Thursday, July 16, 2009

#1092 At Google Talks - Michael Lewis, Wallets With Baby Pics, Intervene

Show 1092 Thursday 16 July
Watch today’s show at YouTube or BlipTV.

Hi, I’m Sarah, welcome to The Daily English Show.

One of the channels that I really enjoy on YouTube is called At Google Talks.

Google invites people to come and speak to their staff and then they share the videos of those talks online which is very nice.

And the video I recommend today is a talk by an American author called Michael Lewis.
And he’s talking about his new book which is called: Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood.

I really enjoyed his talk. I thought he was a good speaker. And he’s funny.

Feel free to go and watch the whole video of course, but the part that I recommend in particular, is when he’s reading an excerpt of the book which is very funny. And it’s about language and children learning and using “bad words”.

The excerpt that he reads is about six and a half minutes long and there are quite a few words that you might not know like: whim, intervene, extent, illicit, defiance.

But I think you can understand the general idea.

Basically the story takes place in a hotel pool and the author’s three-year-old daughter swears at some older boys who are being mean to her and her sister. And then he tells the story of how his daughter learnt those bad words.


Kia ora, in Stick News today a study has shown that if someone finds a wallet in the street, they’re more likely to return it if it has a baby picture inside.

Richard Wiseman is a psychology professor famous for his quirky research.
One of his recent experiments involved wallets.
Richard and his team planted 240 wallets in the streets of Edinburgh.
Inside some of the wallets was a photo of either: a smiling baby, a cute puppy, a happy family or a contented elderly couple.
The wallets with the baby photo had the highest return rate - 88% were sent back.
The wallets with no photo had the lowest return rate – just 15%.
Dr Wiseman said the result reflected a compassionate instinct towards vulnerable infants that people have evolved to ensure the survival of future generations.

And that was Stick News for Thursday the 16th of July.
Kia ora.

Word of the Day

Today’s word is intervene.

v. to become involved in a situation in order to improve or help it

I was looking for an example of how this word is used and I came across an article called: How to Break up a Hockey Fight.

And step number two said: The best time to intervene is when both players are on the ground or players are "hugging" and no longer throwing punches.

In the story we’re studying today, the author is talking about the situation where some older boys are being mean to his daughters and he’s watching them and wondering if he should do something to help them.

This is what he writes:
I’m hovering in the canal between the baby pool and the grown-up pool, wondering if I should intervene. Dixie beats me to it. She jumps out in front of her older sister and thrusts out her 3-year-old chest.

conversations with sarah
#693 Did you watch it all?

Step 1: Repeat Shane’s lines.
Step 2: Read Shane’s lines and talk to Sarah.

Shane Wow, that video is 47 minutes long!

Sarah Yeah.

Shane Did you watch it all?

Sarah Yeah.

Shane How do you have time to watch such long videos?

Sarah Well, I don’t actually watch them, I just listen to them while I’m doing something else.

Shane Like what?

Sarah Like … stuff that doesn’t require much thinking … like drawing Stick News pictures.

Shane I thought that would have required thinking.

Sarah Well, planning them does. Definitely. But once I’ve done the rough sketches and I’m just doing the final copy and colouring them in then I don’t really need to think much, so I can listen to videos.

8:45 - 15:12

We were at a fancy hotel in Bermuda. Like fancy hotels everywhere, the place is paying new attention to the whims of small children. The baby pool is vast — nearly as big as the pool for the grown ups, to which it is connected by a slender canal. In the middle of the baby pool is a hot tub, just for little kids. My two daughters, now ages 6 and 3, leap from the hot tub into the baby pool and back again. The pleasure they take in this could not be more innocent or pure.

Then, out of nowhere, come four older boys. Ten, maybe 11 years old. As anyone who has only girls knows, boys add nothing to any social situation but trouble. These four are set on proving the point. Seeing my little girls, they grab the pool noodles — intended to keep 3-year-olds afloat — and wield them as weapons. They descend upon Quinn, my 6-year-old, whacking the water on either side of her, until she is almost in tears. I’m hovering in the canal between the baby pool and the grown-up pool, wondering if I should intervene. Dixie beats me to it. She jumps out in front of her older sister and thrusts out her 3-year-old chest.

"Teasing boys!" she hollers, so loudly that grown-ups around the pool peer over their Danielle Steel novels. Even the boys are taken aback. Dixie, now on stage, raises her voice up a notch.


To the extent that all hell can break loose around a baby pool in a Bermuda resort, it does. A John Grisham novel is lowered; several of Danielle Steel’s vanish into beach bags. I remain hovering in the shallows of the grown-up pool where it enters the baby pool, with my entire head above water. My first thought: Oh…my…God! My second thought: No one knows I’m her father. I sink lower, like a crocodile, so that just my eyes and forehead are above the waterline; but in my heart a new feeling rises: pride.

Behind me a lady on a beach chair shouts, “Kevin! Kevin! Get over here!”
Kevin appears to be one of the noodle-wielding 11-year old boys. “But Moooooom! he says.
“Kevin! Now!”
The little monster sulks over to his mother’s side while his fellow Orcs await the higher judgement. I’m close enough to hear her ream him out. It’s delicious.
“Kevin, did you teach that little girl those words?” She asks.
“Mom! No!”
“Then where did she learn them?”

As it happens, I know the answer to that one: carpool. Months ago, I was driving them home from school , my two girls, plus two other kids - a 7-year old boy and a 10-year old girl. They were crammed in the back seat of the Volkswagen Passat, jabbering away; I was alone in the front seat, not especially listening. But then the 10-year old said, “Deena said a bad word today.”
“Which one?” asked Quinn.
“The S word,” said the 10-year-old.
“Oooh,” they all said.
“What’s the S word?” I asked.
“We can’t say without getting in trouble,” said the 10-year-old, knowingly.
“You’re safe here,” I said.
She thought it over for a second and then said, “Stupid.”
“Ah,” I said, smiling.
“Wally said the D word!” said Quinn.
“What’s the D word?” I asked.
“Dumb!” she shouted, and they all giggled at the sheer illicit pleasure of it.
Then the 7-year-old boy chimed in. “I know a bad word, too! I know a bad word, too!” he said.
“What’s the bad word?” I asked brightly. I didn’t see why he should be left out.
“Shut up you stupid mother fucking asshole!”

I swerved off the road, stopped the car, and hit the emergency lights. I began to deliver a lecture on the difference between bad words and seriously bad words, but the audience was fully consumed with laughter. Dixie, especially, wanted to know the secret of making Daddy stop the car.
“Shut up mother stupid fuck,” she said.
“Dixie!” I said.
“Daddy,” said Quinn thoughtfully, “How come you say a bad word when we spill something and when you spill something you just say, ‘Oops’?”
“Stupid fuck!” screamed Dixie and they all laughed.
“DIXIE!”I said.
She stopped. They all did. For the rest of the drive they just whispered.

So here we are, months later, in this Bermuda pool. Dixie with her chest thrust out in defiance, me floating like a crocodile and feeling very much different than I should. I should be embarrassed and concerned. I should be sweeping her out of the pool and washing her mouth out with soap. But I don’t feel that way. Actually, I’m impressed. More than impressed, awed. It’s just incredibly heroic, taking out after this rat pack of boys. Plus she’s sticking up for her big sister, which isn’t something you see every day. I don’t want to get in her way. I just want to see what happens next.

Behind me Kevin has just finished being torn what appears to be a new asshole by his mother and is relaunching himself into the baby pool with a real malice. He’s as indignant as a serial killer who got put away on a speeding ticket: He’s guilty of many things but not of teaching a 3-year old girl the art of cursing. Now he intends to get even. Gathering his fellow Orcs in the hot tub, he and his companions once again threaten Quinn. Dixie, once again, leaps into the fray.

"Teasing boys!" she shouts. Now she has the attention of an entire Bermuda resort.

"You watch out teasing boys! Because I peed in this pool two times! Once in the hot pool and once in the cold pool!"

The teasing boys flee, grossed out and defeated. Various grown ups say various things to each other, but no one seeks to remove Dixie from the baby pool. Dixie returns to playing with her sister - who appears far less grateful than she should be. And the crocodile drops below the waterline, swivels, and vanishes into the depths of the grown up pool. But he makes a mental note to buy that little girl an ice cream cone. Even if her mother disapproves.


How do you pronounce Edinburg?

How do you pronounce excerpt?
"Excerpt is usually a noun (pronounced EK-sert.)"
From here.


today's news
today's STICK NEWS pictures

Richard Wiseman - official site


show start
artist: Kevin MacLeod
track: Future Cha Cha
from: Brooklyn, NY, United States
artist site

WOD start
artist: DJ iPep's
album: Home Mix 2007
track: Game Toy
from: EVREUX, France
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

cws start
artist: Kevin MacLeod
track: The Jazz Woman
from: Brooklyn, NY, United States
artist site

qa start
artist: ioeo
album: triptracks
track: triptrack2
from: Saint Raphael, France
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

qa bgm
artist: Kevin MacLeod
track: Malt Shop Boys
from: Brooklyn, NY, United States
artist site

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