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Date: Nov 13 2009

Themes: News

Grammar: Modal Verbs


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Recently, all of America held its breath as a little six-year-old boy went floating through the sky over Colorado in a giant silver balloon. Or did he? According to his parents, the boy had gotten stuck inside the balloon, which had then somehow come loose and drifted away. But it later turned out that the balloon was empty, and the boy had been hiding, safe at home, the whole time. His parents are now being accused of involving their son in a hoax in order to get attention from the media.

Although this is the biggest publicity stunt in recent times, it’s not the first. Celebrities pull publicity stunts all the time, in order to gain more attention and promote their careers. Remember when Michael Jackson, the “Prince of Pop,” married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”? That marriage lasted about two minutes, but it helped keep Lisa Marie and Michael in the spotlight for a lot longer.

Find out how easy it is to fool Devan and Beren.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Devan:  So did you watch that whole balloon boy saga unfold?

Beren:  Yeah, I didn’t watch it, I read about it, and the first headline I saw was “Boy Trapped in a Balloon,” and they had like a picture of this balloon, and immediately I thought it was a prank or just a publicity stunt. I was like, “There’s no way!”

Devan:  So you right from the beginning knew that it was a hoax?

Beren:  I wasn’t sure. But I was thinking it was probably just an attention hog.

Devan:  Yeah, well obviously since then they’ve revealed that it was a hoax. But I was, as most of the nation was, was just watching in shock and scared for this little boy. And I just can’t believe that someone would go to such extremes to get famous, you know? But there’s been other of instances of this in the past, of these media publicity stunts that people have pulled just to try to get their name out there.

Beren:  Well I think it’s pretty common like with celebrities, I’m sure a lot of what we read in the gossip magazines are just publicity stunts. But I’ve never heard as big as the balloon boy saga.


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When Beren first read about the balloon boy, she suspected that it was some kind of publicity stunt. But Devan was really worried about the little boy who everyone believed was trapped inside a giant balloon.

Devan is shocked that the parents of the balloon boy would involve him in a hoax. She thinks they must just want to be famous. She and Beren agree that celebrities often pull publicity stunts in order to become more famous. But they were still shocked by the story of the balloon boy.

Can you think of any other major publicity stunts? Have you ever acted like an attention hog before?



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Bizarre way to get media attention. i understand that  the boy parents  had been prosecuted  and  accounted for  all the expenses  incurred by the police officers   in trying to rescue the boy.


08:05 PM Jun 11 2011 |




hehehe here in Brazil that situation happen many times! The last was a girl in a college walking in your pink short dress…The college pupils was crazy with it! Took off pics and shooted videos with their mobiles and then they put it on youtube (see the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0iZmImcuNg&feature=related) Now,thanks for shootings of the college pupils the girl is in the media! and more,she will get along hehe

This video shows the real proof that the society is hypocritical!

07:43 PM Nov 19 2009 |




I saw those people (I mean the flying kid's parents) on the wife swap TV show. From what I saw I can say they are nuts. Thay aren't adequate, and the father is an intolerable nutcase. I wouldn't be suprised if it appeared they had made up the whole stroy.

08:50 AM Nov 18 2009 |





congratulations for the parent's boy. aghahaha it was a really joke. we need more jokes like this. aghahahahahahahahahahaha

12:40 AM Nov 18 2009 |




I wonder that dose it so attrictive to people to become the topic of conversation?

06:07 AM Nov 16 2009 |

s id

Saudi Arabia

 some crazy people can do anything for getting

  publicity shunt. i never like to do any thing to get

  famous. i want to be famous by my well work.




09:36 PM Nov 15 2009 |




the fame coming from hoaxes are like steam..it's volatile

hoaxes doens't make anyone famous.

i dont need to act like an attention hog,since i am famous enough in my envorinment:D

04:36 PM Nov 15 2009 |



I read the news before. When I read the whole news, what came up my mind was impossible!! How can this going to happen? But I never thought it's a hoax made by the family. After the truth was revealled, I really can't believe normal people acting like attention hogs.

02:44 PM Nov 15 2009 |




I know this new. But i think you can't stop it. When the new was publicity.

i remember one times when i'm a student. Some people in my class usually late.

My teacher said, each people to prove existed in class. one way is to delay.

So people on this article so well.

01:47 PM Nov 15 2009 |


Viet Nam

i just signed up this page, so strange. i dont know what should i do. i only know i wanna make friends with everyone. love u ^^Kiss

03:16 AM Nov 15 2009 |




I remembered that there was an incident. A mother wanted to eloped with a guy she loved, that means abandond the whole family, so she made her two children in the car and drove it into a river.The two kids died..after that ,she told the public that her kids were kidnapped by someone and u know,want some attention hop to let people sympathized her. The annouce she made is like she actually sad and very collapsed(i dont know whether it's appropriate to use this word ,wht i wanted to express is she acted like really cared).But compared her body language to her husband's ,it's totally different .We can still saw the trace she made.That's so mean to the kids and so dishonest to the public, also the morality.May u share more with us. I really interested in this lesson..=]

01:47 AM Nov 15 2009 |





06:22 AM Nov 14 2009 |





03:27 AM Nov 14 2009 |



Saudi Arabia

for me from the first sight i do not believe but i told to my self : but it is not impossible

03:23 AM Nov 14 2009 |




I agree with candy, about a publicity   stunt of celebrities, for instance : Joule etc. Maybe, there are do it with pity. P.S it my first discussion comment, please, if i have made some mistakes tell to me in message. Thanks )

12:18 AM Nov 14 2009 |



1) Yes, I can. A long time ago, in my country, a tv channel pulled a trick on public. They said they were covering a case of kidnapping, when the whole thing was simulated. It, obviously, took a lot of credit of the channel. Speaking about this case, once they played these tricks inclunding serious things it is hard to bring that credit back.


2) Yep, i have also. Nowdays, I see it like childish. I need attention only of the closest people.

09:01 PM Nov 13 2009 |


United Kingdom

hello i am new to this place please put me thorugh.

07:59 PM Nov 13 2009 |




my only comment about this:

everybody is responable for its own acts …

06:34 PM Nov 13 2009 |

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