by Clarence Brown
American Reporter Correspondent
SEATTLE, Wash. -- Cheney: the Mouth. The topic of this unusual and most unfair book is the mouth of the Vice President of the U.S.. The author supposes that she has the answer. Told as a teenager to "wipe that smile off your face," the ever-obedient Richy did so, forgetting that he was holding a box cutter in his hand at the time.
Next: Bush: the Smirk. As if 587 pp. about the left corner of the mouth of Dick Cheney were not enough, now comes this lighter-than-air treatise about, not the organ itself, but how we are to read it. The suggestion that it is an anagram for krism, a word known only to Mel Gibson, has little to recommend it. That it is an acronym for Send More Iraqis to the Republic of Korea is more likely, but still iffy.
Rumsfeld: the Logorrhea. At last, we have something solid by an authority on the topic. Until her recent hospitalization for digital cramp, complicated by chronic nausea, the author was a stenographer in the office of the Sec. of Def.
Colon: the Punctuation. Inevitable, I suppose. After the runaway success of other books about the marks that constitute the traffic signs of prose (Period. Stop. by L. E. Pinkham caused runs on some stores, especially in those catering to the woes of menstrual cramp. Returns did not dampen enthusiasm for this blockbuster book about the full stop. It was dynamite, period.
Magic: the Fiction of John Barf. Not for the queasy, but two Tums up.
Herpetology: the Lowdown. My favorite story in this rollicking account of the science of snakes is that of the anaconda who broke into the author's tent and swallowed his month's supply of Viagra. When last seen, the local village boys were using the snake as a javelin.
Pourquoi Pa? This thoroughly subversive work argues for the sensible one-parent (Ma) family, though it allows for paternal visits at reasonable intervals. The rhythm method.
Between He and She: How proper grammar improves love. The author, a librarian, deplores what she calls the cave-man locution, between him and her. We'd always thought that the right way, but what do we know?
Southern Exposure: Flashing in the Bible Belt. Finally we have what has long been needed to understand the land below the Mason and Dixon Line, a scholarly treatment of exhibitionism in the old South. It explains among other things the triumph of oratory, in which the organ exposed, by the usual contortions of sublimation, is the tongue.
Mummy Cheapest: Another Way to Go. Feeling unwell? Hate the idea of burial or cremation? This book contains a recipe that you can make from stuff lying about in the pantry (and garage). Drink it slowly over a year, and they can keep you forever in the attic. Legal!
Cruciverbalettes Galore. If you want your daughter to become famous in the crossword puzzle world, name her Ava, Enid, Eve, Nora, or in extreme cases Anais.
Dr. Soup: The lost years. The author, a morbidly jealous newspaper columnist (his Tar Stew, an obvious parody, never got anywhere), reckons these years as 1929–present.
Clarence Brown is a cartoonist, writer, and Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Princeton University.