The Devil’s Dictionary

Today is International Call in Sick Day. (Boy, there's an idea!)


Here are a few definitions from Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary. Bierce was a fiery ol' son of a gun, a misanthrope of the caliber I can only pray one day to attain. Even though he published this almost 100 years ago it's still one of the most bitingly funny books ever written:

Envelope, n. The coffin of a document; the scabbard of a bill; the husk of a remittance; the bed-gown of a love-letter.

adv. No better.

n. A sufficient number of members of a deliberative body to have their own way and their own way of having it. In the United States Senate a quorum consists of the chairman of the Committee on Finance and a messenger from the White House; in the House of Representatives, of the Speaker and the devil.

Die, n. The singular of "dice." We seldom hear the word, because there is a prohibitory proverb, "Never say die." At long intervals, however, some one says: "The die is cast," which is not true, for it is cut. The word is found in an immortal couplet by that eminent poet and domestic economist, Senator Depew:

A cube of cheese no larger than a die
May bait the trap to catch a nibbling mie.

Picture, n. A representation in two dimensions of something wearisome in three.

"Behold great Daubert's picture here on view—
Taken from Life." If that description's true,
Grant, heavenly Powers, that I be taken, too.
Jali Hane.


Speaking of Pictures, I need your help with something. I am writing a story about the woman below (please click on her full a larger size with more detail available), and I'm stuck. I need to know: what's she thinking? What happened right before this scene? Anything you can tell me would me most appreciated!


Anonymous said...

Man, I wish you'd have told me about this Call in Sick thing yesterday!

Dragon said...

Its late August and the harvest just beginning. The weather is very hot and humid and she has been working in the field all day. Its around 3pm, the time when the Sun is most harsh. She fainted and was help up to her room by a farm hand. Her hair is wet with sweat and her clothes are clinging to her. The window is open to allow air in but the air is still. Her hand falls down the side of the bed and she feels a breeze. She leans down further trying to figure out where the breeze is coming from.

The figure in the painting could be a woman or a man. Its hard to tell. When I first looked I thought of a woman.

Hyperion said...

Koz - It was up on Sunday!

Dragon - Thanks for telling me about the character. All those other stiffs were cowards, scared little nancy boys.