Writer's Words, page 9


Now high school graduation is virtually automatic for adolescent outside the ghettos and barrios, a college education is these days a mere rite of passage, a capstone to adolescent party time.
ghetto = A quarter of a city where Jews live in greatest numbers. By extension: Any section of a town inhabited predominantly by members of a specific ethnic, national or racial group, such segregation usually arising from social or economic pressure. The term is commonly applied to areas in cities having a high concentration of low-income African-Americans.
capstone = 1: a final touch; a crowning achievement; a culmination. 2: a stone that forms the top of wall or building.
barrio = In Spain and countries colonized by Spain, a village, ward, or district outside a town or city to whose jurisdiction it belongs. In US, barrios refer to lower-class neighborhoods with largely Spanish-speaking residents, basically the Latino equivalent of a “ghetto”.


As long as we're on the subject, I want to put in a plug for buying a book: “The Insider's Guide to the Colleges.” It is more interesting and candid, and isn't one of those facts-and-figures books like Barron's, Petersons, etc. Go out and spend the $18 for a new copy - splurge! You will only go to college once!


From Mozart's Don Giovanni to Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, the figure of the libertine, that politically incorrect swine, has swaggered provocatively through 200 years of operatic history. Cads, bounders and rakehells abound onstage: one thinks not only of the lecherous Don and Tom Rakewell but of Nerone, Pinkerton and Eugene Onegin as well-moral reprobates who give hardly a second thought to the consequences of their actions.
The Mating Game By Michael Walsh. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981509,00.html
bounder = One who behaves dishonorably or objectionably; a cad.
reprobate = Abandoned to punishment; hence, morally abandoned and lost; given up to vice; depraved.
libertine = a dissolute person; usually a man who is morally unrestrained. The word orginally means: A manumitted slave; a freedman; also, the son of a freedman.; A defamatory name for a freethinker.


A distressing number of my readers, however, evidently addled by the siren song of “the third word,” were unable to read my plea for surcease, and so the deluge of “gry” continued.
surcease = to end; stop. (obsolete)
Gry, Gry, Everywhere, and Not a Clue in Sight. by Evan Morris. @ Source
addle = mix up or confuse; become rotten.


In Stanley Kubrick's Lolita (1962 film), when professor Humbert Humbert lead Lolita into a hotel, she exclaimed: “wow… this looks swank”. There's also a porn mag named Swank.


While staying at Manhattan's swank Mark Hotel, …
swank = imposingly fashionable and elegant.


Surely there are other philosophies — Hitler and his epigones in Bosnia represent one…
The Bright Side of Overpopulation By Barbara Ehrenreich. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981506,00.html
epigone = an inferior imitator of some distinguished writer or artist of musician


It's a good bet that this Carrey — the ventriloquist who wonders poignantly if he has lost his own voice — is a bit of a gag too. The Canadian comic, 32, has been having too good a time lately to search for the Inner Jim. And so has anyone who has seen Carrey inhabit dozens of roles on Fox's prime-time skitcom In Living Color or commandeer the big screen in last winter's smash Ace Ventura Pet Detective. That rowdy farce, cagily directed by Tom Shadyac, earned $72 million at the domestic box office.
World's Only Living Toon By Richard Corliss. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981238,00.html
cagey = showing self-interest and shrewdness in dealing with others;


don't act like an expert when you're a tyro.
tyro = A beginner in learning; one who is in the rudiments of any branch of study.


Even Thomas Jefferson had to contend with a group of drunken rowdies who caused a near riot at the school that he founded, the University of Virginia. Ever since then, periodic efforts to crack down on excessive alcohol consumption among young scholars have been largely futile.
Higher Education: Crocked on Campus By Christine Gorman. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,982010,00.html


In the days when execution was mainly a reprisal, inflicting maximum suffering was a legitimate objective.
reprisal = act of retaliation.


Hanging developed tangentially from garroting and strangulation


Ever since the roaring critical and commercial success of The World According to Garp (1978), the arrival of a new John Irving novel has been an occasion for intense interest and sometimes febrile arguments. Irving fans applaud his jam-packed plots, his innocent heroes (the line from Garp to Gump is not hard to draw) and his overt, Dickensian sympathy for damaged or endangered children. Critics retort that Irving's heart may be in the right place, but his head is not — that he actually exploits for shock value the very characters whose welfare he pretends to champion.
Circus Maximalist By Paul Gray. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981408,00.html
febrile = Pertaining to fever.


For a few tense days last week, the prestige of the Russian space program — and the well-being of three cosmonauts — was in jeopardy as a planned rendezvous in orbit went suddenly awry. A Progress rocket laden with food and other vital supplies glided up to — and right past — the Mir space station. Ground controllers then made a second effort to dock the two craft, but failed. By late Friday afternoon, the Progress could make only one last pass; this time cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko would try to maneuver Mir into a favorable position. Finally, with no more room for error, Malenchenko hit his target and the ships linked up. Ordinarily, a few miscues with a resupply ship would not create such suspense. But a series of foul-ups had left the space station in a precarious state.
Close Call, Comrades By Michael D Lemonick. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981410,00.html
miscue = a minor inadvertent mistake usually observed in speech or writing or in small accidents or memory lapses etc.


“Higher algebraic curves” would nowadays be subsumed under algebraic geometry
math text book


the slimy Dorian Tyrel (Peter Greene), who runs the Coco Bongo Club, where of course Tina is the slinky chanteuse.
The Mask By Roger Ebert. @ Source Review on the movie The Mask (film).
slinky = thin; lank.
chanteuse = A woman singer, especially a nightclub singer.


Mercurial and erratic, Kim Jong Il rarely meets foreign dignitaries.
Kim Jong Il: Now It's His Turn By Howard G Chua-Eoan. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981107,00.html


he surrounds himself with the scions of his father's wartime comrades
Kim Jong Il: Now It's His Turn By Howard G Chua-Eoan. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981107,00.html
scion = a descendent or heir;


For when Meredith Johnson (Demi Moore) charges Tom Sanders (Michael Douglas) with harassment after he rejects her advances and then risks his future at DigiCom, the software company where they're jostling for position, by leveling the same charge at her, their case starts to become more singular than paradigmatic.
SEX! CONTROVERSY! BOX OFFICE! By Richard Schickel. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,982467,00.html Movie review on Disclosure (film)
paradigmatic = exemplary; typical example.
jostle = the act of jostling (forcing your way by pushing)
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