Regulars and Shorts, Slightly Off Center

Slightly Off Center: May 2013

By Dennis Hinkamp

Devil’s Dictionary, Vol. 2
by Dennis Hinkamp

Ambrose Bierce disappeared in Mexico sometime during 1913 after having written The Cynic’s Word Book which was later renamed The Devil’s Dictionary. I’ve always admired his writing and am saddened that he didn’t have a chance to take a crack at our 21st century nonsensical language. In his absence, this is my tribute.

iStock photos – because I want my publication to have a unique look just like all the other publications.

Social Media Consultant – code for “my barista job didn’t work out.”

Barista – what busking is to street musician, barista is to coffee shop employee.

Paradigm – meaningless big word people used before the Internet.

Leveraging social media – annoying people with ads, causes, petitions and shameless self-promotion in what was once a pleasant diversion from mainstream commercial media.

Infographic – deranged graphic artist barf used in place of explaining something with a simple pie chart or words.

Appendectomy – the arduous process of removing useless apps from phones, pads and other devices.

Customer satisfaction survey – The electronic version of the after breakup letter begging you to come back while promising to do better. Alternately an obsessive need to validate that any purchase ranging from corn dogs to SUVs met or exceeded your expectations.

Crowdfunding – taking your panhandling, street musicianship or slam poetry to a world audience.

Crowdsourcing – the natural evolution of chain letters and phone trees.

Ninja (anything) – the word you use when “expert” either isn’t good enough or doesn’t pertain.

Wrap your head around – words sure to appear on your autopsy report after driving and texting; driving and Tweeting; or driving and updating your Facebook page.

Epic – a word used to describe everything from your lunch to the cataclysmic end of the world.

Bandwidth – the thing that there never is enough of even though nobody really knows what it is; in some circles, the paucity of bandwidth is the updated “the dog ate my homework.”

Cloud computing – a new technology that will make it possible to simultaneously lose millions of people’s files.

Game changer – used to describe everything other than actual games.

Blogoshere – virtually free unemployment compensation for failed artists of all genres.

At the end of the day – what most people refer to as “night” or “tomorrow.”

Viral – something that used to be bad that became desirable but is reverting to annoying.

Sustainable – the new word used to alternately justify or criticize any project ranging from cooking dinner to building thermonuclear reactors.

Cave – short for “cave in” because that last syllable is just too much trouble.

Pocket book – the mysterious antiquated thing that is always going to take the brunt of increased taxes; now living on the Isle of Anachronisms with the floppy disk.

Dennis Hinkamp does not like the word cynic; he prefers observant.

This article was originally published on April 26, 2013.