As I light my pipe, take up my quill pen and sheepskin and once again prepare to write another volume of The Kassopedia — the repository of the world's great knowledge — I'm reminded of a snarky reader.
She calls herself, "Your long suffering reader, Barbara K."
"Dear Kasso," she writes. "Greek mythology maintains that great ideas sprang forth fully formed from the forehead of Zeus, one of its great Gods. Not Kass. No. Uh-uh. Not. Can you really imbue yourself with the same qualities as Zeus? And in the Chicago Tribune? Shouldn't you name your dictionary, 'Zeusopedia' instead of 'Kassopedia?'"
Barbara. Oh, Barbara. Gentlemen never discuss imbuing themselves. And don't bring Zeus into this. The Kassopedia it will remain. Like my friend Omar Khayyam used to say, not all your Tears (will) wash out a Word of the Kassopedia. So here goes.
Chicky: The new middle name of Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno, 1st, who gained national infamy as a Chicago politician obsessed with the gender of fried chicken sandwiches sold by a chain that serves great lemonade. I spotted him at City Hall the other day. "What do you call me, again?" he asked. You know, I said. He knew.
Cook County Fair: A great theme-park style idea that, sadly, never took off. Attractions would have included the Political Petting Zoo: Put a dollar into a slot and stuffed envelopes appear, prompting tamed elected officials to perform various amusing tricks. And, The Chicago Fish Pond: Win prizes for catching the fish with the most genetic defects. Winner gets a year's supply of bottled Crestwood Tap Water.
Cuppatootree: An ancient Chicago number used by natives to order a few hot dogs or other items. Washington resident Mike F., an expat Chicagoan, wrote to remind me that cuppatootree actually means "a couple, two (or) three," and is the proper response when a hot dog vendor asks, "Whatkineyegetchas?"
Dopium: Democrats have Hopium, a powerful hallucinogenic trimmed from the green-fros of Obama Chia Heads, allowing the user to ignore those old photos the Obama campaign recently tweeted of the president chatting happily with a guy in a pirate costume, just as U.S. Embassies are under attack in the Middle East. The Republican equivalent is Dopium, grown from Mitt Romney Chias and smoked furiously by right-wing talk show hosts who think the Republican presidential candidate can still reach coal miners in Pennsylvania, even after saying that 47 percent of Americans think they're victims of something.
Father-Daughter Dances: Still illegal in Rhode Island.
Flee Partyers: Refugee Democrats in exile from neighboring states, claiming sanctuary in Illinois (Madiganistan). This mass political migration is usually triggered by taxpayers in their native states. We get their politicians who hide so they don't have to vote on uncomfortable legislation. They get our jobs.
Greek Day Care: There's no such thing as child labor laws in an immigrant family. Instead of day care, some kids bused tables, others worked in the butcher shops. Shooter had to pull weeds at her dad's law office. Most had to do homework while sitting out front watching the cash register. See Indian Day Care, Mexican Day Care.
Karen Lewis Withdrawal Syndrome, or KLWS: Sent in by Facebook friend Dan F., with the recent settlement of the Chicago Teachers Union strike, Chicagoans don't see CTU President Karen Lewis enough, and we're suffering the pangs of missing her on local newscasts. I mean, it really, really hurts. The only thing that could make it better would be if City Hall hosts a back-to-school TV special. Lewis could sit in a big rocking chair in one of the remaining school libraries, reading to a Mayor Rahm Emanuel sitting in her lap, as she enacts fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm, like Rahmpelstiltskin and Rahmpunzel.
Nayakism, aka Nayakitis: A nervous, sweaty condition caused when your BFF gets hauled in by the feds. It is believed that U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who just put his $2.5 million home up for sale in Washington, had suffered a form of this malady.
One-Percenters of the Commuter Class: 1) The bicyclists who pay nothing, not even fines when they zoom past stop signs in flagrant violation of the city's traffic laws. 2) Those who just don't get satire, and think that City Hall was actually considering collecting "bike tolls" with the aid of giant plastic animatronic figures with glowing eyes that resemble the mayor of Chicago.
Rahmifications: Hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of increased taxes, fees and other stuff the mayor doesn't want to talk about while he's sitting in Lewis' lap.
Verpes: from the Latin, herpius verbulus, a terrible affliction among American politicians, caused by repeatedly taking your shoe with your foot still inside it and shoving it so far into your mouth that it hits that little punching bag thing called a uvula. See, Joe Biden, Mitt Romney.