'Scuse Me While I Whip This Out
Kinky Friedman
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Buy *'Scuse Me While I Whip This Out: Reflections on Country Singers, Presidents, and Other Troublemakers

'Scuse Me While I Whip This Out: Reflections on Country Singers, Presidents, and Other Troublemakers
Kinky Friedman
William Morrow
208 pages
October 2004
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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If you’ve never read a Kinky Friedman book, ’Scuse Me While I Whip This Out may be a good introduction into the wild, wacky and irreverent world of this unusual Texas author. Friedman, also the author of Kinky Friedman’s Guide to Texas Etiquette and seventeen mysteries with the main character named after himself, is a funny guy with lots of cool and famous friends to talk about, including G.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, radio shock jock Don Imus and even Joseph Heller. Oh, and he also claims to have an “in” with Jesus, Moses, Jack Ruby and Hank Williams.

Friedman’s style is sharp and his wit is quick, even at times offensive, so buyers and readers beware. His biting and often hilarious commentaries cover everything from traveling as a Peace Corps volunteer in the wilds of Borneo, sleeping in the White House and chatting up Laura Bush, hanging out with Bob Dylan, waxing philosophical on the topic of cigars, or playing with his own band, the Texas Jewboys.

The book is set up as a series of essays, some truly funny and others more thoughtful and reflective, but all in the distinct Kinkster style that has made this author a favorite of Bill Clinton, Don Imus, Fannie Flagg and other notable readers who appreciate Friedman’s honesty and ability to tell it like it is, even as he pokes fun at those he is writing about, including himself. You get the feeling, after reading this book, that Kinky would be an awfully fun guy to hang out with, just be careful you don’t reveal too much about yourself, or it might end up in one of his future books.

One of the most interesting chapters is about his time spent on Don Imus’ ranch for kids with terminal cancer. One of the funniest chapters has Kinky kickin’ it with Bob Dylan (a particularly funny exchange with Kris Kristofferson on the subject of groupies left me howling!). One of the most insightful chapters offers his conversations with Catch-22 author Joseph Heller, and another peeks into his friendship with Willie Nelson. But my favorite chapter is the last one, a touching tribute to his father, Tom Friedman, a World War II navigator. This diversity of themes and tones in ’Scuse Me… prove Kinky to be one of those rare writers who can make you laugh, learn, cry, reflect, and think all in the same book.

’Scuse Me While I Whip This Out”is highly entertaining but won’t change the world or bring about world peace. It’s a fun and funny book to read when you are in the mood for some observations on life from a man with a truly unique perspective, and a twisted sense of humor. And when you’re done, you’ll feel like you know him so well, you can call him “Kinkster.” How cool is that?

© 2005 by Marie D. Jones for curledup.com.

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