Let's make 2009 more than twice the year that 1004 was!* 

January 1st, 2009

The door of my elevator closes slowly, automatically, which proves to be downright annoying to people with packages or baskets, albeit rather pleasant for a writer.

Peter Altenberg

PERSIFLAGE is updated on Thursdays.


For sale: 2008 Calendar featuring photographs of carbon molecules in a state of undress. $3/100 Box 11.
For rent: DVD movies - that is to say movies in which DVDs are mentioned, seen or alluded to. All on VHS. Box 1098.
Public Service 'Nouncement: Today is the first day of 2009. Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one year!

Tips For Winter Living
Number Five:
(or possibly six)
Staying indoors in cold weather is sometimes the best idea. Try doing it in someone else's place for a change of pace. See how long it takes them to discover you. Make a game of it!



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Everyone Dies Alone

A Funny Story

"Every dies alone" Egmont said. "Just look at the elephants."

"Where?" I asked, somewhat startled. But the penguin informed me that he was speaking metaphorically although he was doing no such thing.

"Elephants go off into the woods when they are about to die." he said "Because they realise that death is a lonely business."

I'm guessing that that little bit of wisdom sounds much better in the original Walloon or Flemish or whatever it is that they speak where Egmont comes from.

But I couldn't help wondering about elephants that died in accidents in the workplace or out in the street in traffic. Presumably there were other elephants around in those cases. And what about wars? If I remember my Babar correctly, didn't the elephants fight a war with the Rhinos? What about them? Those elephants (not to mention the Rhinos) mustn't have died alone.

The other thing that occurred to me was why was it that only elephants did this? If it was a universal truth that everyone died alone then why were only the elephants sauntering off? Why not the stoats and the gorillas and the French hens?

Clearly there were problems with Egmont's thesis. I made the tremendous mistake of pointing them out. He can be quite the huffy little snit when the mood strikes him.

His unprintable retort, which included some Belgian expressions with which I am not familiar but which I assume to be uncomplimentary, ended our discussion but I continued to think about it.

Later that evening, after I had enjoyed a delicious dinner (corned beef hash and chocolate milk - not mixed together obviously), it occurred to me that death was not an event at all. It was not something that happened but rather something that had stopped happening.

Sitting in my comfortable La Zed Boy, repeatedly futilely pressing the Mute button on my remote in a vain attempt to escape the banter portion of the evening news broadcast, I came to the slow realisation that the batteries had died. That is, at some point in the recent past, they had ceased to be. At some particular moment of which I was totally unaware.

continued above and to the right

I hadn't noticed anything. I was only now aware that I could no longer shut up the stupid grinning faces on my TV. I was forced to endure some besuited dimwits musings on the vagaries of winter weather (like that's news!). I had simply relied on those little bundles of whatever it is that batteries are made of, to protect me from such foolishness and now they weren't doing it. They had stopped doing whatever it was that they were doing.

How the batteries felt about all this I have no idea but I felt a little sad as I dropped them into the wastebasket.

Hugh Briss

Physics: Nature's Greatest Criminal?

Sir Isaac

The International Court at the Hague issued a statement this month stating (as statements often do) that it was investigating the possibility of perhaps charging, at some future date, Physics with crimes against Nature.

Ookst Ver Hoerbraten who works downstairs in the same building as the court, said that he couldn't specify exactly what crimes Physics would be charged with but that gravity would figure in the indictment. "For far too long Physics has been getting away with making things drop or fall with impunity" Ver Hoerbraten, a small man with prominent ears, said. "I guess the Court's just had enough".

Sources within the international law community speculate that a recent incident in which one of the Special Prosecutors had water spray up in his face when he was rinsing a spoon may have sparked the talk of indictments.

Caffey Conlato, a spokesman for Non-Ninjas stated that he was pleased with the indictment because if it was successful everyone would be able to throw a boat over a hedge and this would cease to be the special province of an outmoded elite.

Shortly after making the statement Conlato was Tasered. No one claimed responsibility.


*Significant events of 1004: Henry the Pious defeats Arduin of Ivrea; Sweyne Forkbeard plunders Norwich; Minamoto-no-Takakuni is born;