

fine – a fee paid as punishment for breaking a rule or law; money that one must pay for breaking a rule or law

* Lela parked her car in an area marked as a “No Parking” zone, and as a result, she received a ticket and had to pay a fine.

to take effect – to start or begin; to become something that must be observed or obeyed

* The new policy allowing drivers to park a car on both sides of the street does not take effect until next month, so for now, the action is still illegal.

regulation – a rule that creates certain conditions in which an action can or cannot be done; a rule that controls how actions are done

* Park regulations states that visitors are not allowed to start campfires in places that are not specifically set aside for campfires.

at this point – currently; at present; a phrase meaning that a situation may not be the same as it was in the past or will be in the future

* At this point, Jeanne doesn’t plan on going to the movie, but that could change if she finishes all her homework.

trade-off – a situation in which one trades or exchanges something one likes for something else one likes; a situation or agreement in which one sacrifices or gives up something one has so that one can get something else one wants

* Rodger was forced to wake up early on Saturday to help his grandparents clean out their garage, but he was treated to lunch and a movie afterwards, so it was a fair trade-off.

light-sleeper – someone who is easily disturbed by noise or changes to his or her surroundings while sleeping; someone who wakes up from sleep very easily

* Yoko is a light-sleeper and wakes up whenever her husband starts to snore.

What Insiders Know
Follow the Nice Guy

A 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal discussed some research on leaders and those “in power” (who have power in an organization), and the results may surprise you.

“People give authority to people they “genuinely” (really; honestly) like,” according to a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley. In most social and business “settings” (situations), people who are “agreeable” (nice; don’t argue with others) and “extroverted” (open to talking to others; friendly) are the most respected and typically the most powerful. However, something happens after they have gained power, what psychologists call the “paradox of power.” A “paradox” is something that is self-contradictory, that is, something that contains two or more things that are opposite of each other, that don’t seem to agree or that work against each other. The paradox of power is that in order to be powerful, you must be kind, but once you are powerful, you change into someone who is no longer nice.

People in power or with authority are often less “sympathetic to” (understanding of) other people’s concerns and emotions. Now that they have power, it doesn’t seem important to them to be “considerate” (nice; careful to not harm) to other people. People who believe they are powerful are also more likely to believe that the normal rules of life and society don’t “apply to” (have to be followed by) them. For example, rich and powerful people may believe that everyone should follow the “traffic laws” (rules for driving) except them — they are important people, with important things to do, so they don’t need to follow the rules. Another word for this concept is “arrogance,” the idea that you are better than everyone else.

Is there a “cure” (solution; fix) for the paradox of power? Some psychologists argue that the only way to keep powerful people from “abusing” (misusing) their power is to have some sort of oversight. “Oversight” is when other people are watching what leaders are doing and criticize or correct them when they do something wrong. (The verb is “to oversee,” which is similar to the verb “to supervise.”) The problem with this solution, however, is that people in power often don’t think that they need any oversight, and use their authority to prevent other people from criticizing them.

上一篇:002 Topics: New Year’s Resolutions; best sellers; “Oh, my goodness!”; dead weight, dead right, and dead broke

下一篇:004 Topics: Filming in LA, Howard Stern, Worst Dressed Americans, Lolita, New Macs, Dove or Pigeon?, Color Bracelets, "Do you get it?"