Friday, April 26, 2013

Erin McKeown, "The Politician"



Audio:


Listen or download Erin McKeown The Politician on Prostopleer

Amazon.com purchase link.

Words by Erin McKeown:

Baby you know how this is gonna do
One for me, one for you
Baby you know how this is gonna do
You get something and I do too

If nobody knows, tell me what’s the crime
And if nobody knows, tell me what’s the crime

Power and purpose are whiskey
I do nothing but the work of God
Power and purpose are whiskey
Drink it straight then talk the talk

If nobody knows, tell me what’s the crime
And if nobody knows, tell me what’s the crime
If nobody knows, tell me what’s the crime
Between me and God, tell me what’s the crime

Baby I stand before you a humbled man
Pray pray pray I’m so sorry
Baby here before you I am a humbled man
Shame shame shame shame on me

If nobody knows, tell me what’s the crime
Love the drinker, hate the wine
I will do my penance, do my time
But if nobody knows, tell me what’s the crime

Groups 201-205 homework: Words and phrases from Afanasyeva chapter 15 (reading texts)

Reading comprehension exercises from Chapter 15...

Use these words and phrases from this week's exercises: Write sentences using the words and phrases listed below with the same meaning that they had in the exercises you heard in class.

You can write a separate sentence using each word or phrase, or you can use several words or phrases in a sentence. The sentences can be disconnected or they can be part of a story. If you write a story, you don't need to use these words and phrases in the order they are presented; you can change the order to suit your story.

Feel free to change pronouns, persons, verb tenses...

And enjoy the May holidays, too!


to take up
needless to say, ...
to establish itself
to stay on
to supply
to sort (sort out, sort through)
the novelty wore off
bearer of bad news
studio flat
first-name terms (first-name basis)
to carry on

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

301: Perfecting recipes

Source.
    “Open these and put them in the mixing bowl, please.” I hand Crystal a package of cream cheese and wedge of Brie. I’m nervous about perfecting my recipes for prime time at the bakery and want to debut the porcini-and-Brie cheesecake at the party on the last day of my pastry class.
    “I don’t feel like baking,” Crystal tosses the cheese on the counter. She licks her forefinger, dunks it into the open canister of sugar, then sucks noisily on it.
    “Crystal!” I grab her hands and push them under the faucet. “First thing, wash your hands. Here’s the deal: If you want to spend more time with me, you’ve got to help. I’m not forcing you; I’m giving you the option. Either we limit our visits to Sundays or we work together during the week. I’m going to pay you.”
    “How much?”
    “Eight dollars an hour.”
    Crystal’s eyebrows shoot up. “That’s pretty good.”

. . .

    “That dorky actor guy?” Crystal says, peeling away the papery skin of an onion, then cutting into it. “Is he, like, your real boyfriend now?”
    I shrug and get to work crumbling sesame crackers into a bowl for the cheesecake crust.
    “Do you think Ethan would want you to have a boyfriend?” Her eyes tear up from the onion. She wipes them with the backs of her hands, then pauses, considering her own question. “I think he would want you to.”

Here's the list of words and phrases from Lolly Winston's Good Grief we looked at this week. Use twelve of them in your own sentences or stories:

Source.
mixing bowl
cream cheese
perfect (v)
prime time
debut (as verb)
feel like
here’s the deal
force (someone/something)
limit … to
[minimum wage]
flip the mixer to the…
    setting
glob
double over
come on!
turn down
raise one’s voice
tap, faucet
signature item
make a note
shrug
get to work
tear up
backs of one’s hands
deliberately
ease (v)
single-serving size
relieved
soap opera
raise an eyebrow
arched
doubtfully

Friday, April 19, 2013

Bonnie Raitt, "Thing Called Love"

Here is a recent performance of this song--Bonnie Raitt on stage with the song's writer, John Hiatt:



Bonnie Raitt's "official" music video version of this song; it looks a bit dated to me...



Words by John Hiatt:

Don't have to humble yourself to me, I ain't your judge or your king
Baby, you know I ain't no Queen of Sheba
We may not even have our dignity, this could just be a powerful thing
Baby we can choose you know we ain't no amoeba

Chorus: Are you ready for the thing called love
Don't come from me and you, it comes from up above
I ain't no porcupine, take off your kid gloves
Are you ready for the thing called love

I ain't no icon carved out of soap
Sent here to clean up your reputation
Baby, you know you ain't no Prince Charming
We can live in fear or act out of hope
For some kind of peaceful situation
Baby, how come the cry of love is so alarming

Chorus

Ugly ducklings don't turn into swans
And glide off down the lake
Whether your sunglasses are off or on
You only see the world you make

Chorus

Are you ready for the thing called love
… Are you ready for it …
Are you ready for love, baby
Oooh yeah babe
Are you ready for love

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Groups 201-205 homework: Words and phrases from Afanasyeva chapter 15

Listening comprehension exercises from Chapter 15...

Use these words and phrases from this week's exercises: Write sentences using the words and phrases listed below with the same meaning that they had in the exercises you heard in class.

You can write a separate sentence using each word or phrase, or you can use several words or phrases in a sentence. The sentences can be disconnected or they can be part of a story. If you write a story, you don't need to use these words and phrases in the order they are presented; you can change the order to suit your story.

Feel free to change pronouns, persons, verb tenses...


to make matters worse
to talk things through
deceitful
to settle in
I didn't mind
actually
it's a shame
to apply
my cup of tea
for a living



Friday, April 12, 2013

Sarah Masen, "Girl on Fire"


Прослушать Sarah Masen Girl On Fire на Простоплеере

Amazon.com purchase link.

Girl on Fire, written and performed
Source.   
Amazon.com link
by Sarah Masen

i think we’re coming to a standstill
i think you’re magic with your strong will
but this is love and not justice
he’s hurting everything he touches
you cannot carry what he clutches
he needs a mother and confession
and he does not tell you you are precious

well how about some love and charity
a sense that you are family
i’d like to help but you’re on fire
how about some peace and honesty
some hard-core hope and clarity
you are a precious girl on fire

i think we’re coming to a standstill
i think you’re magic with your strong will
but this is love and not justice
he’s hurting everything he touches
he cannot carry what he clutches
he needs a father and some healing
and he forgets his own words

how about some love and charity
a sense that you are family
i’d like to help but you’re on fire
how about respect and dignity
some hard-core hope and clarity
you are a precious girl on fire

and there is so much in forgiveness
but he is sticking with his business
how about some love and charity
a sense that you are family
you are a precious girl on fire

you are a careful mystery
not someone’s sweet commodity
you are a precious girl on fire
on fire
on fire

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

S201-205 Homework: Are sociable people happier?


You have received a letter from your English-speaking pen friend Blake, who writes:
I'm a reserved person, not very sociable. It just makes me really depressed knowing that I've never done the things I'd like to do, on account of my phobia. Have you had problems with communication? What would you advise me to do? Do you think that sociable people are happier than reserved people?

So, I've started going to the weekly dances at the youth centre.
Please write a letter of 100-140 words to Blake. Answer his questions, and ask three questions about his last sentence. Remember the rules of letter-writing--and please give your answer on a piece of paper I can read at home.

Thank you to the student who prepared this as part of a previous homework assignment! I don't yet have permission to reveal the author, but when I do, I'll add that name here.

Monday, April 8, 2013

U.S. diplomat's visit


Jonathon A. Kent, second secretary at the U.S Embassy in Moscow, visited our Institute last Thursday.

He began his visit with a brief tour of Elektrostal--making a circuit around the city that included Lenin, Nikolaev, Soviet (including Oktyabr cultural center), Zakharchenko, Karl Marx (and the cultural center), and Mir (including the Kristall arena and sports complex).

After a visit with Sergei Kazantsev and lunch with Johan, Judy, Larisa Kazantseva, and Sergei Serov, Jonathon Kent met with students of the fifth year. Natalya Razumovskaya and some students from other groups also joined us. Jonathon began with a presentation on U.S.-Russian bilateral trade and investments--including recent developments and potential for growth.

In the following question-and-answer period, he asked students what drew them to study English. Students talked about their studies and their diploma work, and their plans for future careers. Jonathon described his own education--physics as an undergraduate, and economics in his graduate studies. We had a chance to compare the role of the liberal arts in both the USA and Russian higher education.

In the tea following class, we had a chance for a more personal discussion. Jonathon described his preparation for service in the U.S. Foreign Service, and a typical day in the life of a diplomat. Summing up his impressions of the day, he said that he was impressed by the level of English of our students and their thoughtful insights on education in Russia and language learning, broadly. He was happy for the opportunity to spend time in our part of Moscow oblast--his first visit here since arriving in Moscow.

For further reading on the themes of his presentation to 501/502: Jonathon Kent recommends the following articles (in both Russian and English) from ambassador Michael McFaul's LJ blog:

Russia joins the WTO (with chart of Russian-US trade volume)
Sochi Investment Forum 2012
Golden Autumn: U.S.-Russia agricultural ties
The New Normal: U.S., Russia--equal trading partners

Thank you, students and instructors, for making our guest welcome at NGI!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

301: Sophie goes back to school

Source.
Yesterday I couldn’t wait to join the culinary arts program, to conquer Pastry Workshop: Pies, Cobblers, and Fruit Crisps. I even signed up for a class in how to start your own small business and called Kit to ask him to keep a lookout for commercial rental spaces. “My dream is to start my own bakery,” I told him, caffeine and optimism sparkling through my veins. But now the confidence has dwindled and my brain feels like a fruit crisp, bubbling over with anxiety, clear thoughts going soggy. Starting a new career means planning for the future. Without Ethan.
Sophie is nervous about starting her classes, but when a twenty-something student in a lime green Volkswagen Bug is ready to grab her parking space in the community college parking lot, Sophie makes up her mind:
I at least want to learn to bake the pear pie with cheddar cheese crust. Ask the teacher for pointers on my savory cheesecake recipes. Does the smoked fontina overpower the mushrooms? More important, am I going to work at Le Petit Bistro until I’m sixty-five? I yank the keys out of the ignition, shove them in my bag, squeeze the notebook to my chest, and climb out of the car.
Please use twelve of these words and phrases in your own sentences or story:

Source.
small talk (to make small talk)
to manage to be
to drop a few pounds
in the process
to put smb on the line
to this day
trying cases
completely over her nut
feign interest
buzzer goes off
it’s as though
denial
keep a lookout for
heats up
confidence has dwindled
rush of excitement
julienne
spare the chicken
perch
twenty-something
gun the engine
defenses go up
cordon bleu
screw up
overpower

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

S-201-205: Six-word stories

Most of you saw these ultra-short stories I took from Wired magazine's Web site during this past week. One-time offer!--you may write a six-word story (a real story, not just six random words!) instead of one homework assignment of your choice.

Please note: On Wired's site, you will see some stories I didn't include on my printed page.

Here are the stories written by my students back in 2009:
Institute group 302 came up collectively with this story:
Fingers--why twelve? Bring the knife.
Not to be outdone, group 201 in the School provided a whole set of stories. Here they are, with permission:
Oh, stop shooting. Bring the axe.
--collective

Jack, catch the axe. Got it?
--Masha Kazantseva

Night. Forest. Three men digging a
--Magda Malyukova

This delicious cake was the last.
--Lena Korolyuk

Granny--why do you have such
--Magda Malyukova

Wake up. Take your sleeping pills.
--Masha Kazantseva.