the revised devil's dictionary


pachomancy n The divination of traffic density. The science of attempting to predict the reactions of huge crowds of people crammed into vehicles which in turn, are crammed into huge slowly moving queues the like of which the ancients never imagined. See jam density. See traffic jam. Carry lots of antacids.

paid programming n Advertising with a big budget and no taste.

pandemic adj Widespread or a generalized non-local condition, such as incompetence in Congress or boring in the arts.

palindrone n A supporter or groupie of the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Generally characterized by a kind of spunky, wide-eyed stupidity that appears to be impenetrable. Those supporters who happen to display any reasoning ability above the level of an amoeba should not be termed palindrones, but rather, nitwits.

paradigm shift n 1: A change in patterns of thinking or action, particularly if said change causes upheaval, confusion, or fear. 2: In management terms, double-speak brainwashing on a newer and more intense level. 3: Coerced change of worker thinking, usually brought about by threats of job loss.

paranoid adj A person who labors under the mistaken impression that the vicissitudes of life are personally directed. Not hardly.

paranormal adj (para, from the Greek) Anything that deals with assigning powers or causes to people, places or events without concrete physical proof of causality. Before 1869, these were known as miracles. Between 1869 and 1933, spiritualism. Between 1933 and 1945, Aryan Science. Between 1945 to 1988, the Republican Party Platform. Since 1989, Shirley McLaine.

parasitology n The study of parasites, psychics and mediums. See John Edward.

pardon n The act of forgiving an insult or crime, often accompanied by stacks of small denomination bills with non-consecutive serial numbers. See clemency.

parenting n The act or process of forcing oneself upon a helpless and immobile infant. Rendered at regular intervals, said infant should have by the age of three, more hang-ups per cc of brain tissue than the a microprocessor has logic gates. See bonding.

participate vi To engage in an activity with a minimum patina of sullen resentment at having been forced to do so. Children, women named Buffy, and men who dress like Truman Capote can be said to “participate” with a vengeance.

passive-aggressive adj Sullen.

Patchcock’s Law maxim The crucial difference between business and government is that government is greedily inefficient while business is inefficiently greedy.

paternity n Generally a legal term denoting an impending and substantial transfer of money. (See Anna Nicole Smith)

pederasty n Sexual relations between Young Republicans.

pedagogy n The art of teaching though, strictly speaking, it should only be applied to those who have a black belt in boring or a Ph.D. in Education, which is very nearly the same thing.

peer n Someone with whom you have as little to do with as possible.

pension n 1. Holding account for thieves. See Nazi Germany. 2. In private industry, an annuity set up through an employer whereby upon retirement, one is paid, generally monthly, a fixed sum, generally meager, until one dies, generally quickly.

people person n 1: Someone who lacks the guts, honesty, and/or simple decency to look Johnson in the face and say “Your fired.”. 2: One who lacks skills, experience, and aptitude, but has nice breath.

perfect worker n 1: In team building, any person with a wash and wear brain. 2: In management terms, any worker who ignores breaks and doesn’t know his contract.

performance measurement n 1: From the “one size fits all” school of management, this activity attempts to assign numerical values to all kinds of work, ranging from simple field labor, baskets per hour, to poetry production, completed lines per hour, to judicial, felons per second, to legislative, laws per minute or paper tons per day. 2: Coupled with gain sharing, an enormously powerful and virtually uncounterable tool for cutting either wages or benefits or both.

perfume n Any semi-agreeable substance that smells more than it weighs. Especially if it causes the eyes to water.

Peter Principle maxim Concept formed by Lawrence Peters that, sad to say, is totally inaccurate. The Peter Principle holds that in organizations, individuals rise to their level of incompetence. Thanks to modern genetic manipulation, cheap anti-depressants and the advent of politically correct musing, people are now able to rise to several times their own height in incompetence. One can go from managing five or six people to managing well over four thousand in a single day without anyone being the least bit annoyed, scandalized, or perturbed (See The Oregon Department of Transportation, circa 1992). This is now known as upwardly mobile right brain resizing. It used to be known as nepotism.

phish v Catch and release fraud.

physician assisted suicide phr Controversial state law in Oregon. While it can be argued that the title of the law makes little sense, one should note that many states have laws making suicide illegal—a crime notoriously hard to prosecute in anything but absentia.

pity n Out of the cacophony of human emotions the one much more palatable when given rather than received.

placid adj If you’re under thirty, boring. Over thirty, calm. Over eighty, just about all you’re willing to tolerate.

plaintiff n A person revealed in naked greed while bringing suit in court.

platonic adj Dancing with your sister or cousin anywhere but in the Ozarks.

police action n Warfare lite. A twentieth century innovation of great versatility. Unlike a formally declared war, a police action can be picked up and moved to a new location should interest wane, requires no formal permission from anybody, affords a perfect venue for field testing new weapons and weapon systems and never can be lost—or won for that matter. 2: Great business. See war.

polo n An Anglo-Indian game in which two teams on horseback flay away at a small ball with mallets. Devised by the Brits in India and Burma between tea breaks. The fact that the time units are call chukkers indicates that gin plays a role, somewhere, in the whole process.

polyandry n  The marriage of two or more men and one woman, resulting in too damn much work for the woman and too much free time for the men. A situation best not even imagined. See polygamy, bigamy.

polygamy n The marriage of two or more women to one man resulting in a domestic situation best left to the imagination and not the law books. Do not go there. See polyandry, bigamy. See Islam.

post-modernist adj 1: A philosophic concept wherein certainty in a metaphysical sense is deemed impossible. Metaphysically speaking, that is. 2: Solipsism on steroids. One distinctive and attractive aspect of post-modern thought over many vague Hindu/Far Eastern beliefs, is that it’s lack of rigor, logic and clarity is intentional, rather than merely emblematic.

postal adj The mercy killing of coworkers.

potlatch n 1: The preferred method of management at truly innovative organizations. 2: The current form of government of the United States.

poussette n A country-dance figure in which couples join hands, swing around the floor, and generally act like they enjoy living in rural poverty. Comes from the French, which figures somehow, and might have something to do with the mental state one has to be in to consider using cabbage for soup with snails as a main course.

powered by proactivity phr 1: Any medical clinic that owns both a funeral home and a cemetery. 2: The canonization of bureaucratic procedure without regard to pragmatic reality.

pragmatist n Someone more interested in the destination than the scenery.

politically correct adj 1: The cutting edge of dogma 2: A late twentieth century innovation where disagreeable patterns of conduct, such as bigotry, self-interest, analytic thought, and common sense, are relentlessly expunged from adherents. The end result of this purification process is an individual steeped in a philosophy of brotherhood and totally devoid of humor, ethics, or good sense.

Pratt’s Law maxim Reasoning by analogy is justified only if the analogy isn’t still squirming.

prayer warrior n A person who is skilled in prayer-to-prayer combat. An evangelic mercenary.

presentable adj What a maliciously kind person will term one when one has two coats of lacquer over three coats of ugly. See homogeneous.

priceless n Any article found broken on the floor in the presence of children, with no price tag affixed.

prion n Protein with a bad attitude.

privatize v To take any operation currently performed by government and transfer to the private sector, under the theory that anything operating in the private sector will be done better—with a profit for the contractor, faster—too quickly to be checked for suitability or durability, and cheaper—monetary accounts need never be disclosed.

pro Prefix that implies a position before or in support of. Don’t believe it. Generally means someone is against something as much as for something else.

profound n 1: Obscure. 2: Confusing and obscure. 3: Confusing, obscure and nonsense to boot.

provenance n A detailed account attesting to the history of something, especially of works of art or antiques, generally only of interest to the wealthy or those with sexually transmitted diseases.

propaganda n All utterances by the opposition, particularly if true.

proactive n Taking action before events occur, especially when the actions are unjustifiable, self-serving, or illogical. See paranoid. In earlier times, this was commonly called “jumping the gun”, a “false start”, or “unprovoked”.

proactive listening n 1: Rudeness with rules. 2: Beating the truth out of someone.

proactive paper reduction n The discarding of unopened reams of paper. See reactive paper reduction.

procrastination n The delay of an activity unimportant enough to cause no repercussions. If repercussions do occur, it’s called stalling. Also known as stitching time.

pro-life adj A person who hold the curious belief that all life is precious, in marked conflict with the closing Consumer Price Index which shows a human life to be worth about $0.32—the price of a 7.62mm bullet.

prostate n A serious design flaw in the male anatomy, often requiring roto-rooter service after the age of 60. See teeth.

public opinion n Incremental stupidity. See straw poll. See exit poll.

Puernille’s Law n Sharing egos is undesirable (Note: Sharing them with yourself is either schizophrenia or masturbation, depending upon how much you enjoy it).