Friday, October 18, 2013


A friend and colleague of mine—we'll call him Knewton Jackson—enjoyed a robust and enduring career as an accomplished research scientist in spite of being diagnosed with a rare learning disability very late in life known as auditory dyslexia. Most of his weirdest expressions were uttered in conversation, but often he would send emails that left myself and my coworkers scratching our heads and conferring to decipher what it was that KJ was trying to say. In speech, his pronounced Southern drawl made things all the more flavorful (i.e., bewildering).

Enjoy this alphabetized compendium of idiomatic oddities that I catalogued while working closely with KJ over the span of a decade. [Keep in mind that these missteps in speech are not typos.]

(Note: Dr. Jackson routinely gives generous donations to the Center for Auditory Dyslexia, which he helped establish as an underwriter at his alma mater somewhere in the United States.)

Knewtenglish  n  (2001)  :  an esoteric vernacular adopted by employees of [NAME OF COMPANY] culture after continuous periods of exposure to statements by Dr. Knewton Jackson.

“aawwwwmmmmm" = deep thought

“abstracat” = abstract

“Adam’s cat” = (???) (Actual statement: “I don’t know him from Adam’s cat!”)

“administrivia” = the awful chore of administrative operations

“aggravated data” = aggregated data

“Alastika” = Alaska; (e.g., “Sorry I’m late. I was on a crisis call to Alastika.”)

“ass-ending” = as in ascending order (vs. “deez-sending” order)

“assy” = obstinate, unwilling to cooperate; (Stated while on a conference call: “The State Department is being assy.”)

“avocado tuna” = “albacore tuna” ("I'm almost vegetarian, but I do eat tuna. Only avocado tuna though.")

“Barbara Niggard” = Barbara Negrado

“Bermuda distribution” = Bernoulli distribution: in probability theory and statistics, a discrete probability distribution, which takes value 1 with success probability p and value 0 with failure probability q = 1 − p.

“bibiography” = bibliography

“bilingualness” = (On conference call about Peru study: "I surely be concerned about their bilingualness.”)

“blue mass” = a Smurfy blue mask used for cosmetic and facial rejuvenating purposes; (Actual statement: "Can you hear me? I'm conferencin' from my hot tub because of my back injury. And I'm wearing my blue mass.")

“BS MB” = DSMB (Data Safety and Monitoring Board)

“buhjik” = budget

“bush fires” = sudden emergencies; (“I will have email and cell phone for bush fires while I'm traveling.")

“Butt Fuckity” = Bud Fekete, Project Administrator, Metro Health Department' ("Well, we've gotta run that by what's his name... Butt Fuckity?")

“calicabrated” = calibrated

“case lostage” = to minimize the loss of cases

“Cereal Walkin'” = Cyril Watlin, the former Safe and Drug Free Schools County Director

“champion doughnuts” = chomping on? (Actual use in email: “I thought I had some influence on you, but I guess not if you’re still champion doughnuts!”)

"close-of-business Sunday" = an era in time during which no [COMPANY] office is open, nor are most offices in the Western hemisphere, but KJ is still working and expecting his colleagues to do the same

“comprevention” = comprehensive prevention (???)

“contack” = contact (In actual email: “Contack Chris ASAP this morning…”)

“crashin' " = working hard (e.g., "Well, I've been crashin' on this manuscrip' since 5 a.m.")

“crosswonk" = crosswalk; to compare the reference section of a manuscript to the text for inconsistencies

“data collecticon” = data collection

“debilify” = debilitating? ("We have to substantuate the perception that tobacco use is debilifyin'.")

“detorted” = distorted (On conference call: "That amount of skew makes the analysis de- ...awwwwmn... de-... uh... detorted.")

“dirdbog” = micromanage (bird dog): “Now, I don’t wanna dirdbog you.”

“dog and pony show” = a place KJ doesn’t want to be

“dope” = “D’oh!” (???); self-degradation (???).  Actual use in email: “Dope, we have to have the main man on the Brazil call.” 

“enlightment” = enlightenment

“erras” = errors

“fadin' " = man I'm tired

“fed into” = we helped out with

“Fiddle sticks!” = Darn it!

“figger” = figure

“finishit” = Actual use in email:  (“…but it will be sometime Friday before I can finishit.”)

“fire them up” = ??? (“Well, we should be able to fire them up and have no problem finishing a tass.”)

“flashful” = sparkly ???  (After receiving a going away present from [COMPANY], “Oh, I like that. Thanks, that's... that’s flashful.”)

“flesh drive” = a flash, jump, or thumb drive

“floor plan” = third floor (Actual statement to new research partner: "Our office is located up on the floor plan."

“flurry-scurry” = hurry (e.g., “What’s the flurry-scurry?”)

“formular” = new adjective meaning ‘of or relating to a formula’

“5th dimension” = where KJ is going to work before he retires

“gluke” = ‘glute’ or gluteus maxima; (“After spinnin’ this morning, I got on the treadmill and now my gluke is hurting.”)

“going to Yoda" = going to yoga

“graves on my nerds” = grates on my nerves  (“That whirring sound graves on my nerds.”)

“halo effeck” = contamination of study's data (for lack of a better metaphor)

“have a kitten” = have a cow  (“Oh no, we can’t include just ‘30-day drug use.’  Thom will have a kitten.”)

“high or hell water” =  barriers to submitting a manuscrip' on time

“Hind-Lick Maneuver” = Heimlich Maneuver (After choking momentarily on a stick of celery: "I thawt you were gonna have to give me the Hind-Lick Maneuver.")

“house warm-up” = housewarming party

“hold-handelin'” = a combination of hand holding and man-handling?

“house poor” = the condition of being able to afford three mortgages simultaneously, one of them being contingent on the renewal of a not-for-profit government grant; ("We are 'house poor' with three homes, so the one in Alastika might have to go if we do not get our competitive renewal.")

“humanity” = humidity (“It’s about 75 degrees in Alastika right now, but they have low humanity up there.”)

Humpty Dumpty" = hunky dory ("It's going fine. Everythin's just humpty-do ...Humpty dumpty? ...Hunky dory!”)

“hybird” = hybrid engine car (“I'm pretty green, you know. My car is a hybird.”)

“IBM” = IRB (internal review board); ("That's never gonna make it past the IBM.")

“I didn’t necessarily store it.”  =  I didn’t read it.

“I guess I'll have to eat it. ” =  I guess I'll have to pay for it myself.

“implode the soil” = plow the soil

“inedible outcome” = inevitable outcome

“intoxification” = intoxication

“Island of Granola” = Island of Granada
Actual conversation in airport with a stranger:
KJ asks:  “So, what country do you come from?”
Guy replies:  “From the Island of Granada.” 
KJ:  “Oh oh oh!!  I know the Island of Granola!”
Jackie whispers:  “He said Granada, not Granola.”
KJ:  “Shhhhh... I know.”

“Jonathan” = Jude, who has worked at [COMPANY] with KJ for 10 years

“get the ketchup” = a state of failing to meet deliverables/deadlines; (“We are way behind. Now we're just playing Get The Ketchup.”)

“kastalt” = gestalt

“languaging” = rewording of complex ideas (???)

“legitimation” = legitimization

“linealar equation” = a linear equation, according to KJ

"manuscrip'" = a document

“maso meso” = more or less

“methological” = methodological

“Ted Lesbian” = Ted Lusby, a [COMPANY] information technology specialist in the home office

“Mister Meander” = a crime of lesser gravity than a felony; ("They can't report whether it was a felony or a Mister Meander.")

“mute” = “moot” (e.g., “Well, by then it will be a mute point.”)

“nex” = next

“nitty-gitty” = details that KJ does not want to have to deal with (c.f., administrivia)

“noped up” = on drugs
"obstacle illusion" = optical illusion

“Oh, oh okay.” = I’m no longer interested.

“Ohh, I see…” = I’m finally looking at the same thing you are and logically processing it in the same fashion.

“on one leg” = to be on one leg is to be very tired; “My plane gets in at midnight Thursday, so Friday I’ll be on one leg.”

"one sixty-eight" = working 24/7, seven days a week, or 365 days a year; ("I'm a one sixty-eight type of guy.")

“order” = odor (In email: “Dear Mike, the bathroom has a peculiar order.”)

“out of pocket" = working at home ("You can call me, but I'm out of pocket today.")

“parallelism” = similarity of groups, for lack of more accurate statistical vocabulary

“peese” = piece; excerpt or section of a manuscript

“phenomenous” = synonymous  (e.g., “The two things are not phenomenous in my mind.”)

“pissin' match” = another place KJ doesn't want to be.  ("Now, I surely don't wanna be starting a pissin' match with the State Department.")

“Porkucheez” = Portuguese; (Actual statement to Brazilian collaborator: "This is Jackie, my translator. She speaks Spanish but not Porkucheez.")

“produk" = product

“projek" = project; what one is working on

“quasi-arbitrary” = not quite arbitrary, but close enough

“rassal” = to wrestle

“Rats!” = Darn it!

“recipikal” = reciprocal

“rectospectively” = retrospectively

“re-impurse” =  Actual sentence in email:  “I don't think the State Department would re-impurse us for hotel rooms that cost $276 U.S.”

“rendezvous-up” = to meet a colleague before a meeting

“reversion” = revision

“Rudolph Dumbass” = Rudolph Dumas

“ruggedize” = to make stronger; to reinforce (“Jill and I decided to ruggedize our house in case of an earthquake.”)

“SEARS” = S.A.R.S. (severe acute respiratory syndrome)
“semenics” = semantics (“I think we're having a problem of semenics.”)

“size-effeck” = size effect

“slippery dickery” = describing an object that is difficult to pick up ("Man that thing is slippery dickery!")

“small penis” = small peanuts ("That's not even enough money for this pilot project. That's small penis... [shaking head] Small penis.")

“smoker’s board” = smorgasbord

“smoothie” = a cool, relaxed person (“That Edward, he’s a smoothie.”)

“spead” = spent?... spread?  [We’re not sure.]

“Startract” = Star Trek; (Actual sentence in email: “I guess you did not watch the Startract T.V. series or see the movies. The Captain always referred to his #2 person as #1.”)

“Stephen Detroit” = Stephen du Toit

“Steve Kenblen” = when you’re not sure which Steve you need: Steve Kennedy or Steve Shamblen

“stool” = a survey ("The question is: Which stool did you use to collect data from schools?")

“substainability” = sustainability

"substantuate" = substantiate

“Super Jock” = self-image

“tass” = task

“tit bits” = tidbits (In actual email to Paul: "I am only getting tit bits of information at this time.")

“too much on my plate" = doing too many things at once to manage effectively

“tracted” = tracked (Email: “Here are my edits (tracted changes) for your results sections.”)

“tweet” = tweak (“I tweeted the buhjik so it would work for Tennessee.”)

“udder” = uterus ("I know Caroline is out next week, getting her udder removed.")

“unik” = unit 

“unwheely” = unwieldy

“vaselinin’”  =  Definition unclear.  An abstruse combination of “vacillating” and wrasslin’. (“Ohh, I was on the phone with Katy Binkley vaselinin’ with her about the proposal.")

“veggie-up” = beef up (“Well, we’ll have to veggie-up those numbers then.”)

“wahoo account” = Yahoo account

"water on the dam” = water under the bridge

“What’s it going?” = compound phrase: What's up? + How’s it going?

“wild range chicken” = free range chicken (“I don’t eat KFC. I eat that wild range chicken.”)

“winterize” = Winsorize (to adjust statistical data by removing extreme high and low outliers)

“wing it” = to do a job without the immediate assistance of Jackie, Jude, John, Chris, Lacey, David, Steve, or Bill

“wound” = womb

“wrasslin’” = wrestling

Actual sentence in email from KJ:
“I think we to meet with ascertain the information that we have/need from the clients selected but were not interviewed.”

Actual sentence in conference call from KJ:
“I’ve got to go. I got domestic things…  I got my partner breathin’ down me.”

Another actual sentence in conference call from KJ (first thing he said to start the meeting):
“Awwm…  Am— Am I on the right call?”

Actual conversation with KJ on phone:
KJ:  “I’d like to get that back by close-of-business Sunday.”
Chris:  “Close-of-business Sunday?”
KJ:  “Yeah, I’m a… uh… a one sixty-eight kind of guy.”

Actual sentence in email from KJ:
“Matt and Linda, you should start on the other sections minus 5, which is the one I am smuggling with. We are running out of time.”

Actual sentence in email from KJ:
"This is virgin ground so let’s tap it first."

Actual sentence in email from KJ:
“I am tied up trying to finish something for the AK study before catching a fly at 10:30 a.m. this morning.”

Actual sentence in email from KJ:
“Kristen, I just say an email poop up from you so you decide.”

Actual conversation:
Claire: “So do your allergies bother you when you go peak bagging1?”
KJ:  “Well, not too bad… But I did just now come inside and douche.” 
Claire:  “What?”
KJ:  “You know, used my Netti pot.”

   [1] peak bagging:  long hikes to the tops of small mountains

Actual letter on letterhead to Thom Bxxxxx at the State Department:
November 6, 2009


Here are ten copies of our article. We found out today that the reason we were not sent a hard copy issue was because the journal is an on-line only journal even though it is a peer review journal.  This sucks, but it is the best we can do.


KJ’s Florida vacation experience:
We have stocked up on food and took a peek at the golf course about 50 yds from the condo. It is a short course, which is good for improving the short course; there is water of course.  

Special guest appearance by Matt accidentally typing Knewtenglish (from an email):
“I ask denise how the trainament was going.”

Actual sentence in email from KJ:
Although my diet is now 98% vegan, I developed a platelet for crabs when I was on the U of MD, College Park faculty in the 1970’s. So I do eat some seafood as part of a macrobiotic diet, which says a little fish is okay.

Actual statement to Shawna discussing analysis in the Brazil therapeutic communities monograph:
“The problem is you’re thinking too logically. This is not a logical process.”

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