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A First Look At The USA

2006-07-29 00:24

  「USA-1」Unit 1 Florida

  Welcome to Florida, the "Sunshine State." If you like warm weather, Florida is the best place for a vacation. Millions of visitors come to Florida each year. They like it's sandy beaches, theme parks, and natural beauty.

  Miami is big tourist city. People loves it's beautiful beaches. There are many coconut palm trees along the streets and beaches in Miami. They are very pretty. But they are also dangerous! People have jobs as coconut watchers. They make sure that coconuts do not fall on the tourist' heads!

  Florida is famous for it's theme parks. The world's largest theme park is Walt Disney Words, near Orlando. A train takes people around Disney Words. One part, called EPCOT Center, is all about the future. You can see life, food, and transportation in the future.

  Florida has another things to see, too. You can go to the Kennedy Space Center. This is where astronauts go up into space. You can see how astronauts learn about space. If you go south, you can see wildlife in the Everglades. The Everglades is an area of some land and a lot of water. Grass grows in the water. Many wild animals such as alligators live in this swamp.

  Millions of tourists come to Florida for a vacation. But many people come to Florida to live, too. Many older people from cold states come to relax in the Florida sunshine. But young people come to Florida, too. Florida has many new kinds of jobs. Florida has something for everyone.

  「USA-1」Unit 2 Washington

  Why is Washington different from every other state in the United States? It is the only state named after the first President of the United States, George Washington. It is a beautiful state. It is called the "Evergreen State". Washington is very green because it rains a lot there.

  The rain helps many things grow. There are trees and forests everywhere. People cut down the trees for wood. But they plant a new tree for each tree that they cut down. So Washington has beautiful forests. There are also many fruit trees. Washington is number one in the United States for apples and pears.

  Washington has many mountains and rivers. There are 40 kinds of fish in the rivers. But Washington is most famous for its salmon. Washington also has a lot of volcanoes. In 1980 the volcano at Mount St. Helens erupted. The smoke from the mountain turned the day into night. Trees and plants died. Sixty people near Mount St. Helens died. But today new life is back on the mountain, Scientists are very surprised that animals and plants are back too soon.

  There are over 4 million people in Washington. Many people go there to visit. Some like it so much that they decide to stay. More and more people come to live in this beautiful state.

  「USA-1」Unit 3 Minnesota

  Minnesota has many lakes. People call Minnesota the "Land of 10,000 Lakes". In fact, there are more than 15,000 lakes. It also has rivers. The great Mississippi River begins at Lake Itasca. It is very small where it starts. The river then flows 2,340 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.

  The name Minnesota is a Native American word. Can you guess what it means? If you think that Minnesota means "water", you are right. It means "sky-colored water". It is a good name for this state.

  Minnesota also has many forests. People tell a story about a woodcutter named Paul Bunyan. He was very large. They say he cut down 500 trees before breakfast.

  Minnesota is beautiful, but it is very cold in the winter. In the biggest city, Minneapolis, there are skyways between many buildings. Skyways are like bridges. People can walk from place to place without going out into the cold.

  St. Paul is the capital of Minnesota. Here, at the winter carnival, people make ice sculptures.

  Minnesota is a safe and healthy place to live. It has the best school system in the country. Students choose the school they want to go to. The medical system is also very good.

  「USA-1」Unit 4 Isaac Singer's Sewing Machine

  Imagine life with no machines. Make your own shoes. Sew your own clothes. Wash clothes by hand. Walk everywhere. Life can be very hard! But people today have a very easy life. It is not because of machines. It is because of inventors.

  Isaac Singer was an inventor. Life is easy because of his invention. His story begins in 1811. He is born poor. He is the eighth child of a German immigrant. At age 22, he runs away from home and become an actor. An actor does not make much money, so Isaac also learns to be a mechanic. When he needs money, he works as a mechanic.

  Now it is 1851. Singer is working as a mechanic in Boston. Someone tells him he can make a lot of money if he can make a good sewing machine. Singer needs money. There are already several kinds of sewing machines. But none of them work well. In eleven days, Singer makes the first sewing machine that really works.

  Singer and two other people start the I. M. Singer Company. They make sewing machines. Soon everyone wants to buy one. The singer Company uses a great new idea to sell its machines. People do not have to pay all the money at one time. They can pay a little money every month or every week.

  The sewing machine changes life in the United States. Woman do not have to sew clothes for the family. For the first time, people can buy ready-made clothes and shoes.

  Isaac Singer became a very, very wealthy man. He stops work and retires. He builds a house with 115 rooms in England. When he dies, his 24 children fight over his money.

  「USA-1」Unit 5 Josephine Cochrane's Dishwasher

  Josephine Cochrane is a very rich woman. She has many beautiful things. She never washes dishes or does housework. She has servants to do the work for her. Mrs. Cochrane has a very good life. But Mrs. Cochrane is not happy! Why? Her servants always break her lovely dishes. One day another dish breaks. Mrs. Cochrane gets very angry. She decides to do something. She decides to make a machine that washes dishes.

  Mrs. Cochrane does not know anything about machines. So she asks her friends for help. Finally she makes a dishwasher. It has places for plates, saucers, and cups. It is a lot like dishwashers today. Her friends think the machine is amazing. They tell other friends. Soon many people know about Mrs. Cochrane's machine. Restaurants and hotels want to have a machine. It is 1886. Mrs. Cochrane starts a company to make dishwashers.

  Later, her company makes the first dishwashers for the home. She names her dishwasher Kitchen-Aid. Today, half the homes in the United States have dishwashers. Many people still buy Kitchen-Aid dishwashers. Everyone can thank Mrs. Cochrane for saving their nice dishes.

  「USA-1」Unit 6 Garret A. Morgan's Traffic Light

  Think about driving without traffic lights. What a nightmare! The next time you stop for a red light, thank the inventor, Garret A. Morgan.

  It is 1875. Garret A. Morgan is born to a poor African-American family. When he is 14 he leaves school and goes to work. He does not have much education. But he is very imaginative. He teaches himself.

  Morgan works in a sewing machine shop. He gets interested in machines. He always looks for better ways to do things. It is 1901. Morgan invents a special belt for sewing machines. He sells the idea for $150. But this is only the beginning. Morgan invents a helmet to protect miners and firefighters from smoke and gas. He wins a gold medal for this invention.

  Morgan looks for other problems to solve. Cars are very popular in the United States. The streets are crowed with cars. There are many accidents. Morgan has an idea. What about a light at each street corner? The light tells the cars to stop or go. He invents a timer that automatically changes the light.

  Cities all over the country want to have Morgan's traffic lights. He cannot produce enough traffic lights. It is the 1920s. He sells his invention to the General Electric Company. He gets $40,000. This is a large amount of money for that time.

  「USA-1」Unit 7 McDonald's

  Do you have a dream? What do you want to do? Maurice("Mac") and Richard McDonald have a dream. They want to be movie stars. They go to California from the East Coast. But they cannot find jobs in the movies. They are very poor. They are very disappointed. They must do something to make money. They decided to open a restaurant in San Bernardino. They want to try something new - a fast-food restaurant. They borrow money and open a restaurant. They call the restaurant McDonald's. Hamburgers, milk shakes, and french fries are on the menu. That's all. A restaurant with three things on the menu? No one thinks it will work. But people love it. The food is simple, fast, and good. Soon, people wait in line outside the restaurant.

  A salesman named Ray Kroc from Chicago cannot understand why the restaurant needs so many milk-shake machines. So he goes to California to see this restaurant. He is amazed people wait outside the restaurant to get in. He tries the food. It is great. And the restaurant is so clean.

  Kroc asks the brothers to open restaurants like this. The brothers say they make enough money. Kroc tells the brothers they can make more money. He can open other McDonald's like this one. He will give them some money for these restaurants. The brothers agree.

  It is 1955. Kroc opens two other McDonald's. But people want more. Soon there are hundreds of McDonald's. The brothers have enough money. They sell McDonald's to Ray Kroc. He pays $2.5 million.

  Kroc becomes very rich. And the brothers? They are happy with their quiet life.

  「USA-1」Unit 8 Superman

  "Look, up in the sky. It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!" Everyone knows Superman. Old people know Superman. Young people know Superman. He is famous. Millions of people buy Superman comic books.

  Here is the story of Superman. It is 1939. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster are high school students. Jerry wants to be a writer. Joe wants to be an artist. They like to work together. One writes, the other draws pictures. They write stories with pictures for commix books.

  One day, Jerry has a great new idea. It is Superman! Superman is from another planet. But nobody knows. He lives like an ordinary person. Superman does good things for people. Joe draws Superman. Joe and Jerry want to sell their story. They want to make money. But nobody buys Superman. Finally, after many years, someone wants to buy Superman, Jerry and Joe are very excited. But they sell Superman for only a little money.

  Superman becomes a great success. The people who own Superman make millions of dollars. But Joe and Jerry are poor.

  It is 1975. Joe cannot see well now. He cannot draw. He lives in a small apartment. Jerry works for very little money. The two men are both old and poor. They are angry, too. They tell the newspaper about their situation. Finally, the owners of Superman give Joe and Jerry some money. The money helps the old men. But it is not still much. Other people make a lot more money from Superman. It is also 30 years too late. Superman is famous. His owners are rich. But Joe and Jerry are not so lucky.

  「USA-1」Unit 9 Potato Chips

  Potato chips are America's favorite snack. Where do potato chips come from? It's 1853. A Native American named George Crum makes the first potato chips. Crum is a chief in an expensive restaurant in Saratoga Springs, New York. One day, a customer does not like the french fries. He says they are too thick. So Crum makes more, this time thinner. The customer still does not like them. Crum gets mad. He decides to make the customer angry. So he cuts the potatoes very, very thin. The customer loves them.

  Other people want Crum's potato chips. Now, there is a new food on the menu - Saratoga chips. Soon Crum opens his own restaurant and he makes his special chips.

  It takes a long time to make potato chips. People peel the potatoes by hand. Then, in 1920, the automatic potato peeler changes everything. Now it is faster and easier to make potato chips. Now potato chips are not a specialty. They are a popular snack food, but only in the North.

  A salesman named Herman Lay wants to sell potato chips in the South. He sells potato chips in bag. His business grows. Today, Americans eat a lot of potato chips every day.

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