So as to prove that I am capable of finishing something which I have started ages ago, and which, for the nimble-minded among us, you might remember I have promised before and not delivered, herewith is the final installment of my abridged version of letters N-Z of 'The Devil's Dictionary'.
Might I just add that our own little devil, Tony Abbott, is likely wishing that he will be reborn as a political god next year. I wish him well. Even with all the help he could muster from a compliant and complicit media, he failed. Might I also just add, chanelling Ambrose Bierce, the man needs help.
Don't forget, some of the definitions I have no desire to add to, as they speak for themselves without any interference or addition from me.
NEPOTISM, n. Appointing your grandmother to office for the good of the party.
And who, as the 'bastard love-child of Bronwyn Bishop and John Howard', in an approximately similar way, has kept Granny Bishop safe and secure on the Shadow Front Bench of the Coalition and permanently pre-selected for her seat in federal parliament?
NOISE, n. A stench in the ear. Undomesticated music. The chief product and authenticating sign of civilisation.
Something that politicians can be bipartisan about? 'A stench in the ear'? :)
NOMINATE, v. To designate for the heaviest political assessment. To put forward a suitable person to incur the mudgobbling and deadcatting of the opposition.
NOMINEE, n. A modest gentleman shrinking from the distinction of private life and diligently seeking the honourable obscurity of public office.
NOTORIETY, n. The fame of one's competitor for public honours. The kind of renown most accessible and acceptable to mediocrity. A Jacob's Ladder leading to the vaudeville stage, with angels ascending and descending.
NOVEMBER, n. The eleventh twelfth of a weariness.
OATH, n. In law, a solemn appeal to the Deity, made binding upon the conscience by a penalty for perjury.
If Tony Abbott knew this when he made his 'Blood Oath' to repeal the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, will he be abashed before his deity if he fails to do so?
OBLIVION, n. The state or condition in which the wicked cease from struggling and the dreary are at rest. Fame's eternal dumping ground. Cold storage for high hopes. A place where ambitious authors meet their works without pride and their betters without envy. A dormitory without an alarm clock.
OBSESSED, pp. Vexed by an evil spirit, like the Gadarene swine and other critics. Obsession was once more common than it is now. Arasthus tells of a peasant who was occupied by a different devil for every day in the week, and on Sundays by two. They were frequently seen, always walking in his shadow, when he had one, but were finally driven away by the village notary, a holy man; but they took the peasant with them, for he vanished utterly. A devil thrown out of a woman by the Archbishop of Rheims ran through the trees, pursued by a hundred persons, until the open country was reached, where by a leap higher than a church spire he escaped into a bird. A chaplain in Cromwell's army exorcised a soldier's obsessing devil by throwing the soldier into the water, when the devil came to the surface. The soldier, unfortunately, did not.
I guess this is why Tony Abbott has a shadow at all. As he is truly obsessed. Otherwise, he would not, as he is a Hollow Man.
OBSTINATE, adj. Inaccessible to the truth as it is manifest in the splendour and stress of our advocacy. Almost every Question Time that has passed this parliamentary year has seen a display of mule-headed obstinacy and strident advocacy from Tony Abbott. And that, the more strenuous he was in his advocacy, the further away he was from the truth.
OCCIDENT, n. The part of the world lying west (or east) of the Orient. It is largely inhabited by Christians, a powerful sub-tribe of the Hypocrites, whose principal industries are murder and cheating, which they are pleased to call "war" and "commerce." These, also, are the principal industries of the Orient.
OLD, adj. In that stage of usefulness which is not inconsistent with general inefficiency, as an old man
. Discredited by lapse of time and offensive to the popular taste, as an old book.
"Old books? The devil take them!" Goby said.
"Fresh every day must be my books and bread."
Nature herself approves the Goby rule
And gives us every moment a fresh fool.
OLEAGINOUS, adj. Oily, smooth, sleek.
Disraeli once described the manner of Bishop Wilberforce as "unctuous, oleaginous, saponaceous." And the good prelate was ever afterward known as Soapy Sam. For every man there is something in the vocabulary that would stick to him like a second skin. His enemies have only to find it.
OMEN, n. A sign that something will happen if nothing happens.
The Canberra Press Gallery are very good at relaying, to a breathless public, what the political omens portend. They keep at it, I think, so that you don't remember that they have been wrong before. Often.
ONCE, adv. Enough.
Tony Abbott Censure Motions for 2012. Please!
OPPORTUNITY, n. A favourable occasion for grasping a disappointment.
Tony Abbott seizes every opportunity afforded him, it seems.
OPPOSE, v. To assist with obstructions and objections.
OPPOSITION, n. In politics the party that prevents the Government from running amuck by hamstringing it.
The King of Ghargaroo, who had been abroad to study the science of government, appointed one hundred of his fattest subjects as members of a parliament to make laws for the collection of revenue. Forty of these he named the Party of Opposition and had his Prime Minister carefully instruct them in their duty of opposing every royal measure. Nevertheless, the first one that was submitted passed unanimously. Greatly displeased, the King vetoed it, informing the Opposition that if they did that again they would pay for their obstinacy with their heads. The entire forty promptly disembowelled themselves.
"What shall we do now?" the King asked. "Liberal institutions cannot be maintained without a party of Opposition."
"Splendour of the universe," replied the Prime Minister, "it is true these dogs of darkness have no longer their credentials, but all is not lost. Leave the matter to this worm of the dust."
So the Minister had the bodies of his Majesty's Opposition embalmed and stuffed with straw, put back into the seats of power and nailed there. Forty votes were recorded against every bill and the nation prospered. But one day a bill imposing a tax on warts was defeated — the members of the Government party had not been nailed to their seats! This so enraged the King that the Prime Minister was put to death, the parliament was dissolved with a battery of artillery, and government of the people, by the people, for the people perished from Ghargaroo.
ORATORY, n. A conspiracy between speech and action to cheat the understanding. A tyranny tempered by stenography.
Which is why Tony Abbott is such a superior orator to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.
OUTDO, v.t. To make an enemy.
Julia Gillard is Tony Abbott’s and Kevin Rudd's biggest enemy we keep getting told.
PAIN, n. An uncomfortable frame of mind that may have a physical basis in something that is being done to the body, or may be purely mental, caused by the good fortune of another.
I guess that means Tony Abbott was in a world of pain when he saw the last Newspoll results, even if he has been steadfastly acting as though they never happened.
PALMISTRY, n. The 947th method (according to Mimbleshaw's classification) of obtaining money by false pretences. It consists in "reading character" in the wrinkles made by closing the hand. The pretence is not altogether false; character can really be read very accurately in this way, for the wrinkles in every hand submitted plainly spell the word "dupe." The imposture consists in not reading it aloud.
There's nothing particularly political in this one except to say the word, 'Newspoll', again.
PANDEMONIUM, n. Literally, the Place of All the Demons. Most of them have escaped into politics and finance, and the place is now used as a lecture hall by the Audible Reformer. When disturbed by his voice the ancient echoes clamor appropriate responses most gratifying to his pride of distinction.
PANTHEISM, n. The doctrine that everything is God, in contradistinction to the doctrine that God is everything.
Or, Talk Turkey, should that be, 'Everything is Dog'?
PAST, n. That part of Eternity with some small fraction of which we have a slight and regrettable acquaintance. A moving line called the Present parts it from an imaginary period known as the Future. These two grand divisions of Eternity, of which the one is continually effacing the other, are entirely unlike. The one is dark with sorrow and disappointment, the other bright with prosperity and joy. The Past is the region of sobs, the Future is the realm of song. In the one crouches Memory, clad in sackcloth and ashes, mumbling penitential prayer; in the sunshine of the other Hope flies with a free wing, beckoning to temples of success and bowers of ease. Yet the Past is the Future of yesterday, the Future is the Past of to-morrow. They are one — the knowledge and the dream.
PATIENCE, n. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.
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.
The rise of the 'Patriot' in modern political nomenclature is entirely a construct of the Conservatives in every country.
PEACE, n. In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.
O, what's the loud uproar assailing
Mine ears without cease?
'Tis the voice of the hopeful, all-hailing
The horrors of peace.
Ah, Peace Universal; they woo it —
Would marry it, too.
If only they knew how to do it
'Twere easy to do.
I'll still keep a light burning in my soul for Peace, nevertheless.
PERORATION, n. The explosion of an oratorical rocket. It dazzles, but to an observer having the wrong kind of nose its most conspicuous peculiarity is the smell of the several kinds of powder used in preparing it.
And yes, it is said, some of us respond differently to Tony Abbott's perorations than others. Some of us can smell a rat.
PERSEVERANCE, n. A lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves an inglorious success.
PESSIMISM, n. A philosophy forced upon the convictions of the observer by the disheartening prevalence of the optimist with his scarecrow hope and his unsightly smile.
As do I feel whenever I see and hear the ever-optimistic Mr Abbott.
PHILISTINE, n. One whose mind is the creature of its environment, following the fashion in thought, feeling and sentiment. He is sometimes learned, frequently prosperous, commonly clean and always solemn.
The devout Christian, Tony Abbott, would recoil in horror at being called a Philistine, but a Philistine I think he is. And he keeps company with other similar creatures at News Ltd.
PILLORY, n. A mechanical device for inflicting personal distinction — prototype of the modern newspaper conducted by persons of austere virtues and blameless lives.
Birds of a feather, News Ltd and Tony Abbott, pillory together.
PITIFUL, adj. The state of an enemy or opponent after an imaginary encounter with oneself.
PLAGIARIZE, v. To take the thought or style of another writer whom one has never, never read.
PLATITUDE, n. The fundamental element and special glory of popular literature. A thought that snores in words that smoke. The wisdom of a million fools in the diction of a dullard. A fossil sentiment in artificial rock. A moral without the fable. All that is mortal of a departed truth. A demi-tasse of milk-and-mortality. The Pope's-nose of a featherless peacock. A jelly-fish withering on the shore of the sea of thought. The cackle surviving the egg. A desiccated epigram.
PLEBISCITE, n. A popular vote to ascertain the will of the sovereign.
Or, in Tony Abbott's case, 'A popular vote to ascertain the will of Tony Abbott'. Now, I wonder what has happened to it? I thought the people would continue revolting until they got one? Well, let me just say, a whole 112 people turned up to an Anti Carbon Tax Rally to revolt outside the ALP National Conference the other day.
PLEONASM, n. An army of words escorting a corporal of thought.
POLITENESS, n. The most acceptable hypocrisy.
POLITICS, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
POLITICIAN, n. An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organised society is reared. When he wriggles he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.
POSITIVISM, n. A philosophy that denies our knowledge of the Real and affirms our ignorance of the Apparent.
PRECEDENT, n. In Law, a previous decision, rule or practice which, in the absence of a definite statute, has whatever force and authority a Judge may choose to give it, thereby greatly simplifying his task of doing as he pleases. As there are precedents for everything, he has only to ignore those that make against his interest and accentuate those in the line of his desire. Invention of the precedent elevates the trial-at-law from the low estate of a fortuitous ordeal to the noble attitude of a dirigible arbitrament.
I include this for all who believe lawyers and judges who rely on Precedent, and note that it is an interminable web which, having been spun, is bedevilling America.
PREDICAMENT, n. The wage of consistency.
PREFERENCE, n. A sentiment, or frame of mind, induced by the erroneous belief that one thing is better than another.
An ancient philosopher, expounding his conviction that life is no better than death, was asked by a disciple why, then, he did not die. "Because," he replied, "death is no better than life."
It is longer.
PREJUDICE, n. A vagrant opinion without visible means of support.
My favourite definition.
PRESENT, n. That part of eternity dividing the domain of disappointment from the realm of hope.
PRICE, n. Value, plus a reasonable sum for the wear and tear of conscience in demanding it.
PRISON, n. A place of punishments and rewards. The poet assures us that —
"Stone walls do not a prison make,"
but a combination of the stone wall, the political parasite and the moral instructor is no garden of sweets.
In my humble opinion Australia would become a virtual prison if the Coalition came to power again too soon, like before 2016.
PUSH, n. One of the two things mainly conducive to success, especially in politics. The other is Pull.
QUEEN, n. A woman by whom the realm is ruled when there is a king, and through whom it is ruled when there is not.
Which is why Australia cannot break her shackles and become a Republic. She rules with an iron will. Sigh.
QUILL, n. An implement of torture yielded by a goose and commonly wielded by an ass. This use of the quill is now obsolete, but its modern equivalent, the steel pen, is wielded by the same everlasting Presence.
I dedicate this one to all our erstwhile Australian journalists and editors. Which includes Tony Abbott, of course.
To be fair, it also includes me, at times.
QUIVER, n. A portable sheath in which the ancient statesman and the aboriginal lawyer carried their lighter arguments. He extracted from his quiver,
Did the controversial Roman,
An argument well fitted
To the question as submitted,
Then addressed it to the liver,
Of the unpersuaded foeman.
—Oglum P. Boomp
I like to think that Julia Gillard's behaviour in Question Time equates to this scenario. It's just such a pity that not many people get to see the verbal jousting.
RADICALISM, n. The conservatism of to-morrow injected into the affairs of to-day.
RAILROAD, n. The chief of many mechanical devices enabling us to get away from where we are to where we are no better off. For this purpose the railroad is held in highest favour by the optimist, for it permits him to make the transit with great expedition.
I included this one for 2353.
RANK, n. Relative elevation in the scale of human worth.
He held at court a rank so high
That other noblemen asked why.
"Because," 'twas answered, "others lack
His skill to scratch the royal back."
There are still too many people of high rank in this world.
All I can hope for is that if this country is benighted with an Abbott government that he doesn't beknight himself if he decides to bring back Imperial Honours.
RAPACITY, n. Providence without industry. The thrift of power.
Seriously, this definition flashed before my eyes when watching the second last sitting day of the most recent parliamentary session, and Tony Abbott was in full rhetorical flight, bellowing repeatedly at the Prime Minister, “Take it! Take it!”. Honestly, I could not get the image of the man as a virtual verbal rapist out of my mind for days. Still can't. Maybe it'll fade. I hope so. It was truly terrifying to watch. Especially on 'White Ribbon Day'.
RASCAL, n. A fool considered under another aspect.
Tony Abbott is no fool, and he is not the harmless rascal he has people to make him out to be.
RASCALITY, n. Stupidity militant. The activity of a clouded intellect.
This, on the other hand, is Tony Abbott all over.
RATIONAL, adj. Devoid of all delusions save those of observation, experience and reflection.
I am glad our Prime Minister is entirely rational.
REALITY, n. The dream of a mad philosopher. That which would remain in the cupel if one should assay a phantom. The nucleus of a vacuum.
REALLY, adv. Apparently.
The certitudes of Tony Abbott fall into this category.
REASON, v.t. To weight probabilities in the scales of desire.
REASON, n. Propensitate of prejudice.
REASONABLE, adj. Accessible to the infection of our own opinions. Hospitable to persuasion, dissuasion and evasion.
REBEL, n. A proponent of a new misrule who has failed to establish it.
I find Tony Abbott's notion of 'Guided Democracy' a rebellious concept in the prospect.
RECOLLECT, v. To recall with additions something not previously known.
I believe that the media's recollection of Julia Gillard's 'Carbon Tax' 'promise' to fall into this category.
RECONSIDER, v. To seek a justification for a decision already made.
REFERENDUM, n. A law for submission of proposed legislation to a popular vote to learn the nonsensus of public opinion.
REFLECTION, n. An action of the mind whereby we obtain a clearer view of our relation to the things of yesterday and are able to avoid the perils that we shall not again encounter.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.
REPARTEE, n. Prudent insult in retort. Practised by gentlemen with a constitutional aversion to violence, but a strong disposition to offend.
REPRESENTATIVE, n. In national politics, a member of the Lower House in this world, and without discernible hope of promotion in the next.
REPUBLIC, n. A nation in which the thing governing and the thing governed being the same, there is only a permitted authority to enforce an optional obedience. In a republic, the foundation of public order is the ever lessening habit of submission inherited from ancestors who, being truly governed, submitted because they had to. There are as many kinds of republics as there are graduations between the despotism whence they came and the anarchy whither they lead.
Now I get it. Australians couldn't make up their minds about a Republic because they couldn't agree where on the above spectrum they wanted us to land.
RESPONSIBILITY, n. A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one's neighbour. In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star.
I am reminded by this definition of what I consider Tony Abbott's motto to be: 'All Care and No Responsibility'.
REVERENCE, n. The spiritual attitude of a man to a god and a dog to a man.
ROSTRUM, n. In Latin, the beak of a bird or the prow of a ship. In America, a place from which a candidate for office energetically expounds the wisdom, virtue and power of the rabble.
Or, in Australia, the place where the candidate for Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, stands outside Parliament House and preaches to 'The Convoy of No Consequence'.
RUMOR, n. A favorite weapon of the assassins of character.
Sharp, irresistible by mail or shield,
By guard unparried as by flight unstayed,
O serviceable Rumor, let me wield
Against my enemy no other blade.
His be the terror of a foe unseen,
His the inutile hand upon the hilt,
And mine the deadly tongue, long, slender, keen,
Hinting a rumor of some ancient guilt.
So shall I slay the wretch without a blow,
Spare me to celebrate his overthrow,
And nurse my valor for another foe.
The Murdoch media's most oft-used tool of destabilisation of the federal Labor government.
SATAN, n. One of the Creator's lamentable mistakes, repented in sackcloth and ashes. Being instated as an archangel, Satan made himself multifariously objectionable and was finally expelled from Heaven. Halfway in his descent he paused, bent his head in thought a moment and at last went back. "There is one favor that I should like to ask," said he.
"Man, I understand, is about to be created. He will need laws."
"What, wretch! you his appointed adversary, charged from the dawn of eternity with hatred of his soul — you ask for the right to make his laws?"
"Pardon; what I have to ask is that he be permitted to make them himself."
It was so ordered.
SAW, n. A trite popular saying, or proverb. (Figurative and colloquial.) So called because it makes its way into a wooden head. Following are examples of old saws fitted with new teeth.
A penny saved is a penny to squander.
A man is known by the company that he organizes.
A bad workman quarrels with the man who calls him that.
A bird in the hand is worth what it will bring.
Better late than before anybody has invited you.
Example is better than following it.
Half a loaf is better than a whole one if there is much else.
Think twice before you speak to a friend in need.
What is worth doing is worth the trouble of asking somebody to do it.
Least said is soonest disavowed.
He laughs best who laughs least.
Speak of the Devil and he will hear about it.
Of two evils choose to be the least.
Strike while your employer has a big contract.
Where there's a will there's a won't.
SCRIBBLER, n. A professional writer whose views are antagonistic to one's own.
The 4th Estate V The 5th Estate, and vice versa.
SELF-ESTEEM, n. An erroneous appraisement.
SELF-EVIDENT, adj. Evident to one's self and to nobody else.
SELFISH, adj. Devoid of consideration for the selfishness of others.
SLANG, n. The grunt of the human hog (Pignoramus intolerabilis) with an audible memory. The speech of one who utters with his tongue what he thinks with his ear, and feels the pride of a creator in accomplishing the feat of a parrot. A means (under Providence) of setting up as a wit without a capital of sense.
I will merely add that Alan Jones' nickname is 'The Parrot'.
SOPHISTRY, n. The controversial method of an opponent, distinguished from one's own by superior insincerity and fooling. This method is that of the later Sophists, a Grecian sect of philosophers who began by teaching wisdom, prudence, science, art and, in brief, whatever men ought to know, but lost themselves in a maze of quibbles and a fog of words.
His bad opponent's "facts" he sweeps away,
And drags his sophistry to light of day;
Then swears they're pushed to madness who resort
To falsehood of so desperate a sort.
Not so; like sods upon a dead man's breast,
He lies most lightly who the least is pressed.
SUFFRAGE, n. Expression of opinion by means of a ballot. The right of suffrage (which is held to be both a privilege and a duty) means, as commonly interpreted, the right to vote for the man of another man's choice, and is highly prized.
SYCOPHANT, n. One who approaches Greatness on his belly so that he may not be commanded to turn and be kicked. He is sometimes an editor.
He is sometimes an editor in the Murdoch media empire.
TALK, v.t. To commit an indiscretion without temptation, from an impulse without purpose.
TRUCE, n. Friendship.
TRUTH, n. An ingenious compound of desirability and appearance. Discovery of truth is the sole purpose of philosophy, which is the most ancient occupation of the human mind and has a fair prospect of existing with increasing activity to the end of time.
TRUTHFUL, adj. Dumb and illiterate.
Which is why Tony Abbott wants to keep them that way and from getting an education.
ULTIMATUM, n. In diplomacy, a last demand before resorting to concessions.
VANITY, n. The tribute of a fool to the worth of the nearest ass.
They say that hens do cackle loudest when
There's nothing vital in the eggs they've laid;
And there are hens, professing to have made
A study of mankind, who say that men
Whose business 'tis to drive the tongue or pen
Make the most clamorous fanfaronade
O'er their most worthless work; and I'm afraid
They're not entirely different from the hen.
Lo! the drum-major in his coat of gold,
His blazing breeches and high-towering cap —
Imperiously pompous, grandly bold,
Grim, resolute, an awe-inspiring chap!
Who'd think this gorgeous creature's only virtue
Is that in battle he will never hurt you?
The only thing I can think of when I read this is Tony Abbott in his variety of costumes.
VOTE, n. The instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.
WALL STREET, n. A symbol for sin for every devil to rebuke. That Wall Street is a den of thieves is a belief that serves every unsuccessful thief in place of a hope in Heaven.
Nothing much has changed in 100 years.
WAR, n. A by-product of the arts of peace. The most menacing political condition is a period of international amity. The student of history who has not been taught to expect the unexpected may justly boast himself inaccessible to the light. "In time of peace prepare for war" has a deeper meaning than is commonly discerned; it means, not merely that all things earthly have an end — that change is the one immutable and eternal law — but that the soil of peace is thickly sown with the seeds of war and singularly suited to their germination and growth. It was when Kubla Khan had decreed his "stately pleasure dome" — when, that is to say, there were peace and fat feasting in Xanadu — that he
heard from afar
Ancestral voices prophesying war
One of the greatest of poets, Coleridge was one of the wisest of men, and it was not for nothing that he read us this parable. Let us have a little less of "hands across the sea," and a little more of that elemental distrust that is the security of nations. War loves to come like a thief in the night; professions of eternal amity provide the night.
WEAKNESSES, n.pl. Certain primal powers of Tyrant Woman wherewith she holds dominion over the male of her species, binding him to the service of her will and paralyzing his rebellious energies.
Don't believe a word of it! (Says the self-interested stenographer of the lexicographer).
WHITE, adj. and, n. Black.
WITCH, n. (1) Any ugly and repulsive old woman, in a wicked league with the devil. (2) A beautiful and attractive young woman, in wickedness a league beyond the devil.
The Witch has become a popular theme in politics of late when it comes to negatively characterising female politicians, such as our own Prime Minister, and others. It amuses me, that as the Conservative female end of the political spectrum have adopted the tools of the plastic surgeon (they can't all be so uniformly youthful, good-looking and conforming to standardised norms of beauty, can they?), in order to appeal to the electorate on the 'political pole dancer' level, the negative characterisation of Progressive female politicians, who don't place as much store in good looks, as 'Witches', has come to the fore again and proceeded apace. It is also distastefully redolent of the Salem era of dealing with powerful women.
Which just goes to show that everything old is new again with Conservatives. As this interesting article explains well with respect to negative ad campaigns which are developed to be used against female political aspirants:
An animal usually living in the vicinity of Man, and having a rudimentary susceptibility to domestication. It is credited by many of the elder zoologists with a certain vestigial docility acquired in a former state of seclusion, but naturalists of the postsusananthony period, having no knowledge of the seclusion, deny the virtue and declare that such as creation's dawn beheld, it roareth now. The species is the most widely distributed of all beasts of prey, infesting all habitable parts of the globe, from Greenland's spicy mountains to India's moral strand. The popular name (wolfman) is incorrect, for the creature is of the cat kind. The woman is lithe and graceful in its movement, especially the American variety (felis pugnans), is omnivorous and can be taught not to talk.
X in our alphabet being a needless letter has an added invincibility to the attacks of the spelling reformers, and like them, will doubtless last as long as the language. X is the sacred symbol of ten dollars, and in such words as Xmas, Xn, etc., stands for Christ, not, as is popular supposed, because it represents a cross, but because the corresponding letter in the Greek alphabet is the initial of his name — Xristos. If it represented a cross it would stand for St. Andrew, who "testified" upon one of that shape.
This is my Xmas inclusion.
YEAR, n. A period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments.
YESTERDAY, n. The infancy of youth, the youth of manhood, the entire past of age.
ZANY, n. A popular character in old Italian plays, who imitated with ludicrous incompetence the buffone, or clown, and was therefore the ape of an ape; for the clown himself imitated the serious characters of the play. The zany was progenitor to the specialist in humor, as we to-day have the unhappiness to know him. In the zany we see an example of creation; in the humorist, of transmission. Another excellent specimen of the modern zany is the curate, who apes the rector, who apes the bishop, who apes the archbishop, who apes the devil.
You have to rewrite that last sentence when referring to our own local political scene to become:
'Another excellent specimen of the modern zany is the curate, who apes the rector, who apes the Bishop,J., who apes the Abbott,T., who apes the Archbishop Cardinal Pell, who apes the devil.'
ZEAL, n. A certain nervous disorder afflicting the young and inexperienced. A passion that goeth before a sprawl.
When Zeal sought Gratitude for his reward
He went away exclaiming: "O my Lord!"
"What do you want?" the Lord asked, bending down.
"An ointment for my cracked and bleeding crown."
And that's the bleedin' end of The Abridged Devil's Dictionary
. Hope you enjoyed it. Merry Xmas everyone!