we're trying out some parentheses for a friend

July 31, 2008


Artist's Rendering of an Unshaven Hugh Briss

The habitual only makes me sick and tired.

Peter Altenberg

PERSIFLAGE is updated on Thursdays.


For sale: a hardly-worn dinner jacket featuring short sleeves and a Nehru collar. Previously worn only to irritate my ex-wife. $42 OBO. Box 298.
For rent: a video of my kitten, Muffles, doing his taxes. Hilarious! See if you can spot the error he makes! $2/day. Box 13.
Will trade my collection of etchings of famous New England sea captains for anything that I could use to keep this damn door open. Wait a second. This collection of ettchings might work. Yep. Never mind. Box 2.
Looking for something to do on the weekend of August 9th and 10th? Why not saunter by the garage behind 880 Grosvenor? You might see some art AND get a hot dog (not a euphemism). Doin's between 12 and 6 (pm obviously).




Opera Lover?

The Loneliest Badger

Click on Larry

Lazy? Sez You!

A lot of people who don't run a large productive enterprise like PERSIFLAGE, complain when we run articles out of the archives. "Boy, are you lazy!" they say.

Well, I'll tell you smart guys (and gals presumably) - I am a very busy man! This week, for instance, I had to get my hair cut AND buy a bus pass. To top it all off I ran out of peanuts in the shell and had to go to a bulk food place.

As it is I don't know when I will find time to handwash my delicates. Anyway here are some selections from PERSIFLAGE past (paper version).

Hugh Briss
A Very Busy Man

Two Views of the Sporting World

Ralph Weimeraner writes:

I recently was lucky enough to attend a national conference on revising the rules of the game of fetch. In attendance were dogs from across the country, both amateurs and professionals (I even scored a few autographs!) and I have never seen any gathering of athletes and sporting officials go so smoothly. There was no bickering and all the work shops ran smoothly with everyone working together to get things done quickly as there were only three days in which to accomplish our task. The hotel put on a lovely buffet everyday for lunch (maybe a little too lovely – my collar was tight by Sunday night!) and the karaoke night on Saturday was a hoot! Those BC bitches sure can howl! I would have to say that outside of licking myself incessantly I can't think of anything more fun and productive than last weekend's conference. I can't wait till next year!

On the other hand
Berndt von Dachs-Hundt writes:

As an exercise in time- wasting and foolish bickering I have in my life seen nothing which could be considered more so than this silly weekend foolish business. Why we must be changing the rules of fetch anyway? This game is simple and works well as it is now played. It seems to me an excuse merely to stay in stupid hotel with lousy room service (no Bratwurst – give to me the break!) and to sit around endlessly chit- chattering like a bunch of damned Pomeranians and drinking very bad coffee (non-dairy creamer – ha!). The night life was distinctly uncivilized. These dogs have no appreciation for true lieder (I cannot believe that one can have a karaoke machine and not have Mahler's Songs on the Death of Children). This country is populated by slobbering, long legged philistines with no understanding of the long and dignified history of our sport.

And what do you make of that? - HB

Is It Ironic?

Is it possible to make any ridiculous thing cool or at least acceptable by the addition of irony? If, for instance, one wears a Family Circus t-shirt would it be considered hip if you were wearing, say, an ironic pair of pants? It would seem so. But just how far can the limits of this be pushed? Is a certain nostalgic element necessary or can something considered outrageously nerdy today be saved by irony? For instance, is it possible to be ironic about the Lord of the Rings or only the Lord of the Dance? (I seem to be asking a lot of questions – by the way what time is it?)

Most of us, in our honest moments, wish to be considered cool and the key ingredient if one wishes to be cool is irony. Well, smart guy, what is irony?

According to Webster (as portrayed by Emmanuel Lewis) irony is the quality of caring about nothing but finding everything (and that includes Nazis) vaguely amusing. But what the hell does he know?

I think Alanis Morrisette said it best when she said "Do you think this tuna is still okay?" (Of course at the time I was quite drunk so I might not have heard her right.) It might be argued therefore that taking nothing very seriously and making little snide comments about just about anything pretty much guarantees that one will be considered cool. This worked pretty well for the old PERSIFLAGE*. But there's a pitfall here. Are you smart enough to spot it?

It is, of course, that the aforementioned attitude is also the traditional stance of the nerd. For instance, the nerd issues forth a derisive snorting laugh at liberties taken with the characters, sets or costumes of Dune in television or movie adaptations (preferring the beautiful purity of Herbert's mellifluous prose - I'm being facetious here, I only perused the damn thing – I swear) and is smugly self-assured that no-one has every truly understood the work ever.

So what's the difference between the nerd and the cool hipster? Well, the hipster realises that Dune is a very silly book. C'mon, sandworms! (I swear – I just flipped through it but people I knew were talking about it. Which people? The guys in the chess club - oops – I was just walking by their meeting on the way to the library - I mean I was going out for a smoke and then I was going to buy some marijuana, I mean, weed, (a doobie?) and steal a car and…oh the hell with it.)

Elro... Anonymous

*I know a lot of people look to this publication for guidance when it comes to what is considered cool or not cool and, quite frankly, I can't think of anything sadder. I will say this though, a good rule of thumb for deciding what's cool is this: if it's on TV it's not.
This isn't a fool proof rule as a lot of things that are decidedly uncool are not on TV. For instance, Beetle Bailey has never had his own TV show. (There has also never been a successful film adaptation of the life of America's favorite soldier. Perhaps Hollywood's wrist is getting sore from its extended handjob of the US Military. But I doubt it. The major studios seem to have more developed flexors digitorum profundus than even hairiest-palmed fourteen year old boy. There must be some other reason.)