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Further exercises

  1. Since its widespread introduction into schools, Adult Training Centers and hospitals, a number of misconceptions have arisen regarding manual signing from many specialized and laypersons alike. From my own experience of working with both adults and children with learning disabilities, by far the most worrying misconception is the notion that signing systems should be used as a last resort, an alternative only if speech fails to develop.
  2. Amateur astronomer John Dangerfield, has been awarded a prestigious prize by the Amateur Astronomical Society. For a very long time now, Mr. Dangerfield has been involved in the SETI program, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. While he, or any other person, cannot claim to have contacted aliens from afar, his ground-breaking techniques, developed in his home-based lab have won him a well-deserved world-wide recognition.
  3. Tsar Nicholas carried his oldest son downstairs. Alexei was a hemophiliac who was far too weak to walk by himself. All his four daughters were with him: Marie, Tatiana, Olga and the now infamous Anastasia. The children’s doctor was also there, together with three servants. And, of course, his much-loved wife, Alexandra. Three servants walked behind as they descended into the cellar. It was shortly after midnight on a stifling and sultry July night.
  4. Remember, a computer is a tool like any other. Admittedly, the modern PC can do a great deal more than a simple hammer, but you wouldn’t want to knock a nail in with a computer now, would you? So, the first rule when buying a computer is to ask yourself, ‘What do I want it for?’ Once you have a good idea about this, you should find that it makes it easier for you to make sense of the enormous number of serviceable products on the market.
  5. There is within the Beaumont Clan one intellectual, known as David. He’s the fourth son and has recently been awarded a Congressional Medal for bravery and rhythmic endurance for successfully completing the reading of the first page of The Hobbit. When I quizzed him as to whether or not he would continue as one of our foremost thinkers and philosophers, he answered with the stunning force of a thousand waterfalls, ‘Err, can I come back to you on that one?’
  6. Confucius was born in China in the state of Lu. Despite the relatively bad circumstances of his early life, he had a good education. At about the age of twenty-four he began work as an itinerant teacher. Teaching ethics rather than religion, he emphasized the five moralities of kindness, fairness, wisdom, faithfulness and correctness. His philosophical wisdom was summarized by his followers in a large volume called The Analects.
  7. It is said that we see with our eyes. While this is true in part, it is probably more accurate to say that we see with the brain. Essentially, the eyeball is a light receptor, albeit a very complex one. Its function, however, is to convert the light falling on the retina at the back of the eye into nerve impulses which can then be interpreted by the brain. When we have decoded and recognized the impulses only then we can be said to have seen.
  8. Haiku verse should consist of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables. If possible, a haiku should also present a pair of contrasting images. One image should be suggestive of time and place and the other a vivid but fleeting observation. Finally, the poet does not comment on the association of the two images. They are supposed to work together to invoke mood and emotion. The union of the two is left to the reader.
  9. Vocalizations such as uh huh, mm and oh pervade conversation. They are all over. There can hardly be any informal face-to-face conversations which do not provide copious examples of these wee beasties. But, search as you might, you will not locate them in the overwhelming majority of fiction tales. Plath didn’t pen them, Joyce never jotted them, and the Bard never wrote them. Why? Are we ashamed of these tiny, minute items? Do they add nothing important?
  10. To find happiness and value in living I will lead a life centered on the principles of honesty, growth, humility and the potential of all people. I will remember that what’s important in life is the development of talents, happiness and learning. I will also remember the importance of the purpose of life and financial security. I will recognize my strengths and develop my talents as a confident, happy, creative person.
  11. During its turbulent history, Russia has undergone quite a few revolutions. The most famous of these is the October Revolution. Under the command of Trotsky, armed workers and military personnel assaulted the Winter Palace. The provisional government was overthrown and this, effectively, heralded the end of Imperial Russia and the rule of the czars. The Bolshevik Party now became firmly established as the ruling faction.
  12. It’s a quaint fact that old-fashioned vinyl records are making a bit of a comeback. We all thought that just a short while ago that digital recordings would, once and for all, displace the crackly, skipping sounds of the LP. But audiophiles the world over are voting with their wallets and purchasing the flexible, black records in ever increasing numbers. The purists argue that the sound is more authentic and graceful. Evidently, people feel digital is not as good.
  13. Most of us who have dived into a Sunday lunch of meat-and-two veg have probably encountered, at some time in our lives, that much maligned veggie, the over-boiled Brussels sprout! To many they are the very, very worst of appalling veggies. But we also probably know someone who actually likes these green balls. Could they really taste good, after all? I mean, I’ve recently heard someone declare that they love them! Mm, I remain unconvinced. Anyway, they don’t come from Brussels at all!
  14. What could be nicer than a well-maintained lawn? The rich, beautiful grassiness! The long days spent generating the perfect garden feature. Surely nothing could be more satisfying than day after long, long day of regular mowing, fertilizing, weeding, irrigating and leaf-raking. Oh, we mustn’t forget pH adjustment, aeration, disease control, and that all-important insect and pest control. Well, not to put too fine a point on it, what about just having a rest?
  15. The East End of London is famous for so much and, not least, for its jellied eels. As the name implies, jellied eels are eels in jelly. In fact, the eels are stewed in a spiced jelly that is made from their own stewing juices. They were once a cheap and common sight, being sold by street vendors. They are often to be found in ‘pie and mash’ shops where they are served with pie, mash and liquor. The liquor is traditionally made from eel fat but nowadays it’s more common for this to be made from lard.
  16. Samurai – or bushi – were Japanese warriors. They were members of the military class in medieval Japan. They were loyal to their masters and followed codes of conduct and manners known as bushido, or ‘the way of the warrior’. This imposed a great deal of self-discipline and respectful, ethical conduct. Their most famous weapon is the sword, but they were also skilled in the use of many weapons, including, bows and arrows and, later, the use of the gun.
  17. So, what did people use for toothpaste before Crest, Aquafresh and Colgate? Well, we have some evidence that the religious figure Buddha used a ‘tooth stick’ as part of his oral hygiene regimen. Tradition tells us that this was given to him by the god Sakka. There is also a suggestion that the ancient Egyptians used a ‘powder for white and perfect teeth’. A more recent record of a toothpaste appears in 1780, which involved scrubbing the teeth with burnt bread.
  18. We’ve been busy running backwards and forwards to school concerts, and so on, for Kathryn. About three weeks ago she sang in the Stockton Festival and won the fifteen-and-under Class. She got a lovely big silver cup and a small commemorative plaque. She was very pleased…but she did sound beautiful! At around the same time she was also awarded the Baden Powell Trefoil with the Guides. She has been working for this around about twelve months, together with her friend Caroline.

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