Broadcast: December 27, 2002
Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.
This is Steve Ember. On our program today, we play some music by Vivian Green ... answer a listener’s question about the Mississippi River ... and, report about a computer visit to the White House in Washington, DC., WhiteHouse.gov.
How would you like to visit the White House in Washington, D-C, and have the President of the United States show you his home? You can, if you have a computer. The Web site address is WWW.WhiteHouse.gov. Sarah Long has more.
The White House Web site lets the computer user visit the most famous home in America. One visit begins with President Bush. The President takes visitors on a seven-minute tour around his office, called the Oval Office. If your computer can play the video it is almost like having a private visit with the President of the United States.
If your computer can not play the video, you can still visit the Oval Office. You can see all of the office using your computer. You can make your computer point the camera at famous paintings on the wall of the Oval Office or at the President’s desk. You can also see other rooms in the White House: the Blue Room, the Red Room, the State Dining Room and many more.
The Web site also offers a collection of famous pictures taken in the White House. Many are older photographs that show former Presidents when they lived in the White House.
White House officials say President Bush made the video recording last summer. Other videos were made more recently. The most recent ones show the White House decorated for the Christmas holiday. In one video, Laura Bush tells about the decorations in different rooms, including a small White House made from gingerbread. One funny video is called the Barney Cam. It follows Mister Bush’s dog Barney as he runs through the White House decorated for the holidays.
The Web site and the recordings are part of the celebration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the part of the White House known as the West Wing. The West Wing includes offices used by members of the Administration who work with the President every day.
So if you would like to visit the White House, the computer address is w-w-w dot whitehouse dot g-o-v. White House is all one word. The address again is w-w-w-w dot whitehouse dot g-o-v.
The Mississippi River
Our VOA listener question this week comes from Guatemala. Alejandro Mata asks about the biggest river in the United States, the Mississippi.
The Mississippi River flows from near the northern border of the United States south into the Gulf of Mexico. It flows for four-thousand kilometers through the center of the country. The Mississippi is one of the longest rivers in the world. Only the Amazon in South America and the Nile in eastern Africa are longer.
The name Mississippi came from the Chippewa Indians. They lived in what is now the north central part of the United States. They called the river “maesi-sipu.” This meant “river of many fishes” in the Chippewa language. The word was not easy for European explorers to say. So they began calling it the Mississippi instead.
The Mississippi River has always been important for the American economy. Large cities were established along the river. Two of these are found on the northernmost part of the river that is deep enough for trade ships to travel. They are Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota. The cities today are important centers for business and agriculture.
About two-thousand kilometers south along the river is the city of Saint Louis, Missouri. It is just a few kilometers from where the Missouri River joins the Mississippi. A French trader first established a business there in seventeen-sixty-four. A few years later settlers named their new town after the thirteenth century French king, Louis the Ninth, who had been made a Christian saint. The city of Saint Louis was a popular starting point for settlers travelling to the American West.
Perhaps the most famous city on the Mississippi is at the river’s southern end. It is the port city of New Orleans, Louisiana. The French explorers who first settled there named the town after the French city of Orleans (or-lay-onh). New Orleans was always an important trade center. A great battle was fought there between British and American forces during the War of Eighteen-Twelve. Today, New Orleans is probably most famous for its culture, music and food, and for its place at the end of the great Mississippi River.
Singer and songwriter Vivian Green has experienced good and bad love relationships. The songs on her first album tell those stories. Here is Shep O’Neal with more about this young singer.
Vivian Green is twenty-three years old. She has been singing and writing songs professionally since she was fifteen. Vivian wrote all of the songs for her first album, “A Love Story”. It was released last month.
“A Love Story” tells about a relationship gone wrong. It is about learning to love yourself and then finding true love. The song “Emotional Rollercoaster” tells about being in a bad relationship and not knowing how to end it.
When Vivian was a child her mother sang different kinds of songs to her. You can hear the influence of popular jazz in this song. It is called “No Sittin’ by the Phone.”
Vivian Green says she can write a song very quickly. She wrote some of her songs the same day she recorded them. We leave you now with one of those songs. Here is “Superwoman” from the album “A Love Story.”
This is Steve Ember. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.
This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Oliver Chanler, Lawan Davis, Nancy Steinbach and Paul Thompson. Our studio engineer was Jim Harmon. And our producer was Paul Thompson.