Thursday, June 11, 2009

MinnPost Reviews Absinthe and Flamethrowers

David Brauer reports on the local media for MinnPost, writes the Daily Glean and authors Braublog. He's covered the media and politics for a couple of decades, as an alt-weekly staffer, talk-radio host, local/national magazine writer, MPR analyst and community newspaper editor.
I pass along with pleasure this enthusiastic New York Times review of local writer Bill Gurstelle's new book, "Absinthe & Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously."

Bill did some writing for me when I edited the Southwest Journal, and he's a first-class talent and mayhem engineer. As reviewer Dwight Garner notes, Gurstelle "staked his claim to do-it-yourself greatness in 2001 with his friendly paperback book 'Backyard Ballistics.' Its subtitle tells you all you need to know: 'Build Potato Cannons, Paper Match Rockets, Cincinnati Fire Kites, Tennis Ball Mortars, and More Dynamite Devices.'"

Gurstelle's newest tome tells you how to build a homemade flamethrower — somewhat chilling on a day when domestic terrorism dominates the news. But Bill also wants to explore modern humanity's lust for, or repugnance of, such devices, in effect building an intellectual containment vessel around the creations.

I'm not enough of a thrill-seeker to attempt such a liability-inducing maneuver, but I'm happy Bill's risk seems to be paying off.