Recombinant Etymythologisms

My mom (or “Your Dear, Sainted Mother,” as she likes to periodically remind me) recently sent me a fairly hilarious list of neologisms (aka “sniglets” for us ’70s kids who remember the Not Necessarily The News cable show). They allegedly originated from something called “the Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational,” which “asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.”

This purported “invitational” got my net-hoax nose all a-tingly (which I didn’t notice at first since I was lubricating my sinuses with a little milk while reading). I didn’t find the “Mensa Invitational” specifically, but there is indeed something pretty much the same recently offered on the Washington Post’s blog, The Style Invitational, run by a mysterious “Empress.”

(And speaking of homeopathic lacto-nasal treatments, anyone else remember the all-time classic 3rd Annual Nigerian Email Conference?)

Whatever. Here’s the stuff my ma sent, along with some other choice picks from the Post’s site.

Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.

FAQu: The response to frequently asked stupid questions.

Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting lucky.

Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, and then the Earth explodes, and it’s a serious bummer.

Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you

Glibido: All talk and no action.

Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

Elbrow: Extremely long underarm hair.

Eruditz: A philosophy professor who can’t figure out how to work the copying machine.

Entrophy: The consequence of resting on one’s laurels.

Enguish: What elocution teachers feel when they hear the president on the radio.

Unergy: A condition that strikes people on the way to work, mostly on Mondays.

Zencompass: Wherever you go, there you are.

Demoticon: A little symbol signifying bad news on an e-mail from the boss.

Nestrogen: A hormone produced during pregnancy that produces cravings for wallpaper with matching borders and dust ruffles.

Estrogent: Someone who asks if the fabulous pumps are available in a 13 1/2 E.

Farternity: An old boys’ club.

Fistipuffs: Very minor squabbling.

Fatulence: That squishing noise of thighs rubbing together.

Captain Midnight Commands: Catch the Wave

Ah yes, I remember it well!

“During a broadcast of the Dr. Who episode Horror of Fang Rock on WTTW Chicago Channel 11, on Sunday November 22nd, 1987, at around 11:15pm, a Video “Pirate” wearing a Max Headroom mask broke into the signal and transmitted one of the weirdest, unauthorized things ever to hit the Chicago airwaves.

Earlier in the evening on the same day, during the Nine O’Clock News on Channel 9 (yes, a completely different channel [in fact, WGN, owned by The Tribune]) the Max Headroom Pirate also broke in — although it was for a much shorter time and there was no audio.

Needless to say, Dan Roan (the sports reporter) was a bit flustered.

And no, he [the pirate broadcaster(s)] was never caught.”

Further details can be read from the archived Dec. 20, 1987 issue of the e-zine, Tolmes News Service. (Man, I kinda miss e-zines. Don’t you?) There’s also a Wikipedia entry about the Max Headroom pirating incident, according to which there “has not been a broadcast intrusion incident of this kind in America since.” Darn. There’s also a write-up at the aptly-named Damn Interesting site.

Ginormous thanks to my ol’ fellow Chicago expat buddy Hell’s Donut House for bringing this to my attention.

Here’s a partial attempted transcript of the lo-fi, electronically-distorted audio from the person who posted this to YouTube:

“He’s a freaky nerd!”

“This guy’s better than Chuck Swirsky.” [another WGN sportscaster at the time]

“Oh Jesus!”

“Catch the wave…” [reference to a Coke commercial at the time of which Max Headroom was a spokesperson]

“Your love is fading…”

“I stole CBS.”

“Oh, I just made a giant masterpiece printed all over the greatest world newspaper nerds.” [??]

“My brother [mother?] is wearing the other one.”

“It’s dirty…”

“They’re coming to get me…”

Also courtesy of YouTube, here is the CBS network news story about the incident, broadcast the following day (contrary to the added title on the clip, which is incorrect).

Weird Guitar Guy Scares Children

Update: Well, it appears this was erroneous or a hoax (see the comment from Hell’s Donut House)…but it’s still kinda funny…

From the New York Post:

May 3, 2007 — Kindergarten kids in ritzy L.A. suburb Calabasas have been coming home to their parents and talking about the “weird man” who keeps coming to their class to sing “scary” songs on his guitar. The “weird” one turns out to be Bob Dylan, whose grandson (Jakob Dylan’s son) attends the school. He’s been singing to the kindergarten class just for fun, but the kiddies have no idea they’re being serenaded by a musical legend — to them, he’s just Weird Guitar Guy.