These are non- or semi-standard English words and phrases I use on some kind of regular basis, or standard English words and phrases which I use in a nonstandard way. This list is incomplete, for two reasons. One, the words and phrases I use are always changing, and two, some words and phrases I use so much that I don't even recognize their nonstandardness. Why do I feel like I always have to say "words and phrases"? I don't know.

Why should you care? Well, first, the Web enables the common comorant, or human being, as the case may be, to share slangish information with all members of the global community, bypassing the corporate monoliths that produce today's mainstream slang. Second, this page and others like it may be used by anthropologists centuries hence to try and understand our strange culture. Third... uh, did I mention the corporate monoliths?

I've tried to take most of the examples from stuff I've actually said. When my memory fails me, as it so often does, I just make up the sort of stuff I would say.

Major contributors to Leonardonics over the years have been Jake Berendes, Sumana Harihareswara, Adam Kaplan, Andy Schile, and Kristofer Straub. In return, I have contributed many phrases to their particular -onicseses. Thank you for making us laugh at love again, or something. Rynna Poulson must also be thanked for her brand of dry, all-consuming sarcasm which is the standard by which all dry sarcasm must be measured.

Jake wants to see your personal slang dictionary, and so do I. Write 'em up, send 'em in and I'll link to 'em from this page. Rawhide. So far we've got:

New additions:

I don't know what my plan is for retiring Leonardonics terms. Some of the words and phrases in here I don't use much anymore. But until I can figure out a good way to handle them, in they stay. Here are the recent additions, and by "recent" I mean "since 1998":

The Bird's the Words:


Used in written (and now spoken) Leonardonics to mean "You know the rest of this reference, I don't need to repeat it.". It is considered good form to only employ this abbreviation when the reference is easy to figure out, eg. "By my calculations, less than two years until the end of the world as we know it &c.". Various permutations are allowed, bringing the usage closer to the original meaning as a variant of "etc." in archaic writing. Pronounced "ants". Originally spelled "&tc." but that is uncorrect.

Ah yes, the x.

The prefered method of conveying dry sarcasm in certain situations. Depending on context, inflection may be "Ah yes, the x.", implying that x is an absurdity or a contradiction in terms (as is made more explicit in the variant "Ah yes, the infamous x."); or the completely opposite "Ah yes, the x.", implying a multitude of xes so large that "the" implies more information than was conveyed in the sentence to which "Ah yes, the x." is a response. First usage example: "When Jefferson spoke of a wall of separation between church and state, he meant a one-way wall." "Ah yes, the one-way wall." Second usage example: "Hand me the wrench." "Ah yes, the wrench". As these examples indicate, "Ah yes, the x." can be a powerful rhetorical device, or just a silly way of asking "which x?". Please use responsibly. Especially note that if it is clear from context which x is being referred to, (for example, if there were obviously one and only one wrench suitable to the task at hand), "Ah yes, the x." is probably more trouble than it's worth.


Until I have seen some device or process in action, it remains an "alleged" device or process. Other hyperbole may be inserted according to the enthusiasm of the person demonstrating the device or process. Eg. "This alleged finger puppet.", "This alleged pocketknife that magically solves all the world's ills." There is no neccessary implication that my opinion is that when it comes time to examine the device or process, it will come up short. It just means "I'll believe it when I see it."

Am I the only one?

By force of habit, I immediately append "Am I the only one?" to any utterance, spoken or written, of "Never heard of it.", so that it becomes "Never heard of it. Am I the only one?". This is from an ancient commercial for that most cathedrally bizarre of kiddie-aimed junk foods, Fruit By The Foot. I must have been in grade school when it insinuated itself into my mind. I remember almost nothing about the commercial except for that line and the fact that it had really bad animation. Doesn't this class go by the rule?

Ancient Chinese secret!

Firstly, an all-purpose excuse for not telling somebody something. Whether you are too lazy or it's too complicated to explain or you don't actually know yourself, "Ancient Chinese secret!" says "I'm not going to tell you" without putting the other person on the defensive. I mean they can't really expect you to give away the ancient Chinese secret, can they? Example: "What are you doing with the mouse?" "Ancient Chinese secret!" "

On the flip side, a situation-specific response to the impartation of some obscure trick or piece of knowledge: "Press control-x meta-f control-b control-dollar-sign to randomly rearrange all the words in the current selection." "Ancient Emacs secret!" "I think that's in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Programs/Microsoft/Windows/ClockMultiplier." "Ancient Registry secret!"

Finally, a simple wrapper around the phrases "ancient Chinese x" and "ancient x", whenever encountered. Examples: "Ancient Chinese history!", "Ancient mummy wrapping!".

In all usages, the phrase used should be said as in this ancient Chinese sound file.

Derivation: Originally from a commercial for Calgon laundry detergent, which I've never seen [the commercial or the laundry detergent]. A lady goes into a Chinese laundry and asks the man how they get the clothes so clean. "Ancient Chinese secret!", says the man. It turns out that it is not ancient Chinese secret that cleans the clothes, but rather Calgon. Leonardonics derivation comes from its use as a catchphrase in the freaky boy DOS game Shadow Warrior, from whence the aforelinked sound file is taken.


Stream-of-consciousness typo of "anyway" in an email to Andy. Used in place of "anyway", especially as pertains to Andy.

And by x, I mean y

Pathetic attempt to pretend that a previous miscommunication was due to poor choice of vocabulary rather than due to your having made a mental slip. "How's the train going? And by train, I mean Perl script." Spawned by Kevin Maples.


Exclamation uttered whenever an inanimate object attacks me. The inanimate object is often a seat belt, or a Kleenex box improperly placed on top of a fridge so that it falls on my head when I open the fridge.

backwards, I'm in!

What a possibility-laden bit. It can be used in reference to script kiddies or computer security. It can be used as the conclusion of a meandering stream-of-consciousness monologue. It can be used in some other context that I forget at the moment.

From the surprisingly-long-lived WB show Smart Guy. Like the proverbial purple cow, I have never seen Smart Guy, and I never hope to see it, but my roommate once watched an episode while I was in the room, and I picked up this line. The Smart Guy in question was a super-genius little kid who probably wore glasses. In the episode (watched, I insist, by my roommate and only heard incidentally by me), Smart Guy was under instructions to hax0r into a rival school's computer system for some reason. The tension mounted as Smart Guy was confronted with the need to specify a password: (paraphrased)

"Let's see, their mascot is the Pirates... famous pirates in history... Blackbeard--backwards, I'm in!"


Usually "Behold the x!", sometimes just "Behold!". Just what it sounds like.

be that as it may

When I'm making an argument and someone else puts forth a good point but I don't want to acknowledge it, or I just want to finish my argument, I say "Be that as it may...". Hypothetical usage: "The usage of the left hand in the Army salute dates back to Masonic rituals." "But the Army salute uses the right hand." "Be that as it may..." Thanks to Kris for noticing this.

bitch daddy, real bitch daddy

Something annoying or difficult. "This homework set is a real bitch daddy." Originated by Andy, in reference to the MST3K episode "Manos: The Hands of Fate".


A sound roughly equivalent to "yeah, yeah, yeah, I know". YAMR, from the sound Joel made when impersonating the eponymous Giant Gila Monster. My mother started this one, actually.


"Bokbar", like "foo", can be used in any context whatsoever to mean whatever you want it to mean. It is a popular name for variables, temporary files, and hypothetical things. It is also used in the context of "I forgot what the real name of this is" (witness the ever-popular Bokbar's Theorem), or as a term of disgust or discouragement ("Oh, bokbar."). The word first occurred in a Star Trek parody that Andy wrote in 1994, in which the Enterprise was ordered to deliver a shipment of beef to the Bokbar System.

bow before x

What you do when x is mighty. X is often a person; in that case, the usage is "Bow before the might of x.". Also "witness the power of x". See also fully operational.

x brand y

From those bizarre recipes on packages of staples like butter for dishes like egg rolls, including, Iron Chef-like, bizarre ingredients like pasta sauce, whose brand names are spelled out explicitly ("1 egg; 1 tablespoon Fat Luck brand soy sauce; pinch pancake mix; 2 cups onion powder; 1 can Southern Smarm brand carmelized tuna"), seemingly at random, until you intuit that those are the ingredients for which the huge food conglomorate that owns the brand of butter offers a brand. Used to explain the class to which something belongs in case someone doesn't get the reference due to living in a different part of the country, living in a different country altogether, not having domain knowledge, or not being me and thus not knowing every little internal nickname I have for people and things. Examples: "Perl brand programming language", "Long John Silver brand seafood restaurant", etc. This is prefered to the journalistic construction which takes the form "Perl, a programming language popular among open source hackers", which makes you feel smug if you already knew that and seems patronizing even if you didn't.

x can bite me

Term used to indicate that x is inferior, superfluous, or just plain annoying. "Bubble sort can bite me." "McDonalds can bite me." It can also mean that while there's nothing wrong with x per se, and while I'll respect the decisions of those who have chosen it, it's not the right choice for me. "vi can bite me." The related phrase "x is mighty, all others can bite me." is used to make my entrance into whatever holy war might be raging at the time.


Used as an adjective to describe a class, task, or assignment which is fun or interesting in addition to being easy, or, conversely, easy in addition to being fun or interesting.


My current swear word of choice, Seeing as how it is favored both by my mother and by Pokey the Penguin, how can I go wrong? Sample usage: "Crud."

Demon Dog

Demon Dog is a friendly little hellbeast who can be summoned by a particular configuration of the fingers of one hand, as demonstrated in this picture. Demon Dog likes to come onto the scene on your behalf and complain that you are bored or otherwise in a mild state of annoyance. He's like a twisted self-service version of the Flying Pig from Kids In The Hall, if that makes any sense to you.

Demon Dog rarely speaks English, preferring rather to convey his annoyance on your behalf by means of his own jabbering language, which sounds like "Rehrehreh! Rehrehrehrehreh!" This sound can be used independently of a manifestation of Demon Dog to denote the same sort of situation.

device. In UNIX, everything is a file. In real life, everything is a device. Eg. "Hand me the device for stapling", or "Hand me the stapling device". May be used to obfuscate meaning, because I temporarily forget what the real name of something is, or because something doesn't really have a name. In the latter case, the "device" usage obsoletes the hackneyed practice of making up stupid words for things without real names.

Devices have properties, eg "Hand me device x with property y". Even abstract things may be devices. Some abstract things, anyway. Like functions, or sets. Concepts such as love and justice are not devices.

"This device has incorrect properties!" is the most general version of This x is insufficiently y!

Did you always do what mama said?

Used to mean "Stop being a wuss." or "Stop being hard to deal with." or "Stop being irrational.". From the insanely bad heavy metal song Rock You To Hell, by Grim Reaper. The part in question goes "Did you always do what mama said?/Brush your teeth and go to bed/Cause that way never worked for me". It is my opinion that even those in the throes of rebellion should brush their teeth and go to bed. It's simply an issue of personal hygiene. This, of course, does not necessarily imply always doing what mama said.

Grim Reaper's other songs include See You In Hell, Rock Me Til I Die, All Hell Let Loose, Lord Of Darkness (Your Living Hell), The Rocks of Hell, Hell Hell Hell Rock Hell Death Hell, and their greatest hit, Suck It And See.


To change something from an ambiguous state to a non-ambiguous state. Perfectly valid English, and used by a respectable percentage of UNIX geeks, but it stays up here anyway. Disambiguators: Changes or new entities introduced into a situation to perform disambiguation. "I disambiguated the file extension type description by adding the word `input` as a disambiguator."

Dude, Where's My X?

The amazing thing about the power of Leonardonics is that a multi-billion-dollar industry has grown up around making really, intensely stupid cultural artifacts in the remote hope that I might think one stupid enough to make mocking references to it and thereby get it into Leonardonics. How else could you possibly explain the movie Dude, Where's My Car? but as an attempt to try and get me to say "Dude, Where's My X?" all the time? There is no other explanation.

Boring usage: "Where's my x?" or "Where are the x of yesteryear?". The more interesting usage is when someone is presenting a counterfactual situation. Then you use it with X equalling some reference to the counterfactual. Thus, if a non-Catholic were pondering the experience of growing up as a Catholic, you might say "Dude, Where's My Patron Saint?". I'm not sure why it works with counterfactuals; possibly it's a funny way of pointing out that the counterfactual is in fact counterfactual.

Another interesting usage is when the situation allows you to make the reference into a pun or other joke, eg. "Dude, Where's My Car Safety?", "Dude, Where's My JAR?".

No matter what the usage, there is a pause between "Dude" and "Where's" which is longer than the normal pause you'd expect from a comma. I think this is to establish that you're about to do a D,WMX? reference and you're not actually calling the other person "Dude".


A superlative. Can be applied to anything, especially food. Basically, "exemplary" fills in the gaps left by "mighty".

festering pit of x

The place you go to wallow in x. While x in "wallow in x" can be good, x in "festering pit of x" usually isn't. Common values of x include "shame" and "greed".

fully operational

Functional, complete, open for business, etc. From Return of the Jedi. Related: "Hey, that thing's operational!"

glasses glasses glasses glasses movie

The phrase "glasses glasses glasses glasses movie" may be used as an all-purpose replacement for the word "movie", though it rarely is. Its sole purpose is to recollect a shaggy dog story about Norm McDonald's call stack.

good booze

Anything which is good is worthy of being called "good booze". Usually used to refer to food or other disposables ("This sandwich is good booze.") or in defense of something that someone else is dissing ("Hey, emacs is good booze!"). Derived from Johnny Carson via MST3K and Andy's Booze for DOS program. Alternatives include: excellent booze, exemplary booze, booze of the utmost quality, etc.

Great American Bullshit, The

Term used to refer to the UCLA food service facility "The Great American Roadside Grill". They serve cold breakfast food and burgers of acceptable quality. Originated with Adam, obviously.

Hey, kids

My all-purpose casual greeting. The ages of the people being greeted is largely irrelevant. This probably started with the Uncle Leonard schtick I did in high school (not affiliated in any way with my uncle Leonard).


Often used in place of "yes" or "all right!". Also used in less positive situations, to mean "Okay, let's think this over and figure out a way out of it." Also also used as a content-free acknowledgement: "I'll be back at 6:30." "Hoo-hah." Adam claims I got this from Scent of a Woman. I've never seen Scent of a Woman, so I claim I got it from MAD Magazine.

I can't get enough of the Super Golden Crisp that is x

Said to acknowledge a personal obsession. Means approximately, "This is really great/cool, try some!", or, to mix my cereal metaphors, "Mikey likes it!"

From old commercials for Super Golden Crisp brand cerealed sugar, in which the cartoon protagonist, Sugar Bear, would actually kill people to obtain their Super Golden Crisp. I do not endorse the killing of people to get x.

I crave x the way I crave tacos

More generally, "[someone1] crave[s] [x] the way [someone2, not neccessarily the same as someone1] crave[s] tacos", the idea being that any arbitrary person craves tacos (this may not be true from the traditional Eurocentric point of view, but from a Leonardonic standpoint, it... is true), and that this can be used as a benchmark for other kinds of craving. Used to state that you want x, or to respond to someone's asking you whether you want x. X should be intangible or at least inedible; otherwise nearby people may get the impression that you actually want both x and tacos, which may or may not be the case.

I have a question./What's your question?

The standard handshaking primitives used to establish that someone wants to ask someone else a question. This came out of Adam's habit of prefacing all questions with "I have a question." and my habit of responding with "What's your question?". All variants of the first phrase ("I have a CS180 question.") must be echoed in the response ("What's your CS180 question?").

I met your father in a steel cage

To meet the father of a person or a thing in a steel cage is to so thorougly kick the butt of that person or thing that there can be no argument as to who did the kicking and who got kicked. Examples: "Boy, I really met that midterm's father in a steel cage!", or "If you keep that up I'm gonna meet your father in a steel cage!" One might think that meeting someone or something's father in a steel cage would be a reflection on the father and not on the dependant, but that's not the way we do things around here. From the Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode Piledriver. Have you met Haystack Calhoun? He was a mountain of a man!


From programming, to bring about a particular state of affairs. "I implemented a plan to get out of the meeting." Often used in a request to describe the inner workings of a theory, hypothesis, or model. "How is Faraday's Law implemented?"


Anything that is slightly (but only slightly) unusual, interesting, or new can be regarded as an innovation, or as being innovative. This bastardization of the concept of an innovation as something revolutionary or earth-shaking taken, of course, from Microsoft, although the strict Microsoftian sense of an innovation as a change of any kind within a given conceptual space, regardless of its source or status as beneficial, is not adhered to. Generally used both to pay tribute to Microsoft's language-twisting ability (sometimes actually delivered in a Bill Gates voice), and to acknowledge that I am generally excited by little trivial things.

Accompanied by a host of related phrases such as "I must innovate!" implying that innovation is something that can be precicely measured and turned on and off like an electromagnet. Anything that mainstream culture would consider innovative would be considered mega or mighty or good booze in Leonardonics; innovations are generally little things, unless, in a fit of meta-irony, they aren't.

In N Out

Southern California burger chain which is so much better than The Great American Roadside Grill that Adam has not interpolated the word "bullshit" into its name in order to denigrate it. In N Out is notable for the high performance/cost ratio of its burgers ($1.35 hamburgers, $1.50 cheeseburgers), its terrible fries[1], and its many Lebowskian qualities.

In Color!

Used after the title of a work in any medium which sounds like it ought to have "In Color!" after the title. For instance, I think Marcel Duchamp's The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even should be referred to as The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even. In Color!. Taken from Police Squad! (In Color!).

in the manner of

Used to associate the usage of a phrase with something else, generally a pop culture reference or pun of some kind. Can be used such that it also carries a connotation of humorous understatement: "I will beat my chest and yell in the manner of Tarzan." (funny because of its superfluousnessessess) The connection thus made can be arbitrarily tenuous, in the manner of the contrived example "I was surrounded by the pieces of paper I'd crumpled up and thrown to the floor, in the manner of Coleman Francis.", a clear reference to the line "There's all the malt cups from his previous takes." in the MST3Kification of Red Zone Cuba. (Note that you could also just say "I was surrounded by all the malt cups from my previous takes." instead of "I was surrounded...Coleman Francis", bypassing "in the manner of" (and indeed any hope of carrying your meaning across to someone who is not me or Andy) entirely.)

"In the manner of" can be used to attribute a reference, to replace the dull phrases "as seen in" and "just like in", to break up the rhetorical monotony of the hilarious-but-sometimes-predictable "the form, also, the mode" device (see crupspeak) and the bizarre-but-sometimes-confusing "replace what you were going to say with the reference it brought to mind" device (see previous paragraph), or just to verbalize whatever funny connections you make between two things without needing to make a whole joke out of it.

x is really rockin', man

Or "That's really rockin', man", used to simultaneously praise something and to acknowledge the shallowness of using a canned phrase to praise something with, as in my song I Screw Up Everything I Touch, or maybe I'm just too lazy to think up some original praise. Adam started using it, and I resisted, but eventually caved in. I'm weak.

Is this obsessive behavior?

Part of my obsessive behavior is my obsessively self-conscious tagging of other obsessive behavior with "Is this obsessive behavior?" I don't know what answer I expect, or if I even expect an answer at all.

Is this your homework?

Nonsensical question asked when I realize that I'm intimidating or annoying someone by asking them several questions in quick succession without giving them a chance to answer. From the movie The Big Lebowski. See also Who's on first?, and see Lebowskian for a discussion of the effects of The Big Lebowski on Leonardonics.

It is x... Yeah!

Can be used whenever anything is anything; when any identity is given. Usually when someone says "Y is x", they or the person they're talking to will respond "It is x..." in a Jerry Seinfeld voice. This is the cue for the other person to say "Yeah!" very quickly in a Jason Alexander voice. Taken from a Conan O'Brien bit in which they were dubbing over an episode of Seinfeld. "This is our last show! I can't believe, our last show! Where will America turn to for comedy?" "Conan!" "Conan?" "Conan!" "He is funny..." "Yeah!". A classic. Just please don't overdo this one. I recommend only activating it for x="funny", as in the original bit.

It's a beer.

A potential response to any allegation (baseless or otherwise) that I am wrong about something. See also be that as it may, Nathan Hale x Beer, You dare question the great Oz?.

I can't stop xing!

Generalization of the title of Scott McCloud's famous meditations on online comics. Used to imply that, well, you can't seem to stop doing x, usually because you gain perverse and enduring satisfaction from it. Eg. "I can't stop making Cool As Ice references!". You generally could stop xing if you really wanted to.

I win!

Much like the "All right!" usage of Hoo-ha!. I win whenever my answer is correct, my argument irrefutable, my position enviable, or my advice helpful. "Hey, that's some good pasta." "I win!" ... "Why don't you use a hash of hashes?" "Okay, that'll work." "I win!"

Created in a Pokey the Penguin-type free association, although it's not a direct PtP quote. Similarily, "You win!", although there's an implication there, absent in "I win!", that the person who won deserves a prize of some sort.

Jean the Pea Queen

Anyone who knows a lot about something can be considered to be a Jean the Pea Queen in that field of knowledge. Usually found in the construction "No faint praise, coming from Jean the Pea Queen.", which is supposed to be a return compliment used whenever someone knowledgeable in a subject praises my work in that domain, but which is rarely taken as such because no one else gets the reference, thus the need for this page, and, indeed, this entry in this page, and long sentences in general. The phrase "Jean the Pea Queen" is normally used only in written Leonardonics, for fairly self-evident reasons.

Oh yeah, the reference. It's from the hilarious cartoon The Neighborhood. There's an old Neighborhood in which this lady in a fairy godmother getup is eating dinner with this guy and gushing over his peas, saying "There are just the best peas ever!", and the guy is sitting there smugly dabbing his mouth with a napkin. The caption reads "No faint praise, coming from Jean the Pea Queen." <vyvyan>I laughed and laughed and laughed.</vyvyan>


Not the call letters of a radio station, but an acronym for the collective entity Kris-Adam-LJ-Leonard, composed of Kristofer Straub, Adam Kaplan, Leandro Quintana, and myself. Also KLL, KAL, etc. Not usually spoken. Can be adapted to refer to any collective entity or subset thereof.


Meaningless exclamation. Must be said in a particular tone of voice, usually followed by "Would you put that down, please?". MST3K reference.


Pertaining to or resembling in some way the supremely mighty movie The Big Lebowski. "That was so Lebowskian." Usually pertains to a conversation or event, whether in real life or in some non-Lebowski form of media. Signs of Lebowskianism include heated arguments about extremely trivial things, a happy-go-lucky disregard for one's well-being or the gravity of one's situation, a preference for In N Out, and the occurance of phrases like "Is this your homework?", "What is this x bullshit?", "You're out of your league, x." and "You're like a child who walks into the middle of a movie." Coined by Adam and notable for its resemblance to the mathematical term "Wronskian".

Let me tell you about my friend x Cohen

A reference to the light-hearted anti-Semitism of the days of vaudeville, when you could get away with telling stories about people named Abraham Cohen and Vino Vitelli. Generally used whenever anyone named Cohen comes into the conversation ("Let me tell you about Defense Secretary William Cohen..."), or to start off an "offensive vaudevillian" schtick. Comes from a monologue transcription in the excellent old book Vaudeville: From the honky-tonks to the Palace by Joe Laurie Jr., a real vaudevillian. In the transcription in question, x equalled "Ikey". I guess Ikey was a popular name back then.

Lie justification footnote

The lie justification footnote is based on the principle that you can perpetuate any falsehood, no matter how outrageous, simply by putting in a little tiny footnote acknowledging your lie. It is used most often in improvised advertising. Indirect circumlocutions are fun, but simple negation ("x is not actually y" or "x may not be y") is funnier in most situations.

In writing, the device is employed like any footnote (see magic footnote for an example). In speech, it is activated by repeating the misleading parent phrase (if neccessary) and then saying the footnote very rapidly, in the style of an announcer at the end of a bank or car commercial; eg. "Nixon's the one. Nixon may not actually be the one."

cf. This x is insufficiently y!, which is the same device but from the standpoint of the consumer, rather than that of the advertiser.

Los Angeles

I use the phrase "Los Angeles" the way anyone might, to refer to the large, polllution-choked metropolis in which I used to live; however, I use the archaic pronunciation of "Los Angless". I picked up said pronunciation from my Engineering Ethics professor, and the Frank Black song Los Angeles. This is also the Lebowskian pronunciation.

magic footnote [2]

The magic footnote is a special case of the lie justification footnote, of the form "x is not actually magic". It is used to distinguish those things which are truly magical in nature from those which are merely called "magic" in fun or for purposes of hyperbole. Any further allusions to the magicness of x in the body of the text require further disclamatory footnotes, each more angry and bitter in tone than the last.

At the risk of editorializing, let me state my belief that the manufacturers of any nonmagical product which makes magical claims (eg. Lucky Charms) should be required to place a magic footnote on the packaging of and all advertising for that product. Only in this way can consumers be informed of the magical properties, or lack thereof, of the things they buy.

One caveat: it is not neccessary to employ the magic footnote when employing "magic" in the pejorative to mean "does not exist" or "does not have claimed properties", in the manner of alleged, because you're already being sarcastic in that sentence, and there's no need to double-dip your sarcasm.

Mega mega mega!

Any positive new development or any nifty new thing can be greeted with a cry of "Mega mega mega!", or just "mega". From the FEEDBACK FEEDBACK FEEDBACK! bit. Combination of this phrase with x is really rockin', man to form "That's really mega, man." would be just plain silly.

Microsoft x [year]

A shoddy rip-off of x. Usage of the phrase implies that the thing being described is what would happen to x if Microsoft were to buy it out and suck the life out of it. Inclusion of the current year is optional. "Surge is Microsoft Mountain Dew 98."


Used as a superlative, especially for computer-related things. I have yet to discover simple rules for determining which things can be called mighty and which things cannot. A CPU, a Web page, and an algorithm can all be mighty, but a monitor or a pizza cannot. People cannot be called mighty, but others can be instructed to bow before their might. I don't know about it. I just don't know.

my x (your x)

Depending on context, means either "the x by me but pertaining to you" (eg. "my song (your song)") or "the x owned/purchased by me but which I'm going to give to you" (eg. "my potato chips (your potato chips)"). Similarily, also "your x (my x)". Derived from x (not x).

Nathan Hale x Beer

The most frequently-used reference to a bit that makes fun of Bill Gates and the guy from the Samuel Adams beer commercials. The standard for the Nathan Hale x Beer joke is as follows: In the annoying voice of the guy from the Samuel Adams commercials, say "Try Nathan Hale x Beer. It's a beer.". Variants such as "What you need is Nathan Hale x Beer. It's a beer." or "Have some Nathan Hale x Beer. It's a beer." are acceptable. Certain values of x may call for more elaborate sales pitches and/or variants of the main joke. For example, "Try Nathan Hale Car Beer. The beer you drive like a car.", or "Try Nathan Hale Divide and Conquer Beer. It's two beers." The key things are the phrase "Nathan Hale x Beer", and an allegation that Nathan Hale x Beer is in fact a beer. Under no circumstances should you admit that Nathan Hale x Beer is not actually a beer but rather a perfectly ordinary object of class x.

The only acceptable violation of the Nathan Hale x Beer standard is: "Try Nathan Hale Soylent Green Beer. It's people."

Next time, on X's Creek

Said whenever X expresses comically exaggerated distress. The perfect setup for this is when X says "NOOOOOOO!" in feigned shock or horror. You just jump in with "Next time, on X's Creek.".

You can also use this when X expresses actual distress at something really trivial, as a way of saying "Hey, calm down, it's not that bad."

From Dawson's Creek promos, obviously. Kris started this, with his masterful application of "Next time, on Kaplan's Creek..." when the length of one of Adam's gigs was cut from an hour to 45 minutes. Much of the pleasure of this bit comes from referencing that first, brilliant application of it, so there's an element of having to have been there.

not so good, Al

Not so good. A reference to Weezer's "Buddy Holly" music video. For maximum effect, should be said to people not named Al.

not the stated reason

Usually used as a spoken or written parenthetical statement to indicate that the reason given is an extrapolation from known behavior and not something official. Eg. "There won't be any circuit problems on the physics midterm because circuit problems are easy (not the stated reason).".

Oh, I said that already

A gag that depends on the fact that life is not divided into episodes of Scooby Doo, and that there is therefore no clearly-defined place (the end of an episode) for everyone to start laughing hysterically at something stupid that someone says, see you next week. The gag can be best explained through the context of an example:

Person #1: What happened?
Person #2: Looks like he couldn't handle the action!
Person #2: The action!
Person #2: Oh, I said that already.

Here, Person #2 is operating under the misconception that he is near the end of an episode of Scooby Doo, and that it's time for him to deliver the non-punchline at which everyone will laugh hysterically. You can tell the punchline because it always has one emphasized word (in this case, "action!" (cf. preposition-buzzword form)) in it. When no hysterical laughter occurs, Person #2 repeats the part of his non-punchline with the emphasized word in it. Then he says "Oh, I said that already."

Strangely enough, real people never, ever use this gag, even in self-deprecation. Only fictional people (or fictional representations of real people) ever use it. That's why I think the interpretation of the gag is the following: the author of the fictional character's predicament has put the non-punchline and its repetition into the character's mouth, so as to make the character look like a dolt. He then puts the character back in control of his own actions. The character's first reaction is puzzlement that he said the same thing twice. Of course, even this puzzlement has been orchestrated by the author. At any rate, it's an excellent gag and I'd like to see it more often (but not too often).

Oh, my ribs.

Used to imply that I just laughed so hard that my stomach hurt. I may or may not have laughed that hard. I may not have laughed at all. But let's just think about the more pleasant usage where I really did laugh that hard, okay? Probably an MST3K reference.

The original x

The original x: Not the original x in any sense of the word. In fact, probably a shoddy rip-off or at best a pale shadow of x. Could also be something which bears offhand resemblances to x and could conceivably have been "the original x" in the mainstream sense of the word, had it only preceded x. Examples: "The original Odd Couple", "The original Stonehenge". Does not require a lie justification footnote, unless a non-clueless person might think you were implying it really was the original x.

Ow, my prostate!

Exlamation uttered whenever I feel uncomfortable. Compare pain, pain, pain, which is more serious. Derived from "Ow, my ass!" from the CS mailing list of doom, and "My prostate hurts, so does my back" from When I was Young off of Nowhere Standard Time. As is always the way, this phrase may be fading out of my vocabulary now that I have used it in the title of something, namely my post-NST album.

pain, pain, pain

My keep-from-screaming mantra. If I cut my finger with a knife, or trip and fall on my face, I'll say "pain, pain, pain" for a while. Usually followed by exclamations of "Pain!" and "Extreme pain!". Derived from Ed Grimley's "Oh, that's painful, I must say!" and my desire to not have attention called to my clumsiness.

the pothead techie joke

The premise of the pothead techie joke is that anyone in any way connected with the technology industry is perpetually stoned off his/her ass, and that any pronouncements made by them should be taken with this in mind. It usually involves taking a big hit off an imaginary joint and then repeating a statement made by someone (as them), or being a tech support guy answering an imaginary phone call. If a particular person or organization is the victim, then the more well-known and respected they are in your circle the better. You may apply this joke to yourself.

I got this fabulous joke from Mae Ling Mak (although a similar joke was previously espoused by Darius Gandhi), who got it from the employees of a well-known Linux company which shall remain nameless. My endorsement of the pothead techie joke should not be misconstrued as an endorsement of the actual smoking of pot.

preposition-buzzword form

A very stupid joke which I find very funny, and use at every opportunity. Its charm hinges on the fact that you can say a perfectly normal communicative sentence and then, as an afterthought, tack on preposition-buzzword form and make it sound like you had planned a joke all along.

Popular buzzwords include "savings", "rock", "party", "action", and "democracy". The joke hinges on the fact that other people use preposition-buzzword form as a rhetorical device, so the best buzzwords are the buzzwords most often used in seriousness. The utter failure of the form as a rhetorical device, and its attraction nonetheless to those who make cheezy slogans, is the lifeblood of the joke.

I should probably give you some examples. The earliest Leonardonic example was me yelling "I've created a monster! A SAVINGS monster!" for no particular reason. Examples of the later form include Jake's "I have the technology... to rock!" and Pokey the Penguin's "I have poked you in the eye... with democracy!" Try it! It's fun.

There are two-person variations on preposition-buzzword form, which I have not yet analyzed in any detail. Stay tuned... for action!


When introducing people, I usually describe them with the format "x, professional y", eg. "Kym Taborn, professional Xena freak". They may actually do y for a living, it doesn't spoil the bit. This is not a reference to anything; I made it out of whole cloth.

20000121 update: Anything that has a proper noun associated with it can be fodder for a usage of "professional", eg. "According to professional newspaper The Chicago Tribune..." Note that this screws up people who want to refer to their newspaper for professionals as a "professional newspaper". Just the sort of person these personal slang dictionaries should screw up, IMO.

Put it in Issuezilla

CollabNet slang, roughly equivalent to mainstream "Talk to the hand." Could mean "I am not the one to whom you should be complaining," or "While I am the one to whom you should be complaining, your complaint is of such small consequence that I should be permitted to attend to it at my leisure." Issuezilla is the hacked version of Bugzilla that we use in Sourcecast.


My misspelling of "rejoice". I misspell it this way to pay tribute to the mighty one, James Joyce. It's the least I can do. There is a book on Joyce called Rejoyce!, so I'm not the only one with this idea.

rut rut rut

Meaningless phrase repeated when I want to say or write something but have nothing to say or write, or to clear my mind in a Zen-like fashion. When spoken, the "rut"s may be repeated to the tune of a song, such as Green Day's When I Come Around ("Rut rut rut rutrutrut rut rut rutrutRUT RUT RUT RUT!"). A MST3K reference from the pig instrument invention exchange. Green Day licks me, by the way.

X Sense... tingling!

From Spiderman comic books via Amar Chitra Katha comic books. Used whenever a character in a work of fiction or dramatization is being subject to heavy foreshadowing, or when your life is unfolding in a way that makes you feel like a victim of foreshadowing or other clumsily applied literary device. X in this case is the subject of the foreshadowing. Also used when, bizarrely, the conventions of foreshadowing are being used but no actual foreshadowing is happening. In this case, "X" is whatever object or concept is closest at hand within the literary work ("Pottery sense... tingling!").

Seth David Schoen

The standard introduction or (more commonly, and inclusively) signoff to any pedantic correction or revelation of obscure knowledge is to claim to be Seth David Schoen. Can also be used as a counterpoint, when the obscure knowledge is inaccurate or otherwise not knowledge Seth would be likely to impart. Originally used to designate a Seth impression, those being the only words for which the Seth impression sounded remotely like Seth. A good example of the introduction + signoff + counterpoint use is "Hi, I'm Seth David Schoen. The panda bear is not actually a bear; in fact, neither is it a panda. I'm Seth David Schoen."

Singing animal naming convention

All singing animals must be named according to the singing animal naming convention, which is [Name of state or province] [One-letter abbreviation] [Type of animal named]. The first singing animal to be so named was Michigan J. Frog. Subsequent singing animals have included New Jersey W. Planarian and Utah B. Tapeworm.

solid gold

Similar in usage to "good booze", but more applicable to permanent or abstract things, ie. "This calculator is solid gold!" or "Perl is solid gold!". "Solid gold" is never used to defend something the way "good booze" is.

solid state recording gag, the

The solid-state recording gag is of the form "Could it be that what we thought to be the actual x y is nothing more than a solid-state recording of y saying 'z'?", where y is a person, x is the phrase that would go after a usage of the term professional for that person, and z is a phrase that y says a lot, or has been saying a lot lately. If y is present, he or she should complete the bit by saying 'z'. From a skit by Kris and I, in which x equalled "basketball coach", y equalled "Dick Vitale", and z equalled "Yeah, baby!". Used a lot more often than you'd think.

That's the x of choice

The x of choice is the best x among a series or assortment of items x1, x2, x3, etc. Alternatively, the value of x which is actually being used or which was actually chosen, regardless of whether it was the best choice (but note that the chosen x must be at least of acceptable quality, or the phrase cannot be used). Example of the first usage: "I don't buy any clothes anymore that I can't wash and dry normally." "That's the attitude of choice." Example of the second usage: "Here, I got you a Slice." "That's the soda of choice." (Even though Slice is not the best soda.) From the MST3K episode Skydivers. x has not yet equalled "axiom", but it could, someday.

That was a good x

Linguistically, not very interesting. People say "That was a good x" all the time. But here in Leonardonics, we are working hard to innovate and serve consumers, so every time we say "That was a good x", we say it the way Beck says "That was a good drum break" in professional Beck song Where It's At. eg. "That was a good piece of pizza", "That was a good merge sort." If x is only one syllable or doesn't fit the meter, say it and cut it off rather than stretch it out to fit the pattern.

If you're really itching to use this one, you can use it on any sentence of the form "That was a[n] [adjective] [noun]." But, as with It is x... yeah!, be careful not to overdo it or you'll get sick of it.

This is probably the most frequently-occuring of a whole genre of Leonardonics bits which involve reciting the lyrics to a song without actually singing them, as though you were saying them normally and conversationally, but still mantaining some ties to the rhythm. You start saying something, realize that it's part of a song, then go right on reciting the song.

One of the best examples of this is where you say "{It's,That's} amazing." and then go on to recite the end of Aerosmith's Amazing, the part where the singer gets totally spastic and is just singing gibberish, ie. "It's amazing. In the blink of an eye you finally see the light. It's amazing. When the moment arrives and you know it'll be all right. It's amaaaaaaaziiing. And I'm saying a prayer for the desperate hearts tonight. The desperate hearts. The desperate hearts. Swam fam rimi bimi desperate hearts toniiiiight ya ya ya ya ya ya ya ra ra ra ra ra ra ra rya." Sorry if the lyrics (the intelligible lyrics) are wrong; I haven't heard that song since Anne Kelly was a DJ on KRAB and played that song all the time and talked about the Aerosmith tattoo on her butt all the time. Well, I seem to have wandered a bit, but no harm done. And now back to the glossary.

Then you endorse the breaded clams?

Anyone who does anything "wholeheartedly" opens himself or herself up to charges of endorsing the breaded clams. "I agree wholeheartedly." "Then you endorse the breaded clams?" "We all pitched in wholeheartedly. We also endorsed the breaded clams." There's nothing particularily wrong with endorsing the breaded clams, and you can endorse the breaded clams without actually endorsing breaded clams (which is a good thing for me, as I can't stand clams, breaded or otherwise).

From an old (probably 1994) commercial for Long John Silver's brand fast food restaurant, in which a senator (there are probably actors whose entire careers consist of one senatorial role after another) is caught in the scandal of having purchased a seafood meal from said restaurant. "Then you endorse the breaded clams?" "Wholeheartedly." "Is it true that money changed hands?" "Yes. But only $1.99." I love that commercial because it's ridiculous and it knows it.

This is completely insane!

My expression of anger or frustration. Also "These people are completely insane!", "This {man,woman} is completely insane!" If I were the sort of person who read Reader's Digest, I would say "This is completely insane!" after reading That's Outrageous!. It's much the same vibe as "That's outrageous!", actually.

This x is insufficiently y!

Used to ridicule advertising or other sources of incongruent or overused adjectives. It can build on any exhortative reference to items x with property y, eg. "fresh teen tunes" -> "This teen tune is insuffiently fresh!" "innovative object-oriented approach" -> "This object-oriented approach is insufficiently innovative!" Should be said in a tone of righteous indignation, as though you, having a pressing need for something y, had bought into the hype and purchased x, and that you want your money back.

The spirit of "This x is insufficiently y!" is perhaps best summed up in Kris' classic ammo store cartoon: "Yeah, see, it says on the box, 'Maximum Manstopping Power' but they really have less manstopping power than I was hoping for."


Used after words or phrases that sound like they ought to be trademarks. Whether or not they actually are has no bearing on whether or not the appelation is imposed upon them.

Tonight's Episode

Probably the most widespread and viral bit of Leonardonics ever devised. The premise is very simple, viz. that every cultural reference or phrase can be changed by the insertion of certain key words such as "Murder", "Evil", "Knife", etc. into the title of a 1970s Quinn Martin television episode, and that the phrase you just came up with is "Tonight's Episode". (Note that much the same practice prevails with the titles of pornographic movies, although Tonight's Episodes are actually funny.) Once you have Tonight's Episode, you intone in a hard-boiled announcer voice: "Tonight's Episode: [whatever]".

Though most Tonight's Episodes follow the simple word-replacement pattern ("Healthy, Wealthy, and Dead", "There's Something About Murder"), the best examples of the genre are often broken somehow, whether non sequiturs ("The Verdict Was Murder"), self-contradictions ("The Corpse Did It"), or ruinous of what was an already servicable Tonight's Episode with compulsive word replacement ("Dial M For Death").

The origin is twofold in its secondhandness; both MST3K and Police Squad consistently mocked the Quinn Martin Tonight's Episodes.

Of particular interest to Leonardonics buffs are the Tonight's Episodes "I Can't Stop Dying!" and "Dude, Where's My Murder?"

xus maximus (archaic)

Pseudolatinization of "x to the max". Andy and I used to say this a lot, common values of x including "silly", "stuffy", "boring", and "cool". I attribute this practice to the passions of youth.

wallow in x

To surround oneself with x, or to gloat over x. Often takes place in a festering pit of x. Common values of x include "denial", "shame", and high test scores.

we're your station, x

The Fox station in the Kern County area has these weird station identification bits where they would show a little clip of a landmark or something in one of the cities in its broadcast range. Say it was Bakersfield. So they'd show do a zoom in on that clock tower by Pioneer Village and a voiceover would say "We're your station, Bakersfield. This is KMPH Fox 26." Sometimes they'd have stop-motion clouds or a sunset or something instead of a city.

I'm not going to give specific usage instructions for this bit, because it's so flexible. You can use it only when you see stop-motion or landmarks, or you can walk around the house saying "We're your station, paper towels. We're your station, hot chocolate.", or anything in between. The choice is yours. The possibilities seem endless, and all of them are free.

We will return to X Theatre

Used when some motif or outside event is occuring frequently enough that you can make a joke about it being some sort of abstract real-life product placement. This is that joke. It's intended to evoke those old 1950s television shows with product names in the titles. Examples: "We will return to Door Slam Theatre..." "Plato's Cave Metaphor Showcase will continue after this." It's only funny if the recent prevalence of x in your life and that of your conversation partner(s) has yet to be remarked upon, and is right at the point of obviousness or exasperation.

What the?

I'm not really sure what this means. It wavers between being a Zen non-utterance in the style of rut rut rut, and, uh, being something else. It is from Kris' The Guy Who Thinks He's Jeff Lynne bit, and should be said in a The Guy Who Thinks He's Jeff Lynne voice. If you can't do such a voice, a Bob Dylan voice will suffice. One situation I can think of when this phrase would be appropriate is if someone else used a phrase that sounded like the title of an Electric Light Orchestra song. Then you would say "What the? Hey! That's my song!". But I use it way too much to justify it as being that.

what I x or don't x

Used to repudate someone's claim of a high level of personal control over another person (eg. "Jake doesn't want to go to the game"), in unneccessary embellishment of "what I x". For instance, the phrase "You can't tell me what to think" could be expressed less succinctly as "You can't tell me what I think or don't think." The most common usage is "You're not in charge of what x likes or doesn't like.". Can be used in caution, to cover all the other bases; strict linguistic correctness, to repudate someone's assertion that they actually do control what someone doesn't like; or just to increase the proportion of the time you spend in frivolous semantic battles.

Probable origin: Danza 59 of Jake's Birthday Party, although that may just be one of the first written references to it.

Who's on first?

Usage similar to Is this your homework?. From the famous Abbott and Costello comedy bit.

Wired, Did you read that in Wired?

The mythical source for all bogus technical information. "Windows NT is POSIX-certified? Did you get that from the Wired Buyer's Guide?" If feeling sufficiently silly and/or hateful towards Wired, I may extend usage to non-technical topics. "Beer helps daisies grow? Did you read that in Wired?" "I guess I should have checked non-Wired sources before shooting my mouth off about fossilization." With a small "w", "wired" is used as an adjective connotating terminal hipness. All of this is probably an unfair generalization, but who cares?

1999/10/14 update: "Did Nicholas Negroponte tell you that?" and its variations have become to mean much the same thing as "Did you read that in Wired?" and its variations. The inventive reader can of course think up his or her own variations, depending on personal taste. See also the pothead techie joke.

Xfest '89

The oldest Leonardonics reference still in use. It dates, as you might have guessed, from 1989. My friend CJ Cullins had picked up this little spoken jingle from somewhere that went "Slugfest slugfest. Slugfest eighty-niiine. Slugfest slugfest." I never found out what Slugfest '89 was (CJ was never very clear on that point), but it doesn't matter, because any "fest" whatsoever can be put into the jingle (Hempfest hempfest. Hempfest eighty-niiine. Hempfest hempfest.), as can any word that fits the rhythmic pattern of "Slugfest" in the jingle (Sparkplug sparkplug. Sparkplug eighty-niiine. Sparkplug sparkplug.), or any one-syllable word coupled with "fest" (Doltfest doltfest. Doltfest eighty-niiine. Doltfest doltfest.).

The only communicative use this has is as a wrapper for the concept of x, a sort of low-grade "x is the situation", the idea that such a fest is in fact taking place right now. For instance, if you're running Windows for some reason and it crashes, you could say "Crashfest crashfest. Crashfest eighty-niiine. Crashfest crashfest." Otherwise, it's just pointing out that something somebody said or wrote can be put into the framework of this silly jingle.

I'm just writing "eighty-niiine" to give you a feel for how the jingle goes. It's written "'89".

20020505 Update: Daniel Gast informs me that this comes from a song called "Gutfest '89" by the Digital Underground, better known as the perpetrators of "The Humpty Dance". So either I mis-heard CJ or the "Slugfest '89" is his own interpretation of the text.

The X Council

The X Council is the body which sponsors X Theatre. The members of the X Council meet in smoke-filled rooms to promote the promulgation of x by any means neccessary, though so far they have yet to think of means beyond dubbing "Brought to you by the X Council." and "A message from the X Council." onto the soundtrack of your life (eg. "Mmm, tasty tacos!" "A message from the Taco Council.") Always present is the implication that when the X Council gets its act together, we're all in big trouble.

x, gix

Kannada equivalent of Yiddish "x, schmex". Used whenever it would sound better than "x, schmex" (and vice versa). Also used where "x, schmex" would result in "schmex, schmex" (and vice versa), so "shopping, gipping", but "gift, schmift". Especially funny when "gix" is itself a word, eg. "niblets, giblets" or "blimp, gimp".

x (not x)

Written only. Couple of different but similar usages. If you are using a word for which there is an acronym, "x (not x)" references the acronym in the form "[word] (not [acronym])" (the reverse usage is never found). This squeezes what little humor there is out of a confusion between a word and an acronym version of the word, without having to do a whole "Oh, a gnome! I thought you meant GNOME!" schtick, which takes too long and requires the cooperation of another person.

If you are using x as an acronym, and the acronym has multiple expansions, usage of "x (not x)" communicates that you are aware of this fact, eg. "LACMA (not LACMA)".

You can also use this phrase in a situations not involving acronyms, to deny something one of its claimed properties. This reduces to just plain sarcasm, and is a generalization of crupspeak "funny/not funny".

You dare question the great Oz?

Said when I can't think of an immediate response to someone's objection [usually that of one of my sisters]. Also said to a computer that isn't doing what I want it to do. Also also said for reason at all. Context should provide clues as to which of these meanings is being used in a particular situation. From The Wizard of Oz, of course.

[1] I explained to my mother once why In N Out's fries are so bad. In a free market, chains like McDonald's [blech] and Burger King must continually innovate their fries and do dumb ads about how their fries are better than ever. There is selection pressure on the various specii of fries, as it were, to become better-tasting over time. However, In N Out's schtick is that they don't change their recipes. This is fine on the burger end because their burgers are fine, except for that weird cheese they use, but their fries are crap and are bound to stay crap for the forseeable future. There is more selection pressure on the fries to stay the way they are than there is to become better, so the fries don't change.

[2] Footnote is not actually magic.

This document is part of Crummy, the webspace of Leonard Richardson (contact information). It was last modified on Tuesday, April 13 2004, 04:17:26 Nowhere Standard Time and last built on Sunday, June 04 2023, 06:00:02 Nowhere Standard Time.

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