Kindle words: 2009-08-21

Flackette called Amazon and got my Kindle fixed. Back up and running after months…

Here are some interesting vocabulary words I ran across…

Usually chary of words, Damon here is as voluble as a travelling salesman at a hotel bar, and he holds nothing back, never distancing himself from Whitacre’s eager, schmucky side, which, given Damon’s natural charm, is almost endearing, at first.

The New Yorker, Highlight Loc. 1950-52 | Added on Sunday, September 20, 2009, 11:28 AM

Lysine and price-fixing are the MacGuffins here; they’re not really what the movie is about. “The Informant!” turns out to be a comedy devoted to a series of conundrums.

The New Yorker, Highlight Loc. 1963-64 | Added on Sunday, September 20, 2009, 11:28 AM

An expert dressmaker and a prodigious flirt, she tries to fake her way through a kind of exam administered by Charles Brown (Paul Schneider), Keats’s protector and amanuensis. Brown is a self-hating buffoon who nevertheless has a perfect ear for Keats’s work; he sees Fanny as an ignorant girl who will trap the poet in the soul-destroying vulgarity of sexual pleasure.

The New Yorker, Highlight Loc. 1976-79 | Added on Added on Sunday, September 20, 2009, 11:33 AM

Of the four sons of Joseph P. Kennedy, only the youngest and least promising was granted a long life and a peaceful death. The others were heroes and martyrs: Joseph, Jr., naval aviator, killed in action over Europe on August 12, 1944, aged twenty-nine; John, President of the United States, assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963, aged forty-six; Robert, insurgent candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination, assassinated in Los Angeles on June 6, 1968, aged forty-two. Edward Kennedy’s apotheosis was quieter, and longer in coming.

The New Yorker, Highlight Loc. 1431-35 | Added on Added on Sunday, September 20, 2009, 05:13 PM

Toomey, a former congressman known for his unyielding conservatism, had come to be regarded by some of his fellow-Republicans as a sort of ideological kamikaze. They had warned that Toomey’s decision to challenge Specter in the 2010 primary, announced after Specter’s vote for President Obama’s economic-stimulus package, would jeopardize a precious Republican seat in the Senate, and events proved them right. Specter, an unrepentant creedal heretic, bolted the Party, all but assuring Democrats a filibuster-proof majority.

The New Yorker, Highlight Loc. 706-12 | Added on Added on Monday, September 21, 2009, 01:15 AM

On a January day in Paris, in 1895, a ceremony was enacted in the courtyard of the École Militaire, on the Champ-de-Mars, that still shocks the mind and conscience to contemplate: Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish artillery officer and family man, convicted of treason days earlier in a rushed court-martial, was publicly degraded before a gawking crowd. His insignia medals were stripped from him, his sword was broken over the knee of the degrader, and he was marched around the grounds in his ruined uniform to be jeered and spat at, while piteously declaring his innocence and his love of France above cries of “Jew” and “Judas!” It is a ceremony that seems to belong to some older, medieval Europe, of public torture and autos-da-fé and Inquisitions.

The New Yorker, Highlight Loc. 1607-12 | Added on Added on Monday, September 21, 2009, 02:15 AM

The typical modern media melodrama involves the courtroom: from Scopes to O.J., the dramatic proscenium of a trial gives structure to the spectacle of modern life.

The New Yorker, Highlight Loc. 1607-12 | Added on Added on Monday, September 21, 2009, 02:15 AM

It turned out that Schwarzkoppen, the German military attaché, had begun an erotic affair with Major Alessandro Panizzardi, the Italian military attaché—it was not called the gay nineties for nothing—and that they wrote to each other in an allusive and sinister-sounding private code. One of their letters, stolen from a second source, included a reference to someone whom Schwarzkoppen called “this scoundrel of a D.,” and who had offered “plans of Nice”—though the whole thing may have been a bantering reference to another lover. (The letter ends, to give a taste of the whole, “Don’t exhaust yourself with too much buggery.”) Despite its obviously louche tone, this letter was submitted to the judges in a “secret dossier,” which Dreyfus and his lawyers were not allowed to know about, let alone see. (One of the smaller ironies of the affair is that it involves the collision of two subcultures, ambiguous Jewish identity and the obliquities of gay “coding,” that did so much to make the modernist sensibility.)

The New Yorker, Highlight Loc. 1672-79 | Added on Added on Monday, September 21, 2009, 02:26 AM

Around 30 million years ago, the earth’s warm, moist climate became seasonally arid. This shift favored plants that could grow quickly and produce seeds to survive the dry period, and caused a great expansion of grasslands, which in the dry seasons became a sea of desiccated, fibrous stalks and leaves. So began the gradual decline of the horses and the expansion of the deer family, the ruminants, which evolved the ability to survive on dry grass. Cattle, sheep, goats, and their relatives are all ruminants. The key to the rise of the ruminants is their highly specialized, multichamber stomach, which accounts for a fifth of their body weight and houses trillions of fiber-digesting microbes, most of them in the first chamber, or rumen. Their unique plumbing, together with the habit of regurgitating and rechewing partly digested food, allows ruminants to extract nourishment from high-fiber, poor-quality plant material.

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, Harold McGee Highlight Loc. 281-88 | Added on Added on Monday, September 21, 2009, 02:58 AM

Ruminants produce milk copiously on feed that is otherwise useless to humans and that can be stockpiled as straw or silage. Without them there would be no dairying.

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, Harold McGee Highlight Loc. 288-89 | Added on Added on Monday, September 21, 2009, 02:58 AM

Sheep were originally grazers on grassy foothills and are somewhat more fastidious than goats, but less so than cattle.

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, Harold McGee Highlight Loc. 316-17 | Added on Added on Monday, September 21, 2009, 03:04 AM

Women write “thinly veiled accounts”; men write “romans à clef.”

The New Yorker, Highlight Loc. 1995 | Added on Added on Monday, September 21, 2009, 03:42 AM

Women writers may have a room of their own, but men who thrash around in front of the mirror and record their every failure, humiliation, moue, and excretion for an audience’s consumption still own the house, even if all they do in it is lie on the couch—and then write about it.

The New Yorker, Highlight Loc. 1995-97 | Added on Added on Monday, September 21, 2009, 03:43 AM

From here, we hop fifteen years, to a provincial tavern, where Gabrielle, now a tetchy and man-resistant minx, sings for her supper; one of the numbers, with its refrain of “Coco at the Trocadero,” becomes her trademark and bequeaths her a permanent name.

The New Yorker, Highlight Loc. 2070-71 | Added on Added on Monday, September 21, 2009, 03:52 AM

When I first saw Poelvoorde, sixteen years ago, in “Man Bites Dog,” he was whippy and as mean as sin. He has since filled out, the edges have softened, and you can see why Coco might be drawn to such rubicund sloth.

The New Yorker, Highlight Loc. 2079-80 | Added on Added on Monday, September 21, 2009, 03:54 AM

The problem for Audrey Tautou is that she is doomed to trail clouds of “Amélie” wherever she goes. Those inky round eyes and that pixie mug insure that hers are the features, poor thing, that social anthropologists will eternally reach for when asked to illustrate the term gamine. Or mignonne.

The New Yorker, Highlight Loc. 2091-93 | Added on Added on Monday, September 21, 2009, 03:57 AM

She does her best to capture the sullen grit of the young Coco, and the sour distaste she felt for those off whom she sponged; but it’s hard to jut your jaw when you don’t have much of a jaw, just a perfectly rounded chin, and the adamantine hardness of Chanel—not just in her bone structure and bearing but in the elimination of all fuss from her couture and all wasteful palaver from her soul—is probably beyond an actress as winsome as Tautou.

The New Yorker, Highlight Loc. 2093-96 | Added on Added on Monday, September 21, 2009, 03:59 AM

(Flackette thinks I’m making up for having Kindle withdrawal; I think I just had insomnia last night.)

2 thoughts on “Kindle words: 2009-08-21

  1. Ooooooooo! I hadn’t thought of using the notes functionality to save words I didn’t know. I (finally) look up words I don’t know, which is one of my favorite features of the Kindle.

    I’m totally going to start saving the words and usages. Thanks!

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