A compendium of hoaxes, urban myths, true/false posers, unlikely exploits, strange pictures, and wacky inventions designed to give readers’ “Baloney!” buzzers a real workout.
In no particular order, between accounts of the arboreal octopus of the Pacific Northwest (“Fake!”) and cluster-balloonist “Lawn Chair Larry” (“Real”), Krieger presents over four dozen credibility testers. She rates each main entry for veracity on a “fib-o-meter” and for changes of pace mixes in lists of bizarre headlines or inventions and strings of real or reworked photographs. Though she includes classics like Piltdown Man and the BBC’s 1957 report on the spaghetti-tree harvest, most of these dillies are relatively recent. Each entry features one or more photos, plus an appropriately surreal patchwork collage that Cocotos assembles by placing snipped-out images of human teeth or other features onto animal faces or bodies. Some of the factual entries are the real surprises here: yes, Theodore Roosevelt really did go on to deliver a speech after he was shot, Buzz Aldrin was the first man to pee on the moon (no details on that are provided), and diapers for chickens are a thing. So, apparently, are sheep-nose bot flies (“Insect Lives in Sheep Snot”) and pet-food tasters. So the author claims anyway, though she cites no sources or URLs, and at least some of her “facts” are, at best, moot.
Open anywhere and be prepared to be amazed, amused, and, occasionally, revolted. (index) (Nonfiction. 7-10)