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401, 401V, 501V: English-Language Reading Diary

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Back to Chicago! "On the Road Again," by Johnny Young


Johnny Young, the great blues mandolin and guitar player, died in 1974. I could not find a single decent video of him, so here's a photo of Johnny Young, taken from this discography site. (More information about Johnny Young here. You can hear him on mandolin here--this was the first track of his I ever heard.)

According to the discography site, "On the Road Again" was recorded in November 1965 at Sound Studios in Chicago, Illinois, by Pete Welding, with a band of musicians from the very top of the Chicago blues scene. Musicians: Johnny Young (vocal, guitar, mandolin); the great pianist Otis Spann; James Cotton on harmonica; Jimmy Lee Morris (bass); S.P. Leary (drums); produced by Chris Strachwitz (the "Chris" mentioned by Johnny Young in the lyrics below).



Link to purchase track.

On the Road Again, Johnny Young

back on the road again, I’ve taken you just to be my friend
I’m back on the road again, darling, and I’ve taken you just to be my friend
you treated me wrong twice baby, darling I hope you never do that again

you’ve heard my warning, darling you hear me, what I say
you have heard my warning darling, darling you heard me, just what I say
back on the road again, I would be out here for so many days

out in old California, where the green grass grows around my door
out in old California, where the green grass grows around my door
it hurts me so bad to think about Chicago just once more

(I’m back on the road again, Chris,
Lord I take Chris just to be my friend)

ain’t it a miserable feeling, darling, when the woman you love is really gone
miserable feeling and the woman that you love has really gone
it’s a cold cold feeling when your darling is not at home

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Groups 201-204 Homework: You're the expert, part two

Write another essay on a topic of your choice. This time I would like you to cite at least one other author, using a quotation or a paraphrase from that author (or those authors) and telling the reader where the quotation or idea came from.

First, think about an interesting subject or theme, or about a news story or public concern that you know about. (Ideas: Russia and the world; the Olympic ideal; a perfect vacation/holiday; fate and freedom; should animals ever be kept in zoos?; intellectual property in a world of torrents; the cost of education; alcohol and addiction; starting your own business; finding a soulmate; online friendships; are libraries obsolete?; preserving historic buildings.)

In your essay, use these phrases if they are helpful.  

Write an opening paragraph, perhaps with a phrase from this list:
  • What would you do if you only had _____? According to ______, the most important ______ is _______.
  • The increasing number [or amount] of ______ has become an urgent problem.
  • Many of my friends think that ______. I agree with them, and here's why. OR However, I believe they are wrong.
  • Ever since the events at ______, journalists and politicians have argued for more ______.
  • One day I was on my way to _______, when suddenly ________. I realized that ________ and decided to do something about it.
In this first section, if you wish, you could draw upon another author (perhaps a journalist or analyst or eyewitness) to help you describe the situation you'd like to address.

In your second section, express and explain your point of view. Here you might use another author to explain how you learned about this point of view or why you think it is correct.

In your third section, express and explain the "other side's" point of view, or explain the weaknesses of your own point of view. Here you could use a quotation or a paraphrase that represents the viewpoint you disagree with.

Finally, draw a conclusion or make a recommendation to the reader.

At the very end of your essay,  list the authors, their books or articles or Web pages. If you use only one source, put the full details of that source here, as we discussed in class. If you have more than one source, put "Works Cited" at the top of the list, and then list the individual sources. See this page for more guidelines.

By the way, the guidelines I'm quoting and linking are based on American standards for the humanities. Rules and guidelines are different in other English-speaking countries. In anything you write, choose one standard and use it consistently; don't mix standards from different countries or systems in one paper.

Here are a couple of Web sites that explain both the methods and the rules for finding and citing other people's work:
You have two weeks for this assignment. Next week (March 5 or 6), tell me what your topic is, and the following week (March 12 or 13), please bring your finished essay of 200-250 words to class.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Kim Wilson (and Little Walter), "Just a Feeling"

Kim Wilson
Little Walter

This song was originally recorded by Little Walter at the legendary Chess studio in Chicago. Here's his version:



It can be found on this album, which I love!--The Essential Little Walter.

The version I used in class was by Kim Wilson. He's playing as part of Mark Hummel's Blues Harp Meltdown, Vol. 1.

Here's Kim Wilson's version:



Before we go to the words, here is one of the few videos that exist showing Little Walter playing harmonica, accompanying Hound Dog Taylor in 1967:



You can also see Little Walter's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame here, with James Cotton--another legendary musician--playing the harp, and Ben Harper subbing for Little Walter's vocals.



The words to "Just a Feeling" are by Little Walter (Marion Walter Jacobs), but I've modified them to follow Kim Wilson's performance:

Just a feelin', a feelin' I had on my mind
Just a feeling, a feelin' I had on my mind
You know, I lay down dreaming,
I woke up this morning screamin' and cryin'

Just a dream, a dream I dreamed last night
Just a dream, a dream I dreamed last night
I do everything to try to please you,
But still I ain't doin' [it] right

Just another pain, really [it] hurts so bad
Just another pain, really it hurts so bad
You know it's the worst old feeling*
A man most ever had

Black night is fallin',
you know the pain is comin' down again
Deep black night is fallin',
the pain is comin' down again
You know I feel so worried,
Junior, I ain't got no friend

*Originally: Got the funniest feelin'

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Groups 201-204 Homework: Letter to Johan

Jean Le Tavernier, portrait of Jean Miélot, adapted; source.


You have received the following letter from your pen friend Johan, who writes:
Some of my students prefer writing essays, because they have more freedom to write what they want. Others prefer writing letters, because they are shorter and the expectations are often clearer. Which kind of homework do you prefer—essays or letters? Why? How long does the assignment take to complete?

I’m writing a paper for an educational conference in October. Teachers have homework, too!
In 100-140 words (twenty minutes), reply to Johan’s letter. Answer his three questions, and ask three questions about his paper or the conference in October. Remember the rules of letter-writing.

Please bring your letter to class next week.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Kills, "Pots and Pans"




Прослушать или скачать The Kills Pots And Pans на Простоплеер

Pots and Pans, Alison Mosshart, Jamie Hince (performed by The Kills; lyrics below are as performed on the audio track)

I can't find enough pots and pans
Let alone knives in my kitchen
To keep you cooking
I can't find enough love in my heart
Let alone in my bones
To keep you standing

Ain't enough salt in the ocean
That cares enough to keep you floating
There ain't a drop left in my tank
To move move move your dead weight

I ain't joking
You're so good
I ain't joking when I said
You're so good

I can't find enough pots and pans
Let alone knives in my kitchen
To keep you cooking to keep you cooking
I can't find enough love in my heart
Let alone in my bones
To keep you standing

These are the days we'll never forget
When the dawn, dawns on you
These are the days we'll never forget
When the dawn, dawns on you
These are the days we'll never forget
When the dawn, dawns on you
These are the days we'll never forget
When the dawn, dawns on you...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Group 501: Birth of a Language (and Genes vs. Memes)

For this week's class, we'll be using two segments from the U.S. Public Broadcasting documentary program Nova and its series Evolution. From episode 6, "The Mind's Big Bang," we'll look at the birth of a new language among deaf children in Nicaragua. Then we'll look at how memes operate in intellectual evolution in ways that are similar to (and competing with??) genes operating in biological evolution.

The whole program:



(Our first segment begins at 35 minutes 43 seconds.)

Our discussion questions:
  1. Who are Maria Noname and Judy Kegel?
  2. What information about herself was Maria unable to give?
  3. The “window” for acquiring language stays open until about what age?
  4. Why did the Nicaraguan deaf children in this documentary never encounter the window for language?
  5. Instead of learning the standard sign language, what did the Nicaraguan children do?
  6. What does every language depend upon? A set of strict ... what?
  7. Richard Dawkins believes that language provided an advantage in what grand process?
  8. What does Robin Dunbar do when he is out in the field--for example in a restaurant or on a train?
  9. Dunbar and his colleagues thought that the exchange of technical information made up the major part of communication. To their surprise, 2/3 of normal human communication is actually made up of what?
  10. What will monkeys and apes never know?
  11. What does Stephen Pinker suggest might be the advantage of being the first to get a nice bit of gossip?
  12. The narrator says, "Language: the force that created modern human culture, and that today tells us...." What three things does language tell us? “Who …, how …, and where ....”
  13. Memes include, among other things, such intellectual and behavioral patterns as: (name as many as possible)
  14. As an example of “memes fighting against genes,” Blackmore mentions that, in general, the more education you have, the fewer children you have.” What might the implications be?
The Public Broadcasting Service Web site maintains a subsite dedicated to the Evolution series.

Group 301-401 (Evening): 3000 Dancers

Welcome back, students! For a couple of weeks, we'll be watching the documentary film Every Little Step and listening carefully to the unscripted speech of the dancers, directors, choreographers, and others in this film.

There's a copy of this film on vk.com:



Amazon.com purchase link.

We'll be watching a higher-quality copy in class--with subtitles. Listen carefully, so that we can discuss the synopsis and these questions:




Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Groups 201-204 Homework: Words and phrases from this week's reading

Singapore's Changi Airport features in this week's short texts. Source.


Please use twelve of these words and phrases in complete sentences. (As always, you can use more than one in a sentence.) Be ready to read them next week in class.

1. Short texts.
does not simply
fancy
in the flesh

2. Gap fill.
as a sign of
the afterlife
by accident

3. Long text.
only just
well-built
twists and turns
shabby
stunning
initially
come to an arrangement
it was a relief
to stroll
desperate
put out feelers

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bonnie Raitt, "Something to Talk About"

Here's the music video by the great blues slide guitarist Bonnie Raitt, followed by the audio track and the words:



The audio version we heard in class:


Amazon.com purchase link

Something to Talk About, Shirley Eikhard

People are talkin, talkin ’bout people
I hear them whisper, you won’t believe it
They think we’re lovers kept undercover
I just ignore it, but they keep sayin’
We laugh just a little too loud
We stand just a little too close
We stare just a little too long
Maybe they’re seeing, somethin’ we don’t, Darlin’
Let’s give ’em something to talk about (x3)
How about love?

I feel so foolish, I never noticed
You’d act so nervous, could you be falling for me?
It took a rumor to make me wonder
Now I’m convinced I’m goin under
Thinking ’bout you every day
Dreaming ’bout you every night
I'm hoping that you feel the same way
Now that we know it, let’s really show it, Darlin’
Let’s give ’em something to talk about
A little mystery to figure out
Let’s give ’em something to talk about
How about love, love, love?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Groups 201-204 Homework: Use these words and phrases, if you dare...

Calvin & Hobbes source
Based on vocabulary from this week's listening comprehension exercises: Use ten of these words and phrases in complete sentences. Please be ready to read your sentences next week. (Remember, you can use more than one word or phrase in a sentence; you don't have to write ten separate sentences unless you really want to!)

exercise one
stick to the deadlines
get confused
(all) by myself

exercise two
to throw a party
to contribute (smth) (to)
a good deal

exercise three
homesick
impress
the locals
manage to
people my age
brush up on