12 Jan


Who taught: CBS Evening News

on a shoestring (source: http://prettyorganizedpalace.blogspot.com/)

This is just my opinion. I think the CBS Evening News talks about politics more than the NBC Nightly News. These days, I can hear many stories about Republican Presidential Candidates, especially from the CBS Evening News. A few weeks ago, one of the reporters from the CBS Evening News interviewed Rick Santorum, one of the candidates. The reporter said, “You are running on a shoestring,” to Rick Santorum.

From the context, I could feel that this does not and cannot mean literally. However, had I not known the context, I would have been totally lost. What? He is running on a shoestring? Is he a circus man? He can run on a small tiny and narrow shoestring? What kind of man is he? That is ridiculous. Show me how to do it! I mean, can you? I doubt you can even stand on a shoestring for a split second.

Of course, it does not mean literally. It is deeper than literal. Shoestring is not just a string for your shoes. It also means a small sum of money. Now, it makes sense, right? As a candidate, he is running on a small amount of money because he was not able to raise enough funds.

For example, if you started your own business, you would need to run on a shoestring because you do not have enough seed money until you raise it from outside like angel investors. Recently, I am sure many of the households in the U.S. run on a shoestring due to the bad economy.

When I was a student, I was totally running on a shoestring. Look at the image that I attached here. Can’t you feel the expression really well, looking at it? Hope you have a really really long shoestring that can hold a lot of money. Then, running on a shoestring would not be that bad.

Nevertheless, we should all learn that a rich person is not one who has the most but is one who needs the least.

22 Jun


Who taught: Scott Pelley

Sterilization (source: http://www.babble.com/)

My daily life is pretty much a routine. Sounds boring? Well, but I like everything being organized and do not like to see something unexpected. And, one of the things I do almost every day is watching NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News. It is a great way to listen to English as well as to learn what is happening now in the world.

Today, I learned a total new meaning of this word, sterilization. To me, this word has simply one definition as follows.

to destroy microorganisms in or on, usually by bringing to a high temperature with steam, dry heat, or boiling liquid.

This sounds very good and I sort of liked this word even though I do not have many chances to use it. Now, let me ask this question to you, my non-native English speaker friends? Do you know any other definitions of this word than this? As I said, till today, I thought this word has only this definition above.

As I watch today’s CBS Evening News, they used this word saying, “A sterilization victim in North Carolina.” I did not understand at all. What kind of victim would there be with sterilization, meaning the definition above? NC state put people into a huge room where the temperature was too high so that the people were burn? As I listened more, I was able to realize that it must mean something else and that must be related with having a baby.

So, I looked it up and found a total new definition.

to destroy the ability of (a person or animal) to reproduce by removing the sex organs or inhibiting their functions.

OMG! How could that kind of thing happen by the order of government? Here is a little history lesson for you in relation to this type of sterilization happened in the U.S. between 1920’s and 1970’s.

I would have never imagined that this kind of acts existed in the U.S. Maybe, it is time for me to study American history.

17 Dec

product, tool

Who taught: Brian Williams

Tool (source: http://peb.pl/albumy-rock-and-metal)

When I was young, I did not understand why my parents always wanted to watch news programs, especially, when there were some TV shows my brother and I really wanted to watch. You know what happened? Now, I love watching news programs. They are informative and fun as well. I watch two news programs. One is NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams (7 pm est) and CBS Evening News with Katie Couric (7:30 pm est). CBS one is more fun to watch. Katie uses a few fun expressions often. FYI, people here in the U.S. say “Do not watch any news from Fox channel.” Why? I do not know. Why don’t you try to ask your American friends the reason?

The other thing I want to point out is that news programs are amazingly useful to practice English. While watching them, I usually do the followings.

1. Listen very carefully to find out new words or expressions. I will get back to you later on this.

2. Listen very carefully to learn the sentences what anchors say. They are using very simple but great sentences.

3. Speak what anchors say! As soon as they say something, I myself speak them again out loud. I really try to mimic them in terms of voice and pronunciation. This way, I practice pronunciation and also it is a perfect way of practicing t0 listen and speak as fast as possible.

Getting back to the new words, a few days ago, I was watching NBC Nightly News and Brian Williams was talking about people who died on that day and he used a very interesting word. He said, “He is a product of Ohio and died today……” As soon as I heard it, I was quite surprised because that was the first time I heard the word, product, to describe a person. I have always thought product is the word that can be only used to describe things, not people. Well, I am a product of South Korea. How about you?

In this sense, there is another word which really sounds like it should be used to describe things but can be used in relation to people. It is “TOOL.” So, you can say like, “You are such a tool.” Wait!! You gotta keep reading. Here is the definition of the expression.

A fool. Characterized by low intelligence or self-esteem.

This expression is typically used for male. (Why? Who is using tools?) So, you would not want to use this often. Not a good expression at all. But, if you happen to be a guy and someone uses this expression to you, it is hard to understand if you do not know the meaning. You would be like, “Is he saying that I am good at dealing with tools or what?” So, again, it is really good to know these expressions to be able to protect yourself from being teased and participate in conversations properly.