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Fraught with naught

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One more interception and he'll get a peace of my mind:

" 'I was proud of him,' Winsockey Coach Ram Bamm said. 'I think he's really in a good place in the fact that he got his first start out of the way, which for a quarterback is big. I think it gives him a little more piece of mind ...' "

Abseil in the sunset:

"LONDON (AP) — Britain's Prince Andrew has abseiled 785 feet (239 meters) down the side of Europe's tallest building to raise money for charity. The 52-year-old's stunt began on London skyscraper The Shard's 87th floor and finished on the 20th, and took him 30 minutes."

On first reading, I wasn't sure what the prince had done. Merriam-Webster informs me that abseil is "chiefly British" and means "rappel."

"BEIJING — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Beijing on Tuesday night to a barrage of unusually harsh coverage in China's official news media over what they called U.S. meddling in territorial disputes in the region — and then a strikingly warm welcome from the country's foreign minister. The contrasting receptions — both official, though in different ways — underscored a complicated and often fraught relationship ... " My dictionary says fraught means "full of or accompanied by something specified, used with 'with': a situation fraught with danger." A "fraught relationship" is like a "filled glass" — whether it's filled with champagne or kerosene is important. What is this Chinese deal fraught with? I hope they're not subjecting Secretary Clinton to a bunch of their fire drills. We know what ordeals those are.

 

A recent encounter with a downtown panhandler started me wondering where the name comes from. The ones I meet aren't usually carrying pans. There are a lot of ne'er-do-wells in the Texas Panhandle, of course, but that's true of the rest of the state too. Random House has the answer. A panhandler is so called "from the resemblance of the extended arm to a panhandle." The verb panhandle, "to beg on the streets," is a back-formation from the noun.

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