Can you imagine life without films or television, cinema’s little sister? Today we can watch television 24 hours a day, we can go to the cinema when we want. We can even make video films ourselves.
But imagine the surprise and the shock that people felt when they saw the first films in 1895! There was no sound, no colour and the films were very short: they lasted from 60 to 90 seconds! Besides, they did not tell a story. They were glimpses of real life: a military parade, a running horse, a boxing match, the ocean… One of the first films showed a train coming towards the camera. The audience panicked and ran away! The frightened people were sure that the train was coming into the theatre.
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Strange, true story Of Dracula
Of course, you are familiar with the famous vampire Dracula. How much of the Dracula that thrills modern readers and film-goers is fact? How much is fiction? Read the story and you will probably understand how legendary figures can develop.
Vampire stories… Hounds howl in the night. A young girl cries out, then is silenced. At dawn her body is found, dead but peaceful, with a faint smile on her face. She is pale, drained of blood, with two tiny puncture marks on her neck. Count Dracula has struck again!
Count Dracula has struck again! During the day he is a corpse. But at night he attacks innocent people, mostly girls, and drinks their blood. His victims die and become vampires themselves.
No one knows when and where people first wore glasses. Europeans probably began wearing them in the 1200s. Marco Polo, an Italian trader and traveler, reported that he saw people wearing glasses in China in 1275!
In the last century, shops sold new and used glasses. Customers simply tried on glasses until they found the ones that helped them see better — and fit their faces!
No one liked wearing glasses because they were unfashionable and often expensive.
Women who needed glasses tried to look as fashionable as possible by carrying lorgnettes, glass lenses attached to fancy handles. Sometimes women hid their eyepieces in jewelled fans.
By the 1900s, people’s eyes got more attention — and more glasses. Women’s glasses also became more popular. Some say it’s because cars were developed. If a woman with poor eyesight wanted to drive, she had no choice but to wear her glasses!
The Big Secret of Dealing with People
(After D. Carnegie)
What do you want? Not many things, but the few things that you do wish, you crave with an insistence that will not be denied. Almost every normal adult wants:
1. Health and preservation of life.
4. Money and the things money will buy.
5. Life in the hereafter.
6. Sexual gratification.
7. The well-being of our children.
8. A feeling of importance.
Have you seen Jaws, the famous film about the Great White Shark? For an hour and twenty minutes of the film the shark isn’t seen except for bits and pieces and shadows underwater. But when it suddenly appears above the water for the first time, even grown-up people scream and those who have a poor heart reach for their nitroglycerine pills.
Sharks are probably the most feared of all sea animals. There are more than 350 kinds of sharks in the waters of the world. But, scientists say, only 30 species are dangerous to man. Of these 30 five species are known as especially voracious man-eaters: the Great White, the Tiger Shark, the Hammerhead, the Bull Shark, and the Whitetip Shark.
Though shark attacks are rare, they are always sudden, deadly and dramatic. Sharks live in oceans throughout the world but are usually found in warm seas. Some species, however, prefer fresh water and can be met in rivers and lakes.
I’d like to tell you about half human fabulous creatures. Creatures came from different cultures’ mythology and folk tales.
A sphinx is a creature with the body of a lion and a human head, sometimes with the wings of a great bird. They killed and ate those who couldn’t answer their riddle. The Egyptian sphinx is typically shown as a man, but the Greek sphinx is a woman. Both were guardians flanking the entrances to temples.
The most famous sphinx is the Great Sphinx of Giza, which is located to the east of and below the pyramids. It has become an emblem of Egypt, appearing on its stamps, coins, and official documents.
No one knows exactly how many animals live on our planet. So far, scientists have described more than a million kinds of animals, they have identified about 850,000 insects alone. There are about 21,700 kinds of fishes, 9,700 kinds of birds, 6,000 kinds of reptiles, 3,200 kinds of amphibians, and 4,000 kinds of mammals.
Insects are the largest group of animals on earth. They outnumber all other sorts of animals by almost four to one. They can live in the harshest climates, eat whatever there is, and adapt quickly to any conditions. They are often called “the most successful branch of animal kingdom”.
Christopher the Contrary Chameleon
Young Christopher Chameleon
was very, very small;
A scant three inches, nose to tail,
and less than one inch tall.
Now all chameleon children
who do as they are told,
Must learn to match their background,
and are never, never bold.
But Christopher Chameleon
in a most contrary way,
Refused to change his colour
and just stayed pink all day.
Our ancestors believed that forests, meadows, mountains, rivers, marshes and moors all had strange inhabitants which sometimes showed themselves to humans, with good or evil results. The barrier between those supernatural creatures and human beings is particularly thin at nights and on very special occasions such as Halloween.
Try to guess the names of the creatures described below.
Imagination was given to man
to compensate him for what he is not;
a sense of humour to console him for what, he is.
So keep smiling.
After a concert, Arthur Rubenstein was approached by a woman who was dragging a nine-year-old boy. “Please, Mr Rubenstein,” she said, “I want you to hear my son play the piano.” “Madam,” the pianist said, “I’m very busy. I don’t have time to hear every child play the piano.”
But the mother persisted until Rubenstein finally agreed to an audition the next day. The little boy, his legs barely touching the pedals, played a Chopin waltz. When it was over, Rubenstein said, “That is undoubtedly the worst playing I’ve ever heard.”
The mother nodded and said to her son, “You see? So now will you give up your piano lessons and try out for Little League?”