determinedly ambivalent

October 9th, 2008

The Duce's lynched, bare, booted skull still spoke.

Robert Lowell

PERSIFLAGE is updated on Thursdays.


For sale: a fake moustache that once belonged to Tom Selleck. At least I think it's fake. $7 OBO. Box 50.
For rent: this space    . $1/year. Box 11.
October the 10th is World Egg Day. Make sure to hang out with 11 of your friends in a styrofoam container to celebrate.
Do you love a parade? Why not join Manitobans Urging More Parades Surely [sic]. MUMPS lobbies the city, provincial and federal governments (and anyone else we can think of) to create more parades. Our goal is to have at least one parade every day of the year! Get marching!



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Palermo, the Fake Italian Bear

Palermo was a bear who was not Italian. He was not born there. He could not speak a word of the language nor could he read it. And, in fact, Palermo had never even been there. Not even for a short visit.

He had, however, seen several television programs about Italy and he was so taken by the Big Boot that he decided to pretend he was Italian (see Breaking Away). Overtime he convinced some of his neighbours (not a bright bunch) that he actually was from Italy.

One day when Palermo was sitting in a cafe drinking espresso and talking rather wildly with his paws, he was confronted by a young girl who was still angry about Mussolini.

The girl, who had also never been to Italy but who was in her second year of university, attacked Palermo (verbally) over what she took to be his obvious complicity in the subjugation of the Abyssinians.

Palermo, who was deathly afraid of any kind of confrontation, immediately dropped his phony accent and confessed that he was a native born bear who had never been to Italy even once and, going further in his attempt to soothe the savage girl, he was not even really sure who this Mussolini person was. But this failed to placate the girl at all.

When the girl revealed that her name was Goldilocks, Palermo realised that he simply could not win and he ran away into the forest which luckily happened to be nearby.

The End

A City With Two N's

For several years now there has been a debate concerning a new motto for the city of Winnipeg. The old motto Unum Cum Virtute Multorum (1) has been judged stodgy and given that so few of the kids these days read Latin it is clear that it is not a suitable motto for today.

A number of suggestions for alternative mottoes have been floated in recent years. One of the more fitting was Winnipeg: What Are You Looking At? but it was felt that this might discourage tourism.

Another front runner was Flat As A Pancake And Twice As Tasty! but City Council deliberated too long and Regina snapped it up.

The problem with a motto is that it must somehow not only convey the spirit of a fairly disparate group of folks but also look good on a crest sewn on a Melton jacket or the short sleeved shirt of a fireman (or fighter as they prefer) or bus driver. This is not an easy task for five or six words.

Still Basically Empty demonstrated possibilities. It was reasonably accurate, non-threatening and it was felt it might attract tourists who didn't like to be crowded. The problem was that it seemed just a little sad and what city wants to be seen as lonely and pathetic?

It appears almost certain now that City Hall will adopt: Winnipeg, A City With Two N's which has many graphical possibilities. Designers are already said to be champing at the bit with font possibilities. And that can't be bad.

Hugh Briss

(1) This is usually translated as "One With the Strength of Many" but my old Latin teacher always used to emphasise that virtus referred to manly virtue. Whatever the hell that means. Possibly an aptitude for fixing cars or arm wrestling.