Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Melissa Ferrick, "I Will Back You Up"



Audio only:

Amazon.com purchase link

... and here's my transcription of the song, written by Melissa Ferrick:

I let you in, I gave you my word
The best gift I ever got
was you telling me you were sure now about us
I like rising up in your eyes
I hold on to our trust, forever I will stand

So I will back you up, even when you're wrong
I will back you up, baby,
Until the end of the world
Even when you've had enough
I'll be the one who backs you up

So when all the rain is gone
and everything is breathing full, breathing full
And all our troubles go soft, I like sitting still with you
'Cause you are my home, yeah, you are my home
So I will back you up, even when you're wrong
I will back you up, baby,
Until the end of the world
Even when you've had enough I'll be the one...

'Cause it took this long, I needed to be done
No more running, no more halfway...
Now, I've traveled far enough to know
you are where I wanna stay, yeah, baby,
You are where I wanna stay.

So I will back you up, even when you're wrong
I will back you up, baby,
Until the end of the world
I will back you up, even when you're wrong
I will back you up
Until the end of the world
Even when you've had enough
I'll be the one who backs you up

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Buddy Guy, "Skin Deep"


"Skin Deep": In his intro on the video, Buddy Guy says a bit
about his upbringing on a farm in Louisiana and gives his
mother credit for the inspiration of this song. At this concert,
which I described here, I was just a few meters to the left of
this videographer. (I took the pictures on the right--note the
electric Jerry Jones Sitar in the close-up photo, and in the
video.) I think we were all moved by this song.

First, here is the audio version I used in some of our classes. It features
Buddy Guy and Derek Trucks, two of the best guitarists
on the planet.  Then, the video and lyrics are below.





Questions for listening comprehension:

  1. Did Buddy Guy’s mother live long enough to hear him play as a famous musician?
  2. Where did he grow up? In what kind of neighborhood?
  3. How old was he when he first experienced “running water”? (What is “running water”?)
  4. Did his family have electricity?
  5. One day, while his mother was combing her hair in a broken mirror, what did Buddy Guy say to her?
  6. Without “cracking a smile” (changing her expression), how did she respond to him?
  7. Does Buddy Guy agree with what she said? How do we know?

Lyrics: (Buddy Guy)
I've been around a while
I know wrong from right
I learned a long time ago
Things ain't always black and white
Just like you can't judge a book by the cover
We all gotta be careful
How we treat one another
Skin Deep
Skin Deep
Underneath we're all the same
Skin Deep
Skin Deep
Underneath we're all the same
We all, all are the same
A man in Louisiana,
He never called me by my name
He said "boy do this and boy do that"
But I never once complained
I knew he had a good heart
But he just didn't understand
That I needed to be treated
Just like any other man
Skin Deep
Skin Deep
Underneath we're all the same
Skin Deep
Skin Deep
Underneath we're all the same
We all are the same
I sat my child down
when he was old enough to know
I said out there in this big wide world
You're gonna meet all kinds of folks
I said son it all comes down to just one simple rule
That you treat everybody just the way
You want them to treat you
Yeah
Skin Deep
Skin Deep
Underneath we're all the same
Skin Deep
Skin Deep
Underneath we're all the same
We all are the same
Skin Deep
Underneath we're all the same
Skin Deep
Skin Deep
Underneath we're all the same
We all are the same
Yeah

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Groups 201-204 Homework: Write to Julie about food

photo by Johan Maurer

This letter is due at your class on November 13 or 14. (That's right, November 13 or 14! Finish your old homework, too!!)




Exercise from Olga Afanasyeva, Virginia Evans, Victoria Kopylova, Practice Exam Papers for the Russian State Exam, 2010 Revised Edition, Moscow: Express Publishing/Prosveshchenie Publishers.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Group 301V-401V: Hugh Laurie is "Inside the Actors Studio"



Now you can watch the sections I skipped over in class.

Here are the questions I asked:
  1. What did Lipton mean, "We are proud to welcome an entire cast of characters"?
  2. How did Laurie contrast American and British audiences?
  3. Who is W.G.R.M. Laurie?
  4. What was Laurie's mother Patricia's attitude to pleasure?
  5. What was Patricia's attitude, at least some of the time, to her son Hugh?
  6. Was Hugh a horrible child? In what ways?
  7. Did television and the theatre play a big role in Laurie's childhood?
  8. Laurie described a moment of pride in his parents' relationship with him. Do you remember the incident?
  9. What type of school is Eton? Why is its classification a puzzle for American audiences?
  10. What language is spoken at Eaton? What is "capping a beak"? A "wet Bob"?
  11. Laurie grew up in Oxford; why did he go to university in Cambridge?
  12. What incident caused Hugh Laurie to turn his attention to athletics (rowing) to drama?
  13. Why is there a vagueness in the discussion about Emma Thompson?
[skip from 13:22 to 21:19]
  1. How did a demolition derby reveal Hugh's psychological state? What was his diagnosis? How did he find help?
  2. What was Laurie's attitude to fun?
  3. In the context of American television tradition, why was Laurie surprised by House's role in the new TV drama?
  4. How did Laurie acquire his American accent? What is "just a fact" according to Laurie?
  5. Why is the character of Dr. House upsetting?
NEXT CLASS: We'll finally talk about the "problem" cases in Arakin, exercise 6 on page 128, and we'll try to think of some additional cases.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cat Power, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"

This has to be one of the most extreme examples of how a cover can differ from an original track. Here's Cat Power performing "Satisfaction."



Listen or download Cat Power Satisfaction for free on Pleer

Words: (Cat Power's version leaves out the chorus)

When I'm drivin' in my car
And the man comes on the radio
Hes tellin' me more and more
About some useless information
Tryin' to mess my imagination

When I'm watchin' my tv
And a man comes on to tell me
How white my shirts can be
But, he can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke
The same cigarettes as me

When I'm ridin around the globe
And I'm doin' this and I'm signin' that
And I'm tryin' to make some boy
Baby, baby, baby, come back 'cause you see
I'm on a losing streak

When I'm ridin' a round the globe
And I'm doin' this and I'm signin' that
And I'm tryin'
And I'm tryin'

I have two videos for you. One shows Cat Power performing this song onstage--but here the style is closer to traditional rock, using the Rolling Stones' hook on the organ. The second video is from French television, and shows Cat Power performing two songs, the second a traditional blues song accompanied by my favorite guitarist, Buddy Guy.




Want to compare with the original Rolling Stones' song? ...


Listen or download Rolling Stones Satisfaction for free on Pleer

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Rolling Stones, "Ruby Tuesday"

... by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

OK, this song is faster than "Shelter from the Storm" and slower than "Drive My Car." Do I have it right yet?!





She would never say where she came from
Yesterday don't matter if it's gone
While the sun is bright
Or in the darkest night
No one knows
She comes and goes

Goodbye, ruby tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you...

Don't question why she needs to be so free
She'll tell you it's the only way to be
She just can't be chained
To a life where nothing's gained
And nothing's lost
At such a cost

Goodbye, ruby tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you...

There's no time to lose, I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams
And you will lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?

Goodbye, ruby tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you...

Goodbye, ruby tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Groups 201-204 Homework: Applying for a job

Source.
In this week's homework, there's something new. You're not writing to a pen pal. Instead, you are applying for a job. (See the actual assignment C1 below.)

In our class this week, we'll talk about useful words and expressions for a job application letter. We will consider:
  • good ways to open your letter
  • how to describe yourself
  • closing your letter with a specific promise or request.
The homework is due on your class day, October 23 or 24. Good luck!



Exercise from Olga Afanasyeva, Virginia Evans, Victoria Kopylova, Practice Exam Papers for the Russian State Exam, 2010 Revised Edition, Moscow: Express Publishing/Prosveshchenie Publishers.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Richard Branson, his school years, adventures, business philosophy

Last night we spent time with Richard Branson and his TED interviewer, Chris Anderson.



We discussed these questions and themes:
  1. Richard Branson is known for starting several companies. Name two of them.
  2. Why did people think buying a secondhand plane and starting a new airline was crazy?
  3. To help his fledgling airline financially survive combat with British Airways, what was Branson forced to do?
  4. Total employees in Branson's group of companies: choose... (a) 10-25,000; (b) 25,001 to 50,000; (c) 50,001 to 75,000; (d) 75,001 to 100,000.
  5. Philippe Starcke designed several aspects of Branson's space program, but why would he not have been the ideal person to design the engine? What was the basis of his design of the launching and landing facility?
  6. When Anderson asks, «What was the closest you got to--when did you think this is it, I might be on my way out?»--what kind of situation is he referring to?
  7. According to the interviewer, Branson's companies benefited from his balloon adventures in what way?
  8. What were some of Branson's characteristics as a pupil in school?
  9. What image or metaphor finally helped Branson understand the difference between gross and net?
  10. Anderson says that Branson has been accused of being a ruthless businessman. How does Branson respond?
  11. What is the problem with capitalism that «capitalist philanthropy» is intended to address?
  12. What are two major problems that Branson's capitalist philanthropy is trying to help solve?
  13. What Russian-born software engineer did Branson mention as a personal friend?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Groups 201-204 Homework: Adrian asks about strange television shows

You have received a letter from your English-speaking pen-friend Adrian who writes:

… Last night I watched a strange television show. It was a kind of race on obstacle courses. Teams from different countries had to run, climb, jump, swim, and perform various crazy tricks, trying to get to the finish line first. Sometimes I laughed, and sometimes it just seemed too silly. Do you have these kinds of shows on Russian television? Do you like watching them? What is the silliest thing you have done in public?

My best friend just bought tickets to the theatre for the two of us. I haven’t seen a play in years! ...

Take about twenty minutes to write a letter of 100-140 words to Adrian. Observe the rules of good letter-writing. In your letter: (1) answer his questions; (2) ask 3 questions about Adrian's news concerning his best friend and the theatre tickets.

Please bring your letter to our class next week (October 16 or 17) to give to me. Have fun!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hans Theessink and Terry Evans, "Shelter from the Storm"

For background, some groups first saw this promotional video for the album Delta Time by Terry Evans and Hans Theessink. Notice how differently they speak and how similarly they sing!



Then we listened to this song from the album:


Прослушать или скачать Shelter from the Storm бесплатно на Простоплеер

Amazon.com purchase link

"Shelter from the Storm" (transcription) by Hans Theessink.

When cold raging winds
bring you pain and misery
you're caught in a tempest baby
like a ship that's lost at sea
when the light from the lighthouse
no longer leads you on
let me be your harbor baby
give you shelter from the storm

[chorus:] shelter from the storm
shelter from the storm
let me be your harbor baby
give you shelter from the storm

let me be a shoulder for you to lean on
give you comfort when things go wrong
when your sail is tattered and torn
you're out there all alone
let me be your harbor baby
give you shelter from the storm

when cold raging winds
bring you pain and misery
you're caught in a tempest baby
like a ship out on the sea
when the light from the lighthouse
no longer leads you on
let me be your harbor baby
give you shelter from the storm

[chorus] [chorus]

Group 301-401 (evening): Just five more minutes, Dad! I've almost cured cancer.

On Wednesday we watched this clip from The Colbert Report, and discussed whether Dr. Jane McGonigal's ideas about video games seemed realistic to us. Was it possible that the skills and self-confidence gained in video games would help us in real life? Most of the class seemed skeptical.

As a way of reviewing the content of the clip, we began our discussion by answering the following multiple-choice questions about the clip itself. If you missed the class, watch the video and then try answering these questions:

Jane McGonigal appeared on this program because she:
1) had just published a book.
2) was researching former players of Dungeons and Dragons.
3) was trying to convince Colbert to become a gamer.
4) was trying to reach her goal of 500 million gamers.

Stephen Colbert wants to know whether McGonigal:
1) is a friend of Bono's.
2) is the actual writer of her book.
3) is an avatar.
4) owns an X-Box.

Jane McGonigal claims that:
1) 94% of gamers are female.
2) 40% of gamers are female.
3) 250,000 gamers are female.
4) we are all gamers.

When McGonigal says that "reality is broken," she is probably referring to:
1) the fact that too many children are addicted to their "funboxes."
2) the belief that real things break, but virtual things don't break.
3) gamers who forget the real world.
4) disease, poverty, hunger.

McGonigal says that it is a misconception that:
1) gamers can't write articles for the journal Nature.
2) playing games is a bad use of time.
3) ten years of research show that game-playing is productive.
4) gamers don't care about real-world problems.

McGonigal wants to reach a goal of
1) 500 million hours of gaming a week.
2) 3 billion (3.000.000.000) hours of gaming a week.
3) 21 billion hours of gaming a week.
4) 3 billion gamers in sub-Saharan Africa.

She wants to increase the number of gamers in the world by:
1) teaching starving children in Sub-Saharan Africa to play Halo 2.
2) changing the rules of the real world to make them more like video games.
3) developing games that link game play to real-life situations.
4) encouraging families of gamers to have more children.

McGonigal has worked on:
1) a project to send X-Boxes to African children.
2) social projects in Africa along with Bono.
3) a version of Dungeons and Dragons for use in Africa.
4) a social-innovation game called Evoke.

The game developed for African players:
1) works on a simplified version of Gamecube for the African market.
2) shows players how to help solve major social problems.
3) helps children forget that they are hungry.
4) shows parents that their children can have an effect in the world.

Playing a game with a powerful avatar for ninety seconds, according to McGonigal:
1) will improve your sense of self-assurance for a whole day.
2) has the same effect as flirting at a bar.
3) is not the same as the rules we have in the real world.
4) does not affect who we are in the real world.

The first step in connecting gaming to real-world situations is:
1) teaching gamers that they are the same person inside and outside the game.
2) teaching gamers that role-playing games are better than first-person shooters.
3) respecting gamers because they are more productive than the average person
realizes.
4) teaching gamers to be resilient in the face of failure.

According to McGonigal, 57,000 gamers co-authored a paper for Nature:
1) because of their intuitive knowledge of biochemistry.
2) by playing a game.
3) because their fathers agreed to give them five more minutes.
4) that described a cure for cancer, gaining them an “epic win.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Groups 201-204 Homework: Mark needs directions from the airport to your home

From Sheremetyevo on Aeroexpress.
Please tell Mark how to get to your home (your real one or a fantasy home!) from the airport. What should he bring to your parents, and what else should he remember to bring for the visit?

Complete instructions in the graphic below. Please bring this letter to class next week (October 9 or 10). Please remember to write the letter on paper that you can give me. Thank you!






Exercise from Olga Afanasyeva, Virginia Evans, Victoria Kopylova, Practice Exam Papers for the Russian State Exam, 2010 Revised Edition, Moscow: Express Publishing/Prosveshchenie Publishers.