Friday, February 27, 2009

A few good words

You may know that I have “invented” a few words in the past. They are good words. I am hopeful that my words eventually become part of the lexicon… and possibly even find their way into Webster’s and Thorndike-Barnhart.

Inventing new words is not something to be taken lightly. You really don’t want to be running around willy-nilly coming up with new words. The English language is cluttered enough as it is.

But, occasionally, there is a need for a new word, because there’s something new that you need to say. “Website”, “software”, and “Internet” are all words which we didn’t need 30 years ago, but now we do!

Recognizing the need, I invented my first two words some years back. The words were: “ar” and “teafill”.

“Ar” means the same as “and/or”. You see that phrase a lot, so I thought there ought to be a word which means “and/or”. I chose the word “ar”. It has not yet been included in Webster’s Dictionary, but I’m holding out hope.

“Teafill” is my word which means “tea refill”, a phrase that I seem to use a lot. It’s a good word. Webster’s should definitely pick up on this one.

I should point out that neither of these words have yet been widely accepted, but I am confident that, someday, they will. (And I intend to keep mentioning them at least once a year in this column until they catch on.)

If I had to choose one of my words to be included in Webster’s, I’d pick “ar”, because it would be a very helpful word when playing Scrabble

Last year, I invented my third word. The word is “crookwards”. I invented it while hanging some framed documents on the wall. I know what it means, but I still haven’t written an exact definition.

Today, I want to introduce four brand new words I have invented, again because I see the need:

The first word is “yappity”. It’s an adjective, and it’s literal definition, I have decided is “talking in a non-stop manner, similar to a puppy barking”. Believe it or not, this word was inspired by a female.

The next new word is “rainshine”. It’s the reflection of lights against the wet pavement. I thought of that word while I was driving, if you can believe it!

The third word is “flurb”. It’s a much needed word here in the South where we have heat and humidity. “Flurbing” is the condition of two rubbery or fleshlike items “grabbing” when they rub together. For instance, if you’re wearing Bermuda shorts in the summertime and your bare leg seems to stick to a vinyl restaurant booth or car seat. Then, my friend, you have “flurbed”.

My final new word is a word we don’t technically need yet, but I’m pretty sure we’re GOING to need it if our Governor, Mark Sanford, continues running for President. The word is “laster”, and the news media is going to need it when they try to explain to the nation exactly what kind of a governor Sanford has been:

“As Governor, Mark Sanford succeeded in taking a state which was last in almost everything and making it laster!”

As you can see, these are some really good words. They should all become part of our language.

Okay, gotta go now. I hear a yappity visitor outside my office, but I’m flurbed to my chair.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

February: The Little Month That Could!!

I’m a big fan of February.

Not that I play favorites with the months. I don’t. I like ‘em all. And I would probably be considered a little “odd” or “unusual” or “a total whack-job” if it was ever discovered that I had the names of all twelve months typed neatly into a password-protected excel spreadsheet on my laptop computer, each one ranked in order based on various criteria, including number of days, average temperature, special occasions, and derivation of name.

I do not have such a list, probably because (a) I strive for total conformity and acceptance; (b) I never thought of it until now; and (c) I can’t password-protect anything, because, invariably, if I try, I forget the password.

But back to February… which I like to think of as “The Little Month That Could”.

Last weekend, halfway through the month, I thought to myself: “Whew! I need to stop and get some rest!!!”

How much can they pack into one short, little month?

It started with probably the biggest event of the year, other than Christmas, an American Institution: Super Bowl!!!

By the time we fully recover from Super Bowl weekend -- probably haven’t yet even memorized all of the new Million Dollar super Bowl Ads -- it’s Valentine’s Day, which this year was part of the Presidents Day three-day weekend!

And while we’re still packing away our bright red Valentine’s Day belt and socks, along comes Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday. You don’t have to be in New Orleans to hand out beads, y’know!

Right in the middle of all that fun and frivolity come the Grammys and the Oscars… the only two awards show that matter even a little bit.

And, of course, during the entire month, the flow of tax refund checks has started, so lotsa folks start having a little jing-a-ling in their pockets. Shopping!!!
From Shopping to Sports, from Partying to Presidents… February’s got it all!
You like sports? How’s this: Start with the biggest sporting event of the year, the Super Bowl. Kick off NASCAR with the Daytona 500. College hoops in full swing. And even start the training camps for Major League Baseball. Now THAT’s a busy month for a sports fan…. and all in 28 short days!!!

For the superstitious, we had a Ground Hog Day AND a Friday the 13th!

So many great Presidents were born in February (2) that we were forced to roll them into ONE holiday. Otherwise, we’d be celebrating one every other week!!!

Did I mention “Random Acts of Kindness” Week?

And, just for extra thrills, not once, not twice, but three times during the month so far, the weatherman has officially mentioned “a chance of snow”.

And as if that’s not enough, this year, we had the BIGGEST EVENT of them all – possibly the biggest event since Y2K: February 17th, the switch from analog to digital that we’ve been hearing about for two years!!!! Woooo, woooo!!! Let’s party!!!!

I hope YOU enjoy February as much as I do. I think it’s a great way to get over that month-long Holiday Hangover we refer to as “January”.


Moving on, you may recall from last week that I’m a Big-Fat-Giant Hippo-Pig-Whale, and it was time to kick off our Annual Fifteen Fat Guys Weight Loss Contest.

Well, we kicked it off last week, except that instead of 15, we had 12, one of which is not a guy at all, but a gal. Just in case you’re hankering to keep score – and to put adequate public pressure on all of us – here are the initial weigh-in scores for each of us, taken directly from a non-password-protected excel spreadsheet on my laptop computer listing various criteria, ranked in order based on first listed to last listed:

Reigning Champion Don Gawrys -- 374.2; Three-time champion Kirk Luther -- 247.0; Bruce Holland -- 229.6; Tom Beottger -- 267.8; Terry Campbell -- 235.4; Norman Agnew -- 285.2; Jim Miles -- 241.0; Doug Adam -- 277.2; Denis Vaucher -- 228.2; Jimmy Carroll -- 228.2; and, yours truly, Rod-Boy Shealy -- a massive, whopping, huge-enormous, earth-orbit-altering 248.6 lbs.

I’ll keep you posted with our weigh loss progress in the weeks ahead between now and the final weigh-in in April.

In the meantime, my advice to you is this: If you run into any of these people on the street, stay as far away from them a possible. They’re hungry. They’re grouchy. And they may try to take a bite out of your arm.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A healthy appetite

This week, I’m both happy and sad to report that I have a healthy appetite. That’s because I’m marking two separate occasions this week.

First, on Monday, we kicked off our annual “I’m a Big, Fat, Giant Hippo-Pig-Whale Again” Weight Loss Contest… which makes it a little unfortunate that I have a very healthy Hippo-Pig-Whale appetite, because it means by the time you read this, I’m probably going to be really, really hungry.

But, more important is the other occasion I’m observing this week, which makes me very HAPPY to have a healthy appetite: Wednesday, Feb. 11th, marks exactly six-months since I underwent surgery for cancer. And as my many other friends and acquaintances who are also cancer survivors can tell you, it’s a GREAT feeling to reach that benchmark.

If you are a regular reader of this column, you know I promised back in August to give periodic updates of my medical condition. Fortunately, there haven’t been many updates, because my medical condition has been GREAT, and hasn’t changed much at all.
You may recall that I was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor, likely a recurrence of a melanoma from 25 years earlier, by my friend, Dr. Oscar Lovelace. On August 11th, I underwent brain surgery at MUSC in Charleston to remove the malignant tumor, which had begun to affect my communication skills, including this column, which, back in July, was beginning to occasionally include blocks of total gibberish.

Miraculously, with the prayers of many, many friends, I recovered from that surgery quickly and fully, and was actually back on my laptop computer and cell-phone within two-days of the surgery!!! Rather than chemo or radiation therapy, my doctors advised regular monitoring to detect and treat any recurrence early. Consequently, I’ve undergone MRI’s or scans every month since August, with no evidence of cancer whatsoever. I’m clean. I’m happy. I’m healthy.

There are, of course, still blocks of total gibberish in many of my columns… but that’s usually just me attempting to be profound!

Along with my clean bill of health, it turns out, has come a healthy appetite… and I sho’nuff have one!

Suffice it to say that I’ve had no trouble convincing folks of my complete recovery from cancer once they see how big I’ve gotten! If I get any larger, they’ll give me my own zip code! (Br-r-r-rump!)

So, once again, I find myself well into the New Year, a Big, Fat, Giant Hippo-Pig-Whale, with my annual New Years Resolution to lose a few pounds merely a distant, shattered memory. And, once again, I find a dozen or so of my friends in the same boat.

So once again, we’re each throwing $100 American dollars in the pot, and laying down the mutual winners-take-all challenge. And talking smack to each other like NFL linebackers!

The difference is, when I talk smack, I put it into my newspaper column and onto my blog for the WHOLE WORLD to see. (Entering our weight loss contest is NOT for the timid. We WILL publish your name, your weight, and, if we can get our hands on it, your SAT scores, annual salary, credit report, and any unclaimed off-spring you may have sired.) The ladies who participate, however, we go easier on. Call me a chauvinist.

Anyway, as of press-time, we had not yet conducted our official beginning weigh-in – scheduled for Monday, Feb 9th at 5:30 pm -- so I can’t really be sure who is participating in the contest.

Expected participants, however, included Don Gawrys, Manager of Michaels (and reigning Champ); Terry Campbell, Nationwide Insurance; Jim Miles, former Secretary of State; Doug Adam, The Indesign Firm; Kirk Luther, Chairman of the Okra Strut (and former three-time champ); Norman Agnew, Agnew Lake Service; Shirley Towne, ADT Security; Dennis Vaucher, our first Euro-American contestant; Jimmy Carroll, Isle of Palms Realtor Extraordinaire; Tom Boettger of Carrabba’s; Bruce Holland, Attorney and Official Money-Changer; and yours truly, Rod-Boy, currently a big, fat, giant hippo-pig-whale.

And possibly a few others who were still trying to decide if they’re really as fat as the mirror indicates!

The contest period is exactly EIGHT WEEKS, beginning Monday, Feb. 9th and ending Monday, April 6th, with a final weigh-in. Then, the two winners split the pot: most pounds lost, and biggest percentage lost.

(Although it hasn’t started yet as I write this, I’m already getting hungry. I’ll bet I’m gonna be REALLY starving by April. Hey, I just thought of a good April Fools Joke I can play on myself!!!)

We'll have optional weekly weigh-ins, and hopefully get regular "unofficial" reports via email, so I will keep you posted and let you know just how big of LOSERS we really are.

The other rules of the contest are… There ARE no other rules!!! Cheating is okay... anything goes, such as having a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts delivered to each of the other contestants!!!! (Or offering them free ice cream at Gatsbees!!!) You want to get Lipo so you can win? Go for it. Cut off a limb? Perfectly legal. Anything goes.

So, by the time you read this, I will be on a strict diet, yearning for a morsel of most anything… but resisting the temptation, because I need to lose a lot of weight. I’ve had a very healthy appetite, and it’s made me WAYYYY overweight!

And, this year, I’m very thankful for that!


You’re always welcome to let me know you agree, disagree, can’t make sense of, or simply don’t care about anything I’ve written here… or about any other topic that happens to be on your mind. You can email me directly at: (Or, you can post your outrageous opinions on my FaceBook page!!! That’s right: I’m very hip, because I’m on FaceBook!!!)

And, if reading it once just wasn’t enough for you, read it again online – along with previous columns -- at my modern-technology Electronic Internet blog:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Meet The Beatles!!!

Next week, on February 9th, most of the world will overlook an anniversary, as perhaps they should. (After all, every day is the anniversary of something… and sooner or later we have to stop living in the past, right?)

But I feel the urge to mark this particular occasion here… probably just because I’m OLD, and frankly, I LIKE living in the past!

Here’s the anniversary: It was 45 years ago this month – February 9th, 1964, to be exact – that The Ed Sullivan Show gave America its first glimpse of a four-man musical combo which called itself “The Beatles”.

I was watching.

And if you’re currently 50-or-60 something, you probably were, too. I read recently that The Beatles initial performance on Ed Sullivan’s show is still the highest-rated non-sporting event in TV history. (I know its true, because I read it on The Internet!!!)

That event may not have started the cultural revolution we now refer to as “The Sixties”, but it was certainly a major catalyst. Just eleven weeks earlier, Kennedy had been assassinated, and the nation was still in shock. We needed something to change the conversation. And we got it.

The Lads from Liverpool burst onto the American scene like nothing we had ever witnessed before. And suddenly, the world began to change. (Bear in mind that my perspective might be a little off. I had just turned 10 years old, so my world was getting ready to change, with or without The Beatles.)

For three consecutive weeks, The Beatles headlined Sullivan’s Sunday night variety show -- always accompanied by a theatre full of wildly screaming young girls -- and quickly became THE topic of conversation in America. Period.

Everybody was singing along, because the lyrics were easy to remember: “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” Even I could remember those words.

“I want to hold you hand!”

“She was just seventeen, if you know what I mean!”

“Shake it up, baby. Twist and Shout!”

“All my lovin’ I will send to you.”

And of course, “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah!!!!”

Their music was actually quite good, with intricate harmonies and memorable, inventive melodies delivered in an exciting, upbeat tempo. But most of us didn’t realize it at the time. We mostly never got beyond their “gimmick”: the mop-tops.

Perhaps, somewhere in the world, maybe even in our own nation, males had worn their hair “long” before The Beatles showed up. But I had never seen ‘em. This was new and exciting. And a little weird at first -- a curiosity -- until everybody started doing it.

Within a year of that first appearance, my barber shop had a third offering on the price placard above his chair: “Haircut. Crewcut. Beatle Haircut.”

Then, for those of us who couldn’t quite get there (at the time) with the long hair, there were Beatle Wigs. I owned one. It looked very authentic when I wore it to my fourth grade classes.

Not only did The Beatles cause me to purchase the first record I ever even thought about owning, but I also invested in their “Beatles trading cards”.

As big of a Beatle’s fan as I became, I still couldn’t bring myself to completely abandon Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, which was being televised on a different network directly opposite Sullivan. Somehow, to this day, forty-five years later, I still recall that Disney featured a three-part movie, “Scarecrow of Romney Marsh”, up against Sullivan. And it worked, because I remember turning the dial back and forth between the two channels so I could watch the movie without missing any of The Beatles.

A few years later, of course, John, Paul, George and Richard Starkey (Ringo’s real name) abandoned the mop-tops for regular-old scruffy-looking long hair, just like a couple million other hippies. In my young, innocent mind, I actually always gave The Beatles the credit (or blame) for the entire Sixties thing. Their music got druggy and psychedelic, they started hanging out with gurus and yogis and maharashis (and Yoko Ono), and, to be perfectly honest, they kinda just lost me.

They got away from me somewhere between Sgt. Pepper and Yellow Submarine. Abbey Road, for instance, was just way over my head. And White Album or Magical Mystery Tour… Cripes! They completely lost me.

But for a few Sunday nights in February, 1964, they captivated us, changed our conversation, and changed our world. And if you were there, you remember it, too.


Okay, enough living in the past. Back to the present. Reality.

And the reality is this: We’re well into the new year, and I’m a big, fat, giant hippo-pig-whale!!!

So, as I mentioned last week, I’m kicking off another $100 per person, winners-take-all Weight Loss Challenge. We’ve got about a dozen entries so far, but I’m hoping for more (so I can make more money when I win it all!!!)

If you think you might qualify to enter this contest…. Then let me break the suspense for you: You DO!!!

We start this coming Monday, February 9th, with a group weigh-in… which, by the way, is the 45 year anniversary of The Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. (Unlike the 1964 event, there will NOT be a theatre full of wildly screaming young fans for our weigh-in.) Email me if you want more details:

I want to win your money!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!!!