The Dumbbell's Dictionary
Navy, while stationed aboard U.S.S. Enterprise. The conclusion of the reporting officer
was that I would be an attribute to any ship or station.
Well, now. As any literate person will immediately recognize, an attribute can be either
positive or negative. I remain to this day, convinced that the poor young Ensign who
processed my evaluation meant to say asset rather than attribute, but who knows?
Auctor, n. A very fancy and needlessly obtuse synonym for author.
Authoritarian, adj. All too often confused, by those who refuse to think, with
„totalitarian.’ See Jeanne Kirkpatrick’s „Dictatorships and Double Standards.’
Autobiography, n. History of an automobile.
Autodidact, n. Needs to be careful. May have a poor student as well as a poor teacher.
Ave atque vale, Latin for „Hale and Farewell. Hence our „Ave Maria,’ „Hale Mary.’
Aware, adj. Are we? Jonny Mathis reminded us, in the late 1950’s, that „the world is full
of wondress things, it’s true, but they wouldn’t have much meaning without you.’ The
„you’ of course, has obvious implications. I suppose I am an incurable romantic. I’ll just
have to deal with it.
Ayn Rand, n. American Prophet. What she published in 1957 in „Atlas Shrugged’ is,
sadly, coming true in today’s America. I have read her novel eleven times, and hereby
wish to test your patience by sharing my two favorite quotes from Ms. Rand. (1) „Since
nature does not guarantee automatic security, success, and survival to any human being, it
is only the dictatorial presumptuousness and the moral cannibalism of the altruist-
collectivist code that permits a man to suppose (or idly daydream) that he can somehow
guarantee such security to some men at the expense of others.’
(2) „A society that robs an individual of the product of his effort, or enslaves him, or
attempts to limit the freedom of his mind, or compels him to act against his own rational
judgment…is not, strictly speaking, a society, but a mob held together by
institutionalized gang-rule.’ In consideration of where this country currently is, I rest my
Aztecs, Incas, Mayans, and Toltecs. One can’t wondering why these Central American
and South American civilizations, supposedly quite advanced in the Middle Ages (They
had some pretty sophisticated calendars.) never got around to inventing the wheel. Had
they done so, they might not have been so easy for the Spanish invaders to conquer.
Baby Bye Bye, n. Title of Jack Scott’s 1956 hit single, a big hit in a year of big hits. It
doesn’t have many words, but the accompanying music is great.
Bad Ideas, n. Here, in no certain order, is a partial list of my (un)favorites. Perhaps one of
the most preposterous ideas current in America is the notion that everyone should go to
college. The brute fact is that not everyone is educable. Recall that Mencken informs us
that there are men who are naturally intelligent and can learn, and that there are others
who are naturally stupid and cannot. I happen to agree.