20150128: 74 is the new 24... really?

Giorgio Moroder released a song called "74 is the New 24" recently. Well, well, you can be whatever age you wanna be, but it sounds quite embarrasing to hear a 74-year old guy insist that he's as young and vital as 24-year olds. Obviosly, no 24-year old guy would say that 24 is the New 74. So lame.




20150127: Being logical

Logical is the word that people overly use without considering what it really means. When you praise someone's opinion or the way it is presented as logical, you don't need to say any more. Logical is a magic word that conveys every kind of compliment on one's speech or written statement, but is it really that magical?

OED defines "logical" as characterized by or capable of clear, sound reasoning. Being logical may not be as complicated as it seems. When you state your opinion in a simple, clear, understandable way, you are to be regarded as logical. When someone says "Your argument is logical", it just indicates that he or she understands you're getting at and it's nothing more than that.




NYTimes 17

What You Learn in Your 40s

PARIS — IF all goes according to plan, I’ll turn 44 soon after this column appears. So far in my adult life, I’ve never managed to grasp a decade’s main point until long after it was over. It turns out that I wasn’t supposed to spend my 20s frantically looking for a husband; I should have been building my career and enjoying my last gasp of freedom. I then spent my 30s ruminating on grievances accumulated in my 20s.

This time around, I’d like to save time by figuring out the decade while I’m still in it. Entering middle age in Paris — the world’s epicenter of existentialism — isn’t terribly helpful. With their signature blend of subtlety and pessimism, the French carve up midlife into the “crisis of the 40s,” the “crisis of the 50s” and the “noonday demon” (described by one French writer as “when a man in his 50s falls in love with the babysitter”).

The modern 40s are so busy it’s hard to assess them. Researchers describe the new “rush hour of life,” when career and child-rearing peaks collide. Today’s 40ish professionals are the DITT generation: double income, toddler twins.

The existing literature treats the 40s as transitional. Victor Hugo supposedly called 40 “the old age of youth.” In Paris, it’s when waiters start calling you “Madame” without an ironic wink. The conventional wisdom is that you’re still reasonably young, but that everything is declining: health, fertility, the certainty that you will one day read “Hamlet” and know how to cook leeks. Among my peers there’s a now-or-never mood: We still have time for a second act, but we’d better get moving on it.

I think the biggest transition of the 40s is realizing that we’ve actually, improbably, managed to learn and grow a bit. In another 10 years, our 40-something revelations will no doubt seem naïve (“Ants can see molecules!” a man told me in college).

But for now, to cement our small gains, here are some things we know today that we didn’t know a decade ago:

• If you worry less about what people think of you, you can pick up an astonishing amount of information about them. You no longer leave conversations wondering what just happened. Other people’s minds and motives are finally revealed.

• People are constantly trying to shape how you view them. In certain extreme cases, they seem to be transmitting a personal motto, such as “I have a relaxed parenting style!”; “I earn in the low six figures!”; “I’m authentic and don’t try to project an image!”

• Eight hours of continuous, unmedicated sleep is one of life’s great pleasures. Actually, scratch “unmedicated.”

• There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.

• There are no soul mates. Not in the traditional sense, at least. In my 20s someone told me that each person has not one but 30 soul mates walking the earth. (“Yes,” said a colleague, when I informed him of this, “and I’m trying to sleep with all of them.”) In fact, “soul mate” isn’t a pre-existing condition. It’s an earned title. They’re made over time.

• You will miss out on some near soul mates. This goes for friendships, too. There will be unforgettable people with whom you have shared an excellent evening or a few days. Now they live in Hong Kong, and you will never see them again. That’s just how life is.

• Emotional scenes are tiring and pointless. At a wedding many years ago, an older British gentleman who found me sulking in a corner helpfully explained that I was having a G.E.S. — a Ghastly Emotional Scene. In your 40s, these no longer seem necessary. For starters, you’re not invited to weddings anymore. And you and your partner know your ritual arguments so well, you can have them in a tenth of the time.

Forgive your exes, even the awful ones. They were just winging it, too.

• When you meet someone extremely charming, be cautious instead of dazzled. By your 40s, you’ve gotten better at spotting narcissists before they ruin your life. You know that “nice” isn’t a sufficient quality for friendship, but it’s a necessary one.

• People’s youthful quirks can harden into adult pathologies. What’s adorable at 20 can be worrisome at 30 and dangerous at 40. Also, at 40, you see the outlines of what your peers will look like when they’re 70.

• More about you is universal than not universal. My unscientific assessment is that we are 95 percent cohort, 5 percent unique. Knowing this is a bit of a disappointment, and a bit of a relief.

• But you find your tribe. Jerry Seinfeld said in an interview last year that his favorite part of the Emmy Awards was when the comedy writers went onstage to collect their prize. “You see these gnome-like cretins, just kind of all misshapen. And I go, ‘This is me. This is who I am. That’s my group.’ ” By your 40s, you don’t want to be with the cool people; you want to be with your people.

• Just say “no.” Never suggest lunch with people you don’t want to have lunch with. They will be much less disappointed than you think.

• You don’t have to decide whether God exists. Maybe he does and maybe he doesn’t. But when you’re already worrying that the National Security Agency is reading your emails (and as a foreigner in France, that you’re constantly breaking unspoken cultural rules), it’s better not to know whether yet another entity is watching you.

Finally, a few more tips gleaned from four decades of experience:

• Do not buy those too-small jeans, on the expectation that you will soon lose weight.

• If you are invited to lunch with someone who works in the fashion industry, do not wear your most “fashionable” outfit. Wear black.

• If you like the outfit on the mannequin, buy exactly what’s on the mannequin. Do not try to recreate the same look by yourself.

• It’s O.K. if you don’t like jazz.

• When you’re wondering whether she’s his daughter or his girlfriend, she’s his girlfriend.

• When you’re unsure if it’s a woman or a man, it’s a woman.




NYTimes 16

Learning to Silence My Inner Editor

I am trained to be a critic. After several years of graduate school, I started to enjoy pointing out flaws in people’s writing, a ruthless activity with all the destructive pleasure of picking at a scab. The voice of my inner editor had become so powerful that it almost kept me from finding the love of my life.

The summer after graduation I had a temporary job teaching, but no idea of what to do next. Meanwhile, I lectured my writing students on the power of words: “Beware the thoughtless adjective. Beware the vague pronoun.”

I drew X’s over entire paragraphs. I pointed at their pages and said: “Imagine you’re the editor who pulled this from the slush pile. Is there a glaring typo in the first paragraph? Bam! Rejected.”

The students, a motley collection of high school juniors, stared back at me blankly. They enjoyed writing and saw no need for histrionics.

“You have to be vigilant,” I said. “Every cliché is a chance for the reader to leave you.”

I rescheduled my classes to attend a friend’s wedding in Hawaii. After a three-hour bus ride up the windward coast to the town of Laie, I had tangled hair but no brush, so I ran my fingers through the worst of the knots and walked up the hill to the ceremony.

James was the groom’s brother, the second oldest of five boys. All I knew was that he was single, attractive and didn’t care that my hair was a mess. We spun around on the grassy lawn, and afterward he took me to a bench overlooking the bay. Facing a sea too blue to be real, James held my hand and said I was beautiful.

I stuttered, unnerved by such a direct compliment. In my previous life of dive bars and urban rooftops, it didn’t matter what you said or whether you meant it, as long as you twisted your words into something clever.

“You are also attractive,” I responded, about as naturally as a robot. I had spent so much time in New York hobnobbing with wordsmiths I had forgotten how to speak without innuendo. Sure, I was fluent in flirtation, but to forgo the game and lay my cards on the table? That felt like a foreign language. I was almost 30 years old — definitely an adult. Was this really my first time telling a man that he was cute?

James and I stayed up all night, talking and kissing but making no promises. In the morning his parents drove us to Honolulu, where James flew to the Big Island, though he would soon be returning home to North Carolina. I caught a flight to New York, and I didn’t expect us to meet again. Just a wedding-night fling, I thought.

Then the postcards began to arrive.

“I can’t stop thinking about you, Aloha!” James wrote, but the handwriting was scrawled and the spelling was terrible. He cares, I thought, but not enough to proofread.

That may sound harsh, but to an aspiring writer, proofreading is the hallmark of caring. I cannot write an email or add a Facebook update without subjecting my words to tedious revision. If I send a story to a magazine with a missing period or uneven spacing, I feel as if I may as well have submitted a dirty pair of underwear.

The day before my 30th birthday I received an email from James, who was still in Hawaii. I opened it to see a photo he had taken of a ginger flower bouquet on a black lava beach. He had written: “Love and beauty, To: Jessy From. James”

The picture was lovely. The text, however, had irregular punctuation. Not to mention he had misspelled my name.

Despite these mistakes, I wrote him back immediately. The man had sent me flowers! I told him it was my birthday tomorrow. He responded: “Yeah! Happy birthday! Hauoli maka hiki hAu.”

Now, I’m no expert on the Hawaiian language, but I’m pretty sure they don’t insert random capitalization into the middle of words. Still, he had sent some selfies from the Big Island, and I was reassured by his handsome, friendly face.

The openness of his next email disarmed me: “Aloha, Jessie I cried on plane, I had to leavy seat. I love Hawaii.”

O.K., so “leavy” isn’t a word, but he had gotten my name right. And best of all, he wanted to see me again, despite the difficulty and distance.

“As you must feel from my letters,” he wrote, “I adore u bc of your smiles while we danced, your songs, voice, body, and beauty. Let’s meet in the middle between southport and Brooklyn, someplace, there must be a sweet place?”

So romantic, right? If only I could get over that syntax.

I brought the case to my writer friends. In the kitchen of a Park Slope apartment, I read a few of the messages and asked them to tell me the truth: Was my new suitor sincere? And even if he was sincere, was he stupid?

After the obligatory teasing, they argued in favor of James — and in favor of hope. Sure, things might not work out. But why not give it a try? My friend Lynne was particularly adamant: “He’s not stupid,” she said. “He’s incredibly nice and appreciates you and wants to show it.”

But I couldn’t silence my inner critic. How could a man I hardly knew be so into me? Me, with all my messes and mistakes. Maybe James was crazy. Clearly, he was capable of falling for a fantasy no flesh-and-blood woman could fulfill. But I couldn’t ignore how his words made me feel.

The men I had met in New York could spout a few good lines to get a girl into bed, but only James could write a messed-up sentence that got my heart pounding: “To nite I can not sleep so I will play songs to u, for Jessie, about Jessie, my inspiration.”

I had to see him.

I flew to North Carolina but delayed getting off the plane because I wanted to primp in the bathroom. I even asked the flight attendant if she had any lip gloss; I was so concerned with my appearance and how I might be judged. But as it turned out, James didn’t care about lip gloss. He didn’t care about my spelling or grammar. All he wanted was me.

I found him in the terminal, sitting on the floor with his hat in his hands. When he saw me, he leapt to his feet.

“I was so worried,” he said. “When you didn’t get off the plane, I thought you decided not to come.”

We walked to the parking lot and found his car, an ancient, pea-green Benz with a broken passenger window. He ran ahead to hold the door open for me. Sure, the scene didn’t look that good from the outside, but (if you’ll pardon the cliché) I felt like a queen stepping into her carriage.

The next three days were the most romantic of my life. We shucked oysters, played the guitar and surfed. When I got a nosebleed, he held me in his arms and raised me above the waves. After a homemade dinner of shrimp, wine and fish, I told him it was time to go “in there,” and gestured toward the only other room in his tiny cottage.

He was nervous. “I feel like I love you,” he said. “I know it’s crazy, but I do.” Then he carried me to his bed.

At some point during our love fest I borrowed his iPhone, and that’s when I realized he had been using it to send me messages. Everyone knows the mistakes that can lead to. James wasn’t the best speller, but technology wasn’t doing him any favors, either.

At that point, of course, it didn’t matter. I had already fallen in love with his candor and affection and unedited heart. At the airport we shared a long goodbye in the parking lot. On my way to the security line I saw him outside and went to him again. We joked about a hurricane. Then I pointed to my heart.

“I carry you there,” I said, a sentence so saccharine I never would have let myself get away with it on the page. But I didn’t care. It just felt true, so I said it.

He touched my chest, resting his hand above my heart. “You read my mind.”

A few months after I visited him in North Carolina, James and I moved to Hawaii. We were married four years later on the Big Island, and now we’re building a home there on an old plot of farmland.

I have a job teaching English at a local school, where I argue for the importance of proofreading and revision. I encourage my students to write precise sentences and help them strengthen their inner editor. But whenever I get a text from James, my heart starts to pound, and it’s hard to remember the rules.




Integrated 1

1) The author explains that Earth’s temperature is rising as a result of human activity, which is known a global warming. The speaker strengthens the point by providing some examples and possible consequences.

The author explains why global warming is a serious problem. Likewise, the speaker explains the impact of global warming in the northeastern United States.

2) The author points out that human activities increased significantly since the Industrial Revolution and this leads to the increase in Greenhouse gases and these gases hold heat on the atmosphere, which was the main cause of a rise in temperature.

3) For instance, during the twentieth century, the average Earth’s temperature rose 1.5 Fahrenheit, and it is predicted the temperature will rise several more degrees. The rise in Earth’s temperature can have several consequences, such as changes in the weather pattern, ice covers and sea level. Changes in weather patterns may lead to economic losses, especially in the agricultural and transportation sectors.


The authors explains that human activity, such as industry and cutting down forests, has resulted in an artificial increase in greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere, with serious results. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, hold heat in the atmosphere and result in rising temperatures on Earth. As average temperatures rise, there are a number of effects. First, scientists predict that weather patterns will change. In addition, snow and ice will melt and sea levels will rise. This can read to flooding, drought, and powerful storms. It can also affect the economy, particularly agriculture and transportation. Economics predict that global warming will lead to a drop in gross national product and consumer consumption in countries around the world.

4) The speaker reinforces the point in the passage by providing some factual data. There’s a report stating that in the northern eastern part of America, the months during December to March, the average temperature increased in 2005, and it snowed 9 days less. The less snowfall affects skiing industry because it means less snow and less business days for the industry to make a profit. Also, if the winter gets warmer, the colored leaves in the fall will be less colorful and it will affect less tourists. There’s a prediction that the days of snow will decrease 25 to 50 percent. (234)


The speaker explains the effects of global warming in the northeastern part of the United States. This is a cold and snowy area. Since 1965, temperatures in this region have risen. There are also fewer days with snow on the ground than there used to be. This has had an effect on the economy for people who depend on the ski industry to make a living. The predicted effects of global warming that the author described are already coming true, at least in the northeastern United States.



English learner


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