the devil's addendum: new definitions in the spirit

the devil's addendum – page 1
the devil's
addendum: new
definitions in the spirit
of Ambrose Beirce's
Devil's Dictionary.
Frederick W. Schueler
Bishops Mills Natural History Centre
RR#2 Bishops Mills, Ontario, Canada K0G 1T0
on the Smiths Falls Limestone Plain 44* 52'N 75* 42'W
(613)258-3107 <[email protected]>
solstice draft of 24 December 2010.
the devil's addendum – page 2
the devil's addendum – page 3
the devil's addendum: new definitions in the spirit of Ambrose Beirce's Devil's
Dictionary. This work was begun in December 1998, before I was aware of Beirce’s ‘Devil’s
Dictionary,’ under the accidentally identical title (though suggested by Ted Mosquin, who doubtless
knew of Beirce's book), in proposed co-operation with Ted and Don McAllister and in a style modelled
on Fowler’s ‘Modern English Usage.’ After an initial burst of activity by me, it lapsed, and the file was
last modified on 16 January 2000. The project was revived in October 2004 after I’d read Beirce’s
book, with the addition of definitions explicitly modelled on Bierce’s style. The list of Poerksen’s
‘Plastic Words’ was inserted for definition, 3 May 2005 (though it took a while to define all of the
devious little suckers, a task Poerksen himself didn't attempt). It’s characteristic of plastic words that
they can be used indiscriminately as noun, verb, or adjective, so “plastic word” is used as their part of
speech. These words are super-generalized, to allow discourse about actions that you couldn't even
mention if they were said in plain language, so in a sense they're defined as being beyond definition.
Caveat Emptor: Some reviewers have complained that some of these definitions are “too personal.”
We can only respond that this is how things appear at our lonely outpost, fourteen standard deviations
from the societal mean. Those who cluster around the conventional centre to the extent that they are
made insecure by any sign that the mode, mean, and median may be slightly divergent, are unashamed
of using their mass experience as a guide for promulgations of universal truth, so it’s in a spirit of
retaliation, rather than of ignorance, that we use our experience as our guide.
But that peripheral position means that vast mother lodes of sport, retail, business, entertainment, and
political jargon are unexploited here. We're prepared to distinguish Carduelis tristis as “a winter's
supply of Niger seed condensed into a molecule of Lemon meringue,” from C. pinus as “the fruit of the
Tamarack, blown south by the failed seed crop of its parent,” but would never undertake “stick check”
as “the passive progressive pre-future tense of NSF.” (though we do have considerable experience in
being stuck with this kind of cheque). We realize that when you look into the blank window of
advertising, you can reap incredible linguistic returns, but these are largely unexploited here, from the
same lack of exposure (the Kemptville IGA and Canadian Tire don't have access to the kind of budgets
that make so many TV and magazine advertising campaigns vivid embarrassments to the English
language). The reader will note that many of definitions originated with others, and further
contributions are welcome, as are lists of words needing definition.
Those who like their parodies well padded-out with explanations will have to either abandon their
readership here, or face up to the fact that these are a medley of serious and spoofed definitions. You're
free to agree with me or disagree with me, but you'll have to decide for yourself if each definition is
sarcastic, realistic, idiosyncratic, idealistic, or utopian. It's also likely that definitions that to some will
seem simple statements of Truth, will appeal to others as more or less clever distortions or subsets of
the truth.
Wishing each one a maximally delightful, and minimally stressful, progression through their rituals of
Sun-return, I remain,
your lexicographic drudge - fws
the devil's addendum – page 4
the devil’s addendum
Above (n): the solace of the corrupt US politician and the long home of the theme park evangelist.
I went Above to seek approval
For renovations to my hovel.
“Oh, yes,” He said, “your mansion vast
supports a reborn cleaning staff.” - Senator Slimeworthy B. Spam
abridge (v): to omit, in a dictionary, entries for amplexus, dystrophic, sea-change, and railroad (as a verb).
“It is impossible to know how much specialized vocabulary there is...[of] seventy-four [linguistic] terms... only four
[are] included in the OED, and none at all in Webster’s Third New International.” Crystal, The Stories of English,
p 455.
abuse (plastic word): an account of interpersonal unpleasantness so obscured by a euphemistic umbrella that
the target audience doesn't know if it was too terrible or too insignificant to call by its own name.
accidental (n): a bird capable of inducing hysteria without carrying any Nile virus or strain of influenza.
Oh to be an accidental
Oh to be the birders’ buzz
Oh to be found in New Brunswick
Where your species never was. (N. B. Phaethon, July 2005)
accomplishment (Poerksen plastic word): something that can be construed as an entry in a résumé.
accountability (political smokescreen): the pitterpat footfalls of a Packrat heading for its nest after it has
been found with its loot. "There is no accountability for the concept of accountability."-- Glenn W. Smith, 17
March 2007
acronym (improper noun): an alphabet served as a soup. “I don't know if this is the right place to comment
the GBIF strategy, but just let me say that I really welcome to finally see ISO, OAI, CSW etc.. on the GBIF
agenda! However, I would very much welcome if GBIF would not decide to support only one of those metadata
as well as protocol standards mentioned in the document, but to support several of them. It would be great to
have CSW for GEOSS interoperability, OAI for harvesting etc. I would also like to mention here that the use of
ISO 19XXX family especially ISO 19115/19139 should be carefully reevaluated in comparison with EML. Some
concepts of the 19XXX OGC standard family, such as Feature Catalogue (19110) are quite flexible and could
perhaps be helpful. But maybe this topic was already discussed in depth in one of the TDWG groups?” Robert
Huber, Mon, 2 Feb 2009 13:48:28 +0100
administrative professional (n): a secretary burdened with two interlocking systems of evil. “Now is the
time to let that special administrative professional know how much you appreciate them! Why waste money on
flowers when, for about the same price, you can actually make their life a lot easier. Let's face it, there’s no
better gift than that - especially for someone who works so hard. For a limited time, ScanSoft is offering three
award-winning, productivity-increasing products for only $99 each - three tools that belong on every
administrative professional’s computer desktop.” <[email protected]>
advertising: static, broadcast for the thrill it gives to sponsors of hyperactivity; papers printed and distributed
to ensure that recycling bins will be filled; megabyte-rich content-free windows popping up all over the internet.
It's not known if the prevalence of advertising is the result of a perverse philanthropy (see litter), or an epidemic
mental disease. “Advertising is not cost-effective. Claims that it produces even marginal financial returns are
usually fallacious... customers lured by ads tend to be disloyal... because a significant percentage of advertising
is deceptive... businesses that advertise heavily are often suspected of offering poor quality goods and services.”
the devil's addendum – page 5
Phillips and Rasberry, 1986:1:1-2 (this assertion backed by a money-back guarantee!)
all-natural (slogan): an arbitrary advertising motto – as in “All-natural Suburban Skunk-scat Soil
Conditioner!” - whose function is to conceal its own meaning, which is here revealed to be: “you don't need to
buy this product from us since it's freely available under your porch.”
alot (who knows?): an unexplained amalgamation of the indefinite article and the indefinite noun. This may be
intended as a declaration of indefiniteness or of sub-literacy, alright? “We now play alot, and read alot.” Home
Rules 10(3). “I just came about your email address and your brief profile through an email listing affiliated with
the US Chamber of Commerce and I would be very interested in offering you a part-time paying job in which you
could earn alot.” Dickson Kennington <[email protected]>, “I am no expert on chameleons.
However, if it has been dehydrated alot, that can make them constipated.” - Sandra “Secret #54: Your sex life
may be in your face! Alot of men beleive it or not will base how sexy a woman is just by her face. We have all
heard that men first see the body and while that still remains true for alot of men...” -- Beauty of Spam.
aluminum foil (noun of arrogance): a mortuary membrane that bewails the destruction of both the openpitted tropics and the dammed north as it enshrouds the left-overs of the suburban temperate zone.
Nechako, Nechako your water's been diverted
So my egg salad may be metalically skirted.
Prince George is dry, and Salmon are gasping
To spin Kitimat on its bauxite axis. - Cheslatta Carrier
american counterpart (n): the U.S. impression of a Canadian fossil. “Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay
met with his American counterpart Thursday. At a press conference following the meeting, MacKay said he was
'very encouraged' by the discussions they had... He believes it opened a new line of communication between the
two nations. However, MacKay didn't suggest the U.S. had made any concessions...” (CTV 13 April 2006).
amplecant (adj): to be in amplexus (from Albert Hazen & Anna Allen Wright, for Kerrie Serben). “...submerged
minnowtraps, which came up sloppily garlanded with eggs and detained mostly a few amplecant pairs” (Boreal
Dipnet, 9(2):6.)
amplexus (n): a mating clasp that precedes external fertilization. “It was our honeymoon, and we were very
keen on amplexus.” F.D. Ross, of Hyla versicolor in Bergen Swamp, 1968.
...and animals (taxonomic illiteracy): Characteristically “birds and animals,” this pleonasm had its heyday in
the 1950's. It may arise when 1) “other” has inadvertently dropped out from before “animals,” 2) the author
somehow believes that “birds” are not animals, or 3) the author willingly takes refuge in error because
“Mammals” is regarded as too technical and “beasts” too alliterative (despite the heroism with which his
ancestors bore up under “viviparous quadrupeds”), or prudishly feels that “Mammals” is tainted by its derivation
from “mammary.” “i grew thankful that i am an insect and not an animal” Archy the Blattid (1918). That the usage
isn’t extinct, and perhaps that it refers to Mammals and reptiles, is demonstrated in the San Francisco Chronicle
(23 July 2005): “Amphibians are becoming extinct at a faster rate than birds or animals.”
anthropic principle: a detour around the more intractable 'why' questions of cosmological philosophy: since
we could only observe a universe which has the properties required for life-forms like us to evolve, it's no
surprise the that universe has the properties that have allowed such evolution. This is either a proof of intelligent
design, or a Darwinian detour around all 'why' questions: but can anybody say if our good fortune is a matter of
chance or design?
Here I am, I know no other,
Plank’s constant must be my mother;
If the world had not cohered,
We could not ponder “Is it weird?” -- Abigail Emily Anthropic
the devil's addendum – page 6
antibiotic (drug of choice): a magic health care candy demanded or indulged in by those who wish to flaunt
the fact that they haven't learned anything since 1952. Creationists are pleased to report that the increasing
ineffectiveness of this treatment is not due to evolution of a. resistance by pathogenic organisms (brought on by
widespread flouting of the protocols for the suppression of such evolution), but is a divine judgment on those
who have put their faith in the possibility of any evolution.
God is the God of Chemistry, it's how He runs His show,
There's nothing very subtle in the world that we need to know.
So if a germ has made you sick, gulp what you feel is best,
There's no need for precautions, nothing changes, as you know,
Life is no more than chemistry (see “nothing but” below). -- Dr. Panglost
apocalypse (n): a supernatural end of the world (rapture, starburst, second coming, etc), forecast with
enviable precision from ancient prophesies of uncanny ambiguity, which is said to have already begun in
alarming though mundane events, and which will continue through one or a few decades of exponentially
increasing sales of the author's books, recordings, paraphernalia, and sexual intimacy with followers, until a
precisely forecast miraculous conclusion, when the author will either abscond to some country from which
extradition is difficult or, given really gullible followers, will reforecast the End to a date just beyond the author's
expected lifespan. 'None of the Book of Revelation was written so that just anyone reading it could understand. It
has to be revealed through God’s servants, and most of it was reserved to be revealed at this end-time through
God’s end-time prophet — me.' -- CMr2u_qWhI0CFQZiOAod5R9JpA
Arabic months: 39% confusion. Those so burdened by the cares of life, writing for such a wide diversity of
languages, or so bound by an antique Quaker refusal to name months from pagan divinities, that they must write
the month as a number, invariably represent the month with a Roman numeral if they are among those who hope
to be understood. A corollary of this comprehensibility is that the century is invariably written in 4-digit Arabic
notation (03/04/05, revised 06/02/07 - fws).
“Oh why to Kay?” young Arthur cried
His Merlin jumped in fright
“That future’s wrong,” to me he sighed
“A.D. two-thousand’s right.” -- Walter Onceand Kelly
(these strictures do not apply to expiry or "best before" dates, where the designer's goal is to conceal both the
date the numbers represent, and especially the fact that they represent a date: "08 JA 20 2")
arrogance (hypothetical attitude): your account of my humility. “I'm always amused when I hear people who
don't know me describe me as arrogant, insensitive, and overconfident. They have no idea how wrong they are.”
Geno Auriemma.
autumn (n): the season of putting off the harvest until the night before it frosts (see Tomato).
baited breath (plati-inaptitude) the lure of the whopper. “When will the US rigged elections get some publicity
in the media? Please inform us. We are waiting with baited breath!” Anonymous (not verified) — Sun,
06/14/2009 - 18:58
bannock (n): a carbonised cortex surrounding a glutinous medulla; protean out-of-doors shortbreads north of
the border; a burnt offering to the goddess of the Campfire.
basic needs (Poerksen plastic word): that which advertising tells you it can satisfy.
beauty (n): 1) the growth and zonation of wild plants, or any product of descent with modification by natural
selection. alternatively 2) the constrained arrangement of planted and trimmed vegetation. Since the
horticulturally constrained communities provide reduced habitat for native biota and reduced ecological services,
sustainability will require that horticultural communities become more compact, and for more People to
the devil's addendum – page 7
appreciate the fractal glory of uncultivated beauty.
behaviourism (scientism): the theory that nobody knows what they are doing, but nonetheless does it
lawfully. <<get Jaynes quote>>
best practices (banality): a lowest common denominator comprising the shortsighted interests of those
already in control of an out-of-control situation.
bicycle (motorists’ definition): a stationary object with infinite powers of lateral movement.
biostitute (n): an evil flying ape-soldier, masquerading as an environmental consultant, in the service of the
Emerald City of development (thanks to Bev Wigney & Eric Snyder).
Bluebird (english substantive for Sialia sialis): a gaudily dressed rural welfare bum, totally dependent on
public housing for as many generations as anyone can remember, and with no prospect of making its own way
anytime in the future. Despite this insolvency, it is always dressed in a high-tech skyfractive blue, and sits up
more perkily than many a respectable self-nesting citizen. “If they are good American birds, they'd be able to
confront the foreigners in an open housing market. If I'm not afraid of English Sparrows and French Starlings,
why should they be?” -- Rushing-to-Apologize Limb-bough.
boundaries (n) a system of surveyed lines credited with much of the ecological damage Commercial People
have inflicted on North America (see William Cronon, 1983. Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the
Ecology of New England. Hill & Wang, New York. xiii+241 pp.), recently automated by Geographic Information
Systems... If b’s drawn across the land are the source of our ecological problems, can we overcome them by
producing infinitely more of them? This calculus-like limit theorem has never been explicitly expounded, yet it
seems to be an unspoken assumption of the conservation and endangered species movements. “...b’s between
different terrestrial ecosystems can arbitrarily be established, but absolute or ‘natural” b’s between adjacent ecosystems
cannot be objectively defined. Kolar, S&W Report 40:10.
There once was a mousie
That had a little housie,
and that was the end of the mousie,
‘Cause an Owl got in. - the Simple Native.
brand (cultural icon): a corporate logo burned into the flesh of the consumer by the red hot iron of payola. “They
made an impressive edifice, these theories of the brand, a great monument of 'New Economy' thought that had only one flaw:
Americans hated brands.” Frank, OMUG, p 253.
British Commonwealth (noun of history): a homeopathic empire of nostalgia, intermittently bedaubed by
dictatorial regimes, but cleansing itself by virtuous inaction.
British Empire (noun of history): Victoria's Accident; a global red tide of mingled arrogance, commerce,
disinterest, and charity, soon corrupted, by internal convulsions, into a Commonwealth.
Buckwheat (english substantive for Fagopyrum esculentum): the Knotweed that's not a weed; fields white
long before the harvest, making a dual contribution to the Human diet as the optimally flavoured grain, grown
from the pollen borne by Bees making the optimally flavoured honey.
Oh! to be a field of Buckwheat,
Oh to be abuzz with Bees,
Oh to be both cake and topping
In breakfast festivities. -- Catskill Caroller.
bug (n): vulgarly, any insect or other creeping or crawling invertebrate animal; entomologically, an Hemipteran.
The original 'bug' was the "Bed Bug," Cimex lectularius. Because this was the Hemipteran that roused the most
the devil's addendum – page 8
intense emotions among (and drew the most blood from) People, it was taken as the vernacular 'type' for the
Hemiptera: all Hemiptera were to be 'Bugs' and no other Insect was to be so denominated. Thus the 20th
Century began. Unfortunately, North American English had already arisen, with its tendency to broaden the
application of the words it retained from British English, and 'bug' had come unstuck from Cimbex, referring to
whatever wasn't highly regarded by the speaker. Through the 20th century the battle was waged - naturalists on
one side and universal bug-sayers on the other. The non-hemipteran 'bug' was, like singularized 'data' &
'bacteria,' non-metric units of measure, 'herp[e]tile,' 12-hour time, and 'birds and animals' taken to be a sign of
scientific illiteracy. In these latter and degenerate times, however, purportedly respectable institutions use 'bug' to
denominate any smallish organism, and entire books of entomological instruction mis-apply 'bug' in their titles.
"The workshop showed participants how to collect, identify and record their bug findings. Lake bugs, better
known as benthic invertebrates..." (Around the Rideau, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority,
September/October 2004). “Giant Bug Terrorized Ancient Seas... Hurdia victoria, a vicious monster-looking
crustacean-like predator from famous shale deposits in Canada” (Fox News, 23 March 20091).
An earthworm is a kind of bug
That looks a little like a slug
...but not much. The Simple Native.
buggery (v): osteological preparation by Dermestes Carpet Beetles.
Bone strippers, dry as dust
Bone strippers, shedding smaller
Bone strippers and your beetle parents
How will I do my work so well? - Animate Ally
bureaucrat (n.) one who is employed by a large organization or government to develop smokescreens
between the upper echelons of said organization and the general public. Most often characterized by a
willingness to add convolutions to the organization's decision-making process, while successfully avoiding
decisions. This tactic results in ensured job security for the bureaucrat within the organization. See executive.
Cabinet shuffle (political antic): rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic in order to quarantine a case of
foot-in-mouth disease.
CAD (Curatorial Anxiety Disorder; also known as nervous breakdown or snapping): a non-medical term used to
describe an acute, time-limited disorder among those responsible for a natural history collection that is subjected
to what have become the ordinary limitations on funding and other resources. "Real curators think with their
collections." (Grant McCracken, 28 March 2008).
California (region): “a state of 146,000 square miles, that has one third of it 99% covered by over 1,000 different exotic
plants.” -- Craig Dremann, 5 Jan 2007. Also a state of mind, probably equally committed to exotica. “Can I once
taste northern waters, and forsake them for the south, to feel California's ashes in my mouth?” -- Stan Rogers.
Canadian (meta-nationality of Homo sapiens): a North American who plans to enjoy all the benefits of the
American Way of Life, while simultaneously escaping the rigours of Manifest Destiny and mocking its excesses.
The Separatist puts the same policy in play towards the Rest of Canada, oxymoronically in the case of the
Québec Separatist, who would leave Canada while retaining its type locality.
Canadian Wildlife Service (noun of frustration): idealists co-opted into a bureaucracy, in order to
repeatedly start doing what's right, as a precursor to having their budget slashed.
capitalization (Poerksen plastic word): the process of changing an enterprise into a tax exemption.
care (Poerksen plastic word): scheduled indifference.
Copyright © 2009 Imaginova Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or
the devil's addendum – page 9
carrying capacity (scalar of exploitation): as many as there would be for me if you'd stop killing them.
catch per unit effort (scalar of exploitation) the fishery statistic that the invisible hand of the marketplace
strives to minimize, until it reaches such a minimum that the government must be blamed for the disappearance
of the prey.
Cattle-beast (English substantive for Bos taurus): just one of the species, without reference to sex or age; an
invaluable singular absent from the English language as spoken outside the Ottawa Valley.
Cattle Egret (english substantive for Bubulcus ibis): a small white Heron that made itself the mascot of
dispersalist biogeography by surmounting the Atlantic in order to summer in New Brunswick.
celebrity (n): 1) one quarter of an hour, 2) an individual who is famous for being famous; these exist in such
infinite supply that, except for the ever recrudescent Madonna, one only ever hears each celebrity’s name
mentioned once. “I'M A CELEBRITY, GET ME OUT OF HERE! -- Premiering Monday, June 1, 2009, NBC, 8
p.m., airing Mondays- Thursdays until June 18, Monday to Wednesday June 22 to 24. You've heard of D-list
celebrities. Perhaps you can even name a few. Now you can see some of them compete in a jungle challenge in
which viewers decide what kind of awful indignities they will face to win food, camping gear and 'luxury items' —
or about as luxurious as a camp in the middle of the Costa Rica jungle will allow. You want celebrities? Boy, have
we got celebrities. There's Sanjaya Malakar, for the American Idol fan in you. There's a Baldwin brother.
(Stephen, not Alec.) There's a pro wrestler, Torrie Wilson, and a couple of castoffs from MTV's The Hills, Heidi
Montage and Spencer Pratt. There's a one-time regular from America's Next Top Model, Janice Dickinson, and a
former NBA player and current talk-show host and sometime actor, John Salley.” -- Ottawa Citizen, 29 May 2009.
celebrity comeback: a nonentity resuming the exultation of nothingness after an interval of shame: "I was a
four-legged toady for the Dogs of Hell." -- Repentant Reptant.
centre (Poerksen plastic word): a specially constructed one-storey brick building where an organization has
arranged that it should happen.
cheers (e-mail closing): “disregard the dolorous content of the body of this e-mail, and strive to emulate the
light-headedness of your correspondent.”
cheese (n): A transcendent deity of importance and influence, reverenced as “the Big Cheese,” hopefully
invoked at the prospect of the immortality conferred by photography, providing instant absolution upon
confession at the “whine & cheese party,” and implored for deliverance in the ejaculation “Cheese it, the cops!” A
complex creation story is allegorized as the Divinity's representation as soured milk, curdled by the stomach of a
calf, slashed, drained of the Whey, cultured among the Bacteria, and aged in caverns for 3 times thirty days and
nights before being released into the invisible hand of a commercial market. The Big Cheese was incarnate at
the magnitude of 11 tons, in 1893, at Perth, called forth by the behest of the Ottawa Experimental Farm of the
Dominion of Canada. (see process). “Blessed are the cheese makers, for they will know the whey.” - Blownup
Bishops Boys.
Who moved my Cheese?
Who moved my Cheese?
It brings a Person to his knees
To think that everyone agrees
That God has gone and moved my Cheese. -- Spectacled Jackson, MpD.
chiropractice (hand-operated noun): a sudden pain, vaguely justified by x-rays, that recurs just in time
for the next appointment.
coffee (substantive beverage of Coffea arabica): the tropical fuel of boreal civilization. “The Lapps make the
the devil's addendum – page 10
finest coffee in the world; not even in California is such coffee to be experienced.” Lister, to Haparanda, p 189;
"I'm goin' to Timmy's for a double-double, eh?" -- Puddington.
comfort: strengthening assistance. The corruption of this worthy cause to "soporific luxury" is due to the
advertising industry, which finds the profit margin on the latter commodity much more attractive than that on the
original virtue.
committee (n) -- a group of individuals characterized by their ability to stall decisions, exchange small-talk
among themselves, and drink exceptionally bad coffee. Usually convened to stifle creative ideas and ensure the
status quo (see facilitated discussion). Occasionally convened under duress to respond to significant
respiratory expulsions, as an "ad hoc" committee. Contrary to the name, the purpose of the committee is
generally to refrain from committing (cf intelligent design; the Camel is widely regarded as a Horse designed by
a committee).
communication (Poerksen plastic word): my account of what you should believe.
community (plastic word): 1) individuals who, at least momentarily, have something in common, as “the
beverage-drinking community.” 2) an ecosystem bereft of its hype.
conference (n): a gathering of people who individually can do nothing, but collectively can decide that nothing
can be done. -- thanks to Dr Spam Filler.
construction industry (greenhouse noun): a demand-exacerbation branch of the fossil [fuel] industry,
devoted to speculatively covering the landscape with crowded high-maintenance buildings, in the hope that in a
carbon-neutral future these quickies will be so obsolete that they will have to be torn down and replaced with the
buildings that a thoughtful society would have constructed over the past few decades. (see R2000).
consumption (Poerksen plastic word): economic tuberculosis (the term is imported from ecology, where it
refers to the transfer of fixed carbon to a trophic level occupied by organisms more closely related to the author
than their prey are. When the consumer is more distantly related to the author than the prey, consumption is
redenominated ‘disease’ or ‘decomposition.’).
consumer (degraded substantive for Homo sapiens) what’s left of a citizen who has begun to take
advertising seriously. “Today it is normal to be a consumer, separated from the producer of the goods we use.
Life is ordered by the need to work so as to be able to buy the goods” James Burke, 1985, The day the universe
changed, p 163.
contact (Poerksen plastic word): a Newtonian impact that transfers inertia from one individual to another.
control freak (n): any Person or other organism, regarded from the point of view of another.
Control freaks flourish on the ground
Where trees were wont to grow,
And if they cannot cut them down
They plant them in a row. -- Cultivated Forester.
cooperation (n): 1) a significant influx of barrel- and wheel-makers into a given community; 2) renovations
performed for the benefit of chickens; 3) a mis-guided attempt to inspire individual compliance with corporate
coworker (n): one who orks cows. Often mispronounced ‘co-worker’ by those who neither work nor cooperate.
Creation Scientist (hypothetical personage): The Oxymoron made flesh. “...the Mark of the Bogus on the
the devil's addendum – page 11
scientific creationists is their failure to address what to them should be the chief question in biology: 'What are
the originally created kinds?' For a creationist, everything else in biology must hinge on that. Linnaeus realized
it, but the creationists ignore it, because they are not biologists. If species are independently created, then the
differences between species (Linnaeus's 'essential variation') must be of a different sort than differences among
members of a species (his 'accidental variation'). To a truly scientific creationist, the chief research aim should be
to distinguish essential and accidental variation, for by doing so, one determines, out of all the existing variability,
which were the originally created kinds. As far as I've been able to tell, no modern creationists bother to address
this central issue. Certainly our creationist academic ancestors eventually gave up trying to distinguish the two
kinds of variation. When I get creationist students in my classes, I show them how important this question of
variation is to them, if they want to be a creationist and a biologist both. I figure if they study it long enough, they
will come to the same conclusions as our academic forebears.” -- Curtis Clark on TAXACOM
creationism (dogma): the doctrine that God created fossils, DNA, comparative anatomy, radiometric dating,
and the Burgess Shale only for the perverse pleasure of denying those who would enjoy Him in eternity the
opportunity to believe in the wonders of His Creation.
cybernetics (scientism): the incredulous theory that everything is system, and can be reduced to boxes and
czar (arbitrarily appointed potentate): a monarchical figure who does for the United States what the regular
Federal and State bureaucracy can't. “There's a killer fungus among us, and Florida's new drug czar hopes to
one day let it loose to murder the state's illegal marijuana crops.” St. Petersburg Times, 17 July 1999 (thanks to
Peter Jenkins).
decision (Poerksen plastic word): 1) an arbitrary fiat, after a sham public consultation; 2) indecision concealed
beneath a facade of certainty; 3) an ecologically damaging mistake made by the Ontario Municipal Board.
depression (mentality): rational reflection on the state of human affairs. “Anyone who isn't depressed is
insane.” Cambarus the Cynic.
developers (degraded subpopulation of Homo sapiens): habitat destruction wonks. Often recognized by their
huffy attitude when something worthy of preservation is discovered, without their permission, on the land they
propose to destroy, and by their failure to apologize for the sin of omission that they've committed by not noticing
it first (see environmental assessment).
development (Poerksen plastic word): habitat destruction.
“Incidentally, Wasaga's now encroaching on my
doorstep with mushroom suburbs. The way they rape the land when they're developing these massive subdivisions is horrific.
First you cut down absolutely everything, then you follow that by scraping all the topsoil off the 100+ acres, follow by putting
in your 200 foundations or so, finish off the houses, then spread the original topsoil back on the surrounding soil, and finish
by throwing down monoculture sod of a species that is not native or hardy to a sandy soil, thereby forcing the homeowners to
water constantly to keep their grass alive.” Anita Miles, 25 Nov 2005. “The [Ottawa] City staff report includes a map that
shows that a Municipal Drain is proposed to be established within several parts of the Goulbourn Wetlands Complex The
landowners want the wetlands drained so that wetland plant species will be replaced with upland species, resulting in the
removal of Provincially Significant Wetland designations from their lands so as to allow development.” Ken McRae, 23 Aug
2009, 23h59. “If, for example, you own 30 metres of lakefront, pick the three to eight metres where development will do the
least harm, and set that section aside for a dock, swimming area, and so on. Keep the fish, ducks, and other wildlife happy
by leaving the rest in its natural state.” -- THE SHORE PRIMER By Ray Ford p. 19.
diapers (n): a garment rarely worn by Tuna fish. The disposable variety, when used as a soil conditioner,
persists as an imperishable memorial to the infancy of sober adulthood.
dictionary (n): a volume (excepting a few uniquely valuable variants) which attempts to define organic taxa
without referencing their taxonomy or Linnaean names. “a marine invertebrate animal having a thick worm-like
body with tentacles around the mouth.” (Compact Oxford, p 1030).
the devil's addendum – page 12
diet (n): a written prescription for oscillations of body mass above the optimum. The most effective of these are
the Diets of Worms, which come in three varieties: Lutheran, Robinic, and Gefilte Fish.
The prophet of NOMA regarded the Diet of Worms as a fortunate joke,
But many lose weight when they submit themselves to the strictures of this easy yoke.
Originally it meant “Live in a garret, write tracts against peasants, and pray,
Codify Twains-bane and put the Bible into it in an abstemious way.”
But if in a garden you hope to wander, after welcoming the dawn in style,
You're bound to stay trim if you wrestle Lumbricus to stuff in the gape of your child.
And finally, the sipping of soup in the offing that's rich in plerocercoid larvae
Will leave you much slimmer than those who eat dinner after it's cooked all the way.
The Diet of Worms has its charms, but it squirms, it reduces your weight, but you'll learn
That there's more to equilibrium than some Shibboleth-ium like Atkins, or Grape seeds, or prunes. -- Slim Deb.
Director (n): one who obstructs, especially in a museum. A curator curates, an administrator ministers to, a
chair moderates, and a trustee assumes a trust, but the lesson of the past thirty years is that a 'director' of any
stripe -- unless unwillingly conscripted to the post -- just gets in the way. The sub-species known as an 'executive
director' gets in the way obstreperously - see ‘executive.’
disinterested (adj): 1) intensely concerned, but without bias. Those incapable of unbiased thought lash out at
the notion that objective criteria might apply to their affairs by synonomising ‘disinterest’ and ‘apathy;’ 2) a
colloquial lapsus for ‘uninterested.’ “I soon noticed that the squirrel became extremely agitated if it saw a Blue
Jay land in the maple tree anywhere near the apples which it was caching in various forks - although the
birds seemed disinterested in the apple caches.” (Beverly Lister)
divorce: 1) a media-relations programme of the construction industry designed to inflate demand for underoccupied housing; 2) the outcome of traditional marriage; 3) the mother of lies.
Do Dragons fly? In forming English names from an adjective and the name of an analogous taxon (i.e., of
which the named group is not a member), join the adjective and wrong-taxon name as a single word, but if the
named group is a member of the larger taxon, use separate words, as noun and adjective. Thus "Dragonfly"
versus “Horse Fly” and (contra traditional herpetological usage) "Bull Frog," & (contra herpeto-vernacular
innovation) "Ribbon Snake," versus “Waterdog.”
Dog (english substantive, and adult life-stage, of Canis familiaris): the conversion of the momentary abuses
suffered by puppyhood into the ineradicable prejudices of a flinty adulthood.
doohickey (noun of vagueness, alternatively dohickey, dojigger, doodad, gimmick, hickey, gizmo, gismo,
gubbins, knobamibob, thingamabob, thingumabob, thingmabob, thingamajig, thingumajig, thingmajig,
thingummy, wazzit, whatzit): an unlabeled ambiguous interface, omnipresent on electronic equipment “This little
thing goes like this – I think.” -- Bishops Matron.
Read my mind, deluded user,
Push the button, turn the knob.
You cannot divine my meaning
So you must break down and sob. -- deSigner.
drop-down menu (n): the GUI entrance to the modern Labyrinth, where both the modern Theseus and the
modern Ariadne learn that even conceiving and bearing a child doesn't mean that having forced Microsoft
Minotaur®© to once perform a required function (even by the supernatural intervention of youthful computing
intuition), will it be possible to repeat this function, or remember the sequence of the nearly-synonymous choices
that produced it.
download (interminable noun): a new version of a program which doesn't solve the problem you've been
having with the previous version.
the devil's addendum – page 13
dystrophic (adj): the characteristic northern water, softened by the steepage of uncounted lives.
Where woven Spruce and tangled Alder meet
Over the bending Carex, green as gold.
Pectinate rocks, low Sun, dystrophic river,
Glass-green surf on jeweled beaches
From the enameled sea. - Haida Guy
Earwig (english substantive for Forficula auricularia): an omnipresent reminder that humanity is not acclaimed
as the dominant species on the globe, a conclusion recorded in the Earwig’s neatly folded dorsal Scriptures and
revealed by its inscrutable appearance wherever it is not wanted. ”The earwig can, at the end of its ‘earthly
course’ rise up to kinship with God and eternal life.” Friedrich Nietzsche, 1881, Daybreak: Thoughts on the
Prejudices of Morality, p 47.
economic benefit (scalar of exploitation): cutting down the trees of a forest once per century. Does not
include the benefits provided to People, even in the resulting clearcuts, by Fireweed honey (4-8 yrs), Blueberries
(15-20 yrs), forest-edge game (20-40 yrs), and mushrooms (40-600 yrs), nor is it the algebraic sum (inevitably
negative) of the value of the cut trees and that which a sustained forest would have.
economics: stomach pain for biologists; the only science incapable of modelling equilibrium. "In order to get
a Ph.D. in economics, you have to remove your heart and your brain." Mike, on x-country checkup, 7 March
education (Poerksen plastic word): that which is dropped into the hole created by television. “ If schools
consume the youth of the nation in confinement, and all the products of their labors become paper to be thrown away, there
is no joy possible in such goods.” John Taylor Gatto, Natural Life #44
election (n): an opportunity for politicians to hone their skills of answering questions other than that they've
been asked – as practice for their responsibilities once in office.
electric cattle prod (n): an instrument designed for the use of broadcast journalists when politicians evade
the question they've been asked by answering some other question. Unfortunately rarely used for its designed
purpose, as it has been widely co-opted for livestock management.
email (n): enamel on the French side of the can. cf. ‘e-mail’ (electronic mail).
e-mail (mesmerizing noun): an electronic method of confounding inactivity with exhaustion.
emotional experience (plastic word): strong feelings described by someone who can't be bothered to say
or know which feeling has been experienced. A lexicographer is obliged to deplore the loss of vocabulary
occasioned when the sentence "It was a very emotional experience." equally describes the birth of a child, a
diagnosis of leukemia, receipt of the child's toes in a ransom note from kidnappers, and hearing the child give
the Nobel Prize address.
endnote (n): disruption and inconvenience as a word-processing format option. Sensible scholars cite
references by author and date, and place remarks that burst the bounds of parenthesis in footnotes. Publishers,
terrified by rumours that the ignorant may divert their funds from books formatted in this intelligible way,
confound citations and notes into wads of 7-point at the rear of the volume, where glosses are dissociated from
their texts, and citations are reduced to a stream of ibids. The goddess of ambiguity extends her special
blessing to those volumes where the endnotes are related to the text only by their own notation of page and
phrase (without superscripts in the text), successfully achieving a total irrelevancy, or where the notes are
numbered in a separate series in each chapter, with the chapters identified by roman numerals in the table of
contents, verbally in the running head, and by arabic numerals in the endnotes, successfully achieving a total
the devil's addendum – page 14
energy (Poerksen plastic word): something like thermodynamic zip, as extracted from a fossil fuel. “Let it be
noted in passing that the less an element is 'centred' (i.e. the feebler its radial energy) the more will its tangential
energy reveal itself in powerful mechanical effects. Between strongly 'centred' particles (i.e. of high radial
energy) the tangential seems to become 'interiorised' and to disappear from the physicist's view. Probably we
have here an auxiliary principle which could help to explain the apparent conservation of energy in the universe.
We probably ought to recognise two Sorts of tangential energy, one of radiation (at its maximum with the lowest
radial values, as in the atom), the other of arrangement (only appreciable with the highest radial values, as in
living creatures, man in particular).” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon Of Man, chapter 2: The Within
of Things.
enlightenment (verbal conundrum): the art of living off the royalties of books that extoll the renunciation of all
material things. The true adept, “co-essential with the Transcendental Being-Consciousness itself,” also owns
the publishing company.
"Original thought is a straightforward process.
It's easy enough when you know what to do.
You simply combine in appropriate doses
the blatantly false and the patently true." -- a grook of Piet Hein
entertainment (economic antic): an industry of diversion, in which my role is to enthusiastically pay you for
the privilege of immobilizing myself in front of an electronic representation of you enjoying yourself.
environmental assessment (administrative high-jink): a winter survey of summer-active biota, usually
authored by a biostitute. “Striking prima facie errors populate this assessment. ‘Ash’ and ‘poplar’ are genera: not species.
Cattails are absent, and almost all of the houses are permanent residences rather than cottages... It’s curious that anyone
conducting an ‘environmental assessment’ would have missed this rambling stand of the giant invasive grass, haplotype ‘m’
Phragmites australis, the ‘Grass that ate New Jersey’... Stronger language than ‘good’ has been used of this marsh: ‘a
previously unreported Provincially Significant vegetation type in Ontario.’ The fact that ‘no rare species were discovered’ by
the assessors suggests a cursory survey... [since] the Provincially Rare Quillwort Isoetes riparia at this site ‘constitutes the
largest known population in Canada and likely the largest in North America.’” -- Willola Wanderer.
envy (deadly sin): how the millinery trade loved the Egret.
error: the fundamental human antic.
Oh how simple is an error,
It's the human thing to do.
Willfull error spreads the savour
Of decaying kitten poo. -- Eduard Litter Bachs
ethnic hatred [Canadian]: intermarriage. “Visit Carling Avenue and see the World” (Ottawa tourist brochure).
"What it says is that... we understand pretty well that the biggest challenge that all of us have is to try to find
ways of getting along, of understanding the other person" - Ken Dryden on homosexual marriage, 28 June 2005.
Away from Carling Avenue this emotion is often expressed more by outlaw than by in-law activity, as in the Gaza
Strip where, “By the light of burning egg crates, Samir Abu Hattah whacked away at window glass with a metal
pole, shouting, ‘Go to hell, Zionists!’” (12 September 2005); it is implied that either Mr Hattah's wife isn’t Jewish
or that he won't be going home after this recreational outing.
evil (n) wrong-doing arising from motives other than the desire to accommodate others, or to assimilate to their
sense of what is right. “(Query: Cannot many of our lapses from Truth be frequently charged upon the tactless persistence
of others?)” Diary of a Provincial Lady, December 16th. see scab-eater and vomit-drinker. "A thing is right when it tends
to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it does otherwise." Aldo Leopold.
The wicked man may spend his time
Despoiling all his brothers,
But when he runs out of mulled wine,
He goes and begs from others. -- Jelliebird, the Foop.
the devil's addendum – page 15
exactly (adverbial impossibility): idiosyncratically, as in the broadcast journalist’s imposition “Tell us exactly
what that refers to.“ see “precisely.”
exchange (Poerksen plastic word): reciprocal cheating.
excuse (n): an explanation soured by guilt.
executive (plastic word): self-confident incompetence, an ego-centric guffin; erectile dysfunction on a diet of
pep pills. In advertising, executive refers to an unnecessary option with an artificially inflated price. see director
for ‘executive director.’
Executive Summary (euphemism): Abstract (of a document), a synonym used to spuriously inflate the ego
of readers who wish to fancy themselves ‘executives.’ (fide Seburn Ecological Services, 12 Jan 2000).
expert (n): an unknown drip under pressure (from x=the unknown, & spurt, a pressurized drip - thanks to FWS
exploitation (n): business as usual.
externality (scalar of exploitation): an economist's faith that if he doesn't measure the damage he's doing it
will be harmless (see noise).
facilitated discussion: an assembly randomly segregated into broken-down committees named for subtopics of marginal interest, where arbitrary questions elicit atomized fragments of opinion that appointed
moderators can reassemble into conclusions closer to the heart of the sponsoring agency. (see reductionism)
“These managed discussions are useful for codifying the viewpoints of a majority of the participants, or for
working out compromises between two or a few equally-represented groups, but they also serve as a strong filter
for diluting minority viewpoints.” L. Factor. "I refuse to participate in facilitated discussions, here known as
'whiteboard meetings' or 'butcher-paper-and-Texta meetings'. A friend and local government Councillor got one
of my refusals and wrote: 'Yes, all those points taken. This has something to do with playing the game in search
of funding. The facilitators will provide a written report that we can cut and shut from for the rest of our lives, (and
importantly tie the 'outcomes' (love it) to the 'Tasmania Together Framework' (more love), so people higher up
the food chain will give us money. At least that's the plan - hey and it gets Council cred this way. Love it or hate it
- play the game, win the prize, spend the prize on the important stuff!!'" -- Bob Mesibov, Tasmania.
fact (n): the empirical egg laid by a theoretical chicken. Juliet Craig wrote: > I was wondering if any of you had
any "scary weed facts" about invasive plants globally, or in Canada... [REPLY]: fact #1) Garlic Mustard and
Dog-strangling Vine recently scored a dead heat in the contest to become Toronto's National Floral Emblem; fact
#2) Frangulous and Cathartic Buckthorn recently scored a dead heat in the contest to become eastern Ontario's
Shrub of the Century; fact #3) Typha x glauca and Phragmites australis subsp. australis recently scored a dead
heat in the contest for the International Joint Commission’s Omnipresence Trophy in Great Lakes wetlands,
while Ontario Hwy 401 and Quebec Autoroute 20 are to be jointly renamed "Phragmites Way/route de la
Phragmite;" fact #4) Mryiophyllum spicatum, Potamogeton crispus, and Hydrocharis morsus-ranae recently
scored a dead heat in the Propeller Profanity Poll of the Southern Ontario Recreational Boating Association.
...are those fact-like enough? I can compose more if you'd like. - Bishops Million.
factor (Poerksen plastic word): a refugee from the language of multivariate statistics, where it was an heuristic
axis of reduced variation in a multidimensional character space: "What you have here is a positive - positive;
which is nothing. You disturbed the chain reaction of your cleaning, which is nothing. You are killing germicide the kill factor is 10 minutes. Sterilization is killing at a high boiling point. Check your product out. You have to
use a finish of a fixed percentage. You should realize that if a dilution factor is related to a kill factor. It has to do
the kill factor in that many minutes. We have to get the bacterial level to a safe human incidence. What the
average norm is... Is the factor involved - all the factors put in." presentation by G. H. Wood Sales Manager -
the devil's addendum – page 16
Queen Charlotte Islands General Hospital, 5 October 1988
faith (n): personal assurance of divine illogic. “a faith” is an aggregate of individuals clustering together to
assure themselves of the illogic of a particular divinity. “The effectiveness of a doctrine should not be judged by
its profundity, sublimity or the validity of the truths it embodies, but by how thoroughly it insulates the individual
from his self and from the world as it is... A doctrine that is understood is shorn of its strength.” Hoffer, True
Believer (56-57), 1951
fantasy (n): the belief that governments are somehow more than the sum of their parts, on the one hand that
they exercise a super-legal oversight which prevents harmful outcomes when citizens selfishly struggle against
official or rational restrictions on their activities (“The public's naïveté about the environmental and long-term
effects of indiscriminate use of chemicals on lawns was phenomenal. Despite occasional warnings, Americans,
believing that if a product could be sold it must be safe, embraced the new chemical products for home and
yard.” -- Jenkins, 1994, The Lawn, An American Obsession, p 146.), and on the other hand, that governments
participate in a cryptic conspiracy to deprive citizens of their historic rights for no good reason (“...the League of
Nations, and the reaction caused by the U.S. failure to ratify the world government plan. The creation of the
Council on Foreign Relations and the Royal Institute of Foreign Affairs in Europe, were both the direct result of
U.S. non-ratification. These institutions, along with other socialist groups, were created expressly to prepare
Americans, and the world, to accept a world government.” review of Hillmann, 2001, Reinventing Government:
Fast Bullets and Culture Changes, by Henry Lamb). Canadian examples of both fantasies are also available –
see Ontario Municipal Board.
fashion (noun of ephemerality): making so much of so little that it becomes nothing at all – but still worth a
billion bucks to the perpetrators. Once the victims know what is in fashion, then they know it's not, causing them
and their associates endless anxiety. "As to temper the Jubjub's a desperate bird, since it lives in perpetual
passion: Its taste in costume is entirely absurd – it is ages ahead of the fashion.” -- the Butcher, Lessons in
Natural History.
Fireweed (english substantive of Epilobium angustifolium): Rosebay Willowherb at its holarctic extremity; the
fluff-borne payoff of clearcut forestry; clonal thickets of instant magenta; a roar of pollinators sucking up spiced
honey; a forecast of frost in a fog of propagules. “ the largest patch of Fireweed, the air seemed alive with its
pinkness, filling my lungs and casting its colour on the insides of my eyelids. Its aura was as powerful as a scent
– cool pink flavour, with just a whisper of the blue of sky.” WSD.
fisherman [swaggering boat-trailer pot-bellied sport] (sub-population of Homo sapiens): those human
resources of the sports industry that focus on a narrow range of Teleostome prey species in order to roam ever
further north and use ever more expensive gear to deplete ever more remote stocks of these species while
ignoring all other aquatic life. INCANTATION: may they all choke on fish bones and mis-swallowed beer.
flame (e-antic) : the kind of on-line disinhibition which causes one botanist, on an international list-serve, to
declare another a “disgracefully anti-scientific moron” for preferring the epithet "brunescens" for a "brownish"
taxon (with the single “n” of Medieval Latin, ultimately borrowed from a vulgarly Germanic tongue) while the
flamer virtuously insists upon what he knows to be the more classical “brunnescens.”
flooding (antic of hydrology): a convenient way of blaming God for deforestation, the draining of wetlands, and
the development of flood plains
And, Oh, we’re good Victorians,
We’ve drained the swamps and bogs
Ploughed up the land, cut down the trees
And carried off the logs,
But the river she is fickle
She’s a mystery to me
In the summer she’s a trickle,
In the Spring a rolling sea. -- Grand Tamarackaroo
the devil's addendum – page 17
formation (Poerksen plastic word): petrified sediments laid down under a bureaucracy.
free trade (Canadian political fiction): a bureaucracy set up to impede the movement of goods across an
international border.
function (Poerksen plastic word): the mapping of a set of arguments onto a set of values. Almost any
relationship can be reduced to the aridity of f(x)=y, though most would prefer not to be.
future (Poerksen plastic word): prognosticated improbability.
"gagging down pills" (verbal phrase): an art of the supplement era. “The trick is to actually gag as the
multicoloured multitude goes down into the abyss. A tepid beverage works best. Have the pills in one hand, and
the cup in the other. Sit upright, with neck vertical. Flex the lower neck slightly forward, quickly flip the handful
into the buccal cavity (avoiding the embarrassment of a careless toss that sends some capsules into your lap),
and simultaneously raise the cup to your lips. Welcome the onset of the gag reflex like a visit from your wife's
old boyfriend. Carry through with an esophogeal convulsion, and bask in the incredulous admiration of any
onlookers. No deaths are known to have resulted from adherence to this protocol, though its authors are not
responsible for the character of any material swallowed when it is employed.” -- Howard the Pill.
Geese (english substantive for Branta canadensis): Toronto’s reminder that the world is more than pavement.
“Seventy-nine 'goose people' walked down in single file from the lawn of Shell Park and spilled onto the water
like a ribbon of viscous fluid, out onto the lake and, still in single file, under the first span of the pier... It rained
this morning, so [they] didn't come here to graze until this afternoon - resting, watching, preening, pulling at the
grass with their beaks, doing all of those goosey things with pastoral contentment and serene confidence. I love
to see big creatures grazing in open places, and feast my eyes on the light and shadow defining their shapes.
They have no need for camouflage in the open as they trust in general flock watchfulness. Nothing People do
threatens them, but they explode thunderously away from unleashed Dogs.” APTW.
General Motors (industrious noun): 1) What's good for the United States; 2) an automobile manufacturer
remembered for never having produced a memorable vehicle; 3) an industrial neutron star, waiting to “go nova”
as it engulfs masses of gassy cash from its governing satellites.
global warming: a problem with such pervasively and embarrassingly virtuous solutions that the wicked are
hugely exercised by finding ways to employ nuclear power, tarry sands, and massive underground farts to
sustain their way of life against the threat presented by the proposed virtue of global awareness.
glory (state of mind): money. The classic exposition differs, and is quoted here as coming to an impeccable
lexicographic conclusion, though initially wide of the mark,: "I don't know what you mean by 'glory,'" Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knockdown
argument for you!'" "But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument,'" Alice objected. "When I use a
word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor
less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question
is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all."
gluttony (deadly sin): behaviour modeled on the agricultural development of the Tall-grass Prairie.
"Go to Hell!" the missing button on Windows system menus urging you do something that will enrich Bill of
the Gates (see drop-down menu).
Goatsbeard (english substantive for Tragopogon): an Art Nouveau Dandelion, reaching skyward in suppliant
spikes and curves towards the embrace of fluff-bearing zephyrs.
the devil's addendum – page 18
goodness (state of being): not demanding any goods.
goods (n): unnecessary products, manufactured by abused Chinese polluters, packed in containers rife with
invasive aliens, and shipped by the fumes of Bunker C to big-box temples sanctified by prairies of pavement, for
the sake of the momentary gratification the electronic depletion of their credit gives to addicted purchasers, and
for the sake of the subsequent employment provided to the waste-disposal industry.
government (n): a collective agreement to treat the symptoms rather than the disease.
grammar (concept): what's missing from spam. “These couple were good Christians, they were so dedicated
to God but they had no child till they died;” “Any delay in your reply will give room in sourcing for an organization
or a devoted individual for this same purpose.” “Please I need your assistance in this ways. Can you help me to
come over to your country and further my educational carrier? No matter what your decision may turn to be I
humbly begging you to reply to me “ FROM: Kristi. “Hello my new friend! My name is Olga. I'm 28 old years. I
live in Russia. I search for serious relations and I would like to get acquainted with you! It will be probable
between us good friendship and probably we meet love in the friend the friend. It is curious to me to learn more
about you and I will be madly glad to see your pictures..Answer me please on my e-mail:[email protected]”
grantsmanship (fiscal skill): the mental agility that allows an adult herpetologist write "We had no idea how
many turtles were crossing roads [in the settled parts of North America] and whether road mortality represented
a serious threat to populations or not." - Jamesable P. Glibbs.
Grass-of-Parnassus (English substantive for Parnassia glauca): poetry rooted in rheotrophic wetlands.
Grass of Parnassus – food on which
The herds of poets feed.
The ichor of those subtle veins
Are metaphors indeed.
There is no shape quite like the shape
Of simple shape-shaped leaves
And perfect petals fall away
Just as the poet grieves. -- Limestoney Poetaster, Dorcas Bay.
Gray Jay (english substantive for Perisoreus canadensis): the Whiskey Jack, a bannock-mooching triumph of
territory and technique over adversity; omnipresent in those regions where adversity is present in adequate
Boreal provisioners: Teach me to store abundance
Boreal provisioners: Teach me to hop up and glide between
Boreal provisioners: Teach me to nest through February blizzards - Animate Ally
greed (deadly sin): a life that takes its ethical standards from the history of fisheries management.
growth (Poerksen plastic word): metastasis “Kemptville: Watch us grow!” - Mayor Jean Somerville;
“What many now
call ‘growth’ will soon be seen as ’accelerated decay.’” -- Dan Fiscus (from Ted Mosquin); “I am an economic growth on the
neck of the economy” - Consumer O'Boomer; “In the modern economy the only thing that needs, a priori, to grow, is the size
of museum collections.” - Dr Rational.
Keep me far from the Kemptville Mall
And the jammed up sewage traffic From the 416 where Hell’s machines
Are popping off the migrants. - Bishops Million
happiness (n): the conviction that you're no worse off than your neighbours, a condition inversely proportional
to the coefficient of variation of personal income among citizens. Even in a community of disparate incomes h.
may be achieved individually by the study of Pseudoscorpions, Stagnicola, or Pickerel Frogs (Lithobates
the devil's addendum – page 19
palustris). “I kept arctic Amphipods happy in the crisper trays of an ordinary 'frig. These were mainly Gammarus
spp. and some Lyssianassids. They really enjoyed sardines in mustard sauce.” Philip Oshel, Microscopy Facility
Supervisor, Department of Biology, Central Michigan University.
harvest (plastic word): the battle cry of anthropocentric dominion over an undomesticated species or
ecosystem, which becomes a self-fulfilling euphemism when government agencies artificially enforce the
reproduction of the dwindling populations. Harvest, properly used, is an acknowledgement of semidomestication. It means People have allowed the population to grow up so they can be slashed down, and that
the population has adapted their genotypes to this regime. Exploitation may resemble harvesting if it's planned
on a sustainable basis (hunting Whitetail Deer, for example), but the important thing is that the word, properly
used, implies sustainability and semi-domestication. “We must harvest the old-growth timber, right down to the
last Spotted Owl.” - Fallen Douglas Slasher. “American Alligator ‘harvesting,’ [is] a state program [in which] any
Florida gator that makes residents or visitors feel unsafe... is taken away and killed; ...7,991 were harvested
statewide in 2005.” (News-Press, Fort Myers, Florida, Jamie Page, 23 Dec 2005).
havoc (n): the aftermath of diverse winter weather at temperatures around freezing. “...a mixed bag of
precipitation including snow, ice pellets, and freezing rain could create havoc on area roads." Environment
Canada, Ottawa, 29 January 2006.
hazard land (zoning noun): an especially interesting ecological community.
health (Poerksen plastic word): 1) the resource exploited by health-care professionals, 2) phenotypic
development that maximizes the expression of the characteristics (apomorphies) that differentiate a species from
its nearest relatives. “Even though we may not wish to test ourselves as to how close individually we have come to
maximizing traits diagnostic of our species, we cannot withhold information about the environment that achieves it. To do so
would be to deprive developing individuals of physical, intellectual, and social competence prior to their reaching adulthood.
Do we have the right to impair anybody’s development? (Geist, 1978, Life Strategies, Human Evolution, and Environmental
Design:413; note that development is used here with its technical denotation of ontogenetic maturation.).
health care: scheduled indifference provided to the unhealthy.
herbal supplementation (antic): an industry of alienation, determined to keep anyone from using herbs
until they've been processed into a marketable product. “Several look-alike species of horsetail may cause a thiamine
deficiency, so rather than picking the plant, use a commercial supply of Equisetum arvense that has been proven safe. (Alive,
August 2006:79; from an article illustrated only with unlabeled photographs of E. hyemale).
heritage (noun of history): mistakes made by your ancestors.
heritage feature (n): a mistake, made by your ancestors, that you've gotten used to.
hero (n) a coward who is unable to escape from the situation.
herp[e]tile (paraphyletic pseudo-taxon): “A completely illegitimate term that has been used in amateur
literature as a short-hand reference to reptiles and amphibians. It is also occasionally used in professional
literature by authors who apparently lack a classical background.” James A. Peters, 1964, Dictionary of
Herpetology. Hafner, New York, 392 pp. The insertion of the central “e” post-dates Peter’s definition, and is
apparently used to give a patina of scholarship to this vulgarism, on the grounds that such a change would
normally have been based on an understanding of the derivation of the term, thereby incorrectly implying that it
has a legitimate etymology.
herpetoculture (antic): an attempt to conduct field work in your basement.
God's Corn Snake crawled in boring duds,
Our pink one is much better,
By breeding in margarine tubs
the devil's addendum – page 20
We slip selection's fetter. -- Rainbow Guttata.
holiday (noun of interruption): a commemoration of an actual historical event, viz. Armistice Day, Dominion
Day, Lincolns (Darwin's) Birthday, etc. Degraded substitutes for these -- Veterans'/Remembrance Day, Canada
Day, Presidents' Day, etc. --are not commemorations but are merely long weakends, marked by dissolution,
sloth, entertainment, and drunkenness.
Holy Land (geographic puzzle): a region over-populated by worshipers, where an explosive God delivers the
sacred messages: "Blow up your neighbours as you blow up yourself," and "A bomb for a bomb for a bomb for a
bomb for a bomb..."
home (euphemism): the real estate industry's name for a house that is to be sold to divide the assets of a
divorcing family. “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” (Robert Frost).
The residence of a consumer is properly denominated as its "squandering ground."
home entertainment center: a television on steroids. “Finally, plug everything in to a surge protecting power
strip. This will protect both you and your equipment from power surges.” --Power Surge Central.
homeopathy: nothing, taken to good effect. “He had been assured -- such things are said -- that cigars were
excellent for the health, and he was quite capable of believing it; but he knew as little about tobacco as about
homeopathy” Henry James, The American, chapter 1.
hoping-for-fiscal-gain (n): the state religion of commercial governments, expounded in the liturgy of the
Income Tax Act. “The Indians'... failure to treat land as a source of income [meant that their] natural right to
autonomy, and to retain their land, had to be rejected.” Thomas R. Berger, 1991, p 74.
Oh heinous crime to do what's right
To live in holy lustre.
You'd better get out of our sight
And leave the country, buster. (Andy 'Old Gigolo' Jackson, Commander-in-Chief of the Trail of Tears).
hospital (n): a venue for redundant data entry. “Do you have any allergies?” (×46)
Human Being (english substantive for Homo sapiens): Mike Nickerson wrote: > I rather like being a human
being. I never thought of it as being a derogative label. [REPLY]: It just seems to me that "People" or "Human
People" (c.f.) is the natural English common name for our species, and "human being" represents a perverse
dualistic commodification or abstraction or immaterialization, or something, of humanity, and it's an
anthropocentric sort of usage. Plato (along with many other idealists and pre-darwinians) would have been
comfortable considering himself a 'human being,' I fancy. Anything that is, is a being; everybody else is an
Animal, Plant, or Fungus, but we're "beings?" I will say, however, that People who call themselves 'human
beings' don't think of this as an English common name formed on the basis of the same principles that they
would use in calling Dendroica petechia the 'Yellow Warbler,' so ‘human being’ is an artificial common name (see
“There are no common names for the frogs of the genus Pseudacris”). Or we might go even further back,
and call ourselves just "Folk," or go further forward than anyone would want and call ourselves “human
resources.” It’s probably a post-anthropocentric, Darwinian, idea that our species needs a common name
comparable to those of other species: in Linnaeus’ time it was a scandal even to assign us a scientific name.
Human Person (english substantive for Homo sapiens): “a radically new kind of entity created when a
particular sort of animal is properly furnished by - or infested with - memes is what is commonly called a person.”
Dennett (Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, 1995, p 341). Human People, in the genus Homo, are the only kind of
People currently known, though Bears, Ravens, Killer Whales, and other species were known to be people on
and around pre-smallpox Haida Gwaii (see Geese). While “People” is now the natural English plural of “Person,”
“People” comes from “populus,” the whole human population of an area or nation, while “Person” comes from
“persona,” and ultimately from Etruscan “phersu” a masked figure. see Human Being.
the devil's addendum – page 21
humanity (n): one sensible Human Person surrounded by 6.5 billion who are willful, ignorant, self-centred,
stiff-necked, and capricious.
humility (hypothetical attitude): see arrogance. “Self-seeking, self-glory, that is not me. No. Many people say I
embarrass them with my humility.” Archbishop Peter J. Akinola. “The vanity of the selfless, even those who
practice utmost humility, is boundless.” Hoffer, True Believer (11), 1951
hump: a popular word of meagre direct application. 1) (v) over-enthusiastic or mis-directed attempts at coition;
2) (n) a flabulous dorsal accumulation on Palaearctic Camelids.
identity (Poerksen plastic word): what I believe I gain by not being you.
individual (continuum) an hierarchy of monophyly. The 'clade'-hierarchical Tree of Life is "if not Anselm's
'Being greater than which nothing can be conceived,' ...surely a being greater than any of us will ever conceive
of in detail worthy of its detail" Dennett, 'Darwin's Dangerous Idea.' "The belief that species are concrete
particulars was recently rediscovered by Ghiselin and Hull, but it has actually been the view of many, if not most,
naturalists for more than one hundred years. As early as 1866, Haeckel said 'die art ist ein individuum.'"
Chairman Mayr (1996).
industry (n): any occupation organized by the hope of government largess; most banally, “the child
pornography industry,” though other usages are equally remote from anything to which the adjective could be
applied. “...the growth of the auto-racing industry.” -despatches, Radio One, 20h20, 18 May 2005, “American philosophy...
in a phase of dis-aggregated production in a scattered industry of diversified contributors.” - Comp. to Phil. p 22. "We really
want to have a festival industry that reflects the diversity of Ottawa." Julian Armour 08h22 18 Nov 2008, CBC One.
information (Poerksen plastic word): bits that have, with infinite courage, organized themselves into bytes.
innernational (involuntary euphemism): ‘international’ as reflected within the United States.
innovative (euphemism): different from what the author understands.
intelligent design (credo): the labour-saving assumption that the unwillingness of an author to understand
the history of a phenomenon means that no one will ever be able to understand it. Immense realms of inquiry
are thus blanked out in an instant, freeing a vast work force for internet poker, reality TV, and super-sized diningout. The name of the doctrine seems unrelated to its content, but this is a not-infrequent occurrence.
Inuits (super-pluralized n): an Anglo-American double plural that stumbles over its own erudition in the attempt
to ape Canadian political correctness. Inuit is the collective, the singular is Inuk; interviewees on the CBC are
routinely chastised by e-mail for using "Inuits" as the plural. Linguistic divides within the Eskimoan languages in
Alaska made it more politic to use the foreign ‘Eskimo’ (Canadian Algonkian, 'sushi gourmet') rather than
choosing a local native term to import into US English.
ice (solid phase of H2O): the lynchpin of life and of the dimictic lake; molecular quantum physics made manifest;
the only hope for access to the centres of wetlands. “A few degrees of frost had transformed the blanket of slush
into a rugged composite material that in its turn transformed scraping the windshield into an aerobic exercise.” -Justin Thyme Nomore.
"is it a federal or a provincial responsibility" -- the ballot question in every Canadian election.
Canadian politics is the history of centuries of distrusting each level of government, and of electing governments
as different from that at the other level as possible... "Long Point is too good for Ontario." -- the Long Point
Company, ca 1980, before deeding its holdings to the Canadian Wildlife Service.
the devil's addendum – page 22
-ism (suffix): a political movement dedicated to throwing a baby out with some bathwater. For the identity of the
baby (implied) and the composition of the bathwater (explicitly stated) consult the platform of the particular -ism.
it (pronoun): whatever; particularly sexual congress or meteorological conditions. “They were doing it in a canoe
while it was snowing.” <[email protected]>
jazz (mode): interminable Saturday night tootling; ornamented urban monotony; donkey-voiced auditory
joblessness: Irene Doyle (NATURENB) wrote: One good example is in today's newspaper, our own MP is
quoted as saying "the process lacks socio-economic impact study" and that his #1 priority in Restigouche was
joblessness... [REPLY]: Is he trying to promote or suppress 'joblessness?' This 'job' thing is a disease, and
naturalists and other reasonable People must treat it as such. Governments and People in general have gotten
so caught up (whether by design or accident we won't inquire) with the idea of providing 'jobs' that they don't
ever ask if there's any worthwhile work accomplished in the course of the 'jobs.' The root meaning of 'job' (from
obsolete English 'job,' 'a lump') is evidently 'something done for private advantage, a criminal enterprise,' and as
such is unworthy as an occupation for a citizen of a democracy. Preserving New Brunswick's ecological diversity
is work worthy of citizens, whereas reducing the province to a plantation of immature Conifers and Aspens is
certainly 'something done for private advantage, a criminal enterprise.' - Restless Guchi.
Junco (english substantive for Junco): the Boreal Forest reclaiming its Pleistocene maximum in areas now
dominated by bird feeders.
Oh to be a springtime Junco
Heading north as snow is gone;
Oh to wonder if 'trill' or 'warble'
Is the notation for your song? -- Peri-pentecostal Perambulator
junk mail (involuntary noun): what you do not want, combined with the opportunity to pay more than you can
afford for what you do not need, sent persistently from unknown benefactors.
King James (mythologized personage): the infallible autograph, the knock-kneed father of fundamentalist
kudos (hypocritical noun of uncertain number): a sound bight of insincere praise. "I did actually throw some
kudos over to CAW because they were willing to come to the table." Jim Flaherty, Minister Responsible for
Bailout, The House, 09h17, 21 Feb 2009.
Kyoto Convention (treaty): an international protocol for the emission of unlimited volumes of disagreement
Lake Erie (glacial gift): proof that resurrection is no assurance of immortality. The second death of Lake Erie,
due to alien invasion rather than pollution, is highlighted by the decline of Ligumia nasuta. Formerly numbering in
the billions, this maximally elegant freshwater mussel is now known in Canada only in Lyn Creek and Lake Saint
Clair: as if humanity were to be globally reduced to the inhabitants of Brockville and Murmansk.
We feed on Russian Olives on the old Lake Erie shore
While Grapes & Upland Cranberries conspire to make our stomachs sore.
There's nothing much upon the beach but maggoty old fish -The Zebras have done in the Lake as dead as you could wish. -- Long Pointed Wanderer.
landfill (euphemism): a dump which comes to be recognized as such, requiring re-euphemism as an
“environmental centre.” In order to maintain equilibrium, cut-backs have been undertaken in educational funding
to ensure that former environmental centres become dumps. “The company that owns the Carp Road landfill is
proposing to turn the dump site into a new West Carleton Environmental Centre, with recycling and composting
the devil's addendum – page 23
facilities, but also — to the dismay of critics — a new, 400,000-tonne-a-year garbage dump.” Ottawa Citizen, 14
April 2010.
land “ownership:” personal Human territoriality. A widely endorsed overtly Commercial model holds that
land ownership is not much different from ownership of disposable commodities or objects: complete control
over the land, which extends to the power to destroy. Zoning restrictions on degrading the biotic communities
co-inhabiting land with the human owners mostly take the form of indirect obstacles that must be overcome by
money or effort before the owner can have his way. This kind of ownership is, however, covertly regarded as a
legal fiction by those who go through the motions of purchase, deeds, and taxes, but know that it is not their role
to dominate their land, and who use the rituals of ‘ownership’ largely to protect their land from other People. Just
as everyone now rejects the power to destroy implied by slavery, these outcasts from commercial values reject
the right to destroy implied by commercial land ownership. Their alternative model covertly coexists with the
consumerist model: one is the servant of one’s land its life. Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia) and other nonself-reflective species may own land in an absolute, consumerist, way, but such dominion seems implausible for
individuals who can foresee their own death, and know that the land will outlast them.
landscape resource (euphemism): Scenery. MacMillan-Blodel Company. 1988. Gray Bay-Cumshewa
Head-McCoy Cove Integrated Development Plan.
landscaping: forcing settled areas to conform to a cultural memory. Colonized land approaches the
appearance of the African savanna where people are presumed to have evolved, or of the old Middle East where
agriculture developed. The regrowth of forests is suppressed; if trees would not naturally grow they are planted,
and the shapes of cultivated trees are similar to the layered canopy of the African savannah. Dwellings cluster
around water bodies and bluffs like those that may have provided food and shelter to the earliest humans
(Orians 1980 Habitat selection: General theory and applications to human behaviour. The Evolution of Human
Social Behaviour. Elsevier, New York. pp. 49-66).
language (behavioural apomorphy): my ability to tell you that you don't know what you're talking about.
Latter Day Saint (n): someone who chooses to ignore the inadequacies of the Book of Mormon as a guide
to the precolumbian archeology of the eastern United States.
law [legislative]: an ordinance prohibiting some activity that has recently killed two young girls in Toronto; a
government commitment to enact social change only as the result of child sacrifice.
law [scientific]: a story written in exotic squiggles in the expectation that this will make it forever true.
Miraculous that following
Myiarchus' song to the treetops
Always leads to a Myiarchus.
More work assures one of the serpent's skin
And a blackened square in the Atlas. (Faithful Conventioneer, Galbraith, Ontario, July 2002)
lawn (n): enforced flatness.
less (adj): US English for ’fewer’; a usage also shockingly prevalent in Canadian and British texts. “[Whooping
Cranes] are among the world’s rarest [birds] with less than 400 left.” Syracuse Post-Standard, 13 Dec 2004, p A10, “the pike has 5 or less mandibular pores” McClures Freshwater Fishes, p 164.
leisure (n): an agenda on which items such as “determine if spring-time Tiger Beetles prefer hydrogenated or
organic Peanut butter” have some hope of receiving the attention they deserve.
liability insurance: the chilling influence that the unimaginable exerts on the necessary.
the devil's addendum – page 24
library of immunities (experience): all the ones you've had (or that have had you). "You have to admire the
enthusiasm of the little pests - Dan Janzen said that 'the thing about plants is that they teach you that you don't
need a brain to be successful,' and the thing about viruses is that they teach you that you don't even need your
own physiology to be enthusiastic." - Snufflehead the Sufferer.
lifestyle (n): each individual’s method of minimizing their ecological footprint, their consumption of resources,
and the distance from which the commodities they use must be brought, while maximizing their contribution to
human welfare and understanding of the world. The attained values of Lifestyle range from remarkable
unsuccess to dismal failure.
litter (roadside noun): recyclable items strewn along roadsides by a hypothetical class of self-sacrificing
philanthropists, in the (again hypothetical) expectation that the mood of those who retrieve the items will be
uplifted by a feeling of superiority over the dispersers.
Living Dead: populations that slowly disappear as mortality outstrips reproduction and recolonization in the
decades after remnant habitat patches are surrounded by development. The first human occupants of a broken
habitat often rejoice in a great variety of wild neighbours, but many of these gradually prove to have been ‘living
dead’ (Janzen, D. H. 2001. Latent extinctions – the living dead. In Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, S. A.Levin, ed.,
Vol. 3, Academic Press, pp. 689-699.)
living fossil (noun of misinterpretation): any species which is descended from ancestors and comes to the
attention of a journalist. “Mus cypriacus.... is the only native [=endemic] Mediterranean rodent still alive, and as
such can be considered a 'l. f.'." — James Owen
lottery (n): a tax on stupidity, instituted by governments to ensure that private interests profit from the gullibility
of their fellow citizens only through advertising.
love (n): a relationship in which arguments are compassionately decided on their merits, without prejudice
arising from which participant suggested the ultimately prevailing notion, and without a long-term tally of which
participant's notions have prevailed more frequently. More amazingly, it has been defined as: “a state of
vibrational harmonization, an ability to feel resonance with all expressions of life.” (Keylontic Science), and “in all
its subtleties... nothing more, and nothing less, than the more or less direct tract marked on the heart of the
element by the psychical convergence of the universe upon itself.” (Phenomenal Man). Reverting to the first
definition, calmer minds suggest that we “...not provoke one another to wrath. Let us not kindle in each other this
fire of hell; much less blow it up into a flame. If we could discern truth by that dreadful light, would it not be loss,
rather than gain? For, how far is love, even with many wrong opinions, to be preferred before truth itself without
love!” - John Wesley.
lower-cased species (practice): an assertion that taxa are not individuals, but are classes of objects that
could be made up anywhere or anytime, and are due no respect or identity. The English names of species are
capitalized proper nouns. Capitalization is an assertion that species are individuals with a particular historical
origin, duration, and extent, a critical acknowledgment of evolutionary history, and an important advance in the
philosophy of biology (Ghiselin 1974, Eldridge 1989). It is perhaps significant that among North American
Animals the main proponent of lower-casing names is the American Fisheries Society, with exploitation
embedded in its name, while the main proponent of upper-casing English names is the American Ornithologist’s
Union, the first advocates of a group of Animals to band together for their taxon’s own sake.
lust (deadly sin): the desire to reduce labour costs by engaging in sexual clear-cutting.
maggot (English substantive for larval Diptera): an intermediate stage in a roadkill's progress towards
becoming a fried egg. "For maggots, writhing is the ordinary state of things." - Barry Roth
magic (antic) the verbal induction of psycho-physical phenomena, as embodied in the classic phrase: "Where's
my mug... oh, there it is." And the even stronger invocation: "Someone must have stolen my... oh, there it is." see
the devil's addendum – page 25
management (Poerksen plastic word): personalized manipulation.
Manifest Destiny: the intervention of an all-wise Providence in the affairs of the English-speaking Peoples,
raising up a Nation of laissez faire and self-centred gratification, to serve as a counter-example for the reform of
the British Constitution into the purest of democracies, to spook Australians into federation under the most
amusing government in the world, and, by threatening to engulf French, English, and Native Canadians, to
inspire in them a grudging formal adherence to the practice of getting along with each other (see ethnic hatred
Manitoba Maple (english substantive for Acer negundo) The Box Elder, Elder-leaved Maple, Ash-leaved
Maple, Cut-leaved Maple, River Maple, Dakota Maple, Nedrow Maple, Stinking Ash, Negundo Maple, Érable à
feuilles composées, Érable négondo, Érable à Giguère, or Érable argilière, a riparian species that is just as
willing to reach horizontally for light as to grow upwards. Adaptation to the nutrient-rich, constantly changing
conditions at the margins of streams adapt it to the nutrient-rich, constantly changing, roof-runoff conditions
around houses, and just as floods can't wash it away, control-mad householders can't kill it or contain it with an
axe or saw, as it sprouts relentlessly, an emblem of the resurrection, where it is felled or maimed.
Oh to be Acer negundo,
Sprung from every vacant space,
Oh to fold each grateful household
Softly in a green embrace. -- Limerickster
maturity (life stage): the awful realization that you're the one responsible. “To punish me for my contempt for
authority, Fate made me an authority myself.” Einstein.
maximum sustainable yield (scalar of exploitation): as many fish or trees as the Minister thinks it will take
to get him re-elected. Notice that the middle term in the expression is placed there as a jest or mockery (see
intelligent design).
mayonnaise (noun of emulsion): eggs whipped up with the addition of oil until they go "glug." Every family's
diet is rich in m. for a month or so after each generation first hears the "glug."
meaninglessness (accusation): your misinterpretation of my philosophy of life.
media relations (plastic word) a sugared Hoodwinkicino Cherry served drenched with syrup of evasion on a
dish of spun lies.
megachurch (n): a gross assemblage, brought together in self-congratulation, to hear the exposition of the
text “Blessed are the rich, for they shall have a gigantic ecological footprint.”
Oh to worship God and Mammon,
Oh to raise a mighty spire
Oh to revel in the money
Godly antics can acquire.
Oh to diss the queer and homeless,
Oh to bomb the family plan,
Oh to think there's nothing hopeless
In the gated also-ran.
Oh to be a megapastor,
Oh to urge the fashion on,
Oh to exploit all for Rapture
'Til I've paid back all my loans. -- Archdeacon von Snipe.
the devil's addendum – page 26
meme (n): a self-replicating idea, the genetic material of cultural evolution, disparaged by certain enthusiasts
who realize neither that this disparagement is itself an instance of what they disparage, nor that Father Darwin
knew nothing of Mendelian genetics, the foundation of his theory, when he proposed it. “So much has been written
on the habits of man that it would be futile to attempt even to abstract such information in the present booklet.” E. Raymond
Hall, 1955. Handbook of the Mammals of Kansas.
menu English: a dialect of gustatory hyperbole, evidently insinuated into advertising by the first person plural
to turn the stomachs of those who might otherwise over-indulge in purchased foods. "Everyone needs a little spice
in their life! Unwrap the secrets of a treasured recipe from Southeast Asia and discover the unique flavor of our soft and
chewy ginger candies. A delicious balance of sweet and hot flavor, G---- C---s are the ultimate delicacy for ginger lovers.... A
soothing travel companion, stimulating treat, and delightfully addictive pleasure!" (of scrawny bits of mildly gingery toffee,
massively overpackaged in impenetrable plastic, and embellished by grotesque graphics).
mere... see nothing but...
Merkaba (unknown): A key Construct in the Transduction - Manifestation sequence. "The Merkaba field is made
up of counter-rotating spirals of energy. They can be considered as the primal lungs and circulatory systems of God-Source,
breathing primal currents into (via the clockwise, base-electric, 'male' spiral) and out of (via the counter-clockwise, basemagnetic 'female' spiral) manifestation with harmonious precision. In the Melchizedek Cloister Emerald Order teachings we
are given the scientific mechanics of the merkaba construct and its precise, ordered relationship to other constructs within the
manifestation-transduction sequence (including our DNA templates and physical bodies)." thanks to Jane Wood.
middle-aged (life stage): 15 years older than the speaker.
military procurement (n): corruption. "I do not like green eggs and ham, I cannot eat them, Sameyeam." -universal soldier.
millions of years (catch phrase): any reasonably prolonged interval of time that comes to the attention of a
journalist. “The waters of the Milk River have flowed through southern Alberta for millions of years -- ever since deglaciation
14,000 years ago;” “When the Big Bang occurred, millions of years ago...”
Mink Frog (english substantive for Lithobates septentrionalis); the Northern or Whose-yer Frog; aquatic
aestival popcorn on the cusp of oxygen and predation. Curiously, in identification guides originating in Ontario
south of Ottawa, the animal illustrated as a “Mink Frog” is not a Mink Frog.
Jewel in the eye of the North
Jewel in the eye of Nymphaea
Jewel in the eye of the Sphagnum
Green and cream and black and gold - Animate Ally
mitecide (toxic vulgarism): an acaricide used by “authors who apparently lack a classical background.”
Fortunately, Professor Goooogle assures us that these are only 0.16% of those who refer to such chemicals.
modernization (Poerksen plastic word): the replacement of something that works fairly well with something
more centralized that may or may not have once worked somewhere else. Change and decay in all around I see.
Our present masters seem to have an irresistible urge, whenever they see something that works moderately well, to tinker
with it, tear it apart, and construct something worse. Mortimer, Rumpole and the Summer of Discontent, 1990.
model (Poerksen plastic word) a misapplied algorithmitized distortion of a situation, oscillating, with quantum
indeterminacy, between computational convenience and political expedience.
Mormon, Book of (n): a latter-day Koran brought down from Heaven in the usual way as an infallible guide
to the precolumbian archeology of the eastern United States.
Mud Minnow (english substantive for Umbra limi ): a micro-Pike in a peaten tartan.
the devil's addendum – page 27
Shadow that lives without air
Shadow that lives in the mud
Shadow that lives in the ice
Show me your slow success where others drift away - Animate Ally
mud volcano (geological antic): entertainment paradoxically provided for free (cf Canada/Dominion/First of
July Day on Parliament Hill). “Indonesian geophysicists hope to stem the flow of a destructive mud volcano on
East Java by dropping chains of concrete balls into its mouth.” Naturally Nature.
Municipal Drain (noun of Ontario): a perpetually renewed skirmish in the long war of Ontarians against
Ontario; taxation of landowners, without representation; genocide of wetland habitats, without hope of restoration
or apology.
The land is raped because we need to feed our silly cows,
and Beaver-home must feel the bite of herbicide and ploughs.
And even after we have failed, and moulder in our graves,
the Drainage Superintendent our fields from wetland saves. -- Municipally Subsidized Pioneer.
museum (n): an institutionalized disagreement precipitated around a collection of objects.
Muskrat (english substantive for Ondatra zibethicus): a fanged omnivorous appetite with attitude, propelled on
the water by a wiggle, and on land by a waddle, unleashed on his Motherland by Joseph Stalin as a
Khrushchev-proof memorial to his desire to consume his fellow creatures, and to immortalize episodic starvation.
“my name is...” the introductory mantra of individuals unsure of the relationship between themself and their
identity. “My name is Belinda Stranach ... [vs] I am Ed Broadbent...” (The House, 24 December 2005); “I am Al
Gore, I used to be the next President of the United States.” (Toronto, 21 Feb 2007).
national security, threats to (plastic word): fraud. Anything that actually threatens the security of a nation
will be called by its own name. “Tomorrow government lawyers will argue before the Supreme Court that Security
Certificates are necessary to protect Canada's National Security.” CBC Ottawa, 17h35, 13 June 2006.
natural resource (plastic word): a commodity obtained for free. Ministries and Departments are widely
founded to worship the economic unnaturalness of this arrangement, while philosophers struggle to distinguish
this concept from theft. As something that ownership gives one authority to exploit, “resource” can't ever be the
primary denomination of living populations, which exist foremostly for their own sake of persistence and
reproduction. The metaphorical model for resources is the avian territory, where each pair of Birds owns and
defends all the caterpillars in their territory, as a resource, over the objections of the caterpillars themselves.
Human People, however, don't often let the fact that they're supposed to be smart enough to realize that their
ownership of "resources" isn't the most essential feature of the owned populations or objects stand in the way
of not taking each organism's own point of view as primary when thinking or writing about it. David Suzuki
Foundation wrote: “There's no better time than this financially challenged, politically confusing shopping
season to check your list twice and consider: do you own your stuff or does your stuff own you? Think about it.
One less gift can save about 200 kg of natural resources (the equivalent of two, queen-sized mattresses)...”
NBCOSSAR: New Brunswick Committee on the Status of Species at Risk – not to be confused with
SARRFO, which is the Species at Risk Recovery Fund for Ontario.
news (n): the olds – a monotone rehash of who whacked what rubber object past which set of pipes, which
absurdly illegal government proposition was over-turned by the Supreme Court, who strangled which relative
and then shot himself, who failed to evade which police force by driving how fast, who hurled which standardized
insult at which sacrificial Minister of the Crown, who raised $165 for gumboot comfort research through $300
worth of effort in baking and selling rubbery cakes, which municipal council bridled at taking responsibility for
which provincial policy, who released which new CD of the moans of the courtship-addicted, is it a federal or a
the devil's addendum – page 28
provincial responsibility, and which Californian movie grossed how much how quickly from how many voyeurs of
marital irregularity.
niac (adj. acronym): Not In Any Category. The finest contribution of a Canadian bureaucratic procedure to the
English lexicon, soon repented of by its inventor (COSEWIC), which divided & conquered into “Data Deficient
(DD)” and “Not At Risk (NAR).”
The Robin is NIAC and so is the Bear,
They’re all too abundant to warrant our care.
Once they’re endangered the recovery plans
Won’t oblige many voters to manage their lands. - Irene Humphhumph (Ontario).
nimby (n): an individual suddenly aware of the wrongness of proposed local evil, without rejecting its larger
projects. The leather belt supports equally the pantaloons of the vivisectionist and of the vegetarian.
9/11 (excuse): the number to dial when your presidensity is threatened by sludge-like stupidity – allowing you to
convert super-power foreign policy into the indiscriminate immortality of tribal revenge.
noise (n): the anthem of lawn care, sport, entertainment, and politics.
Commercial's one foundation Is noisy motor roar,
It is the consummation of all that they adore.
From heaven it beats down on us, from Earth it shakes the floors,
it shines in through the windows, and flakes paint off the doors.
So as we stand and listen by Hwy 43,
Our ears and eyes are blistered by externalities.
The chainsaw in the meadow, the sump pump on the lawn,
The train and plane and pickup just keep on going on.
The frog out in her wetland, the Cricket in her hole,
No longer hear the voices of those they would behold,
Their courtship has been thwarted and population falls,
Noise blasts into their darkness from factories, roads, and malls.
Ditch life might be as valued as province-wide renown,
And dark-sky be the mandate of commerce and of town,
But any hope of quiet requires second sight
As we stand by the roadside swathed in waste noise and light. (Auditory Monitor)
non-lethal political succession (noun of hoped-for reciprocity): an invention of the English Revolution
(cf Plutarch's Lives) which has subsequently become the diagnostic sign and glory of civilization. Its highest
exemplar is the epigram "Mulrooney lives," which is not to be confused with the more enthusiastically endorsed
motto, "Mulrooney lies," which was so nicely confirmed by the Royal Commission into Airbus Hijinks....
normal (meteorological statistic): 1) the longterm arithmetical average of observations, 2) a rarely observed
hoped-for value that minimizes inconvenience for the speaker. "It works like this. When a drought happens (as it
always does in Australia), farmers ask the gummint for drought assistance. Anyone with any sense knows that
droughts are inevitable, but to argue that droughts are exceptional, you have to contrast dry conditions with wet
ones and claim that the latter are 'normal,' and this is just what the farm lobby says, e.g. 'In a normal year we'd
planting wheat now, but with this drought, well, the risk is just too great and to keep the industry going during this
exceptional period we'll need some form of public assistance.'" -- Bob Mesibov, Tasmania.
“nothing but...” or “mere...”: a covert admission, or involuntary prophesy, of central importance. “...[in]
the literary idiom of nature-philosophy: nothing-buttery, [is] for example, always part of the minor
symptomatology of the bogus.” Medawar, The Phenomenon of Teilhard; "During the 18th and 19th centuries
thinkers still accepted the idea that human beings had souls and were gifted with reason and freedom, which
the devil's addendum – page 29
could not be reduced to mere matter." (Sacred Cosmos, p 47); “Our own conscious thoughts and feelings are...
nothing but electrochemical events in our brains...” (Comp. to Phil., p 934).
Objectiveism (...) the attempt to be a objectionable as possible, a philosophy originating with Ein Rand, a
kind of Nazified unit of apartheid currency.
odd (hypothesized condition): normal. “We'll have warm temperatures through the day with the odd cloudy
sky.” CBC Ottawa, 09h10, 3 April 2010.
offensive (n): just what it sounds like. “We're sending more troops to Afghanistan to launch a spring offensive.
When the snow melts in the Hindu Kush we will be offensive on all fronts.” Shrubby Caligula, the Least.
official plan (noun of Ontario): what you don’t want to have happen to your home, laid out in ghastly detail in
a dialect comprehensible only to the proponents of habitat destruction (see development). “As you probably know,
it is the responsibility of the City to protect Regionally Significant plants. Both Barbara Barr and I warned the City of the
presence of Regionally Significant plants in this area - namely Autumn Willow (Salix serissima) and Northern Honeysuckle
(Lonicera villosa). It would appear, that as usual, the City has failed to carry out its responsibility to protect Regionally
Significant plants, preferring to bulldoze the area. Of what use is an Official Plan if the City continually ignores it? Doesn't the
Official Plan express the importance of saving wetland areas? It would appear that this document is little more than a mass of
‘green spin.’” Albert Dugal, 22 Nov 2005.
olympic dream (motivational noun): the quadrennial desire to perform some pointless action slightly more
quickly than anyone else does.
Olympic Ideal (...): originally the notion that amateur athletes from around the world should get together to
perform their respective antics as a means of getting to know each other across the barriers imposed by
nationalism, corporatism, and commercialism. The Olympian god Oxymoron, the servant of nationalism,
corporatism, and commercialism, became incarnate in this ideal, notably at the 1936 gathering, and has never
looked back.
Olympicks (noun of monotony): a biennial opportunity for those who disapprove of the running amok of
nationalism, competition, and commercialism to feel superior to those who don't so disapprove.
Ontario (province of opportunity): an autolytic method of converting God's Country into a copolymer of
Brampton and Barrhaven, covagrantly bound together by 400-series wounds. "Ontario, y'know I've seen a place
I'd rather be, your scummy lakes and City of Toronto don't do a damn thing for me." Stan Rogers.
Orconectes rusticus (invasive alien): The Crayfish that Ate Wisconsin.
Freshwater lobsters, mudbugs, and crabs
Freshwater lobsters, flipping your tails at fish
Freshwater lobsters, without water or without air
You go in baitpails beyond your horizons - Animate Ally
organization (n): a group of people banded together to collectively ignore the truth of some important class of
Oscar (english substantive for Astronotus ocellatus): a majestic Cichlid, quite destructive to its surroundings,
which enjoys a fleeting winter popularity among those usually entranced by cinema. Celebrities are said to spend
their 15 minutes "being seen" in particularly revealing costumes at an annual aquarium show where Oscars are
presented. "Today many Canadians will be staying up late to see if a Canadian brings home an Oscar." (Radio
One, 25 Feb 2007; see Renaud, C. B. and A. Phelps. 1999. "Oscar-winning Catch." Trail and Landscape 33(4):
Ottawa [City of] (ecoregion): an unplanned event with an unspecified ecological footprint. Having rejected
the devil's addendum – page 30
the proposed motto: “Technically Beautiful,” the amalgamated City retains the de facto motto of the former
Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton: “We may be flat, but we’re ugly.”
Ottawa's national anthem is strikingly confirms this definition:
Ottawa is flat and ugly, “flat and ugly” we say smugly,
found it flat and made it ugly, it's the Otta-way.
Colonel By bequeathed potential for a city consequential
but we spread it out sequential, uglier each day.
Plastic-covered houses! Swamps smashed by bulldozers!
Push it down, and grind it up, and pave another mall-ground!
Merivale was very charming – we found this was most alarming
boxy stores and pavement swarming is the Otta-way.
There's one reason why we do this, it's the boughten votes of councillors,
Who can only value commerce, “Ugliness, hooray!”
RVCA is no answer to developmental cancer
they acquiesce -- “faster, faster! Drain that swamp, okay.”
Swamps and Turtles bore us, so do oldgrowth forests
bulldozers are the only way we know to manage what's around us
so push in car-dependent suburbs, sprawling schools, and plastic retail
leave no trees or little tadpoles, It's the Otta-way.
over-mature timber (euphemism): Mature forest, see potential old-growth. MacMillan-Blodel Company.
1988. Gray Bay-Cumshewa Head-McCoy Cove Integrated Development Plan.
Oxymoron (divinity): The chosen object of worship in all organizations; the only ubiquitous hellhound not
enumerated in Paradise Lost. Like a Rhizocephalan Barnacle larva, this God injects itself into the flesh of any
idea that “is too good to be true,” converting it into an unsexed factory for the production of oxymoronic
propagules. The goal of every serious system of philosophical thought throughout the ages has been to prevent
the reincarnation of Oxymoron, so far without success. see “divine Buddha,” “monarchical episcopacy,” “Liberté,
égalité, fraternité,” “War to end all wars,” “sustainable development,” “Microsoft Works,” “Creation Science,” and
“your call is important to us.”
parasite (alternative medical hypothesis): supposed infestations that result from diet and activities not currently
endorsed by the diagnosing practitioner, to be expelled by the treatment regime currently supplied by the
diagnosing practitioner. Not to be confused with any particular species of real animal. “[propyl alcohol from refined
sugar] creates ideal conditions for intestinal flukes which some research suggests are associated with liver cancer,
Alzheimer’s disease, Hodgkin’s disease, endometriosis, chronic prostatitis, and Kaposi’s sarcoma. (These flukes also thrive
in mold that can grow in maple syrup...)” Melcombe, 2000. Health Hazards of White Sugar, Alive Books, Vancouver. p 11.
“Other parasites of various sizes and strengths are introduced to our system through the food we eat and are neutralized by
our liver.... Once parasites have been removed, red blood cells will oxygenate tissues more effectively. This allows for
improved recovery and elimination of carbon dioxide in the body, which will enable your entire body to become healthier and
work more effectively.” Moncourt, 2006. Ptrotect yourself from p. with a metal shield. Vista Magazine (46):74.
parenting (v): the art of struggling against the fact that human reproduction isn't clonal.
parenting expert (n): one who derives his income from ballyhooing yet another pseudo-scientific revolution
in the art of struggling against the nonclonal character of human reproduction.
partners (Poerksen plastic word): 1) organizations trying to conceal the fact that they are working at cross
purposes; 2) a wife and husband unsure that they really are. “Sometimes partners are more reluctant than
others.” Quack Layton, 13 Jan 2007
passion (n): suffering, or a preference that engenders suffering, either through dedication or consequences.
the devil's addendum – page 31
“Everyone has a passion.” -- tee shirt interviewee on Tapestry, Radio One, 31 May 2009. “Rory's so passion-ate
for Chicken wings that he's really miserable this morning.” -- Carling Shieldwife.
passive voice (plastic grammar): "Don't blame me!" sung to the tune of the Hallelujah Chorus. "Emotional
abuse was experienced by myself." -- Jubbulah Jamjube, Ooout Front.
percent less (adj. phrase): diminution from an unspecified base ... This may well be intended to convey the
idea that “x% of its present -- or former -- volume” or diameter? But who can know? (see times smaller)
“Microwave ovens use up to 75% less energy than ovens.” Ontario Energy Conservation Commissioner,
Kemptville Weekender, June 2006.
Pharisee (religio-political sect): an antique straw man which can be disparaged without danger of contradiction
in order to assert the arrogant doctrinal superiority for which they were originally critiqued by One who had the
opportunity to observe them.
Oh to be a portly blowhard,
Oh to diss the Pharisee,
Oh to spout your victim's trademark
Twice-refined hypocrisy. Percival 'Pulpit Pounder ' Pewtricks.
Phoebe (english substantive for flycatchers of the genus Sayornis): the emblemic Birds of village bridges and
barns; excluded by the small-minded from the one by the slump-shouldered ornithophobic concrete beams of
modern installation, and from the other by the obsessively locked doors of the neat freak.
physicality (plastic word): Inertia. “This object is beset with so much physicality that it’s virtually real.” Ellen A. Emily.
Pine Grosbeak (english substantive for Pinicola enucleator): beauty's irruptive revenge on the Christmas
Tree Industry.
Birds from the sky: Coral and gold
Birds from the sky among the Ashes
Birds from the sky: Singing from Spruces
Feed me with resin and unborn flowers - Animate Ally
planning (Poerksen plastic word): 1) the prohibition of otherwise harmless activities which are harmful in
aggregate when widespread; 2) the prohibition at every scale of activities which are harmful only at a large scale;
3) the enforced urbanization of rural populations; 4) bureaucracy so sure of itself that it regards confusion as a
kind of orderliness. “We scorned to alter our plan merely because the reason for it no longer existed.” Lister,
Hard Way to Haparanda.
plastic surgeon (n): a chipmunk-faced appendage of the beauty industry. As a scientist, falsifies the genetic
encoding of carnal attributes; as a priest transubstantiates worshipers to incarnations of worldliness (this
definition doesn't apply to those who work in reconstruction as agents of somatic morphogenetic homeostasis).
Oh to be a plastic surgeon,
Oh to slice and dice for pay!
Oh to cut up little starlets
In a most seductive way. (Botox Tucker, M.D.)
plumbing (n) a disaster waiting to happen.
Before the plumbing came, my love, the night was calm and simple
Cavorting fondly, or asleep, with naught our brows to wrinkle.
But when “resale” and building code conspired the copper plumber,
Night-time was racked with sore distress and we felt damp and dumber.
Return from trips when autumn's minus eighteen has been thawed --
the devil's addendum – page 32
The burst pipes leave your home awash – it is an Act of God.
The tap must drip four drops per second when it's ten below
Unless the wall is drifted deep with insulating snow;
Remember, when east winds build drifts in places where they're rare,
To turn on heating tape around the pipes beneath the stairs;
A bitter winter freezes lines from well and to the septic:
How futile are attempts to thaw that only make us hectic!
A flooded crawlspace means a short that blows $300
So it must be abetted by a sump pump set by crawlers.
Washing machines will overflow and wreck both floor and ceiling
The daughter's shower finds the spot, and that's the drip you're feeling.
And so our nights are spent in bondage to this servomechanism
Anticipating every hour brings another cataclysm. -- Bishops Million.
pluralized singular: the conviction that since populations of game animals (deer, grouse, moose, trout,
sheep, elk, bass, fish, and sometimes duck) are infinite (as evidenced by the identity of their singular and plural
names), it doesn’t matter how many you kill, since any finite number is an infinitesimal fraction of an infinite total.
politician (n) -- one who excels at convincing a plurality of the general public, on the basis of smiles, friendly
gestures and evasive non-answers, to vote for them in an election, thereby guaranteeing that only those adapt
at by-passing public problems will hold public office.
Polychaete (Class): a marine jointing of psychedelic colour and morphology
O Can of Worms, our humble standard brand,
Vast flats of mud, beneath the summer strand.
With aching backs we dig them up
The mud-mice wild and free,
We come unhinged, errant Polychaetes
We come unhinged for these
O Can of Worms, nimble as Fleas,
We stand ungarbed, we stand ungarbed for these, etc., etc., etc. - Enemm Enness Enemsea
pool of resources (funding euphemism): the shallow puddle of government funding into which a project
plunges, in the hopes of emerging covered with glory.
potential old-growth (euphemism): what used to be classified as over-mature, decadent, or senescent
power (policy): ineffectiveness glamorized "The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not
interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power...” George Orwell, 2001
precisely (adverbial impossibility): approximately, as in the broadcast journalist’s impertinent imposition “Tell
us precisely what you have discovered.“ see exactly.
pride (deadly sin): an internalization of United States policy on weapons of mass destruction. “It has become
traditional for the United States to insist that others abide by rules that they have no intention of following.” Ian
Williams, Radio One, 11 May 2005.
proactive (plastic word) 1) planning to respond to all possible future events and situations without the benefit
of precognition; 2) a person who persists in tracking down employable sports; 3) the business of responding to
stimuli before they occur: the time saved by proactivity allows the real-time composition of excuses for the
inevitable failure to respond appropriately to the stimuli which actually occur.
problem (Poerksen plastic word): a covert launching pad for development.
the devil's addendum – page 33
process (Poerksen plastic word) cheese becoming something that's not cheese.
production (Poerksen plastic word): depletion. That removal of minerals from the ground is called
"production" shows that commercial society believes that things do not exist until they are to be used, and are
then to be used up as quickly as possible. “We must produce the sawlog Pines in order to experience
chipboard.” Harbagale D, Gulpdown, Minister for Deforestation; see harvest
productivity (Poerksen plastic word): the rate at which I'm depleting you.
professional (plastic word): a regulated narrow-minded know-it-all for hire, “not normally knowledgeable of
what environmental characteristics must not be disturbed lest the disturbance result in loss of the health and
competence of the individuals affected ... not informed of how to create and maintain environments that
maximize health and human development. [The professional world-view] is haunted by the ghosts of Rousseau
and the French encyclopedists, by Platonic ideals, and has suffered relatively little distortion by science.” (Geist,
1978, Life Strategies, Human Evolution, and Environmental Design:406). “Vamp up your professionality with one
of our gifts,” 11 Jan 2006, 21:58:38 +0900, Ojinjintka <[email protected]>
progress (Poerksen plastic word): the inevitable metamorphosis of a Student of Cerion into a Guru of NOMA.
project (Poerksen plastic word) 1) (n). an undertaking that stirs the pot of state so that government funding is
brought up to the surface to be skimmed off. 2) (v): to extrapolate current conditions towards an endpoint of
personal aggrandizement.
Pupilloidea (superfamily): Pupilloid Snails, the philosopher’s window on a realm of animate existence at the
Hubble Limit of human empathy.
Toothed aperture beneath the stone
Toothed aperture as white as bone
Toothed aperture and shell smaller than seeds
How can a shape be so small? - Animate Ally
puppy (juvenile life-stage of Canis familiaris) a fanged wiggle, motivated by a hopeful love for everything; the
shoe's method of opening itself up to the world.
quality (Poerksen plastic word): the anagram “ISO” followed by an uninterpretable, but large, number.
Queen (n): Her Majesty Liz Two, the last office-holder found by chance, in accordance with the principles of
Athenian Democracy; demonstrating that accident may select more faithful public servants than the high-jinks of
appointment or the self-promotion of election.
R2000 (regulation): a code of carbon-neutral building, formerly (until 1998) too futuristic to be implemented, and
now (since 2001) too passé to be considered. Those who built by it now heat their homes with a single face cord
of wood each winter, and giggle pityingly at the rest of the population.
Rabbit (English substantive for Oryctolagus cuniculus): a trickster with razor-sharp claws, usually caged to
suppress its personality. Health & Welfare Canada requires that Rabbits be sold with warnings against access to
bathers (“said cute energetic curious bunny rabbit comes racing in, leaping over the side of the tub, and landing
in one's lap while one is laying there relaxed, soaking in hot water in one's naked state...”), nocturnal peaks in
activity (“leaving one running loose in the apartment can result in its landing on any body part while you are
sleeping in your bed. Ignoring said bunny rabbit in his quest for nocturnal play and attention can result in the
rabbit clawing the hair on your head, and if you pull the covers up to protect yourself, he will sit in the doorway
thumping the floor with his hindfoot....”) and hubris (“while cleaning the cute bunny's cage, he will want to scatter
the litter all over the floor, and if deterred he will attack from behind and sink his teeth in your butt while you are
kneeling on the floor scooping soiled litter into the garbage bag...)” - thanks to Rose-Marie Burke.
the devil's addendum – page 34
Raccoon (english substantive for Procyon lotor: sometimes Racoon among those with no sense of
orthographic symmetry; originally Rahaughcum; John Smith, 1608): Indigenous infantry incessantly intervening
to keep Toronto’s garbage out of Michigan.
railroad (v): to push through over plausible objections; to treat as the Ontario Municipal Board treats an
ecologically damaging development proposal. “All levels of government have conspired to railroad the Leitrim
Wetland Habitat Destruction Proposals through the regulatory process.” - not said by Albert Dugal, but doubtless
meant by him.
Raven (english substantive for Corvus corax): Flies-on-his-back-while-singing-about-your-garbage; First
Person of the North; every region’s national Bird. “Every story you've ever heard about Ravens is true.” Bernd
Heinrich (summarized).
Married by the sky
Married by speech
Married by your hunting
Tell me how you endure your children - Animate Ally
raw material (Poerksen plastic word): the output of exploitation.
razor (n): an instrument of futility, consuming the 15 minutes per day when a person might accomplish
something. The female sex used to experience accomplishment before it (she?) succumbed to advertising, and
sacrificed itself (herself?) to the razor, joining the shaving male majority in the zero-sum game (this is why male
authors, scholars, evolutionary biologists, and heroes generally, are so often bearded, and why female heroes
wear enough clothes that their private parts are inscrutable).
reassessed and prioritized for implementation in consideration of funding available
through alternate sources (euphemism): Abandoned. MacMillan-Blodel Company. 1988. Gray BayCumshewa Head-McCoy Cove Integrated Development Plan.
recession (economic euphemism): a reduction in economic activity so profound that the Human ecological
footprint on the Earth is nominally reduced, though in fact, of course, it continues to balloon.
recreation (euphemism): Time spent away from settlements. MacMillan-Blodel Company. 1988. Gray BayCumshewa Head-McCoy Cove Integrated Development Plan.
recreationalists (euphemism): Human People (Homo sapiens). MacMillan-Blodel Company. 1988. Gray
Bay-Cumshewa Head-McCoy Cove Integrated Development Plan.
recycling: all that's left of the mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle" after the first two elements proved too effective
for governments or economists to stomach. <<quote from Mike's book>>
Redback Salamander (english substantive for Plethodon cinereus): the keystone enigma of the East.
Ancient dichromism: Teach me your mysteries
Ancient dichromism: Teach me your correlations
Ancient dichromism: Teach me your forests - Animate Ally
“we examined temporal change in the morphology of the redback salamander (Plethodon cinereus), a small, abundant
woodland salamander distributed widely in eastern North America with two distinct morphotypes: striped individuals
associated with cooler microclimates and unstriped individuals associated with warmer microclimates. We compiled
morph frequencies for 50,960 individual salamanders from 558 sites as recorded in the published literature
and in unpublished field notes of herpetologists between 1908 and 2004. We observed that striping probability
increased with increasing latitude, longitude, and elevation and decreased (from 80% to 74% range-wide) with
the devil's addendum – page 35
time. The combined forces of regional climate warming and, particularly, forest disturbance have evidently
been sufficient to cause morphological evolution in this amphibian over the last century.” Gibbs & Karraker, 2006.
reductionism (philosophy): supposing that measurements of the pieces represents an understanding of the
whole. “It is important to distinguish between reductionism as a research tactic and reductionism as a philosophy - the latter
is the folly of modernism, the former is a necessity of science.” Vandermeer, ARES 1995 26:216, Alternative Agriculture.
reinvent (v): copy. “Beekman Place reinvents the notion of style with a rich java finish and highly textured
surface of split bamboo creating a look that is urbane, sleek and sophisticated.” advertisement on the back of
National Arts Centre programme, Ottawa, 26 May 2005.
relationship (Poerksen plastic word): 1) phylogenesis, 2) parasitism.
religion (antic): freedom rigidified; the fossil of a living gospel worshiped as a petrification; poetry preached as
a tort.
research (antic): quantifying the obvious until it becomes obscure. "...surrounding ground soggy, and covered
by ablation moraines. These comprise 1 cm sandy balls of sediment, cigarette butts, and diverse plastic and
paper scraps & artifacts, with bladder bottles, other plastic containers, and at least 2 beer bottles. Melted
parkinglot snow piles would present a great research field for quantitative sociology. Such a quantification would
provide a parody of Kemptville. But maybe quantification is always a parody of the real situation?" -- Colonie
resolve (n): an unbreakable construct that proves to be the most fragile object in the Universe, completely
fractured by a few micrograms of hormone or a few hours of sleep deprivation. "It is true, of course, that I have a
will of iron, but it can be switched off if the circumstances seem to demand it." Bertie Wooster, Joy in the
resource (Poerksen plastic word): something that ownership gives one authority to exploit, without paying for
it. Often used to imply and condone the uncurtailed human appropriation of the world’s wealth — both of things
actually made for human use or simply there for the taking. “America regards the oilier parts of the world as her
resource.” -- Shubby Caligula, the Least. “Anything prevalent enough to be identified as a waste, is in fact a
resource.” FWS III (originally - perhaps over-enthusiastically - of a factory dripping spaghetti sauce into the
Housatonic River).
résumé fraud (v): a crime which has, since the invention of the laser printer, become a tautology.
Roberston [-headed] screw (n): In 1906 Peter Lymburner Robertson, wounded by the slippery slot of the
primitive screwnail, invented the square recess screw, or as patriotic Canadians call it, the Robertson-headed
Screw. The goddess of geometry had spoken to Robertson in the language of optimality, and the ancient
problem of how to drive a screwed fastener had been solved. Jealous, however, of the desire to make these
optimal artifacts, Robertson reserved manufacture to himself, while one Phillips, who had slipped out of his
crossed slots in the Unruly States, licensed his inferior novelty, and wallowed in mis-gotten gains. While the
licensed Phillips screw remained a wimpish thing, which dared the user -- who never knew which driver to use -to attempt it, the Robertsonian confidently applied the appropriate tool -- green, red, or black -- to a screw that
was a thing of elegance; high-headed, conical, with sharp-edged broad threads -- as if already half-driven -- and
held it aloft like a trophy.
Robertson’s invention led to a Canadian screw-orgy: one no longer had to pre-drill before driving, and Canadians
drove into recesses where anything not visible to the carpenter needed to be held together. The Canadian
approaches the carpenterial fray with a Robertson screw held aloft like the lance of some Galahad of old, and
while Galahad would have been sore tempted to curse vengeance at the slippery slot of a primitive system,
screw and driver were now a single organic entity. The steel roof no longer worked loose and subflooring no
longer creaked underfoot. Nine-year-olds assembled Rabbit hutches with 3-inch screws rather than nails, and
the devil's addendum – page 36
after the passage of decades they retrieved and reused the screws that had held ladder steps into treehouses in
the crowns of Manitoba Maples. Residues of slot and Phillips screws built up in the bottom of Canadian toolboxes, repeatedly rejected in the search for an applicable fastener. Much like the stars and eagles everywhere
on Federalist architecture, visible square-recesses marked shelves and kitchens as Canadian. Customers of
antique shows flipped furniture over to see the Robertson screws and confirm Canadian manufacture, and the
internet advised: “If you want to be strictly Canadian you could use self tapping Robertson screws which give a
somewhat neater appearance with their rounded heads.“
Let’s hear it for Robertson
The man who screwed a nation
and held Canada together with
A square-recessed relation. -- Keith Chuckedbit Carpenter
Robin (substantive for any red-breasted garden Bird encountered by an emigrant Englishman): In North
America, the authoritative demarcator of the diurnal hours, Turdus migratorius, a tough-minded alarm clock that
sustains itself by going out into the garden and eating worms. Dusk may be said to fall and “auditory monitoring
of amphibians may begin, at the cessation of Robin noise.” (Monitors Manual, p 55). After a panic attack, “the
insomniac is granted the ironic grace of sleep at the onset of Robin song” (Psychological Schedule p. 42).
Oh to be the morning Robin,
Chorusing to greet the dawn,
Oh to roll the western margin
Of a continent of song. -- Niceward But Abed
rock and roll (idiom): the heart-throb uteronostalgia of the bottle-fed.
role (Poerksen plastic word): your obligation to do what I tell you to do.
roll (n): role, as approved by a spell-checker.
rural character: 1) that which is to be maintained (according to the Official Plan) as North Grenville
Township is swamped by municipally-subsidized suburbanisation; 2) a diversity of relatively benign and
overlapping human uses for the land, in a landscape in which relatively undisturbed habitats support a wide
variety of wild species, historically resulting either from human inability to subdue an irregular topography to
uniform economic ends (as in New England, the pothole country of Saskatchewan, or the edge of the Shield in
Lanark County, Ontario), or from economic stagnation. “Rural character cannot be maintained as new buildings and
roads proliferate, persisting agriculture intensifies, surviving natural areas are set aside as reserves, streams are managed to
prevent flooding of newly-built human assets or depleted by ‘water takings,’ and each parcel of land is zoned into a specified
single use. Planning to maintain ‘rural character’ cannot be prescriptive. We cannot decide in advance on a zoning scheme
that will ‘preserve’ it: we must decide which conspicuous species will continue to thrive in a ‘rural’ landscape, monitor their
abundance, teach each other about their significance, and modify our behaviour and economy to accommodate their
demands as these become evident. The alternative is a suburbia over-partitioned into myriad parcels of land dedicated to
tightly circumscribed human activities, with wild species restricted to equally circumscribed reserves. In a rich community
with strict planning such a landscape may appear tidy and well-controlled, while in a poorer or laxly-planned community it will
be simply squalid, but in neither case will it be rural.” Twelve documents relevant to Dr Grumpgrump.
Satan (anti-divine persona): one of the sons of God, diversely hinted at in Scripture, whose biography has been
cobbled together from these hints by diligent scribal misanthropes. He was finally dressed for his prom night by
John Milton, and unleashed upon a lost paradise for exploitation as the excuse for every human misdemeanor.
Hitler was the Devil, with his mustache like a rag,
Or maybe crabby Stalin, with his Muskrats and Gulag,
Perhaps he is Saddam Hussein, with his attitude towards Kurds,
Or bluster-blowup 9/12 Bush, with all his hasty words.
Or maybe he's each oil guzzler farting CO2...
Yes, Satan is a doozy, we're certain it is true,
We'll blame him more and more each year for everything we do. -- Bishops van Snape.
the devil's addendum – page 37
scab (n): the fruit of the wound, a resource repeatedly harvested by the distraught and the absent-minded.
Scab-eater (n): a person who consciously benefits from inflicting persistent damage on the environment of
other People or species or from the undoing of attempts at healing. See Vomit-drinker and Yahoo.
Science (n): the discipline of creating secure agreement from ignorance and discord by agreeing to value
stories only for their vulnerability to falsification, and by agreeing to believe stories only to the extent that they
have survived attempts to falsify them, while remaining vulnerable to future disproof. “Science is a very inexact
science.” Francis R. Cook, Ph.D. 12h00, 12 June 1987.
sea-change (noun of passage): the self-antithesis a political party achieves when it forms a government.
self-help book (n): a bolus of congratulatory platitudes validated by cutting-edge research, and delivered
with a sensitivity that assures readers that they’re doomed unless they purchase many more books and products
by the same author. "...a cookie-cutter classic of the positive-thinking self-help genre: First, the heart-wrenching
quotes from unhappy women identified only by their email names, then the stories of 'successful' women,
followed by the obligatory self-administered test to discover 'the role you were bound to play' (Creator, Caretaker,
Influencer, etc.), all bookended with an ad for the many related products you can buy, including a 'video
introduction' from B---, a 'participant's guide' containing 'exercises' to get you to happiness, and a handsome set
of 'Eight Strong Life Plans' to pick from." Barbara Ehrenreich, 13 October 2009.
self-righteousness (n): your account of humble submission to the stern dictates of my God.
service (Poerksen plastic word): the fruit of the Screw Yew tree (Taxus indifferentsis).
settlement: a verb inapplicable to Canada, since People have lived here since deglaciation.
sexuality (Poerksen plastic word): whom you’re prepared to deny you do what with.
shower (v): prophylactic cleansing taken to the point of daily excess; a sacrament of pseudo-hygiene that was
never indulged in during the Age of Enlightenment. Alcohol, Tobacco, and non-prescription psycho-actives all
pale before pseudo-hygiene in the addiction-mediated resource drain they impose on North America. “Every day,
we perform our grooming rituals, scrubbing and cleaning to remove all traces of impurity.” HnV, April/May 2006,
shyness (predisposition): the primary ornament and redeeming virtue of humanity, allowing at least a small
fraction of its membership to regard themselves realistically. “...while we don't have a Shy Pride Week, we do
have many private moments when we keep our thoughts to ourselves.” - Garrison Keillor
singularized data: the conviction that understanding is to be attained in a gulp or flash, without worrying
about the veracity or meaning of individual measurements. “All data is presented for reference only” Garmin
eTrex Legend GPS introductory screen, 2000. Evil, incidentally, is notorious for its anti-Darwinian antics of
attempted self-fertilization, as can be seen in this sterile hybrid between s.d. and spam: “This is confidential
data. If you are not Jasmine Cope and have received this message in error, please do not access Jasmine
Cope's account.” -- Harris Welsh, Account Rep. B691159.
sloth (deadly sin): personal internalization of North American action to combat Global Climate Change.
sneaker (n): the ancestral running shoe, before development had trained it to be worth $430.
Snow Bunting (english substantive for Plectrophenax nivalis): tundra, reclaiming its Pleistocene maximum in
every winter.
the devil's addendum – page 38
O for roadside Plectrophenax,
Messenger of up-and-gone,
And around and back and over,
Brighter than the snow you're on. -- Countess S. D. Angie.
solution (Poerksen plastic word): my ideas imposed on you in the guise of a compromise.
somewhat unique (adj. impossibility): not unique.
soul (n): the imperishable something else that essentially constitutes yourself.
spam (n): an impossible prospect of success offered on an electronic platter, in accordance with the strictly
enforced industry standards: “longer, harder, richer, cheaper.” The senselessness of these offers is frequently
diluted by more cogent passages such as “I'll be getting a wee yont amang the bents, so that I can see what way
quite believed her. Indeed, I thought myself but an eyesore to the more happy than I can tell of in the past. I
came a half a step sick of her and you. What kind of a damned trade is this to be a my first thought to have
made a fire and burned them; but my civilly, but withdrew at once to her own room, of which she shut the
constancy upon my studies; and made out to endure the time till Alan.” <[email protected]> sends
this message: "Lord; have will goeth not suffer my fruit every evil and who is children of the garments are Come
thither, mine eyes: Can't find good drugstore in your area?”
specious reasoning (your guess as-good-as the author's): 1) sound reasoning, 2) unsound reasoning.
sport (culture): recreation taken to the point of mutation.
With their long green hands,
and their fingers made of dough,
They go “Sport, Sport, Sport!”
As I’m sure you ought to know. Bishops Matron
Sports English: a dialect which overcame a second period meltdown to come out on top. “The excitement,
she said, is something she thrives on, since Hamilton is in Edmonton tonight.”
spring (n): the frog-sung orgy of mud that intervenes between the brilliance of snowcover and the Dominion of
...In the bright grey woods before spring fades
And the red-blush Maples and Aspen gold have made
The one-big-green of the summer’s shade. -- Shad Blower.
standard of living (Poerksen plastic word): the average number of organic species recognized by a Person
in the course of the average day. Those who know the species by their Linnean names and as holophyletic
clades fly their standard on a different and higher plane than those who know them only in the vernacular. “
appropriate measure of the human standard of living is the percentage of one's diet uncultivated plants
comprise, as a sign of the freedom one has to harvest them...” Burnt Toast 2(2):7-8.
Starburst Response (apocalypse): an automatic auto-immune response of intensified Unified Field Physics
Templar dynamics experienced by an Eckasha-Ecka-Veca system Templar when it is faced with a critical mass
life-threatening damage of the Eckasha-Ecka system; an organic dynamic of systems self-healing inherent in the
Creation Mechanics set forth in the Original Krist Creation Code, that is triggered into the irreversible automatic
activation within the living body of the cosmos to prevent irreversible compromise of the Eternal Life Original
Creation Intention. “Starburst Response was triggered within this Eckasha-Ecka-Veca system following UIR activation of
the Budhara Wormhole network November 2003-December 2004. Starburst Response represents a Probability Mainline
within the potential evolution of a planetary system whose Universal, Galactic and Solar Systems have come into Co-
the devil's addendum – page 39
Resonant Vibrational Alignment with the Ecka-Veca Probability Mainline in which the Ecka-Veca system has entered
Starburst Response. A planet engages the Probability of Starburst Response when its Solar System enters Co-resonant
Alignment with Probability Mainline in which its Galaxy entered Starburst Response. Earth and its Solar System entered
Starburst Response Probability Alignment with their Galactic Probability Mainline on May 27, 2004, when UIR activation of
the Budhara Wormhole network commenced within the Earth-Solar Templar.” While these assertions may be doubted
by some, their probability is vastly enhanced by the fact that the 27 th of May, 2004, was the present
lexicographer's 56th birthday.
Starling (english substantive for Sturnus vulgarus). Broken glass on the wing; a Shakespearian provision for
feeding the Cat after cleaning the stovepipes.
Sunny, Starlings singing;
Suddenly, violently springlike,
Snow almost gone from the fields. -- Bishops Million, 13 March 1995
status quo (n) nothing much. The ultimate nirvana of bureaucrats, politicians, community leaders, and many
others in positions of authority. This state is characterized by stagnation and exacerbated by upcoming elections.
stock market (noun of speculation): an expensive and widely publicised demonstration that economic
valuation is a fraud. “The speed of light fell 9% yesterday, but recovered by 4% when measurements resumed
this morning. Observers said that this variation was due to natural fluctuations in the exuberance of the
measuring equipment.” Economic Physics 41(3)1123-1125.
strategy (Poerksen plastic word): a document that explains why you should start doing what I want you to do.
stubby (n): a compact, uniform, reusable beer bottle, once mandated by the brewers’ retail authorities of
Canada and the United Kingdom. Supplanted in these latter days by elongate, flimsy, crush-and-melt bottles and
cans mandated by the whimsy of the marketing divisions of brewing corporations, in the hope that they can
conceal the uniformity of their product by dispensing it in diverse containers.
Oh to find a wayward stubby
Washed up on some mossy bank,
Oh to think that regulation
Once constrained marketeers pranks! - Jimminy ‘refund’ Snape
student (n): a numerically denominated partially processed product of the education industry.
structure (Poerksen plastic word): an arrangement that I’m in charge of and that you can’t get out of.
styrofoam cup (n): an infinitesimal emblem of an infinite evil; a satanic sacrament predestined for burial as
its own whited sepulchre.
sustainable growth (economic oxymoron): a denial of reality projected onto the fear of change.
subdivision (v): cutting down all the Oak trees before developing “Oak Grove Estates.” “I damn all
subdividers to Hell.” God (about a site along the Bolton Road).
substance (Poerksen plastic word): material already eaten by an herbivore.
Oh to be Perissodactyl!
Oh to walk on uneven toes.
Oh to chew the once-through substance
Wheresoever it grows.
Oh to be Artiodactyl!
Oh to walk on cloven toes,
the devil's addendum – page 40
And to chew selected substance
When you're safely in repose.
Oh to be a Lagomorphic!
Oh to nibble bits and buds.
Oh to give a second chance to
Substance that has been processed once - Rumen von Bight.
'sufficient evidence' (evasion): an amount of evidence that is somewhat more than whatever amount of
evidence has been presented.
From: "B--G--- [Ontario]" <B--G--->
To: [email protected]
Sent: Thu, September 30, 2010 11:31:14 AM
Subject: RE: Draining of TC Federal Wetlands and known Critical Habitat for COSEWIC SAR
I myself have been copied on previous photos and accounts. We appreciate the efforts that have been made to identify
Blanding's Turtles in the area but to date we have not received sufficient evidence to confirm the presence of the species on
the lands on either side of Lester Road in the vicinity of the railway line. We do still welcome submissions of any
photographic evidence.
Suit (subpopulation of Homo sapiens): a kind of cold-blooded dinosaur that flourished in the RaygunMullrooney era, and still persists in some business refugia, despite a state of intellectual extinction. Their
costume, once that of fly-fishermen and then that of gentlemen, is no longer worn by those who reflect on its
recent history.
Suits of wealth and suits of glory,
Tell their eager selfish story,
And Cinderella cramps their toes,
As planet-wide their footprint grows.
They wear no hat to shade their eyes
From everything their mind denies;
Hoist by their own cravat, they dangle slack and fat,
And shaded by the Shrub they lie in crumpled masses, soon to die. -- Cindy Truthout Sheenan.
summer (n): the coregncy of transpiration and chlorophyll; the season when one gets up to answer the phone
of those neighbours who don’t live inside refrigerators.
sustainable (plastic word): continuing in what can be claimed to be forecast to be a steady state for as long
as the present author cares to think about. "It's not sustainable for the naturalists to expect that the Canadian
biota will be kept intact until the ice comes back." -- Steven the Harpy.
swimming pool (n): a backyard machine for chlorinating Frogs and bleaching their carcases. Also useful for
eliminating free time and disposable income from a household, and for drowning children and Toads.
system (Poerksen plastic word): the one glad moment just before things break down into chaos.
tar sands (geopolitical noun): congealed pollution, embedded beneath the Boreal Forest so that its extraction
can constitute the quintessence of the Albertan way of life.
taxonomist (n): a harmless drudge, harmlessly in love with the ten thousand names of drudgery.
If it wasn't for the namers what would we do?
We wouldn't have names both short and true,
We couldn't specify a creature in a word or two,
If it wasn't for the work of the namers.
the devil's addendum – page 41
If it wasn't for the namers where would we be?
We wouldn't have synonymy,
Each would use his favourite name and all would disagree,
If it wasn't for the work of the namers. -- Gregarious Gaylord Simpson.
technology (noun): a pollutant whose consequences have not yet been discovered.
tee-shirt (noun): a figured undergarment advertising the wearer's friends' desire to fund some remote cause,
destination, or product. Doubtless something cutting could be said about contests in which this garment is worn
wet with beer, but this is precluded by the limited experience of the present lexicographer...
telephone (little tin god): a terrorist technology that incessantly imports interruption (see time) into every
habitation, workplace, vehicle, and wireless wilderness.
theft (n): the quickest explanation of the forgotten location of an artifact. “You know, somebody has stolen my...
here it is.” Bishops Matron
Theorem of the Stupid Worker (dogma): a management tool for blaming ecologically abusive practices
on the supposed inability of employees to learn the differences among species or phenomena that would be
required for the implementation of ecologically benign alternatives. This belief was sired by “Pass the Buck” out
of “Status Quo:” one of its early victories was the general herbiciding or rights-of-way (workers were too stupid to
distinguish between species of shrubs and of trees), and more recently it has defeated R2000 in the Canadian
Construction Code Derby. Devotees of the Theorem are unfazed by empirical evidence that worker “stupidity”
follows directly from managerial abuse.
“There are no common names for the frogs of the genus Pseudacris,” (Charles F. Walker.
1946. The Amphibians of Ohio. Part I, the Frogs and Toads. Ohio State Museum Science Bulletin 1(3)).The
‘name' of a species is its Name under the applicable code of nomenclature, and there are no grounds for
fabricating ‘common' names that do not have a vernacular origin. Vernacular names are to be collected by the
naturalist, not invented, especially if the invented 'common' name is a vapid restating of the species' Name. In
Ontario, the English name of Elaphe vulpina is ‘Whomper' or ‘Swamp Whomper:' ‘Fox Snake' is a pitiful
translation of the Name, redolent of incomplete and half-assimilated book-learning. Since Walker wrote, the
blight he implied has reached epidemic proportions with the insistence of field guide publishers and government
agencies that every species be decorated with an English name. Extreme examples of this can be found among
Fungi, where many mushroom-fruiting species were called only by their Names until publishers insisted on
made-up English names: even if it's the ‘Forest Friend' in one book, and the ‘Oak-loving Collybia' in another for
what everybody used to happily denominate Collybia dryophila.
Throne (n): the flush toilet as the heart of darkness, the nexus of careless one-way nutrient flow in nominally
civilized countries. Through it passes most of the residue of the biological productivity of the acre of land that
feeds each person: phosphate and potash dug from the earth, nitrogen burned from the air, minerals mined from
exploited soils or imported from exploited tropical ecosystems, and fish netted from the sea. There is no socially
accepted way to disperse the concentrated nutrients used by people back into soil: the disposal route for
biological waste is always into groundwater, streams, lakes, or the sea.
You who are sitting on my throne
Where I should triumph all alone
Crouching in state where I should reign,
Verily, you give me a pain. -- Bishops Million
Thuja (genus) the Tree of Life, Arbor vitae; Eastern White & Western Red cedars; carefully excluding the
Eastern Red Cedar, which is, not unexpectedly, a Juniper.
White and red: East and west
White and red: Sun-lover and sun-endurer
the devil's addendum – page 42
White and red: softly light and sweetly splitting
Let me hear the wind in your leaves as you whisper and sing - Animate Ally
time (noun of passage): an interminable series of interruptions.
Millions of interruptions
Ennoble every day.
They come like swarms of Black Flies
I wish they'd go away. -- Impounded Dreemer.
times smaller (adj. phrase): confusion written as a doubtfully commutative inversion. “the universe was 1000
times smaller than at present” (Emergence of Everything, p 41). This may well be intended to convey the idea
that “the universe was 0.1% of its present volume” or diameter? But who can know? “Chelodina expansa was
five times less abundant than Emydura macquarii.” Spencer & Thompson, Conservation Biology 19(3):845. (see
percent less)
tobacco smoke (combustive by-product of Nicotiana tabacum): an environmental contaminant capable of
enraging the non-smoker at concentrations lower than those that can be measured by chemical analysis (see
homeopathy). “Nicotine decomposes into pyridine, furfurol, collidine, hydrocyanic acid, carbon-monoxide, etc.
The poisonous effects of Tobacco smoke are due to these substances of decomposed nicotine.” Webhacker von
toe (n): a pedal appendage designed to create pain without shedding blood.
Tomato (english substantive for Lycopersicon esculenta). The noblest fruit ever to go to mush on a September
morning; a peruvian flavour-bomb detonated for the summer benefit of the whole world. The Mexican Walking
Tomato was an especially tough breed, that, through the 1980s, was grown in Mexico, and was let loose to walk
flavourlessly to Canada for sale in supermarkets.
Apple green west and an orange bar,
and the crystal eye of a single star;
Frost tonight, cover the rows,
Or there’ll just be a mess where there are Tomatoes. -- Jiminny Snape.
Toronto (conurbation): a vast area of the Lake Iroquois Plain that is both described by, and revels in, its
municipal motto: “More than enough of it.” “How many Torontonians does it take to change a lightbulb? Just one:
he stands there and the rest of the country revolves around him.”
torture (antic of pseudo-interrogation): the revenge recent Republicans inflict on the memory of Abraham
tourist (subpopulation of Homo sapiens) a human resource of the hospitality industry, bussed or flown about in
obsessively clean clothes and with a greater interest in the location of toilets than in any natural feature of the
landscape. INCANTATION: may they all overdose on bleach and boredom.
toxic hot spot (Great Lakes euphemism): stinking harbour mud, often with greenish bubbles. These sites
have been repeatedly cleaned up by widely hoopla-ed binational agreements, beginning in 1970, yet they
repeatedly revive to again require widely hoopla-ed binational amelioration in each decade.
toxin (alternative medical hypothesis): supposed accumulated chemicals that result from dietary and lifestyle
habits not currently endorsed by the diagnosing practitioner, and that are to be expelled by the regime of
treatment currently supplied by the diagnosing practitioner. Not to be confused with any particular environmental
The chiropractor thinks it's in the neck,
the devil's addendum – page 43
The naturopath calls it a yeast infection,
The MD thinks it's a mystery:
Just a normal case of disease. Bishops Maiden 23 March 1995
Turkey Vulture (english substantive for Cathartes aura): a golden cleanser, put together from everything
unexpected: a Stork made over into an Eagle, flying without flapping, sniffing out recyclables with a nose like a
Bloodhound's, peering bright-eyed from a rubbery head, and nesting, on a time-sharing arrangement, in sugar
Oh to be Cathartes aura,
Rocking o'er the Mixedwood Plain,
Scrutinizing every roadside
For the smashed and for the slain.
understatement: the mode of expression which allows the composition of sentences such as: “The Grizzly
Bear charged, but was deterred by pepper spray (oleoresin caspicum) at a distance of 7 m.” (Boyd & Heger,
2000, CF-N 114(3):507).
unheroic behaviour: MECDS (Mary Ellen Carter Deficiency Syndrome) – "And you, to whom adversity
has dealt the final blow, with smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go, turn to, and put out all your
strength of arm and heart and brain, and like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again." – Stan Rogers.
Uniformitarianism:, «Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose» the first great null hypothesis of historical
science, a French maxim embodying an English doctrine, the beatification of the nonevent. Before Hutton and
Lyell, science was an intellectual adventure like any other -- afterwards it became unprecedentedly successful
by repeatedly failing to demonstrate that it wasn’t a greater adventure than any other.
unique (euphemism): different from what the author understands. “The irregularities in the printing of this
garment are part of its unique character/ Les irrégularities de l'imprimé de ce vêtement font parties de ce design
unique.” - text found on a mass-produced tag.
urban forest (euphemism): what’s left when it’s gone.
USSR (noun of history): The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or was it of “Socialist Soviet Republics?” An
atheist empire with a Christian denouement, in the good sense to win the Cold War by giving it up. Christian
motivation has yet to be detected among their opponents in this struggle. "President Bush continually says that
'they' hate us because of our freedoms. That may explain why, in this legislation and in the Patriot Act, he is,
piece by piece, trying to remove our freedoms. If this is his idea of protecting Americans, we really can't stand
much more protection." James Abourezk, 2006.
vacant land (zoning noun): habitat.
value (Poerksen plastic word): an ethical impulse that lacks the courage to become a principle.
vibration (n): the mystical symbiosis of the Soul with the Something. “...all scientistic mystics either vibrate in
person or find themselves resonant with cosmic vibrations.” Medawar, The Phenomenon of Teilhard
vicious cycle (noun of interaction): positive feedback of which the author doesn't approve. "The higher the
temperature gets, the more permafrost we melt, the more tendency it is to become a more v. c. That's the thing
that is scary about this whole thing [global warming]. There are lots of mechanisms that tend to be selfperpetuating and relatively few that tends to shut it off." Chris Field, director of global ecology, Carnegie
Institution of Washington, Wednesday 06 September 2006.
visual impact (euphemism): Erosion and ugliness. MacMillan-Blodel Company. 1988. Gray Bay-Cumshewa
Head-McCoy Cove Integrated Development Plan.
the devil's addendum – page 44
visual integrity of the high recreational values (euphemism): Natural beauty. MacMillan-Blodel
Company. 1988. Gray Bay-Cumshewa Head-McCoy Cove Integrated Development Plan.
vocation (noun): what a job isn’t.
Do you have a known location
are you on the planet Earth?
Can you tell me your vocation
for whatever it is worth? - Cell Phonetic.
Vomit-drinker (n):a person whose work or life degrades the environment for other People or species, and
who persists in spite of recognizing their responsibility for this degradation. From the fact that they force us all to
reingest their wastes. This leads to an obvious name for the beverages whose bottles are strewn along the
roadsides. Since 1991 these bottles have been much more often thrown away half-full than they used to be, as
if the v-d's were wearying of even their ways, or something... see litter.
war (antic) peer-reviewed brutality; intelligence at the service of mindlessness; entertainment as practiced by
those behind the joystick rather than on the screen. “War is the indiscriminate killing of huge numbers of people
for ends which are uncertain“ Howard Zinn, 2 May 2009. “Non-naturalists detonated explosive devices in close
proximity to each other throughout the Middle East today, providing critical resources to a fauna of carrion
Beetles which is increasingly rich in anthropophagous species.” BBC World Service (Natural History).
wealth (noun of excess): more than you need. “Modern man no longer knows what to do with the time and the
potentialities he has unleashed. We groan under the burden of this wealth, We are haunted by the fear of
'unemployment'. Sometimes we are tempted to trample this super-abundance back into the matter from which it
sprang without stopping to think how impossible and monstrous such an act against nature would be. “ Pierre
Teilhard de Chardin, “The Phenomenon Of Man,” Book 4, Chapter 1, The Collective Issue.
weediness (noun of enthusiasm): r-selected zip, fecundity, and ubiquity. “I sympathize with weeds perhaps
more than with the crop they choke, they express so much vigor. They are the truer crop which the earth more
willingly bears.” Journal of Uncle Henry David.
white chocolate (noun of omission): leaving out the nominal ingredient. “The unknown unknown was a white
chocolate liberation of Iraq.” Rummy Fellow, formerly Secretary of the Fence.
wild flower, wildlife, Wild Rice, etc. These anthropocentric names assert the primacy of domesticated
lineages, and are not used in ecocentric discourse. An extreme case of this domestic-centred naming is Calla
palustris, which because of superficial similarity gave the name 'Calla Lily' to the exotic Zantedeschia or Pig Lily
(properly Piglily, see Do Dragons fly?) of commerce. As a result of popular familiarity with this exotic, Calla
palustris is sometimes retro-designated the "Wild Calla." The adjective 'wild' is correctly applied only to the feral
descendants of previously domesticated lineages (e.g. 'wild Apple').
wildlife (paraphyletic assemblage): whatever non-domestic species the author considers important. At first this
comprised terrestrial 'game' Vertebrates (1910's), then, after a time-out for world wars and depression,
non-game Birds (1960's), Plants (1970's), herpetofauna (1980's), and recently Butterflies, Odonata, and certain
Molluscs. Fish may be included or left out, as in “United States Fish and Wildlife Service” (see ...and animals).
winter: the season when one thinks of the frost on the inside of the windowpane as insulation. Where I live this
is a season of brilliantly intense beauty and peril, but it's replaced by a soggy series of slushy intervals 150 miles
closer to the Equator, where you live.
wisdom (postdisposition): the inability to do anything your contemporaries understand or approve of.
the devil's addendum – page 45
work (Poerksen plastic word): any obligatory human drudgery; widely mis-used for paid ‘employment’ in the
Commercial economy, when it properly refers to the exercise of a vocation. Delivering or refining petroleum for
others to burn is exploitation, but growing, felling, or splitting one’s own trees to heat one’s house may be work
(see joblessness).
workplace (Poerksen plastic word): the dibertorium; a venue for interruption.
world class (adjectival inaccuracy): somehow similar to something characteristic of Toronto.
worldliness (n): my account of your spirituality. “Rather than dumping on the Worldly, maybe religions should stand
in awe of their accomplishments, however pointless these may be, and ponder what motivates them in their heroic struggle to
watch interminable films, conform to the strictures of the Salt/Sugar/Grease Diet, slump passively in front of TV's, slurp vast
quantities of intoxicating beverages, drive recklessly at immense speeds without looking out for Turtles, bore themselves silly
in exchange for a pay cheque, and live in pretentious closely-packed houses with no wild land around. One presumes this
worldly culture exists, because one sees its fruits all over, though no one ever admits to being one of them, though many
bemoan having been forced into servitude to its ways...” Faithful Conventioneer.
wormhole (n): the cosmic principle that links intertidal mudflats, cheese, and universes. "It takes a swamp
and tideflat zoologist to tell you about life." Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey, p 151.
wrath (deadly sin): modelling interpersonal relationships on historic patterns of resource exploitation.
Yahoo (n): one whose work or life degrades the environment for other People or species, but who does not
recognize his own responsibility for this degradation. From the cry (ya-HOO!). “ must be owned that seven
months were a sufficient time to correct every vice and folly to which the Yahoos are subject, if their natures had
been capable of the least disposition to virtue or wisdom.” (Lemuel Gulliver, 2 April 1727)
"Your call is important to us." (teleuphemism). “Come over to my place this evening, and I'll take off my
clothes and crawl all over you.”