lower case but not lower class   

September 2nd, 2010

Cogito ursus sum.

Rene Descartes


For sale: bearskin coat formerly owned by Winnie the Pooh. $400 OBO. Box 119.
I am compiling a history of Jellystone Park and would like to speak or correspond with people who have personal stories about Yogi or Boo-Boo that they would like to share. Box 3326.
For sale: one very small blue duffle coat. Ideal for tiny ursine gent. Box 99.
For rent: cozy room located in badger burrow. Share kitchen and bathroom. Must be non-smoker and not a bear. Reply to Box 22.
For Sale: Complete set of dinky toys. Really dinky. Box 44.
Wanted: Complete set of dinky toys. Somewhat less than dinky. Box 44.
Will trade two tickets (upper loges) for new ballet version of Saved By the Bell (with Dustin Diamond) for almost anything. Please reply to Box 181.
Need housesitter for the week of Sept. 17th. Must be good with ferrets and possess own unicycle. Preference given to amateur phrenologists. Contact Frank Speeking at PERSIFLAGE offices.

The Mystery of the Lost Lenore

Listen to Part Seventy-One

Click on the picture. (2:55)

Or start from the beginning.



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The Strange Case of the Missing Man

I was sitting in my office enjoying a glass of frozen orange juice when my secretary buzzed. I thought, for a moment, that she was doing her celebrated imitation of a bee but she was, in fact, trying to get my attention.

I stopped staring at my beverage, looked up and saw a very tall man standing in front of my desk. He was wearing a beige linen (or something like what I imagine linen is like) suit and what I would call a Panama hat. It was not quite Labour Day.

The tall man spoke. He asked me if I could help him find his friend. I said sure.

The tall man couldn't remember his friend's name or where he lived or what he looked like but he was sure that he was missing and that he owed him (the tall man) a lot of money. I sensed that this would be a difficult case.

After Mister Icks (that was the tall man's name) left my office I immediately loaded my revolver and set out to find this John Doe (as I had, rather creatively I thought, decided to call him).

The first place I decided to look was in the basement of my building where I lock up my bike but he wasn't there.

As I pedalled up and down the city streets I saw no one who matched the description I had made up. I didn't even see someone who looked like they might be missing.

I decided that I needed to put myself inside the head of John Doe (not literally). If I were missing where would I be?

If I were missing I think I would feel lonely so I would want to be around people. Where are there a lot of people? At the airport.

It was really too far to ride my bike all the way out to the airport so I went to the park instead. There was no one there because it was a weekday but I liked to watch the squirrels.

As I was watching the little fellows run from tree to tree a man walked by. It was John Doe! I sprang in front of him and produced my revolver. He panicked and I had to knock him unconscious. When he was on the ground I pistol whipped him for some reason.

I thought I should probably check him for ID. There was 120 dollars in his wallet. I thought that must be the money he owed my client.

I gave Mister Icks 80 dollars and I kept 40. Case Closed.

From the files of Tal Thorson, Private Dick

The Coming of Fall

Those of you who have been paying attention must have already noticed that the weather has gotten a lot colder and greyer (or grayer if you live in the NSM) of late.

This is, as a rule, a pretty good indication that the seasons are changing. This happens four times a year (or "quarterly") and is sometimes considered a good thing and sometimes not. As I just yesterday found my Speedo (it was under a bunch of empty pizza boxes) I do not consider the departure of outdoor lounging weather to be a good thing.

Near where I live, the bars and restaurants have already hauled away their patio furniture (for those of you who don't live in Winnipeg - a patio is a fenced enclosure on a sidewalk where it is possible to drink, inhale cigarette smoke and bus fumes all at the same time).

There is no surer sign of the imminent approach of winter than the disappearance of people from the streets. It is the cold that does it.

As I write this I am sitting in a relatively warm cafe yet I am still shivering from the walk here. And for some reason my ass is cold. I don't know if this is a sign of age or perhaps the first indication of some serious life-threatening disorder.

At any rate, outside of a hot bath I don't know of any really sure way to warm it up. I've tried standing up and rubbing vigourously with both hands but this is, in the end, fairly ineffective and elicits from my fellow cafe dwellers a kind of attention I neither need nor want.

Regardless, this is liable to be a problem for me until the Vernal Equinox. I believe it was Charles Schultz who said "Happiness is a Warm Ass." Oh well.

Hugh Briss


The Vowel Conservation Board of Canada

Please be advised that September will no longer be spelled with 3 E's. In an attempt to preserve E's the middle E will be replaced with an A. September will now be spelled Septamber and pronounced accordingly.