2017年5月30日 星期二

butterfingers, meteorite, dagger, cloak and dagger, Fine words butter no parsnips

"Why all the cloak-and-dagger secrecy?" Clapper told Judy Woodruff. "If the intent was simply to reach out to establish — to make acquaintance, one wonders if there is something worse than that or more nefarious than that."

Tutankhamun had a space dagger
Scientists used x-ray scans to analyse the blade of Tutankhamun's dagger

The iron blade has puzzled researchers in the decades since its discovery; ironwork was rare in ancient Egypt, and the dagger’s metal had not rusted.

Researched analyzed metal composition of a dagger within the wrapping of…
Comment: The re-emergence of the five men associated with Causeway Bay's banned bookstore has proved just as disturbing as their disappearance. Yet, much to Hong Kong’s loss, the mainland authorities seem to have achieved all their cloak-and-dagger aims, writes Kent Ewing.

Why iPhone Repair Costs Have Soared

Apple earns almost as much from its customers’ butterfingers as it does through corporate tax loopholes. Quentin Fottrell takes a look. Photo: AP.

Google butterfingers slip jazz hands bug into Gmail


Pronunciation: /ˈdaɡə/ 


Image of dagger
1A short knife with a pointed and edged blade, used as a weapon:he drew his dagger and stabbed the leader
1.1Printing another term for obelus.
2moth with a dark dagger-shaped marking on the forewing.
  • Genus Acronicta, family Noctuidae: several species.

Cloak and dagger - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Cloak and dagger" is an English term sometimes used to refer to situations involving intrigue, secrecy, espionage, or mystery. The phrase has two possible ...

By Kelly Fiveash • Get more from this author An extremely annoying bug that plays an old ragtime tune has commandeered Google's Gmail, after the company ...


pl.n. (used with a sing. verb)
A person who tends to drop things.

butterfingered but'ter·fin'gered adj.

Definition of butterfingers
noun (plural same)

  • a clumsy person, especially one who fails to hold a catch.




A name playfully applied to someone who fails to catch a ball or lets something slip from their fingers.


Charles Dickens - butterfingersIn the week of the bicentenary of Charles Dickens' birth (7th February 1812), I thought it would be nice to include a phrase coined by him. It ought not to be too difficult to find one, after all, Dickens ranks sixth on the 'number of English words coined by an individual author' list. Passing over contenders like 'slow-coach' and 'cloak and dagger' I alighted on 'butterfingers', which several authorities say was invented by Dickens. Not quite a phrase but, as it was coined as the hyphenated 'butter-fingers', it's close enough. Dickens used the term in The Pickwick Papers (more properly calledThe Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club), 1836:
At every bad attempt at a catch, and every failure to stop the ball, he launched his personal displeasure at the head of the devoted individual in such denunciations as 'Ah, ah! - stupid' - 'Now, butter-fingers' - 'Muff' - 'Humbug' - and so forth.
It seemed as though that was all there was to say about the word/phrase but, as I usually like to add a little more, I delved further. The British Library's excellent new database of 19th century newspapers turned up a reference to 'butter-fingers' in the Yorkshire newspaperThe Leeds Intelligencer dated May 1823. Pre-Pickwick, clearly. Looking closer, it appeared that the writer was quoting from what he called 'a scarce book' - The English Housewife. Delving again, I found that the book, written by the English writer Gervase Markham in 1615, scarce as it may have been in 1823, is still available today. Markham's recipe for a good housewife was:
'First, she must be cleanly in body and garments; she must have a quick eye, a curious nose, a perfect taste, and ready ear; she must not be butter-fingered, sweet-toothed, nor faint-hearted - for the first will let everything fall; the second will consume what it should increase; and the last will lose time with too much niceness.
Markham's views aren't quite what would be accepted now, any more than his remedy for the plague - 'smell a nosegay made of the tasselled end of a ship rope', but he does at least make it clear that 'butterfingers' was in use in 1615 with the same meaning we have for it today, that is, someone likely to drop things - as if their hands were smeared with butter, like a cook's.
Many of the later examples of 'butterfingers' in print relate to the game of cricket, which was and still is the principal ball-catching game in England. The term is often used as an amiable taunt when someone fails to make an easy catch. As the word spread to other countries, notably America, it was taken into the language of the local catching game, i.e. baseball, and 'no-hoper' teams were unkindly given that name. The Salt Lake Tribune reported on such a team in May 1899:
'The Butterfingers will cross bats with the Salt Lake Juniors at Calder's Park Tuesday'.
As for Dickens, he may have missed out on 'butterfingers' but he has many other words and phrases to lay claim to, and he did write some exceedingly good books.

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界: 植物界 Plantae
門: 被子植物門 Magnoliophyta
綱: 雙子葉植物綱 Magnoliopsida
目: 傘形目 Apiales
科: 傘形科 Apiaceae
屬: 歐防風屬 Pastinaca
種: 歐防風 P. sativa
Pastinaca sativa

Fine words butter no parsnips


Nothing is achieved by empty words or flattery.


Fine words butter no parsnipsThis proverbial saying is English and dates from the 17th century. It expresses the notion that fine words count for nothing and that action means more than flattery or promises. You aren't very likely to come across 'fine words butter no parsnips' as 20th century street slang - you are more liable to hear it in a period costume drama.
Potatoes were imported into Britain from America by John Hawkins in the mid 16th century and became a staple in what established itself as the national dish - meat and two veg. Before that, various root vegetables were eaten instead, often mashed and, as anyone who has eaten mashed swedes, turnips or parsnips can testify, they cry out to be 'buttered-up' - another term for flattery. Indeed, the English were known for their habit of layering on butter to all manner of foods, much to the disgust of the French who used it as evidence of the English lack of expertise regarding cuisine and to the Japanese, who referred to Europeans in general and the English in particular as 'butter-stinkers'. This butter habit is evidenced in the various forms of the expression that are found in print in the 1600s - 'fine/fair/soft words butter no parsnips/cabbage/fish/connie[rabbit]'. A typical example is this verse from John Taylor's Epigrammes, 1651:
Words are but wind that do from men proceed;
None but Chamelions on bare Air can feed;
Great men large hopeful promises may utter;
But words did never Fish or Parsnips butter..
The earliest version that I know of in print is in John Clarke's Latin/English textbookParoemiologia, 1639:
Faire words butter noe parsnips, verba non alunt familiam. [words, no family support]
That's all, no more fine words from me this week.
See also: the List of Proverbs.

2017年5月29日 星期一

in thrall to, be enthralled, college-worthiness

Order in the chamber disintegrated, police were repeatedly summoned, and the husband of a medium nearly punched Houdini in the face.
The congressional hearings on the supernatural were very theatrical.
“Though well below the recommended age rating of 12, the boys were already enthralled by my rule books, especially the Monster Manual, a colourful compendium of deadly fantastic beasts.”
How I became my sons’ Dungeon Master

Growing up, Dan Jolin, uninterested in sport, got hooked on Dungeons & Dragons. Now, 32 years later, it’s proving to be the perfect way to connect with his two young sons

Order in the chamber disintegrated, police were repeatedly summoned, and the husband of a medium nearly punched Houdini in the face.

In 1926, Houdini Spent 4 Days Shaming Congress for Being in Thrall to Fortune-Tellers
The congressional hearings on the supernatural were very theatrical.

Sometimes a single word can capture a moment in politics. In 2008 it was "Hope" that carried Barack Obama to the White House. A bleaker noun now holds voters in its thrall: "Fight" http://econ.st/1KA62vt

The Sandernista revolution
SOMETIMES a single word can capture a moment in politics. In 2008 it was Hope that carried Barack Obama to the White House. A bleaker noun seems to hold voters in...


【3月26日 Contentslink】映画『花の生涯-梅蘭芳(メイランファン)(Forever Enthralled)』のマスコミ上映会および懇談会が24日、ソウル市内の往十里(ワンシンリ)CGVにて開かれ、出演者の香港人俳優のレオン・ライ(Leon Lai)、中国人女優のチャン・ツィイー(Zhang Ziyi)、監督のチェン・カイコー(Chen Kaige)が出席した。 彼らは、同映画の韓国公開を控えてのプロモーションのため、23日午後に仁川国際空港から入国した。1年ぶりに韓国を再び訪れたレオン・ライと、3年ぶりに来韓したチャン・ツィイーは、チェン・カイコー監督と共に24日、25日の両日に行われるマスコミ試写会および公式記者会見、レッドカーペットイベントに参加した。(c)Contentslink

In Hong Kong,
Flashy Test Tutors
Gain Icon Status

With Faces on Billboards,
'Gods' Promise Top Scores;
Mr. Ng's Two Ferraris
August 14, 2007; Page A1
HONG KONG -- When Richard Eng isn't teaching English grammar to high-school students, he might be cruising around Hong Kong in his Lamborghini Murciélago. Or in Paris, on one of his seasonal shopping sprees. Or relaxing in his private, custom-installed karaoke room festooned with giant Louis Vuitton logos.
Mr. Eng, 43 years old, is one of Hong Kong's best-known celebrity "tutor gods."

Hong Kong parents are often desperate to help their children succeed in this city's pressure-cooker public-examination system, which determines students' college-worthiness. That explains why many are willing to pay handsomely for extracurricular help. Mr. Eng and others like him have made a lucrative business out of tapping that demand. They use flashy, aggressive marketing tactics that have transformed them into scholastic pop stars -- "tutor gods," as they're known in Cantonese.
Private tutoring is big business around the world. Programs that help people prepare for standardized tests -- such as SAT-prep courses in the U.S. -- have become a multibillion-dollar industry. Tutoring agencies are also booming in places like mainland China and Japan. Several years ago, Hong Kong's government estimated that the city's families spent nearly half a billion dollars a year on tutoring.
Hong Kong stands out, though, for instructors who boldly tout their success rate -- and their own images. They pay to have their faces plastered throughout the city on 40-foot-high billboards and the sides of double-decker buses. They're also known for buying ads that take up the entire front page of newspapers -- space more commonly filled by banks and property developers. One local television station is even preparing to launch a fictional drama series based on the lives of the tutor gods.
See side-by-side comparisons of mock exam questions given by tutor Joseph Li to his students ahead of the 2000 public examination, and the actual public exam that year.
Plus, watch a music video featuring tutor god K. Oten. The song, "Fong Bong," or "Release of Examination Results," is about feelings and fears of failure on the day that the public exam results are released.
The tutors won't say exactly how much they make. But typically, a popular tutor might teach 100 students in a single lesson, each paying as much as $12.50 to be there. So a tutor working 40 hours could gross $50,000 in a week. "It's a big business," says Ken Ng, a well-known tutor god. "That's why I'm driving my second Ferrari."
Years ago, Mr. Eng remembers, tutors were looked down on in Hong Kong as second-rate teachers. Now, he adds, people ask for his help and "they say, 'I want to be a tutor god.' "
He relishes the attention. In April, when Louis Vuitton threw a party here to showcase its vintage luggage and trunks, he hammed for photographers in a head-to-toe Louis Vuitton ensemble, complete with glimmering gold blazer and gold leather shoes.
"It's the product that you're selling, and in our business, it's the person -- just like in showbiz," says June Leung, Mr. Eng's cousin and business partner. A recent brochure for their tutoring business features Ms. Leung, 40, wearing a John Galliano T-shirt and knee-high leather boots on the cover.
[Richard Eng]
Flashy clothes might not seem the way for a tutor to impress clients. But Hong Kong youth respond well to the marketing, and many parents go along with whomever their kids choose -- assured by the promise of better grades. A low score in Hong Kong's public exams, which cover a range of subjects, can put the brakes on a student's college aspirations.
Garret Leung, 19, credits multiple tutors for helping him land a perfect score on a recent public exam -- making him one of only 15 Hong Kong students to do so in 2005. "The tutors may not actually help you speak better English," he says. "But your scores will certainly be better."
Rosa Wong, 46, says she's put off by the "deification" of the tutors. "In my heart, I don't agree with these practices," she says. But that didn't stop her from enrolling her 16-year-old daughter Sarah in classes with four different tutor gods. She decided on the best ones after watching sample lesson videos on YouTube. (Watch a music video featuring tutor god K. Oten.)
"When everyone else takes their classes and your children don't," says Ms. Wong, "you're afraid they won't be as competitive." Besides, she says, these tutors are great at "tipping" or predicting exam questions -- an important edge that could determine her daughter's future.
Sometimes, the tipping seems to be a little too accurate. A few tutors have been known to guess questions that appeared in nearly identical form on the actual tests. This spring, a legislator here called for a formal investigation into any possible ties between tutors and testing officials. (See side-by-side comparisons of one tutor's mock exam questions and the actual public exam.)

Mr. Ng's company, called Modern Education, is one of the dominant players in the field. Mr. Ng, better known here as "Ken Sir," this spring told students to practice writing essays about fashion designers. During the public exam that followed, students cracked open the test's English section to find a request for a 250-word essay on the question "Would you like to work with a famous fashion designer?"
Mr. Ng says his prediction was based on experience in the field. He's proud of his tipping prowess and now hypes it in his marketing materials. "I know all the tricks," says the 40-year-old tutor.
That includes attracting top talent, ranging from attorneys to fashion models. In one instance, Mr. Ng says he lured one English tutor, Stella Cheng, away from a lucrative gig at a prominent law firm.
On a recent summer day, over one hundred students watched rapt as one of Mr. Ng's disciples, Karsen Fan, lectured students on how to ace the English portion of the public exam. Glass walls separated the crowd into "classrooms" of 45 students or less -- that's the maximum class size allowed by the government -- who watched the tutor on a live video feed. Teaching assistants circled the students, taking questions.
A baby-faced 31-year-old with a goatee, Mr. Fan, who lectures in mix of Cantonese and English, enthralled students with his rapid-fire delivery over a headset microphone.
"Do you hear that voice?" Mr. Ng said, hovering outside the classroom. "That's why he's a star." As it happens, Mr. Fan has a side career rapping with local pop singers. Like many tutors, he goes by a stage name -- K. Oten -- which he uses both in classrooms and recording studios.
Hong Kong's rank-and-file schoolteachers can find the tutor obsession hugely frustrating. Rosita Louie, 58, who has taught English at a local government-funded public school for 37 years, remembers exploding at two of her students who used her daily English period to finish up their tutorial homework.
"There's no way for me to compete for my students' attention," she says.
Write to Jonathan Cheng at jonathan.cheng@wsj.com

  1. thrall (Old Norse: þræll) was a slave or serf in Scandinavian lands during the Viking Age beginning in c. 793. Norsemen and Vikings raided across Europe. They often captured and enslaved militarily weaker peoples they encountered, but took the most slaves in raids of the British Isles.

In Thrall to Sheldon Adelson

Instead of repudiating a casino mogul's billions, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan get even closer and jeopardize the integrity of their campaign.


  • 発音記号[θrɔ'ːl]
1 奴隷;[U]((通例inを前に置いて))奴隷の身分[境遇], 束縛
in thrall to ...
2 (道徳的・精神的に)(…の)とりこになっている人((of, to ...)).

Be enthralled


To be captivated; to be held spellbound by pleasing qualities.


Be enthralledWho was the first person to be found enthralling? Strange as it may seem for such a destructive and belligerent race, it was a Viking. The Vikings were stalwart ravagers and pillagers but didn't put much effort into housework. They didn't need to; they had the Thralls.
The Thralls weren't a race as such but a category of people who were at the absolute bottom of the pile in Scandinavian society in the Dark Ages. They were captives of war who were held as slaves, often passing their bondage on to their children. The harshness of the treatment of the Thralls by the Vikings was uncompromising. Thralls weren't allowed to speak in the presence of their masters nor to own property. Anyone captured by the Vikings was said to be 'in thrall' (later enthrall) and was in for a very bad time indeed.
Things didn't get much better for the Thralls when Viking dominance faded around 1100 AD. The Catholic Church decreed that enslavement of Christians was sinful, whereas heathens were fair game. This brought about an increase in demand for non-Christian slaves and the Thralls, being mostly Pagans, continued in slavery. The Lindisfarne Gospels, circa 950 AD, makes a mention (in Old English) of a Thrall in the context of 'one whose liberty is forfeit'.
By the 17th century the literal meaning of 'enthrall' had been forgotten and the word began to be used in the way we use it now. Shakespeare used it that way in A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1600:
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape.
Many Norse words have retained their original negative meanings in modern English - anger, berserk, Hell, irksome, rotten, ugly and troll, for eaxample. It is odd that 'enthralled', a word now associated with pleasure and charm, meant virtually the opposite when it was coined a thousand years ago.


  • 発音記号[inθrɔ'ːl]
1 〈人を〉(…で)魅了する, 夢中にさせる, 大いに楽しませる((by, with ...));〈人の〉心を奪う.
2 ((通例比喩))…をとりこにする, 奴隷にする, 束縛する.

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in thrall literary If you are in thrall to someone or something, or in the thrall of someone or something, he, she, or it has a lot of power to control you:Her love for him was like a madness, and she was completely in its thrall.
enthral UK (-ll-), US USUALLY enthrall Show phonetics
verb [I or T]
to keep someone completely interested:
The baseball game completely enthralled the crowd.
The audience was enthralled for two hours by a sparkling, dramatic performance.
They listened enthralled to what he was saying.
enthralling Show phonetics
adjectivekeeping someone's interest and attention completely:
I found your book absolutely enthralling!

reconvicted, recidivism rate, reoffending rate

from Back Matter:
"... The failures will be interpreted in terms of virtue or of recidivism, according to circumstances. But what is important is not that we are all malleable-any culture and any civilization depend on ..."

Norway has the lowest reoffending rate in Scandinavia: two years after release, only 20% of prisoners have been reconvicted. By contrast, a study of 29 American states found a recidivism rate nearly twice as high
Too many prisons make bad people worse

a criminal who continues to commit crimes even after they have been punished


Recidivism - Wikipedia

Recidivism (/rᵻˈsɪdᵻvɪzəm/; from recidive and ism, from Latin recidīvus "recurring", from re- "back" and cadō "I fall") is the act of a person repeating an undesirable behavior after they had either experienced negative consequences of that behavior, or had been trained to extinguish that behavior.

mark, marker, biomarker, overdrive, Paintball Marker, starter pistol/ starting pistol

After a tricky few days playing host to Donald J. Trump, the Belgian prime minister may have hoped for a trouble-free few days... But it was not be.

Charles Michel forced to clear schedule and seek medical treatment after he strayed too close to Princess Astrid at start of Brussels 20km run
Hype in Overdrive, N.F.L. Returns to London
The N.F.L., whose efforts to build an international following have been modestly successful, is back in London, with two games this season.

Op-Ed Columnist

Individualism in Overdrive

Putting a starter pistol in your luggage is a gimmick that values personal advantage over the public good.

 A starting pistol or starter pistol is a handgun (typically a specially designed revolver) or electronic toy weapon that is fired to start track and field races, as well as competitive swimming races at some meets. The loud report of the gun going off is a signal to the athletes to begin the event. Usually a cloud of smoke can be seen when shot. Blank shells or caps are used to prevent injury. Starting pistols may be modified versions of standard pistols incapable of firing bullets, most commonly achieved by welding obstacles into the barrel. When electronic timing is used, a sensor is often affixed to the gun, which sends an electronic signal to the timing system upon firing. For deaf competitors or for modern electronic systems, a light may be used instead.

marker, biomarker

The Washington Post declares that "Obama's agenda seeks to foster a redistribution of wealth, with the government working to narrow the growing gap between rich and poor." In order to achieve this though, Obama "laid down controversial markers on almost every major issue facing the country," notes the Los Angeles Times.

Supreme Court Rules Sect Cannot Place Monument
Justices ruled that a religious sect cannot force a city to place its marker beside a Ten Commandments display.

mark (SYMBOL)
noun [C]
1 a symbol which is used for giving information:
I've put a mark on the map where I think we should go for a picnic.
What do those marks in the middle of the road mean?

2 a written or printed symbol:
a question mark
an exclamation mark
punctuation marks

verb [T]
to show where something is by drawing or putting something somewhere:
I've marked the route around the one-way system on the town plan.
I'd like everyone to mark their progress on the chart every week.
X marks the spot where the treasure is buried.
See picture .

noun [C]
a sign which shows where something is:
I've put in some markers where I planted the seeds.
She reached the 500-metre marker in record time.

biomarker 生物指標 (marker 指標、信標器)

n. Medicine.
  1. See marker (sense 9).
  2. A specific physical trait used to measure or indicate the effects or progress of a disease or condition: Biomarkers of aging include thinning of the hair and diminished elasticity of the skin.
Researchers are also using M.R.I. scans to look for early brain changes, and testing blood and spinal fluid for amyloid 類澱粉 and other “biomarkers” to see if they can be used to predict Alzheimer’s or find it early.


(pānt'bôl') pronunciation
  1. A game in which players on one team seek to eliminate those on an opposing team by marking them with a water-soluble dye shot in capsules from air guns.
  2. The dye-filled gelatinous capsule shot from guns in this game.

KEE Action Sports Recalls Paintball Marker Due To Injury Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.
Name of Product: BT SA-17 Paintball Gun/Marker
Units: About 1,400
Importer: KEE Action Sports LLC, of Sewell, N.J.
Hazard: When users attempt to pierce the CO2 cartridge by closing the lever to the cartridge chamber, the cartridge can fly out of the marker, posing an injury hazard to consumers.
Incidents/Injuries: No incidents or injuries have been reported.
Description: The marker is made of aluminum and resembles a pistol. It is black with model number BT SA-17 printed on both sides. It uses a horizontally-fed magazine and requires a 12g CO2 cartridge.
Sold at: Paintball fields/arenas, stores and retailers from May 2010 through August 2010 for about $130.
Manufactured in: Taiwan
Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled paintball markers. Consumers can return the markers to KEE or the retailer from which the product was purchased for a free repair or contact KEE for the repair parts and installation instructions.
Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact KEE Action Sports at (800) 220-3222 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT, or visit KEE’s customer service website at www.paintballsolutions.com
BT SA-17 paintball maker with lever to CO2 cartridge chamber open

overdrive  加速檔  OVERDRIVE PROCESSOR 是Intel公司1992年推出的速度加倍處理器


Pronunciation: /ˈəʊvədrʌɪv/
Translate overdrive | into French | into German | into Italian | into Spanish


  • 1a gear in a motor vehicle providing a gear ratio higher than that of direct drive (the usual top gear), so that the engine speed can be reduced at high road speeds to lessen fuel consumption or to allow further acceleration.
  • a mechanism which permits the exceeding of some normal operating level in a piece of equipment, especially the amplifier of an electric guitar.
  • 2 [mass noun] a state of great or excessive activity:the city’s worried public relations group went into overdrive


[with object] (usually as adjective overdriven)
  • 1drive or work to exhaustion:an overdriven mother of ten children
2give (an electric guitar) a distorted sound: pounding drums and overdriven electric guitars