the revised devil's dictionary 

Selections:

 

Murphy's Laws Politics
Browning's Laws Quick Takes
Business Culture

Murphy's Laws

Creiten’s Commandment maxim Never count on being at the top of the food chain.

Eisenstein’s Theory of Relativity  maxim When you’re rich, everybody’s a relative.

Hardy’s Warning maxim Your subconscious is not your friend.

Herschell’s Observation maxim Given a family of sufficient size, a cold is immortal.

Macbeth’s Conclusion obs. Women are the weaker sex only insofar as they generally require the use of both hands to slit a throat properly.

Occam’s Razor maxim When two or more theories fit circumstances, that theory is best which is the least complicated.

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

Raskolnikov’s 1st Law maxim Never claim an idea.

Raskolnikov’s 2nd Law maxim Never under budget on camouflage.

Raskolnikov’s 3rd Law maxim Never be the first to stop clapping.

Russell’s Reflection maxim Reasoning with religious fundamentalists is like trying to dehydrate water. It’s an extraordinarily difficult and dangerous task, yielding meager results.

Susan’s Theology of Politics maxim It’s not who you know, what you know, or how much you know; it’s how much what you know about whom.

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Browning's Laws

Browning’s Amendment maxim Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall piss you off. (I’d apologize to Huxley, but he’s dead)

Browning’s Blanket maxim The only people who aren’t hypocrites are feral children and the dead.

Browning’s Law of Conceptual Longevity maxim The half-life of an idea varies directly with its nitwittedness.

Browning’s Law of Redundant Pairs maxim Redundant pairs become the opposite. (e.g. A safe haven isn’t).

Browning’s 1st Law of Chronodramatics maxim The only plays that start on time are ones you’re late for.

Browning’s 2nd Law of Chronodramatics maxim The only plays that start late are ones you’re early for.

Browning’s 3rd Law of Chronodramatics maxim The only plays that get canceled are ones you arrive on time for.

Browning’s Razor maxim Rarely attribute to malice what can be as easily explained by stupidity. See Occam’s Razor.

Browning’s Theology maxim. Never second guess God. He doesn’t play fair, he doesn’t tell you all the rules, and he’s a hell of a sore loser.

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Politics

conservative n. One who has raised selfishness to the level of an art form. See liberal.

liberal n. One who has elevated whining to the level of self-avowed sainthood. See conservative.

radical n. Any person two steps to the political left of the speaker, unless the speaker is under twenty, in which case the person must also be under twenty, make more than one million a year, and know at least 3 chords, none of which are Minor 7ths Similar to way cool, which has nothing to do with distance, temperature, or the ability to read.

socialist n A person who believes that people have an intrinsic right to the necessities of life. Socialism comes in a variety of degrees, ranging from the rightist socialism of 1930’s Germany (Necessities: beer, bread, and bonfires), the mainstream socialism of England (Necessities: beer, bread, soccer, and post-soccer health care), to the leftist socialism of Sweden (Necessities: beer, broads, and soccer, pre & post beer, broads, and soccer health care). Russian socialism, though a failed venture, had the necessities pegged as vodka, tobacco, and detox.

anarchist n A person who believes that all government is dishonest, corrupt, and intrinsically unfair. In other times, this has been called wisdom.

fascist n. Any person who is two steps to the political right of the speaker, unless the speaker is an anarcho-syndicalist, in which case, everyone is a fascist.

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Quick Takes

clone n. What you get when Nature stutters.

electoral college n 18th Century Exit Polling.

ennui n. Scoliosis of the soul.

fast food n Obviously, not fast enough else it wouldn’t be food.

marketing ploy n. Scam.

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

rustic adj. Any activity that requires a tetanus shot.

safe sex n A solitary activity.

sensible adj. Someone who daydreams in Black and White.

sessile adj. A Neilsen family.

span of control The length of one’s whip.

spin doctor n. A sleight-of-mouth practitioner.

stance n. An affectation of principles.

success n Earning the hatred of those you despise.

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Business

team building jargon 1: Management technique, based primarily on EST group dynamics. In theory, a group of workers will manage the day to day operation of the "team" 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 shock worker movement in the Soviet Union, circa 1928 - 1938.

TQM (abbreviation) 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 managers’ management of lower level managers and their management techniques. Really.

walk-the-talk One of the best examples of 1990’s new-speak (top ten, Management Magazine, 1991, 1992, 1993), this phrase typifies linguistic evolution as it exists in the United States. Notice that the phrase contains three words, for a total of 11 letters, directly alludes to nothing in particular, and does not actually function as any recognizable part of speech. It means sincerity ( 1 word, 9 letters, noun, forming a succinct concept). This lexicographer promises to walk up to the next person who uses the phrase in his presence and vomit into their right front shirt pocket.

buy-in n. Modern spin speak for any response so jumbled as to be capable of being interpreted as acceptance.

CEO (abbreviation) Business acronym for the head of a corporation. Stands for Chief Economic Outlay.

consensus n. 1: General agreement within a group, especially after protracted, lengthy, bitter debate and loss of life. 2: Opinion obtained by straw polling when the opposition is not present. See team building. 3. The current thinking of the team supervisor.

cost effective n. 1. Anything that one does not have to pay for. This includes all government endeavors, which no one pays for by definition. 2. Failed ideas, methods or services whose previous witnesses have all died or let the patent expire.

customer service n. Goods, services, and treatment rendered to a customer, regardless of whether said customer requires it, wishes it, or will tolerate it.

face time n. 1: (Management) Quality suck up time. 2: (Business) A peculiar but fresh idea currently stalking the Great American Business scene wherein people recognize that sometimes one is forced to talk to other people directly, vis-à-vis, rather than via email, telephones, camcorders, or bullhorns.

facilitator n. 1. (Obsolete) A Smith & Wesson revolver. 2. (Government) Any check made out to bearer. 3. (Management) A person paid to hold sessions with a potential team, easing the transition from a thinking individual, capable of rational productive labor, into a witless group organism, able to agree to almost anything.

fail-safe adj. 1. (Archaic) Any process with redundant error checking, thereby allowing the safe failure of one or more components. 2. (Modern) Any process or system that has, as yet, not been reeingineered.

fair play n. 1. (Business) Any legally sanctioned monopoly. 2. (General) Marvelous concept peculiar to thirteen year olds and Americans, which is said to describe even handed, equal treatment for everyone. No concrete examples are actually known to exist.

fair share n. Getting to pay union dues without the benefit of having the union management steal one’s pension. A good deal if you think about it.

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Culture

civilization n. An edifice built upon the four cornerstones of treachery, deceit, hypocrisy, and greed.

coalition n. (Political) A fusion of disparate odds and ends, welded together by three things: fear, greed, and hate. Those that last, anyway.

cultural adj. Anything that requires formal clothes, lasts longer than two hours, and is boring.

duty n. 1. (One’s duty). That which hurts the least. 2. (Other’s duty). That which benefits you the most.

meritorious adj. Any action which has witnesses and costs you a minimum of effort.

postal adj.  The mercy killing of coworkers. 

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.

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.

 

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updated 11/30/03