There once was a writer in the Kremlin
Whose words were always dissembling.
No matter what he’d say
The writer would explain it away –
Even when Trump was Putin dwelling.
For example, here is a definition for the words Populist and Pray. The Old definition is Bierce’s. The New definition is, in many cases, an update. Sometimes little change is needed. Sometimes more. From time to time, just as it was originally published, we will come back to The Devil’s Dictionary, for a look at it then and how it applies today. Click on Devil’s Dictionary in the tags below to bring up the other entries.
POPULIST, n. A fossil patriot of the early agricultural period, found in the old red soapstone underlying Kansas; characterized by an uncommon spread of ear, which some naturalists contend gave him the power of flight, though Professors Morse and
Whitney, pursuing independent lines of thought, have ingeniously pointed out that had he possessed it he would have gone elsewhere. In the picturesque speech of his period, some fragments of which have come down to us, he was known as “The Matter with Kansas.”
PRAY, n. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.
POPULIST, n. A fossil patriot of the post-industrial period, found in the faulty towers, broken university, and failed airline (to name a few endeavors) of ignorance plus arrogance added to money; characterized by an uncommon spread of hair, which some naturalists contend could be a species in its own right, if only they had time to closely exam it. In the picturesque speech of his period, some fragments of which have come down to us, he was known as “The Huuge Mouth from Manhattan.”
PRAY, n. 1) What the other candidates claimed they did after God told them to run for the highest office in the land, which they all failed at famously. 2) To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a certain party petitioning, though confessedly unworthy, that their Populist decides to either drop dead or drop out. 3) What you do when here the populist of this party speak. 4) What politicians do in lieu of doing any real work to solve a problem, such as after a mass shooting when politicians say, “Our prayers and our hearts go out to the victims of this tragedy,” begging the question: is it the tragedy of the event or the tragedy of your inaction for which you are praying?
The blathering idiot and Lydia, his campaign manager for the Pro-Accordion Party, were driving down the road from one stump speech stop to another in his quest for the highest office in the land. It was hard to keep up with the other candidates. He had crossed paths with one of them recently and happened to catch part of what he was saying. What surprised the blathering idiot even more than the other candidates way of speech delivery was the sign on the front of his lectern. Apparently the silent majority stood with this candidate. From the way the candidate was speaking, attacking everyone and everything that wasn’t American and white, he could understand why the “majority” was silent: It couldn’t get in a word edgewise.But what intrigued the blathering idiot was a sign he saw outside a business. One time when he passed, it read: “Adopt Nov. 21.” Another time, it read “Adopt Saturday.” He wondered how you could adopt a day in November or even a day of the week. If so, there was a day he wanted to adopt. So, on the way driving through town because there was not enough money in the campaign war chest to fly to the different places or even travel too far, he pulled into the parking lot, then stepped inside the store. He walked up to the counter and asked, “How do I adopt a day?”
The older woman behind the counter looked up and said, “Is this a joke?”
“I’ve always wanted to adopt Saturdays. All of them, if I could. Ever since I was a kid, it was my favorite day of the week. Wake up late, eat two bowls of my favorite cereal, watch cartoons until my eyes were about to pop, then eat popcorn for lunch, and ride bikes with my friends, pedaling so hard we wanted to throw up. I want to adopt Saturdays.”
“Who don’t adopt Saturdays here,” the woman said.
“But your sign says—”
“That sign is for dogs.”
“You mean dogs can adopt Saturdays, but I can’t?” If so, it really was a dog’s life.
“No. The sign is about adopting dogs.”
“You mean if I adopt a dog, the dog can adopt Saturdays?”
“Get out. Now!”
The blathering idiot hustled out the door and back to the campaign car and climbed inside.
“Are you okay?” Lydia asked.
The blathering idiot sighed. “I wish I was eleven and it was Saturday. Saturdays when you are eleven are the best Saturdays there are.”
He wondered if the silent majority felt that way, too.
In our continuing quest to revisit a classic, or even a curiosity from the past and see how relevant it is, we continue with The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. Originally published in newspaper installments from 1881 until 1906. You might be surprised how current many of the entries are.For example, here is a definition for the word Werewolf. The Old definition is Bierce’s. The New definitions is, in many cases, an update. Sometimes little change is needed. Sometimes more. From time to time, just as it was originally published, we will come back to The Devil’s Dictionary, for a look at it then and how it applies today. Click on Devil’s Dictionary in the tags below to bring up the other entries.
Werewolf, n. A wolf that was once, or is sometimes, a man. All werewolves are of evil disposition, having assumed a bestial form to gratify a bestial appetite, but some, transformed by sorcery, are as humane and is consistent with an acquired taste for human flesh. Some Bavarian peasants having caught a wolf one evening, tied it to a post by the tail and went to bed. The next morning nothing was there! Greatly perplexed, they consulted the local priest, who told them that their captive was undoubtedly a werewolf and had resumed its human for during the night. “The next time that you take a wolf,” the good man said, “see that you chain it by the leg, and in the morning you will find a Lutheran.”.
Werewolf, n. A politician that was once, or is sometimes, a man (or woman). All werewolves are of evil disposition, having assumed a bestial form to gratify a bestial appetite, but some, transformed by sorcery, are as humane (or high-functioning sociopath) and is consistent with an acquired taste for human flesh. Some neighbors having caught a wolf one evening, tied it to a post by the tail and went to bed. The next morning nothing was there! Greatly perplexed, they consulted the local priest, who told them that their captive was undoubtedly a werewolf and had resumed its human for during the night. “The next time that you take a wolf,” the good man said, “see that you chain it by the leg, and in the morning you will find a ‘Christian’ politician.”
Nashville, TN — As part of the streamlining and outsourcing of state government, Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Haslam met with the press to reveal his latest innovation to save time and money.
“From now on,” Governor Haslam said, “there will be only one mouthpiece. As we are all GOP with super-majorities in both the state senate and house, and in an effort to effectively speak with one voice, there will now only be one official mouthpiece. As governor, I will control it 60 percent of the time. State Senate Majority leader Ron Ramsey will control it 20 percent of the time and Tennessee House of Representative Speaker Beth Harwell will control it 20 percent of the time. The other 10 percent of the time it will be resting.”
When questioned about the addition adding up to 110 percent and not 100 percent, the Governor differed answering to his brother, whose company is in line to take over the numerical issues for the state, including getting more for less and pocketing the difference.
When asked about this new plan, both Senator Ramsey and Speaker Harwell were mum on the subject, as it wasn’t either of their turns to have access to the official mouthpiece.
In our continuing quest to revisit a classic, or even a curiosity from the past and see how relevant it is, we continue with The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. Originally published in newspaper installments from 1881 until 1906. You might be surprised how current many of the entries are.For example, here is a definition for the words Un-American and Understanding. The Old definitions are Bierce’s. The New definitions are, in many cases, updates. Sometimes little change is needed. Sometimes more. From time to time, just as it was originally published, we will come back to The Devil’s Dictionary, for a look at it then and how it applies today. Click on Devil’s Dictionary in the tags below to bring up the other entries.
Un-American, adj. Wicked, intolerable, heathenish.
Understanding, n. A cerebral secretion that enables one having it to know a house from a horse by the roof on the house. Its nature and laws have been exhaustively expounded by Locke, who rode a house, and Kant, who lived in a horse.
His understanding was so keen
That all things which he’d felt, heard, seen,
He could interpret without fail
If he was in or out of jail.
He wrote at Inspiration’s call
Deep disquisitions on them all,
Then, pent at last in an asylum,
Performed the service to compile ’em.
So great a writer, all men swore,
They never had not read before.
Un-American, adj. Wicked, intolerable, heathenish.
Example, the rest of the world and the Democratic Party as defined by Faux News.
Example, anything the other politician stands for, even if it’s very much like what the accuser stands for.
Example, anything that requires understanding, or as one politician recently said, “big syllable words.”
Understanding, n. See Un-American.
The quest for the highest office in the land begins … again.
The blathering idiot and Lydia were sitting in a conference room with the consultant. The blathering idiot was about to go out to the podium and microphone and announce his candidacy for the highest office in the land.
“We have to do it now,” the consultant said. “June is National Accordion month. We are the Pro-Accordion Party. If we don’t announce now, what will people think?”
Lydia nodded. “He has a point.”
“Then why aren’t accordion makers sponsoring us?” the blathering idiot asked.
“Because there are no accordion makers in the U.S. They’re all made overseas and foreign companies and countries can’t buy elections.”
“But U.S. companies can?”
“That’s not what I meant,” the consultant said. He wiped the sweat from his brow. “Look, this was the best I could do. I will try for additional sponsors, but right now this is the only one, and unlike other parties and candidates, we need one. Hell, we need more than one.”
“I have to read all of it?”
Lydia touched his arm. “I will be out there with you. You read part of it. I’ll read part of it.”
“And the consultant will read part of it?”
“That’s not his job,” Lydia said.
“But it is mine?”
Lydia nodded. “Sadly, yes.”
Shaking his head, the blathering idiot walked to the next room and stepped up on podium. It looked out at the two, maybe three people who had come to hear his announcement.
“I, today, am again a candidate for the highest office in the land. I do this because … because …” From that point on, the blathering idiot rambled about making the country a better place, unifying the waring ideological factions, and giving a voice to the voiceless. He finished, turned, and started to leave. Lydia grabbed his arm and gently turned him around and handed him a piece of paper. The blathering idiot turned, cleared his throat, and read:
“And now a word from our sponsor: This campaign for the highest office in the land is brought to you by Puns in a Pak. Whether you buy one pack, two, or get the deep discount for buying by the gross, Puns in a Pak are shop-tested and well-lubricated – ready to slip into your casual conversation, work e-mail, or most intimate moment. Nothing lifts a trite phrase up out of the dust bin of inequity like Puns in a Pak. On sale today online or at your local grammarian shop. And for those politically minded, try our Puns in a PAC. Nothing says politics like Puns in a PAC. Ask us about our special Super-Pak PAC of puns, created especially for this election season. Puns in PAC, when nothing else will do.”
The blathering idiot and Lydia were sitting in an Italian restaurant having dinner, discussing politics, or partly discussing politics.
“You know, I really don’t know much about you,” Lydia said, waving a breadstick at him.
“Even after the last campaign.”
“And I did not know you had a daughter,” the blathering idiot said. “Does she like politics?”
“People don’t like politics these days. They just endure it.”
“Like you do?”
“I like it. It’s what gets me going in the morning. What gets you going?”
“My alarm clock,” the blathering idiot said.
“You don’t say much.”
“I say enough.”
“Maybe that can work to our advantage. The Pro-Accordion Party could say it all with music.”
The blathering idiot nodded. He liked the way her face lit up when she thought she had a good idea.
The waiter brought the food and a new basket of breadsticks. He also refilled the water glasses. The blathering idiots had a slice of lemon in it; Lydia’s did not.
“You do play the accordion, don’t you?”
The blathering idiot frowned. She had forgotten since the last election for the highest office in the land. He had told her then he didn’t play the accordion or any other instrument. Since then, he had not learned how. He never expected to be considering running again. The first time was not nearly as much fun as Lydia seemed to remember it being.
“I didn’t know you had a daughter,” the blathering idiot said.
“She will not be coming with us on the campaign trail.”
“But the consultant—”
“The consultant can go to hell. She needs her education and not to be jerked around from one campaign stop to the next.”
“What is her name?”
“Bella,” the blathering idiot said.
“Short for Isabella.”
“Is she short?”
“No. Where did you get that idea?”
“You said she was short for Isabella.”
“I mean Bella is short for Isabella.”
“Okay. Does she have a dad?”
Lydia glared at him. “Does she need one?”
The blathering idiot shrugged. “You tell me.”
They ate most of their meals in silence, though the blathering idiot couldn’t help slurping his spaghetti every now and then. There was something satisfying to the sound and the feel of a noodle flipping up and down just before the end enter his mouth. He didn’t even mind if a little sauce got on his face.
Lydia looked at him and couldn’t help but giggle.
“Okay, if you want to know, Bella’s father took a powder.”
The blathering idiot wiped his face with his napkin. The napkin was not large. “Which one?”
“Which powder did he take? A blue one? Red? Was it over the counter or a prescription powder?”
“He skipped out. Left us high and dry. Ran away.”
“Oh, and he took his powder with him?”