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AMERICAN MOSAIC - Mammal Exhibit in Washington / Question about California's new Governor / Music from Cyndi Lauper - 2003-12-04

Broadcast: December 5, 2003



Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC -- a program in VOA Special English about music and American life. And we answer your questions.


This is Doug Johnson. This week, we answer a question about the new governor of the state of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. And we play music from Cyndi Lauper’s new record album. But first – come along to look at some animals in Washington, not at a zoo but at a museum.

Animals in New Museum Display


Did you know that the hippopotamus is closely related to pigs and whales? Or that hippos can stay underwater for up to half an hour? These are just some of the things visitors can learn from a new permanent part of the Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. Phoebe Zimmermann has more.


Meet "Morgie” the Morganucodon (mor-GAN-ew-KO-don), a four-inch creature with a long nose and short legs. Morgie lived with the dinosaurs. It is two-hundred-ten-million years old. And it is one of the animals now on display at the National Museum of Natural History.

Visitors can take a close look at more than two-hundred-seventy animals. Not all are as old as Morgie. And museum officials say most died of natural causes. The animals are set in realistic positions.

A tiger is the first animal that visitors see as they walk through the door. It looks as if it is going to jump at them.

Visitors also see a huge walrus nearby. It is the size of a small car. A giraffe looks like it is eating from the top of a tree. Small flying animals are suspended from the ceiling to look as they do in flight.

The animals come from four environments: the frozen North, the forest, the rainforest and Australia. In the African part of the display, visitors hear rain as the area becomes dark during a storm. Lights create the effect of lightning.

There are fun things for children and other visitors to do. They can walk on top of the footprints of a one-and-a-half million-year-old human-like creature. They can touch a frozen squirrel that is sleeping in the ground. And they can use a special device to understand how jaguars see in the dark. Visitors learn that jaguars can see better at night than people can with a flashlight.

The animals all have something in common. They are all mammals. Mammals are warm-blooded creatures that have body hair and mothers that produce milk. Museum officials got the idea for the new Hall of Mammals after they found that many visitors did not really know what a mammal is. Many did not know, for example, that humans are mammals. Did you?

Arnold Schwarzenegger


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Pham Hong Hai asks about the new governor of California. Let's start at the beginning.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Graz, Austria, in nineteen-forty-seven. At the urging of his father, he began weightlifting at the age of fifteen. Five years later, he won the Mister Universe bodybuilding competition. This was his first of thirteen world bodybuilding championships. Others included Mister Olympia and Mister World.

When he was twenty-one, Arnold Schwarzenegger moved to the United States. He was interested in business. His first business was laying bricks for homes. He earned a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Wisconsin. He did this through a special program while living in California. And he invested in property in Santa Monica, California.

Mister Schwarzenegger also became interested in movies. In nineteen-seventy-seven, he appeared in "Pumping Iron," a documentary about the Mister Olympia competition. This film led to his first major Hollywood part. He starred as “Conan the Barbarian.”

He went on to appear in other action films. These included “The Terminator,” “Predator,” “Total Recall,” and “True Lies." He has also starred in comedies, including the nineteen-ninety movie "Kindergarten Cop."

Mister Schwarzenegger has supported efforts to get more money for children's programs in California. He helped expand the Los Angeles Inner-City Games to fifteen cities. This is a sports program for children threatened by violence and drugs. He also serves as world ambassador to the Special Olympics.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver started the Special Olympics, for people with disabilities, in nineteen-sixty-seven. She is the sister of President John F. Kennedy. She is also the mother of Maria Shriver, whom many Americans know as a television reporter. Maria Shriver was next to Mister Schwarzenegger as he took office last month. Not as a reporter, but as his wife and now the first lady of California.

Cyndi Lauper's New Album


Cyndi Lauper came to fame in the nineteen-eighties. Her hit song “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” was a favorite on MTV in the early days of Music Television. Now, Cyndi Lauper is singing some songs made famous by others. Faith Lapidus tells about her new release. It's called “At Last.”


Cyndi Lauper gives credit for her new album to the people she grew up with in the Queens area of New York City. She says the people on her street represented all different ethnic groups and cultures. But, she says, they all shared a love of music. And they all felt the same way about Manhattan, the center of the city. She says they believed that is where all dreams led.

On “At Last” Cyndi Lauper shares a song with another singer from Queens, Tony Bennett. Here is “Making Whoopee.”


Tony Bennett is not the only musical great to help with the album. Stevie Wonder plays harmonica as Cyndi Lauper sings one his songs. It's called “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do.)”


The last song on “At Last” is clear proof that Cyndi Lauper still wants to have fun! We leave you with “On the Sunny Side of the Street.”