Richard Blanco Show (Part 1): Slang and Cultural Expressions

Approx. time Expression Explanation
0:50 obscurity being not well known
1:02 inauguration formal ceremony marking the start of a public official’s term in office
1:15 exiles people forced to leave their home and go live in another country
2:05 vocation strong feeling about one’s life work 
2:13 nine to five 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, regular working day
2:41 today’s day and age now, at this time
2:57 your cover something that hides what you’re really doing
3:17 legacy something that we leave for future generations
3:39 livelihood a way to make a living, a job
3:43 out there out in the world
3:55 hit the road go traveling
4:20 converts people who have had their mind changed to a new belief
4:46 organically naturally, not artificially
4:51 coerced forced
4:56 behind my back secretly, without my knowledge
5:11 lightbulbs go off suddenly having new ideas (having your brain be less dark)
5:21 Bethel, ME small village in eastern Maine
6:04 branch out expand, diversify, or extend one’s reach; try new things
6:35 destined supposed to be in the future; decided ahead of time
6:42 glossy shiny
6:46 anchored tied down, held safely in the same place
6:51 clutched holding tightly
7:00 wedding veil decorative thin cloth hanging from the head of a bride
7:14 sorrowful drone sad, ongoing noise
7:21 glimpse brief look at
7:44 Once upon a time… the traditional words which begin a fairy tale
7:52 sounding out saying a new word letter by letter to figure out the pronunciation
8:02 chorizo spicy Latin sausage
8:08 countered did or said something in response
8:09 pork pernil, garlic yucca typical Cuban foods
8:28 quinciñera dresses fancy dresses made to celebrate a girl’s 15th birthday in Latin culture
8:45 Florida theme parks Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens
9:06 madman scribbling crazy person writing down something very quickly or carelessly
9:34 hobbling walking slowly or unevenly due to age or injury, limping
9:56 mijo [Spanish] my son
10:27 moved, grasped, shaken deeply touched
10:38 turmoil chaos, violence, craziness
12:11 hold to higher standard/bar evaluate very strictly or precisely
12:21 inching towards moving slowly in that direction (inch by inch)
12:38 stuck with me remained in my head, couldn’t forget
13:34 danced around played with but not directly addressed
13:45 podium elevated platform for public speaking
14:10 home all along where someone belonged from the start
14:12 place at the table belonging there (with everyone else)
14:37 peripatetic traveling, moving, roving about
14:54 whirlwind tour quick trip with much activity
15:15 quintessential basic, fundamental
15:32 with the eye of keeping open the possibility of
15:49 hidden agenda secret plan
15:52 finding utopia looking for the perfect place
16:12 dawn of civilization earliest beginning of people living in society
16:34 sensibilities sensitivity, taste, or appreciation for art and emotion
16:49 at large in general
17:05 filled in blanks provided missing information
17:15 brag about speak proudly of
17:39 on top of that in addition to that
17:47 back in a time machine return to a previous moment in history
18:03 other half of the hyphen the “American” part of Cuban-American
18:22 check back in touch base with later
18:26 full circle come around to the beginning again
18:56 enmeshed completely caught up in, totally involved in
19:42 one eye looking back partially considering the past, not fully in the present
19:56 “Brady Bunch” early 1970s TV series with a typical white, middle class American family (with a mom, dad, 3 boys, and 3 girls)
20:02 “Leave It to Beaver” 1950s-60s TV series with a white, middle class American family (with a mom, dad, two sons)
20:07 contextualized framing a situation in its physical and historical place
20:13 re-runs old TV shows that are rebroadcast after their original programming has ceased
20:19 purgatory a religious waiting place for people who aren’t yet admitted into heaven; an undecided or in-between status
20:47 undiverse having only one type (of people, here: Cuban)
21:02 victimized by prejudice being treated unfairly by unearned negative feelings about you
21:09 propped me up supported me
21:21 flip side on the other hand
21:28 The Other someone who is different or strange
21:40 intermingling mixing with other kinds of people
21:46 Latinized made into a completely Latin culture
21:48 get by survive, live okay but not great
22:02 puts a ceiling on creates a limit for success

Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.