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VOA慢速英语2011--'Snoopy House' Finds a New Home, and Other Holiday Tales

时间:2011-12-19 06:11来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]
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THIS IS AMERICA - 'Snoopy House' Finds a New Home, and Other Holiday Tales

STEVE EMBER: Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.
BARBARA KLEIN: And I'm Barbara Klein. This week on our program, we talk about holiday celebrations in America. We also look at the seasonal1 debate over the limits to religion in public life.
(MUSIC)
STEVE EMBER: Christmas stories are usually about hope and renewal2. The real-life story of "Snoopy House" is no different.
Snoopy House is what people call a house in Southern California known and loved for its Christmas displays. Jim Jordan created the display of Snoopy and other characters from Charles Schulz's ''Peanuts'' comic strip more than forty years ago.
Mr. Jordan is fifty-nine now. He started the project as a teenager in the yellow, single-story house where he was raised. The house is in Costa Mesa, in Orange County -- better known to TV fans as "The OC."
Little by little, Jim Jordan expanded the display until it included Charlie Brown ice skating and Schroeder playing his piano to Lucy.
The National Christmas Tree is pictured with the White House in the background after it was lit on the Ellipse across from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec., 1, 2011
The display became a holiday tradition. Tens of thousands of people came each year to see the Christmas lights, the artificial snow -- even a Santa Claus that flew through the air and down a chimney.
Snoopy House became so popular that busloads of visitors and school groups came each year. Some people who grew up visiting the display were now old enough to take their own children.
MAN: "I've been going to the house since I was a kid, seeing Santa and all the stuff when I was a baby.''
But last year Jim Jordan lost the house. It was foreclosed because he stopped paying his mortgage loan. The repossession looked like the death of a tradition. Mr. Jordan says he felt terrible.
JIM JORDAN: "I was absolutely devastated3 that we couldn't bring this to the community.''
BARBARA KLEIN: Several years ago, Mr. Jordan's business as a remodeling contractor5 fell along with the economy. He says he asked for changes in the loan terms, but was denied because he was still paying each month. He admits he followed poor legal advice and stopped paying the mortgage. He was hoping he could then qualify for loan modifications6. Instead he lost his family's home. It was foreclosed in November of last year.
When neighbors learned the news about Snoopy House, they called reporters. They also collected donations to try to help Jim Jordan fight to recover the house. Mr. Jordan says he has filed legal papers to try to get his house back.
But what about the display? Earlier this month Costa Mesa city officials offered to host it on the lawn outside City Hall. Gary Monahan is the mayor of Costa Mesa.
Snoopy greets one-year-old Raeghan Thompson at the "Snoopy House" display that Jim Jordan started 44 years ago, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011, on the lawn outside City Hall in Costa Mesa, California
GARY MONAHAN: ''My phone was ringing off the hook, the city's phones were ringing off the hook and at the end of the day this is the wonderful thing that happened, and it's just been phenomenal to our city and our community.''
The lights went on last week in a song-filled ceremony attended by a large crowd, including this woman.
WOMAN: ''I'm very happy that Costa Mesa came forward and did this.''
At least for now, the display has found a new home at City Hall -- temporarily called ''Snoopy Hall.'' Jim Jordan's wife, Linda, had the same reaction he did.
LINDA JORDAN: ''It's a miracle.''
We have video of the display at voanews.cn.
(MUSIC)
STEVE EMBER: The Christmas season often brings debate about the extent to which public schools and government offices should recognize religious holidays. The United States Constitution separates government and religion. But some forms of religious expression have never been excluded from public life. Congress opens each day with a prayer -- an example of what is sometimes called "civic7 religion."
One of the most recognizable symbols of the holiday season is a Christmas tree. But this year the governor of the northeastern state of Rhode Island changed the name of the official Christmas tree. Governor Lincoln Chafee changed it to "holiday tree."
LINCOLN CHAFEE: "Times are changing and that's just the reality. The world's getting smaller. People are moving around. Religions are more accepted in our society and that's just the evolution that's occurring."
Thousands of people around the country called the governor's office to denounce the change. One state lawmaker even decided8 to hold a "Christmas tree" lighting9 ceremony in the State House at the same time as the governor's "holiday tree" lighting.
BARBARA KLEIN: Janice Crouse is the spokeswoman for Concerned Women for America, the nation's largest public policy organization for Christian11 women.
JANICE CROUSE: "You know when it comes to Christmas time, the people who talk about inclusion and diversity and all those clichés of the left, they're the first ones to want to shut down Christmas."
Nearly eighty percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians12 and celebrate Christmas to mark the birth of Jesus.
JANICE CROUSE: "We celebrate other faiths, we ought to celebrate Christian faith as well. And there ought to be symbols in our public square. It's very much part of who we are as Americans."
STEVE EMBER: Erika Seamon teaches religion in American public life at Georgetown University in Washington. She says the Christmas tree highlights the debate over the separation of church and state in American society.
ERIKA SEAMON: "The importance of this is it's not taking Christmas or taking religion out of American society. It's specifically the concern that this tree and this language is associated with government property and government endorsement13."
Christmas is a federal holiday, meaning the government gives most of its employees the day off. So do most private employers.
The courts have ruled that Christmas trees have become a secular14, or non-religious, symbol of the season. But not everybody sees the Christmas tree as secular. Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America is among them.
JANICE CROUSE: "All the symbols of Christmas point back to Christ for me -- the reason for the season, we so often say."
BARBARA KLEIN: Erika Seamon at Georgetown says Rhode Island's governor may have just been trying to avoid dictating15 the meaning of symbols.
ERIKA SEAMON: "One could argue that what the government is trying to do in a multicultural16, diverse society is just move to the sidelines and not be involved in religious discussion or symbolism or language."
(MUSIC)
STEVE EMBER: President Obama and his family lit the new National Christmas Tree on December first. The tree is planted in the Ellipse, the grassy17 open space between the White House and the National Mall. The tradition began in nineteen twenty-three with President Calvin Coolidge. But the tree itself, a blue spruce from Colorado, is new. Strong winds brought down the former National Christmas Tree in February. The tree had stood since nineteen seventy-eight.
Reporter Kelly Nuxoll spoke10 with some of the people at the ceremony to get their thoughts on the new tree.
ALISON COOK: "It's a little deformed18, I think."
And to find out what they will be doing to celebrate the holidays. Alison Cook from Snowhill, Maryland, will be spending Christmas morning with her daughters. Later they will drive to New Jersey19 to spend the day with more family.
REPORTER: "What are your girls looking forward to most?"
ALISON COOK: "Presents [laughter]. Santa Claus coming."
BARBARA KLEIN: Wei moved to the United States from China about fifteen years ago. He lives in Washington and brought his wife to the tree lighting.
WEI: "We came here to see the National Christmas Tree. This is one of the top attractions for DC. I come here every year."
What does he think of the tree this year?
WEI: "[Laughter] It's smaller than usual. It's half the size of other years."
BARBARA KLEIN: Wei also talked about what he and his family do on Christmas.
WEI: "We usually go to church every year. It probably is the most important thing for us. And then the kids get out of school, and they're looking forward to the toys.”
STEVE EMBER: Sixty-three year-old Michael Swar of Maryland was not a big fan of the new tree.
MICHAEL SWAR: "Well, it's draped over in a net. And the net has ornaments20 attached to it. It doesn't seem to have much character for a National Christmas Tree."
And what about his holiday plans?
MICHAEL SWAR: "The biggest part of Christmas for us is having the family together and having a meal and just enjoying each other's company."
As for what they will eat:
MICHAEL SWAR: "My wife is Greek, so it's pretty much Greek oriented."
Jason and Karen Fischer came from Chicago, Illinois, to see the tree-lighting ceremony.
KAREN FISCHER: "Well, we walked through Santa's workshop first, which was really cool, and the performances were all holiday themed. Very fun."
Jason says, like a lot of people, their holiday traditions center on family.
JASON FISCHER: "We have two young children so we're forming our own traditions as a family. But it always involves an early morning on Christmas morning with hopefully a tree and festive21 spirits.
"We certainly have the Santa and the commercial aspect, but the beautiful thing about Christmas is that it just lifts the whole country's spirits. So as people are in Washington here, everyone's in a better mood with the season."
BARBARA KLEIN: Some younger visitors also had a few things to say.
DEVON DUNN: "My name is Devon Dunn, and for Christmas this year, I might be going to my friend's house."
HERBIE BANKS: "My name is Herbie Banks. I'm eight years old. I'm just going to do what I always do at Christmas."
REPORTER: "What is that?"
HERBIE: "Just lay in the house. [laughter]"
STEVE EMBER: The "holiday season" includes Christmas, which most Christians celebrate on December twenty-fifth, and New Year's Day on January first. Other holidays also come late in the year but, because of different calendar systems, their dates change. For example, this year Jewish families celebrate Hanukkah, the eight-day Festival of Lights, starting at sundown on Tuesday. Muslims celebrated22 Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, in early November.
Some black Americans celebrate Kwanzaa, which begins the day after Christmas. This weeklong celebration was first observed forty-five years ago, in nineteen sixty-six. The name comes from a Swahili phrase that means "first fruits." The festival celebrates African culture and is based in part on ancient harvest celebrations.
Maulana Karenga, a scholar and activist23 in the United States, developed Kwanzaa during the black nationalist movement of the nineteen sixties. At first he called it an alternative to Christmas, which he said was a holiday for white people. But it soon became a mainstream24 celebration of family, community and the African roots of black Americans.
STEVE EMBER: Kwanzaa festivities can include stories, poetry, music, feasting and gift-giving. A candle is lit on each of the nights to represent seven traditional values. These are unity4, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
(MUSIC)
BARBARA KLEIN: Our program was produced by Brianna Blake. I'm Barbara Klein.
STEVE EMBER: And I'm Steve Ember. You can comment on our programs and find transcripts25, MP3s and podcasts at voanews.cn. Join us again next week for THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English.
___
Contributing: Carla Babb, Ted Landphair and Kelly Nuxoll


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 seasonal LZ1xE     
adj.季节的,季节性的
参考例句:
  • The town relies on the seasonal tourist industry for jobs.这个城镇依靠季节性旅游业提供就业机会。
  • The hors d'oeuvre is seasonal vegetables.餐前小吃是应时蔬菜。
2 renewal UtZyW     
adj.(契约)延期,续订,更新,复活,重来
参考例句:
  • Her contract is coming up for renewal in the autumn.她的合同秋天就应该续签了。
  • Easter eggs symbolize the renewal of life.复活蛋象征新生。
3 devastated eb3801a3063ef8b9664b1b4d1f6aaada     
v.彻底破坏( devastate的过去式和过去分词);摧毁;毁灭;在感情上(精神上、财务上等)压垮adj.毁坏的;极为震惊的
参考例句:
  • The bomb devastated much of the old part of the city. 这颗炸弹炸毁了旧城的一大片地方。
  • His family is absolutely devastated. 他的一家感到极为震惊。
4 unity 4kQwT     
n.团结,联合,统一;和睦,协调
参考例句:
  • When we speak of unity,we do not mean unprincipled peace.所谓团结,并非一团和气。
  • We must strengthen our unity in the face of powerful enemies.大敌当前,我们必须加强团结。
5 contractor GnZyO     
n.订约人,承包人,收缩肌
参考例句:
  • The Tokyo contractor was asked to kick $ 6000 back as commission.那个东京的承包商被要求退还6000美元作为佣金。
  • The style of house the contractor builds depends partly on the lay of the land.承包商所建房屋的式样,有几分要看地势而定。
6 modifications aab0760046b3cea52940f1668245e65d     
n.缓和( modification的名词复数 );限制;更改;改变
参考例句:
  • The engine was pulled apart for modifications and then reassembled. 发动机被拆开改型,然后再组装起来。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The original plan had undergone fairly extensive modifications. 原计划已经作了相当大的修改。 来自《简明英汉词典》
7 civic Fqczn     
adj.城市的,都市的,市民的,公民的
参考例句:
  • I feel it is my civic duty to vote.我认为投票选举是我作为公民的义务。
  • The civic leaders helped to forward the project.市政府领导者协助促进工程的进展。
8 decided lvqzZd     
adj.决定了的,坚决的;明显的,明确的
参考例句:
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
9 lighting CpszPL     
n.照明,光线的明暗,舞台灯光
参考例句:
  • The gas lamp gradually lost ground to electric lighting.煤气灯逐渐为电灯所代替。
  • The lighting in that restaurant is soft and romantic.那个餐馆照明柔和而且浪漫。
10 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
参考例句:
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
11 Christian KVByl     
adj.基督教徒的;n.基督教徒
参考例句:
  • They always addressed each other by their Christian name.他们总是以教名互相称呼。
  • His mother is a sincere Christian.他母亲是个虔诚的基督教徒。
12 Christians 28e6e30f94480962cc721493f76ca6c6     
n.基督教徒( Christian的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • Christians of all denominations attended the conference. 基督教所有教派的人都出席了这次会议。
  • His novel about Jesus caused a furore among Christians. 他关于耶稣的小说激起了基督教徒的公愤。
13 endorsement ApOxK     
n.背书;赞成,认可,担保;签(注),批注
参考例句:
  • We are happy to give the product our full endorsement.我们很高兴给予该产品完全的认可。
  • His presidential campaign won endorsement from several celebrities.他参加总统竞选得到一些社会名流的支持。
14 secular GZmxM     
n.牧师,凡人;adj.世俗的,现世的,不朽的
参考例句:
  • We live in an increasingly secular society.我们生活在一个日益非宗教的社会。
  • Britain is a plural society in which the secular predominates.英国是个世俗主导的多元社会。
15 dictating 9b59a64fc77acba89b2fa4a927b010fe     
v.大声讲或读( dictate的现在分词 );口授;支配;摆布
参考例句:
  • The manager was dictating a letter to the secretary. 经理在向秘书口授信稿。 来自辞典例句
  • Her face is impassive as she listens to Miller dictating the warrant for her arrest. 她毫无表情地在听米勒口述拘留她的证书。 来自辞典例句
16 multicultural qnIzdX     
adj.融合多种文化的,多种文化的
参考例句:
  • Children growing up in a multicultural society.在多元文化社会中长大的孩子们。
  • The school has been attempting to bring a multicultural perspective to its curriculum.这所学校已经在尝试将一种多元文化视角引入其课程。
17 grassy DfBxH     
adj.盖满草的;长满草的
参考例句:
  • They sat and had their lunch on a grassy hillside.他们坐在长满草的山坡上吃午饭。
  • Cattle move freely across the grassy plain.牛群自由自在地走过草原。
18 deformed iutzwV     
adj.畸形的;变形的;丑的,破相了的
参考例句:
  • He was born with a deformed right leg.他出生时右腿畸形。
  • His body was deformed by leprosy.他的身体因为麻风病变形了。
19 jersey Lp5zzo     
n.运动衫
参考例句:
  • He wears a cotton jersey when he plays football.他穿运动衫踢足球。
  • They were dressed alike in blue jersey and knickers.他们穿着一致,都是蓝色的运动衫和灯笼短裤。
20 ornaments 2bf24c2bab75a8ff45e650a1e4388dec     
n.装饰( ornament的名词复数 );点缀;装饰品;首饰v.装饰,点缀,美化( ornament的第三人称单数 )
参考例句:
  • The shelves were chock-a-block with ornaments. 架子上堆满了装饰品。
  • Playing the piano sets up resonance in those glass ornaments. 一弹钢琴那些玻璃饰物就会产生共振。 来自《简明英汉词典》
21 festive mkBx5     
adj.欢宴的,节日的
参考例句:
  • It was Christmas and everyone was in festive mood.当时是圣诞节,每个人都沉浸在节日的欢乐中。
  • We all wore festive costumes to the ball.我们都穿着节日的盛装前去参加舞会。
22 celebrated iwLzpz     
adj.有名的,声誉卓著的
参考例句:
  • He was soon one of the most celebrated young painters in England.不久他就成了英格兰最负盛名的年轻画家之一。
  • The celebrated violinist was mobbed by the audience.观众团团围住了这位著名的小提琴演奏家。
23 activist gyAzO     
n.活动分子,积极分子
参考例句:
  • He's been a trade union activist for many years.多年来他一直是工会的积极分子。
  • He is a social activist in our factory.他是我厂的社会活动积极分子。
24 mainstream AoCzh9     
n.(思想或行为的)主流;adj.主流的
参考例句:
  • Their views lie outside the mainstream of current medical opinion.他们的观点不属于当今医学界观点的主流。
  • Polls are still largely reflects the mainstream sentiment.民调还在很大程度上反映了社会主流情绪。
25 transcripts 525c0b10bb61e5ddfdd47d7faa92db26     
n.抄本( transcript的名词复数 );转写本;文字本;副本
参考例句:
  • Like mRNA, both tRNA and rRNA are transcripts of chromosomal DNA. tRNA及rRNA同mRNA一样,都是染色体DNA的转录产物。 来自辞典例句
  • You can't take the transfer students'exam without your transcripts. 没有成绩证明书,你就不能参加转学考试。 来自辞典例句
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TAG标签:   VOA慢速英语  Other  Holiday
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