An Improvement That Makes Things Worse

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 1, 2005

Dear Editor,
    The good folks at New Scientist magazine, tirelessly working to keep us all informed, have come up with a term that I believe everyone here in Austin [and possibly elsewhere] will find highly useful in describing many of the new and exciting things we have to look forward to in the coming months and years ahead: Schlimmbesserung. Doesn't that just roll off the tongue? It is a German word meaning something along the lines of “an improvement which makes something worse.” Think, oh say, highway improvements perhaps, although many, many other uses for this word will, I am certain, be found to obtain.
    In light of this I think it will be well and appropriate to alter my greetings for the upcoming holiday season to: “Merry Schlimmbesserung and a very happy Zeitgeldundauskunfstmettelsvernichtung (a complete waste of time, money, and resources)!”
Byron Pratt
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