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[report整理] Words and Their Stories 2009-03-29

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HW:

I'm Suzan Clark with the special English program "Words and Their Stories".

Suzan Cleveland is the young president of a candy company in the City of Chicago. Her father began in the company in the 1960s. He died three years ago. Now the company belongs to Suzan. Many of her father's employees were concerned when Suzan took control.

Suzan's father had worked many years for other candy companies before starting this one. He had known a great deal about business. Suzan however didn't have any jobs before becoming the head of the company. She just finished college.

The employees became even more concerned during Suzan's first month on the job.

Mr. Cleveland had been a strong leader but Suzan permitted many employees to make their own decisions.

One employee said, old Mr. Cleveland always told us what to do. He kept people on a short leash, but the company did well.

What does a "short leash" meaning?

A leash is a kind of rope. We use a leash to walk our pet dogs. The leash keeps the god from running away or get into trouble.

Keeping a person on a short leash means keep him or her under close control. The person can not make many decisions for himself or herself.

Word expert James Rogers found the similar thing used more than 400 years ago. In1560, writer Thomas Dickens said in a religious book, “For God have them in leash, yeah, they are his slaves".

Miss. Cleveland does not keep her workers on a short leash. Instead, she urges them to create better ways to do business. For example, her secretary proposed an idea: she said the company should give a prize to the best students in the high school near its factory. The winner could use the prize money to study at university.

Miss Cleveland approved the idea. After the prize was announced, people who lived in the area of the factory began to buy more of the company's candy. Local news papers wrote about the competition/

Business improved.

Miss Cleveland made her secretary the company's first director of public relationship. The former secretary was very pleased. She said my old job had become Mickey Mouse. Now I have a much more creative one.

Mickey Mouse, of course, is Walt Disney's famous animal drawn for movies, television and comic picture books. But what does a mouse have to do with a job?

In modern speech, anything that is Mickey Mouse is unimportant. Many word experts say the new meaning came from the US navy. The navy had a special school for new sailors who did not cooperate. It was called M-I-C, short for Military Indoctrination Center. Sailors began to say that rules, which did not seem important, were MIC.

Over time, MIC became Mickey Mouse something that lacks meaning.

Words and expressions:
comic picture: 连环画
Indoctrination: 教导、教化
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