Slang City Mail

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January 4, 2007

Slang of the Week: snootful (noun)
enough alcohol to get drunk

One beer was a snootful for Betsy, was five feet tall and weighed 92 pounds, .

Celebrity quote:
The three-martini lunch is the epitome of American efficiency. Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful and a snootful* at the same time?
- President Gerald Ford, 1913-2006

This comment comes from Ford’s bid for the 1976 presidency. Opponent Jimmy Carter had criticized the three martini lunch as a tax write-off for wealthy businessmen and Ford was defending it. I should note to non-Americans that the President, who passed away last week, is not generally remembered for this quote—I just found it and was surprised by Ford’s candor.

I was pretty young when he was in the White House and watching the news this week, I discovered that I had a much better memory of comedian
Chevy Chase impersonating him on Saturday Night Live than I did of the man himself. The president had a few clumsy moments during his tenure and the Chase capitalized on it, doing regular impressions of Ford falling down in various situations.
These pratfalls had a bad effect on not only on Ford’s public persona but also on Chase’s health—he said in the 1980s that they caused injuries that contributed to a prescription painkiller addiction. (In an ironic twist, Chase checked into the Betty Ford clinic—named for Ford’s wife—to overcome his drug problems.)

But Ford was not really so uncoordinated. As he said truthfully in his 1979 autobiography, A Time to Heal, “
There was no doubt in my mind that I was the most athletic president to occupy the White House in years.” Ford was a star football player for the University of Michigan in the 1930s and was even offered professional contracts with the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers (he turned both down to go to law school).

Nor did he lack a sense of humor. At a 1975
dinner for the Radio and Television Broadcasters Association, he parodied Chase’s over-the-top impression, “accidentally” knocking silverware into the comic’s lap and dropping his notes to great laughter and applause. 

*translation for my non-native speakers: “an
earful, a bellyful and a snootful” means plenty of conversation to listen to, plenty to eat and plenty to drink.

What’s New?
"First in my class here at MIT / Got skills, I'm a champion at D&D " A definitely different kind of rap - Weird Al Yankovic on White and Nerdy, a parody of Chamillionaire's Ridin' Dirty. Translated to Standard English.


Take a look in our bookstore for books and DVDs on all kinds of slang! This week’s recommendation goes with our newsletter topic: Hatchet Jobs and Hardball: The Oxford Dictionary of American Political Slang. Learn about Beltway bandits,  leg treasurers, juice bills and banana superpower in this book of fun political phrases.