Writer's Words, page 10


RTFM is a acronym for Read the F�cking Manual! The “f�cking” there would be a expletive.
comp tech jargon
expletive = older meaning: Filling up; hence, added merely for the purpose of filling up; superfluous. Modern meaning: profane or obscene expression usually of surprise or anger.


Surely with mankind the appreciation of flowers must have been coeval with the poetry of love.
coeval = Of the same age; existing during the same period of time, especially time long and remote.


The scientific skepticism is bolstered by some unusual firsthand evidence. One of Mack's “experiencers” has revealed to TIME that she was actually an undercover debunker who worked her way into Mack's confidence and rose high in the ranks of his subjects. She found that Mack's work was riddled with scientific irregularities; it lacked a formal research protocol as well as legally required consent forms that advise research subjects of potential risks. She also discovered that Mack billed the insurance companies of at least some patient-subjects for what he described as therapy sessions.
The Man From Outer Space By James Willwerth/Boston. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,980607,00.html
bolster = A long pillow or cushion, used to support the head of a person lying on a bed.


The unfashionable fact is that Ellison's writing was too refined, elaborate, to be spray painted on a tenement wall. He was a celebrator as much as a denouncer of the nation that bred him. In his multicolored vision, America was not just a violent jungle but a vibrant jumble of many cultures and temperaments; it mingled melody, harmony, dissonance and ad-lib genius, like the jazz that Ellison played, wrote about and loved.
Invincible Man Ralph Ellison 1914–1994 By Richard Corliss. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,980594-2,00.html
Ralph Ellison is a African-American writer, best known for his novel Invisible Man
ad-lib = said or done without having been planned or written in advance; extemporize.
tenement = a rundown apartment house barely meeting minimal standards.


A lab test for suicide — the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S. — sounds incredible. Yet it is only one of the promising developments being pursued in the hot new field of biological psychiatry. What was once the purview of priests and analysts, who try to probe the mind by listening and observing, is now a frontier for neuroscientists, who use blood tests, brain scans and spinal taps.
Suicide Check By Christine Gorman. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981896,00.html
purview = the range of interest or activity that can be anticipated. Originally: (Law) The body of a statute, or that part which begins with “ Be it enacted, “ as distinguished from the preamble. Hence: The limit or scope of a statute; the whole extent of its intention or provisions. Limit or sphere of authority; scope; extent.


The figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave.
The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe.


His vesture was dabbled in blood — and his broad brow with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror.
The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe.


Partly as a result, airlines have diluted the value of frequent-flyer programs by fully 25%. But few passengers have complained much since United Airlines kicked off the retrenchments late last year. For one thing, business travelers typically fly more than enough miles to qualify for free trips under the new requirements.
The Fee of Free Flying By John Greenwald. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,980692,00.html
retrenchments = Downsizing. Retrench means: to lessen; diminish; curtail; abridge.


Lee: I don't want to go into polemics, but any society in which two innocent Japanese students in Los Angeles can be shot dead because someone wanted their car has gone fundamentally wrong. Too many guns, and such a distortion of values that two human lives can be disposed of for chattel. We take a fundamentally different approach. We believe we had to take strong measures to make sure that people understand that other people's lives, their persons and properties have to be respected.
A Rigorous Case for Morality By Lee Kuan Yew, James R Gaines, Joelle Attinger, William Dowell And Sandra Burton. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,980658,00.html
chattel = personal as opposed to real property; any tangible movable property (furniture or domestic animals or a car etc)


the car slued to the side.
slue = To turn about; to turn from the course; to slip or slide and turn from an expected or desired course.


In the vast arena of international commerce, the action will seem piddling, perhaps involving no more than $25 million in trade. But environmentalists will see it as a watershed event in the history of conservation. The White House is expected to announce this week that the U.S. will impose sanctions on Taiwan for failing to control its trade in tiger bones and rhinoceros horns. It will be the first time the U.S. has imposed trade sanctions to protect endangered species since Congress passed legislation in 1978 authorizing such penalties.
piddle = To deal in trifles; to concern one's self with trivial matters rather than with those that are important.


Although puns at their worst can be mere piddling quibbles, at best they can sharply point to surprising but genuine resemblance.
quibble = an evasion of the point of an argument by raising irrelevant distinctions or objections.


a dapper man was …
dapper = marked by smartness in dress and manners.


how their first marriages had foundered in seas of conjugal miscommunication.
founder = To become filled with water, and sink, as a ship.


This interdependence [of Oligopoly economic model] among firms leads to actions not found in the other market structures, such as advertising campaigns directed toward a specific rival, cartels and collusion, cost-plus pricing, most-favored-customer pricing, and other behaviors.
possibly from Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics book.
cost-plus = determining payment based on the actual cost of production plus an agreed-upon fee or rate of profit; as, a cost-plus government contract.


I've downloaded the vocabulary portion of your site, and am in the process of winnowing it for unfamiliar words: I have to exercise vigilance against plateau-ing out in my accretion of vocabulary, which complacency is a hazard when rarely encountering a truly unknown word.
fan email, from later friend Paul Kiesow, 2000-08


The new chip itself has provoked bitter conflict within IBM. Among other things, IBM hoped the PowerPC would break the stranglehold that Intel has on the production of chips for IBM-compatible personal computers. The partners also sought to end the dominance of Microsoft as far and away the largest provider of the operating system, or master software, that runs the IBM compatibles. But Corrigan had loudly doubted the wisdom of the PowerPC strategy before he stepped down as head of the personal-computer business last week, arguing that Intel and Microsoft were too entrenched to be dislodged by the new chip. The controversy provides a vivid example of the crosscurrents that roil IBM.
A Blue Chip Case of Blues By John Greenwald. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,980707-3,00.html
roil = be agitated; make turbid by stirring up the sediments of.


No person of feeling, quipped Oscar Wilde, could read Dickens' account of the death of Little Nell without laughing. The same is true of the fall of contemporary art auctions. Last week, once again, Sotheby's and Christie's began their big spring sales of newish art. In the palmy days of the market boom, before the great flopperoola of 1990, these used to be attended with bated breath as a spectacle of utterly crazed consumption. Watch the chap from the Mountain Turtle Gallery in Japan bid half a million dollars for a Brice Marden drawing! Don't miss the sight of S.I. Newhouse and a Scandinavian squillionaire driving a Jasper Johns to an unimaginable $17 million! See the De Kooning go for $20.7 million, and listen to the whole room applaud the bid as though they had just heard Pavarotti sing Vesti la Giubba!
Auctions in the Pits By Robert Hughes. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,980713,00.html
palmy = Bearing palms; abounding in palms; very lively and profitable.


In 1964 a researcher at the Rand Corp. named Paul Baran came up with a bizarre solution to this Strangelovian puzzle. He designed a computer-communications network that had no hub, no central switching station, no governing authority, and that assumed that the links connecting any city to any other were totally unreliable. Baran's system was the antithesis of the orderly, efflcient phone network; it was more like an electronic post offlce designed by a madman. In Baran's scheme, each message was cut into tiny strips and stuffed into electronic envelopes, called packets, each marked with the address of the sender and the intended receiver. The packets were then released like so much confetti into the web of interconnected computers, where they were tossed back and forth over high-speed wires in the general direction of their destination and reassembled when they finally got there. If any packets were missing or mangled (and it was assumed that some would be), it was no big deal; they were simply re-sent.
First Nation in Cyberspace By Philip Elmer-Dewitt. Time Mag. @ Source
confetti = small pieces or streamers of colored paper that are thrown around on festive occasions (as at a wedding).
blog comments powered by Disqus