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Jim Lands a Big Fish: Neologistic Victory

by Bob Levey

There must be something in the water up in Philadelphia.

That ancient metropolis gave us the winner of last month's neologism contest. Now it has given us this month's winner, too.

His name is Jim Munnis. He lives in Downingtown, Pa., a suburb of Liberty Bell-ville. But the coincidence doesn't end there.

Like last month's champ, Joseph Ferry, of Erdenheim, Pa., Jim is a lawyer.

For the same firm.

And they say lawyers are drudges.

You'll say otherwise when you read Jim's winning entry. Like about 3,000 fellow make-up-a-word enthusiasts, Jim took a crack at the August version of our monthly challenge, which was:

Bill Clinton is not technically a lame duck president, because his successor hasn't been elected. So Mr. Clinton should correctly be called a...

Jim's winning entry:

Tabled Bill.

That said it just right, thought this jury-of-one. In a legislature, a tabled bill is not quite dead, but also not very alive. That pretty much summarizes the situation of the Man From Hope.

Like so many previous neologism contest winners, Jim's champion coinage just came to him out of the blue, he said. The fact that he dabbles in politics may have put him in the proper frame of mind, he admitted over our victory lunch at La Colline.

Jim serves as vice chairman of the Zoning Hearing Board of East Brandywine Township, Pa. As he says, it isn't presidential level. But elective politics is elective politics, no matter where you practice it or how you slice it. So perhaps it's fitting that a politician won a politically tinged contest.

Our winner was born in Syracuse, N.Y. He grew up there and in Sharon, Pa. He has lived mostly in the Philadelphia area since the late 1960s. He and his wife, Sue, have a 16-year-old daughter, Jamie, and a 15-year-old son, Sean.

Jim also has a lifelong hobby: fishing. Whenever the family travels, "I'm going to be on a charter somewhere," he said.

In fact, he said he often nips out to a stream after work, just to decompress among the cool breezes and the occasional passing fox.

"Occasionally, I'll catch a fish, too," said Jim. He landed a big one with "Tabled Bill." Congratulations!

Almosts and Nearlies for August were:

Obsoleader: Hank Wallace, of Northwest Washington.

Blame Duck: Vast outpourings of humanity. Art Thomas was first.

Endcumbent: Art Shaffer, of Springfield.

Quasident: Sam Mecum, of Lancaster, Pa.

Prez-be-tarryin': Sally Stokes.

Remainder-in-Chief: Former champ L. Dan Traub and Jay Silberman, of Northwest Washington.

Arkanswan: Former champ Nancy Sias, of Carroll Valley, Pa.

Dame Cluck: C. Girhard, of Severna Park.

Commander-in-Brief: Another surge of humanity. Deb Gee was first.

ShameDuck: Sonia C. Martinez.

Presidentus Interruptus: Christine Adams, of Charlottesville.

SecondTerminator: Former champ Jayne Townend.

Im-POTUS: Joe Conley, of Capitol Hill.

Incrumblent: Steve Rochon.

Chief Exitutive: Wendy Jordan.

Lamey-in-Waiting: Chris Speaker, of Owings, Md.

Ex Post Factor: Robin McNallie, of Harrisonburg, Va.

President Demeritus: Joe Rosenberg.

Foundering Father: Neal Miller, of Portland, Ore.

Hornithologist: Kate Ferry, of Erdenheim, Pa.

Geldfinch: Former champ Tom Witte, of Gaithersburg.

Gorenament: Don Gatling, of Gaithersburg.

Tailhack: Jean Stewart, of Northwest Washington.

Pollstergeist: Gary Kunz, of Gaithersburg, who says it's perfect because Clinton is "haunting the campaign of Al Gore."

Starrvivor: Don Gatling again.

And Termendator: Jean Stewart again.

Very nice, folks. Let's see how you do with the September challenge, which involves William Jefferson Clinton once again:

President Clinton's wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is running for a U.S. Senate seat in New York. If she wins, her husband will become her... (Click to see winning entries)

First prize is more time-honored than a U.S. Senate seat: A free lunch, at a restaurant of the winner's choice, in or sensibly near Washington.

Contest rules: You may enter as often as you like, on one piece of paper or several. Joint entries are welcome. So are entries submitted by fax (202-334-5150) and e-mail ( Entries must bear day and evening phone numbers, including area code(s). All entries become my property. Entries will not be accepted by phone or returned. In case of duplicate winning entries, I'll choose the one I receive first.

Please mail entries to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071. Entries for the September contest must be received by Sept. 29.

© 2000 Bob Levey (
This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the author.

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