Oct 31, 2009

October Reading: Emotional Intelligence

Joe Mande grew up idolizing his favorite comedian, Eddie Murphy. So when Mande started doing stand-up in clubs around New York five years ago, he tried to imitate his style. Murphy bounced around the stage in loud leather clothing and told rapid-fire jokes in his signature manic voice. But when Mande tried using that same frantic energy, he could tell the audience didn’t respond the same way that Murphy’s did.

Find the full text at:



Joe Mande
Please refer to the link:

Eddie Murphy
Please refer to the link:

stand-up also standup /ˋstændˏʌp/ [adjective, only before noun]

stand-up [comedy] involves one person telling jokes alone as a performance
--a stand-up comedian

a stand-up meeting, meal etc is one in which people stand up
--We had a stand-up buffet.

a stand-up fight, argument etc is one in which people shout loudly at each other or are violent
--If it came to a stand-up fight, I wouldn't have a chance.

able to stay upright
--a photo in a stand-up frame
--a stand-up collar

stand-up also standup /ˋstændˏʌp/ [noun, uncountable]

stand-up comedy
--Mark used to do stand-up at Roxy's Bar.
a comedian who does stand-up comedy

Someone (never) can tell also someone can (never) tell [spoken]

Used to say that someone can(not) be certain about what will happen in the future
--But when Mande tried using that same frantic energy, he could tell the audience didn’t respond the same way that Murphy’s did.
--People can tell if you’re posturing or trying too hard.


An eight-day Jewish holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights. Please refer to the link:


a four-sided spinning top, played with during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Please refer to the link:

Oct 23, 2009

Harvest (Word of the Day, 2009/10/21)

Nina Chou
harvest /ˋhɑrvɪst/
►[uncountable and countable] the season for crop gathering
--The strawberry harvest starts in April.
--The apple harvest has begun. 

►[countable] amount of crops gathered
--This year’s rice harvest was very poor.
--A good harvest of strawberry is expected this year.

►a result or consequence
--The new medicine is the harvest of thirty year’s research.
-- I’m now reaping the harvests of my wrong decisions.

harvest festival [countable]
►a church service held in the autumn to thank God for the harvest
--People used to come here at night at harvest festival time and pray and dance.

harvest moon
►the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox.
--Does the harvest moon always occur in September? No, It depends on the date of the full moon with relationship to the equinox.

harvest /ˋhɑrvɪst/ [intransitive and transitive]
►gather or reap
--Try to harvest the fruit before first frost.
--When will you harvest your wheat?

harvester /ˋhɑrvɪstɚ/
►someone who gathers crops
--And like the swallows that harvest the thin fields of air, we must become harvesters of ever more intangible fields.

combine harvester
►a machine used by farmers to cut grain, separate the seeds from it, and clean it
--Instead of driving a modern combine harvester, he's using a binder to cut the corn into sheaves.

Another useful examples :
--Bring in (reap) a good harvest 獲得豐收
--Yield a rich harvest 成果豐碩
--Expect a plentiful harvest 預期豐收
--An abundant [ an ample, a good, a large, a plentiful, a rich, a splendid] harvest豐收
--A bad [ poor, scanty, wretched ] harvest 歉收

Oct 22, 2009

Autumn Leaves (Learning by Singing)

Autumn Leaves is one of the most beautiful popular songs I’ve ever heard. Originally, it’s a 1945 French song titled "Les feuilles mortes (The Dead Leaves)".

The music was composed by Joseph Kosma, a Hungarian-French composer. The French lyrics was written by poet Jacques Prévert.

Following is an English Translation for the French Lyrics.

Les feuilles mortes 
(The Dead Leaves)
French Lyrics: Jacques Prévert
Oh, how I wish that you would remember
The happy days when we were loving friends!
At that time life was more beautiful,
And the sun more brilliant than today.

The dead leaves are gathered in a shovel.
You see, I haven’t forgotten!
The dead leaves are gathered in a shovel,
Memories and regrets as well.

And the wind from the north carries them off
In the cold night of oblivion1.
You see, I haven’t forgotten,
The song you sang to me.
This is a song that resembles2 us.

You who loved me, I who loved you,
And we lived, the two of us, together.
You who loved me, I who loved you,
But life separates those who love each other
Very gently, without making noise.
And the sea erases on the sand
The footsteps of separated lovers.
1 oblivion/əˋblɪvɪən/
►when something is completely forgotten or no longer important
-- And by the end of the war, the issue had fallen into oblivion.

►the state of being unconscious or of not noticing what is happening:
-- He longed for the oblivion of sleep.
-- He had drunk himself into oblivion.

2 resemble/rɪˋzɛmbl/[transitive not in progressive or passive]
►to look like or be similar to someone or something
-- It's amazing how closely Brian and Steve resemble each other.
-- He grew up to resemble his father.

* reassemble/riəˋsɛmbl/[easy to confuse with “resemble”]
►[transitive] to bring together the different parts of something to make a whole again, after they have been separated
--The equipment had to be dismantled and reassembled at each new location.

►[intransitive] if a group of people reassemble, they meet together again after a period apart
--Parliament reassembled after a seven-week break.

Let's listen to the French version sung by Juliette Gréco.

The following French-English hybrid version was sung by the blind Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and his fiancee Veronica Berti.

The English lyrics was written by American songwriter Johnny Mercer in 1947.

Autumn leaves
Lyrics: Johnny Mercer
The falling leaves drift by the window,
The autumn leaves of red and gold.
I see your lips, the summer kisses,
The sunburned hand I used to hold.

Since you went away the days grow long.
And soon I'll hear old winter's song.
But I miss you most of all, my darling,
When autumn leaves start to fall.

Let's listen to Frank Sinatra.

Oct 2, 2009

The Discovery Files: Mind Scans (Learning English with Science)

For podcast please visit:

Audio transcript:

I Think I'm Having a "Where's Waldo"1 Moment.

I'm Bob Karson with the discovery files -- new advances in science and engineering from the National Science Foundation.

Looking for a friend in a crowded room? Are you likely to scan the room, moving from face to face? Or take in the whole scene, hoping your friend's face will pop out at you? If you said, "scan the room," neuroscientists2 at MIT would likely agree, based on a new study.

The researchers monitored brain activity of monkeys, who were given the task of finding a certain tilted colored bar on a computer screen filled with many colored bars. Rather than looking at the big picture, the monkeys shifted their attention in sequence -- like a moving spotlight that jumped from location to location.

The team found that the spotlight shifted focus 25 times a second and that the shifting was regulated by brain waves. It seems these waves may provide a clock that tells the brain when to shift attention from one stimulus to another. They might also keep different parts of the brain on the same page at the same time -- much the way computers use an internal clock to synchronize3 the different components inside.

The scientists say that if we could find ways to direct brain waves, it could be of immense4 help to patients with A.D.D.5, even speed up the cognitive powers of the brain.

Or help me find my keys.

Play audio

For the original, please visit:
The Discovery Files



1. Where's Waldo
It’s a game. The intent is to find a man named Waldo. For more information, visit the following link:

2. neuroscientist/ˋnjυroˏsаɪəntɪst/
A scientist who studies the brain and the nervous system

3. synchronize /ˋsiŋkrənаɪz/[intransitive and transitive]
To happen at exactly the same time, or to arrange for two or more actions to happen at exactly the same time.
-- Colourful flashing lights synchronize the sound.

4. immense /ɪˋmɛns/
extremely large [= enormous]
--Regular visits from a social worker can be of immense value to old people living alone.

5. A.D.D.
= Attention-Deficit Disorder

5.1 Deficit /ˋdɛfɪsɪt/
The difference between the amount of something that you have and the higher amount that you need.

5.2 disorder /dɪsˋɔrdɚ/[countable]
[medical] A mental or physical illness which prevents part of your body from working properly.