Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC - VOA's radio magazine in SpecialEnglish.
This is Doug Johnson. On our program today:
We tell about a special celebration honoring Elvis Presley ...
Answer a listener's question about what Americans think is funny...
And report about the winner of the Tour de France bicycle race.
On July twenty-eighth, American Lance Armstrong won the mostfamous bicycle race in the world, the Tour de France. Experts saythe race is one of the most difficult competitions in all of sports.And Lance Armstrong has won it four times. Shep O'Neal tells usabout him.
Thirty-year-old Lance Armstrong is only the second American towin the famous race. The first was Greg LeMond. LeMond won threeraces with a European team. Armstrong has won his four races as amember of the United States Postal Service team.
Experts say Lance Armstrong is important in sports history notjust because he has won four Tour de France races. He is importantbecause he has done it as a cancer survivor.
In nineteen-ninety-seven, doctors found that Lance Armstrong hadcancer of the reproductive organs. The cancer had spread to hislungs and his brain. Doctors removed the affected testicle. Theyalso operated on his brain. Later, Armstrong was treated withpowerful and dangerous anti-cancer drugs.
p>Lance Armstrong survived the cancer and the treatments. Hiscondition improved. Armstrong said he survived because he hadexcellent doctors and because he truly believed he would get better.He also considers himself to be very lucky.
Lance Armstrong began riding his racing bicycle as soon as he wasfeeling better. Then he began racing. He again became one of the topbicycle racers in the world. No one thought he could be good enoughto win the Tour de France, however. But he did. He won his firstTour de France race in nineteen-ninety-nine. He has won every Tourde France for the past four years.
Last week, after winning the Tour de France, Armstrong said thathe will continue to compete in the race for two more years. Afterthat, he wants to spend more time with his wife, son and twodaughters. But winning many races is not what Lance Armstrong sayshe wants to be remembered for. He wants people to remember that thewinner was a cancer survivor.
Lance Armstrong says his Tour de France victories are a messageto all cancer survivors. That message says that they can return towhat they were doing before the disease affected them and becomeeven better.
American Sense of Humor
Our VOA listener question this week is from Russia. AlexanderKukushkin asks if we can explain the American sense of humor andgive some examples of what Americans think is funny.
That is a difficult question. Almost everyone will laugh at thesame thing if they see something that is really funny.
For example, many years ago the movie actor Charlie Chaplin madeseveral films about a funny-looking man known as "The Little Tramp."This little tramp had no money and was always getting into trouble.How he got out of trouble was very funny. Chaplin's films werepopular around the world.
Some film critics say the little man Chaplin played in his filmswas the most popular funny person in the Twentieth Century. It didnot matter what language people spoke when they saw one of CharlieChaplin's great films. He made most of his films before sound wasused in movies.
Americans like to watch many kinds of funny movies. The mostpopular movie right now is called "Austin Powers in Goldmember." Itmakes fun of spy movies. Several critics say it is a terrible moviebut it is also very funny.Graphic Image
American humor is really not muchdifferent from humor in other countries. One exception might behumor from or about the American south. "Redneck" is a word thatdescribes a white man from the South who is not very smart.
Jeff Foxworthy is an American comedian from the southern state ofGeorgia. He has become successful telling jokes about rednecks.
"If you've ever cut your grass and found a car, you might be aredneck. (LAUGHTER)
If your dad walks you to school because you're in the same grade,you might be a redneck. (LAUGHTER)
If you've ever been too drunk to fish, you might be a redneck"(APPLAUSE.)
Every August, people who love the music of Elvis Presley gatherin his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee for a celebration called"Elvis Week." This year, many more people are expected to be there.Jim Tedder tells us more.
Elvis Week will be held August tenth through August eighteenth.This year is the twenty-fifth anniversary of Elvis Presley's deathon August sixteenth, nineteen-seventy-seven.An Elvisbeach towel, at Elvis Week 2001
More than one-hundred-thousandpeople are expected to gather in Memphis for Elvis Week. They willcelebrate the life and music of the King of Rock and Roll.
More than fifty events will be held in and around Memphis. Theyinclude music concerts, dance parties, parades, discussions, sportsand social events. Money earned from some of the events will be usedto help people in need. The biggest event will be a twenty-fifthanniversary concert at the Pyramid arena in Memphis on Augustsixteenth. Musicians and singers who worked with Elvis Presley willperform in front of huge television screens showing Elvis singing.
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Another special event will take place during the night of Augustfifteenth. Thousands of people will take part in a ceremony atPresley's burial place on the grounds of his home, Graceland.
About seven-hundred-thousand people visit Graceland every year.Music writer and singer Paul Simon wrote a song about a visit toGraceland.
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You can hear more about the life and music of Elvis PresleySunday on the VOA Special English program People In America.
This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And Ihope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC-VOA'sradio magazine in Special English.
Remember to write us with your questions about American life. Wewill try to answer them on future programs. Listeners whosequestions are chosen will receive a Random House Webster's CollegeDictionary.
Send your questions to American Mosaic, Special English, Voice ofAmerica, Washington, D.C. two-zero-two-three-seven, USA.
This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Shelley Gollust,Nancy Steinbach and Paul Thompson. Our studio engineer was HollyCapehart. And our producer was Paul Thompson.