Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:
We answer a question about animals Americans keep as pets …
Play some award winning rhythm and blues music …
And report about a popular Internet site that shows videos.
YouTube is a very popular Web site on the Internet. People can make their own short videos and place them on YouTube. Anyone around the world can watch the videos online. Mario Ritter has more.
Chad Hurley and Steve Chen created YouTube last year. The two young men had made a video at their friend's party. They wanted to share the recording with other friends online. But they could not find a good Web site to put the video on. So they decided to create a Web site where friends can share videos.
Mr. Hurley and Mr. Chen are both younger than thirty. Both young men had experience working for another Web site. Their creation, YouTube, started small and became very popular.
YouTube says that people watch one hundred million videos on the site every day. Users post about sixty thousand videos on YouTube each day. Fifty million videos are on the Web site at any one time.
There are many different kinds of videos on YouTube. Most of the videos are made by young people under the age of thirty.
Most are only a few minutes long. Some of the videos are funny. They show people singing, or dancing. They show cats doing funny things. Some videos make fun of politicians. Other videos are more serious. American soldiers post videos from the war in Iraq. Recently, people in Israel and Lebanon have posted hundreds of videos of the conflict taking place there.
People can also watch commercial videos on YouTube. These include music videos, interviews from television programs and scenes from new movies.
Anyone can put a video on YouTube. But YouTube cannot show some programs because of copyright protection laws. These laws do not permit YouTube to show television programs without the permission of the television networks. The employees of YouTube work hard to honor these laws. They also remove violent or sexual videos from the Web site.
YouTube is the most popular video Web site, especially among young people. As a result, commercial television stations and film studios want to show their programs on YouTube. You can see what it's all about at YouTube.com.
Americans and Their Pets
This week's listener question comes from Iran. Mansour Karami asks about the popularity of keeping animals as pets in the United States. Pets live in more than sixty-nine million American homes. That is about sixty-three percent of all American homes.
The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association did a study of pet owners this year. It said American families have about ninety million cats and seventy-three million dogs. Americans keep one hundred forty-eight million fish and sixteen million birds. They keep eighteen million other small animals like rabbits, hamsters and gerbils.
Americans have eleven million reptiles – animals like iguanas, salamanders and snakes, even poisonous snakes. Other more unusual animals also are gaining popularity as pets. They include pot-bellied pigs, llamas, rare birds, hedgehogs and goats. Yes, I said goats.
The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association says Americans are expected to spend more than thirty-eight thousand million dollars this year on their pets.
People buy specially prepared food costing a total of more than fifteen thousand million dollars a year. They buy pet supplies, toys and clothing like little sweaters. They buy jewelry and clothes for themselves with images of their animals on them. For example, many people – including adults – wear T-shirts showing cats or dogs.
Americans spend more than nine thousand million dollars a year for their pets' health care. They take their pets to doctors for animals called veterinarians. The pets get vaccine medicines to protect them against diseases. The veterinarians also care for illnesses and broken bones. And they neuter animals to prevent them from reproducing.
Some owners even bury their dead pets in special burial grounds.
The pet dog of a woman who lives in Maryland recently died of old age. The woman missed him so much that within a few weeks, she took in another animal.
Her new dog, Toby, was homeless for a while after getting lost in Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana last year. She says Toby seems happy now, although he acts frightened during storms.
She says, "I think we both needed each other."
Rhythm and Blues Foundation Awards
The Rhythm and Blues Foundation recently presented its Pioneer Awards at a ceremony in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The organization honors great rhythm and blues performers. It also seeks to continue the influence of rhythm and blues music. The Rhythm and Blues Foundation has honored more than one hundred fifty artists since nineteen eighty-eight. Faith Lapidus tells us about some of the award winners this year.
The winner of the Foundation's Legacy Award was singer Otis Redding. The Foundation says his work is an outstanding example of "southern soul" music. e recorded what may have been his biggest hitH Perhaps his biggest hit song was this one, "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay":
Another Rhythm and Blues Foundation Award winner was The DelFonics. This group won the Performance Group Award. The three group members grew up in Philadelphia. They were one of the first groups to sing what became known as "The Philly Soul Sound." Here they sing their hit, "La La Means I Love You."
The winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award was record company official Berry Gordy. Gordy started Motown Records in Detroit, Michigan. He discovered many popular recording artists, including The Four Tops, The Supremes and this group, The Temptations. We leave you now with one of their biggest hits, "My Girl."
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
Our show was written by Erin Schiavone, Nancy Steinbach and Jerilyn Watson. Caty Weaver was our producer. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.
Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.