Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Elements by the Tinklers

(Shattered Wig Press) I was surprised to see this book because I knew the Tinklers from a couple of great albums I bought years ago at the space that sold Shimmy Disc albums next to CBGB’s. But according to the press release and clippings, and part of a documentary I saw on the Documentary Channel (which I didn’t even know was a channel until I stopped to watch this movie) the Tinklers have been around for over thirty years and have done as much writing, art, and happenings as music. This book is a brisk, triumphant morsel of edutainment that imparts information about several elements occupying the periodic table. This is done through a narrative that is sort of like a Dick and Jane old time book where a guy and gal go around meeting people who conversationally, indirectly teach them things. But in this case as we learn about the remarkable properties of magnesium from a Milk of Magnesium swilling Magnesium, Unlimited intern or sodium’s benefits from a little girl at the saltwater beach doing a science fair project, each impartation of scientific knowledge also reveals the damage our country suffers because of problems in industry and labor, and we get glimpses of the inevitable erosion and dysfunction in our protagonists’ relationship (that science fair girl gets Mary’s biological clock ticking, forcing Steven to make a heartbreaking false promise). In other words: awesome book. (sidenote: Microsoft Word spellcheck had no problem with the word “Edutainment” Apparently Bill Gates is a KRS-ONE fan.)

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