A million ways to mouth off

This very odd book promises social success by learning to make sounds like the Intergalactic Gizmo. There are detailed instructions on how to make the whirr and suggestions to enhance your noise. Pretend to be a robot by "slowly and stiffly moving your appendages" and you can use your robot "to disrupt gatherings ..."

Then there is the laboured breathing impression — so you can go into a crowded elevator and unnerve the occupants by pretending you have a communicable disease. Hilarious. It is worth noting the author advises discretion when using the Frog Croak because it can easily be mistaken for flatulence. To help clarify: "Try hunkering in a crouch on all fours. Croak and lap your tongue quickly. Hopping on all fours and 'knee-deeping' your way into a sales conference or biology class will get you points for creativity." (Via Awful Library Books)

Childhood as it was No 1

A reader writes: "Ten years ago a large family of home-schooled children lived across the road from us. They worked well as a team with very little parental supervision building rafts, which they took onto the nearby lake and once a pipe bomb that shook the whole neighbourhood. They successfully climbed and limbed a large pine tree on their property with a Black & Decker skill saw powered with a series of extension cords. Their dad was there to assist the day they cut the stump down, crashing into the neighbour's fence and breaking the pavement."

Childhood as it was No 2

"We were a family of five — Mum and Dad and three young boys," writes Marty. "Every summer we would go on a two-week camping holiday. The family car was a VW Beetle. My dad would remove all the seats from the car except for the driver's seat. Then the car was loaded with the trip — our seats were formed from sleeping bags, pillows and blankets. Not a seat belt to seen. Oh yes, and there was a rowboat tied to the roof."

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