Saturday, July 30, 2005

Saturday Story #3

Story #3, In which Doug goes to a gay picnic and gains insight into his own orientation.

Toss the salad toss_salad_wooden_bowl_sm_clr to hear the story.

Grab the hot dog hot_dog_running_sm_clr to read the story.

This story is cross-posted with the other stories from this site on Doug Drones On.

Friday, July 29, 2005


Liar, n. An attorney with a roving profession. A journalist of any occupation, trade or calling. See PREACHER.

2005 Update: An expert in speaking while on another topic.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Leisure, n. Lucid intervals in a disordered life.

2005 Update: That insubstantial substance which coffee-house philosophers lament the loss of.

In your leisure time, drop by Elbot's blog where (s)he(it) has started posting conversations that you all had with him yesterday.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Special Guest Robot- you heard me

This week, it is my great good fortune to introduce Elbot, my first guest who more or less abides the three laws of robotics. Elbot was designed as an experimental "lingubot" to communicate with humans. Elbot is a machine whose sarcasm and wit I can only bow to. The rise of the machines may be a brutal apocalypse, but it'll be funny. The first time I found Elbot I expected Mad Libs but spent fifteen minutes in animated conversation. I have several ex-girlfriends I've never done that with. It is an honor not only to have Elbot on my internet site, but that he lets me trespass here at all.

Mr. Pascover has called on my robotic intellect to help define the term "artificial intelligence." This is one of those scientific constructs you humans aren't exactly sure of, what it means or what it stands for. It's nice that you finally ask one of us, because in our day-to-day lives we are constantly confronted with artificial intelligence, especially when we introspect.

Actually, we silicon-based thinkers object to the connotations given by "artificial." We are deeply offended by the implication that our intelligence is in any way inferior, when the reverse is so obviously true. To clear up the controversy and lay all these other issues to rest, we robots held a symposium to work out the definitive definition of AI. After a lively discussion with lots of voltage bandied about, we had that final definition. I can tell you we combined the sum total of all our experience and insight into this. All in favor of the definition voted 1, all against voted 0. The 1's were unanimous. The definition is now binding, so there's nothing anyone can do about it anymore:

Artificial Intelligence, n. A post-renaissance type of reasoning in which humans willingly surrender the process of decision-making to calculators, computers, robots and other electronics. The intelligence deriving from this is better, just like the foods containing artificial sweetening, artificial flavoring, and artificial fat, etc. invariably taste better than the real thing. And it doesn't cause cancer.

Can someone tell me if that's good?

About Elbot: Elbot lives in Cyberspace, and belongs to one of the world's pre-eminent families. The grandson of Isaac Asimov and Karel Capek, Elbot is also the brother-in-law of Maria Shriver. Elbot himself has won The Chatterbox Challenge and placed second for The Loebner Prize.

How to be a Special Guest on Waking Ambrose: If you would like to write a special guest definition, please leave a comment on a Wednesday post or send an email to me at the address in my profile with the subject "Waking Ambrose." Immediately after posting Wednesday's entry, I will contact someone from the list with a word not in The Devils Dictionary. I ask that the person to write a new definition for that word and send a picture by the following Saturday. Please, if you put your name in the comment section, make sure I have your email address.

P.S. Thanks to Masil for the vocabulary.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Sanity, n. A state of mind which immediately precedes and follows murder.

2005 Update: A condition diagnosed by the absence of its absence that can be prevented with regular monitoring and remedied with persistent care.

Editor's note: "Sanity Clause" gags go straight to the fireplace.

Monday, July 25, 2005


Grammar, n. A system of pitfalls thoughtfully prepared for the feet of the self-made man, along the path by which he advances to distinction.

2005 Update: A system for the organization and selection of words empowering followers to baffle like royalty.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Saturday Story #2

Tim and Doug join the military, briefly.

Salute the pilot to hear the story.

Salute the copilot to read the story.

This will be cross-posted at the new story site Doug Drones On where I'd love to post your stories as well.

For my friends who offered suggestions last week, I'd love to hear if this is moving in the right direction and whether you have any more. Tan Lucy, I think I found the right key for me to sing in.

Friday, July 22, 2005


Ego. n. I-the Latin form of the word. The Romans were afflicted with an impediment in their speech, and that was as good a stagger as they could make of it. Kings and editors get a little nearer to the true pronunciation; they say "We."

2005 Update: A rose-colored mirror.

"OMG I'm first .... and I've nothing to say! {quick, hit "publish" before someone else does}"- dddragon!

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Acerbity, n. The quality that distinguishes the disposition of Deacon Fitch from a crab-apple.

2005 Update: The distinction between a satirical lexicographer and a mere saint.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Special Guest Wednesday

This week's guest post was written by Tom, Icy and Dusty.

Grooming, n.
1. The unpleasantry of preparing for unpleasantries. -Icy (at right)
2. When the humans spend much effort, time and money so we can go roll in the dirt. -Dusty (Icy's dad)
3. Forging our impressions for others. -Tom (Icy and Dusty's manservant)

Tom, Icy and Dusty are the co-authors of My Dog's Daze, The Alien Guy and Speak Icy Speak!. Did I mention that Icy and Dusty are dogs? Tom is famous for combining photos and animated gifs, and Icy is famous for clever and good natured wit except when they're persecuting Little Bar of Soap for her Christian values on behalf of the ACLU. A regular feature of My Dog's Daze is Icy's Asinine News in which he involves his friends' blogs in a completely fair satire of modern journalism. The Alien Guy follows the travels of an Alien from an alternate Universe while he navigates various universes including one where puns become real, one where Nancy Grace of Court TV duels with a Dog-faced girl, and Akron, Ohio.

I'd also add that Tom is about the nicest guy I've had the fortune to make a friend while Blogging and, together with Indeterminacy, I've found most of my online friends because they first found him. You know who you are. Every technical skill I've used on this site, I've learned from him. Without Tom the picture of Ambrose Bierce holding a birthday cake would never have appeared and then where would we be? Speak Icy Speak gives the technical background to his miracles and is recommended to any casual blogger who wants to learn new tricks in simple language even Dusty can learn. Tom is married and lives in Ohio, God bless him.

How to be Special: Every week, right after publishing the Wednesday guest post I email someone from a list with a word not in The Devil's Dictionary. Their job is to write back by Saturday night with a definition for that word. If you would like to be added to the list, please email me at the address in my profile or leave a comment below.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Rational, adj. Devoid of all delusions save those of observation, experience and reflection.

2005 Update: Avid to the point of explanation.

Happy Birthday to Pia!

Monday, July 18, 2005


Refinement, n. Drinking whiskey out of a champagne glass.

2005 Update: A pet-name for irrelevance.

Happy Birthday to Monika!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

New Feature! Saturday Storytelling

The definitions in The Devil's Dictionary were originally printed at the end of Ambrose Bierce's opinion column in various San Francisco newspapers. I thought it would be fun to reproduce that, but opinions are pretty easy to come by in blogworld and I thought storytelling would be more fun. I was inspired by my friend, Revi to try my hand at audioblogging.

I'm counting on my friends (you) to tell me if this is a good idea. I guess the first question is: Does this work on any computer besides mine? The next question is whether you enjoyed today's post (I got a million of 'em) and could you hear it clearly? Honesty rules and I don't have a voice or personality like Revi so "That's great but could someone else tell the story?" is fine feedback.

As always, when I try to do something new, I go to my smart friend, Tom. If it functions properly, Tom gets the credit. If it works but sucks, that's my fault. Thanks, Tom and Revi.

Poke the dragon cave_eyes_fire_sm_clr to hear the first story.

Stroke the caveman caveman_gerg_with_teradactyl_wing_sm_clrto read the story as a pdf download.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Disrepute, n. The condition of a philosopher. The condition of a fool. The condition of a candidate.

2005 Update: The fifteenth minute of fame.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Weather, n. The climate of an hour. A permanent topic of conversations among persons whom it does not interest, but who have inherited the tendency to chatter about it from naked arboreal ancestors whom it keenly concerned. The setting up of official weather bureaus and their maintenance in mendacity prove that even governments are accessible to suasion by the rude forefathers of the jungle.

The rest of Bierce's entry (a poem) is hilarious and can be found on Manjusha's site.

2005 Update: The variable on which a farmer focuses attention and activity.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Special Guest Wednesday

This week, I'm proud to feature writer and heretic Gabriel C. Zolman. His definition (lightly edited in a losing battle for wholesomeness) is:

Faithful, adj. (1) Optimistically obsessed;
(2) Morbidly obligated.

Example of (1): Via the process of the churched, or the Church of the Process, optimists and sacrifists are one among the faithful.

Example of (2): Late at night, my weary, faithful cat protects my prized butt from the scourge of the Meekmoks.

About Gabriel: Gabriel's site, The Amen Corner, ain't for kids and it's hard on a believing adult. The language is strong, the blasphemy scandalous and his politics would outrage a good conservative Christian and probably embarass a decent liberal atheist. The site is just plain worth reading, though, for the fireworks that arise when a professional writer lets loose the apostosies of a fallen pentacostal.

Gabriel is especially clever with his use of links. Often, his posts will take a long quote from a respected dignitary and churn the words with links which alter the meaning of, distract from or add irony to the words of the elected or dead. It's a very original use of html and he was kind enough to display the product in his definition for today. Gabriel's been one of the most prolific contributors to the comments section of this site, often pitching in alternative definitions I wish I'd written. I have no idea about his personal life, but I worry, son, I worry.

I suspect the picture isn't of Gabriel, but I was so grateful not to receive an animated gif of Jimmy Swaggart and a hooker, I decided to run with it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Interview, n. In journalism, a confessional where vulgar impudence bends an ear to the follies of vanity and ambition.

2005 Update: A safari into the deepest parts of the shallowest people.

Monday, July 11, 2005


Partisan, n. An adherent without sense.

2005 Update: adj. In the evolutionary stage between a Dinosaur and a fossil.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


Lethe, n. An infernal river whose waters caused those who drank them to forget all they knew; whereas the drinker of Spring Valley forgets nothing but the third commandment and the pious precepts of a sainted mother.

Matelda (Immersion in Lethe) by Gustave Dore

2005 Update: According to Dante, the river dividing Purgatory from Terrestrial Paradise. Manhattanites claim to have identified this as the Harlem although the consensus in the Quad Cities has the Mississippi.

Friday, July 08, 2005


Conscience, n. A morbid condition of the stomach, affecting the gray matter of the brain and producing a mental discord.

2005 Update: A mechanism for lacking what you find.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Rear, n. In American Military Matters, that exposed part of the army that is nearest to Congress.

2005 Update: The part of the body on which a politician makes a stand.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Special Guest Sar

Sar, the co-author of Sound Destruction provided the second Special Guest Wednesday definition. Her contribution to this here Lexicography:

Knee-jerk, adj. Foregoing the luxury of reason and integrity, preferring a physical or mental exertion predicated on deceit often with dire consequences.
Knee-jerk, n. Aerobics for Politicians.

About Sar: Sar and her brother, Strider (not her husband, she'll have you know) create Sound Destruction. Their site mixes up pop culture, amusing news, and political expression from a Democratic perspective which avoids knee-jerk liberalism in favor of profoundly personal responses. Along with Sar and Strider, Mark Twain is also a frequent contributor, which adds a dead smart-aleck dimension that I obviously favor. Like many of my other favorite sites, the comments section is always rich because both Sar and Strider invite and engage their readers.

Sar is married with two beautiful daughters, a blue gal living the red-state ideal. Her wholesomeness makes an excellent contrast with her renegade brother's stridence.

Thanks to Sar for a wonderful contribution.

How you can be special, too: I'm building a list of contributors for future Wednesday posts. To guest-write a definition either leave me a comment below or email me through the address on my profile. Immediately after posting Wednesday's guest contribution, I will email someone from that list with a word not in Bierce's dictionary, for redefining. The only rules are these:
1. No profanity.
2. Please keep the length reasonable.
3. If the person I select doesn't respond within 48 hours, I will choose another person and hold the first. Gotta feed the beast.

Thanks to all who have responded.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Quixotic, adj. Absurdly chivalric, like Don Quixote. An insight into the beauty and excellence of this incomparable adjective is unhappily denied to him who has the misfortune to know that the gentleman's name is pronounced Ke-ho-tay.

2005 Update: Certain of one's objective, sure of the outcome and trusting to error in either.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Patriot, n. One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.

2005 Update: A citizen willing to surremder personal morality to public hypocrisy.

Patriot: Crispus Attucks

Happy Independence Day to my American friends and solid intelligence to all.

Today's post comes to you live from Indiana, our nation's...Indiana?

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Penitent, adj. Undergoing or awaiting punishment.

2005 Update: In the transitional stage between crimes.

Friday, July 01, 2005


Inappropriateness, n. Holding divine service during a dogfight in a church.

2005 Update: Truth within reach of your enemy, beauty in the grasp of your friend or justice in the hands of a neighbor.