"Tolkien appears relatively abstemious, whereas Waugh bought shoes prodigiously. I was wondering whether he might in fact be a centipede..."
USA Today leads with a new poll that shows Obama has managed to maintain good approval ratings while also improving his image with the American people. The percentage of Americans who see Obama as a "strong and decisive leader" has increased 12 points since October, while the view that he is an effective manager has gone up by 11 points. Overall, 56 percent say he has done an "excellent" or "good" job since moving into the White House, while 20 percent give him a "poor" or "terrible" rating. As good as his numbers may be, his wife beat him hands down with 79 percent saying they approve of the way Michelle Obama is handling her job as first lady.
Commercial real-estate loans are souring at an accelerating pace, threatening to exceed the commercial downturn of the early 1990s.
1 having a sharp, sometimes unpleasant, taste or smell, like a lemon, and not sweet:
These plums are a bit sour.
2 unfriendly or easily annoyed:
Overnight, it seemed, their relationship had turned sour.
She gave me a sour look.
sour Show phonetics
noun [C] MAINLY US
a drink made from strong alcohol, lemon or lime juice, sugar and ice:
a whisky sour
sour Show phonetics
verb [I or T]
1 to turn sour or to make something turn sour:
Hot weather sours milk.
Milk sours in hot weather.
2 to (cause to) become unpleasant or unfriendly:
Her whole attitude to life soured as a result of that experience.
This affair has soured relations between the two countries.
sourly Show phonetics
If you describe someone's attitude as sour grapes, you mean that they are angry because they have not got or achieved something that they wanted:
I don't think it's such a great job - and that's not just sour grapes because I didn't get it.
1. Also, in a breeze; in a walk. Easily, without effort, as in She won the election hands down, or They won in a breeze, 10-0, or The top players get through the first rounds of the tournament in a walk. All of these expressions originated in sports. Hands down, dating from the mid-1800s, comes from horse racing, where jockeys drop their hands downward and relax their hold when they are sure to win. In a breeze, first recorded in a baseball magazine in 1910, alludes to the rapid and easy passage of moving air; in a walk, also from baseball, alludes to taking a base on balls, that is, reaching first base without having hit a pitched ball because of the pitcher's mistakes.
2. Unquestionably, without a doubt, as in Hands down, it was the best thing I've ever done.
Sour grapes in France
Dec 21st 2007IN 2008 America will become the biggest consumer of wine in the world, overtaking both Italy and the previous champion, France. Americans are drinking more as the French consume less. But where wine drinking per head is concerned France still wins hands down. Each French adult will quaff 58 litres in 2008 compared with a more abstemious 10 litres in America. More worrying for France’s winemakers is their declining share of the export market, thanks to competition from the New World.