The Dumbbell's Dictionary
Here’s another whopper. Most of the folks „inside the Beltway,’ followed closely by
those in power in state and local governments, happen to believe that the central
government knows better than we do just how we should live our lives. To that idea my
response is that Ronald Reagan had it exactly right: „Government is not the solution.
Government is the problem.’ Reagan left us another truth regarding government when he
told us that the scariest words in the English language are „Hi. I’m from the government,
and I’m here to help.’
Bagwan Shri Rashnish, n. It has now developed that this cult, located to the southeast of
Pendleton, Oregon, in the 1980’s was much more dangerous than had been originally
thought. In addition to the Bagwan’s one hundred or so Rolls Royces, in addition to the
brainwashing of the acolytes, there is now evidence that armed guards equipped with
semiautomatic machine guns constantly guarded the compound.
James Baldwin, n. He truly didn’t understand when he penned „The Fire Next Time,’ i.e.
„God gave Noah the rainbow sign; no more water, the fire next time.’
The Banality of Evil, n. I beg to disagree with Hanna Arendt, scholar and historian
though she was. Evil is not banal. How she could have come to such a conclusion, with
her intimate knowledge of the transgressions of Hitler and Stalin, lies beyond the field of
my comprehension. I therefore remain unpersuaded.
It is true enough that Himmler was an unprepossessing little monster. The operative term
here, however, is monster. Ask any of the surviving Allied soldiers who liberated the
death camps at the end of World War II.
Stalin was also rather banal in appearance. That admitted, I recommend a perusal of
Nikolai Tolstoy’s „Stalin’s Secret War,’ which contains one of the most gruesome
episodes I have ever seen described. In Tolstoy’s recounting, during the Wermacht’s
overrunning of the Ukraine early in the war, a German Lieutenant walked into a
cavernous old building that was isolated from the surrounding villages and farms. He had
entered the building dark-haired. When he emerged, his hair had turned completely
white. It seems that inside, he had encountered human blood covering the floor to a depth
of several inches. Further exploration led him to the platforms where buzz saws had been
used by Soviet political commissars to saw human beings in half. Banal?
Banana Republic, n. What we are currently engaged in becoming, and guess who has the
biggest banana on the block.
Band Aids, n. What you have when a rock group becomes HIV positive.
Band Width, n. The size of the orchestra.
Barbarians at the Gates, n. Forget it. They’re already within the compound.
Barbary Pirates, n. They were pretty well stopped under Thomas Jefferson, who would
not countenance paying a tribute or facing prison by American ships plying the
Mediterranean waters. Can you imagine how our current Administration would face a
similar challenge say, by the current pirates off the coast of Somalia? I thought so.
The Barber of Seville, n. Why not Barcelona?