Picks and Pans Review: True Facts: the Book

updated 08/05/1991 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/05/1991 01:00AM

Compiled by John Bendel

Reconfirming that truth is not only stranger than fiction but usually funnier, this is a most perusable collection of photographs, ads, clippings and miscellany that readers have sent in to National Lampoon.

A store's marquee ad proclaims "Semi-auto rifles and pianos on sale." A headline from the Macon (Mo.) Chronicle-Herald says, MISSOURI GAS CHAMBER IS UNSAFE. A classified ad from Yankee magazine reads "Will swap tire ashtray collection for land in Maine, Vermont or New Hampshire."

Since most of the items stand on their own, Bendel's little headlines are extraneous, dull and/or annoying. Over a sign saying DISABLED FISHING, he writes, EVEN WITH A BUSTED FIN THEY STILL BITE. Over a traffic sign in which the arrow points the same way for north, south, east and west, Bendel's head is LITTLE ENIGMAS.

Make that: Truth is not only stranger than fiction but usually funnier, and one picture is worth 979 or so words, at least in National Lampoon. (Contemporary, paper, $7.95)

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