Word Play




My earliest memories revolve around being read to by my father and playing word games with him. At first it was mostly rhyming games. Later we got into meanings and how meanings can change. I always remember  laughing a lot and having loads of fun. When I was in the 6th grade I had an 11th grade 5th month reading score on the IOWA Test of Basic Skills.  That was my dad’s influence!

I still like to play with words whether it is reading, writing, working crossword puzzles, playing Scrabble, or teaching young children to read I cannot get enough of words.

So it was with great joy, pleasure, and indulgence when a friend recently e-mailed me the following.

This has been circulating on the internets for several years. I do not know who sent it originally. The email said it was from, “The Washington Post’s MENSA Invitational.” Evidently that is incorrect. According to WPM International it was not sent out by The Washington Post and the author appears to be that Master or Mistress of all Anonymous written pieces in the Universe.

Enough talk. I hope you enjoy this and laugh as hard as I did as you read it.

You are here-by warned. I laughed so hard I got a triple stomach ache half way through the piece.


The Washington Post’s Mensa invitational 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.   Here are the 2009 winners:

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 *sshole.

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
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 gruelling 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

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

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 jockey shorts worn by
Jewish men

Featured Recipe        Chicken in Tarragon Cream Sauce



I have loved the delicate, sweet licorice flavor of tarragon since I first tasted it. It begs for chicken and a cream sauce.

This is what you will need for 3 people:

Vegetable cooking spray

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1  shallot

1 clove garlic

¼  cup chicken broth

¼ cup dry white wine

¼ cup heavy cream

1tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon

2 teaspoons of softened butter

2 teaspoons flour

Salt and pepper to taste


Here is what you do:

Salt and pepper the chicken. Slightly flatten the chicken by pounding with a meat mallet or the back of a skillet.


Mince the shallot, press the garlic, and use a cook’s scissor to cut the tarragon. [I only used one half of that huge shallot.]


Mix the softened butter with the flour. I often use my fingers to do this. Easier.



This recipe moves a bit fast, so I measure out and line up ingredients so they will all be ready when I need them.



Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat 1 minute.


Add the chicken and cook until cooked through and nicely browned on both sides.



When cooked through and browned remove the chicken and lightly cover with foil to keep warm. Or you could keep warm in the oven.

IMG_9090Lower the heat. Add a bit more spray if necessary.

Add shallots and garlic and cook stirring until tender 2-3 minutes. Love the aroma from cooking with those two ingredients.


Add broth, wine, cream and 1 tablespoon of tarragon. Mix together and heat just to a boil.



Lower the heat. Add the butter-flour mixture a little bit at a time mixing it completely into the sauce each time. I added six times before all was used up.


After all the butter-flour mixture is used up cook another minute or two or until the sauce begins to thicken slightly.


Add the chicken, with any accumulated juices, to the skillet and turn several times to coat and warm the chicken up.



Place on a plate and spoon some of the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle some of the remaining tarragon on top.


Serve with a side of rice and a salad.


Bon appétit!!!


vegetable cooking spray                   $0.11

3 chicken breasts                             $5.29

1 shallot                                          $0.45

1 clove garlic                                   $0.06

¼ cup chicken broth                         $0.28

¼ cup dry white wine                       $0.48

¼ cup heavy cream                          $0.48

1tbspn + 1 tsp tarragon                     $0.09 + $0.03

2 teaspoons butter                            $0.06

2 teaspoons flour                              $0.05

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $7.38
Cost per person = $2.46

Quote of the Day

Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.

Nathaniel Hawthorn


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7 comments to Word Play

  • Heheheheheheheh! Too funny! It’s like when I was drugged and came up with Billary and footeo. Bill and Hillary and footage and video.
    Too bad I don’t like tarragon but I suppose I could sub parsley.

    • Roberta

      You had to be drugged to come up with that?? In any event, it is funny.

      Not sure parsley would do it. But if you try, let me know how it works. More tarragon for me. Thank you. 🙂

  • Very funny. You mentioned that you are a scrabble player. Do you think the first 17 words in the list would be acceptable for the game?

    Not a word but an amusing and descriptive expression from my old part of the world is “Getting the Bull by the Udder”, the Southern African version of the British “getting the wrong end of the stick.” Those with rural roots will appreciate it, urban dwellers who do not know the word for “male cows” perhaps not.

    Is there a typical North American equivalent?

    • Roberta

      As to your first question, I sincerely doubt it!!! I base that on my play with certain people – who shall remain nameless- who quibble over every word and suck the joy out of the game. 🙂

      As for question #2, if there is an equivalent I have never heard it. We need some farmers to answer that question.

  • I’ve seen the list before and I laugh every time. I love tarragon sauce and there’s nothing better than a perfectly cooked piece of chicken sitting under it. 🙂

  • Sharon Harris

    Roberta, I made pork cutlets tonite with your cream tarragon recipe and our meal was delicious. My sauce was a bit deeper in color than yours due to the pork juices, but very tasty. Thanks for the idea. Made my husband quite happy. Also, enjoyed the Word Play. Nice bonus!

    • Roberta

      Sounds fantastic!!! Tarragon goes with pork real well too. Very welcome for the idea and glad it worked out so well and that hubs was happy too. When you are happy I am happy. 🙂