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ESLPod Culture Note

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Source: ESL Podcast Learning Guide (English as a Second Language Podcast by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse) MY OTHER ANKI DECKS For more information, please see the Essential Idioms in English page. Nickolay Nonard <kelciour@gmail.com>

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Id ESLPod_0883_CN
Episode Id ESLPod 883
Episode Title Taking Care of a Willful Child
Title The Baby-Sitters Club Novel Series
Text Many "pre-teen" (not yet teenagers; 9-12 years old) American girls enjoy reading a series of novels called The Baby-Sitters Club. The books are about a small group of "middle school" (junior high) students who have a small business where they provide babysitting services to the parents of young children in their town. Most of the stories are about the club members' babysitting experiences, their personal lives, and what happens during their club meetings. In the original books, there are only four members of the club, but the membership "expands" (grows) to 10 in later novels.Ann Martin wrote the first 35 novels and some later novels in the series. Many, many others have been "ghostwritten" (written without giving credit or acknowledgement to the actual author). There are 132 novels in the regular series, and many other "spin-offs" (related books or other types of entertainment). For example, there are some books that present more information about the club members' personal lives outside of the club. Other books focus on the club members' younger "siblings" (brothers and sisters) or the other students whom the club members go to school with. The publisher, Scholastic, sold 170 million copies of the novels between 1986 and 2000, and a "prequel" (a story that shows what happens before the first book in a series) was written for the series in 2010. The novel series was made into a 13-episode TV series in 1990 and a movie in 1995.The books seem to "strike a chord with" (relate emotionally to) many young girls, not only because it is about babysitting, but also because it covers many topics that are important to them, such as friendships, boys, fashion, and family.
Topics Daily Life | Relationships + Family
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Id ESLPod_0103_CN
Episode Id ESLPod 103
Episode Title Making a Sales Call
Title Makeup for Men
Text Cosmetic companies make a lot of money each year selling "skin care products" (products applied to the face and body to make it look younger) and "cosmetics" (color liquid, creams, and powders applied to the face to change its appearance) to women. Now, it's "going after" (trying to get) men."Grooming" (making yourself look neat and clean) products, including skin care and "makeup" (cosmetic) products, for men are nothing new. According to a 2012 Los Angeles Times article, 1 in 4 men use some kind of skin care product. According to this article, some of the "burgeoning" (beginning to grow or increase quickly) interest in men's skin care and makeup products can "be attributed to" (is because) baby boomers are getting older and trying to compete in the workplace with younger men. Some of the new makeup products becoming more popular are "concealers," a type of cosmetic the same color as your skin used to cover "blemishes" (imperfections) and dark circles under the eyes, and anti-shine powder, which goes on the skin to make it appear less oily.Companies are "capitalizing on" (taking advantage of) this growing interest and are being more "aggressive" (more forceful) about marketing to men. How do you market products to men who may be "squeamish about" (having a strong view against) using products that seem too "feminine" (with characteristics traditionally associated with women)?First, you don't call the products "makeup." Instead, companies are doing two things: creating "packaging" (the container that a product is placed in to be sold) that are "manly" (with characteristics traditionally associate with men, such as strength and courage), such as ones that look like cigar boxes and "liquor" (alcoholic drinks) bottles, and giving products names with manly "associations" (connections), such as "fuel" (material used to produce heat and power, such as gasoline) and "power."
Topics Business
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Id ESLPod_0768_CN
Episode Id ESLPod 768
Episode Title Negotiating Price
Title How the Government Awards Contracts
Text The "federal" (related to the national government) government often hires "private" (not part of the government) companies to complete work. Federal "agencies" (parts of government; departments) must "comply with" (follow) many rules and regulations in giving "contracts" (legal agreements covering what work will be performed, by whom, when, and for how much money) to these companies or individuals.Agencies can choose to "solicit" (request bids) in two ways: "sealed bidding" or "competitive negotiation." With "sealed bidding," all bidders "submit" (send in) "sealed" (closed; not seen by others) bids and the bid for the least amount of money is chosen to receive the contract. Using sealed bidding, each company or person who bids does not know what the other "competitors" (people trying to win) are bidding and so must give the government a bid that is high enough to complete the work, but low enough to beat the other bidders. With "competitive negotiation," the agencies can consider other factors, such as the company's reputation and timeframe, in addition to price.Detailed requests for proposals or bids are published with a specific "deadline" (the date and time by which something must be submitted). Once a bidder has been selected for the project, the agency and the bidder must negotiate and "fully execute" (sign by both parties) the legal contract "governing" (overseeing; controlling) the work. The contract usually includes "milestones" (specific parts of the work that must be submitted by certain dates) and "milestone payments," so that, for example, the bidder might receive 20% of the total payment when they complete the first 20% of the work.
Topics Business | Money
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