Thursday, December 31, 2009

Diplopundit’s 2009 Words and Phrases to Remember


DEMINT: New Diplopundit word meaning to block, to hold, as in “Mr. X’s nomination to be ambassador to Country Y has been deminted by Senator Z because of senatorial disapproval over the dear leader’s hairdo.”Or, “I did not have a normal nomination process – my nomination was deminted for months in the Senate by a guy who disliked my tie!”

FULL BODY SCAN: New airport screening technology to be deployed soon at US airports.  Thanks to terrorism suspect Abdulmutallab who foolishly hid explosives in his underpants, we will all soon undergo full body scans.  I guess the new perk for the next decade will soon be the “no full body scan” lane?       

VISAS VIPER: Charming name for a State telegram without any hollow venom-conducting fangs. Visas Viper report on possible terrorists who are not current visa applicants for the purpose of watchlisting them. There is also Visas Donkey, and Visas Bear, and no, you can’t pick your own animal for this.

CIVILIAN UPLIFT: Atrocious new term for the civilian surge under Afghanistan 2.0. My dictionary defines “uplift” as “a rise of land to a higher elevation (as in the process of mountain building),” or “a brassiere that lifts and supports the breasts.” Ooh.

IDLE CURIOSITY: All-time favorite excuse for non-work activities conducted during office hours especially related but not confined to passport record snooping. As in “It was not my fault; idle curiosity made me do it!”    

HUMAN RESOURCE INITIATIVE (HRI): New term for diplomatic hiring that used to be called Diplomacy 3.0, but is now called HRI in congressional bills. Thank gods! 

HOUSE-ENVY: A serious illness that apparently afflicts a certain portion of the Foreign Service community overseas; reportedly impacts morale at some posts from Afghanistan Albania to Zimbabwe (Afghanistan has apartments and hootches). Don’t panic. This non-contagious illness only makes an occasional appearance in OIG reports.  

DEPUTY AMBASSADOR:  New title under Afghanistan 2.0; everywhere else, US missions still use the traditional term, DCM for Deputy Chief of Mission to refer to the number #2 person at the embassy. Criteria for using the “deputy ambassador” title, anyone?   

COLD CASE: James E. Hogan, Foreign Service Officer last seen in Curacao (a 15% cost of living and a three-year, two R&R diplomatic post and popular tourist destination where a man disappeared without a trace on September 24, 2009). Perhaps sad for you and me, but devastating for the family.

MUZZLED:  Madam le Consul. Her blog’s disappearance is the subject of latest idea submitted in the Secretary’s Sounding Board to allow internal blogging at State. The time has come to "liberate" blogging in the Dept? Stay tuned!

Best wishes to Diplopundit's blog friends, tipsters and readers. Let me end this year with an old Egyptian blessing -- may God stand between you and harm in all the empty places you must walk.  Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2010!


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