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中级美语教程第9课

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Lesson 97  The Bronze Age

While on an expedition in western China twenty years ago, some explorers discovered the mummies of a tall, red-haired people. Though estimated to be nearly 4,000 years old, the corpses were quite well preserved. Scientists are excited because these mummies are a link between the East and the West. What were redheads doing in China and who were they?

Though the answers to these questions may never be answered with certainty, these mummies provide new information about the Bronze Age, when men used tools and weapons made of bronze. This was the period between the Stone Age and the Iron Age. As the explorers continue their work, new mysteries are waiting to be discovered.

 

Lesson 98 Speaking from the Grave

B: Can you imagine what it was like 4,000 years ago?

C: That's hard to imagine. But if the mummies could speak, they could certainly tell us a great deal.

B: Well, that, of course, is impossible. But scientists can tell a lot from the things the explorers found.

C: I know. For example, they think the 4000-year-old mummies were Celts.

B: Who were the Celts?

C: They were ancient European people who settled in Britain even before the Romans existed.

B: Wow! That's amazing!

C: So you see, although mummies don't really speak, they are "speaking" from their graves.

B: Stop it! you're giving me the creeps!

 

Lesson 99 Stop Swearing!

Everywhere in the world you can hear people swearing or using foul language. Even when learning a second language, many people know how to swear before they can speak the language properly. Indeed, it is a disease.

Recently, in New Jersey, the government decided to do something about the problem. It banned swearing. You could face a US$500 fine, including a three-month jail term for swearing. Considering the trivial nature of the crime, the punishment seemed quite harsh to some. Some say the law infringes on their rights. But others say it is a good law because people in New Jersey have really stopped swearing so much.

 

Lesson 100 Stop Bullshitting!

Candy is asking her friend, Rudy, why guys swear so much.

C: Why do guys swear so much?

R: It adds color and emphasis to language.

C: Bullshit! People who swear don't have class.

R: See? You just said "bullshit."

C: "Bullshit" isn't swearing. It's even in the dictionary.

R: Sure it's swearing.

C: It simply mean, "male cow manure."

R: Then why don't you just say "shit"?  It's in the dictionary as well.

C: We're just going round in circles. Tell you what. If you stop saying "shit," I'll stop saying "bull-shit."

R: Considering they both aren't very nice things to say anyway, that's a deal.

 

Lesson 101 A Red-hot Cure

Have you ever had an operation? If you have, you'll know that surgical scars can leave you with a burning pain for months and sometimes even years. Frankly speaking, the pain is sometimes so unbearable it's hard to even stand the weight of your own clothes on the scars. Generally speaking, most ordinary painkillers won't work. Besides, they are so powerful that they may cause side effects.

Fortunately, according to a recent study, doctors say there is a red-hot cure: chili peppers. An ointment is made from the ingredient that makes chili peppers hot. It kind of short-circuits the pain. The ointment is sold in a tube that lasts a month and costs only US$16. It's considered the newest, most creative and inexpensive way of dealing with the problem.

 

Lesson 102 Old Wives' Tales

Connie and Willy are talking about the previous lesson.

C: Do you believe what they say about chili peppers?

W: Frankly speaking, I don't. The last time I got hurt playing soccer, my mom told me not to eat anything spicy. She said it will irritate the wound.

C: My mom is the same. For example, according to her, eating fish eyes is good for the eyes.

W: If you think that's weird, listen to this. My mom says eating pigs' brains makes you smart.

C: Are you kidding? Frankly speaking, I don't believe in any of these of wives' tales.

W: I wish you would tell that to my mom. I'm sick of eating pigs' brains.

C: Poor guy!

W: Don't tell anyone, OK? Or I'll never hear the end of it .

C: Ok. It doesn't work anyway.

W: What do you mean?

C: I'm only kidding. You're at least as smart as a pig.

 

Lesson 103 The Tallest Building

Recently Kuala Lumper beat Chicago in a battle of skyscrapers when experts had the country's Petronas Twin Towers measured and declared it the world's tallest building. The title was formerly held by Chicago's 110-story Sears Tower. Its status had been left unchallenged for 22 years.

Buildings in the United States have held the title since 1913, but the need for space has created a skyscraper boom in Asia. According to one building expert, "the ball has started rolling in Asia." However, some experts think that building super-tall skyscrapers is not a matter of economics but ego. Every architect wants to have the honor of having the tallest building in the world. When the planned 1509-foot Shanghai World Financial Center is finished in a couple of years, it will be China's turn to have that honor.

 

Lesson 104 Who Cares Anyway?

A: What's the tallest building in the world?

B: The Shanghai World Financial Center. Of course.

A: What's the longest river in the world?

B: In fact, there are two – the Nile and the Amazon.

A: How do you know? Did someone have them measured?

B: Well, yes and no. They measured the rivers, but it's hard to tell where they begin.

A: Oh, I see. Tell me then. Who's the tallest basketball player?

B: I don't know.

A: Hah! It's Michael Jordan. He's the greatest.

B: He may be the greatest, but he certainly isn't the tallest.

A: Ok. Who cares anyway?

B: Then stop asking me all these stupid questions.

 

Lesson 105 Catch-22

Nobody likes war and Joseph Heller is no exception. In 1961 he published an antiwar novel entitled Catch-22. The book is about a soldier who hated war and didn't want to do military service. To prevent soldiers from quitting, the military has a rule which states that you can only get out of the military if you're crazy. However, they also have a rule (number 22) which says that if you hate war, you're not crazy, so you can't get out. In other words, it's no use trying to leave the military because you just can't win.

Since that novel was published, the term catch-22 has come to be used to express a no-win situation.

 

Lesson 106 What a Dilemma!

Hoping to persuade her boyfriend to quit smoking, Jenny makes him an offer.

J: If you quit smoking, I'll marry you.

B: I don't want to make a promise I can't keep.

J: Is it that hard to quit smoking?

B: Well. You know I've tried many times already.

J: But this time you've got a big incentive to do it.

B: Uh… I'm not sure.

J: What aren't you sure about?

B: I do want to stop smoking. But if I do. I'll have to get married.

J: So?

B: I'm not so sure if I want to get married.

J: Well. You can't eat your cake and have it, too.

B: What a dilemma!

 

Lesson 107 Seeing Is Believing

Wearing glasses can be a real day-to-day hassle, not to mention using contact lenses which have to be cleaned, rinsed and disinfected every so often. Fortunately, however, for those millions of contact lens users, there's a new product out -- the 1–day Acuvue.

These new disposable contact lenses are designed to be convenient and rather inexpensive because the idea is to throw them away after use at the end of each day. What's even better is if you are planning to give them a try for the first time, the manufacturers will give you your first five pairs for free. If you don't think that's possible, why not go down to your local optician and check it out? No one will blame you for doing that. After all, seeing is believing.

 

 

 

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