Picks and Pans Review: "You Can Fool All of the People All the Time"
By Art Buchwald
It goes without saying that this is a funny book. Buchwald is funny the way Gibraltar is a rock or Okefenokee is a swamp or Boy George is a...Well anyway, Buchwald is funny, and this collection of his columns of the last two years is typical. In "Disarmament" Buchwald argues with his friend Borodin over what to get their grandsons for Christmas. They each start out with simple soldier dolls, but escalate until they have to arrange a lunch at the Swiss Chalet for talks, where Buchwald says, "Before I begin, I should warn you I ordered Ben a chemistry set so that he can make his own nerve gas. I'm willing to cancel the order if you give up the radar station." Another column, about the lowlights of high tech, begins, "The most frightening words in the English language are 'Our computer is down.' " Then there was last January's news story about former astronaut Deke Slayton organizing a plan to put the ashes of cremated bodies in orbit. It is stories like this that keep Buchwald from having to do honest work for a living. "As I understand it," he wrote, "the remains of your Uncle Sidney will be compressed by a secret process in a special two-inch tall, lipstick-shaped, titanium capsule, which will then be placed into a three-hundred-pound shiny sphere, along with the ashes of 10,330 of the recently departed. The sphere will be launched into the heavens, where it's guaranteed to remain in orbit for at least sixty-three million years, or you get your money back." (Putnam, $16.95)
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