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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious
Some of the short stories in this book are just laugh out loud funny.
Completely off the wall never heard / thought of situations are brought to life in this book.

Its quite a short book for the price. I read it all in about an hour. But its next to the toliet now for a chuckle now and then.

J. Stevenson
Published on 15 Dec 2008 by J. Stevenson

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is this funny or not?
In the interest of total objectivity I attached myself to the Universal Laugh-O-Meter (available from the Harvard Lampoon for more money than you've got) as I read this. But first I had to calibrate the meter. I showed myself the clip of George W. Bush strutting across an aircraft carrier with the banner "Mission Accomplished" overhead wearing the cod piece and carrying...
Published on 27 Aug 2007 by Dennis Littrell


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, 15 Dec 2008
By 
J. Stevenson "jstevo" (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations (Paperback)
Some of the short stories in this book are just laugh out loud funny.
Completely off the wall never heard / thought of situations are brought to life in this book.

Its quite a short book for the price. I read it all in about an hour. But its next to the toliet now for a chuckle now and then.

J. Stevenson
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is this funny or not?, 27 Aug 2007
By 
Dennis Littrell (SoCal/NorCal/Maui) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations (Paperback)
In the interest of total objectivity I attached myself to the Universal Laugh-O-Meter (available from the Harvard Lampoon for more money than you've got) as I read this. But first I had to calibrate the meter. I showed myself the clip of George W. Bush strutting across an aircraft carrier with the banner "Mission Accomplished" overhead wearing the cod piece and carrying the helmet under his arm, looking like he just got back from a swell bombing mission over Baghdad.

Laugh-O-Meter: 10! Very funny!

I watched a clip of Bill Clinton solemnly weighing the meaning of certain words before coming up with "That depends on what the meaning of 'is' is."

Laugh-O-Meter 9! Very funny, but not quite hilarious.

Then I watched some old "Laugh In" skits...

Laugh-O-Meter 3 to 4. Moderately unfunny!

...some early Saturday Night Live...

Laugh-O-Meter 7. Funny for sure!

...and finally I studied shots of Alberto Gonzalez pondering...pondering...not recalling...not recalling...lying under oath...furling his brow...pondering...not recalling...

Laugh-O-Meter 6.5. Just plain funny!

So armed, I started reading Simon Rich's book. Wow. There's a lot of air in the book, two nearly blank pages every chapter break, plenty of spacing between lines, etc., and even so the book's only 139 pages long. I was done in twenty minutes! I got a print out of the Laugh-O-Meter's ratings. Here are some highlights:

"the ride back to beersheba" (titles are in lowercase so you don't have to hit the shift key--got to love the efficiency of the text messaging crowd) in which a modern day Abraham is returning from the mountain having almost killed his son in the name of The Father and is now working hard to keep Isaac from telling mom about it. Just say it was "pretty normal." (p. 4)

Laugh-O-Meter 5. Mildly amusing but deep!

"a conversation at the grown-ups' table as imagined at the kids' table" (p. 5)

Laugh-O-Meter 8. Very funny! But more than that, slyly true! (MOM: Pass the wine, please. I want to become crazy." Later: "MOM: I had a lot of wine, and now I'm crazy!")

But then things started to get unfunny. I recorded a couple of 2's and a 3 and then there was "math problems" which peaked at 4.5, in which a math teacher's Unit 4 Test (with word problems) inadvertently projects onto his students his marital and drinking difficulties, including a geometric calculous of how far he must stay away from his ex-wife by court order amid calculations about the price of rum.

After that there were a few sparklers, e.g., "what goes through my mind when I'm home alone (from my mom's perspective)." "Hmm...Better go through the medicine cabinet and drink all the medicine for no reason. Wait, what's this? A note telling me not to 'drink any medicines'? Thank God! I was about to do that. I was about to drink all the medicines and kill myself because I'm retarded." Notice that this is actually from the kid's perspective imagining his mom's rationale.

Laugh-O-Meter 7! Funny!

But that was about it. Rich is best when he uses the something-seen-as-happening-from-another-person's-perspective comedic technique, especially kids looking at adults. He is at his worst when at the end of the book he gives us some army/war type of humor. Never been there. Never done that. Laugh-O-Meter 0.1. Kind of like a Harvard undergrad trying to imagine combat. Huh? My mom would NEVER let me go! Be serious.

Consequently, although this is not what you might call laugh out loud funny, it does perhaps somewhat inadvertently probe beneath the flimsy veneer of a certain world view that I might call prep school ennui (I have to go to school because I am going to inherit the world because my dad says so, but my mom still hasn't picked up the wash, and anyway I've got some serious pimples to pop, etc., etc., and so on, give me a total break and no I will not loan you my blue blazer cause you barfed on the last thing I lent you and besides it doesn't fit because you've still got CHILDHOOD OBESITY, dumbfart.)

By the way, the title piece is about ants trying to tunnel their way out of the glass enclosure of the "ant farm" as seen from the ants' point of view. Laugh-O-Meter 5. But good at describing symbolically the human predicament as seen from a kid's perspective.
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Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations
Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations by Simon Rich (Paperback - 3 April 2007)
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