Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Oliver Twist Online Film Festival

Celebrate Charles Dickens's 200th birthday:
  • Visit maurers.org/dickens
  • Watch the films
  • Answer the questions
  • Send in your answers and enter our Charles Dickens 200th Birthday contest!
The best answers will win an award. Details at the site
--click on the poster below.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Useful phrases for essays

 Introduction:
Many people prefer _____, but a growing number believe that ______.
The increasing number of [or: amount of or: danger of] ______ has become an urgent problem.
Some people believe that ______, while others argue strongly that _____.
Ever since the ______ incident, journalists and politicians have argued for more ______. Let’s look at what each side has to say.
One day I was on my way to [or: was speaking with or: was trying to] ______, when, suddenly, _______. I realized that _______ and decided to do something about it.

NOTE: Sometimes you can begin your essay by simply paraphrasing the assigned topic, or turning it into a question: "The Internet has become a popular source for information. Does the Internet deserve this popularity, or do its dangers outweigh its advantages?" 

Outlining one side of the argument:
Many people argue that _______.
In my experience, _______. [See note below concerning third-person vs first-person.]
In other words, ________.
On the one hand, __________.
This approach has many advantages [or: conveniences]....
First, …. Second, …. Third, …. In addition, …. Finally, ….
As evidence, they point to ________.
If we fail to take their advice, the number of ________ will start to go up, and the _______ will start to go down.
Is it fair that ______ will enjoy ______ while millions of others will ______?
Throughout history, people have _________________.

Outlining the other side of the argument:
On the other hand, _________.
To be fair, _________.
They argue that _________, but fail to notice that _________.
To a certain extent, they are right. For example, __________.
Theoretically, this may be true. But in real life, ....
However, there are no reports of [or: there is no evidence of] __________.
At the same time, ______________.
Is it worth the risk?

Conclusion:
To sum up, ________.
We can’t have it both ways; either _________ is true or _________ is true.
In the final analysis, _________.
Both sides have some good points, _______________.
While the results are not conclusive, most of the evidence points to __________.
It is obvious that ______________.
Why must we choose? Both approaches have value.
If our only concern is immediate results, we can choose _________, but if we take future generations into account, we will clearly want to ________.

NOTE ON VOICE/PERSON: In general, essays written in the first-person "I" or "we" voice are less formal. Often personal experience is more persuasive than abstract discussions, but be sure to take into account your intended audience. An academic audience may prefer or even require a more objective-sounding third-person approach.

BE CONSISTENT. If you decide to speak in the first person singular, "I", don't switch to "we" or a passive voice halfway through the essay. If you speak as "we" or as a neutral observer, don't switch to "I" unless you make an explicit switch, for example at the end: "I would like to conclude with a personal experience."
[modified 2013/09/18]

Monday, March 26, 2012

200-level homework: fame and its disadvantages

Comment on the following statement:
Many people dream of becoming famous celebrities, but fame can bring many pressures and problems.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of being famous? Write 200-250 words, using the following plan:

  1. title
  2. introduction (state the problem/topic)
  3. list the advantages and give reasons/examples
  4. list the disadvantages and give reasons/examples
  5. draw a conclusion (give your opinion or a balanced consideration of the topic)
We will read our essays and compile a list of the advantages and disadvantages of being famous.


Exercise adapted from Olga Afanasyeva, Virginia Evans, Victoria Kopylova, Practice Exam Papers for the Russian State Exam, 2010 Revised Edition, Moscow: Express Publishing/Prosveshchenie Publishers.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bonnie Raitt, "Love Letter"

Here's a good video of Bonnie performing this song:



If you want to see the "official" video for this song, here's the link, but be warned: in my opinion, it's the cheesiest video in the history of music videos! How can Bonnie be both sitting in her car and standing outside, playing her slide guitar? And who are all those other people? Why is she singing about the pouring rain while surrounded by dry desert??

Audio:         



Amazon.com link for the track.

And the lyrics by Bonnie Hayes:

Sittin’ in front of your house, light rain in early dawn
Workin’ on a love letter with the radio on
Got my eye on your window pane and I smoked a lot of cigarettes
Mercy, mercy but love is strange, and you haven’t even kissed me yet

We’d come to push, push comes to shove
Shove comes to touch, touch will come to love
Workin’ on a love letter, listenin’ to a love song
I’m writing you a love letter, love letter, with the radio on

Hope you get the message baby, I know that you’re gonna let me in
It’s weird in your neighborhood, if this is war then I’m gonna win

We’d come to push, push comes to shove
Shove comes to touch, touch will come to love
Love don’t sit waitin’, love don’t behave
Love’s waiting in the car, in the pouring rain now

Workin’ on a love letter, listenin’ to a love song
I’m writing you a love letter, love letter, got the radio on

We’d come to push, push comes to shove
Shove comes to touch, touch has come to love
Workin’ on a love letter, listenin’ to a love song
I’m writing you a love letter, love letter, got the radio on
Workin’ on a love letter, listenin’ to a love song
I’m writing you a love letter, love letter, got the radio on

Friday, March 16, 2012

Charlie Musselwhite, "Rank Strangers to Me"



Amazon.com mp3 link [not available]


Album available
from amazon.com
Words by Albert Brumley Sr. Transcription from Charlie Musselwhite's version:

I wandered alone to my home by the river
Where in youths' early dawn I was happy and free
I looked for my friends but I never could find them
I found they were all rank strangers to me

Everybody I met
Seemed to be a rank stranger
No mother or dad
Not a friend could I see
They knew not my name
And I knew not their faces
I found they were all
Rank strangers to me

"They've all moved away," said the voice of a stranger
"To a beautiful home by the bright crystal sea"
Some beautiful day I'll meet them in heaven
Where no one will be a stranger to me

Everybody I met
Seemed to be a rank stranger
No mother or dad
Not a friend could I see
They knew not my name
And I knew not their faces
I found they were all
Rank strangers to me

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

200-level classroom project: An Election Day Conversation

Compose your own "True, False, or Not Stated" exercise based on this dialogue.

  1. Read the dialogue (and listen to the recording).
  2. Compose six statements based on the dialogue. Each statement should be a TRUE statement, a FALSE statement, or a statement that cannot be judged true or false based on the dialogue (in other words, NOT STATED).
An Election-Day Conversation

Sam: “Hey, what's up? You're in a hurry....”
Vicki: “I've been planning to vote all day, but somehow I didn't get free until just now.”
Sam: “Come on, you're really that hot to vote? Relax! One less vote won't make a difference. We all know who's going to win.”
Vicki: “Right, I do know. If you don't vote, Mr. Apathy wins.”
Sam: “That's not what I meant, and you know it. Every Democratic candidate has taken this county for the last thirty years.”
Vicki: “Yeah, we'll probably get the same mayor and the same sheriff. It's hard to take their challengers seriously. But the presidential race and the congressional race are really close. They're both up for grabs.”
Sam: “Don't make me laugh. There will be more than our two votes separating the winner and the loser.”
Vicki: “It's the principle of the thing. If enough people don't get into the habit of doing the right thing every time, we can totally kiss democracy goodbye. The party machines will run everything.”
Sam: “What do you mean, 'the machines'?”
Vicki: “You know, the politicians, their paid helpers, their fan clubs. The people who who show up at party meetings, who work the phone banks, who go door-to-door....”
Sam: “What's wrong with that? If they care, let them care. They're all the same, anyway.”
Vicki: “How do you know they're all the same? You're just letting the crowd think for you. It's not necessarily smart to assume the worst, but it sure is easy.
Sam: “Right. You think that, when the dust settles and the results come out, we'll have a whole new world? Those guys say whatever they think we want to hear. Then, the day after election day, it's back to business as usual.”
Vicki: “And we'll have couch potatoes like you to thank.”
Sam: “Wait a minute. That's not quite fair. You were the one who brought up the party machines.”
Vicki: “It's not that they shouldn't exist. But it's not their job to run the country. It's their job to convince me to vote for their candidates. The only way they will know if they've made a good case for their candidates is if I vote for them.”
Sam: “Sure. They're just waiting to find out if Vicki showed up—along with her 40,000,000 friends.”
Vicki: “I'm not just one of forty million. Look at it this way. Every election, each side gets a predictable number of votes. That's their core support. Unless their candidate is a total slug, they can count on that vote. The difference between winning and losing is convincing undecided voters. And that means us—people who aren't born politicians.”
Sam: “Exactly: I'm undecided. I can't decide who to vote for because I don't believe any of them.”
Vicki: “You 'don't believe'—or you haven't paid attention? Making a decision implies using your brain.”
Sam: “OK, OK, you've made your point. I get it. Let's go over to the school and get it over with—on one condition.”
Vicki: “Great. Name it.”
Sam: “We go get some coffee right after we vote. Then you can tell me more about what a huge difference my vote made.”
Vicki: “Excellent! The point is, no matter who you vote for, and no matter who wins, every vote is a vote for our country.”

If you didn't have a chance to do this in class, send me your six statements. (You don't have to send me the answer key if you don't want to!)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Delta Moon and Fred McDowell, "You Got to Move"

The audio I used in class for Delta Moon's version of "You Got to Move" comes from this video:



Audio alone:

Прослушать или скачать Delta Moon You Got to Move бесплатно на Простоплеер

And here's the audio for the version recorded by the song's author, Fred McDowell:

Прослушать или скачать You Gotta Move бесплатно на Простоплеер

Words:

You got to move
You got to move
You got to move, child
You got to move
But when the Lord gets ready
You got to move

You may be high
You may be low
You may be rich, child
You may be poor
But when the Lord gets ready
You've got to move

You see that woman
That walk the street [who walks the street]
You see the policeman
Out on his beat
But when the Lord gets ready
You got to move

You got to move
You got to move
You got to move, child
You got to move
But when the Lord gets ready
You got to move.

Fred McDowell died in 1972, but thanks to YouTube, you can still see him perform. For example,


Friday, March 2, 2012

S200 groups: Layla Musselwhite, "Heaven"



"Heaven"

Well, I run so fast I'm a streak of black moonlight
You see my shadow moving, my footprints burning bright
I'm gonna use this morning to bring me through this cold night

The fields shine like silver, the people shine like gold
The fields shine like silver, the people shine like gold
And my poverty falls from me like stewed meat off a bone

When I leave you, honey, [I] leave my heart behind
I leave you honey, leave my heart behind
I'm gonna hang you up, be a star in my sky

Nobody knows where I was born
Nobody knows where I was born
If you see my soul in heaven, don't tell them where I'm from
You see my soul in heaven, don't tell them where I'm from
If you see my soul in heaven, don't tell them where I'm, don't tell them where I'm from.



(Photo from www.laylamusselwhite.com)



Here are Charlie and Layla Musselwhite, father and daughter, in a duet: