Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, a VOA Special English program about music and American life -- and we answer your questions.
This is Steve Ember. This week:
Beyonce Knowles of Destiny's Child is out with some music of her own.
A question about what Lee Iacocca is doing these days, now that he is no longer heading a major car company.
But first, a report about living the wild life in New York.
Do you know any famous birds? Big Bird from Sesame Street and the cartoon character Woody Woodpecker come to mind. But, in New York, a real bird has been famous for years. Hundreds of people follow his every move. Shep O’Neal tells us more about the bird they call Pale Male.
|Image from the 2002 documentary ''Pale Male.''|
Pale Male built a nest on the side of a tall building across the street from Central Park, an area of nature in the middle of the city. People who live in the building pay as much as ten or fifteen million dollars for their apartments. Pale Male lives there for free. Many who watch him say he is a smart bird to do what he has done.
People who love to watch birds have been observing Pale Male for almost ten years now. They have watched him raise about twenty young hawks. Pale Male has had four different mates in that time. His mate now is a young female that bird watchers call Lola.
Bird experts say Pale Male is a very good father. He catches food in Central Park and brings it back to the nest for his chicks. He also is very good at helping his young hawks learn to fly. He does this by flying slowly past the nest as he carries food. The young hawks see the food and want to follow. They begin jumping up and down, moving their wings.
Bird watchers know when this event is about to happen. Day after day, they watch the nest from across the street. They watch for the first flight of the young hawks. They usually begin watching at five o’clock in the morning. They take pictures.
These watchers were rewarded recently. One of the young hawks jumped from the nest and fell for several meters. Slowly, he spread his wings and flew out over the trees of Central Park. Moments later, a second young hawk followed.
Pale Male is the subject of "Red Tails in Love," a best-selling book by Marie Winn. The story is soon to become a major film by producer Nora Ephron about this red-tailed hawk and the people who watch him. After that, Pale Male just may be the most famous bird in the world.
Lee Iacocca was born in the eastern state of Pennsylvania in nineteen-twenty-four. His parents named him Lido Anthony Iacocca. He later changed his first name for business purposes. He said Lee was easier to understand and recognize.
His parents had come to the United States from Italy. The family was poor. He says the ethnic prejudice he faced from others in school led him to set high goals for himself. He says it also led him to recognize people for their abilities, not for their race or nationality.
Lee Iacocca graduated from Lehigh University and did graduate work at Princeton University. His first job was at the Ford Motor Company. He rose in the organization after improving Ford sales. Later, he led a committee to develop a new kind of car. The result was the nineteen-sixty-four Mustang. Lee Iacocca became known as the Father of the Mustang -- a very popular car. He became president of the Ford Motor Company.
While president of Ford, Lee Iacocca helped develop the minivan and the Pinto, a small car. The Pinto, however, was a fire danger if hit from behind. Lee Iacocca also became involved in disputes with Henry Ford the third. In July of nineteen-seventy-eight, the company dismissed him. Four months later he went to work for Chrysler.
Chrysler Motors was in financial trouble. Lee Iacocca helped get government loans of more than one-thousand-million dollars. And he reduced his pay to one dollar a year. By nineteen-eighty-three, Chrysler was able to pay back all the loans. Lee Iacocca retired from the company in nineteen-ninety-two.
Many people still remember him from his television appearances as head of Chrysler to help sell cars. He has also written a number of books about his life.
Most recently, Lee Iacocca started a business to produce new kinds of electric powered vehicles. These include an electric bicycle and a vehicle that Lee Iacocca named the Lido. This is a very small car designed to be used for short trips near home.
Members of the rhythm-and-blues group Destiny’s Child have been making records together since nineteen-ninety-seven. Recently the three members each decided to make a record on their own. Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams released their albums last year. Now it is time for Beyonce Knowles. Phoebe Zimmermann tells us more.
The first independent project by the performer known simply as Beyonce is called “Dangerously in Love.” She wrote and produced songs for this album. She worked with performers from several musical influences. Here she sings “Crazy in Love” with rapper Jay-Z.
Beyonce also appears on television and in magazines. She was in the movie "Austin Powers in Goldmember" and an MTV production of “Carmen.” And, later this year, she is in the movie “The Fighting Temptations."
We leave you with another song from “Dangerously in Love.” This one is called “Me, Myself and I.”
This is Steve Ember. Do you have a question about American life? Send it to mosaic at v-o-a news dot com. Or write to American Mosaic, VOA Special English, Washington, D.C., two-zero-two-three-seven, USA. If we use your question, we will send you a gift. So make sure to give your name and postal address.
Our program was written by Lawan Davis, Nancy Steinbach and Paul Thompson -- who was also our producer. And our studio engineer was Jim Harmon.
I hope you enjoyed our program! Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.