Keeping Up Your Vocabulary: POOF


As a word it is from the sound of a puff of breath or air.

Also, from the acronym standing for “person out of favor.”


The word poof is used to say that something has happened suddenly or that someone or something has disappeared

The acronym, usually capitalized, POOF stands for a Person Out Of Favor. POOF happens when a newspaper or other media outlet turns an everyday law-abiding citizen, one who has led a crime free existence, into someone who appears to be the exact opposite of that.

The “person out of favor” will get herself involved in some minor action that would normally be overlooked, or, if not overlooked, it would be treated as a foible, an ethical breach, or minor civil offense. The media will seized upon that action to turn it into what appears to be a major criminal act or one that would be done only by a person totally lacking in integrity and trustworthiness.

A newspaper or other media desire to POOF a person can come from its need for ratings, sales, publicity, revenge, political correctness or jealousy. But most often it is used as a way to take down a person who disagrees with the media’s policy or political stand.

Often the person may be in a position of power or prominence so that the suggestion that she committed a huge breached of the public trust can be bandied about. After having had her actions blown out of proportion by the media and having been presented as one worse than the most vile Mafia gangster, she will face a loss of position, and serious criminal or other life destroying penalties.

The word and acronym complement each other for a person held in high regard suddenly has her reputation torn to pieces and essentially disappears from the public stage.

22 thoughts on “Keeping Up Your Vocabulary: POOF

  1. Matt,
    Thanks for the quick response. I am a fact-seeker, above all. But I do see everything through the socio-economic-geographical lens with which I inherited during my upbringing in SoBo/Dot in the 70’s-80’s. I actively seek to rectify my childhood memories against what I see online and in blogs such as yours to this day.

    1. Matt, I agree: Davis and Donohue know nothing, except what little Steve Rakes’ told them before he was executed; Boeri is fact-filled and honest; Carney, N. Knows, I knew him barely from the Y; he can be very tight lipped when he wants to; Whitey had no immunity to murder, but like most or all TEI’s regrettably the FEDs (DOJ +FBI+ congress/judges/prez? etc) gave them Immunity for crimes except murder; and Whitey’s story I’ll believe more than Martorano (motive to lie) Weeks (motive to lie) and Flemmi (motive to lie.) Secondly, I’d like to read Whitey’s view of things as I said long ago to State Trooper Bob Serra, “Let them all tell their sordid stories; we’ll be able to see through most of them.” We’re not naïve like Wyshak, Wolfe, Sterns etc, and we’re not brilliant but devious like Dershowitz. We’re sort of mid-stream regular people who know how low our Dept of Justice has sunk.

  2. Matt,
    Hello again. This is off topic from this post, but absolutely relevant overall to your blog and its natural evolution. Tonight was the public premier of “Whitey: The USA vs James J Bulger” I attended. The movie itself was a letdown, as far as expanding my factual knowledge, but it was interesting to see and hear the Q & A session post-screening. Steve Davis confronted Jay Carney and demanded a yes or no answer from him about whether Carney himself actually believed the immunity pact between Whitey/J.T.O’S. was true. (which he did not answer,) deftly maneuvering as only a top-five Boston criminal defense attorney can. Carney did disclose that Whiteys story WILL be told in his own words through his niece in the future (as I posted here in the past, I have a desire to read his personal manucspripts.) Following the movie, a 5 seat semi-circle was set up. The seats were occupied by (from left to right) Jay Carney, Tommy Donahue, Steve Davis, David Boeri, and Joe Berlinger, the filmmaker. Audience members then asked questions.

    1. Rather:
      A few points. On the niece writing a book, keep in mind Whitey is telling a different story every day so it will be a big con in many parts but some should be interesting. The book may not see the light of day because all the victims will be suing to get a cut out of the royalties. It’s hard to see Whitey’s niece getting money from Whitey in this way.
      The semi-circle is interesting although one would wish Davis and Donohue would fade out of sight since their knowledge is limited; Boeri knows the most; Carney is hamstrung by the attorney/client privilege and his need to project himself; and the filmmaker would know little more than those who gave him the information with his own slant on it.
      You were disappointed because you probably know more about Whitey than many other people so there would be little for you to learn because you have been at this for a long time. Of course the immunity idea is nonsense – I knew O’Sulllivan, I know what Whitey is going to say about how it came about, but it doesn’t wash in my book. The basic reason is Whitey would not have gone on the lam if he had such a thing nor would Flemmi not have known about it. O’Sullivan himself said it never happened; and Connolly from prison put it in a different spot from where Whitey said it occurred.
      Thanks for the update.

    2. Where can we get a copy of that movie and post-screening debate? thanks for the Info.

      1. Wm.,
        They were filming the Q and A. It should be available somewhere. Joe Berlinger is the filmmakers name. Upon reflection after a night’s rest, ( no, I did not dream about it ) the movie was, in my opinion, a highly -orchestrated Bulger spin-session. We get to hear Whitey rationalizing his existence in his whiney, nasally voice, calling John Connolly “an Irish-catholic like myself”, and deny everything, complain about Martorano and Flemmi, etc. and other things. The weirdest part is I think he really believes his own version of things. This film will raise doubts about his status as an actual informant, even though that was never the central issue (other than in the court of public opinion) and will effect his legacy as part of a two-pronged damage-control spin blitz (the other being the eventual book written by him, ahem, his niece) Berlinger INSISTED that he is no Bulger apologist, but that’s exactly how his film comes across. It was a strange panel to have together, especially Carney…..I was hoping Fred the Fed would be there too.

        1. Matt, since you have been lately keen on definitions, and remember President Clinton’s defense of the definition of ‘is’, then perhaps ‘informant’ should be scrutinized, in the same vein. Considering that it was the same lawyers that forged my signature that got me POOFed, Globberinged, and all around rightly set up, that introduced me to John Iuele, aka WB; and, considering one of the senior partners who continued to set me up, was appointed to the Fed bench, and later to First Circuit Ct in Boston; then, perhaps the word ‘informant’ means something for the fed record, but entirely something else to WB…mr. Iuele was an active player in the Milken/ Allan Teale insurance Ponzi and S&L crisis schemes…and if the names match, so was WB. Mr Iuele was doing business for the “shadow” government…perhaps so was W B?

          1. Jean:

            I have been thinking of doing a definition of informant but even without it there has never been a doubt in my mind that Whitey has been one; but I don’t think he was one until he met Connolly. Those who suggest he was after he was arrested for his armed robbery in the Fifties are plainly wrong.

            1. I think you will be doing a public service if you discover and share the real workings of the TEI program nationwide. It’s a secret that has been held back from the public far too long…Let the Sunshine on US.

        2. Rather Not, thanks for the info. Additionally, I was happy to see you use the appellation “Fred the Fed” for Wyshak. He sorta typifies all that’s wrong with a power-mad, angry, out-of-control FED; a FED who has forgotten he’s a public servant, not a showboat or a one man wrecking crew. So, thanks again, i’ll track down Berlinger’s film

  3. In England, poof means homosexual. The Urban Dictionary says: “A homosexual, the poor man’s term for homosexual. A word made famous and most commonly associated with Monty Python.”

    Using the word is like a white person using the N-word. You might even thereby lose ownership of your basketball team if you had one.

    1. Henry:

      I was surprised when I looked up the word before I posted to see that it is as you say. It was not something I knew nor do I think there are many on this side of the ocean who consider it to be a P-word. Obviously it is not on the level of the F . . word which is a slur over here allegedly commonly used by Alec Baldwin. Since you are the only person on the other side who reads my blog I think I am safe for a while especially since I am not at the level where one would get any pleasure making me a POOF. I don’t think from what I know of you that you would be the first to out me. As for the basketball team, I think if I had one they’d still let me keep it.

      1. It’s difficult to keep up with the PC crowd’s dictionary anyway. It used to be that “queer,” meaning intragender sex, was a slur. No longer. Here the group acronym has grown to GBLTQ, which you may easily unscramble, and people talk about “queer rights.”

        I remember when we looked forward to equal rights for every person, and no group had special rights. It was a simpler time.

        1. Henry:

          We both remember the simpler times. Yes, queer was at one time verbotten but who knows whether one can use it now or even what it is supposes to mean; so also did the word gay once mean something else but it too has lost its original meaning for the most part; even there’s some question over whether one can say they are going to the Dairy Queen or must you say DQ. They suggest we have First Amendment rights but when it comes to it we do have to be careful of the politically correct police who are ready to pounce on any inadvertent stumble. You may notice I try not to go too far afield of the areas I am familiar with.

        2. Henry: Martin Luther King said we’ll achieve equality (not perfect equality, not outcome equality) but equality under the law in America, “when we stop discriminating based on race” creed, religion ethnic-origin or, I’ll add, sexual proclivities, preferences or orientations. We fought the POliticallly Correct Power Houses during the St. Pat’s Parade case, and were they ever a consortium of very strange strangers: liberals, Harvard intellectuals, radicals, commies, hysterics, but, yes, MLK was right, Stop Judging People by skin color or habits or who or what hey fantasize about; Judge them equally by character, the content of their character, as reflected in their works,their deeds. I was also shocked when I told people I had very close lifelong friends who happened to be homosexual, but I was against so-called Gay Marriage, an oxymoror, but I want gay people to be happy and equally happy, it’s just that a man and woman are not equal to two men: I don’t want to get into biology; because I win in that field. Same with Race or Religion or Sex or Ethic Origin: We as a government should never weigh those factors; I’m happy to see the Private Sector stop discriminating againt people based on race, religion or any other EXTERNALITY. I’ve got my prejudices; I’m working to eliminate them or soften them;I want to have an open mind and be kind and good and charitable and loving and sharing and caring; I want to practice that prayer, “God make me an Instrument of they will, where there is despair, hope, etc.” But I still have a fighting dog inside me and I know bullies and injustice when I see it, and so—Matt was a very good fighter when he was young, he was a good boxer, I saw him in action a few times—-so I hope and pray for the courage to fight the good fight, while I hope for Peace, but to everything there is a season. I’ll say Good Morning with this: Here’s William Butler Yeats, a Sligo Man, a black Protestant from the bleak West Coast of Ireland asking a question: Yeats asked, “Why do lust and rage attend old age?”
          I say the answer is that’s the way it is; that’s how God planned it; that’s how biology and evolution interplayed to make it happened; and it happens because lust and rage may be a blessing in old age, but most importantly because of a BIOLOGICAL IMPERATIVE: If you are 80 years old like Anthony Quinn or Tony Randall, and you are the last man standing on an Island or on a nuclear ash heap in New Jersey, you better know how to rage and procreate: THE SURVIVAL OF THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE MAY DEPEND ON OLD AGE BESET OR GIFTED WITH LUST AND RAGE; AT LEAST A MODICUM OF IT; HALF HOUR A WEEK OR SO OR HALF-HOUR A MONTH. I remember my cousin Jimmy Concannon saying, “Four Hours” “Four Hours???” If you’d give me Four Minutes I’d be happy. Me too, and Im two years younger than Mick Jagger.

    2. Matt: I’m so glad you familiarize me with the word POOF; it was new to me a year or two ago when you used it. I had thought you invented it. Jean, I hope & pray that this July 4th is your Second Independence Day. Our First one is when God gave each and every last one of us an immortal, unconquerable, unextinguishable soul: Our Fire Inside: keep on fighting. REMEMBER, the founding fathers (and mothers, sisters, brothers)wanted us to be Free; they wanted Government to fear the people; they wanted the people to fear no one. Today, the FEDs got it backwards. Not all of them, but too many of them abuse POWER, like Fred Wyshak, Durham, Kelly: I heard Kelly lie on radio by not mentioning to Howie Corrupt Fatso Carr that John Connolly had been acquitted six times of murder related charges in Boston in 2002, twice in Miami in 2008, and the Miami jury’s Murder by Gun conviction had been overturned by a panel of the Appeals Court, only the junior member dissented, and the 2-1 majority decision was written by a five-years experience Appellate Judge who was joined by THE CHIEF OF THE 3RD CIRCUIT’S 10 PERSON APPPEALS COURT. IT’D BE VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE WITH 2 VOTES IN THE SATCHEL (ONE THE CHIEF JUDGES) AND ONE VOTE (Rosenberg’s) against Connolly, leaving 7 left to vote, that 5 of the 7 would vote for Rothenberg’s hysterical rambling incoherent dissent. To be honest, and I’m sure Justice Rothenberg is a fine human being, mother of three, wife, very smart, I’m sure, but I’m also sure that she’s never taken a course in Legislation, Administrative Law, the Legislative Process, or Statutory Construction: No law student could read the Murder by Gun statute and the so-called Enhancement Statute, and conclude that on their face and by their very words, Murder by Gun can’t be enhanced by having a gun, and even if it could, ‘THE GUN” ACCORDING TO EXPLICIT STATUTORY LANGUAGE has to be the gun used in the commission of the crime, and as applied to MURDER BY GUN, the gun has be the one used in the murder–a discrete act=murdering someone with a gun and only the person actually shooting the gun, or within arms reach of the murder weapon can be charged under the Murder by Gun Statute; In Contrast, if a person were convicted of First Degree premeditated murder with malice aforethought or of Conspiracy to Commit Murder, then that Murder may not be a discrete act, and may be stretched out a bit, but still the person charged must be in possession of “a gun” or arguably “the gun” “at the time of the crime.” The crime is not thinking about killing someone, it is killing them. With a conspiracy charge, the time is Eastern Standard Daylight Time, just jjjoshing, I mean and extended time embracing the plotting, planning, execution and flight, BUT even so to be ENHANCED the criminal must have the murder weapon or some weapon in his possession; and according to Florida’s Highest Court’s interpretation of the Enhancement Statute, in his possession means in his physical possession or reachable at the time of the crime AND, AND, AND: the gun cannot be in a nearby county in FLORIDA: IF THERE ARE TWO OR MORE GUNS USED, THE GUN MEN WILL HAVE THEIR PENALTIES ENHANCED ONLY IF THEY HAVE POSSESSSION OF THE MURDER WEAPON OR WEAPONS AT OR IN VICINITY OF THE MURDER. tHAT’S fLORIDA CASE LAW! sO if you’re in California when the guy was shot in Miami, even though you conspired to have him killed and worked on that conspiracy for four months, when he was killed, you would be liable to be being charged and convicted on the CONSPIRACY CHARGE, but your conviction could NOT BE ENHANCED because of not “reasonable time, manner and place” restrictions, but because of absolute Time and Space Restrictions. You can’t be on the moon! The Conspiracy does not extend into the Nursing HOme where you fed the escaped killer 20 years later, nor does it extend to Kindergarten where you counseled and urged the future killer to kill someone, and preferably to kill the Second Grader, Fatty Arbunckle. Finally, in John Connolly’s case: FACE THE FACTS: First he’d never murder anyone nor would he plan to murder anyone nor would he conspire with gangsters to murder, nor help them murder, nor jump in bed with gangsters. Did he take a case of wine? Maybe, and also he may have taken a nice $200 Clock as a Christmas Present from Whitey and if he did, he did so to cultivate Whitey’s friendship; John Connolly during his last 15 years as an FBI agent in Boston was a single (divorced) man between the ages of 35 and 50, well off but not rich, and he couldn’t be bribed for a stinking $200 dollars, nor could he for a stinking $2,000 or even for $20,000 a year. He didn’t need the money. The FBI gave him a car. He had for ten of those fifteen years, at least, a duplex where he lived and where he rented the other half: it was an income generating property; From 1977 (when I got back from DC, separated, then divorced in 1979) until 1990, at least, I hung around in places John Connolly hung around, barrooms downtown owned by Kevin McCormack, for example the Exchange; we hung out all over Quincy Market: we were single again (divorced) and looking for eligible young men and seeking the companionship of our male friends from Southie, Savie, Dot, BC, Harvard, Northeastern, BU. It was a big “cluster f ” of men and women, most looking to hook up again and start life over again, or at least to have fun that night. John Connolly was indistinguishable in that moving theater of some 200 people we called friends;; he spent the same, partied the same, went to the same football games and boxing matches and sat in the same crummy seats as we did; he drank the same beer as us; he dressed better; better suits, slacks, some nice jewelry, a watch, some rings, one a BC ring; I didn’t went jewelry; I didn’t like rings; I liked to travel for two weeks each year and to spend do on cameras, keyboards and sheet music. I liked rock & roll. John did too, but he wasn’t much of a musician; I never saw him smoke a joint,never heard he did; my generation, guys who today would be 68 and younger or 69, but not 70; my generation all got stoned; but we hung around with guys 4, 5 or even 10 years older and younger AFTER we reached the age of about 35. My point is John Connolly made some money from his rental unit, made a lot of money as an FBI agent who was also a bachelor again for his last 12, 15 years as an agent. He married the second time to his girlfriend he’d met in the office. John was about 50 and just about to retire; she was about 32 or 34; they married, had three sons, pooled their resources and bought a house in Lynnfield next door to HER SISTER, who was married to a Construction guy/bookie guy. NOW YOU ALL KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY: BASED ON THE CULTIVATED LIES OF MORRIS, SALEMME, MARTORANO, WEEKS AND OTHERS, STATE TOP COP FOLEY AND DOJ LAWYERS SUCH AS DURHAM AND WYSHAK believed the serial killers’ lies (some select few of them, the lies they wanted to hear) and a big circus was held before Judge Wolfe where Flemmi said MOrris was a corrupt, totally corrupt FBI agent and the source of all leaks, and john Connolly was a good cop doing a tough job; that was 1999; Judge Wolfe said “Flemmi’s lying on some points but not on others. When Flemmi said Morris was corrupt he actually meant to say Connolly was corrupt.” Anthony Cardinale the lawyer for some thug cheered in the courtroom: “Now Connolly will get screwed like he screwed my clients when he arrested them.” Cardinale represented Salemme and others in organized crime who Connolly helped put in jail. Salemme hate Connolly, the good cop; Morris knew if he fingered Connolly he’d get the Witness Protection program; Weeks knew Wyshak wanted dirt on Connolly;Weeks made up stories about 6 FBI agents with machine guns on Whitey’s payroll and 20 Boston cops; he saw envelopes with the cops/fbi agents names on them
      but he Could Not Remember a Single Name: When pressed, he did remember a name, some common cop name like O’Brien or Fitzgerald of McDonough and it turned out there was such a cop who worked somewhere in Hyde Park and never heard of Whitey or Weeks. And finally judge Wolfe wrote his 600 page decision where he convicted a State Cop who had been acquitted by a jury, and where he found 12 FBI agents including John Connolly “guilty” of some crime or misbehavior (Judge Wolfe appointed himself as chief prosecutor, fact finder, and executioner: Connolly and the 12 are “guilty” so found Wolfe; Cardinale and the Mafia were gleeful; they’d just destroyed the reputations of 12 FBI agents and some Boston Cops and a State Cop, and they did it by having a judge exceed his powers and authority andn by having serial killers and career gangsters lie on the witness. But then a real funny thing happened;12 FBI agents were not indicted; 20 local cops were not indicted; zero gangsters were indicted; Why, because there was only air there,, nothing of substance, just hearsay, rumor and innuendo; So what did Fred the Fed Wyshak,, Kelly, Durham, Stern and the entire hard core center of the DOJ’s prosecutorial team in Boston decide to do with all this crappy evidence and Wolfe’s crappy 600 page decision? They decided to frame and arrest John Connolly. Why? Because Wyshak was as obsessed with Billy Bulger as Allen Dershowitz, Howie Carr and the Boston Globe were. So an honest imperfect man on the lower rung of the DOJ/FBI ladder was singled out for bankruptcy, crucifixion, two separate trials in Boston and Miami for the same offense; and WHY? wHY? BECAUSE the DOJ needed a scapegoat, a fall guy, and so they framed John because he was defenseless and because he got as Wyshak said, “too close to the Bulgers (plural) and too close to South Boston (where he was born, raised and lived for the first 55 years of his life, absent 5 of 10 years in DC, NYC, San Antonio (?) and some army base practicing FBI stuff. The full force of three governments (The FEDS, Massachusetts and Florida) are hurled at Dreyfus,, I mean Connolly, and a very wicked willing complicit in evil Boston Press, Boston Media, Boston Globe, Howie Carr and Allen Dershowitz jump on the Kill Connolly bandwagon and they all crucify the man, and continue to crucify although two separate juries acquitted him 8 times (eight times) of murder-related charges and the Murder by Gun charge was a travesty ab initio which the Florida courts in their wisdom and justice and mercy took SIX YEARS to correct, and all the while an innocent man (absolutely innocent by law and fact of any murder related charges ever) sits locked in Solitary Confinement in Miami, and NO ONE in the FLORIDA JUDICIARY SEEMS TO CARE A WIT! The Florida Appeals Courts seem to be saying: “We got the power; we’ll take our bloody time; Screw You All; EAT Cake; Pound it; Lick our royal boots; kiss our Royal Black Robes; What justice? What Mercy? What compassion? We’ll make Connolly who we know to be fully innocent of any crimes or charges in Florida, we’ll make him rot in jail for another six years if we want. We are the Imperial Judiciary. You, scum; You non-Federal working people of Boston are scum and a Rabble in Arms; Screw you; Try to change it; We’re in Power; You in Boston, especially you supporters and friends and family of John Connolly,, Screw You!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Thanks, William M. Connolly, not Mr. Lee, for your good wishes. And I agree, God gave us all independent souls first, and it’s that free will that allows me to keep fighting. My father worked for over 35 years for the Panama Canal Co., an arm of the US Government. He retired at the highest level of the Marine Division in the Port Captains Office. He did double duty during WW II as a Lt. commander in the US Navy. If he were alive today he would be heartbroken. We all who lived in the Panama Canal Zone lived and breathed red, white, and blue. We were all very proud Americans. And, so I do have hopes that Justice will be served in my family’s case, and US is still a democracy, and not a plutocracy as it appears to be in our case. I used to live in Boston when our troubles began, looking forward to coming back to Beantown, someday…

  4. Or,as in my case, her ID can be stolen and used for criminal purposes. The forfeiture act places the burden of innocence on the target person. In my situation, I didn’t even know I was POOFed until too late. It is impossible to defend oneself in situations such as mine. There are no remedies unless someone in authority decides to un- POOF you…

    1. Jean:

      I thought you were near solving your problems. You are right about forfeiture situations especially since they are called in rem procedures where the property is being sued and you have to come in and try to prove the property was innocent. It’s a tough road to hoe.

      1. Matt, as you know my family’s troubles have been many and varied…we have ‘beyond reasonable doub’ proof that the lawyers ‘did it’, in the service of their Too Big clients while representing my family’s interest at the same time, and forging my name…but, as you also know those Too Bigs and my lawyers have so far been immune from Justice…and since I have been declared ‘delusional’ by the State of New Hampshire, I cannot bring the evidence I have into court…so we have another catch 22…the Too Bigs can’t legally extract water from the High Birches Springs, and Authorities cannot legally complete forfeiture what happens next will depend on USDOJ…in the meantime I will keep posting updates for the record on my FB page…thanks for all you are doing to raise public consciousness..

        1. Jean:

          Good luck on your endless endeavors. Are you able to come back to America or is that still an ongoing issue. I’m at a loss to figure out how a US citizen can be denied a passport and kept out of the country.

          1. I still am out of the country. The issue is a legal social number, then I should be able to come home . The US Embassy in Panama was very helpful, but they did not have jurisdiction to solve my situation. I am told I need a no further action letter from USDOJ so that I can be a citizen in good standing. Another catch 22. Hopefully I can get some assistance soon, but until such time I have been dispossessed, and made ‘not competent’ by the State of New Hampshire, which, by the way, takes sole jurisdiction over that issue…perhaps this 4th will be my Independence Day ?

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