Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC - VOA's radio magazine in SpecialEnglish.
This is Doug Johnson. On our program today we ...
play music by Bob Dylan ...
answer a question about America's national rail system ...
and report about a museum show of handmade furniture.
People can see more than sixty pieces of wonderful handmadefurniture at a museum show in Washington, D-C. Shep O'Neal tells usabout the furniture and its maker.
Sam Maloof (ma-LUFE) is eighty-five years old. He is thebest-known designer and maker of handmade furniture in America. Hebelieves a successful chair or table contains something of the eye,the hand and the heart. He says, "I want to be able to work a pieceof wood into an object that gives something beautiful and useful toeveryday life." He also says he wants to work with materials withoutdestroying their natural beauty and warmth.Graphic Image
In the furniture of Sam Maloof,experts say the age-old ideas of woodworking survive into thetwenty-first century. Sixty-five pieces of Sam Maloof's furnitureare at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.There are chairs for sitting, small beds for sleeping babies, desksfor writing, and cabinets for storing objects. Their designs aresimple and timeless. They are made of beautiful, rich-looking wood-- maple, ebony and walnut.
p>The most famous pieces are the rocking chairs. The rocking chairis Mister Maloof's single most popular chair design. These rockingchairs are beautiful. They look like good art. They are smooth totouch. And they are even better to sit on. The chairs are designedto fit people's bodies as they move back and forward on roundedbases. In Nineteen-Eighty-Six, People Magazine called Sam Maloof,"King of the Rockers." People around the world own these rockingchairs, including three former American presidents.Graphic Image
Sam Maloof was born inNineteen-Sixteen in Chino, California. His parents had come toAmerica from Lebanon. Sam Maloof taught himself woodworking. Hestarted making furniture in Nineteen-Forty-Nine. At the time, he didnot know if he could make enough money to support himself and hiswife, Alfreda.
Mister Maloof has become extremely successful. He has won moreawards for design and woodworking skill than any other furnituremaker. Today, each piece of his furniture sells for thousands ofdollars. Sam Maloof still makes all his furniture by hand, one pieceat a time. He says, "I let the wood speak for itself."
Our VOA listener question this week comes from Japan. TakuyaYanagawa asks about the national railroad system in the UnitedStates.
The official name of America's passenger rail system is theNational Railroad Passenger Corporation. It is known as Amtrak."Amtrak" is a combination of the words "American" and "track."
Amtrak began service on May first, Nineteen-Seventy-One. Itoperated one-hundred-eighty-four trains that served more thanthree-hundred towns and cities. Amtrak took over the passengeroperations of all but three local railroads at that time. Amtraktook over their operations later.
Today, Amtrak serves more than five-hundred stations in forty-sixAmerican states. Its trains travel over more thanthirty-five-thousand kilometers. But it does not own all the trackit uses. In most of the country, Amtrak passenger trains use tracksowned by railroads that carry only goods.
Amtrak operates a few special trains. One is the Auto Train. Ittravels every day between Lorton, Virginia, near Washington, D.C.,and Sanford, Florida. The Auto Train makes the trip overnight. Itcarries cars and motorcycles as well as people. It is also thelongest Amtrak train. It has two engines and more than forty railcars.
Another special Amtrak train is the high-speed Acela (a-SELL-ah)Express. The Acela began service in the year Two-Thousand. It servesthe northeastern United States, from Boston, Massachusetts to NewYork City and Washington, D.C. The Acela is Amtrak's fastest train.It travels at a speed of two-hundred-forty-one kilometers an hour.Graphic Image
The government has provided moneyfor Amtrak throughout its history. In Nineteen-Seventy-Seven,Congress approved a law requiring that the rail system beself-supporting in five years. The law also created an Amtrak ReformCouncil to let Congress know if Amtrak was having problems meetingthis goal. The council recently reported that the goal is not beingmet. So, in the coming months, Congress will begin debate on thefuture of Amtrak.
Bob Dylan, "Love Theft"
American singer and songwriter Bob Dylan is sixty years old. Hehas won many awards and honors in the forty years he has beenperforming. And he continues to write and record music. His latestalbum is called "Love and Theft." Jim Tedder tells us about it.
"Love and Theft" is Bob Dylan's forty-third record album. Hewrote all twelve songs. Critics have called them some of his bestwork. "Love and Theft" was recently nominated for a Grammy Award asAlbum of the Year.Graphic Image
Its songs explore all kinds ofAmerican blues music. One example is a traditional blues song,"Lonesome Day Blues."
((CUT 1: LONESOME DAY BLUES))
Another interesting song on the album is a funny one thatincludes a few American jokes. It is called "Po' Boy."
((CUT 2: PO' BOY))
Bob Dylan also wrote a few love songs for "Love and Theft."Critics have praised these songs. We leave you now with one of theselove songs. It is called "Moonlight."
((CUT 3: MOONLIGHT))
This is Doug Johnson . I hope you enjoyed our program today. AndI hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC - VOA'sradio magazine in Special English.
Please include your name and postal address. This AMERICAN MOSAICprogram was written by Shelley Gollust and Nancy Steinbach. Ourstudio engineer was Tom Verba. And our producerwas Paul Thompson.