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When families gather for Christmas dinner, some will stick to formal traditions dating back to grandma's generation. Their tables will be set with the good dishes and silver, and the dress code

will be Sunday best.

But in many other homes, this china-and-silver elegance has given way to a stoneware (粗

陶) and stainless informality, with dresses assuming an equally casual-Friday look. For hosts and

guests, the change means greater simplicity and comfort. For makers of fine china in Britain, it

spells economic hard times.

Last week Royal Doulton, the largest employer in Stoke-on-Trent, announced that it is eliminating

1,000 jobs -- one-fifth of its total workforce. That brings to more than 4, 000 the number

of positions lost in 18 months in the pottery (陶瓷) region. Wedgwood and other pottery factories

made cuts earlier.

Although a strong pound and weak markets in Asia play a role in the downsizing, the layoffs in Stoke have their roots in earthshaking social shifts. A spokesman for Royal Doulton admitted that the company "has been somewhat slow in catching up with the trend" toward casual dining. Families eat together less often, he explained, and more people eat alone, either because they are single or they eat in

front of television.

Even dinner parties, if they happen at all, have gone casual. In a time of long work hours and demanding family schedules, busy hosts insist, rightly, that it's better to share a takeout pizza

on paper plates in the family room than to wait for the perfect moment or a "real" dinner party.

Too often, the perfect moment never comes. Iron a fine-patterned tablecloth? Forget it. Polish the

silver? Who has time?

Yet the loss of formality has its down side. The fine points of etiquette (礼节) that children

might once have learned at the table by observation or instruction from parents and grandparents

(" Chew with your mouth closed." "Keep your elbows off the table. ") must be picked up else-

where. Some companies now offer etiquette seminars for employees who may be able professionally

but inexperienced socially.

72. Why do people tend to follow the trend to casual dining?

A. Family members need more time to relax.

B. Busy schedules leave people no time for formality.

C. People prefer to live a comfortable life.

D. Young people won't follow the etiquette of the older generation.

73. It can be learned from the passage that 'Royal Doulton is .

A. a seller of stainless steel tableware

B. a dealer in stoneware

C. a pottery chain store

D. a producer of fine China

74. The main cause of the layoffs in the pottery industry is .

A. the increased value of the pound

B. the worsening economy in Asia

C.the change in people's way of life

D. the fierce competition at home and abroad

75. Formal table manners, though less popular than before in current Social life, . A.are still a must on certain occasions

B. are certain to return sooner or later

C. are still being taught by parents at home

D. can help improve personal relationships


When Johnny Cash sings, people listen. His big, deep voice rumbles out of radios and juke- boxes across North America. His records sell by the million. Country-music fans everywhere, know his big hits. They love songs like "Hey Porter", "Ring of Fire", and "Folsom Prison Blue".

Johnny Cash sings about a hundred concerts a year. People like what they hear--and what they see, too. Rugged and big-shouldered, the singer stands six-two without his black boots on.

He's a two-hundred-pound package of muscle and talent. And that scar(疤痕)on his cheek? It's

a bullet(子弹)hole, of course!

In the minds of most people, Johnny Cash is "Mr Tough( violent) Guy". He's an ex-drug addict (上瘾者)who was once put in prison. His grandmother was an Indian. To keep from starving he once had to live on wild rabbits killed from forty feet away with a knife. Some people say he even killed a man.

In fact, most of the Johnny Cash story is just that--a story. True, years ago he had a "drug habit "for a short time. He "popped" pills. But he never used heroin or other "hard "drugs. Some- times he'd go wild and get locked up for a few hours . But he never served a prison sentence. There's no Indian blood in his veins. He's been a killer only in song. As for the "bullet hole",

it's an old scar left by a doctor who opened a cyst(囊肿).

People who know Johnny Cash well say he's a "gentle guy", a "generous guy'--anything but a "tough guy". How did the stories get started? Some of them, like the story about the "Indian grandmother", he made up long ago to add excitement to his career. Others , like the "bullet hole" , simply got started. Now there's little the singer can do to change people's minds. "They

just want to believe it," he says.

56. Johnny Cash is a favorite of many .

A. opera lovers

B. country music fans

C. hard-rock fans

D. jazz music lovers

57. In truth, Johnny Cash .

A. invented the "Indian grandmother"

B. used to kill rabbits for a living

C. had a bullet hole on his cheek

D. served a long prison sentence

58. In his private life, Johnny Cash is, .

A. much wilder than he looks

B. much smaller than he is on stage

C. much tougher than he is in public

D. much more gentle than most people suppose

59. The passage shows us that many people believe .

A. only what they see

B. what they are sure is true

C. only what they hear

D. what they find interesting



Do dogs understand us?

Be careful what you say around your dog. It might understand more than you think.

A border collie named Rico recognizes the names of about 200 objects, say researchers in Germany. The dog also appears to be able to learn new words as easily as a 3-year-old child. Its word-learning skills are as good as those of a parrot or chimpanzee(黑猩猩).

In one experiment, the researchers took all 200 items that Rico is supposed to know and divided them into 20 groups of 10 objects. Then the owner told the dog to go and fetch one of the items and bring it back. In four tests, Rico got 37 out of 40 commands right. As the dog couldn't see anyone to get clues, the scientists believe Rico must understand the meanings of certain words.

In another experiment, the scientists took one toy that Rico had never seen before and put it in a room with seven toys whose names the dog already knew. The owner then told Rico to fetch the object, using a word the dog had never heard before.

The correct object was chosen in seven out of l0 tests, suggesting that the dog had worked

out the answer by process of elimination(排除法). A month later, Rico remembered half of the new names, which is even more impressive.

Rico is thought to be smarter than the average dog. For one thing, Rico is a border collie, a breed (品种)known for its mental abilities. In addition, the 9-year-old dog has been trained to fetch toys by their names since the age of nine months.

It's hard to know if all dogs understand at least some of the words we say. Even if they do, they can't talk back. Still, it wouldn't hurt to sweet-talk your dog every now and then. You might just get a big, wet kiss in return!

60. From paragraph 2 we know that __ .

A. animals are as clever as human beings

B. dogs are smarter than parrots and chimpanzees

C. chimpanzees have very good word-learning skills

D. dogs have similar 'learning abilities as 3-year-old children

61. Both experiments show that .

A. Rico is smart enough to get all commands right

B. Rico can recognize different things including toys

C. Rico has developed the ability of learning mathematics

D. Rico won't forget the names of objects once recognizing them

62. Which of the following statements is true?

A. The purpose of the experiments is to show the border collie's mental abilities.

B. Rico has a better memory partly because of its proper early training.

C. The border collie is world-famous for recognizing objects.

D. Rico is born to understand its owner's commands.

63. What does the writer want to tell us?

A. To train your dog.

B. To talk to your dog.

C. To be friendly to your dog.

D. To be careful with your dog.


Paynes Prairie(used)

Have you ever heard of Paynes Prairie? It is one of the most important natural and historical areas in Florida. Paynes Prairie is located near Gainesville. It is large, 21 000 acres. This protected land is called a preserve. The Florida Park Service manage the preserve.

The Paynes Prairie basin was formed when limestone dissolved and the ground settled. It is covered by marsh(沼泽)and wet prairie vegetation. There are areas of open water. During brief periods it has flooded enough to be considered a lake. Except for that, the basin has changed little through time.

Man has lived on Paynes Prairie a very long time. He lived there as far back as 10000 B. C. At one time, the Seminoles lived there. The prairie is thought to have been named after King Payne, a Seminole chief. During the late 1600s, the largest cattle ranch in Florida was on Paynes Prairie. Today, Paynes Prairie is preserved land . It is occupied by visitors and Florida Park Service employees.

Willam Bartram visited Paynes Praire. Bartram was the first person who portrayed (described)nature through personal experience as well as scientific observation. He lived 200 years ago. He visited Paynes Prairie in 1774. At that time he described it. He called Paynes Prairie the "great Alachua Savannah."

Most of the animal life, which Bartram described, is still here. A large number of sandhill cranes, hawks and waterfowl are here in winter. The animal diversity is increased by the presence of pine flatwoods, hammock, swamps and ponds.

The Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is open year round. The Florida Park Service works hard so that the park will appear as it did in the past. It offers many opportunities for recreation. At the park you can camp and picnic. You can hike and bike. You can boat and fish. You can ride on horse trails. And you can see lots of nature and wildlife. You can see Florida as it was in the early days.

Paynes Prairie is a part of our Florida history. It is an example of our Florida natural resources. It is a place for recreation. Paynes Prairie is an important experience of the Real Florida.

64. How was the Paynes Prairie basin formed?

A. By the Seminole Indians.

B. By the Florida Park Service.

C. From dissolved limestone and the ground settling.

D. From lots of flooding and wet prairie vegetation.

65. The underlined word "diversity" means “.”

A. variety

B. society

C. population

D. area

66. All of the following are true EXCEPT that __ .

A. Paynes Prairie has changed little through time

B. Paynes Prairie is covered by wet prairie grasses