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Conversation:

Omar:  Yesterday I took the stairs up to my office because the elevator wasn’t working.  By the time I reached the fifth floor, I was out of breath.  It was a real wake-up call for me.  I know I need to start doing something about it.

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by Bob Marley
a Jamaican singer-songwriter, musician, and guitarist who helped make reggae music popular around the world.  This song was released in 1977 on his album “Exodus.”  It was re-released in 1980 as a single and quickly became one of his most popular songs.

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amusing:  causing laughter
That was an amusing story he told at the party.
Watching the kittens play was very amusing.

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by Tanniar Leba

an immigrant who came to Canada in 2004 to start a new life in this country.

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absolute:  100 percent, complete, perfect
No teacher has absolute control over her students.
He pushed his body to the absolute limit to win the race.

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by Virginia to Vegas, featuring Alyssa Reid

Virginia To Vegas is Derik Baker, a 24-year old singer and songwriter from small-town Ontario, Canada.  Based in Toronto, Derik was discovered on YouTube by Canadian Indie label Wax Records in 2013.  This song was released in January of 2014 and features Alyssa Reid, who at age 15 first appeared on YTV’s 2008 singing competition “The Next Star.”  She is also a Toronto-based singer and songwriter.

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by Salman Khan
the founder and faculty of the Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org), a not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing a free world-class education to anyone, anywhere.  He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, an M.Eng and B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT, and a B.S. in mathematics from MIT.

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People all over the world enjoy eating pizza.  Here in Vancouver there are many pizza places where you can buy a single slice if you want a snack or a whole pizza pie if you want a meal.  The ten most popular toppings you can choose are pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, sausage, bacon, extra cheese, black olives, green peppers, pineapple, and spinach, in that order.  Did you know that pizza is a very old food whose history goes back at least 4000 years?  At that time people added ingredients to a flour and water flatbread to make it more tasty.  In the 16th century in Naples, Italy, flatbread was called pizza, a modern word for the old Latin word “pinsa,” and it was common food for the poor.  When tomatoes were first introduced into Europe from the Americas, many people thought they were poisonous, but by the 18th century it was common for poor people around Naples to put them on pizza.  Pizza was mostly sold outside, but pizzarias sprung up in and around Naples to meet the demand of this popular food.  Even tourists would come from other areas to sample Neopolitan pizza.  The first major type of pizza was called the Marinara, which had tomatoes, oregano, garlic and olive oil.  The second major type, dating from 1889, was the Margherita, which had the colors of the Italian flag – basil leaves for green, mozzarella cheese for white, and tomatoes for red.  The mozzarella cheese was specially made from the milk of the Indian Water Buffalo, and no other cheese was allowed.  In 1984, the True Neapolitan Pizza Association set the rules for a true pizza of Naples.  The dough had to be made by hand and not rolled, it had to be 35 centimeters or less in diameter and no more than .33 centimeters thick at the center, and it had to be baked in a wood-fired oven.  When you eat your next slice of pizza, you can have an appreciation of its long history.

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by Ben Lee

an Australian musician and actor.  He began his career as a musician at the age of 14 with the Sydney band Noise Addict, which broke up in 1995.  He has released nine solo studio albums since that time.  This song is from his fifth album, Awake is the New Sleep.
 

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by Vanessa Hudgens
an American actress and singer. She became famous playing Gabriella Montez in the High School Musical series.  This song, originally sung by Tammin Sursock,  is from her album V , released in early October 2006.
 

Sometimes I feel like I’m a bird with broken wings
At times I dread my now and envy where I’ve been
But that’s when quiet wisdom takes control
At least I’ve got a story no one’s told

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