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AMERICAN MOSAIC - Friendster / Two Thanksgivings / Music by John Fogerty - 2004-11-19

Broadcast: November 19, 2004


DOUG JOHNSON: Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.

This is Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

New music by John Fogerty ...

A question from China about Thanksgiving ...

And a way to make friends online.


Social networking has become popular on the Internet. A network is a system of connections. The idea of social networking is to connect people. And, as Faith Lapidus reports, one way many people do that is through

FAITH LAPIDUS: Jonathan Abrams began Friendster in two thousand two. Last year, investors put fourteen million dollars into his company in Silicon Valley, California.

Mister Abrams thought of a way for people to meet on the Web. Friendster links not only friends but also friends of friends. It shows people how they are connected. Friendster is a free service that sells advertising. The company says thirteen million people have joined.

There are two ways to begin creating a social network on Friendster. One way is to receive an e-mail invitation from a friend already on the service. The second way is to sign up at Once registered, users must describe themselves. They list things like their location, schools they attended, and favorite books and movies. They can also add pictures to their profile.

When their profile is complete, users can search other profiles to find some sort of connection to other people. Users may leave messages for each other.

Some people use Friendster to renew old friendships. Others make new friends, or use the site as an online dating service.

Friendster has been especially popular among college students. Many use it to reconnect with old classmates. Jennifer is a student at American University in Washington, D.C. She says Friendster has helped her keep in touch with her high school friends. In fact, she has even found some of her friends from elementary school.

But Friendster is not for everyone. A forty-three-year-old lawyer in Washington says people his age were not on the social network homepage. He had no luck finding anyone he knew. Instead, he says he will leave it to his two children to use Friendster.

The site has added a bulletin board where friends can share announcements. People can also receive a reminder when a friend is having a birthday.

Friendster calls itself "the fun and safe way to organize your social life." So now people have a new way to make friends -- or, in this case, "friendsters."

Two Thanksgivings


Our listener question this week comes from Fujian, China. Chunfu Zheng asks about the difference between Thanksgiving in the United States and Canada.

Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday in November. Canadians celebrate their Thanksgiving holiday on the second Monday in October.

There are stories that the English explorer Martin Frobisher held the first Thanksgiving celebration in Canada in fifteen seventy-eight. But a researcher at York University in Toronto found that these stories are false.

Peter Stevens gives credit for the holiday to Protestant Christian leaders in Ontario province in the nineteen century. Mister Stevens says they took the idea of the American celebration and created a version for Canada, although they did not just copy it.

He says the observance became an expression of Canadian nationalism. He says it lost its Protestant religious meaning in the early twentieth century, and Canadians created their own traditions. The government established the holiday in October because it was early enough in the year for people to spend the day outdoors.

Thanksgiving in the United States developed from a celebration of English settlers known as Pilgrims. They are believed to have held the first Thanksgiving meal in sixteen twenty-one. They had arrived in what is now the northeastern United States a year earlier. Soon, more than half had died of disease or lack of food.

Those who survived thanked God. They also thanked the Native Americans who showed them how to fish and plant crops. The Pilgrims and the Indians celebrated together for about three days. Within a few years, though, the Indians and the growing number of settlers were at war.

Today a Thanksgiving celebration might last three hours. Americans traditionally prepare some of the same foods eaten at that first Thanksgiving. This includes turkey, sweet potatoes, squash, corn, cranberries and pumpkin pie. And this is similar to what Canadians eat on their day for giving thanks.

John Fogerty’s New Album

DOUG JOHNSON: Creedence Clearwater Revival was a band with hits like this one from nineteen sixty-nine, “Proud Mary.”


Singer John Fogerty led Creedence Clearwater Revival and wrote many of its songs. The band broke up in nineteen seventy-two. Since then, John Fogerty has been working alone. Now, Shep O’Neal tells us about his newest album.


The album is called “Deja Vu All Over Again.” Deja vu is a French expression. It means experiencing something that you feel you have experienced before. The title song is a commentary on the Vietnam War and, now, the war in Iraq.


But the album is not all about sadness and war. The songs mix all kinds of music: rock, folk, country, bluegrass and punk. In fact, John Fogerty says the album shows how happy he is these days.

We leave you with one of those happy songs from John Fogerty’s newest album. This one is called “Sugar-Sugar (In My Life.)”


DOUG JOHNSON: This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed AMERICAN MOSAIC.

This program was written by Brian Kim and Nancy Steinbach. Paul Thompson was the producer. And our engineer was Efeem Drucker.

Send your questions about American life to Be sure to include your full name and postal address. Or write to American Mosaic, VOA Special English, Washington, D.C., two-zero-two-three-seven, USA.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.