rather shockingly mediocre  

February 17th, 2011

Just about the only category in which American students outperform the competition is self-regard.

Elizabeth Kolbert


For sale: very ripe banana. oops, too late. it's gone off. Box 30.
SWF seeks swf. Object: capitalisation. Box 19.
For rent: cardboard fort. Complete with turrets and moat. Folds easily for transport. Daily and weekly rates. Box 2910.

The Mystery of the Lost Lenore

Listen to Part Ninety-Three

Click on the picture. (3:27)

Or start from the beginning.



Should you care to you may email us at:

Special Announcement


March 19, 2011
#424-100 Arthur Street

Presentations include:
PERSIFLAGE, The First Ten Years: A Retrospective
A World of Weltanschaung: The PERSIFLAGE Essay
A Panel Discussion on the oft-debated topic:
Hugh Briss: Regular Genius or Super-Genius
Aging Voices Program: Encouraging Writers in Their 40s and Beyond. Special Guest Reader: Mikel Magnusson
A presentation by the architectural team: PERSIFLAGE's New Building


Registration: $10.00 before the Ides of March $15.00 after. Space is limited.
Those still interested in participating should register at:
PLATFORM Centre, #121-100 Arthur Street, WPG, MB (204) 942-8182
PLATFORM hours: Tuesday - Saturday 12 to 5PM

A post symposium Cinq Sept will be held at the aforementioned PLATFORM Centre.

The Perils of An International Jewel Thief

Leonard "Skip" Leonard was an international jewel thief. That is, he had managed to steal jewels in more than one country. He made a pretty nice living doing it too. He was successful enough at his chosen profession to be able to afford six luxury sedans. He could afford them but he didn't buy them because he didn't drive.

One day "Skip" Leonard decided to steal a Faberge egg. He didn't particularily need a Faberge egg as he already owned three and he had trouble storing those but he had never stolen one and Leonard "Skip" Leonard liked a challenge.

Luckily he knew where there was a Faberge egg that he could steal. It was kept in a small castle just outside Boise, Idaho. The man who owned the castle had made a lot of money in the potato business and had decided to flaunt that fact by a) building a castle and b) buying a Faberge egg. Both of these are fairly effective ways of flaunting wealth whether it is acquired through the sale of potatoes and potato-based products or through some other means.

"Skip" knew where the castle was and, even more importantly, he knew where the Faberge egg was kept within the castle. It was kept in a large refrigerator in the basement in an over-sized styrofoam egg carton (the man hoped to buy eleven more Faberge eggs as his business grew).

Being an accomplished international jewel thief, Leonard Leonard was no stranger to the art of breaking and entering various abodes, including castles, so it was no problem to sneak into the castle one night. Then, tiptoeing in his sock feet (a fairly common trick of jewel thiefs which is why they often wear slip on shoes or loafers), he very quietly made his way downstairs to the fridge. Reaching out with the hand not holding his shoes he grasped the handle of the door.

What L. "Skip" Leonard did not know was that the man who owned the castle had been struggling with his weight (he loved potatoes) and in an effort to curtail his snacking at night he had put one of those oinking alarms on his downstairs fridge.

When the international jewel thief opened the fridge door in his attempt to purloin the potato mogul's Faberge egg he was more than a little startled by a very loud and sudden oinking noise.

Sadly Leonard "Skip" Leonard had abnormally high cholesterol, a somewhat dickey heart and a completely unmanageable and acute terror of all things porcine. That is to say, he had a deathly fear of pigs.

He dropped dead on the spot.

C.F. Maynard

The Boy Who Ran

Once upon a time there was a boy who ran. He ran everywhere. Even if he wasn't in a particular hurry he ran. He ran to school. He ran home. He ran to the store. You get the general idea.

One day his gym teacher, Mister Jim Teecher (strangely enough), noticed that the boy was always running even when he didn't have to. He suggested that the boy go out for cross-country. That seemed liked a pretty reasonable suggestion to the boy so he did.

Unfortunately the boy was not very fast. Even though he ran all the time and consequently covered many more miles (or kilometres) than the other boys on the team each week, he was always last in every one of their races.

Everyone thought that was strange.

S. Kind

What is the French for Translation?

A look at a poem by minor French Charles Roche-Bobois and the problems of translation.

The Poem

Even here
in my bed (1)
I find myself (2)
that smell(3) is.

CRB is a notoriously difficult poet to translate. A lot of his expressions are not at all standard French. It sometimes seems as if the person who wrote the poems did not even really speak French. This may be explained by the fact that CRB was largely self-educated. Or possibly not.

The Notes:
(1) The French has "sur la lit" literally "on the bed" which we, of course, never say in English.
(2) Once again, hard to translate. CRB seems to have written "je me sens. c'est quoi?", crossed it out and written "Tout seul. Quelle est cette odeur?". God only knows what he really meant. I have improvised here.
(3) Another version has "puanteur" instead of "odeur". I could have rendered that as "stench" or "reek". Obviously I didn't.

H. Briss