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AMERICAN MOSAIC

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(MUSIC)

DOUG JOHNSON: Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English. I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

Music from Green Day ...

A question about the upcoming presidential inauguration ...

And an update on the adventures of a high-flying New Yorker.

Pale Male

Image from the 2002 documentary ''Pale Male.''
Image from the 2002 documentary ''Pale Male.''

In August of two thousand three we had a story about Pale Male, a famous bird living in New York City. Recently, he and his mate Lola were in the news again. Maybe you heard about it. Faith Lapidus tells us more.

FAITH LAPIDUS: Pale Male and Lola are red-tailed hawks, large hunting birds that eat small animals and other birds. Pale Male built a nest on the side of a tall building. This is a building where people live in apartments that cost millions and millions of dollars. It is across the street from Central Park, a nature area in the middle of the city.

Pale Male arrived in nineteen ninety-three. Since then, he and his mates have raised more than twenty young hawks. Thousands of people have watched the activity. The hawks became movie stars.

But recently, the people who own the building decided they no longer wanted the nest on the side of their property. They said they were tired of finding dropped remains of pigeons and other creatures near the front of the building. They ordered workers to take down the nest. They also ordered the workers to fix the building so the nest could not be rebuilt.

Other New Yorkers immediately began to protest. Hundreds of people demonstrated outside the building along Fifth Avenue. The story of Pale Male made news far beyond New York. People around the world wrote letters of protest.

We are happy to report that the building owners quickly changed their minds. They ordered workers to undo the changes to the building, so the hawks can rebuild their nest.

Bird watchers say Pale Male and Lola continue to fly around the area. They have been seen several times where their nest used to be. However, the bird watchers say the two hawks have not yet begun to rebuild their home.

So stay tuned. If we receive confirmed reports that Pale Male and Lola have begun to rebuild their nest, we will tell you.

Hmmm … maybe someone will make another movie, about the continuing adventures of Lola and Pale Male.

Presidential Inaugurations

President Bush giving his first inaugural address.
President Bush giving his first inaugural address.

DOUG JOHNSON: Our listener question this week comes from Iran. Monireh Farhangnia asks what the American president does on Inauguration Day. That day is next Thursday.

In the morning, President Bush and his wife Laura will attend a church service across from the White House. Then, they will go to the Capitol building for the swearing-in ceremony. Every four years, workers build a special stand outside for that purpose.

The chief justice of the United States traditionally swears in the vice president and then the president. However, Vice President Dick Cheney is to take the oath of office from Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House of Representatives. Chief Justice William Rehnquist has thyroid cancer. But he is still planning to swear in President Bush.

Newly inaugurated presidents give a speech, officially called an inaugural address.

After the ceremony, the president and vice president and guests go inside the Capitol to have lunch. Later, they watch a parade along Pennsylvania Avenue with floats and marching bands from around the country. Pennsylvania Avenue is a wide street with the Capitol at one end and the White House at the other.

Finally, in the evening, the leaders and groups of guests attend parties called inaugural balls. The first of these in Washington took place for President James Madison and his wife Dolly in eighteen oh nine.

Eight inaugural balls organized by states will take place around the city next Thursday night. In addition, there will be a free celebration called the Commander-in-Chief Ball. This party is for troops back recently from Iraq and Afghanistan, or soon to be sent.

Events related to the inauguration will take place for several days before and after the swearing-in. These activities cost a lot to organize. Some of the money is paid by taxpayers, and some by businesses, groups and individuals. By last Friday, the presidential inaugural committee had collected eighteen million dollars, around half the goal.

People who give a lot of money reportedly get better seats at the inauguration and parade. They may even get to attend a meal with the president and vice president.

A difference of opinion at the 2001 inauguration.
A difference of opinion at the 2001 inauguration.

The last inaugural took place in January of two thousand one. That was eight months before the terrorist attacks of September eleventh. This time, security measures will be the heaviest ever for a presidential inauguration.

The twentieth amendment to the Constitution sets Inauguration Day on January twentieth. This has been the date since nineteen thirty-three. The presidential swearing-in ceremony formerly took place on March fourth. That was generally the last day of the congressional term.

But why wait until four months after elections? Well, for one thing, it took a long time to count all the votes. Then it took more time for the newly elected leaders to travel to Washington.

The final weeks of the congressional term were not very productive, though. And, by the nineteen thirties, modern transportation permitted a quicker trip to the capital. So Congress and the states decided to move Inauguration Day to January.

Green Day

Graphic Image
Graphic Image

The American music industry will present its Grammy Awards on February thirteenth in Los Angeles. One of the top nominees this year is Green Day for the album "American Idiot." Shep O'Neal has our story.

SHEP O'NEAL: The three members of Green Day are singer and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, bass player Mike Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool. Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt started performing together as kids in California.

Green Day released its first major album, "Dookie," in nineteen ninety four. "Dookie" has sold more than ten million copies in the United States alone. It won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance.

(MUSIC)

In nineteen ninety-seven, Green Day came out with one of their best-known songs, on the album "Nimrod." Here is "Good Riddance," better known as "Time of Your Life."

(MUSIC)

Green Day's newest work is nominated for seven Grammys. These include Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Best Rock Album and Best Rock Song, for the title piece. We leave you now with Green Day and the title song from "American Idiot."

(MUSIC)

DOUG JOHNSON: This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.

This show was written by Nancy Steinbach and Paul Thompson, who is also the producer. Our engineer was Efeem Drucker. Please join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA.'s radio magazine in Special English.

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