making the smooth ways rough since 2001

September 11th, 2008

The best time to run away is September.

Dawn Powell

One of the serious obstacles to the improvement of our race is indiscriminate charity.

Andrew Carnegie

PERSIFLAGE is updated on Thursdays.


For sale: various items: a yoga mat that my cat used to sleep on, the exercise bike I hang my laundry on and a set of vegan cookbooks that I use to prop open my bedroom window in the summer when it is hot. $4 for the lot. Box 1.
For sale: one copy of the Kama Sutra. Never used. Completely unstained. $5 OBO. Box 20987.
Will trade any LPs of Mel Torme for my not-so-precious collection of Edie Gorme 8-tracks for her not-so-celebrated Country music phase. Box 211.
Now Available: Richard Widmark's Compleat Guide to Caring for the Aged and Infirm. Learn tips from one of Hollywood's Greatest Stars on how to take care of wheelchair bound invalids and such like. Not just another celebrity ploy to seem nice and helpful as Richard Widmark has been dead for some time. $28.50 Box 285.
Now's the time to get your car winterized. I don't have a car but I thought I should remind you to get yours winterized. Wasn't that nice of me? And these ads aren't cheap you know.
I have discovered the secret to long life. If you would like to know what it is contact me at aggggghhhhhh...



Comments? Questions? Vitriol? Flattery?

Public Service Announcement

September 22nd will mark the official beginning of autumn but Marvin Teasnip would like everyone to know that he is not considering it really autumn until his pet squirrel, Mr. Scampers, stops hiding his nuts in Marvin's pants pockets.

How to Be a Good Person

A lot of people (over 6000 according to a recent survey) want to be good but have trouble figuring out how to go about it. They like the idea of being an upright citizen with fine qualities but aren't sure how to become such an individual. Television and the Internet have not proved very helpful. Well, if you are one of these sad souls then don't despair because help has arrived. In the form of this article.

The very first thing to consider when one contemplates becoming a good person is: how much am I willing to spend? This is an important question because, like most things in this life, being a good person is not free. Or even inexpensive. It can be done on a budget but it requires planning, forethought and something else that I have forgotten.

Assuming that you aren't not in the same socio-economic strata as Brangelina or Andrew Carnegie (a fairly safe assumption) let us examine some of the cheaper ways that you can become a good person.

A lot of folks on a budget choose to work with the poor. The poor have very low expectations and even letting one of them finish a sandwich that you were none too keen on can get a pretty good response. They will also accept all those sweaters your aunt gave you that you personally would not be caught dead wearing. The nice thing about giving to the poor is that a) it's insanely cheap and b) you get to look like a good person just for getting rid of your junk. But there is a down side.

The down side is, of course, having to deal with poor people. Some of these folks dress pretty badly and it can be embarassing to be seen in their company. And their eating habits are not that good. I recommend keeping your distance. It is sometimes advisable to use a go-between. There are a number of organisations who, for a fee, will deal with the poor for you. This has the disadvantage of being semi-anonymous unless you make some kind of a show or event out of handing over your cheque. I knew a guy who had pictures taken of himself handing over a cheque to some intermediary who dealt with poor people and then made these pictures into Christmas cards. So that's an option.

But maybe you aren't comfortable helping strangers. Another cheap way to be a good person is to do things for your friends. This has the advantage of cutting down on travelling time as presumably your friends are close to hand.

Hand made gifts can make anybody look good. They require little outlay of cash, can be unbelievably easy to make and come with the built in stink of caring. Who would make a pot for someone if they didn't care?

I like to glue three or four things together that I found in my desk and call it a "collaged sculpture of found objects". People really seem to think this requires a lot more effort and interest on my part than it actually does. Sometimes my eyes aren't even open when I'm fishing these things out of my desk!

It is best to give these little mementos as "spur of the moment" gifts. Just say "I was thinking of you." It makes it seem special. Giving these things at birthdays and Christmas just makes you seem cheap.

So there you go. A couple of good ways to make yourself appear a lot nicer than you are without really putting yourself out at all.

Elrose Watermuldar

The Official Persiflage Fall Reading List

As a special service to our readers we present here the Official Persiflage Fall Reading List (see above title for confirmation). That is, a list of books (and magazine articles) that we believe you should read. These works will make you a better person and improve your attractiveness to others (although sadly not to yourself).

1) Kay Boyle's 1968 edition of Robert McAlmon's Being Geniuses Together - it is an indispensable guide for the would-be genius.
2) Thorstein Veblen's "The Economic Theory of Women's Dress" from Popular Science Monthly December 1894 issue (Volume 46 I believe). A lot of people are familiar with Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class but this has the virtue of being much shorter.
3) Gaspara Stampa's posthumous collection Rime because if you have ever been wronged in an affair of the heart and then complained about it you need to understand just what a lousy job of whining you did.
4) Thornton W. Burgess's Danny Meadow Mouse Learns Something because it's conceivable that you will also learn something reading it (although not necessarily the same thing Danny Meadow Mouse learned.
5) Warriors by Sol Yurick - so much more fun than Xenophon's Anabasis and you don't have to learn Greek!
6) Knut Hamsun's Hunger. Best read before dinner.
7) Heinrich Kramer's Malleus Maleficarum - this is self-explanatory
8) Northanger Abbey because EVERYBODY reads Pride and Prejudice.
9) Cioran's The Trouble With Being Born. It will keep you from becoming intolerably perky.
10) Robert Benchley's My Ten Years in a Quandary, and How They Grew. This book was an enormous influence on many of the staff here at Persiflage so if you want to read the kind of thing we do here but done well then you could do worse than to read it (the book mentioned earlier in this paragraph not Persiflage which, presumably, you are already reading). This book is actually available online which is a tremendous help to the lazy or those barred (for any number of reasons many of which could be huge misunderstandings) from entering our local libraries.

So get reading!

Compiled by the Staff of Persiflage