Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:
We answer a question about the term baby boomers …
Play some music from the Beatles …
And report about changes to a traditional American board game.
It is the middle of the winter holiday shopping season in the United States. Stores are crowded with people buying gifts for family members and friends. One of the new gifts this year is an updated version of the board game Monopoly. Barbara Klein tells us about it.
The Parker Brothers company began selling Monopoly in nineteen thirty-five. Players move pieces around a board to buy and sell property. The first Monopoly game represented streets in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Since then, more than two hundred fifty million copies of Monopoly have been sold in eighty countries around the world. It is the best selling board game in the world.
The Hasbro company bought Parker Brothers in nineteen ninety-one. The company's Web site says more than two hundred different versions of Monopoly have been created over the years. They show streets in different American cities, places at universities and areas in national parks.
Earlier this year, the Hasbro company announced a contest to create a new and different version of Monopoly. It would represent famous places in America. The company wanted help in choosing the properties that would appear on the board. So it asked Monopoly lovers to use their computers to vote for popular places in twenty-two cities. The votes also would decide where each place would appear on the board. The place with the largest number of votes would have the most important space on the board.
Three million votes were counted to help develop the new game, called Monopoly Here and Now. These are some of the places in the new game: The White House in Washington, D.C. Wrigley Baseball Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Las Vegas Boulevard in Las Vegas, Nevada. And, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. New York City's Times Square received the most votes, so it occupies the highest rent property space on the new board.
Monopoly Here and Now also has new and improved pieces that the players move around the board to play the game. The old pieces included a top hat and an old shoe. Some of the new ones include a cell phone and a laptop computer.
Our listener question this week comes from Nepal. Amrit Rai wants to know the meaning of the term baby boomers.
Baby boomers are Americans who were born between nineteen forty-six and nineteen sixty-four. World War Two ended in nineteen forty-five. The number of babies born increased sharply after soldiers came home from the war.
The "baby boom" describes the growth of American families and the economy during this period. Population experts say a law called the GI Bill helped create the baby boom. It gave soldiers who served in World War Two and the Korean War the financial support they needed to start families. It also provided education, training, loans, unemployment payments and other aid to former soldiers. Millions of them paid for their college educations or bought homes.
The baby boomers were such a large group that they had a major influence on American culture. This year, the oldest members of the baby boom generation turned sixty. They include President George W. Bush and former president Bill Clinton. The two men were born within sixty days of each other in nineteen forty-six. They are the country's first and second baby boomer presidents.
Some experts believe baby boomers will continue to have power in Washington for many years. For example, a great number of baby boomers will be serving in Congress. And another boomer may also be elected president.
The two newest members of the Supreme Court are both baby boomers. Chief Justice John Roberts was born in nineteen fifty-five; Justice Samuel Alito, in nineteen fifty. In addition to politics, many of the cultural and business leaders in the United States are baby boomers.
The population of the United States includes more than seventy-eight million baby boomers. That is more than one quarter of the American population. And this country continues to feel the social effects of the baby boom. For example, many companies make products or offer services that promise to make people look and feel younger. Right now, baby boomers are either planning for their retirement, taking care of their aging parents or worrying about their teenage children.
The Beatles' Love
The Beatles have released a new album, called "Love." It contains twenty-six Beatles songs that have been remixed and combined to produce something completely new. Katherine Cole has our story.
The Beatles album "Love" began as the soundtrack for the Canadian Cirque Du Soleil show that opened a few months ago in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cirque Du Soleil means "Circus of the Sun." The show combines acrobatics, dance, theater and music.
The surviving Beatles and their families had asked the Beatles' producer, George Martin, to create the music for the show. Martin and his son, Giles, made the experimental mixes from the master tapes, recorded in the studio, that were used to make the Beatles' records.
The famous Beatles songs on "Love" are edited together, taken apart and changed in new and creative ways. The album is part of a new musical method called a mash-up. This song on "Love" combines three Beatles songs. See if you can identify them.
Those songs were "Drive My Car," "The Word" and "What You're Doing."
In this song, "Because," the background instrumental music has been removed. What remains are the Beatles singing acapella. You can hear their voices combine beautifully with each other.
Paul McCartney, one of the two surviving Beatles, had this to say about "Love:" "This album puts the Beatles back together again, because suddenly there's John and George with me and Ringo. It's kind of magical."
There is only one song on the album to which new music was added. George Martin added new music by stringed instruments to George Harrison's singing. We leave you with "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
This show was written by Shelley Gollust, Jill Moss and Nancy Steinbach. Caty Weaver was the 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.