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Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin

Forty Years of Funny Stuff

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eBook published by Random House (Random House Publishing Group)

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“Brilliant . . . The dean of American comic writers showcases his varied talents mocking the public and private lives of politicians, average citizens and himself.”—The Star-Ledger
 
Calvin Trillin has committed blatant acts of funniness all over the place—in The New Yorker, in one-man off-Broadway shows, in his “deadline poetry” for The Nation, in comic novels, and in what USA Today called “simply the funniest regular column in journalism.” Now Trillin selects the best of his funny stuff and organizes it into topics like high finance (“My long-term investment strategy has been criticized as being entirely too dependent on Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes”) and the literary life (“The average shelf life of a book is somewhere between milk and yogurt”). He addresses the horrors of witnessing a voodoo economics ceremony and the mystery of how his mother managed for thirty years to feed her family nothing but leftovers (“We have a team of anthropologists in there now looking for the original meal”). He even skewers deserving political figures in poetry. In this, the definitive collection of his humor, Calvin Trillin is prescient, insightful, and invariably hilarious.
 
“A literary treasure . . . There is only one Calvin Trillin, and if he didn’t exist we would have to invent him.”—The Washington Times
 
“Funny is to Trillin what drinking is to Uncle Jed in Annie Get Your Gun—it’s what he does ‘natur’lly.’ He’s also a lot more than funny. Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin is the twenty-eighth book he’s published over not far short of a half-century, and their range of subjects is remarkable.”—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
 
“Trillin made his reputation over four decades as the author of ‘U.S. Journal’ in the New Yorker [but he] is incapable of resisting the temptation of comedy. The jokes kept on welling up and Mr. Trillin made a parallel reputation as a writer of funny stuff.”—The Economist
 
“Wry, whip-smart, understated, and entertaining.”—The Miami Herald

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“Brilliant . . . The dean of American comic writers showcases his varied talents mocking the public and private lives of politicians, average citizens and himself.”—The Star-Ledger
 
Calvin Trillin has committed blatant acts of funniness all over the place—in The New Yorker, in one-man off-Broadway shows, in his “deadline poetry” for The Nation, in comic novels, and in what USA Today called “simply the funniest regular column in journalism.” Now Trillin selects the best of his funny stuff and organizes it into topics like high finance (“My long-term investment strategy has been criticized as being entirely too dependent on Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes”) and the literary life (“The average shelf life of a book is somewhere between milk and yogurt”). He addresses the horrors of witnessing a voodoo economics ceremony and the mystery of how his mother managed for thirty years to feed her family nothing but leftovers (“We have a team of anthropologists in there now looking for the original meal”). He even skewers deserving political figures in poetry. In this, the definitive collection of his humor, Calvin Trillin is prescient, insightful, and invariably hilarious.
 
“A literary treasure . . . There is only one Calvin Trillin, and if he didn’t exist we would have to invent him.”—The Washington Times
 
“Funny is to Trillin what drinking is to Uncle Jed in Annie Get Your Gun—it’s what he does ‘natur’lly.’ He’s also a lot more than funny. Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin is the twenty-eighth book he’s published over not far short of a half-century, and their range of subjects is remarkable.”—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
 
“Trillin made his reputation over four decades as the author of ‘U.S. Journal’ in the New Yorker [but he] is incapable of resisting the temptation of comedy. The jokes kept on welling up and Mr. Trillin made a parallel reputation as a writer of funny stuff.”—The Economist
 
“Wry, whip-smart, understated, and entertaining.”—The Miami Herald

Product Details
eBook (368 pages)
Published: September 13, 2011
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Random House
ISBN: 9780679604808
Other books byCalvin Trillin
  • About Alice

    About Alice
    In Calvin Trillin’s antic tales of family life, she was portrayed as the wife who had “a weird predilection for limiting our family to three meals a day” and the mother who thought that if you didn’t go to every performance of your child’s school play, “the county would come and take the child.” Now, five years after her death, her husband offers this loving portrait of Alice Trillin off the page–his loving portrait of Alice Trillin off the page–an educator who was equally at home teaching at a university or a drug treatment center, a gifted writer, a stunningly beautiful and thoroughly engaged woman who, in the words of a friend, “managed to navigate the tricky waters between living a life you could be proud of and still delighting in the many things there are to take pleasure in.” Though it deals with devastating loss, About Alice is also a love story, chronicling a romance that began at a Manhattan party when Calvin Trillin desperately tried to impress a young woman who “seemed to glow.” “You have never again been as funny as you were that night,” Alice would say, twenty or thirty years later. “You mean I peaked in December of 1963?” “I’m afraid so.” But he never quit trying to impress her. In his writing, she was sometimes his subject and always his muse. The dedication of the first book he published after her death read, “I wrote this for Alice. Actually, I wrote everything for Alice.” In that spirit, Calvin Trillin has, with About Alice, created a gift to the wife he adored and to his readers.

    Obliviously On He Sails

    Obliviously On He Sails
    The Bush Administration in Rhyme
    BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Calvin Trillin's Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin. Does the Bush Administration sound any better in rhyme? In this biting array of verse, it at least sounds funnier. Calvin Trillin employs everything from a Gilbert and Sullivan style, for describing George Bush’s rescue in the South Carolina primary by the Christian Right (“I am, when all is said and done, a Robertson Republican”), to a bilingual approach, when commenting on the President’s casual acknowledgment, after months of trying to persuade the nation otherwise, that there was never any evidence of Iraqi involvement in 9/11: “The Web may say, or maybe Lexis-Nexis / If chutzpa is a word they use in Texas.” Trillin deals not only with George W. Bush but with the people around him—Supreme Commander Karl Rove and Condoleezza (Mushroom Cloud) Rice and Nanny Dick Cheney (“One mystery I’ve tried to disentangle: / Why Cheney’s head is always at an angle . . .”) The armchair warriors Trillin refers to as the Sissy Hawk Brigade are celebrated in such poems as “Richard Perle: Whose Fault Is He?” and “A Sissy Hawk Cheer” (“All-out war is still our druthers— / Fiercely fought, and fought by others.”). Trillin may never be poet laureate—certainly not while George W. Bush is in office—but his wit and his political insight produce what has been called “doggerel for the ages.”

    A Heckuva Job

    A Heckuva Job
    More of the Bush Administration in Rhyme
    BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Calvin Trillin's Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin. Somehow, despite everything Calvin Trillin wrote about the Bush Administration in Obliviously On He Sails, his 2004 bestseller in verse, George W. Bush is still in the White House. Taking a philosophical view, Trillin has said, “We weren’t going to know whether you could bring down a presidency with iambic pentameter until somebody tried it.” Now Trillin is trying again, back at his pithy and hilarious best to comment on the President’s decision to go to war in Iraq (“Then terrorists could count on what we’d do: / Attack us, we’ll strike back, though not at you”), his religiosity (“He treats his critics in the press / As if they’re yapping Pekineses. / Reporters deal in mundane facts; / This man has got the word from Jesus”), and whether he was wearing a transmitting device in the first presidential debate (“Could this explain his odd expressions? Is there proof he / Was being told, ‘If you can hear me now, look goofy’?”) Trillin deals with the people around Bush, such as Nanny Dick Cheney and Mushroom Cloud Rice and Orange John Ashcroft and Orange John’s successor, Alberto Gonzales (“The A.G.’s to be one Alberto Gonzales– / Dependable, actually loyal über alles”). He tries to predict the behavior of the famously intemperate John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations in poems with titles like “Bolton Chases French Ambassador Up Tree” and “White House Says Bolton Can Do Job Even While in Straitjacket.” Finally, in dealing with whether the entire Bush Administration, like the unfortunate Brownie, has done a heckuva job, he composes a small-government sea chantey for the Republicans: ’Cause government’s the problem, lads, Americans would all do well to shun it. Yes, government’s the problem, lads. At least it is when we’re the ones who run it.

    Tepper Isn't Going Out

    Tepper Isn't Going Out
    A Novel
    Murray Tepper would say that he is an ordinary New Yorker who is simply trying to read the newspaper in peace. But he reads while sitting behind the wheel of his parked car, and his car always seems to be in a particularly desirable parking spot. Not surprisingly, he is regularly interrupted by drivers who want to know if he is going out. Tepper isn’t going out. Why not? His explanations tend to be rather literal—the indisputable fact, for instance, that he has twenty minutes left on the meter. But once New Yorkers become aware of Tepper, some of them begin to suspect that he knows something they don’t. And an ever-increasing number of them are willing to line up for the opportunity to sit in his car with him and find out what it is. Tepper Isn’t Going Out is a wise and witty story of an ordinary man who, perhaps innocently, changes the world around him.

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