Saturday, October 04, 2003


Sniglets were a mildly amusing "Saturday Night Live" feature about 20 years ago. This guy, Rich Hall, the sniglet guy, would utter a made-up word and then supply its definition, usually some situation or object that is easily recognizable but has no name. The frisson of sniglets was not so much in the words themselves--though their coining usually involved greater or lesser ingenuity--but rather in the thrill of recognition.

I have made up two sniglets. One of them I came up with years ago:

automolull, n. The brief conversational pause that occurs when the driver has gotten into the car but has not yet unlocked the passenger door

The second one struck me altogether recently and is very much a product of the Internet age.

amphotee, n. A photographic portrait posed in such a way, usually accidentally, that its subject appears to be missing a limb

The coining of amphotee is a byproduct of my fondness for and its chat rooms. Chatters usually include pictures in their profiles, and often the pictures are profoundly unflattering, and once in a blue moon an amphotee turns up. Here's one I just encountered.

Friday, October 03, 2003

One more

Those cup holders I say pish to
Long as I got my four-armed Vishnu
Starin' from the dash of my Corvair
The holders would have extra cost me
And he holds three Cokes and a Frosty
Plus I can write notes on his derri�re

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Reach out and touch faith

If you ever saw Cool Hand Luke, you know that one of the best parts of that terrific movie is when Paul Newman sings "Plastic Jesus," which goes:

I don't care if it rains or freezes
Long as I got my plastic Jesus
Riding on the dashboard of my car
Through my trials and tribulations
And my travels through the nations
With my plastic Jesus I'll go far

Well, several years ago, at an extremely idle moment, I wrote some more verses. I thought I'd share them with you. Feel free to contribute your own.

It don't matter how fast I goes-es
Long as I got electric Moses
Smilin' at me from the ol' rear view
'Cause if the cop don't treat me nice
Ol' Moe will plague him with frogs and lice
And part the traffic so we can get through

I don't care if the rain starts fallin'
Long as I got my tiny Stalin
On the dash of my convertible
We'll purge the kulaks, seize the land
Start a brand new five year plan
And get wet, but at least our day is full

The fuzz is helpless when I littler
Long as I got my iron Hitler
Scowlin' from the dashboard of my van
I throw my trash onto the blacktop
And if we're bugged by some jerk cop
We'll just go annex Sudetanland

I don't care if people ogle
As I am performin' yoga-l
Cruisin' down the highway toward my goal
I grab the wheel with my two feet
And stick my head beneath the seat
And contemplate the Zen of cruise control

Don't mind my leaky radiator
Long as I know there's no creator
And the universe is authorless and vast
I drive around the belfry steeple
Screamin' at the Jesus people:
"Would a just God make us pay so much for gas?!"

I don't need my road rage pistol
Long as I got the New Age crystal
That I got from my good friend the witch
Cut me off, I'll take swift action
And using the principle of refraction
Blind you, so you swerve into a ditch
Someone fax the Hague

Excuse me, but isn't Toby Keith's naming his new CD after a vicious and illegal campaign of aerial bombardment a bit like if Shania Twain named an album after the firebombing of Dresden? And come to think of it, didn't she?

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Gorby's in the Badger State

Maybe he will bring Wisconsin some much-needed perestroika. He ought to visit the McCarthy exhibit while he's in the Fox Valley.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Tomorrow is too late

If you're curious, here's the ad Elia Kazan (1909-2003) ran in the New York Times in 1952 explaining his decision to squeal to the House Un-American Activities Committee.