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

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Monday, February 29, 2016

Lesson and tea BOTH on Wednesday this week

Please note these schedule changes:

We meet Wednesday, March 2:
  • Group 401 meets at 13:05 (fourth pair). Check bulletin board for location.
  • Our weekly tea follows the fourth pair. ALL Institute students are welcome. Room 12.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Fractured Fairy Tales: Goldilocks, the home economist (or: why doesn't Mr. Bear help clean the house?!)



There are actually two Fractured versions of Goldilocks. But this is the version we used in class....

We worked on these words and phrases (and, of course, on the stereotypes ... the world looked a bit different in 1959).

... upon reaching his 21st birthday ...

"You go out in your bare feet and you'll catch cold." [note: “You go out … and you’ll...” – instead of standard “If you go out, you’ll...]

But he paid his mother no heed and took a three hour constitutional in what amounted to a torrential downpour. Oddly enough he didn't catch cold, but he did contract a severe case of up and down fever which ran up and down the coast at that time of year.

The fever-racked bruin had a nasty time and for a while it was doubtful whether he would ever pull through.

And then, suddenly, instead of taking a turn for the worse, he took a turn for the nurse.

Mr. and Mrs. Bear reside in this cozy cottage. They have a ten-year-old bear son, well, that is he doesn't run around bare, he's a bear -- little bear -- I mean, well, you know what I mean.

"There's so much junk lying around here I can't even find the front door."

Oh, it's true, the house was a mess, and it was all because Mrs. Bear sat around all day watching television and munching chocolates.

"I'm over in the corner, watching the radio."

"The narrator said you were watching television."

"The television's busted; I'm watching radio."

She cleaned up, all right. She started by mopping up the floor with Mr. Bear.

This deplorable situation existed for one year and then, one day, Mr. Bear put his foot down.

It took one full week but, by tracing the wire, he finally located the instrument.

"Hello, home economy bureau? Say, ah, send over a home economist, will ya??"

"Why are you doing that?"

"Because somebody's going to come over and see how we're living, that's what. You'll send one over? Keen-o, lady. She's on her way."

"So is dinner. Porridge is on the table."

"Whereabouts IS the table?"

"It's in the dining room somewhere, we'll find it."

Thanks to the steam emanating from the porridge bowls, they found the table and prepared to dine.

"Yeah, you're right, it is a trifle warm."

"No, no, I mean, suppose she gets here and finds nobody home?"

Well, as if you hadn't guessed by now, the home economist was named Goldilocks.

I don't know how she did it but the next thing she saw was the porridge on the table.

"Better sample this and make out a consumer's report. Brand X is far superior to Brand Y and Z. And it tastes just like the higher-priced mush."

Next in line was the durability test on the furniture. "They're all Danish Modern." Making a note of it, she then went upstairs to examine the bedroom....

"Three beds. Leaping lizards!"

Anyway, our little home economist tested all three beds and eventually fell asleep on the smallest of the three.

"Whoever ate mine even ate part of the bowl!" "Mush burglars!" "Don't be silly, it was probably the home economist." "We've been invaded!" "Calm down! I tell you, it's probably the home economist."

It was then that Goldilocks' snoring fell upon their ears.

"I hope it isn't those boys from UCLA looking for another mascot!"

It was a mighty concerned threesome that ascended the stairs.

"You in the little bear's bed! Give your name, rank, and serial number!"

"See, I told you. Say, what do you think of our living conditions, Annie?"

"I think you're living in squalor."

"Isn't that near, uh, Beverly Hills?"


"By 'squalor' I mean that your living conditions are deplorable, awful, real bad. … I shall see to it that you live in a nice, clean, modern apartment specifically designed for bears."

Monday, February 8, 2016

Fractured Fairy Tales: Alden Farquahar and his wrong choices (?)



The story may be a bit strange and the stereotypes are awful but there are many useful English phrases. Maybe you can use your better English to explain (or just ask) why the stereotypes are awful.

Some of the most interesting or useful phrases are underlined.

A young man should have three things: money, good looks, and a sense of humor -- in that order.

"Gosh, I'm handsome."

But when it came to money, he was woefully lacking.

Ah, but money isn't everything. Alden was constantly besieged by a bevy of beautiful maidens. And he laughed easily at anything and everything.

It was while he was strolling through the kingdom one day that his life took the wrong turn on the freeway. For up ahead, a dark figure was bent over, pulling weeds. [пропалывать]

Alden couldn't resist. … "Mother of pearl, I kicked a witch."

"I cast a spell on them. … From this day on, you'll be as ugly as all get-out. And you will remain ugly until the day that a fair maiden kisses you."

Well, you couldn't get much more ugly than what Alden became. He was beastly-looking.

Ah, but that third commodity, the one he had always lacked, suddenly came his way.
"What are you talking about? I just had lunch."

"If you don't eat me, ogre, I will remunerate you." "What does that mean?" "I'll give you money." … By sundown, 43 passers-by had passed by Alden and donated to the cause.

"I'm rich. Now I can live in the manner to which I'm unaccustomed." [usually "the manner to which smb is accustomed."]

The first thing on his list was an abode to dwell in.

"I'll tell you what, buddy. If you don't eat me, I'll let you have it for cheap."

The price was right, so Alden moved in. Then he settled down to a life of luxury. And every hour, on the hour, he counted his money.

Whenever he wanted to bolster or replenish his monetary supply, he simply walked through the streets of a nearby village, shouting "Yoo hoo, it's me, Alden! I've come to eat you!"

Inside of a year, Alden was a millionaire ten times over.

It was just about that time that the old witch, whom Alden had kicked, received a group of visitors. 

That name rang a bell. And, sure enough, there on page 462 of her income tax report was the story of how she had changed Alden into a beast, which was deductible. [вычитаемый на налоговом отчете]

"Then the beast that lives in the castle is really our beloved Alden?"

"Yes, and all you have to do is kiss him. That breaks the spell, and I'll no longer be able to claim him as a dependant."

"I have come to kiss you, Alden, and return you to your former handsome self."

Then Alded realized that he would lose his livelihood if he were no longer a beast.
"Let me take you away from all this."

But the damsel was dedicated. He sought refuge in the castle basement. "Kiss me, my fool."

Finally, on the castle roof, "They've got me outnumbered, but they'll never find me up here."

"Halt and desist! Pursue me one step more and I shall fling myself over the parapet."
"Well, we can't let you throw your life away." "Well, I'm glad you've come to your senses."

"Aren't you going to kiss us goodbye?" "Well, I suppose it's the least I can do."

But the money ran out and he also became penniless again.

"I don't want to be handsome! I want to be ugly and rich! I want to be a beast again!"


And so, dear friends, whenever you are bending over and pulling weeds and someone gives you a good solid kick, don't be too harsh on them. It may be Alden Farquahar. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Fractured Fairy Tales: 13 Helmets, or Count the Puns!



To review the wonderful array of set phrases and cliches in this video from Rocky and Bullwinkle, and to help you count the puns, here are some of the video's best lines:

There was no such thing as monotony in Merry Olde England

Whenever things got dull ...

Eventually, one solitary knight emerged victorious to receive the plaudits of his king.

On this particular occasion, it was a gallant but rotund fellow named Sir Cumference.

It was discovered to everyone's horror that that last chap was not a chap at all ...

I've a good mind to de-knight you. Instead I shall send you to Chickenshire.

Chickenshire, the most cowardly town in the nation, was well-named.

Run for your lives! There's a lion in the streets.

Sir Cumference and his wife set up housekeeping in a large but run-down castle on the edge of town.

Each day, one or more Chickenshireans would run up to the drawbridge, grab the trumpet that hung from the tree, and let go with a deafening blast.

It was occurences like that that turned a once-proud knight into a lazy loafer.

The years went by, and the only fighting Sir Cumference did was with his wife.

Dragon U. [University] ... where dragons of all shapes and sizes studied in the art of combat.

We're just in time for graduation exercises.

It is with the utmost pride that I hand out these diplomas.

Dragon after dragon took his scroll, received a heartfelt pawshake, and left the stand. All but one, named Milo.

I'm afraid you've flunked again, Milo.

I've been a senior for forty years and I still haven't granulated. [graduated]

Calculus, Milo. You're weak in calculus.

There must be some way I can become a full-fledged dragon.

A dragon could slay 13 knights and thus attain dragonhood.

It was either that or another semester....

I wouldn't know a knight if I saw one.

His meanderings eventually took him to a tiny hamlet where he spotted something of great interest.

There, nestled snugly beneath the tree stood a helmet shop.

And the helmet I should like you to get belongs to a knight named Sir Cumference.

It's not one of the villagers, lovey, it's a dragon.

All my days are draggin' ... but I'll take a look.

I said, bring down your battle-axe!

Under cover of darkness he stole into the castle and made off with Sir Cumference's wife.

Jumping into his armor, he rushed out of the castle and engaged the dragon in mortal combat.

Look, Milo, why are you after my scalp?

And Sir Cumference was filled in on his opponent's plight.

I'm proud of you, my boy.

It was nothing, Dean.

There is one small formality.

And after eating them, he wasn't much good for anything. You might say, he had one too many ... knightcaps. (nightcap = стаканчик спиртного на ночь)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sinéad O'Connor, "Reason With Me"

Here's a recent video of Sinéad O'Connor performing this song:



The audio track:



Amazon purchase link

And the words:

Reason With Me, Sinéad O’Connor and Geoff Smith (performed by Sinéad O’Connor)

Hello, you don't know me,
but I stole your laptop
and I took your TV.
I sold your granny's rosary
for 50 p.
And I even pulled a hijack, said I had a hypodermic in me backpack,
but I was only bluffing.

Oh so long I've been a junkie,
I ought to wrap it up and mind my monkeys.
I really want to mend my ways,
I'm gonna call that number one of these days.
It's not too late.

I'm the one who sits in the backroom,
I'm the one who doesn't know how to have fun.
I'm the one to smoke amiss all around me,
'Cause I don't like no one around me.
'Cause if I love someone, I might lose someone
If I love someone, I might lose someone.

Oh so long I've been a junkie,
I ought to wrap it up and mind my monkeys.
I really want to mend my ways,
I'm gonna call that number one of these days.

I'm gonna reach a hand out to you, saying would you pull me up, now could you?
I don't want to waste the life God gave me, and I don't think that it's too late to save me.
It's not too late.

Reason with me, let's reason together
Reason with me, let's reason together...