More Entertaining Than Informative  

but not really either    

January 22nd, 2009

It's a mistake to assume that something's smarter just because it's harder to read.

Jill Lepore

Many intelligent people have a sort of bug: they think intelligence is an end in itself. They have one idea in mind: to be intelligent, which is really stupid.

Paloma Josse

is updated on Thursdays.


For sale: all the answers to the IQ test. Makes you look smart. $100. Box 200.
For rent: a butternut squash that once belonged to... oh who am I kidding it's just a squash you can have it. But I want it back when you're done with it. Box 3.
I would like to meet other people who are interested in staples and stapling. Office staples and staplers that is, please no replies from people who like staple guns and those big ugly heavy staples. Box 1996.
Do you like old books? I have very old books. Does that make you jealous of me? I'll bet it does. Box 4.
Personal Comments:
I have never really liked your hair that way.
You're getting heavier.
You are very short aren't you?
That hat is a mistake.

Tips For Winter Living

Number Eight: Periodically during the winter months the temperature will warm for a day or two. Do not say "So you think Spring's here?" out in public if you do not enjoy being punched in the face.



Why not send us an email?

Every once in a while we realise that some piece of paper laying crumpled on the floor near our desk, contains an essay that, while already printed in PERSIFLAGE, is so brilliant it needs to be printed again.

I Had Such Great Expectations

Beware all enterprises that require the purchase of new clothing- so said that renowned woodsy freak Thoreau. I guess they didn't have Mountain Equipment Co-op in those days. Can't you just picture old HD (not Hilda Doolittle) questioning the sales guys on the wicking qualities of the long johns (and not for the reasons you're thinking - this isn't Whitman we're talking about - eyeing the stock boys and so forth)?

I think what would most startle the old Waldenite, were he here now, is how extraordinarily well prepared for nothing we are. Your average guy in the mall today looks better equipped to find the source of the Nile (if we were still looking for it) than either Burton or Speke and he's only there to visit Baby Gap.

Just the other day I was noticing a young girl (I know, I know) as she alit from the bus, her Winny the Pooh backpack festooned with carabineers (not the Italian police) and I thought of Sir Edmund and Tenzing, hungry and huddled against the cold, humming "When I'm Rumbly in my Tumbly!"

I can't remember exactly when (I used to drink a lot) it became all the rage to wear kayaking pants when you didn't own a kayak. But at some point in what would be my recent memory if I had been a little better behaved, it was decided that in order to be considered at all acceptable you had to look like you were going camping.

Remember fanny packs? Don't they seem quaintly restrained now? Now students carry backpacks that would make a Sherpa groan. Why exactly is everyone carrying around with them what used to be a month's worth of supplies for a particularly gourmandish camp of loggers? Is it a sign of the apocalypse? Have survivalists been right all along with their stockpiling of freeze-dried Veal Cordon Bleu and Fettucine Alfredo?

And why is everyone now carrying their own water? What is this, Waterton? And why, pray tell, am I asking so many questions?

I'll tell you why cause the whole damn thing's confusing.

This rugged expeditionary force is being ferried between the video store, the mall, Cost Cutters or Price Club or whatever the hell it's called, in vehicles designed as platforms for some of the US military's more raucous weapons systems. If you don't personally own a 40mm automatic grenade launcher or something referred to as an ATGM then do you really have any business getting a Hummer?

You know I still leave the house without any Gorp or Power bars, I drink water from taps and, in the more clement months, out of garden hoses. My pants are quite often dry clean only and have no zippers. I have been known to carry my things in a plastic bag or even an oversized sock and so far, knock on wood, I have come to no foul end due to my lack of preparedness.

Some of you may want to settle the heck down. Or, if you really are attached to all that gear, you could try going outside the perimeter. I think I saw a tree there.

Hugh Briss

The Idea

Once upon a time there lived in the brain of a mediocre writer a story idea named Melvin.

Melvin was an idea who knew his worth and he knew he was far too good an idea to be stuck in the head of such a mediocre writer.

Melvin knew that there was little or no chance that his landlord would be able to do him justice and this knowledge made him very unhappy.

The difficulty was in how to get out of the mediocre head into a more worthy one. It was a problem that Melvin struggled with for some time.

It seemed to him that ideas tended to leave the brain in one of two ways - either out the mouth or through the fingers and as Melvin did not trust the digits of his captor he knew he must make his escape through the mouth.

One day at a party when the mediocre writer had been drinking heavily, Melvin saw his chance. As the would-be writer leaned heavily on a bookcase prattling on, trying to impress a pretty young girl, Melvin sensed his moment might be approaching.

The writer's lips were flapping loosely and the part of his brain that governed what exited through the vocal cords had passed out. When the pretty girl mentioned that she was taking a seminar class with a famous writer, Melvin, who had been crouching behind a bicuspid, leapt into the girl's mouth.

The very next day after class, the girl, who had been trying for some time to draw attention to herself, told her professor her idea for a short story.

Sixteen months later it appeared in a collection of the professor's stories. It was the third best one. I won't tell you its title.


Kitties, Kitties, Kitties

I like kitties, little fuzzy kitties. They are fuzzy (I believe I mentioned that) and they are good for cuddling (or do I mean good at cuddling quite possibly I mean both). When they are really little you can fit two of them in your mouth (if you don't mind hairballs hey that sounds like a German guy's name Herr Balz). I am holding a kitty right now! Oops, now I'm not. Where is the mercurochrome, Dennis?

you were warned