Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm Bob Doughty. This week on our program:
We play new music
from singer/songwriter Mike Doughty …
answer a question about names of American towns, cities and states.
But first, some news about one of the most famous
jewels in the world.
The Hope diamond is one of the largest and most famous
jewels in the world. For fifty years, it has been in the collection of the
Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. To mark this anniversary, the museum is
showing the forty-five carat blue diamond for the first time without its usual
setting. Visitors can now see the Hope diamond in all its natural beauty. Barbara Klein has more.
Hope diamond has a long and rich history. It was formed over a billion years
ago far beneath the Earth's surface. Its rare blue color comes from small
amounts of the element boron. The stone was discovered in a mine in India
during the seventeenth century. It was more than one hundred carats in weight.
In sixteen sixty-eight, the stone was sold to the ruler of France, King Louis
A few years later, the king's jeweler recut
the stone to a weight of about sixty-seven carats. The stone was later lost
during the French Revolution. A recut version of this blue diamond later
reappeared in England.
families and jewelry experts have owned the stone over the years. The diamond
received its name from one of its nineteenth century owners, Henry Phillip
Hope. A wealthy American woman named Evalyn Walsh McLean bought the Hope diamond in nineteen eleven. During her ownership the stone was placed in a
setting surrounded by sixteen small white diamonds on a long diamond chain.
month, the Smithsonian removed the Hope diamond from this setting. Visitors can
see the diamond all by itself, in all its sparkling blue glory. In April, the
Hope diamond will temporarily be placed in a new necklace before returning to
its original setting. Also in April, the Smithsonian will release a new movie
about the diamond's history.
Hope diamond is one of the most visited objects in the museum. Museum
organizers say they wanted people to be able to see the famous stone in a new
Jeffrey Post is the curator of the museum's gem and
mineral collection. He says seeing the Hope diamond out of its setting also
allows experts to study the rare stone. He said studying this jewel will help
scientists learn more about diamonds in general.
Our question this
week comes from China. Li Wei wants to know why some American cities and states
have the same name. For example, there
is a New York City and a New York State. The same is true of the West Coast state of Washington and the East
Coast city of Washington, D.C. And,
there are more than ten other cities named Washington. They include those in Connecticut, Georgia,
Indiana, Kansas, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
It is quite common
for cities to have the same names as states. For example, there is a California, Maryland, and an Iowa,
Louisiana. There is a Florida, New York,
and a Kansas, Alabama.
names of American states and cities are based on Native American languages.
For example, the state of
Alabama was named after a local Indian tribe called the the Alibamu. The word means "thicket clearers" or "herb
gatherers." The state of Illinois comes
from the Algonquian tribal word Illiniwek. It means "tribe of superior men." The states of North and South Dakota were both named for a group of
Sioux Indians called Dakota. The word
means "allies" or "friends."
Many American states are named after historic
people. Georgia is the feminine Latin
form of George and is named after King George the Second of Great Britain. Maryland was named after Queen Henrietta
Maria, the wife of King Charles the First of England. And Louisiana is named in honor of King Louis
the Fourteenth of France.
some names of cities and towns are unusual. Like Big Ugly, West Virginia, and Idiotville, Oregon. Also, Sweet Lips, Tennessee, and Kissimmee,
Florida. There is Celebration in Florida
and Santa Claus in Indiana. You could surely get something to drink in Hot
Coffee, Mississippi. If you like
animals, you might want to visit Monkey's Eyebrow, Arizona, or Toad Suck,
Arkansas, but not Deadhorse, Alaska.
And you might decide you would rather live in Happy, Texas, than in Hell,
Singer and songwriter Mike Doughty keeps it simple on his
new CD "Sad Man Happy Man." The CD
is free of the fancy production tricks common to many studio albums. Instead, you can hear Mike Doughty's unusual
voice and his excellent guitar playing. Faith Lapidus has more.
"Diane" is one of
thirteen songs on Mike Doughty's new CD. Doughty rose to fame in the nineteen nineties as the lead singer of the
band Soul Coughing. The band was known
for its unusual mix of music styles, from alternative rock, to hip hop, to jazz
and electronics. Mike Doughty was known
for his ability to string words together in a skillfully artistic and funny
way. He is a poet, rapper and singer, which you can hear on the song "You
Should Be Doubly Gratified."
Doughty's skill with words comes as no surprise. He is a published poet and playwright. He is currently writing his life story.
to guitar, Doughty plays keyboards on the new album and did all of the drum
programming. Music partner Andrew
"Scrap" Livingston added the cello and bass. Some critics are calling "Sad Man Happy
Man" Mike Doughty's best work to date. We leave you with the song
"When I Box the Days Up."
I'm Doug Johnson. Our program was written by Dana
Demange and June Simms. Caty Weaver was
the producer. For transcripts, MP3s and
podcasts of our programs, go to voaspecialenglish.com. You can also comment on
you have a question about people, places or things in America? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org we may answer it on this show.
us again next week for AMERICAN
MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.