More Wordplay

Here’s another fun post for the lexophile out there. It comes from a popular e-mail chain claiming to be the finalists of the “Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational”. After a quick scour of the internet, I’m pretty confident that no such thing exists, but the wordplay is good nonetheless. Here are a couple of my favorites:

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

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

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

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. 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.

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

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

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

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

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

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

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

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

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

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

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

The Washington Post however does have a “Style Invitational”, which you can find here.

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Word play culled from an email chain.

1. A bicycle can’t stand alone because it is two-tired.

2. What’s the definition of a will? (It’s a dead giveaway).

3. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

4. A backward poet writes inverse.

5. In democracy it’s your vote that counts; In feudalism, it’s your
count that votes.

7. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

8. If you don’t pay your exorcist you get repossessed.

9. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

10. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I’ll show you A-flat minor.

11. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

12. The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.

13. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

14. You feel stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.

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How to Beat the Wrap

This Dave Barry column was originally published Dec. 9, 2001 and is always a great read around the holidays.


This is the time of year when we think back to the very first Christmas, when the three Wise Men — Gaspar, Balthasar and Herb — went to see the baby Jesus, and, according to the Book of Matthew, “presented unto Him gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

These are simple words, but if we analyze them carefully, we discover an important, yet often-overlooked, theological fact: There is no mention of wrapping paper. If there had been wrapping paper, Matthew would have said so: “And lo, the gifts WERE inside 600 square cubits of paper.

“And the paper WAS festooned with pictures of Frosty the Snowman.

“And Joseph WAS going to throweth it away, but Mary saideth unto him, she saideth, `Holdeth it! That is nice paper! Saveth it for next year!’

“And Joseph DID rolleth his eyeballs.

“And the baby Jesus WAS more interested in the paper than, for example, the frankincense.”

But these words do not appear in the Bible, which means that the very first Christmas gifts were NOT wrapped. This is because the people giving those gifts had two important characteristics:

1. They were wise.

2. They were men.

Men are not big gift wrappers. Men do not understand the point of putting paper on a gift just so somebody else can tear it off. This is not just my opinion; this is a scientific fact based on a statistical survey of two guys I know. One is my son, Rob, who said the only time he ever wraps a gift is, quote, ”if it’s such a poor gift that I don’t want to be there when the person opens it.” The other is my friend Gene Weingarten, who told me he does wrap gifts, but as a matter of principle never takes more than 15 seconds per gift.

”No one ever had to wonder which presents Daddy wrapped at Christmas,” Gene said. “They were the ones that looked like enormous spitballs.”

I also wrap gifts, but because of some defect in my motor skills, I can never COMPLETELY wrap them. I can take a gift the size of a deck of cards and put it in the exact center of a piece of wrapping paper the size of a regulation volleyball court, but when I am done folding and taping, you can still see a sector of the gift peeking out. (Sometimes I camouflage this sector with a marking pen.) If I had been an ancient Egyptian in the field of mummies, the lower half of the Pharaoh’s body would be covered only by Scotch tape.

On the other hand, if you give my wife a 12-inch square of wrapping paper, she can wrap a C-130 cargo plane. My wife, like many women, actually LIKES wrapping things. If she gives you a gift that requires batteries, she wraps the batteries separately, which to me is very close to being a symptom of mental illness. If it were possible, my wife would wrap each individual volt.

My point is that gift-wrapping is one of those skills — like having babies — that come more naturally to women than to men. That is why today I am presenting:


— Whenever possible, buy gifts that are already wrapped. If, when the recipient opens the gift, neither of you recognizes it, you can claim that it’s myrrh.

— The editors of Woman’s Day magazine recently ran an item on how to make your own wrapping paper by printing a design on it with an apple sliced in half horizontally and dipped in a mixture of food coloring and liquid starch. They must be smoking crack.

— If you’re giving a hard-to-wrap gift, skip the wrapping paper! Just put it inside a bag and stick one of those little adhesive bows on it. This creates a festive visual effect that is sure to delight the lucky recipient on Christmas morning:

YOUR WIFE: Why is there a Hefty trash bag under the tree?

YOU: It’s a gift! See? It has a bow!

YOUR WIFE: (peering into the trash bag): It’s a leaf blower.

YOU: Gas-powered! Five horsepower!

YOUR WIFE: I want a divorce.

YOU: I also got you some myrrh.

In conclusion, remember that the important thing is not what you give, or how you wrap it. The important thing, during this very special time of year, is that you save the receipt.

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Holiday Career Advice from Mark Ford (Or 15 Rules of the Holiday Office Party)

There are three social environments when it comes to your career. At one end, is the formal atmosphere of your professional business life. Here, all eyes are on you … and to succeed, you must conduct yourself with the utmost energy, enthusiasm, and decorum. At the other end (if you are lucky), is a personal life that is free from business relationships. Here, you do exactly as you please. In the middle, are the social events that surround business functions — the dinners and dances and cocktail parities that often follow conferences, trade shows, and seminars.

It is this middle ground that is difficult for some people (like me). It’s easy to convince yourself that anything goes in such situations – but it doesn’t. Like it or not, you will be judged by your behavior at these events, and although your actions will be given much greater tolerance than they would in your daytime business life, you will not be excused from everything.

Here is a partial list of things I have done and/or observed that are probably inadvisable at such functions:

  1. Passing out from drink
  2. Telling your colleagues what you really think of them
  3. Commenting (positively or negatively) on your colleagues’ body parts
  4. Any form of “dirty” dancing
  5. Forcing people to play volleyball/water polo or do that YMCA thing
  6. Telling your boss’s wife what a prick he is
  7. Telling your boss’s husband how hot all the guys think she is
  8. Confessing your love to anyone except your spouse
  9. Dancing on, standing on, or toppling over furniture
  10. Yodeling, Tarzan calls, or hyena laughing
  11. Disrobing, even if it’s “so fucking hot”
  12. Leading a conga line
  13.  Showing your supervisor your tattoos
  14. Taking the “after-party” to a karaoke bar
  15. Doing anything that in any way resembles John Belushi’s behavior in Animal House

Jason Gay, at the Wall Street Journal, has compiled his own list of rules which you can read here.


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