From Jelf's Updated Devil's Dictionary (with apologies to Ambrose Bierce):

modernize, v. To make shoddier, tackier, uglier, and more expensive.

progress, n. Change which purports to solve one problem while it causes another that is worse.


That little known but vital automotive component, the fremulator, aptly illustrates the great technological progress that has occured over the span of the last century.

The fremulator on your great grandfather's 1907 Caligula Model R was made of brass, precision machined, cost 25¢, and was designed to last indefinitely. In fact, most of the few remaining Caligulas still have their original fremulators.

Your grandfather's 1926 Crooper Floozie came with a machined steel fremulator which cost $1.25 and would last about twenty years.

The fremulator on your dad's 1959 Belchfire Eight was made of pressed steel, crimped together. It cost $12.00 and would last about ten years.

Your new 2005 Honshu Feckless XT has a fremulator made of paper, which is waranteed for a full year. It costs $352.17, and contains a computer chip which is programmed to burn it to a crisp 366 days after your check clears.

This brief overview of fremulator history serves to demonstrate the eternal truth I once saw expressed on a sign in a Sunset Boulevard second hand store: OLD JUNK IS BETTER THAN NEW CRAP.

(May 20, 2005)