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)

Cambly Practice Button

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)

Cambly Practice Button

Boo? Halloween Used to Be About Finding True Love

[Culture ★★★★]

halloween

(P1) Halloween wasn’t always so scary. It was once less about fright and more about flirtation.

(P2) A century ago, the rituals surrounding the celebration at the end of October emphasized love. Newspapers recommended parlor games that promised to reveal romantic fortune. Even the cast of characters was more oriented toward matters of the heart.

(P3) “Halloween in the early 20th century had far less emphasis on blood, gore and scary monsters, and much more emphasis on courtship, romance and the opportunity for love,” Daniel Gifford, the former manager of museum advisory committees for the Smithsonian National Museum of American History explained in a museum blog post last year.

(P4) “In fact, the image of Cupid was often interspersed among the more familiar black cats, witches and jack-o’-lanterns.” Halloween games and traditions reflected that attention to themes of love, with many offering a peek at what the future holds. For women in a restrictive society, they offered a semblance of control.

(P5) “Given the importance of finding a desirable marriageable man in an era when prim, proper, ladylike behavior was the norm, young women often reveled in chances to participate in well-established and -regarded traditions that might guide them to the spouses of their dreams,” Diane Arkins, the author of the book “Halloween: Romantic Art and Customs of Yesteryear,” from Pelican Publishing, said in an email. Here’s a look at some of those largely forgotten customs.

Snap Apple and Other Games of Love

(P6) Apples played a starring role in many of Halloween’s romantic traditions. One game, Snap Apple, challenged participants to use only their teeth to bite an apple suspended from the ceiling by a string or ribbon, Ms. Arkins writes in her book. The first to succeed would be the first to marry. (In a more dangerous version of the game, the apple is speared by a stick with a lit candle on the opposite end.)

(P7) According to tradition, a successful first attempt at that game — retrieving an apple with one’s mouth from a container filled with water — foretold true love reciprocated, Ms. Arkins writes. Repeated failure suggested that a less-than-ideal match awaited, or perhaps it was a warning to move on.

(P8) Other traditions were simpler. One old custom called for cutting a long strip of apple skin and tossing it over one’s shoulder. The landed peel was said to resemble the first initial of a suitor.

(P9) Another tradition involved eating an apple in front of a mirror to conjure the image of one’s soul mate, just in time for him or her to ask for the last bite. The seeds within offered insight, too, with poems serving as guides to what they predicted. Here is one such poem, reproduced by Ms. Arkins and published in the “Kiddies’ Hallowe’en Book” in 1931:

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-11-40-27-am

Fading Superstition

(P10) As varied and popular as the romantic Halloween customs were, they began to lose their hold on the American public in the early 20th century. Women, the traditional party hosts and targets of such games, were gaining greater agency over their lives, eroding the appeal of rituals that underscored their lack of power.

(P11) At the same time, a figure re-emerged in popular culture: the powerful witch. And unlike some modern depictions, she was alluring. “The beautiful witch had both power and attractiveness, and could use both to make her own decisions about romance, suitors and the future of her love life,” Mr. Gifford explained. The witch had no need for fortunetelling games: She could create her own destiny.

Click here to read the entire article

WORDS: 589

SOURCE: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/28/style/halloween-love-romance-history.html?_r=0

VOCABULARY: flirtation, ritual, parlor, gore, courtship, intersperse, prim, retrieve, reciprocate, suitor, alluring

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 women in the early 1900s participate in Halloween’s romantic traditions?
  3. Do you have such fortunetelling games in your culture?
  4. Why did “the powerful witch” re-emerge as a figure in popular culture?
  5. Do you celebrate Halloween in your country?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. From which evidence could you tell Halloween was about romance in the early 1900s?
  2. Describe Snap Apple. How do you play the game?
  3. Describe other traditions that involved apples.
  4. What does the witch represent in popular culture according to the article?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • offer a peek at (P4)
  • less-than-ideal match (P7)
  • conjure the image of ~ (P9)
  • lose someone’s hold on ~ (P10)

Cambly Practice Button

Week111

[World News ★] Shark and Diver in a Cage

[Business ★] Samsung Galaxy Note 7

[World News ★★] Thai King is Dead

[Science ★★] Sweet potato scientists win World Food Prize

[World News ★★] Teen drivers most at risk of crashing

[Science ★★★] These Wine Grapes Listened to Mozart, to Their Benefit

[Travel ★★★] Turbulence in the Skies: Kid-Free Zones on Planes

[World News ★★★] One-Eyed Matador Gored Again

[Technology ★★★★] Facebook And Google To Build 8,000-Mile Undersea Internet Cable

[Travel ★★★★] Best Places for Women to Travel Solo

Best Places for Women to Travel Solo

[Travel ★★★★]

18emw03v6qhgkjpg

(P1) Three years ago, I sat on the wooden chair in the back of Randi Bjellands’ kitchen in Norway, waiting. And waiting. A gentleman walked in and sat down. She quickly emerged from the back room and greeted him in Norwegian with a plate of food.

(P2) I don’t speak or understand Norwegian and couldn’t tell if she understood that I was hungry, too. Did she think I was sitting here waiting for a travel companion to join me? Did she not realize my feet were aching from winding up-and-down the San Francisco-like streets of the Nordnes neighborhood, in Bergen, trying to find Bjellands Kjøkken (Bjellands’ Kitchen) before she closed shop?

(P3) It was clear Randi wasn’t to be disturbed. I had stumbled upon the recommendation online, stating that Bjellands, who is in her late 70s, single-handedly ran the restaurant and had her own methods.

(P4) When I first entered, all she said to me in broken English, a bit brusquelywas: “You hungry? You want fish? Cod?” I had nodded with every question and sat down, a good 20 minutes ago. She hadn’t acknowledged me since, while several locals had entered and been served immediately.

(P5) After another 15 minutes of clanking in the back, she appeared in front of me with a plate, piled high with battered cod, potatoes, and slaw and the heartiest grin on her face. Even though we couldn’t carry on a conversation, her expression said it all. She wanted to impress the one tourist and only other female in the room and had gone out of her way to prepare my meal with an extra dose of care.

(P6) The beauty of solo travel is the ability to immerse yourself in the community and to stumble upon those moments of international connection organically on your own. But as a woman, fears, sometimes innate, over the silliest things can spin into overdrive, especially in a foreign environment.

Click here to view the slide show of best places for women to travel solo

WORDS: 316

SOURCE: http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/solo-travel/best-places-for-women-to-travel-alone

VOCABULARY: emerged, single-handedly, brusquely, clanking, heartiest, innate

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 women should travel solo? Why or why not?
  3. Have you ever traveled solo? If so, tell me about it.
  4. What are some precautions a solo traveler should take while traveling?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What type of seat did the author sit on in the restaurant?
  2. What’s the full name of the woman working in the restaurant?
  3. What did the traveler eat at Bjellands’ Kitchen?
  4. The woman working in the restaurant spoke a few words of English. (T or F)
  5. What does the author say is the best thing about women traveling solo?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • winding up-and-down the San Francisco-like streets (P2)
  • stumbled upon (P3)
  • an extra dose of care (P5)
  • spin into overdrive (P6)

Cambly Practice Button

Facebook And Google To Build 8,000-Mile Undersea Internet Cable

[Technology ★★★★]

57ffa01a1700000116acbb49

(P1) Facebook and Google are teaming up to speed Internet traffic between North America and Asia.

(P2) Today, alongside partners in Asia, the two Internet giants announced they will build the longest and highest capacity undersea fiber-optic cable between the two continents. Once completed, the Pacific Light Cable Network, PLCN for short, will stretch 8,000-miles from Los Angeles to Hong Kong with an estimated capacity of 120 terabits-per-second. That’s about twice the capacity of the Oregon to Japan cable “Faster,” which Google recently launched with several telco partners. Construction of the new cable will begin this year, and it should come online in 2018.

(P3) The move highlights the larger role that tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are playing in the construction of telecommunications infrastructure. Just last May Facebook and Microsoft teamed up to build a new 4,100-mile cable, connecting Virginia to Spain. PLCN is the sixth undersea cable that Google has invested in.

(P4) These investments, which give these companies dedicated capacity on these undersea cables, represent a big shift in how these cables are built and managed. Earlier this year, Jonathan Hjembo, a senior analyst at Telegeography, told us that private networks now account for about 60 percent of the capacity of trans-Atlantic traffic.

(5) These underwater cables will help increase the total bandwidth available not just to the giants that build them, but for pretty much everyone else as well. And they improve the resilience of the global Internet by increasing the number of routes that data can travel across the oceans. But more to the point, they also give Facebook and Google more control over the infrastructure they depend on.

(P6) Undersea cables are just a part of that investment. Facebook and Google’s wilder Internet connectivity projects, using drones or high-altitude balloons to deliver connectivity, for example, get most of the attention. But both companies have invested heavily in buying up unused fiber-optic infrastructure in the US, helping them ferry data back and forth between their data centers, bypassing the public Internet. As these companies grow and dominate the Internet, they’re increasingly independent of the infrastructure that actually defines it and evolving into networks that stand on their own.

WORDS: 361

SOURCE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/facebook-and-google-to-build-8k-mile-undersea-internet_us_57ff9f82e4b0985f6d156c2c?section=us_science

VOCABULARY: terabits, telco, resilience, wilder, bypassing, evolving

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. In your opinion, do you think the internet will be free to everyone in the future? Why or why not?
  3. In your opinion, do you think the undersea fiber-optic cables will become obsolete? Why or why not?
  4. Does your country offer free wi-fi now? If not, should they? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Which two regions will be linked together with a fiber optic wire?
  2. The cable will be completed and in place starting in 2018. (T or F)
  3. Which tech Giants combined their efforts to run a cable across the Atlantic Ocean?
  4. Only the tech companies will benefit from more cables. (T or F)
  5. Who is purchasing fiber-optic infrastructures that are not being used?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • teaming up (P1)
  • should come online (P2)
  • tech giants (P3)
  • buying up (P6)

Cambly Practice Button

Image source: by PAUL TAYLOR/GETTY IMAGES http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/facebook-and-google-to-build-8k-mile-undersea-internet_us_57ff9f82e4b0985f6d156c2c?section=us_science

One-Eyed Matador Gored Again

[World News ★★★]

1088443-13-20161017051616

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(P1) Five years almost to the day after he was gored in the eye by a bull, Spanish matador Juan Jose Padilla was gored in virtually the same spot again, but he won’t need to buy a second eye patch. At a bullfight in Zaragoza Saturday, the 43-year-old was gored on the same side of the face that was injured in 2011, when a bull’s horn cost him the sight in one eye and left him with partial facial paralysis, reports Yahoo News. The Yahoo link includes photos showing the bull’s horn hitting at or near the eye patch, with Padilla holding his hand over the spot after the impact and wincing in pain.

(P2) Padilla, nicknamed “The Pirate” after he returned to bullfighting in 2012, was hospitalized but is not as seriously hurt as he was in 2011, reports the Independent. This time, he suffered no internal injuries. The 1,300-pound bull also stamped on the fallen matador’s stomach before rescuers got Padilla out of the ring. “This is a part of bullfighting,” he said in 2012 after returning to the ring just months after the first injury. (A lot of people saw red after this bullfighter brought his baby daughter into the ring with him.)

WORDS: 204

SOURCE: http://www.newser.com/story/232650/one-eyed-matador-gored-in-eye-again.html

VOCABULARY: gored, matador, horn, paralysis, wincing, stamped

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’s your opinion about Padilla bringing his daughter into the bull ring with him?
  3. If you were a bullfighter and got gored, would you go back into the ring again? Why or why not?
  4. Would you like to see a bullfight? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. This time, Padilla was gored on the other side of the face. (T or F)
  2. When did Padilla lose his sight in one eye?
  3. What is Padilla’s alias?
  4. How much does the bull weigh that gored Padilla the second time?
  5. People were not mad at Padilla for bringing his daughter into the ring. (T or F)

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • five years almost to the day (P1)
  • virtually the same spot (P1)
  • cost him the sight in one eye (P1)
  • internal injuries (P2)
  • out of the ring (P2)

Cambly Practice Button

Image source: by AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza http://www.newser.com/story/232650/one-eyed-matador-gored-in-eye-again.html