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January 24, 1990 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-01-24

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 24, 1990 - Page 9




Artists whose pieces are displayed in "Striking a Balance - Asian and American" exhibit a variety of styles in
both their works and the messages they choose to convey.

Uncle John's Bathroom
by The Bathroom Readers'
St. Martin's/$8.95
The average person spends ten
minutes per day on the toilet. Sim-
ple application of your grade school
arithmetic will conclude that this
same person passes an astonishing
60.83 hours per year on the porce-
lain throne, more for college stu-
dents on the weekends. Obviously,
this is the great untapped wealth of
free time for which we all long, not
to mention the fact that sitting idle
can be quite boring. What to do?
Now, 60.83 hours would consti-
tute sufficient time to edify even the
feeblest of minds through the great
works of Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy.
But who wants to waste the last
great escape with food for the intel-
lect? The American public craves a
certain sort of potty literature with
three specific characteristics: brevity
of length, high entertainment value,
and ink that doesn't run when wet.
It has been said that one can truly
know a man by looking through his
medicine chest. Items such as that
extra pink toothbrush or hide-the-
bald-spot solution prove indispens-
able in knowing the true essence of
the male in question. Leading con-
temporary psychologists, however,
having postulated a revolutionary
new theory regarding bathroom con-
tents - it's not tools of hygiene,
but instead the printed word that
indicates the most revealing of clues
regarding a person's true nature. One
can only speculate as to what Freud
would have to say about the connec-
tion between toilet and literature.
In past years, choices have been
substantially limited. Wander into a
distant uncle's bathroom and you
find a Playboy. The New Yorker's
desirability proves limited because
one only has time for the cartoons.
When soggy, newspapers stick to
the floor in a particularly repugnant

fashion. The ubiquitous catalogue
becomes tiresome after the first read-
ing, especially if it's one of the
Cheese-Log variety. The ultimate
family fare for the Charmin reading
room has always been The Guiness
Book of World Records, but how
many Evel Knieval jumps and
bearded ladies can one fathomably
stomach at so sensitive a time?
The law of American capitalism,
"find a need and fill it," has finally
come to the frontline of nature's
call: Uncle John's Bathroom
Reader. Written by the "Bathroom
Readers' Institute," this noble and
socially conscious group claims that
their book "is the first book espe-
cially for peole who love to read in
the bathroom." Following a long
history of world views that divide
humankind into opposing di-
chotomies, the Institute declares
"There are two kinds of people in the
world - people who read in the
bathroom, and people who don't."
One gasps to imagine what the latter
group must be like: lazy, boring,
and inefficient, to hazard a few
guesses. Always mistrust people
who are tan out of season, and never
fall in love with someone who
doesn't read on the crapper. You
won't go wrong.
Uncle John's Bathroom Reader
was written with a clearly stated so-
cial purpose in mind: to combat "the
joy of discovering a really interest-
ing article in the latest issue of a fa-
vorite magazine as you head to the
head, or the frustration of trying to
find something suitable to read... at
the last minute." Aptly describing
the anal repression in our society,
they note that "this isn't something
we talk about, but it's understood."
The table of contents itself high-
lights the revolutionary nature of
this important work. Divided into
"Short - a quick read," "Medium -
1 to 3 pages," and "Long - for
those extended visits when some-
thing a little more involved is re-

quired," the book allows the individ-
ual reader to choose according to
length as well as subject. Its inge-
nious structure, however, is matched
only by the quality of its content.
Short subject choice ranges from
wacky definitions ("histoplasmosis:
a respiratory illness caused by inhal-
ing festered bat dung") to the origin
of the word SPAM (the SP from
spice plus the AM from ham). Satis-
fying the Elvis phenomenon takes
the medium treatment, with a story
about a fan named Sir Mordrid who
became so nervous in the presence of
The King that he grew nauseated, ran
into Elvis' private toilette, and
tossed his cookies. Eager to smell
fresh and minty on his second go,
Mordrid used the first toothbrush he
saw. Realizing post facto that the
toothbrush belonged to his idol, he
carefully dried the instrument of den-
tal hygiene and replaced it exactly as
he had found it. Running along the
bottom of each page are facts such as
"about a third of all Americans flush
the toilet while they're sitting.on it;"
and "the theme song to Mr. Ed was
written by the composers who wrote
"Que Sera, Sera." Other selections
range from political satire to pop
culture to brain teasers.
In addition to being totally hip
and cool (wouldn't it have to be?
The writers hail from Berkeley, Cali-
fornia), Uncle John's Bathroom
Reader solves the problem of infuri-
ating toilet clutter. Never more will
magazines and novels obstruct your
clear path to the toilet paper. In all
its attempts to cater to the needs of
all humans who go to the bathroom
(note - this qualification excludes
all soap opera stars who never seem
to leave the table to do their duty)
the reader fails in one significant
area. Although the items are short
enough to be read in one sitting, one
always succumbs to the temptation
to read on to the next interesting tid-
bit, lingering long past the answer
to nature's call, hence leaving
roommates and loved ones clamoring
at the door for their turn.
-Jen Bilik

Continued from page 8
Esther Kim's geometric collages
do not display an overt Asian Amer-
ican quality, either. Kim, a Senior in
the School of Art, explains that her
creative impulses are "intuitive."
She says she does not intentionally
:create collages which resemble the
:decorative, colorful patterning of
'kimonos. Rather, her appreciation
for detailed, delicate work and Asian
artistic style is incorporated instinc-
:tively in her technique. Such refined
.attention to detail is also apparent in
Basement Arts is holding audi-
tions for The Conquest of the South
Pole on February 2 and 3. Sign up
in the Green Room in the Frieze
Building, or call director Michael
Barron at 761-9737. Performances
will take place in April.

art student I-Chin Jennie Lee's col-
ored pencil drawing of a child sitting
among stuffed animals, and in her
delicately balanced collage of real and
photocopied leaves.
Sponsored in conjunction with
the Michigan Union Arts and Pro-
gramming Office, the "Striking A
Balance" exhibit provides an oppor-
tunity for 14 Asian American stu-
dents to showcase their artistic
skills. The works presented vary in
style, material and meaning. This
diversity of artistic technique and in-
tention is central to the exhibits'
Angie Cheung and Mike Liem,
lions and Opportuni
- Auditions for 'night, mother, by
Marsha Norman, will take place
January 24 and 25. Sign up in the
Green Room in the Frieze Building;
performance dates are March 15 and
16. Prepared monologues are wel-

general coordinators of the show, say
the exhibit is intended to honor the
mixture and interaction of Asian and
American culture, and to celebrate
the individuality and talent of student
artists. In "Striking a Balance," each
creative effort and intention is
unique. The exhibit does not present
one single Asian American style or a
planned social message. Instead,
Liem says, it shows how being
Asian and being American "mixes
differently for everyone."
exhibited in the Michigan Union Art
Lounge through January 31.
- A female cellist wanted, to per-
form onstage with the actors in A
Northern Landscape. Performance
dates are March 29-31, April 1, and
April 5-8. Limited rehearsal. Call di-
rector Barry Goldman at 936-2415 if


Activists Wanted. Come to NORML's
(National Organization for the Reform
of Marijuana Laws) meeting on Thurs-
day, Jan. 25, 8 pm at 812 Monroe St.
(across UM's Law Quad). For more info
call 453-8840 or 663-9048.


8:30 -10 ~im~"
1140 South University (x1W Fumt
668-8411 Charlkys

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