the revised devil's dictionary

T t

talent n In the entertainment world, anything that can be done for profit on TV or radio, including but not limited to acting, telling jokes or stripping. Preaching, testifying, healing and speaking in tongues also qualify, now that the FCC no longer checks ID.

talking circle n A recent management ploy erroneously blamed on Native Americans who never could truthfully be accused of having igneous rocks in their collective heads. A group of employees, aided by a facilitator, sit in a circle and pass around an eagle feather. The recipient of the eagle feather is then supposed to get in touch with his feelings and bare his scruffy soul to the collective amusement of the rest of the circle. The purpose, while not readily apparent, is to open festering wounds so that they may be ďsharedĒ, while providing those in the circle who have a management bent leverage for future manipulation. In actual fact, variants of the talking circle have been around for countless generations. Eagle feathers, being difficult to get from eagles without blood loss, were generally not used, however. Jugs, pipes, or oddly textured brownies have been successfully substituted.

tattoo n 1: Any design made upon the epidermis for decoration, merchandising, or as an aid to memory during puberty testing. 2: An ancient custom practiced by primitive peoples, often used to signify belonging or allegiance to some mystical entity such as mother or women named Flo. Thanks to modern technology and biological advances in both antibiotics and pain control, tattoos today can be done in a wide range of colors other than the tradition black, blue or blood red.

tax n The first action of government.

tea-party n (arch) American Revolutionary War warm-up/costume part staged in Boston Harbor and the origin of the American admonishment to "just say no". Also first known appearance of super-sizing: The tea bags were the size of crates and in point of fact, were crates of tea. This hardly matter since no suitable tea cozy could be located to cement the tradition.

teach v The art or profession of instruction, depending upon pay scale. Current thinking in the United States appears to be jogging briskly in the direction of an artistic approach. Great instructors are born, not made, which ought to render questions of fraud interesting.

team building n Management technique, based primarily on EST group dynamics. In theory, a group of workers will manage the day to day operation of the ďteamĒ assigning tasks and blame where appropriate. Responsibility is spread between all members with the end result being no one is actually responsible for anything. See the shock worker movement in the Soviet Union, circa 1928 - 1938.

technonumbicon n Ancient tome discovered in the 1965 excavation of the first known shopping center in the San Fernando Valley. A rough translation of the title is: Book of the Stunned.

teeth n Twenty plus thingies lodged in the mouth that required constant care or they will punish you. Even with constant care, they often go rogue. The back four, lodged so far back in the mouth that they can only be used on things like lettuce, refuse to come out and play with the rest of the mouth for the first twenty or so years of life, and, often as not, turn cranky and refuse to put in an appearance at all; called the wisdom teeth by those who figure that these teeth are showing a certain grim rationality by not getting involved in childhood or puberty.

television n The bastard offspring of drama and advertising.

Temporal Statute Number 1 maxim Beauty may linger but ugly remains.

Temporal Statute Number 2 maxim There is no statute of limitations on stupidity.

Temporal Statute Number 3 maxim Fruit cakes outlast both taste and teeth.

tender adj Past the pull-date or predigested.

terror n Either an emotion of extreme fear or the application of studied disincentives for nonsupport of existing power structures. See Lenin. See Stalin. See my 3rd grade teacher.

terrorist adj Anyone who is not a member of the current power structure and is too poor to purchase justice at the going market rate.

test n A comparison of oneís abilities to oneís illusions.

Thanksgiving Day holiday The premiere American holiday given to the world without strings, just marketing hookups. Supposedly, the Puritans invited local Indians over for a feast to celebrate a successful harvest which when you think about, was a nice gesture because there were no IRS deductions then available for entertaining business guests. At the close of the 20th Century (or start of the 21st, depending upon your calendric bias), Thanksgiving has become merely the official opening gun in the Christmas marketing season--and itís doubtful that it will remain so. Halloween is putting in a determined effort to steal that position. Which makes sense, when you think about it. Trick or treat. Fits right in there. Seasons Greetings. Indeed.

theft n Pilfering of goods not belonging to an individual by a low level employee. The pilfering of goods by a high level employee is either embezzlement or profit sharing, depending upon who notices.

theology n A branch of learning devoted to measuring the extent of manís apparently limitless gullibility.

theory n Anything that one disagrees with, especially if itís true, based on mainstream science, or earns you no money. Examples would be evolution, carbon dating (or any other elemental emotional entanglements), or Newtonian Mechanics. There has been a movement afoot to accord creationism or its evil twin, intelligent design, the status of theory. However, at this time, the Pope and a number of other religious leaders have never claimed or evinced a desire to claim that religious views were scientific, the movement hasnít gotten very far. Except with deconstructionalists and post-modernists. Which goes without saying.

thermodynamics n Three laws governing physical systems. Broadened to apply to human conduct, they are:

 First Law: You canít win the game.
Second Law: You canít break even.
Third Law: You canít even quit the game.
Fourth Law: Only the referee knows the rules.  (Not officially recognized by physics)

thug n 1: Any opponentís employee larger than Billy Barty, more imposing than an accountant, or smarter than edible fungi. 2: A cleric or member of the Thuggee Sect. 3: A Team Leader.

time n An interval between events, too bloody short if pleasurable, too bleeding long if not.

tiromancy n An obscure, but no doubt rewarding, method of divination using cheese. Of course, not any cheese will do which is why the art remains obscure. Staring at a big wedge of Swiss cheese and expecting revelations of the future in front of an audience is not for the timid. Nor for the sentient.

torture n A quaint but obsolete term for the use of prisoners. See terror.

TQM abbr (Short for Total Quality Management) A popular theory of management that maintains that large organizations are capable of totally controlling the quality of the products and services they provide. This is managed by the managing of managersí management of lower level managers and their management techniques. Really.

traffic calming n 1: Any device that causes vehicular traffic to decrease speed. A YIELD sign, for example, could be termed to be traffic calming. Modern Roundabouts and concrete retaining walls would also be examples. 2: Traffic Engineering term for gridlock.

traitor n Any bozo who insists that such formalistic, paltry, petty quibbles like due process, presumed innocence, opportunity, or motive should be observed. Especially, if there is no crime.

trailer park n The meteorological equivalent of a bulls-eye for tornadoes.

trendy adj Anything popular and meaningless. See spendy.

trial n 1: In ancient times, a test (e.g. fire, water, pointed objects) to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. Survival in either case was generally rare. 2: In modern, enlightened times, an elaborate procedure wherein witnesses are crucified by attorneys, to determine guilt or innocence of the accused. Not much seems to have changed.

trial and error phr Incremental stupidity.

trial balloon n A bullet-proof object which is batted around by the rank and file while decisions are made. Any holding action.

trial marriage n Lease option wed.

trivial adj 1: Something of no consequence. 2: The concerns of the average voter. 3: In political circles, inconvenient facts, particularly if both true and damaging.

transient adj Temporary. Given a sufficient attention span, everything is transient.

trust n 1: A willingness to accept or believe something, particularly after one has nailed all the escape avenues shut. 2: What one falls back upon when poverty stricken.

trustworthy adj Either one who can be trusted or someone who is too stupid, venial, self-serving, or comatose to warrant suspicion.

truth adj Convenient facts.

turkey n One of Americaís distinctive contributions to the world of politics, art, and culture. Rumored to have been the nominee of Ben Franklin for the national bird, the domestic turkey is the only known animal in existence who can drown itself by looking up in the rain, with mouth open, assuming the pose of the red-necked American rustic, a related species.

turn signal n An attractive decoration of the steering column in automobiles. Serves no purpose.

TV abbr The Ovaltine of the masses.