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AMERICAN MOSAIC - January 31, 2003: Rap Music from Nelly / Newest NBA Star: Yao Ming of China / Question About the Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle - 2003-01-30



Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today:

We play some music from a rap singer named Nelly ...

Answer a question about the mysterious Bermuda Triangle ...

And tell about a young professional basketball player from China.

Yao Ming


If you were seven-feet-six-inches tall – that is two-point-two-nine meters -- what would you do for living? If you can play basketball, and you are from China, and your name is Yao Ming, you might become the newest sports star in the National Basketball Association. Steve Ember has more.


Yao Ming is still working on his English skills. He usually has to speak to reporters and fans with the help of a translator. But he needs no help on the basketball court. In November, he scored twenty points in twenty-three minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers team.

Last year, the Houston Rockets professional basketball team chose Yao Ming as the number one new player. The owner of the Rockets team said choosing Yao would be the biggest sports story of all time. The twenty-two-year-old Chinese man has become very popular with American basketball fans. He has become well known for his hard work and his efforts to improve.

It has not been easy. Yao Ming is learning to play professional basketball, speak a new language and live in a new country. Yao says he has just really started to learn.

Yao Ming did not come to the United States by himself. His mother came with him. She cooks the foods he likes best -- pork chops and chicken soup. Yao says this helps, but he still misses his home in China.

Sports reporters and basketball fans ask him a lot of questions. He is quick to answer some of these. He likes American coffee very much. But he does not like the huge amount of vehicle traffic in the city where he lives, Houston, Texas.

Yao Ming’s success has expanded international interest in American basketball. For example, eleven Chinese television and radio stations broadcast the game played January seventeenth between the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers. More than five-hundred-million people in China enjoyed the game. Yao Ming and the Rockets won that game. Yao Ming scored ten points, had ten rebounds and blocked six of the Lakers’ shots.

Sports experts say Yao Ming will likely be chosen the best new basketball player of the year. Bermuda Triange


Our VOA listener question this week comes from India. Guesstar Langstang asks about a mysterious area called the Bermuda Triangle.

The Bermuda Triangle is also called Devil’s Triangle. It is an imaginary area in the Atlantic Ocean. It extends more than one-million square kilometers between the island of Bermuda, the coast of southern Florida and the island of Puerto Rico. Drawing an imaginary line to link these three places creates the three sides of a triangle.

The mystery surrounding the Bermuda Triangle is that the area seems to be extremely dangerous to airplanes and ships. Some people believe that at least fifty ships and twenty planes have disappeared there during the past one-hundred years.

The earliest recorded disappearance of an American ship in the area took place in nineteen-eighteen. But the incident that first suggested the danger of the Bermuda Triangle was the disappearance of five American Navy planes in nineteen-forty-five.

The planes carried fourteen crewmen on a normal training flight. They never returned. A plane sent to search for them also disappeared. No wreckage was ever found.

Newspaper reporters and other writers called the planes the Lost Patrol. They began trying to explain the tragic events. Some of the explanations were strange. One writer said there were powerful forces under the water. These forces interfered with communication devices and caused planes to crash and ships to sink. Another writer said creatures from outer space guarded the area. These creatures pulled the planes and ships to another planet.

Larry Kusche has written books about the Lost Patrol and the Bermuda Triangle. He says the explanation is much simpler. He says the American Navy planes disappeared in nineteen-forty-five for several reasons. The lead pilot was lost. He was flying in bad weather. And he was low on fuel.

Other critics also say the Bermuda Triangle stories are false. They say most of the events that took place in the area can be explained scientifically. And they say most of the accidents linked to the Bermuda Triangle did not happen there. Critics say only about five real accidents happened within the triangle’s borders. The United States Coast Guard agrees. It says the stories about the Bermuda Triangle are mostly science fiction and should not be taken seriously.



The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will present its yearly Grammy Music Awards on February twenty-third. One musician nominated for several awards is a young man called Nelly. Marry Tillitson tells us more.


Nelly’s real name is Cornell Haynes, Junior. He was born in nineteen-seventy-eight. He grew up in Saint Louis, Missouri. During high school, he and his friends formed a rap music group called the Saint Lunatics. The group was popular in the local area. But it could not find a record company to produce an album. So the group members decided Nelly would have a better chance at success if he sang alone.

His first album was “Country Grammar.” It was released in two-thousand. It was nominated for four Grammy awards. This song helped make the album a huge seller. It is called “Ride With Me.”


Nelly says the name of his latest record describes what he considers to be a perfect world. The songs are about having fun, playing music and being with friends. The first song describes a city where everyone is rich and happy. The name of the city, song and album is “Nellyville.”


“Nellyville” is nominated for two Grammy awards -- album of the year and best rap music album. The most popular song on the record is also nominated for best rap performance by a male artist. We leave you now with that song, “Hot in Herre.”



This is Doug Johnson, 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 Jill Moss, Nancy Steinbach and Paul Thompson. Our studio engineer was Max Carroll. And our producer was Paul Thompson.