The Book: Penn Jillette and Teller, PENN & TELLER'S HOW TO PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD. Villard Books softcover, 1992. Fine condition.
First read: 1992
Owned since: 1992
I would say this is one of the most useful books I own, if I'd ever had the courage to try even one of these tricks in public. My favorite remains the trick that starts the book, "Stabbing a Fork in Your Eye," although my hands are too small to make it work. Maybe if I used a ketchup packet instead of a creamer cup...
Aside from dispensing valuable information like that, this book is just laugh-out-loud, choke-on-your-food funny. And they prove, by demonstration with a fiberglass tape-wrapped melon, that a shot fired from the general direction of the Texas Book Depository would, in fact, have caused President Kennedy's head to jerk "back and to the left," just as it did in real life. They provide instructions so you can try this experiment yourself: "6. Wrap the tape around the melon. Get it so it's a nice even skull-like thickness. 7. Decorate your fiberglassed melon. Penn drew a picture of Oliver Stone on his... We both feel strongly that putting a melon wearing a pink pillbox hat next to the target melon is in very bad taste."
This book originally came with a plastic bag of cool props that have long since been lost in one of my moves. I haven't checked, but if the book-with-props is still in print, it would make one fantastic Christmas present for almost anyone you know.
Five Random Songs
"Steppin' Out," Joe Jackson. If it's possible to distill the 1980s into a single song, this is it. "You, you dress in pink and blue just like a child/And in a yellow taxi turn to me and smile..."
"March of the Pigs," Nine Inch Nails. From The Downward Spiral. I don't have the latest album yet... I'd add it to my letter to Santa, but I'm pretty sure I'm on the naughty list this year.
"Rockaria," Electric Light Orchestra. I was out on the town Saturday night with Megan Abbott, Christa Faust and some other folks, and someone -- I think Megan -- asked the table what our musical guilty pleasures were. Someone said "ELO" and I took issue: loving ELO is nothing to be ashamed of.
"When You're Good to Mama," Marcia Lewis. From the Chicago soundtrack.
"Absolutely Barking Stars," Maria McKee. I love Maria McKee, formerly of the country-rock band Lone Justice. What's she doing these days?