Monthly Archives: April, 2009


This has been doing the rounds for a while but I’ve only just come across it (thanks to Jason Perlow). Wonderful stuff.

Here are the winners of this year’s Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition:

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 is both stupid and an ass.

3. Intaxication: 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 having sex.

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.

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.

17. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. And the winners are:

1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade, v, To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent, n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

Required reading

Well, it should be, certainly for all science journalists, and probably for all science undergrads too. Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science is an enjoyable but very well-informed rant about how the media gets science stories wrong, and how to look for the real facts behind the reports.

Ben has a few chips on his shoulder – perhaps a few too many – but that doesn’t stop this from being a very important book. Recommended.


From yesterday’s walk…


Most of the paths I walked on obviously had more quadrapedal than bipedal traffic:



Do you think this notice shows concern about the mortal well-being of the animals, or is it a subtle threat?



Very proud…

…to discover that the Childwickbury goats’ cheese made by my step-sister Elizabeth was served as the vegetarian starter for the G20 leaders last night.

Glad to know Jamie approves of it…

We’re very proud too!…

Drug houses and DVDs

On the Today program this morning, someone was saying that ISPs should be held partly responsible for movie and music piracy by their users, in the same way that a house owner should be responsible if the house was being used as a drug den.

But surely that’s the wrong analogy. People don’t in general upload the pirated material to the ISPs’ servers – they have it on their own PCs. Holding the ISP responsible is like blaming the local council because their roads were used to transport the drugs. Why not blame the electricity company that powers the PC?

The culpable ones, if any, are those who share material from their PCs. The media industries can’t sue all of them, though, so they have to find another scapegoat.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser