Getting ‘commatose’ reading this? | Mann Overboard

Bill Mann
Posted 4/12/23

Every year, the Washington Post runs a clever wordplay contest that asks readers to coin new words using existing ones. These are always amusing. Some of my recent favorites: 

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Getting ‘commatose’ reading this? | Mann Overboard


Every year, the Washington Post runs a clever wordplay contest that asks readers to coin new words using existing ones. These are always amusing. Some of my recent favorites: 

— Straycation: A holiday for polygamists.

— Commatose: Briefly falling asleep during short pauses while reading, and waking up again after a period. 

— Pubstitution: When your date leaves a bar with someone else. 

— Girrafiti: Words painted very high up on a building.

— Pmail: How dogs communicate.

— Phlegmish: Having a runny nose and also discovering that you’ve  developed a Dutch accent. 

— Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly. 

— Hipititis: Terminal coolness.

— Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. 

— Inoculatte:  Drinking lots of coffee when you are running late.

— Oysters:  A group of Jewish women. 


There’s an old Mexican curse: “May your life be filled with lawyers.” 

Of course, Donald Trump’s life always has been full of them. And, lately, so have viewers of MSNBC or CNN. 

For many months, it’s been a nonstop parade of former DAs, prosecutors, legal experts, and yes, lawyers analyzing the latest Trump dodges, appeals and, of course, dilatory tactics. Welcome to Donald’s world. This got old a long time ago, but this sordid legal drama looks like it has months to go. 

And many TV commentators still chuckle when they hear former National Enquirer owner David Pecker’s name. Pecker is expected to be a star government witness in Trump’s New York felony trials. 

Someone who’s not laughing at Pecker is Port Ludlow’s veteran Enquirer and London tabloid reporter Tony Brenna, who says this about his hated, phallically nomenclatured former boss: “Loved the old days when I worked for a publishing genius (Pecker’s predecessor, Generoso Pope), not a vile used car salesman given to bad judgments and hysterics and ambitions way beyond his miserable status; he should have stayed somewhere as a bookkeeper. He wrecked George magazine and then the Enquirer.” 

— I was recently asked what was the shortest interview I ever did. 

That was easy: Duke Ellington. 

After my sportswriting days, I switched over to covering pop music for the Montreal morning daily. One day, my editor approached and said he wanted me to cover an Ellington concert. Our jazz critic was out ill. 

I did not want to do it. I knew next to nothing about jazz, but I had no choice. And I knew my father, who was an accomplished piano player (he formed his own jazz band after retiring from the Army), would be angry if he learned that I turned down a chance to see or interview the legendary composer and pianist.

I was backstage at the concert, and his manager came up to me and said, “Would you like to interview Mr. Ellington?” 

Um, sure, I said, again thinking of my father.

I cautiously went into the Duke’s dressing room, which was quite dark. I could dimly make out the familiar profile of The Duke. He was sitting in a barcalounger with an ice bag on his head.

I slowly approached him, and finally summoned the courage to ask him, “Um, Mr. Ellington, are you feeling OK?” 

After a brief pause, he wearily replied, “I haven’t had a vacation in 47 goddam years.” End of interview. 

“I’ll be leaving now, Mr. Ellington,” I said, backing away. 

Some interview, huh? 

As I explained to my editor, I didn’t know much about The Duke’s music. I just knew he was a legendary composer. And, sure enough, in my review of his show, I misidentified his famous “Take The A Train.” Busted! 

— Sticky wicket: Baseball fans complaining about the MLB’s new rules to speed up the game — adding clocks, etc. — should get over it. Football, basketball, and hockey all have clocks. 

The only thing about baseball that’s seemed as long as some MLB games was Ken Burns’ inexplicably long, eight-part series on the (former) national pastime a few years back.  

If you want to see batsmen, you can go watch the Seattle Orcas, part of a new national cricket (!) league that debuts in July. 

— Humorist Paul Rudnick, on his family’s recent Passover dinner: “At our seder, my family left a place for both Elijah and George Soros, just to upset the Republicans.” 

(You can reach PT humorist Bill Mann at Newsmann9@