“Ask the SnowSpondy”

Spondyville’s mascot, Stiffy the Snowspondy,
is always happy to answer your questions about AS.  

(Remember, Stiffy is NOT a doctor ...  although he does watch them on TV.) 

Email your questions to: Snowspondy@aol.com  
(Please include the words "Ask the Snowspondy" in the title)

Dear Mr. Snowspondy,

I'm confused.  What does anti-TNF mean? 

Quincy Q. Quibble
Pottstown, PA

Dear Q.Q.:

Thanks for the great question.  The anti-TNF movement is really starting to take hold in the Spondyville area. TNF, of course, stands for "Tough Noogies, Friend", which is the term used by many HMO's and other health care providers in the letters they send when turning patients down for expensive treatments, like Enbrel, Remicade and Humira.  The anti-TNF movement is fighting back with their own acronym, SNEEZE, which stands for "Soft Noogies for Everyone Encourages Zero Expenses." Sneeze believes they have God's blessing for standing up and demanding that patients in need be given free Enbrel, Remicade and Humira, and they firmly believe that friendlier, more humane treatments by health care providers make for healthier individuals, who will then require less medical treatments. 

I hope this helps with your understanding of TNF.

Your pal, Stiffy the Snowspondy


Dear Stiffy,

I always see AS described as inflammatory arthritis of the spine; which leaves out all the other complications which go with it. Have you or Spiffy ever had the iritis, IBD, tendonitis and other fun that goes with this disease?

And how do you explain to the other snow-people that AS is more than just the spine?

Fighting the Fusion, St Louis MO

Dear Fusion Fighter,

My twin brother Spiffy, younger sister, Stiffanie and myself do experience similar complications to the ones you describe.   However, due to our genetic make-up being different than humans, (we're mostly snow and frozen tundra, mixed with ice), the medical profession has a different name for the Snowspondy form of Spondylitis; Frostylitis.  And what you call Iritis, we call Eyecicles.  Instead of psoraisis, Snowspondys get chilled-blains and instead of Irritible Bowel Disease, we get Ice Block Syndrome (IBS),  (Don't go there.)  But whether it's psoraisis or chilled-blains, you're still gonna itch, right? To paraphrase the Bard of Avon: "AS by any other name ... would hurt just as much."

Explaining Frostylitis to other snow-people is easy. We just say "I'm freezing."

Thanks for writing.

Your pal, Stiffy the Snowspondy

P.S.  As I write this, it is a very warm afternoon here in Iraq.  I am keeping cool, sitting on the footlocker of my pal, SSgt. Kyle S. with my feet in a bucket of ice cubes.  Kyle was kind enough to offer to accompany me on my fact-finding tour of Iraq.  I should have some cool pictures of my trip to post on the Spondyville website very soon.


Dear Stiffy,

I have always been curious about the other members of your
family.  Please tell us more about them.

Scott Anthony Anderson
Sherman Oaks, CA

Dear S.A.A.,

Thanks for asking.  I have a twin brother named Spiffy.  Spiffy and I were separated at birth and he grew up in a small eskimo village on the outskirts of Fairbanks, Alaska.  We discovered each other on the internet in 1998, (in the Spondy Cafe chat room, to be exact), and were re-united.  A few years ago, we also discovered we have a younger sister, Stiffanie.  She runs a frozen yogurt franchise in Minneapolis. We also have two distant cousins,  Wetty, the Waterspondy who works as a part-time mermaid down in Wikki-Wachee, Florida, and Ariel the Airspondy, who is quite shy and frankly, a bit of an air-head. Unfortunately, Ariel (she also goes by the nickname, Skye), is seldom seen, except around Los Angeles, and her current whereabouts are unknown. 

Your Pal,



Dear Stiffy,

Is having AS ever a 'good thing'?

Richard Feder
Fort Lee, NJ

Dear Richard,

Well,  I know it may sound hard to believe, but there are some good things about having AS.  For instance,  if you’re ever kidnapped, you can’t be folded up and stuffed into the trunk of a car. And if you’re riding the subway, even very old ladies will want to give you their seats.  But probably the best thing about having AS is all the Karmic debt you are wiping out.  According to some Tibetan monks I have spoken to, (and depending of course, on how evil you were in your last lifetime), this experience should guarantee you a pretty sweet set-up in your next re-incarnation.

Keep Cool.



Dear Stiffy,

As a Snowperson have you lived with the conventional corn cob pipe, button nose, and two eyes made out of coal or have you deviated to more fashionable accessories such as a NSAID nose or two eyes made out of celebrex?

Curious in St. Pete (via the internet)

Dear Curious,

Thanks for asking.  First, let me say that I prefer to call it “evolved” rather than “deviated“.  After the Surgeon General’s report on “black snow” came out, both Spiffy and I gave up smoking - cold turkey.  However, some stubborn artists persist in drawing us in the old style, “avec” pipe.  Fortunately that is beginning to change.  Our noses, by the way, were never buttons. I think you are confusing us with Teddy Bears or Raggedy Andy dolls.  When Spiffy and I were youngsters, our noses were almost always raw carrots, but these days, we both prefer Oreo cookies, (which beats the heck out of a carrot any day!)  And finally, instead of the cane you might find with conventional Snow people, Spiffy and I both have grocery reachers made out of tree branches, and a lumps of coal for knee replacements.

Your Pal,

(scroll down for more  ... )
Dear Stiffy,

I was reading about Spondyville’s only skyscraper, the fabulous Marie Strumpell building.  My question is: How did a building so unique in stature ever get past the Spondyville zoning commission?  And, wasn’t it a bit cruel to construct something so tall that none of the town citizens would be able to lift their heads back to see the entire building?


B. Guthrie (via the internet)

Dear B.,

Thanks for asking.  The Grand Dame of Spondyville society for over 60 years, the late Marie Strumpell was truly a force of nature.  If there is one thing that most of the townsfolk, (including me), learned early on, it was to not get in Marie’s way when she had her mind set on something.  In fact, if you want to hear a truly fascinating first-hand account, the next time you see Pops DeMaupassant down at the Bingo Hall, ask him about Halloween, 1947.

But not only that, Mrs Strumpell, being the richest woman in Spondyville, (She was heir to the Stoop family fortune), had enough political connections to easily get her 17 story skyscraper’s zoning variance pushed through the commission in record time.  The Marie Strumpell Building was completed in 1952, just six months after Ms. Strumpell’s mysterious disappearance.  The view from the top floor observation deck allows for an unobstructed view of Spondyville, including the nearby Mount Spondymore.
(Editor's note: As most Spondyville residents know, Marie Strumpell's mysterious disappearance was detailed for the first time in the Spondyville story, "Stiffy2K", which revealed that Marie Strumpell had actually been kidnapped and held captive by the evil mad scientist Dr. Frederich von Bechterew. Stiffy the Snowspondy was, in fact, instrumental in her rescue. The "Stiffy2K" story can be found in the literary section of Downtown Spondyville.)

With her usual visionary flare, Ms. Strumpell provided for all the townsfolk unable to bend their necks back to see the entire building.  She had prism viewers installed in the town square right across the street from the building, so that even the most severely affected Spondyvillean could still see the beautiful art-deco inspired Snowspondy Gargoyles which decorate the upper floors of the building.

Your Pal,



Dear Stiffy,

What does HLA-B27 mean?

Curious in Piscataway
Piscataway, NJ

Dear Curious,

Thanks for asking.  Believe it or not, for many years, no-one knew exactly what HLA-B27 stood for.  Of course, the term has come to mean a Genetic Marker which is often associated with AS, but what HLA-B27 stands for, has, until now, been shrouded in mystery. 

After getting to know some of the scientists involved in the discovery of the genetic marker, I can reveal to you that the name comes from a lab rat’s appetite for bread, combined with the peculiarities of internet screen names. 

It seems that one of the scientists’ favorite lab rats was a cute little fellow named Herbie.  Herbie was often allowed to nibble on small bits of food while the scientists prepared him for his daily testing.  In fact, the scientists would often feed him pieces of their own breakfast.  To their surprise, they quickly discovered that
Herbie Loves A Bagel.  This is pretty funny stuff for scientists.  So funny, that it soon became a running gag around the lab, and the scientist’s could often be heard chuckling about how Herbie Loves A Bagel. 

As with all running gags, it was repeated so often that it eventually got shortened to just its initials; HLAB.  The 27 was added later when one of the scientists decided to sign onto AOL and use HLAB as his screen name only to discover that 26 other people had beaten him to it.  And so he had to settle for HLAB-27.

Your Pal,

This page last updated on April 21, 2010