the e-zine for people with fill in the blank    



The weather is like the government - always in the wrong.

Jerome K. Jerome


I am a smallish man (8 stone) who enjoys using archaic measurements. If you are within 37 roods of Lanark and Corydon c'mon over for half a firkin of my homemade mead! Box 11.

For sale: original manuscript of the little known Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Dennis. Surprisingly never produced or published. One million dollars OBO. Box 309.

The Institute For Young Organists Under Canadian Authority Notionally (IFYOUCAN) an organisation dedicated to encouraging young organists who may or may not be Canadian citizens is holding a bake sale in order to raise money to hold a car wash. If you like homemade cookies and organs you owe it to yourself (and future generations) to be there. St. Pancreas' United Church on Saturday, September 14th.

Wanted: copies of the children's book Toby's Tiny Red Ding-Dong, the touching story of a very excitable kitty. Will pay top dollar. Box 9.

For rent: oversized ego. Good for wearing very revealing outfits and dominating conversations at parties. 14 dollars/day. Weekly and monthly rates available on request. Must be 7 or older. Box 30.

Wanted: Soviet era porn movies, especially "Hot to Trotsky" and "Comrade, That's No Pencil!" Will pay top dollar. Box 68 7/8.

In the Toronto area during TIFF? Why not check out the latest filmic masterwork by Leslie Supnet and Glen Johnson?

All a-Twitter about Persiflage?



Address all correspondence to Hugh Briss at:

Idleness in the Information Age1

When Jerome K. Jerome penned his seminal2 classic Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow in 1886, the world had not yet experienced the joys of the 24 hour news cycle3, the internet and cellphones. In those Halycon4 days, it was relatively easy to isolate oneself from distractions and lounge heavily.

A short amble down a country lane took you far from the maddening crowd 5 and there you could relax and take your ease. You could sit and look at a tree for hours with impunity. Nowadays a search party would be dispatched if you went 45 minutes without tweeting about your activities or posting photos of the tree on Instagram.

Of course, there are many positive benefits that have accrued from the meteoric rise of the internet, cellphones and the like. For instance, one no longer needs to don a fake beard in order to purchase pornographic materials from the corner store6 and having a cellphone enables one to waffle almost endlessly when choosing a meeting place for drinks but these things have come at some cost.

Regular visitors to this website7 will know that one of my great hobbies is not being pestered by people. I have, in fact, been engaging this practice since I was a mere tyke8. Over the years I have found that the key to the successful pursuit of this activity lies in putting sufficient physical and mental distance between yourself and others to cause them to become insignificant specks on the horizon. I have become quite skilled at doing so. My own natural sense of superiority has made me better at this than most.

Now, with the advent of these more intrusive technologies, I feel as if my intellectual defences have been pricked9 so full of holes that they possess the porosity of the average flour sifter. Sure the lumpier bits are kept out but the bulk of the annoying stuff is still making it through.

I am no longer able to spend long languid days uninterrupted by the mundane trivial foolishness of the great masses of homo sapiens sapiens cluttering up the globe.

Now that I check my Twitter account one hundred and thirty three times a day10 I am constantly bombarded by information I neither want nor need. Add to this the time I spend texting and updating my various social media profiles and the amount of mental real estate now occupied by my great masses of passwords and it must be clear, even to you, why I no longer have any true leisure time.

"So what?" I see you have tweeted. Well, my uninterrupted contemplative hours are the wellspring of my creative process. Without them I cannot be expected to pen the brilliant essays filled with the startlingly penetrative insights for which I have become justifiably famous.

Reduced to a state of slavery by my various technological tools, now the only works that I am capable of producing are inconsequential little filler pieces. Like this.

And isn't that a little bit sad?11

Hugh Briss

1 I haven't checked recently but we are still using this term aren't we?
2 It's not dirty look it up.
3 This is used for remote broadcasts by cash-strapped local television stations
4 I am not here referring to the drug triazolam which is marketed on the name Halcion. I apologise to any insomniacs who felt a slight pang when reading that sentence.
5 I am well aware that the Thomas Hardy novel is entitled Far from the MADDING Crowd but I see no reason to replicate his mistakes.
6 Although this has led to a tremendous number of layoffs in the fake beard manufacturing sector.
7 I am not sure what I mean here. What constitutes a regular visitor anyway?
8 This term has fallen out of favour but I like it. I am thinking about starting an online petition to encourage its usage.
9 See note 2.
10 I just made this number up. It has no actual significance.
11 This is a rhetorical question. Please do not email answers.

The Duck Who Followed People

Once upon a time there was a duck who followed people. This duck, who liked to be called Norman, although his name was actually Steve, was under the impression that he was a paid operative of a secret government organisation.

While it was true that Norman received a cheque from the federal government every month, it was from the Canadian Wildlife Service and he got it because he was a duck who lived in an urban area.

The Wildlife Service certainly did not expect him to send in little reports on any human activity he deemed suspicious. He merely had to continue to be a duck who lived in a city. So one might say that he was a tad delusional but nevertheless, he spent his days following any humans that he considered to be worthy of his suspicion.

Norman was fairly furtive by nature and so with just a bit of practice he managed to get pretty darn good at tailing people. No matter how closely he followed someone he was very rarely seen by his quarry. Although, as he had a mild case of something like Tourette's syndrome, sometimes he would blow his cover by honking unexpectedly.

Also his cologne was pretty overpowering and sometimes people noticed that.

C. F. Maynard

Local Critic Makes Good

Local Art critic, Mel Olactik, has been awarded to the Canadian Critics' Medal of Extreme Vitriole.

Olactik, who writes as "The Abusive Critick" in the Crescentwood Daily Shopper, is known locally for his acerbic take on the Winnipeg art scene.
Olactik, an outspoken free thinker, often refers to the artists featured in his column, as "g*d d*mn s*ns of b*tchs". He is not only critical of artists but also art institutions. He has accused the Canada Council of being " a pack of f*lthy wh*res" with "not a single e** in their b*sket".
The 49 year old as previously honoured with his selection to the Critics' Hall of Fame. At that time, local videographers, prompted no doubt by the publication of his article F*cking V*ideo A*t: A St*aming P*le of Sh*t, surprised him with a traditional car-egging and an impromptu severe beating. But the elevation to the Hall of Fame marks his greatest honour to date. Local artists plan a reception in his honour in the alley behind the Yellow Dog next Wednesday.