Les Perras's podcast

40 Episodes

By: Les Perras

This is my podcast for general English listening. Listen in for easy English listening practice about a variety of topics. I will talk about a topic for a few minutes so it isn't too long. My pronunciation is clear and rhythmical, yet conversational. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Yesterday at 12:30 PM

Diets. Are you on a diet? If you're on a diet? Why are you on a diet? Most diets have the target of helping the person lose weight, become slender, become more beautiful. But there are also diets for other purposes. Medical diets is an example. I know some people who can't have too much sugar because they are diabetic and the sugar would make them uh feel sick, let's say shortly. Anyway, what kind of diets are there? I can't talk about the details of diets. I'm not an expert, but I did a quick survey of different kinds...

Self Care
Last Thursday at 12:30 PM

Self-care. What is self-care? You could say it's taking care of yourself. I did a little background research on selfcare just before making this podcast. And one thing that jumped out at me was self-care is not self indulgence. It's not treating yourself, it's not being extra special to yourself. Self-care is taking care of yourself so that you're a strong, healthy individual. And I found the next thing that jumped out at me was the seven pillars of self-care. Now, I'll be honest, I haven't memorized what the seven pillars are, but it struck a chord in me. And...

Genetically Modified Foods
Last Wednesday at 12:30 PM

Genetically modified foods.

Wow, that's a big one.

Well, genetics that's talking about genes and uh some new technology, it's not new anymore for finding out how cells make things.

It's the blueprints for all living things.

I have jeans and you have jeans and they tell if I'm gonna have this color hair or if I'm gonna be that tall.

So these genes can be changed.

Now, scientists have found a way to change them that's modifying them genetically modified...

Last Tuesday at 12:30 PM

Festivals do you like to go to festivals? If so, which festivals do you like? We have festivals in Canada and I went to a number of them. But I think some of the biggest festivals in the world don't exist there. I think they might exist in India. There are some mighty big festivals there. There's also big festivals in Spain. India has a festival. The holy festival, I think they have lots of really fancy colors and they throw color bombs at each other. It looks like a really wonderful affair. And then speaking of festivals where they...

Last Monday at 12:30 PM

Hanukkah. Do you know this festival? I can say I've heard the word for a long time and I've known about it, but no, I haven't known about it. I knew almost nothing about Hanukkah. In fact, I wasn't even sure what kind of holiday or festival or what religion it was connected to. I didn't know a lot of people who were Jewish when I grew up. Maybe I knew them, but I didn't know they were Jewish and I didn't know much about this holiday. It's a Jewish holiday that commemorates taking back a temple a long time...

Last Sunday at 12:30 PM

Silverware. I didn't do anything to prepare for this podcast. So I haven't studied about the history of silverware and I really can't talk about it like an expert. But as a common person, we had silverware when I was young growing up in Canada, my mom put the silverware in a very, very special silverware box that had special shapes to hold the spoons and the forks and the knives. And we only got the silverware out on, well, maybe once a week, we got it out on Sunday evening for dinner for a while. For several years, we...


Buddhism. Are you a Buddhist? Do you know much about Buddhism? Well, I'm not a Buddhist and I don't really know much about Buddhism, but I know a bit and it's quite interesting. Um, I've heard of Buddhists who don't know very much about Buddhism. That's sort of like Christians who don't know much much about Christianity. And there are certainly many people like that anyway. Buddhism started a long, long, long time ago and it started in India. Now, I was really, really interested to find out that it started in India and then moved out of India and...

Psychology of Color

The psychology of color. I'm quite interested in color because I make websites and I want to use my color nicely. I started to research a little and I found color has, well, shall we say meanings or it makes us feel feelings when I was a boy, I heard that if you sit in a room and the walls of the room are painted pink, it will make you feel calm and relaxed. I've since heard the same thing said about light green and they say that blue inspires confidence and yellow gives a feeling of power and happiness...

Power of Music

The power of music. Do you listen to music? I do. Well, no, I don't listen to a lot of music, but music is extremely powerful. Music has the power to change our emotions to make us feel good, to make us feel happy or sad, to make us feel excited, to make us feel scared and maybe suspenseful. I remember when I was young, I used to drive to the mountains and I'd get in the car and turn on my favorite music. After a few years of doing that, I found I didn't like the music anymore. Well...

Mysteries of the Natural World

Mysteries of the natural world. Well, the natural world has lots of mysteries. Things that we don't really understand yet. There's too many mysteries to cover here. Let's talk about a few fun ones. First, I'll talk about the singing sands. Then I'll talk about space jelly and then I'll talk about the ball lightning singing sounds. This is a strange phenomenon. A strange thing where the sand in the desert starts to sing. It's been found in more than one dessert. It's been found in many deserts. It happens when the sand is blown by the wind. The strange...


Tarot. Do you know about tarot? Well, actually I should see tarot cards. It's spelled, but when I was growing up, I learned that it was pronounced Tarot or Tarot cards. These are cards that have uh special symbols and uh groups on them. You use the cards to tell people's future. I don't remember all the details, but I was quite interested in my early teens. I even bought a tarot card pack and I had fun with it. It was entertaining for me. They say that if you give a person, the tarot deck and they shuffle it...

Ukrainian Eggs

Ukrainian eggs, otherwise known as Ukrainian Easter eggs. Do you know about these? They are beautiful eggs made in the Ukrainian tradition. Some people look at them and say, oh they're painted eggs but they're not really painted. They're made with dyes. That means the whole leg is put inside the die. When I was a boy growing up, my parents were interested in exposing us to different cultures and different traditions. As a result at home, we learned how to make Ukrainian Easter eggs. As one of our projects. I loved it as a boy. The way you make...


Candles. Do you have candles in your house? I have candles at my place and I've used candles off and on over the course of my life. I remember when I was a boy, we had candles for Christmas. Christmas candles were very, very special and important. And then when I was about nine or 10 years old, candles became fashionable. And then Christmas candles became more fashionable. You could buy extremely beautiful candles for Christmas. And we did and we brought them home and used them at Christmas. When I was a little bit older, I went to Africa...


Perogies. Do you know what a parody is? I don't know if my pronunciation is correct with respect to the original name of this food, but that's what we called it back home in Canada Perogies. And everybody said they were Ukrainian food and they're wonderful. When I first had Perogies, I didn't think much of them. I didn't know how to eat them and they didn't have a lot of flavor. It seemed a little bit bland. They're kind of dumplings and you boil them, I suppose. There's other ways to make them that I don't know about. But...


Hats. Do you like hats? I liked hats. When I was a boy, I loved hats. I found good things and bad things about them. Of course, hats are fashionable. It seems like there's a hat for every occasion. There are stylish hats like this and stylish hats like that. In fact, I don't even know the names of all the hats, but a lot of them look really, really nice on people and sometimes they look nice on me too. Then there's hats to show us a job, for instance, a policeman's hat or a soldier's hat or a...

Driverless Cars

Driverless cars. Are they the cars of the future? What do you think? I was pretty surprised, I've been reading and checking in on driverless cars over the past couple of years. It looks like the technology is pretty good. It gets up to the 80% level. It can do a lot of things, but it doesn't seem to be pushing through to the 95 or 100% level where it's really, really reliable. I was quite surprised the other day. A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with one of my students and he's, I talked to him about driving because he...

House Technology

House technology. Do you know much about house technology? There's a lot to know today, I'm going to talk about automated houses. Okay. Now, automated houses are when you add certain electronic components so that you can control things around your house, for instance, you might have a sensor, an electronic sensor. So when you walk into the room, it knows you're there and it turns on the light for you. You might not always want that so you could put in another sensor and this sensor will sense sound and then when you clap, it'll turn off the light...


Packers. What does that word mean? When you hear it? Well, for many people, it means many different things. Some people these days talk about white hat hackers and black hat, black hat hackers For myself. I started teaching myself computers probably about 15 years ago. And I thought I was a hacker. A hack is somebody who does, according to some definitions, a hack is somebody who does things but not very well. Okay. Sometimes we talk about hack jobs where you maybe make something or repair something but it's not done properly. It's good for the short term solution...


Fusion. Do you know this word? Fusion? Fusion is a word to describe two atoms going together to make a different kind of atom. There are nuclear reactors all over the world today and they provide us energy, they're kind of dangerous and they also create pollution. They create waste, which is extremely poisonous. Fusion is what we want to invent. And that's sort of the nuclear energy of the future. The one that we have today breaks atoms but fusion makes new atoms and releases tremendous amounts of energy. It's probably 10 times more powerful than the fusion reaction reactors...



Do you believe in ghosts? I'm not sure if I believe in ghosts or not. I remember when I was in high school, I saw a movie called Poltergeist. Most of the movies in that. Pardon me? Most of the ghosts in that movie, you couldn't see them. They were invisible. And then there was also Ghostbusters and those ghosts you could see them. I think that's the classic image of a ghost is the Ghostbusters image.

But really these things, if they exist, what are they? I remember I was working...


Psychics. Do you believe in psychics? Well, I have to say I was a little skeptical but years ago, one of my students told me that a very, very prominent businessman used psychics to help him forecast business. Eh? It might just be hedging their bets. What I mean? Is there gonna try all the avenues they can to get useful information and if they try psychics and they work once or twice, let's try them a third time. And if they keep working, that's great. It's just, it's kind of like, I don't care how it works. All I...

CO2 Monitors

CO2 monitors before the COVID started, I didn't know about CO2 monitors. Of course, I studied science and university so I knew that you could monitor CO2, but I didn't know that you could buy simple ones for your house or school. We were looking at ways to make our classrooms safer. And one person came up with the idea of buying the CO2 monitors. I found one on Amazon and it was cheap and I bought it. I think it's great. I can look at that monitor and see exactly how much co two is in my classroom. <...


Hi and welcome to the Less paris dot com podcast. I'm Less. This podcast is a short daily monologue that you can listen to. Use it to practice listening to english. Use it to stimulate ideas. Use it for B G. M. Good morning at least it's morning here. Welcome to the 52nd episode of the less Paris podcast. Yesterday. We talked about artificial intelligence and some of the dangers of it. Today, I want to talk about breathing and how convenient it is and how powerful it is breathing. Everybody does it and we do it all the time...

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence. This is a buzzword that has recently exploded. Of course we've all been watching artificial intelligence as it developed over the last 10 years. But especially in the last one or two years, it has exploded. I think it's a Pandora's box. It's letting out all sorts of dangerous and bad things. But like a Pandora's box, we can't put the bad things back in the box. They're out and they're out to stay. Even if we went and shut down all the artificial intelligence programs and systems today, people already know how to do it. So they'd go...

Door Design

Door design. Have you ever thought about door design? Well actually I didn't think about it very much until I read a book about design. And the guy who wrote the book, he showed a really interesting example of a door that people couldn't open, They came up to the door, they looked at it, they kind of knew it was a door, but they didn't know how to open it. And he used that as an example of bad design. Now I could talk more about that example, but let's go into sort of door design in general. What...


Calligraphy. Do you do calligraphy? Have you done calligraphy? If you're living in japan and going to the japanese school system, you study calligraphy in school. But if you're in north America where I grew up we didn't study calligraphy in school. What is calligraphy Isn't it? Just writing. Of course everybody learns how to write in. You know most countries in most schools but calligraphy is a little bit different from writing. Okay now some of the sources I looked at said calligraphy was invented 3000 years ago. Well that's kind of like saying writing was invented 3000 years ago. So...

Food Colors

Food colors when you go to the supermarket, you can buy lots of food and you might think, especially after going through the produce section, that this food is naturally colored. But think again, a lot of the food that we get out of the supermarket has color added to it. And most of that color is artificial. There are different colors that we can add to the food to make it brighter and more appealing. Maybe it looks tastier or maybe we think it looks real. If it's greener, it must be better for us. If it's redder like...

Debit Cards

Debit cards? Do you have a debit card? Do you know what a debit card is in some countries? Debit cards are very common and in other countries they're not very common at all and above and beyond that. What's the difference between a debit card and a credit card? After all? They both have 16 digit numbers. They both have an expiration date and they both have magnetic chips and strips so they look the same. What's the difference? Well the big difference is if you use a debit card you're taking money straight out of your bank account. On...

Rising Sea Levels

Rising sea levels, the oceans are getting deeper and the level is going up well, the level has been stable for a long time except for the last 100 years and the last 100 years, the ocean levels have been growing up. And even just the last, uh, I don't know, 20 years, they've gone up like 104 mm. And that from the graphs that I saw on the internet, that's a jump. They're going up faster than they were before. So then I thought, okay, they're going up and they're higher than they were before. Let's make some predictions. What's the prediction for...

Electronic Chips

Electronic chips. These are the chips that are in your computers and in your smartphones and in your car, believe it or not, electronic chips are the things that we use to make computers and do computing with Electronic chips have been getting smaller and smaller over the past 30 or 40 years. And there's a law that says they will keep on getting smaller every 18 months. They'll get significantly smaller. However, it seems like we might be getting to the end of that. Why? Well right now the chips that are in your smartphone are probably about 10 nanometers big for each...

Roman Empire

The roman empire. The roman empire was a huge thing in Western history and as such, it left massive legacies. Now, I'm not talking about the roman republic which came before the roman empire, I guess. Uh it sort of split it after a D 27 augustus declared the roman empire. And so we're talking about all this stuff after that. But really these legacies come from Rome itself, whether it's the republic or the roman empire. So for instance, measurement standards, Okay, the romans made standard measurements that were used across the roman empire and that continues today. We now...

Rising Sea Levels

Rising sea levels, the oceans are getting deeper and the level is going up well, the level has been stable for a long time except for the last 100 years and the last 100 years, the ocean levels have been growing up. And even just the last, uh, I don't know, 20 years, they've gone up like 104 mm. And that from the graphs that I saw on the internet, that's a jump. They're going up faster than they were before. So then I thought, okay, they're going up and they're higher than they were before. Let's make some predictions. What's the prediction for...

Gun Incidents

Gun incidents.

Today I'm going to talk about gun incidents and I'm going to sort of talk about the violent gun incidents, not the accidents that nobody wanted to happen, but the ones where the shot was made on purpose. You see recently, I've been reading more and more about mass shootings in the news and I'm a little bit concerned about it. But I decided to do a little research.

I discovered that the victims of gun violent gun incidents. Well, if we look at all the victims of very small percent are...

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence. This is a really heavy topic, very serious, but it's also necessary to talk about. Indeed, one of the problems of domestic violence is that people pretend it's not there. They try to hide it. And that means the problem never gets fixed. Violence is not a good way to solve problems. I think that's pretty obvious. And yet it continues all around the world. Why does it continue? There are actually several reasons shame the person who feels domestic violence, the victim feels shame and they don't want to talk about this in public.


Animal Camouflage

Animal camouflage, wow, that's a big word. I guess you could say. The only thing it means is how animals hide themselves in their environment with their their body color or shapes. Animal camouflage is just the way that animals can blend in with their environment. That way other animals can't see them. This is really good for animals that get eaten. If the big bad guy can't come and find you, then you won't get eaten.

So you want to get camouflage. It was really interesting when I read about it because there's sort of...


Dumplings. They're wonderful things. I like to eat them. I'm sure you have some form of dumplings that you've had and enjoyed dumplings are really fascinating. When I was growing up in Canada. The only dumplings I knew about were apple dumplings and in fact I never got to eat them. They were just from an American tv show. At any rate, I had no idea about the range of dumplings and I had no idea I was eating dumplings because we had pierogies which are kind of, I think their Ukrainian form of dumpling. At any rate, dumplings...



You know, I've lived in Japan for over 20 years and I still haven't seen a sumo competition. I haven't seen one professionally. I haven't seen even a volunteer or amateur sumo, although I'm sure people still like to fight the sumo sort of recreational E it's kind of a hallmark of Japanese tradition. Today, I'd like to talk a little bit about the history, the techniques and the culture of sumo, but not too deeply. I guess sumo goes back a couple of 1000 years close to the origin of Japan and there were two guys know...

History of Balls

Balls balls are ubiquitous, that means they're everywhere.

We use balls in elementary school and junior high school, we use balls in our community sports

and we use balls in professional sports on television, balls are like part of our life.

Humans love balls.

I use balls teaching English in my English classroom.

The kids love it.

But what about the history of balls? Well, it turns out that we have evidence,

we have proof that balls were around 4000 BC.

They were used...

Nobel Prize

The Nobel prize.

Many, many people aspire to win the Nobel prize and it's kind of a pinnacle prize after you win the Nobel,

There's no other prizes that can compete with the Nobel prize? Where did it come from? The Nobel prize was started by Alfred Nobel in 1895.

Since then, it's been given to 900 people, well, more than 900 people and organizations.

The Nobel prize is awarded in a variety of areas, including medicine, physics, chemistry, literature, economics,

and peace, I think maybe the Peace prize is the...

Utada Hikaru

Utada Hikaru is a pretty famous Japanese musician and singer. She became famous roughly the same time that I came to Japan for the first time, I shouldn't say first time I've stayed in Japan, so I'm still here. But when I came here she was just getting big. Now I've done a little bit of research on you today, Hikaru and I found out a few impressive things. # one, she was not just famous in Japan, she was famous internationally. Number two, she can speak English, I'm not sure exactly how well she can speak English, but it's more...