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Kids Love Shoes on Wheels, but Adults Turn Against 'Heelys'


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Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.

I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

We listen to music from George Michael …

Learn about some popular shoes for children …

And report about a new environmental magazine.

Verdant

Finding new ways to improve the world's environment and fight climate change is becoming an important industry. "Going Green" has become a way to make money. Verdant Magazine is a new publication that wants to be part of the "Going Green" market. Barbara Klein has more.

Verdant Magazine says it gives "Smarter Choices for Better Living." It calls itself a high- end magazine that provides information about environmentally friendly living. The magazine says it is fun while also being informative. It tells its readers about many things including travel, design, art and reports about products.

The first issue came out in May. Some articles are fun to look at, such as the pictures of environmentally safe objects for the home. These include computer devices covered in carved wood. Cloth colored with environmentally safe chemicals. And even art made from recycled materials.

One article tells about how to have a garden of plants that does not require a lot of water. The article shows that by using rocks and special plants people can have outdoor areas that do not waste water. Some stories are serious, such as the article about the future of hydrogen cars. Other articles are more fun, such as one about different uses for chocolate.

The next issue of Verdant will come out at the end of August. So far, people have given mixed opinions of the first issue on Web sites such as treehugger.com. Some people think Verdant is aimed only at rich people who can buy the objects in the articles. Some think the magazine itself is a waste since it is printed on paper. But others think the magazine offers environmental information in a form that is easy to use. If you want to decide for yourself, visit the magazine's Web site at verdantmag.com.

Heelys

One of the most popular activities among children in the United States this summer involves a costly pair of shoes.  But adults are warning about the possible dangers of the shoes with wheels known as Heelys. Faith Lapidus explains.

Heelys are shoes that can roll.  They are sports shoes with a wheel in the heel. The wheels can be easily removed from the shoes. So a person wearing them can either walk or ride!  Heelys are sold in at least fifty countries around the world.  They cost between fifty and one hundred dollars. They were first sold in the United States in two thousand.

Heelys Incorporated is one of the fastest growing businesses in the United States.  Reports say the company has produced more than ten million pairs of shoes.  And it had almost two hundred million dollars in sales last year.

Roger Adams invented Heelys because he wanted to be able to roller skate without changing his shoes.  He invented a shoe that could roll if the wearer moved the weight of his body toward the back.

Doctors, however, say wearing Heelys can be dangerous. One doctor told a newspaper in the state of Iowa that the shoes would be safer if the wheels were in the front of the shoe instead of the back.  He said a person's natural balance is to the front of the foot, not the back.

One medical study last month in the journal Pediatrics warned of the possible dangers of wearing Heelys.  It said doctors at a hospital in Dublin, Ireland reported treating sixty-seven children for injuries over a ten-week period last summer.  Doctors in Singapore reported that thirty-seven children were treated for injuries during seven months in two thousand four.  Most of the injuries reported involved broken hands, arms and ankles and cracked heads.  The children were not wearing any kind of protective equipment when they fell.

The Heelys company recently released the result of a study it had requested.  The study found that rolling on Heelys is safer than roller skating, skateboarding or riding scooters.  Still, the company and many doctors suggest that children wear protective equipment on their heads, arms and legs.  But children say they do not like to do this.  Many say they expect to fall while learning to use Heelys and they just get up and try again.

George Michael

Our listener question this week comes from Iran. Saeed Majidi wants to know about George Michael and his famous song "Careless Whisper."

George Michael is one of the world's most successful male recording artists.  He has sold more than eighty million records around the world. George Michael was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in London in nineteen sixty-three. His father was from the Greek side of the island of Cyprus and changed his name to Jack Panos when he moved to England.

George Michael and his high school friend Andrew Ridgeley formed the music band Wham! in nineteen eighty-one. They released two albums, "Fantastic" and "Make it Big."  The song "Careless Whisper" came out in nineteen eighty-four. George Michael wrote it when he was only seventeen years old.

"Careless Whisper" became one of the most popular songs of the nineteen eighties.

In nineteen eighty-six the members of Wham! broke up. But George Michael continued to write and sing hit songs. The next year he released the album "Faith."  It earned him many awards.  They include a Grammy Award for Best Album and two American Music Awards for Favorite Male Vocalist. Here George Michael sings the title song, "Faith."

George Michael has always been politically and socially active. He has given earnings from songs and concerts to organizations that deal with AIDS and children's health. This summer, he has been performing more than thirty concerts all over Europe. The Twenty-Five Live Tour is celebrating his first twenty-five years in music.  The tour will end next month.

I'm Doug Johnson.  I hope you enjoyed our program today.

It was written by Dana Demange and Nancy Steinbach.  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.


"American Mosaic" in VOA Special English
www.manythings.org/voa/america

Source: Kids Love Shoes on Wheels, but Adults Turn Against 'Heelys'
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