GRIEVING OVER THE LOSS OF A PET

[LIFE ★★]

GRIEVING OVER THE LOSS OF A PET

graham-cat-large

(P1) Dear Graham Norton,

(P2) I recently lost a cat quite suddenly, and I am struggling to MOVE ON. I am very sad that this lovely little soul is gone, and am having A HARD TIME feeling better. Life doesn’t feel the same without my little friend.

(P3) Lots of people don’t understand why I feel so strongly about the death of an animal. They point out that I’m lucky it wasn’t a person that I cared about. Of course that is true, but I cared about my cat very much and put a lot of love into the relationship. I’m just finding it hard to GET MY HEAD AROUND the fact that my cat is gone.

(P4) Thank you for taking the time to read this.

(P5) SINCERELY, ANONYMOUS

(P6) Dear Anonymous,

(P7) Something you loved deeply has vanished from your life, so of course you are sad. How long the GRIEVING process takes is very VARIABLE, so the sadness may last for a while yet. We love our pets differently from family members or friends and part of that is because we know they will probably die before us. Our time with our dogs or cats is precious precisely because we understand it is short.

(P8) As humans, we go through most of life understanding our own MORTALITY. But animals don’t. We are the keepers of that secret. We know each sleep may be our last, but a dog, perhaps fortunately, can’t comprehend that.

(P9) Of course, living a life UNENCUMBERED by thoughts of death means that our pets, in general, lead very simple, happy lives. It’s one of the reasons they are such a joy to be around.

(P10) You are, of course, correct when you say that many people don’t understand your grief, so don’t talk to them. Share your feelings with LIKE-MINDED souls. I’m sure a simple search online for pet BEREAVEMENT will reveal many sources of SOLACE and practical advice for moving on.

(P11) And, when you are ready, you can welcome another animal into your life and through something as simple as a wagging tail or a purr, you will know happiness again.

(P12) Sincerely, Graham Norton

WORDS: 358

SOURCE: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wellbeing/graham-nortons-advice/graham-norton-pet-death-dying-animal-help-advice-grief-condolences-bereavement/

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Have you ever lost a pet? Was it difficult for you?
  3. Do you prefer dogs or cats? Or do you like both?
  4. The writer of the letter is having a hard time finding people who understand him. Have you ever had that problem?
  5. Graham Norton is a British TELEVISION PRESENTER who is WELL-KNOWN for his love of animals. Who are some famous television presenters in your country?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Move on
  • A hard time
  • Get your head around
  • Like-minded
  • Television presenter
  • Well-known

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EXHIBIT DEVOTED TO PIONEER WOMEN ARTISTS

[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★★★]

EXHIBIT DEVOTED TO PIONEER WOMEN ARTISTS

Alexandra Exter

(P1) The Sturm HERALDED the ADVENT of modern art.

(P2) Originally the name of a magazine founded in 1910 devoted to promoting EXPRESSIONIST art, the term Sturm (English: Storm) soon became a TRADEMARK.

(P3) Herwarth Walden, the publisher of the journal, also founded the Sturm ART GALLERY in Berlin in 1912. Numerous women artists, including many from other countries, were presented in Germany for the first time at his gallery.

(P4) Composed of friends with similar interests, the Sturm NETWORK served as a forum for INTENSIVE and ANIMATED DISCOURSE on the ideas, theories, and concepts of the AVANT-GARDE.

(P5) The Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt is DEVOTING an EXHIBITION to the women of the Sturm beginning on October 30, 2015. For the first time ever, eighteen women Sturm artists representing Expressionism, CUBISM, FUTURISM, CONSTRUCTIVISM, and the NEW OBJECTIVITY will be presented in a COMPREHENSIVE exhibition featuring around 280 works of art.

(P6) Each of the eighteen women artists of the Sturm will be presented along with her most important works in a separate room at the exhibition. They are artists from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Sweden, Ukraine, and Russia whose works were exhibited at the Sturm gallery or published in “Der Sturm” magazine.

(P7) Herwarth Walden (1878−1941) actively promoted well over thirty women painters and sculptors without BIAS. He was regarded as a VISIONARY and a PIONEER ON BEHALF OF ABSTRACTION and modern art in general, and he united the international avant-garde with his programs.

(P8) For many women artists, the Sturm represented their first big CHANCE, for in the early years of the twentieth century they were neither fully recognized by society nor did they have access to academic training comparable to that of their male colleagues. The life stories, personal circumstances, and critical reception of the eighteen women artists of the Sturm are all very different, and their styles vary considerably as well. Yet viewed as a group, they represent an impressive PANORAMA of modern art.

(P9) For this exhibition, the Schirn is presenting a selection of outstanding paintings, works on paper, prints, WOODCUTS, stage sets, costumes, masks, and historical photographs acquired on loan from prominent museums as well as university and private collections.

(P10) “Through their ideas and visions, the Sturm Women played an INSTRUMENTAL role in the development of modern art. Some of them are still quite familiar to us today, while others have been UNJUSTLY forgotten. However, they all played a part in ensuring that new MOVEMENTS in art, such as Cubism, Expressionism, and Constructivism, would gain the recognition they deserved.

(P11) “With this exhibition featuring impressive major works by the eighteen women of the Sturm, the Schirn focuses attention on the CRUCIAL role played by these artists. It is an extraordinary exhibition devoted to modern art, the role of women in art, and the significance of a gallery in Berlin during the 1920s—an exhibition featuring famous names and famous works as well as numerous REDISCOVERIES,” states Max Hollein, Director of Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.

(P12) In the words of exhibition CURATOR Dr. Ingrid Pfeiffer: “Herwarth Walden was unique among the art dealers of his era. He promoted male and female artists with equal VIGOR and paid no attention to the typical PREJUDICES of the period. Roughly one-fifth of the Sturm artists were women. That DISTINGUISHED him from many of his fellow gallery owners.

(P13) “It was the individual work of art that was most important to Walden. He consistently promoted the most recent developments in art. His thoughts and actions TRANSCENDED national boundaries, and he constantly sought out networks in all artistic and intellectual fields.”

WORDS: 592

SOURCE: http://artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=82539#.VjLStPlViko

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you think there are still BARRIERS to the appreciation and recognition of women in the arts?
  3. Have you visited art galleries and museums in your local area?
  4. All the movements in modern art were extremely international. Why do you think that was true?
  5. Herwarth Walden’s attitudes seem very CONTEMPORARY to us. In what ways was he AHEAD OF HIS TIME?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Art gallery
  • Avant-garde
  • On behalf of
  • Ahead of his time

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MANY UK SCIENCE TEACHERS PLAN TO QUIT

[EDUCATION ★]

MANY UK SCIENCE TEACHERS PLAN TO QUIT

Science Teacher

(P1) Science teachers are the teachers most likely to consider quitting the classroom, according to new research suggesting that many feel OVERWHELMED by the work.

(P2) The results of the survey are ALARMING, given the SHORTAGE of experienced science teachers in many schools.

(P3) Nearly seven out of ten science specialists (69 per cent) have considered quitting teaching in the last six months. A high workload and dissatisfaction with their school’s leadership and management were the main reasons given by science teachers for wanting to quit.

(P4) The study found a WIDESPREAD “sense of DISILLUSIONMENT” across the teaching profession, with more than half (59 per cent) of all teachers surveyed considering leaving in the past 6 months.

(P5) The study of more than 1,000 teachers in England comes amid growing concerns around teacher shortages.

(P6) 59% of teachers have considered quitting in the past six months.

(P7) 76% blamed the workload, while 29% said they did not get enough support.

(P8) 43% are unhappy with the quality of leadership; 41% blamed pay.

(P9) 92% said the chance to make a difference in pupils’ lives was a major motivation for staying.

(P10) In November 2014 there were over 1,000 unfilled fulltime teacher VACANCIES in English schools, more than two and a half times as many as in 2010.  Meanwhile, another 3,000 posts were only temporarily filled.

(P11) Science teachers were significantly more likely to complain about pay with 48 per cent saying that their low salary had prompted them to consider quitting, compared to 43 per cent for all teachers surveyed.

(P12) They were also much less likely to recommend teaching. Nearly two thirds of science teachers (62 per cent) would not recommend teaching to their brightest student compared to 49 per cent for all teachers.

(P13) Shaun Reason, chief executive of the Association for Science Education, said that new science teachers probably started on roughly the same salaries as fellow science graduates but could become dissatisfied when they saw their contemporaries working in industry OVERTAKE their pay.

(P14) Alan Smithers, director of Buckingham University’s Centre for Education and Employment Research, said: “Science teachers really have got a difficult job to do in schools. They are responsible for classes that involve a lot of HASSLE and 20 to 30 potentially UNRULY students.”

(P15) The most common reason for choosing to train as a teacher, amongst those surveyed, was that people think they will be good at it – with 93 per cent saying it was an important factor in encouraging them to choose teaching.

(P16) Teachers said their main reason for staying in teaching was feeling they were having an impact, with 92 per cent saying the opportunity to make a difference in pupils’ lives was an important motivation for them.

(P17) Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK, said: “This research points to a simple conclusion: teachers want to make a difference for our children; when they feel that they can’t do that, for whatever reason, we risk losing them from the profession.”

WORDS: 492

SOURCE: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/science-teachers-most-likely-to-consider-quitting-the-classroom-research-says-a6704576.html

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. What was your favorite subject in school? Which subject did you like the least?
  3. Do you have any family members or friends who have worked as teachers?
  4. If university graduates in the sciences can make much money working in industry, why would they consider teaching as a profession?
  5. Teaching, along with nursing and SOCIAL WORK, is often considered a “CARING PROFESSION.” What do these professions have IN COMMON?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Social work
  • Caring profession
  • In common

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EMBEZZLER HID AS A HIKER FOR SIX YEARS

[WORLD NEWS ★★]

EMBEZZLER HID AS A HIKER FOR SIX YEARS

James-Hammes-befor_3447766b

(P1) A former bottling company accountant who HID IN PLAIN SIGHT for six years as a hiker on the APPALACHIAN TRAIL pleaded guilty on Friday in U.S. federal court in Cincinnati to WIRE FRAUD as part of an $8.7 million EMBEZZLING scheme.

(P2) James Hammes, 53, who fled in February 2009 after FBI agents interviewed him about the fraud, agreed to pay nearly $7.7 million RESTITUTION during a HEARING Friday before U.S. District Chief Judge Susan Dlott.

(P3) Hammes faces up to 20 years in prison. SENTENCING will be at a later date.

(P4) The former Lexington, Kentucky resident spent the majority of his six years as a FUGITIVE hiking the Appalachian Trail and living under an ALIAS.

(P5) Hammes had been well-known along the 2,190 mile Appalachian Trail, which STRETCHES from Georgia to Maine, in his years as a fugitive, FREQUENTING BED AND BREAKFASTS.

(P6) Hikers knew him by the trail name “Bismarck” until his arrest by federal agents at an INN along the trail in Damascus, Virginia.

(P7) Hammes was accused of embezzling about $8.7 million from G&J Pepsi-Cola bottlers from 1998 to 2009. He had been called to company HEADQUARTERS in Cincinnati where he was asked about the missing money before he disappeared.

(P8) Hammes was accused of wire fraud and MONEY LAUNDERING in an INDICTMENT filed after he fled.

WORDS: 222

SOURCE: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/23/us-ohio-trailfugitive-idUSKCN0SH2GF20151023

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Why did it take the police six years to find this criminal?
  3. Are there any famous criminals from your country who are currently fugitives?
  4. Embezzling is a very common WHITE-COLLAR CRIME, and usually involves company officials who handle finances. Why is embezzling such a common crime?
  5. James Hammes’ appearance changed a lot when he let his hair and beard grow. Have you ever made a major change to your appearance?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Hide in plain sight
  • Wire fraud
  • Bed and breakfast
  • Money laundering
  • White-collar crime

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THE PITCH THAT CHANGED BASEBALL HISTORY

[SPORTS ★★★]

THE PITCH THAT CHANGED BASEBALL HISTORY

Ray-Chapman

(P1) Two baseball teams competing for the 1920 American League CHAMPIONSHIP SQUARED OFF on a DRIZZLY August afternoon at the Polo Grounds in New York. On the MOUND for the New York Yankees, who TRAILED the opposing Cleveland Indians by just a half-game in the STANDINGS, was their ACE Carl Mays, a DISAGREEABLE, right-handed SUBMARINE PITCHER whose CONTORTED, underhand motion was so extreme that his KNUCKLES sometimes SCRAPED the ground.

(P2) Mays’ first pitch in the fifth inning, a FASTBALL HIGH AND TIGHT to Cleveland’s SCRAPPY SHORTSTOP Ray Chapman, a 29-year-old newlywed with a daughter ON THE WAY, was met with a crack that sounded throughout the ballpark. The ball DRIBBLED back toward Mays, who threw it to first baseman Wally Pipp. Mays watched as Pipp caught the ball and then froze, looking toward HOME PLATE. It was then that Mays and others in the ballpark realized the crack they’d heard was not Chapman’s bat.

(P3) There have been ON THE ORDER OF 50 million pitches thrown in a BIG LEAGUE game since the origin of major league baseball in 1871. Only one has been LETHAL. That pitch would end Ray Chapman’s life, permanently SCAR Carl Mays’ career, and help CHANGE THE COURSE OF baseball history.

(P4) As players and men, Mays and Chapman could not have been more different, something that made their FATEFUL encounter even more powerful in the public’s imagination. As Mike Sowell details in his book The Pitch That Killed, Mays was likely the most unpopular player in the game, a MOODY LONER off the field, and a FIERCE competitor on the mound, whose reputation for being a “HEADHUNTER” put him among the league leaders in HIT BATSMEN. In one game against the equally DESPISED Ty Cobb, Mays threw directly at Cobb every time he came to the plate, and Cobb RECIPROCATED by throwing his bat at Mays. The unpopular pitcher yelled at his own fielders when they made an ERROR, and once even threw at — and hit — a HECKLING fan in the stands.

(P5) Chapman, on the other hand, was well-liked by both players and fans. Before the season, the infielder had married the daughter of a wealthy Cleveland businessman who was EAGER for his son-in-law to retire from baseball and join the family business. Chapman was WIDELY CONSIDERED the best shortstop in the league.

(P6) Unfortunately, Chapman also stood unusually close to the plate and HUNCHED over it — in an era when BATTING HELMETS were still 50 years away from becoming MANDATORY. “His head was in the STRIKE ZONE,” Muddy Ruel, the Yankees CATCHER that day told a reporter years later. BY ALL ACCOUNTS, Chapman barely moved an inch when Mays’ pitch smashed into the side of his head.

(P7) Ruel caught Chapman as he COLLAPSED, the home-plate UMPIRE called for a doctor, and the FALLEN batter was carried from the field. At St. Lawrence Hospital, doctors found a FRACTURE on the left side of Chapman’s skull that was more than 3 inches long, and his brain had LACERATIONS on both sides from hitting bone. Doctors operated into the night, but shortly before sunrise, Chapman died. When his pregnant widow was greeted with the news, she FAINTED.

(P8) Mays was also DISTRAUGHT on hearing the news. Despite Mays’ reputation as a headhunter, most observers felt that he had not been aiming at Chapman, and the death was ruled accidental. But the accident would HAUNT Mays until his death in 1971 at age 79, casting a dark shadow over a career in which he RACKED UP a 207-126 won-lost record and 2.92 ERA in 15 seasons, among the best STATISTICS for a pitcher not in the HALL OF FAME.

(P9) The Cleveland Indians would manage to RECOVER and win their first WORLD SERIES that fall IN HONOR OF their fallen shortstop. And, beginning the following season, Major League Baseball would INSTITUTE rules requiring new balls be introduced into games more regularly to ensure that they didn’t become too dirty to see. Of course, easier-to-spot balls were also easier to hit. So Chapman’s death, along with the elimination of the SPITBALL and the rise of the HOME-RUN-hitting SLUGGER Babe Ruth, would help USHER IN the SO-CALLED LIVE-BALL ERA of the modern game, in which higher-scoring contests with more home runs would ELECTRIFY a new generation of fans.

WORDS: 718

SOURCE: http://news.yahoo.com/fatal-pitch-changed-baseball-history-080000724.html

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Have you ever been injured while playing a sport?
  3. Baseball is generally not considered one of the most dangerous sports. Which sports do you think are the most dangerous?
  4. Carl Mays killed Ray Chapman by accident. How do you think it would feel to LIVE WITH THAT?
  5. Baseball, like soccer and American football, has its own vocabulary and takes some time to learn and understand. Are there any sports that you really don’t understand?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Square off
  • On the way
  • On the order of
  • Big league
  • Change the course of
  • Widely considered
  • By all accounts
  • Rack up
  • In honor of
  • Usher in
  • Live with something [bad]

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WEEK 60

YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS MAY SOON AFFECT YOUR CREDIT SCORE

[LIFE ★]

YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS MAY SOON AFFECT YOUR CREDIT SCORE

Loans and credit score

(P1) There’s a new reason to be careful when updating your Facebook status. As reported on Investors.com, talking about a weekend of DEBAUCHERY might lower your CREDIT SCORE.

(P2) The Fair Isaac Corporation (or FICO), a credit rating agency, is IMPLEMENTING new strategies for assessing a consumer’s creditworthiness. In addition to looking at the information offered on social networking sites, the agency will also be looking at smartphone records.

(P3) “If you look at how many times a person says ‘WASTED’ in their profile, it has some value in predicting whether they’re going to repay their debt,” FICO CEO Will Lansing told the Financial Times.

(P4) TransUnion, another credit rating company, is also adding ways to determine a credit score. While the agency will not be using social networking websites, they will add data from PAYDAY LENDING BUSINESSES and club memberships.

(P5) The agencies both said the new data will supplement the current assessments tools, which include credit card and loan records.

(P6) The new credit assessing system is not necessarily intended to negatively impact credit scores. The new method can also give consumers access to credit. FICO reported that nearly 18 million Americans don’t have access to credit because they had negative reports in the past. An additional 25 million have never had credit.

(P7) In the report, FICO said, “Using the right alternatives to traditional credit bureau data, lenders can reliably identify millions more consumers who qualify for credit.”

(P8) TransUnion says its new CreditVision system has been able to approve an additional 24% of consumers for auto loan lenders.

WORDS: 264

SOURCE: http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneybuilder/2015/10/23/your-social-media-posts-may-soon-affect-your-credit-score-2/

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Does the HARVESTING of the information mentioned in this article seem like an INVASION OF PRIVACY to you?
  3. If police and courts need special permission to look at your smartphone records, how can credit agencies look at them? Is it possible that when you sign a contract with a smartphone company or similar business, you give permission for them to share this information with the credit agencies, without knowing that you are doing so because you haven’t read the FINE PRINT in the contract?
  4. Are you aware of your own credit score? Do you CONSCIOUSLY try to keep it high?
  5. Are you careful about what you post on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media because it might COME BACK TO BITE YOU?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Credit score
  • Payday lending
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Fine print
  • Come back to bite you

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