With this latest dense pack of expertly guided missives, humorist Nachman (Playing House) proves to be a real contender for the Droll and Pointed Wit Championship, newspaper column division. The ten dozen or so assorted pieces come in various risible hues, from colored-glass rosy to bilious green. A premise is set in a sentence, and he's off. In the light of recent encouraging books on the subject, he discusses death and how to survive it. Call him crazy; he's optimistic about the coming Ice Age (just ""don't stand near a glacier""). He's not so sanguine, however, about the curse of workaholism--and you can forget about nostalgia, as far as he's concerned. Want to talk like a wine expert, a book reviewer, a tax maven, or even a hack journalist? Listen to Nachman: he has near-perfect pitch for late-breaking jargon. There's a fan mag interview with aged Prince Charming (whose book will tell-all about Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and other ex-amours). Among Nachman's ten literary classics: Make Way for Ducklings, Movies on TV, and Here's Johnny! In considering the thespian arts, he's noticed that ""almost anyone can imitate a robot,"" and the ""people in movies never throw drinks at hall closets or bookcases. Always a fireplace."" He comes right out and says it: there's nothing funny about a clown. Forthright and courageous, that's Nachman--and a minor pleasure to dip into.