The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

New Devil’s Dictionary

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A New Devil’s Dictionary

  • Atheist

    — One who strengthens the idea of divinity by aggressively denying its reality, as in “Do not think about pink polka dot elephants.”

  • Bullshit

    — One of the Big Four. Bluff, bluster, bravado, and bullshit, when applied in combination, represent the strongest forces at the world’s command. Namely, deception and denial.

  • Christianity

    — A religion rooted in profound confusion regarding the Jewish high holy days of Yom Kippur and Pesach. Common Christian theology interprets the events of Jesus’ life that occurred during the latter as if they had actually occurred during the former, in perfect disregard for the importance of context.

  • Creditworthy

    — Whomever you lend money is, by definition, seen by you to be creditworthy.

  • Destination

    — The place you will never reach by walking in the wrong direction.

  • Dolts

    — The name for managers of financial institutions who adopt business tactics that make it impossible for borrowers to repay loans.

  • Economics

    — The explanatory power of hindsight elevated to the status of an academic discipline.

  • FICO credit score

    — One of the chief false gods worshiped by many during the first decade of the 21st Century.  Much gold, sweat, and more than a few infants were sacrificed at his feet.  The great and powerful god Fico, granter of credit,  “puzzles the will, and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of. Thus conscience does make cowards of us all.”

  • Hallucination

    — If you ever once seriously consider the possibility that you’re dreaming the whole thing, you might not be.

  • Journalist

    — A fiction writer who specializes in short stories, but who lacks the imagination to devise original plots and characters. A journalist relies upon current events for inspiration.

  • Lipstick

    — A woman’s first line of defense against being kissed on the lips.

  • Market value

    — The concept of market value is a pure time-bound social construct. The relationship between market value and intrinsic value is the same relationship as between the Cheshire Cat and a cat. At some point only the wicked smile remains, but even that fades away.

  • Motion

    — The first law of motion can be stated simply. Act and be acted upon.

  • New Year’s Day

    — A holiday celebrating faith in the mere passage of time as a means of producing change for the better.

  • Observation

    — If you look at something long enough and hard enough, you will see something no one else has ever seen before.

  • Passion

    — Emotional nitroglycerin. Like nitroglycerin, which can be administered as a medical therapy for heart pain, so can passion. Like nitroglycerin, passion can also blow your head off. Boom.

    Playing with nitroglycerin is much safer than is playing with passion. Nitroglycerin is neither intoxicating nor addictive. Passion can be both.

  • Patience

    — A state of temporarily suspended belief in the idea there must be something you can do to speed things along, only as a last resort after undeniable events conclusively prove otherwise.

  • Plagiarism

    — The act of stealing another’s thoughts without bothering to conceal the theft. Plagiarism is to honest scholarship what armed robbery is to embezzlement.

  • Planning

    — A futile activity based upon the mistaken belief it is possible to predict the consequences of actions.

  • Preserving the status quo

    — A quaint impossibility.

  • Rationality

    — A psychological process which allows an individual to view his idiosyncratic illogical beliefs, opinions, or decisions to be both inevitable and beyond question.

  • Remorse

    — The public display of emotion frequently exhibited by one who has been caught red-handed, when no other option is available.

  • Risky business

    — Betting on your skill at borrowing your way out of debt.

  • Ten Commandments

    — A first step toward morality for utterly uncivilized reprobates. Who else but total barbarians would need God to tell them — in writing — it’s not OK to lie, steal and murder?

  • Uncertainty

    — Not knowing which lie to believe.


Written by Tom Fox

12/18/2008 at 6:54 pm

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