About Bell L

Born in Korea, lived in 5 different continents / Cal + Crimson / Officially ‘lost in translation’ after having moved around so many continents and cities, but now I feel awesome about being lost / Designer by training, entrepreneur at heart

What 3 Things Can I Do to Extend the Length of My Life?

Direction: After a short greeting, read the following article out loud with your tutor. Go over highlighted vocab/expression to make sure you understand everything. 

[Health ★★★★] What 3 Things Can I Do to Extend the Length of My Life?

 

(P1) Somewhere out there is a bunch of people who are going to live to be 100. In the U.S. alone, there were more than 77,000 centenarians in 2014. Still, that number is very small: centenarians represent less than a quarter of 1% of the entire U.S. population.

(P2) So how do you get to be one of them? You could invent a time machine, start your life over and do everything they did, or try to find a way to borrow their genes. Failing that, here are three things that longevity researchers recommend you start–and keep–doing.

STAY CURIOUS.
(P3) Once you’ve got a few years on you, it’s easy to think you’ve heard it all. But the idea that the world has nothing to teach you makes you stop asking questions–and that has consequences. “There is evidence that curiosity has longevity benefits,” says Laura L. Carstensen, a professor of psychology and public policy at Stanford University and the director of the Stanford Longevity Center. “Asking questions and discovering new things keeps you engaged with the world and with other people.”

(P4) Learning something new can be a form of problem solving: digging into an article about something unusual or asking a family member about her obscure doctoral thesis (and actually listening to the answer) requires you to exercise cognitive muscles that may have gone slack.

EAT WAY MORE PLANTS THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED TO.
(P5) The link between diet and well-being is something we learn early in life–and then forget over and over again until we die. That may be why so many people have diet-related diseases. In the U.S., nearly 28 million people have Type 2 diabetes, 86 million adults are prediabetic, roughly 1 in 3 adults suffers from high blood pressure, and a stunning 69% of adults are overweight.

(P6) So if there’s one thing worth drilling into your mind, it’s this: the healthiest diet is the one in which you eat a lot of plants. The celebrated Mediterranean diet is celebrated for a reason, with study after study showing that its focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts and olive oil is linked to a longer life.

(P7) A 2015 study of 450,000 European adults found those who ate a diet that was 70% plant-based–fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and beans–had a 20% lower risk of dying of cardiovascular disease than other people. A Harvard University study found that people who ate eight or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people who ate less from the plant group.

(P8) Multiple studies on both laboratory animals and humans have shown that caloric restriction–following a diet whose calories are roughly 25% below the recommended adult daily calorie intake–can have life-extending benefits. That’s not the way most people would want to live, but replacing meats with fruits and vegetables can go a long way toward slashing calories in a more satisfying way.

RETHINK WHAT IT MEANS TO BE OLD.
(P8) It’s hard to feel positive about a stage of life when you spend every year leading up to it assuming that it’s going to be grim. That, of course, is a great way to ensure that grim is precisely what it becomes–but the inverse is also true. “Our research has shown that when more-positive beliefs about older individuals are held earlier in life, they can lead to health advantages,” says Becca Levy, an associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health. That, in turn, can mean a remarkable 7.5-year boost in life span compared with people who have negative beliefs about age.

(P9) That means remaining mindful of the contributions that older people make to others–and making those contributions yourself. There’s no reason to accept that seniors are all addled and frail just because so many TV shows depict them that way.

(P10) Mortality is nonnegotiable, which is probably what makes it seem so terrible. But the number of years you get–not to mention the way you spend them–can in many ways be up to you.

WORDS: 685

SOURCE: http://time.com/4673032/how-to-extend-the-length-of-my-life/

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 are some things that the article suggest you do to extend the length of your life? How much of the suggestions are you currently doing?
  3. Can you picture yourself when you are in your 80’s? What would have changed from now? What kind of individual do you imagine yourself to be?
  4. Describe someone that you know that had a very long, happy life. How were they living their lives differently? What can we learn from them? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!

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Why Employees At Apple And Google Are More Productive

Direction: After a short greeting, read the following article out loud with your tutor. Go over highlighted vocab/expression to make sure you understand everything. 

[Business ★★★★] Why Employees At Apple And Google Are More Productive

PHOTO: FLICKR USER ROGER SCHULTZ

(P1) Companies like Apple, Netflix, Google, and Dell are 40% more productive than the average company, according to research from the leadership consulting firm Bain & Company. You might think that it’s because these companies attract top-tier employees–high performers who are naturally gifted at productivity–but that’s not the case, says Bain & Company partner Michael Mankins.

(P2) “Our research found that these companies have 16% star players, while other companies have 15%,” he says. “They start with about the same mix of star players, but they are able to produce dramatically more output.”

(P3) It’s what they do with these high performers. Executives from large companies across 12 industry sectors worldwide said three components of human capital impact productivity more than anything else: time, talent, and energy. And the top quartile organized its business processes in a way that they’re 40% more productive than the rest and consequently have profit margins that are 30%-50% higher than industry averages.

(P4) They get more done by 10 a.m. Thursday morning than the others do in a week, but they don’t stop working,” says Mankins. “This difference compounds every year; over a decade, they can produce 30 times more than the rest, with the same number of employees.”

(P5) Mankins explores their methods and mindsets in his new book TIME | TALENT | ENERGY: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power. Here’s what he found:

GROUPING A PLAYERS
(P6) The average company follows a method of unintentional egalitarianism, spreading star talent across all of the roles, says Mankins. Companies like Google and Apple, however, follow an intentionally nonegalitarian method. “They select a handful of roles that are business critical, affecting the success of the company’s strategy and execution, and they fill 95% of these roles with A-level quality,” says Mankins. “The rest of the roles have fewer star players.”

(P7) An example of how this can play out is Apple and Microsoft in early 2000s, says Mankins. “It took 600 Apple engineers fewer than two years to develop, debug, and deploy iOS 10,” he says. “Contrast that with 10,000 engineers at Microsoft that took more than five years to develop, debut, and ultimately retract Vista. The difference is in the way these companies chose to construct their teams.”

(P8) Apple used all-star teams because iOS 10 was a mission critical initiative. In addition, rewards were applied to team performance; no one person on the team could receive an exceptional performance appraisal unless the entire team did. On the other hand, Microsoft used a stacked ranking where 20% of every team got an exceptional review, and compensation was entirely based on individual performance. Microsoft eventually abolished stacked ranking, says Mankins.

(P9) “For every member of the team that is not a star player, productivity declines,” he says. “If 100% of the team is star players, productivity is extremely high.”

ELIMINATING ORGANIZATIONAL DRAG
(P10) The average company loses more than 25% of its productive power to organizational drag, processes that waste time and prevent people from getting things done, says Mankins. This often happens as a company grows, as the tendency is to put processes in place to replace judgment. Research published in Harvard Business Review found that organizational drag costs the economy more than $3 trillion each year in lost output.

(P11) The most common processes relate to expense management, says Mankins. “At most companies, there are spending limits and audits, and employees are tracked,” he says. “At Netflix, however, there is no expense policy. The only policy is, ‘Act in the best interest of Netflix.’ The company is telling employees, ‘We assume you are not here to rip off the company, and we’re not going to put in place processes that consume human capital, waste time, and zap energy.’ They tell employees to assume their best judgment, and they can be more productive if they’re not held back.”

INSPIRING LEADERS
(P12) An engaged employee is 44% more productive than a satisfied worker, but an employee who feels inspired at work is nearly 125% more productive than a satisfied one, says Mankins. The companies that inspire more employees perform better than the rest.

(P13) “We’ve been taught that you’re either a General Patton and can inspire others or you’re not, but this is not true,” he says. “Inspirational leadership can be taught. Companies that recognize that and invest in making it happen create meaningful impact on the productivity of their company.”

(P14) Dell Technologies recognized the productivity difference between inspired and average teams, says Mankins. “Sales teams led by an inspiring leader are 6% more productive than those that have an average leader. If you extrapolate that 6% it accounts for an extra $1 billion in annual revenue. Consider what [poor leadership] is costing your company.”

(P15) Individual talent is great, but it can’t turn companies into stars, Mankins says. “We could try everything we want to emulate the habits of highly effective individuals, but it doesn’t matter what we do individually if it runs counter to how an organization gets work done,” says Mankins. “Top-performing companies focus on collective instead of individual.”

WORDS: 839

SOURCE: https://www.fastcompany.com/3068771/work-smart/how-employees-at-apple-and-google-are-more-productive

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 are some things that the high-performing companies are doing differently from the average?
  3. Does your company/organization have management policies or processes that are meant to encourage more productivity? How effective is it?
  4. Explain the time when you were feeling very productive. What were you doing, and what are some of the components that contributed to high productivity? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!

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What’s the Real History of Black Friday?

[Culture ★★★★]picture1

(P1) It makes sense that the term “Black Friday” might refer to the single day of the year when retail companies finally go “into the black” (i.e. make a profit). The day after Thanksgiving is, of course, when crowds of turkey-stuffed shoppers descend on stores all over the country to take advantage of the season’s biggest holiday bargains. But the real story behind Black Friday is a bit more complicated—and darker—than that.

(P2) The first recorded use of the term “Black Friday” was applied not to holiday shopping but to financial crisis: specifically, the crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869. Two notoriously ruthless Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, worked together to buy up as much as they could of the nation’s gold, hoping to drive the price sky-high and sell it for astonishing profits. On that Friday in September, the conspiracy finally unraveled, sending the stock market into free-fall and bankrupting everyone from Wall Street barons to farmers.

(P3) The most commonly repeated story behind the post-Thanksgiving shopping-related Black Friday tradition links it to retailers. As the story goes, after an entire year of operating at a loss (“in the red”) stores would supposedly earn a profit (“went into the black”) on the day after Thanksgiving, because holiday shoppers blew so much money on discounted merchandise. Though it’s true that retail companies used to record losses in red and profits in black when doing their accounting, this version of Black Friday’s origin is the officially sanctioned—but inaccurate—story behind the tradition.

(P4) The true story behind Black Friday, however, is not as sunny as retailers might have you believe. Back in the 1950s, police in the city of Philadelphia used the term to describe the chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year. Not only would Philly cops not be able to take the day off, but they would have to work extra-long shifts dealing with the additional crowds and traffic. Shoplifters would also take advantage of the bedlam in stores to make off with merchandise, adding to the law enforcement headache.

(P5) By 1961, “Black Friday” had caught on in Philadelphia, to the extent that the city’s merchants and boosters tried unsuccessfully to change it to “Big Friday” in order to remove the negative connotations. The term didn’t spread to the rest of the country until much later, however, and as recently as 1985 it wasn’t in common use nationwide. Sometime in the late 1980s, however, retailers found a way to reinvent Black Friday and turn it into something that reflected positively, rather than negatively, on them and their customers. The result was the “red to black” concept of the holiday mentioned earlier, and the notion that the day after Thanksgiving marked the occasion when America’s stores finally turned a profit. (In fact, stores traditionally see bigger sales on the Saturday before Christmas.)

WORDS: 505

SOURCE: http://www.history.com/news/whats-the-real-history-of-black-friday

VOCABULARY: descend on, notoriously, ruthless, astonishing, conspiracy, unravel, baron, sanction, ensue, hordes, shoplifters, bedlam, booster

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 do you think of when you hear the term “Black Friday”?
  3. Do you have such day to help retailers go “into the black”?
  4. If you were in the US on the Black Friday, what would you buy?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. When was the term “Black Friday” used for the first time?
  2. What is the most commonly repeated story behind Black Friday?
  3. What is the true story behind Black Friday?
  4. Why did Philadelphia’s merchants try to change it to “Big Friday”?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • into the black (P1)
  • take advantage of (P1)
  • buy up (P2)
  • operate at a loss (P3)
  • blow money on (P3)
  • catch on (P5)

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Thanksgiving Traditions

[Culture ★★★]t-daytrad-tile

(P1) Each year Americans in the United States celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday on the fourth Thursday of November. Most families follow traditions begun on the first Thanksgiving, but many have their own traditions that they follow each year. Here are some of the common traditions associated with “Turkey Day.”

Travel : (P2) One of the best things about Thanksgiving is spending time with family. Many people live far from family members and travel long distances by car, train, or plane to be with their loved ones. Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year!

The Feast : (P3) Traditional foods are a large part of Thanksgiving celebrations. Many families include the entire family in the food preparation. Traditional foods include turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, cornbread, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Many people serve pie for dessert at the end of the meal. Popular pie flavors are pumpkin, pecan, sweet potato, and apple.

Vegetarian Foods : (P4) Some families choose to serve vegetarian Thanksgiving dinners instead of a stuffed turkey. Some people eat vegetarian turkey, which is made out of tofu. Others prefer to eat squash, salads, or other fruit and vegetable dishes.

The Wishbone : (P5) Some families include breaking the turkey’s wishbone as part of their celebration. The wishbone is found attached to the breast meat in the turkey’s chest. After the meat has been removed and the wishbone has had a chance to become dry and brittle, two people each take one end of the bone, make a wish, and pull. Whoever ends up with the larger part of the bone gets their wish!

The Turkey Pardon : (P6) Each year at Thanksgiving, the President of the United States receives a gift of a live turkey (along with an alternate in case something happens to the official turkey). At a White House ceremony, the president traditionally “pardons” the National Thanksgiving Turkey and the alternate turkeys, allowing them to live out the rest of their lives on a farm.

Helping Others : (P7) Many generous folks use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to help the less fortunate. Some people volunteer to serve food at homeless shelters on Thanksgiving Day and others donate to shelters or participate in canned food drives.

TV  : (P8) Television also plays a part in Thanksgiving celebrations. Many families watch the New York City Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade includes marching bands, floats, songs and performances from Broadway musicals, and giant helium-filled balloons! People may also enjoy televised football games.

After the Meal : (P9) After the feast families often do additional activities. Some like to take walks after eating such a large meal. Some people take naps. Others sit down together to play board or card games together.

Fast Facts

  • A ripe cranberry will bounce.
  • All turkeys and chickens have wishbones.
  • Canadians celebrate their own Thanksgiving every October.
  • Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863.
  • The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in 1924.

WORDS: 499

SOURCE: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/history/thanksgiving-traditions/

VOCABULARY: celebrate, stuffing, gravy, vegetarian, squash, wishbone, brittle, alternate, pardon, generous, donate, float

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 is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
  3. Why do the President of the United States ‘pardon’ a turkey?
  4. Is there an equivalent holiday to Thanksgiving in your country? What are some traditions you celebrate?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Why do people call Thanksgiving “Turkey Day”?
  2. What are some traditional foods for Thanksgiving?
  3. What does “breaking the wishbone” mean?
  4. How does TV play a part in Thanksgiving celebrations?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • associated with ~(P1)
  • loved ones (P2)
  • make a wish (P5)
  • homeless shelter (P7)
  • food drives (P7)
  • take nap (P9)

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Abraham Lincoln and the “Mother of Thanksgiving”

[Culture ★★★★]hith-lincoln-and-sarah-josepha-hale-jpg-e

(P1) On October 3, 1863, with the nation embroiled in a bloody Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation setting aside the last Thursday in November as a national day of thanks, setting the precedent for the modern holiday we celebrate today.

(P2) Secretary of State William Seward wrote it and Abraham Lincoln issued it, but much of the credit for the proclamation should probably go to a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale. A prominent writer and editor, Hale had written the children’s poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” originally known as “Mary’s Lamb,” in 1830 and helped found the American Ladies Magazine, which she used a platform to promote women’s issues. In 1837, she was offered the editorship of “Godey’s Lady Book,” where she would remain for more than 40 years, shepherding the magazine to a circulation of more than 150,000 by the eve of the Civil War and turning it into one of the most influential periodicals in the country. In addition to her publishing work, Hale was a committed advocate for women’s education (including the creation of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York), and raised funds to construct Massachusetts’s Bunker Hill Monument and save George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.

(P3) The New Hampshire-born Hale had grown up regularly celebrating an annual Thanksgiving holiday, and in 1827 published a novel, “Northwood: A Tale of New England,” that included an entire chapter about the fall tradition, already popular in parts of the nation. While at “Godey’s,” Hale often wrote editorials and articles about the holiday and she lobbied state and federal officials to pass legislation creating a fixed, national day of thanks on the last Thursday of November—a unifying measure, she believed that could help ease growing tensions and divisions between the northern and southern parts of the country. Her efforts paid off: By 1854, more than 30 states and U.S. territories had a Thanksgiving celebration on the books, but Hale’s vision of a national holiday remained unfulfilled.

(P4) The outbreak of war in April 1861 did little to stop Sarah Josepha Hale’s efforts to create such a holiday, however. She continued to write editorials on the subject, urging Americans to “put aside sectional feelings and local incidents” and rally around the unifying cause of Thanksgiving. And the holiday had continued, despite hostilities, in both the Union and the Confederacy. In 1861 and 1862, Confederate President Jefferson Davis had issued Thanksgiving Day proclamations following Southern victories. Abraham Lincoln himself called for a day of thanks in April 1862, following Union victories at Fort Donelson, Fort Henry and at Shiloh, and again in the summer of 1863 after the Battle of Gettysburg.

(P5) Shortly after Lincoln’s summer proclamation, Hale wrote to both the president and Secretary of State William Seward, once again urging them to declare a national Thanksgiving, stating that only the chief executive had the power to make the holiday, “permanently, an American custom and institution.” Whether Lincoln was already predisposed to issue such a proclamation before receiving Hale’s letter of September 28 remains unclear. What is certain is that within a week, Seward had drafted Lincoln’s official proclamation fixing the national observation of Thanksgiving on the final Thursday in November, a move the two men hoped would help “heal the wounds of the nation.”

WORDS: 549

SOURCE: http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving

VOCABULARY: embroil, proclamation, prominent, promote, shepherd, advocate, ease, urge, hostility, outbreak,

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 Hale wanted to create a fixed, national day of thanks?
  3. Why would Thanksgiving “heal the wounds of the nation”?
  4. What have you learned from this article? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Who is Sarah Josepha Hale?
  2. Who is William Seward?
  3. Who issued proclamation of Thanksgiving? Was he the only one to do so?
  4. Why does the author mention “Northwood: A Tale of New English” in this writing?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • set aside (P1)
  • set the precedent for (P1)
  • paid off (P3)
  • rally around (P4)

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Something Was Wrong

[Culture ★]4e39d7be59c30kkj_large_medium

 

(P1) One morning, John Sullivan found himself walking along a street downtown. He could not explain what he was doing there, or how he got there, or where he had been earlier. He didn’t even know what time it was.

(P2) He saw a woman walking toward him and stopped her. “I’m afraid I forgot my watch,” he said, and smiled. “Can you please tell me the time?” When she saw him, she screamed and ran.

(P3) The he noticed that other people were afraid of him. When they saw him coming, they flattened themselves against a building, or ran across the street to stay out of his way. “There must be something wrong with me,” John thought. “I’d better go home.”

(P4) He hailed a taxi, but the driver took one look at him and sped away. “This is crazy!” he said to himself.

(P5) John did not understand what was going on, and it scared him. “Maybe someone at home can come and pick me up.” he thought.

(P6) He found a telephone and called home, expecting his wife to answer. Instead, a strange voice answered. “Is Mrs. Sullivan there?” he asked. “I’m sorry, she isn’t,” the voice said. “Her husband died a few days ago in a horrible car crash, she’s at his funeral.”

 

WORDS: 211

SOURCE: http://www.halloweenishere.com/ghost_stories3.html

VOCABULARY: downtown, notice, flatten, expect, crash

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 enjoy listening to or reading scary stories?
  3. Share the scariest story you know.
  4. Are you scared of ghosts? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What did John Sullivan try to do?
  2. What were other people’s reaction?
  3. What did the strange voice over the phone say?
  4. What do you think happened?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • walk along (P1)
  • stay out of someone’s way (P3)
  • I’d better … (P3)
  • speed away (P4)

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Super Weird Things You Didn’t Know About Halloween

[Culture ★★★]

(P1) You may already think that Halloween is a pretty bizarre holiday: What other celebration could inspire both a Sexy Olaf costume and spooky drones? Chances are you really have no idea just how weird Halloween truly is, so here are some facts to fix that…

1. Originally, you had to dance for your “treat.”halloweendancingpumpkin

(P2) In some early versions of trick-or-treating, men paraded door-to-door, and boys often followed, begging for coins. Most of these early trick-or-treaters were poor and actually needed the money, but wealthy children also joined in the fun. Door-to-door “begging” was mostly stopped in the 1930s, but re-emerged later in the century to distract kids from pulling Halloween pranks.

2. Halloween is more Irish than St. Patrick’s Day.st_patrick-15

(P3) Halloween’s origins come from a Celtic festival for the dead called “Samhain.” Celts believed the ghosts of the dead roamed Earth on this holiday, so people would dress in costumes and leave “treats” out on their front doors to appease the roaming spirits. The Irish Celts were the ones who invented the jack-o’-lantern.

3. If you’d been around for the earliest Halloween celebrations, you might have worn animal skins and heads.n-sahmain-570

(P4) According to ancient Roman records, tribes located in today’s Germany and France traditionally wore costumes of animal heads and skins to connect to spirits of the dead. This tradition continued into modern day celebrations of Samhain, the Celtic holiday that inspired Halloween in America. On this day, merry-makers often dressed as evil spirits simply by blackening their faces. The leader of the Samhain parades wore a white sheet and carried a wooden horse head or a decorated horse skull (a modern Welsh version of this costume is shown above). Young people also celebrated by cross-dressing.

4. Jack-o’-lanterns were once made out of turnips, beets and potatoes — not pumpkins.o-lanterns-570

(P5) The jack-o’-lantern comes from an old Irish tale about a man named Stingy Jack. According to folklore, Stingy Jack was out getting sloshed with the Devil when Jack convinced his drinking partner to turn himself into a coin to pay for the drinks without spending money. Jack then put the Devil, shaped like a coin, into his pocket, which also contained a silver cross that kept the Devil from transforming back. Jack promised to free the Devil as long as the Devil wouldn’t bother him for a year, and if he died, the Devil could never claim his soul.

(P6) When Jack finally died, God decided he wasn’t fit for heaven, but the Devil had promised never to claim his soul for hell. So Jack was sent off to roam Earth with only a burning coal for light. He put the coal into a turnip as a lantern, and Stingy Jack became “Jack of the Lantern” or “Jack o’ Lantern.” Based on this myth, the Irish carved scary faces into turnips, beets and potatoes to scare away Stingy Jack or any other spirits of the night.

WORDS: 484

SOURCE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/24/halloween-weird-facts_n_5948456.html

VOCABULARY: bizarre, prank, roam, appease, folklore, beet

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 celebrate Halloween in your country? Is there any tradition to scare off ghosts or spirits?
  3. Have you ever dressed up on Halloween?
  4. Is superstition a big thing in your country?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What were some of the earlier version of trick-or-treating like?
  2. Why is Halloween more Irish than St. Patrick’s Day?
  3. Who wore animal heads and skins?
  4. Who is Stingy Jack?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • trick-or-treating (P2)
  • door-to-door (P2)
  • jack-o’-lantern (P3)
  • merry-maker (P4)
  • cross-dressing (P4)
  • get sloshed (P5)
  • turn someone into~ (P5)

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