Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. This week:
We test our geography skills at the
National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C. …
listener question about the actress Meryl Streep …
listen to new music by the band Green Day.
In nineteen eighty-nine, the National Geographic
Society decided to do something about the lack of knowledge about geography
among American students. So the group started a competition called the National
Geographic Bee to test students' knowledge about places around the world. Almost five million students in the United
States and its territories competed this year. Last week, state champions from
around the country met in Washington, D.C. for the final competition. Steve
Ember has more.
County shares its name with a tributary of the Danube and is located in the
western part of which European country?" If you gave the correct answer,
"Romania," you are very strong in geography.
like thirteen year old Eric Yang. This student from the state of Texas was the
first place winner of last week's National Geographic Bee.
May nineteenth, Eric competed against fifty-five students between the ages of
nine and fifteen. The next day, the competition began again with the remaining
top ten winners. The final round was hosted by Alex Trebek, best known for
hosting the television game show "Jeopardy!" Arjun Kandaswamy from Oregon won second place. Shantan Krovvidi from
North Carolina came in third.
winner Eric Yang will receive twenty-five thousand dollars for college and a
trip to the Galapagos Islands this summer. We asked Eric how he studied for
this difficult competition.
ERIC YANG: "I just read a lot of things, like the
atlas, the Internet, magazines, maps, travel guide books.
We also wanted to know what Eric does when he is not
ERIC YANG: "I play basketball and the piano. I listen
to all types of music. I read cookbooks too, for fun."
John Fahey is the president of the National Geographic
Society. He says the aim of the group is to influence people to care about our
planet. He says the Bee helps to provide children with a love of learning about
Earth's many lands and cultures.
However, the National Geographic Bee
seems to be a competition mainly for boys. This year, only two out of the
fifty-five final competitors were girls.
Our listener question this week comes from a college
student in China. Jiaqi wants to know about actress Meryl Streep. The director
Sydney Pollack called her the most important actress of the late twentieth
century. Streep has received fifteen Academy Award nominations. This is more
than any other actor in film history.
Born in nineteen forty-nine, Mary Louise Streep grew up
in Summit, New Jersey. When she was a child, she took singing lessons. She
became interested in acting while in high school. She studied theater at Vassar
College in Poughkeepsie, New York. She
continued her studies at Yale University's School of Drama in New Haven,
Streep began her career acting in plays in New York City. Her first movie
appearance was in the nineteen seventy-seven movie "Julia." She only had a small part, but she gave an
excellent performance. She was nominated
for her first Academy Award for her next movie, "The Deer Hunter." It is about a group of young Americans
affected by the war in Vietnam. She won
an Academy Award for Best Actress in nineteen seventy-nine for her work in
"Kramer vs. Kramer." This movie is about
a married couple going through a divorce.
MERYL STREEP: "I came here to take my son home, and I
realized he already is home."
years later, Meryl Streep won Best Actress for her work in the movie "Sophie's
Choice." She played a survivor of a Nazi
concentration camp. She is also famous
for her roles in movies including "Silkwood", "Out of Africa" and "Ironweed."
Meryl Streep is known for her skills in speaking
English with different foreign accents. She is also known for the intelligence and strength she brings to her
dramatic roles. But she also has made funny movies. These include "Death
Becomes Her", "The Devil Wears Prada" and the musical "Mama Mia!"
Streep's other important roles are as a wife and mother. She married the
sculptor Don Gummer in nineteen seventy-eight. They have four children. Their
daughter Mamie Gummer is also an actress.
Streep's latest movie, "Julie and Julia," will be released this summer. Streep plays the famous American cooking
expert Julia Child.
MERYL STREEP: " I'm Julia Child, Bon Appetit!"
Adams plays the role of Julie, a woman who spends a year trying to cook all the
meals in one of Julia Child's most famous cookbooks.
Green Day returns
with their first official CD since "American Idiot" in two thousand four. That album sold more than
twelve million copies worldwide and earned the band many awards. So how does Green Day plan to follow that? Barbara Klein has more.
band that brought us one of the best albums of the decade is back with a new CD,
"21st Century Breakdown." It is Green
Day's eighth studio album. Early reviews
suggest the new CD will push the punk rock trio right back to the top. Rolling Stone Magazine gives the CD four and
a half out of five stars. And "Spin"
says the album's title track is the band's best song to date. Here is "21st
Green Day has been
making music since nineteen eighty-seven. But it was not until their nineteen ninety-four album "Dookie" that the
band experienced commercial success. Since then, they have sold more than sixty-five million CDs around the
However, this country's largest group
of stores, Wal-mart , will not be selling "21st Century Breakdown." Wal-Mart banned the CD because of its language
and content. Like "American Idiot," the
new CD offers some strong political comments on religion and war. Listen to "21 Guns."
Green Day will begin performing
around the world in early July to support their new CD. We leave you with "Know Your Enemy."
I'm Doug Johnson.
program was written by June Simms and Dana Demange, who also was the
producer. For transcripts, MP3s and
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