Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Today in the Washington Post

Absinthe and Flamethrowers was reviewed in today's (September 9) Washington Post in a piece entitled

"Careful! Peril Stalks the Unwary: Four books explain how to avoid life's hidden dangers"

An excerpt from that article is below:

But why live dangerously if living dangerously isn't fun? Absinthe & Flamethrowers (Chicago Review; paperback, $16.95), William Gurstelle's book about "doing interesting, exciting, edgy, and artful stuff," is a guy's Anarchist Cookbook. Inspired by Hunter S. Thompson's drug-addled, ill-advised vision of "edgework" as outlined in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," Gurstelle offers lessons in whip-cracking, Bartitsu (a lost English art of self-defense practiced by Sherlock Holmes) and even building a DIY flamethrower that would surely run afoul of the Patriot Act. . . . Gurstelle's tome . . . offers advice on recognizing good absinthe, for which van Gogh enthusiasts and visitors to Prague will be grateful.

"Thrill-seeking behavior in the real world is modeled by what statisticians call a normal curve," Gurstelle writes: Evel Knievel on one side, J. Alfred Prufrock on the other ("Do I dare to eat a peach?"). Maybe, in order to survive, it's best for us to float between these two extremes, driving 55 -- Sammy Hagar be damned -- with our seat belts fastened until, late at night on an empty country road, we can step on the gas and test our limits. Safely.