Michael Close's New Book

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Postby Michael Close » 10/07/07 08:03 AM

Im pleased to announce the availability of my new book That Reminds Me: Finding the Funny in a Serious World.

For more than twenty years my friends and magic colleagues have asked me if I had a book of all the jokes Ive told. That Reminds Me is that book. More than 250 of the best clean (and not so clean) jokes youve ever read. These are the jokes that I have used in my emcee work, in my stand-up shows, and in informal joke telling sessions around the world. These jokes are fun to tell, and they will get big laughs from your audience.

That Reminds Me is more than just a joke book, though. Ive included stories about some of the crazy things that have happened to me over the years. Ive also included some personal reminiscences about the funny people who have enriched my life Jay Marshall, Billy McComb, Chuck Fayne, and Bob Read to name a few.

At the heart of the book is the importance of finding the funny in your own life. This book was written during a particularly challenging time in my life. Remembering the jokes (and the stories that went with them) was a therapeutic act of recollection. During emotionally tough times it is often the memories of happier times that sustain us. I think this book will inspire you to look for the humor in any situation.

That Reminds Me is a 214-page, 6 x 9 soft-cover book, with perfect binding. It sells for $20 (less than ten cents a joke). The jokes in this collection range from squeaky clean to R-rated. Words that you cant use on network television appear occasionally. If such language offends you, please dont purchase this book.

It is available through Lulu.com. Here is the link:

http://www.lulu.com/content/1280866

Although I discuss magic and magicians in That Reminds Me, it is not specifically geared to magicians. I think this book is the perfect gift for anyone who could use a good laugh.

Thanks a lot.

Michael Close
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Postby Michael Close » 10/09/07 07:24 AM

If you visit the link above, be sure to click on "Preview this Book" under the picture of the front cover. You can read a few pages and get a feel for the book.

Thanks

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 10/09/07 10:13 AM

I guess its safe for me to talk about this book now, and give it my unsolicited endorsement.

I was a lucky proofreader, but I have to say that it was the toughest book Ive ever had to proof: I was laughing too much to concentrate on my job. Quite often I was laughing out loud.

This is a terrific book and, with all respect to Michael Close, it IS of interest to magicians if only for the stories and jokes he shares about Billy McComb, Jay Marshal, Eric Mead, and all the others.

I have read a lot of joke books over the years, but this is unlike any I have ever read. It is not just a joke book. It is like having a conversation with Michael Close that is laced with jokeswhich is pretty much what its like having a conversation with Michael Close!

Dustin
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Postby Steve Bryant » 10/09/07 12:45 PM

I was laughing out loud at the Preview. This book is a terrific idea. I hope it becomes a best seller on Amazon.
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Postby Mark Collier » 10/09/07 03:13 PM

I teach a Laughter Class through Hospice of Santa Barbara for people with life threatening conditions.

It's all about finding and using humor to get the most out of whatever time we have left.

Ordering this book was a no-brainer. Mike Close consistently produces well thought out material.

I don't have the book yet but I have no doubt my money was well spent.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 10/09/07 03:37 PM

I posted a review on Lulu, but because of a character restriction, the entire thing couldn't be posted there (they even count the html code!).

So here is the unedited review:

That Reminds Me: Finding the Funny in a Serious World
By Michael Close
Reviewed by Dustin Stinett

Im not sure if I have ever come across a book so aptly titled, regardless of subject. This joke book is more that just a book of jokes. Its an endearing work that transports your mindand soul if you so believeto a better place; if only for the time you spend reading it. And these days, every minute helps.

That Reminds Me reminds me of a time when being offended was something one just dealt with versus hiring an attorney over and/or numbing ourselves with the latest pharmaceutical breakthrough. Heritage, race, religion, physical appearance, whatever could be joked about was joked about and we all laughed because everyone of us fell into one or more of the categories covered by these jokes; no one was left out.

For me, that period was the 1970s and every local drug store had a spinner-rack filled with Official joke books. There was, of course, the Official Polish Joke Book; Im sure the big seller of the series. And there were also Jewish, Irish, and my personal favorite (because of my heritage) Italian versions and many others. I really believe in my heart that these best-selling books helped America get past Watergate and Viet Nam. We all laughed again at something other than Bob Hope Christmas Specials from Saigon. Well, its time America laughs again and That Reminds Me is a prescription you dont need a pharmacist to fill.

Michael Close is a multi-talented professional entertainer. He is a world-class magician, jazz pianist, and is one of the funniest people Ive seen on the stage (although I dont believe he would ever call himself a comedian). For decades, he has been compiling jokes, including old chestnuts hes returned to relevance, jokes written by his many very funny friends, as well as original material he has used himself or has passed on to friends to use because he knew it would work well for them. This book contains many of those jokes that he has collected over the years. But again, its not just a collection of jokes. As he says in the book, they are jokes that he has a personal relationship with. But even if that is all this book wasa collection of jokesit would be prescribed reading. But thats not quite good enough for Michael Close.

Mr. Close is a man who puts more thought into his work than anyone I have ever met. More importantly, he also has the ability to explain that thinking to those lucky enough to fall under his tutelage. He teacheswithout preaching I should addso his students (for lack of a better word) become better at delivering the material he teaches them or, better still, the material they have created because they have discovered their own process through studying Michaels. And, even with that included, this joke book goes even further.

Most of the chapters in That Reminds Me center on Mr. Closes friends. He weaves stories about these people, all the while being reminded of even more jokes that fit the current themehis method for recalling jokes. The names, such as Jay Marshall, Eric Mead, Billy McComb, Chuck Fayne, and Michael Bryant will not be familiar at all to the average person. Magicians will be familiar with many of the names, but not all have met these men. Michael Close introduces you to them and his stories captivate you so that personal acquaintance, while certainly helpful, is not at all necessary to bring tearsusually of laughterto the eyes. Regardless of whom these men are and what they do (or did), Mr. Close brings you into part of the world that he shared with them. These are brief visits to be sure, but he makes you want to meet those you still can and wish that you could have met those you no longer can.

Jokes are funny because people are funny; what they are, what they do, what they say, what they look like. Some of us are fatjust the other day I got on one of those fortune telling scales and the little card said one at a time pleasesome of us are Italian, or Polish (like Mr. Close), or golfers, musicians, magicians, blond, black, or brown, smart or stupid. Every person on this planet falls somewhere into a category that can be joked about: Its not cruel or offensive to tell a joke about these characteristics. Its not cruel or offensive to tell a joke about someones religion. Watch the evening news and youll see real offensiveness and cruelty in action. But better yet, forget about the days news, pick up a copy of That Reminds Me and remind yourself that its time to have a good laugh.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 10/13/07 02:36 PM

I, too, was lucky to get an early peek at the book while in electronic form, so I can comment on content more so than production, etc. which for me is what's important here.

It's funny. Very funny. But then again, is that really a surprise to anyone who knows Michael? The book is a great collection of jokes and stories. While these stories will be funny to anyone (I would hope) they take on a special life in the mind of the magician reader. I had a great time flipping through the pages, and I think other people will too.

Of course, there is more to this book as Dustin pointed out, but for me I enjoyed the jokes and I enjoyed them a lot because they went through the "Michael Close filter". By that, I mean, if you know Michael, its like sitting with him for a while and chatting. He did a great job of incorporating his voice and style into the pages and examples.

I know that whenever I go to a convention that Close is at, I'm guaranteed to leave with 5-10 new jokes that I'm dying to tell my friends back home. Now I can have that without the flight to Vegas and indigestion from the all night cafe.

It's a super fun read.
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Postby Guest » 10/14/07 02:07 PM

I'd heard of lulu.com earlier this year because they recently reprinted classic crime and horror fiction by Joel Townsley Rogers.
The good news for Brits and Europeans is that lulu.com can mail you their books at a special european union rate, so they arrive in the UK fairly fast at reasonable cost.

P.S. Another interesting analysis of jokes and humour is by British comedian Jimmy Carr and his partner Lucy Greeves.
"Only Joking : What's so funny about making people laugh?"
though I prefer the original British title: "The Naked Jape: uncovering the hidden world of jokes."
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Postby Steve Walker » 10/14/07 05:25 PM

You hear a great joke and you cant wait to tell it to your friends, it gets a big laugh and you continue to tell it until you hear another great joke and the cycle starts again. Youd think that after a while you would have a string of great jokes but unfortunately it doesnt work that way. Roger Miller [King of the Road singer/songwriter not the former IBM president}] once said your memory starts to work the second you are born and it stops when a spotlight hits you.
Michael Closes method of remembering jokes is to recall people and that reminds him of places. and times. and jokes, and now hes done all of us a favour by writing them down together with some wonderful stories of the people, the places and the times he spent there with them. Im lucky to have met and in some cases, except for James and Michael B. and Mikes Dad, to know well many of the people he writes about so the fear of a spotlight hitting me has been somewhat reduced.
Now I can get on stage inspiration from the likes of Jay Marshall, Billy McComb, Eric Mead, Chuck Fayne and Aldo Collumbini
Not only does Mike tell you the jokes, he tells you how, and more important when not to tell them and believe me they are all tellable has Mike has often proved, given the right occasion.

One chapter which stands out for me, and Im sure many others, contains no Joke jokes, to use Mikes own words but more laughs than I care to remember ,
I simply refuse to believe that there wont be another story, another string of laughs or another beer with our great friend Bob Read.
When people ask how they can be funny I always quote Bob who said When you know why 4x16 is funnier than 8x8.
This book is full of 4x16 lines and storiesBUY IT NOWI read it and laughed until the tears ran down my leg then I got to the chapter on Bob and I read it and wept..
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Postby Guest » 10/16/07 12:37 PM

The post-internet world is full of jokes and we all get lousy ones every day on email from people we don't even know or want to hear from and who wouldn't know a good joke if it bit them in the ass.

There's a lot of great things I could say about this book, including about Mike Close's marvelous tributes to our friends and joking geniuses like Billy McComb, Bob Read, and Jay Marshall, but the best part of this book is that Mike wrote it. Any idiot can put together a collection of jokes. But Mike Close let his own great taste guide him in assembling this collection, and it's far and away the best book of jokes I've ever read. There are a lot of jokes here that I have told, loved, or heard over years of hanging around comics, and some I never heard before that are every bit as good and made me laugh out loud just reading them. Learn just a few of these -- and pay close attention to Mike's expert Tips on Telling 'Em -- and you too could be the life of the party. It'd probably be an improvement over the card tricks anyway.
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Postby Guest » 10/16/07 12:47 PM

"Hark, I hear the cannon's roar!"...that joke was worth the price of the book...I received the book today and I laughed to tears with that one!

Great book! :D

"JR"
Fly Navy
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Postby Guest » 10/16/07 01:22 PM

Got confirmation from Lulu that mine has been shipped. Can't wait. Now I hope that nobody else buys this book..........no offense to Mike or his wallet, I just want this great material to myself. :D
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Postby Guest » 10/17/07 04:41 PM

I got my copy yesterday, and it was very hard to put down.

Besides all the great jokes, the book is filled with funny stories.

Highly recommended!!
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Postby Ruben Padilla » 10/22/07 03:57 PM

Okay, I'll bite...

Please indulge us and explain why 4x16 is funnier than 8x8?

Thanks.
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Postby Guest » 10/22/07 04:41 PM

Because the priest was wearing the rabbi's yarmulka. ;)
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Postby Steve Bryant » 10/23/07 10:02 AM

The best "review" one could write of Mike's new book would be to quote verbatim 5 or 6 favorite jokes from it, but it would be very hard to limit yourself to 5 or 6 favorites. Hence I took the lesser option and just posted a "normal" review on Lulu (Lulu's character limit knocked a few hundred words off my rambling, probably a good thing). This book is a great idea and wonderfully executed. The Lulu review:

Michael Close is a first-rate pianist and sleight-of-hand magician who is frequently the life of the party at the numerous magicians conventions he attends, not only for his music or for destroying well-posted magicians with some new magic trick he has invented, but because he happens to be one of show businesss premier raconteurs. Michael is proud to call himself a joke teller, and he cites joke telling as his avocation. Although he might draw a crowd with a new card trick, he is happier drawing a crowd with laughter. As someone once wrote of Johnny Carson, Michael proves that talking can be talent.


Michaels new book, That Reminds Me, is a 207-page collection of jokes that Michael has told over the years. Jokes and the telling of them constitute happy memories for him, not only for the jokes themselves but for the associations they evoke. Accordingly, Michael has organized the jokes by those associations. Indiana reminds him of rural jokes, Las Vegas of gambling jokes. Michaels dad, who was Polish, reminds him of Polish jokes. Michael Bryant, a fellow music student, reminds him of musician jokes. Eric Mead, a magical bartender, reminds him of bar jokes, and Aldo Colombini, a lovable Italian magician, reminds him of Italian jokes. Physician-trained Billy McComb reminds him of doctor jokes, Jewish magician Chuck Fayne of Jewish jokes (and those of other religions), and the hilarious Jay Marshall and Bob Read of, well, Jay Marshall and Bob Read jokes. A censored (by his parents) copy of Ian Flemings Goldfinger reminds him of salty jokes. Within all these broad genres are subgenres drummer jokes, Heifetz jokes, blonde jokes, yuppie jokes, Chihuahua jokes, Jimmy the stock boy jokes, and many others.


The jokes themselves are pure comedy gold, jokes you will immediately want to tell your friends. (Telling jokes is not an easy skill, and Michael sprinkles tips throughout the book on how to do it well.) On occasion the setups are so funny you just dont care where the joke is headed. I was laughing so hard at a three-legged chicken racing alongside a car or at a deranged bear hunter that I was already transported out of the humdrum of life. (I would say that the punch lines didnt even matter, but that bear joke punch line just may be the funniest line in the book.) Some of the laughs in the book are not jokes per se but are real lines or situations that Michael relates. I exploded with laughter upon hearing a high school classmates whispered definition of Oedipus Rex, upon hearing Eric Meads line regarding a troublesome spectator, upon hearing Penn Jillettes practical joke on a heartsick friend.


This book is brimming with humanity. You will meet wonderful people, and you will learn a lot about Michael Close. I love the whole conceit of the book, of jokes as autobiography. For myself, many of the jokes took me back to when and where I was when I heard Mike Close himself tell them to me. I also heard firsthand a joke by the late British magician/comedian Bob Read (slightly re-written from the book to the way I heard it). We were attending a magicians convention at the Tropicana in Las Vegas. Bobs joke:


Im staying across the street at New York, New York. It has a pool on the thirty-fourth floor. Do you have any idea how deep that is?


To this day, I do not drive by New York, New York without thinking about that pool on the thirty-fourth floor Im convinced it exists or without thinking about Bob Read.


So purchase and revel in this book. You will not find a funnier or warmer collection of jokes anywhere.
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Postby Guest » 10/23/07 12:48 PM

I have two copies; one is already dog-eared.
Not only are the jokes good, but its underlying humanity is what makes reading, enjoying, and re-telling the humor so worthy of our attention and support.

Onward,

JR
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Postby Guest » 10/23/07 01:52 PM

I've been laughing out loud all day reading this book. Great stuff!
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Postby Michael Close » 10/25/07 04:06 PM

My thanks to everyone who has ordered a copy of That Reminds Me. On October 7 we were ranked 22,030 in sales on Lulu.com. Were now ranked 723rd.

If you ordered and enjoyed the book, you could do me a big favor by writing a short (a couple of sentences) review and posting it on the page where you ordered the book:

http://www.lulu.com/content/1280866

If youd like to give it a rating (one to six stars), that helps, too.

If youve been thinking of buying the book, but you needed a nudge, heres a quote from Harry Anderson:

The books nothing less than a ***damn hoot. (Out of respect to religious readers, I removed the word God).

Again, thanks a lot.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/25/07 04:24 PM

Bob Read's joke about the pool on top of the skyscraper only works if you pause for just the right amount of time before saying, " ... do you have any idea how deep that is?" Otherwise it falls flat.
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Postby Michael Close » 10/25/07 04:41 PM

In regards to Bob Read: There is an extensive discussion on the nature of how to time a punchline in the chapter about Bob. However, it does not deal with the deep pool joke.

For those with a morbid bent, I've included the joke that almost killed Jerry Camaro, the joke that almost killed Aldo Colombini, and (although it is not labeled as such) the joke that almost killed Richard Kaufman. (In case Richard doesn't remember, it's the joke about the man from New Delhi who's feeling under the weather.)

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/25/07 04:49 PM

Oh, I remember. And I've kept the pants in which I've peed!
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 10/25/07 05:09 PM

I LOVE that joke. When you (Michael) told me that joke in Reno (in '05) I think I was in mid-drink and whatever it was passed through my nose back into the glass. Talk about timing. That is probably my all-time second favorite joke. Just thinking about it makes me laugh!

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Postby Guest » 10/26/07 10:00 PM

Mike told me the joke about the Indian fellow. I laughed my head off!

After a full day's activities, I retired for the night. At three o'clock in the morning, I awoke again, outloud, because of the joke.

For anyone that loves to laugh; loves to tell jokes; loves to hear others laughing; or wants a lot of humor in their lives--get this book!!!!

Thanks to the Close family!

Regards,

Paul Green

PS I really laughed at the pirate joke too. Tells you what kind of humor I enjoy!
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Postby Guest » 10/28/07 07:40 AM

this book put me in pain from laughing so hard a couple of times - great read!
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Postby DrDanny » 10/30/07 07:30 PM

Michael Close wrote:
the joke that almost killed Richard Kaufman
What section would that be in? There's no index!
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 10/30/07 10:35 PM

You'll just have to keep reading. :) Besides, I believe that the book is meant to read front to back.

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Postby Michael Close » 10/31/07 10:49 AM

Dustin is correct; That Reminds Me was written to be read front to back. The joke that almost killed Richard Kaufman is on pages 79-80. (Although how anyone could forget that joke having read it, is, as Senator Crandall said, "a mystery to me."

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Postby Ian Kendall » 10/31/07 11:53 AM

I got to it this afternoon...

Last night I was reading the book before bed, and I've spent far too long singing 'Strangers in the night' in 5/4 to be healthy.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Frank Dudgeon » 10/31/07 12:33 PM

Yep, front to back is the way to go. I'm getting toward the end, and just read the beautiful chapter on Bob Read. I'm gonna hate it when I get to the back, but I can always return to the front. A gem of a book.

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Postby Guest » 10/31/07 12:44 PM

I enjoyed my copy and would strongly recommend Michael's book...

but one minor thing, my copy comes to an abrupt end on p.206:

"In the face-to-face sharing of stories, however, ..."

What are the final lines?
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Postby Michael Close » 10/31/07 01:33 PM

Richard's book is missing the final page. I've emailed him privately.

If anyone gets a faulty book, be sure to contact Lulu.com directly. They are very quick to replace defective copies.

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Postby Guest » 11/21/07 02:11 PM

This is not your typical joke book. Its part reminiscing, part philosophy, part comedy workshop, and all funny. Mike not only tells us some hilarious jokes, he tells us how to tell them and how to remember them. We meet the funny people who have influenced him, and learn a few lessons about how we can find our own funny material from our everyday lives.

If I had a nickel for every time I laughed while reading this book, it wouldnt have cost me twenty bucks..I might have made a few bucks on the deal!

That said, its still a bargain. Whats a little joy and laughter worth to you? These jokes will stay with you long after the boost from your Starbucks triple mocha-lattes have worn off.

Buy a few and give them as gifts to people who love to laugh.
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Postby Michael Close » 12/01/07 01:14 PM

If youre thinking of ordering the joke book as a Christmas present, Id do so sooner rather than later. It does take a couple of days to print the book, and then a few more days to get to you (if you choose media mail). We ordered some for our online store, but they flew out the door, and we currently dont have any in stock.

People have posted some funny comments on the Lulu page (see the topic starter above) and on The Magic Caf. My thanks to everyone for their kind words about book. (Now get off your butt and buy one; I have another mouth to feed. :) )
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Postby Bob Farmer » 12/02/07 07:58 AM

This is a great book. It reminded me that every good joke I'd ever heard, I heard from Mike. My favorite (which may or may not be in the book, I'm still reading it):

It's 1860 and a U.S. Calvary patrol is camped for the night. In the distance, just over the next hill, can be heard the threatening rhythmic pounding of Indian drums.

One of the men says, "Captain, I don't like the sound of those drums."

An Indian voice calls out in the darkness, "It's not our regular drummer!"
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Postby Michael Close » 12/13/07 02:24 PM

I just wanted to let everyone know that we have a very limited number of copies of That Reminds Me in our online store here:

http://www.forworkersonly.com/product_i ... cts_id=208

Click on Add to Cart, rather than the ad in the upper part of this page (which would take you to Lulu). If you want a copy of the joke book before Christmas, this is probably the only way to get one. But we dont have many copies.

There are a couple of interesting developments concerning the joke book. Ill post an update shortly.

My sincere thanks to all of you who have supported this project.

Happy holidays.

Close

P.S. Yes, the "He's not our regular drummer" joke is in the book. It's one of my favorite musician jokes.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/13/07 02:54 PM

I look forward to the update on the book. All we need now is an update on the family: How are Lisa, Ava, and you doing?

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/13/07 03:36 PM

They are all doing well, and happily at home in Las Vegas.
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Postby Guest » 12/13/07 08:35 PM

Michael, just sent you PayPal. I'm looking forward to reading it during my holiday downtime.
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Postby Guest » 12/13/07 11:37 PM

Really great book. Not joke book but a story book of jokes. If you have any repetoire of your own this will jog your memory for even more stories/jokes.
I'd never heard of Lulu and the process from start to finish took about three weeks. Very much worth the wait but it takes a little time for a UK delivery
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