These days, Cathe Warford prefers Cajun or country music. But she was a rock 'n' roller once upon a time, and one of the standby lyrics from rock's early days has landed her top honors in our June neologism contest.
The word that did the trick (if you can in fact call it a word) was "shoe-bop."
Way back when, "shoe-bop" showed up in rock songs almost as often as that incomprehensible adverb, "turtle-dovin'." The reasons were similar.
"Turtle-dovin' " rhymed with "lovin'," and "shoe-bop" rhymed with "stop" (giving us such never-to-be-forgotten phrases as "Shoe-bop, shoe-bop, oooooh, baby, never stop!").
But "shoe-bop" also mixed well with other rock 'n' roll nonsense words (Giving us such deeply expressive stanzas as, "Shoe-bop, shoe-bop, yaddada, yaddada, yaddada, yaddada!"). And like all good rock words, "shoe-bop" made you want to dance, especially if you pronounced it shoe-BOP.
But only Cathe Warford of Falls Church saw "Shoe-bop, shoe-bop, shoe-bop, shoe-bop" as the answer to our June challenge. That challenge was:
What do you call the habit of a baseball player who, stepping up to bat, knocks imaginary mud off the cleats of his shoes, not once, but several times?
I thought Cathe's rock 'n' rollish answer, two "shoe-bops" for each foot, was perfect. She used the same word to describe her victory luncheon -- an elegant feast at Nora that featured soft shell crabs and chocolate mousse.
Oddly, our winner isn't much of a baseball fan. She goes to Orioles games every once in a while, where she notices endless shoe-bopping. But she prefers to hike, camp and photograph wildlife -- often in rural Virginia, but as often as possible in the West.
Cathe spent her childhood in Victory, N.Y. (don't run for the atlas; it's near Syracuse). She has been in Washington for six years, four of them in her current job as a proofreader for the National Geographic Society.
But next month, she faces a challenge that's tougher than any neologism contest.
She turns 40.
Hey, Cathe, all rock 'n' rollers eventually do, right? You might even put it to music, this way:
"Shoe-bop, shoe-bop, oooh, baby, the calendar, it never stop."
Sorry, folks, and sorry, Cathe. The devil made me do it. Happy birthday in advance to our winner, and congrats for an excellent winning entry.
Similar salutes to these close-but-no-cigar entries, and entrants:
Twitch Hitting: Bob Templeton of Arlington.
Rehitterate: Sue Pierce of Rockville.
Habit Taps: Homer F. Green Jr. of Bethesda.
Batting Ardor: Carl C. Smuck of Deale, Md.
Re-Cleat Performance: JoAnn Elmore of Rockville.
Cleaty, Cleaty, Bang, Bang: Dianne Dale of Southeast.
Soil Decleation Allowance: Marc Yacker of Northwest.
Batshoelism: Timothy Ahern of Arlington.
Delaying Tap-Tics: Nan Terpak of Arlington.
Flay of Sole: Dot Yufer of Markham, Va.
Shtick-in-the-Mud: Nelson Ebersole.
Spacy at the Bat: Francis L. Witkege of Arlington.
Delusions of Grand-Dirt: David J. Gelman of Arlington.
Defeetist Battitude: Florence F. Thompson of Greenbelt.
Pro-crud-stination: Rosemary Hubbard of Williamsburg, Va.
In honor of the movie star, Dustin' Off Man: John Slovikosky of Frederick.
Another with a movie theme -- Dirty Tarry: Bill Frankle of Hyattsville.
Mud Life Crisis: Maeve Ertel of Arlington.
Cleatzophrenia: William W. Beckett.
No-Mud-Cleature: Yolande M. Bost of Falls Church.
And Clody Language: Steven Bickett.
Nicely done, troops! Now let's turn from stallball to what happens when rubber meets paper. Here is the July-August challenge, submitted separately but equally by Laura Kay of Bethesda and Alexandra Bernstein of Northwest:
What do you call the little pieces of rubber residue that are left on a piece of paper after you erase something you've written in pencil?
The challenges may change, but the prize never does. It's lunch at the restaurant of your choice in the Washington area, courtesy of (and in the company of) the fellow who's typing this.
The rules never change, either. You may enter as often as you like, on one piece of paper or several. But please list a daytime and an evening phone number on all entries.
The mailing address is: Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., 20071. Because summer is in full swing, and vacations are about to begin if they haven't already, we'll give you a little extra time on this one. Deadline for July/August entries is Sept. 1.