Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:
We answer a question about The Alamo …
Listen to some music from Robin Thicke …
And report about the YouTube Video Awards.
YouTube Video Awards
The popular Web site YouTube recently presented its first online video awards to recognize the creative efforts of its large community. YouTube viewers around the world voted for their favorites in seven different video categories. Faith Lapidus tells us about three of the winners.
Thanks to YouTube, any creative person with a special camera and a computer can create a video and share it online. Millions of people around the world watch these videos on their computers. So the creators of popular videos can become famous very quickly. Some videos have been watched millions of times.
YouTube viewers recently chose the best videos of last year. The Most Creative Award went to the rock band OK Go for the video of its song "Here It Goes Again."
In this video, the four band members jump and dance on and around eight exercise machines called treadmills. The entire video was filmed in one recording. The video is very funny. It shows the band's creativity, skillful balance and careful movements. "Here It Goes Again" has been watched about fifteen million times.
The Most Inspirational Award went to Juan Mann from Australia for his "Free Hugs" video. In this video, Juan stands in busy public places holding a sign that says he is giving free hugs.
At first, strangers look at him with distrust and walk by. But soon, people stop to put their arms around him and give him a hug. Policemen try to stop his hug campaign. But many people help him to continue his free hugs activism. The video is a nice example of different kinds of human interaction. It has been watched about thirteen million times.
The Most Adorable Award went to Dony Permedi for an animated cartoon about a bird. It is called "Kiwi!"
A kiwi bird cannot fly. But in the video, the bird works hard to make his dream of flying through the clouds come true, even though he makes a big sacrifice. So far, this video has been watched more than seven million times. To see these videos and the other winners, visit www.youtube.com/ytawards. You can decide which video you think is the best and take part in a very popular part of Internet culture.
Our VOA listener question this week comes from Burma. Ko Maw Gyi asks about the Alamo and the famous battle that took place there.
The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, is one of the most famous places in the United States. More than two million people visit it every year. The Alamo includes gardens and buildings that provide information about Texas history. But most people go there to see the place where a battle was fought more than one hundred seventy years ago.
The battle at the Alamo in eighteen thirty-six was perhaps the most celebrated event in Texas history. The area that is now the state of Texas was then part of Mexico. The people of Texas wanted to change this. On March second, eighteen thirty-five, a group of Texan leaders declared independence and announced the birth of the Republic of Texas. They named Sam Houston to command the troops.
Texan fighters defeated Mexican troops in San Antonio in December of eighteen thirty-five. They then occupied the Alamo building. It was part of a religious center at the time.
General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna led the Mexican army to end the Texas rebellion and punish its leaders. The army arrived in San Antonio in February of eighteen thirty-six. About two hundred Texans inside the Alamo survived for thirteen days against the much larger Mexican army. These Alamo defenders included the famous Western heroes Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett. But they were defeated and Santa Anna’s army entered the Alamo on March sixth.
History experts now say one hundred eighty-nine people defending the Alamo were killed, including Bowie and Crockett. Different stories tell about how they died, and history experts still cannot agree about which are true.
The battle of the Alamo began a series of events important in United States history. Sam Houston and his Texan troops defeated Santa Anna’s forces in April of eighteen thirty-six and gained independence. for Texas. Later, the Republic of Texas became part of the United States. People continue to "Remember the Alamo" as a heroic struggle against a more powerful opponent. And as a place where men sacrificed their lives for freedom.
Robin Thicke has written songs for popular singers including Christina Aguilera, Usher and Mary J. Blige. Now he is enjoying new success as a singer. Katharine Cole tells us more.
Robin Thicke grew up in a home of entertainers. His mother, Gloria Loring, is a singer and actress. His father, Alan Thicke, is a songwriter but is probably best known for his work as a television actor.
Robin Thicke’s first album, “Beautiful World,” was released in two thousand two. His latest album is called “The Evolution of Robin Thicke”. He says he wanted to write songs that were completely honest and sing them with the emotion he was feeling when he wrote them. Here he sings his hit love song, “Lost Without U.”
Like other recording artists, Robin Thicke's songs have become increasing popular through ringtones. Ringtones are songs downloaded from a Web site to a wireless telephone. When the telephone rings, you hear the song instead of the usual sound a telephone makes. Thicke's song “Wanna Love U Girl” is among the most favorite ringtones.
We leave you with another song from the album “The Evolution of Robin Thicke.” This is “Can U Believe.”
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. It was written by Lawan Davis, Dana Demange and Nancy Steinbach. Caty Weaver was our producer. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.
Send your questions about American life to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your full name and mailing address. Or write to American Mosaic, VOA Special English, Washington, D.C., two-zero-two-three-seven, U.S.A. Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.