Divided Review Project: Prank the Monkey - the ZUG Book of Pranks

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Page 259-260 Pages 259-260: As an avid ZUG reader, I recognize this as the close of the Mass Pike prank, an article that even made my dog laugh out loud. I give kudos to Hargrave for his ingenuity, his envelope-pushing, his writing skill, and his ability to make money off something you can read online for free. -Rick Moya
Page 263-264 Review of Pages 263 and 264 of Prank the Monkey Be it a blessing or a curse page 263 begins a new Prank entitled "The Boston Tax Party" after reading both pages, it occurred to me that this was very similar to reading a Prank intro on the front page of ZUG, except that there is no "More>>" link at the bottom of the page. Mr. Hargrave gives the history, background, and then the basis of the prank. but there is no resolution! If for no other reason this method of review will entice any regular reader to go buy the book because they can't just click to the next page. Now, I'm going to have to leave my easy chair and go sit in B&N and finish the chapter. It is clear that John's writing style translates beautifully to the printed page and is testament that he is not just a cyber flash in a pan. Chris Armbruster, IL
Page 265-266 Pages 265-66 This is a meaty piece of ass I got. No index or glossary for me, this is the beginning of a prank in which he intends to file a tax return done entirely in Roman numerals. I've been laughing ever since--what a great idea! His delivery is open and fun, and he gives a little trivia about how the Roman system only goes up to 4000, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I'm excited to get the book and find out how it went down and whether he got audited as a result. My dog, also, got really into this excerpt, and chewed up one corner of it pretty good, but I had already read it so no harm was done. Pictures forthcoming. Thanks Rob for letting us participate, this was fun.
Page 271-272 Pages 271 & 272: I sat down to do this review and my taxes tonight. Oddly enough, my pages (from what I can gather) involved John filling his tax return using only roman numerals. The first page has a copy of a rather threatening letter from the IRS. These pages seem a bit out of context, but some funny lines nonetheless! I'd love to read 5, maybe 6 more pages! -James, CT
Page 273-274 273 and 274 These two pages describe the last half of a conversation that the author had with an IRS agent regarding his attempt to file a tax return using roman numerals rather than the "standard" arabic numerals...I am definitely going to buy this book. If just two pages are as funny as these two are I am encouraged.
Page 275-276 Page #275 This page seems to be a quasi-philosophical summary of pranks and the pranked (or "punked" as the kids these days say). Was the Boston Tea party a prank? And did the government it led to grow into exactly what it was meant to prank . . . something just begging to be pranked? Interesting, I noted that I had received page 275 while Amazon.com lists the book as having only 256 pages. Am I being pranked? Am I being asked to review part of a book that Rob has created for just such a purpose? Has Rob fabricated the ENTIRE book? Once the pranking starts where does it end? Paranoia in the streets. . . hang on to your tea. Pete Stine - Baltimore
Page 277-278 "page" review of pages 277 and 278 of "Prank the Monkey: the ZUG book of Pranks" by John Hargrave. I feel I should preface this review with the warning that not only am I unfamiliar with John Hargrave or ZUG, but I also just turned 42 which means in the eyes of most teenagers I am ancient and perhaps unable to fully appreciate pranks (although I do believe that I have a very good sense of humor). Page 277 contains only a very simple drawing of "Death." It looks like something the guy sitting in the back of math class in high school would have spent the entire period drawing on this otherwise empty notebook. In case we didn't know who the cloaked figure with the sharp garden implement was, he is labled "Death" in the drawing, and it appears some fuzzy creature is hanging by the neck from the over hang of the capital "T" (the only interesting part of the drawing, it reminds me a little of Charles Addams work). Page 278 is the beginning of a story called "The John Hargrave Memorial Concert." What I am guessing ends up being a prank starts as one person being chased by a knife-wielding, screaming drunk in a college cafeteria. I only hope it gets better on the next page, but the writing level is very "middle-school" level and the idea does not strike me as very original. If the rest of the book inhales this vigorously I applaud the author for getting paid for it, but hope the book was printed on recycled paper so no trees died for this, and expect to see the book in the remainder bins very soon. These two pages leave me with no desire to read any more of the book, even the rest of the story started on page 278.
Page 283-284 Pages 283-284 My pages were back to back luckily. From what I could make out of it basically says that Hargrave set up a memorial concert for himself. He perpetuated a lie on a college campus using students. They spread word, that a guy named John Hargrave was stabbed in the stomach. After getting the ball rolling with the lie he proceeded to find a disguise so students wouldn’t recognize him walking around campus until the concert. He stated his long pony tail “which he grew for 5 years, was hacked off by a gay Cambridge hairstylist.” After cutting his hair and purchasing a fake moustache, cap, and glasses he and his friends began plastering posters for the memorial concert around campus. The flyer basically said that they’re friend “John Hargrove was tragically killed yesterday before his senior recital. He would have wanted the show to go on. Therefore we will be presenting a special memorial concert.” My pages of the book were funny it really makes me want to hear the rest of what happened. I’d recommend it from the 2 pages I read. Seems like this guy is pretty funny. I hope everyone found this as interesting as I did. Mario, Cleveland
Page 285-286 On pages 285 and 286 of "The ZUG Book of Pranks" a man referring to himself only as "I" as apparently faked his own death. He delights in attending a candlelight vigil being held in his honor by the unwitting dupes who bought the prank. That is, until he realizes a few of the attendees are friends who might blow his cover. The suspense builds to the bottom of page 286. Will he be unmasked and mercilessly mocked? Will he duck out and remain unrecognized? We may never know. Unless we read pages 287 and 288.
Page 287-288 pp. 287-288 A prank is usually intended to be either funny or mean-spirited. For these two pages of Prank the Monkey, it would appear to be the latter. Chapter headings across the top of the two pages labeled "Death" and "The John Hargrave Memorial Concert" appear to reinforce that belief. To call these "pages of a book" seems to be a misnomer as well as they are 8.5" long and the margins are so large as to only provide 3.5" of text across the page. Newspaper column would be a better term. If you can't judge a book by it's cover, you can try to judge it from pages 287 and 288. In my mind, it wasn't worth the cost of stamp Rob used to mail it.
Page 289-290 289,290 289 closed a section about Sir John's senior recital, and the cancelling thereof. The writing is clever and concise, and contains the sentence "So you're not dead, then." 290 opens a section entitled "Inside the Oval Office," and continues on the trend of talking about university presidents. More creative writing. Overall fun to read, and even more fun to read when I pretend the two seperate sections should be read as one story!
Page 295-296 Pages 295-296: Clever writing is apparent. I enjoyed the comparison of the "Boston Herald" not being fit "to use for wiping your dog's hemorrhoids." Patrick, Lakeville, MN
Page 297-298 Pages 297 and 298 begin with the end of The John Hargrave Memorial Concert and end with the beginning of The Little Video That Could. It appears that the prankster faked his own death. The clues are the page heading on page 297 ("The John Hargrave Memorial Concert"), the page heading on 298, "Death", and a quote from the Dean, "Jesus didn't fake His own death." I cannot recommend these two pages: there is a URL listed for "The Little Video That Could," where I expected a video of a choo choo. Instead there was static text that said "Coming February 2007." Since it IS February 2007, I can only assume that the choo choo ran out of oil or coal or something, which has left me in a sad funk :(
Page 299-300 Pages 299-300

What a riot!!! Even without the full context of the topic, I found myself laughing as I read pages 299 and 300. Hargrave has a simple writing style that makes things clear and concise (I hate authors that throw out big words just because they CAN and to make themselves sound smarter), yet you don't feel like you're reading a kid's book. He's witty, but without the underlying "HEY EVERYBODY, look at me being witty;" it seems natural to him.

The content also drew me in enough that I know I'm going to buy the other 300-some pages of the book. I want to know the full context of what I read and I feel confident that the rest of the book will be just as enjoyable, if not more so. For making me snicker and to match some of the content of pages 299 and 300, I am going to dedicate more than a stapler to John Hargrave. There is now the official John Hargrave Memorial Tape Dispenser, Phone (with built in caller ID), Engineering Scale and Rubber Band (because if you're dedicating office supplies, you have to include a rubber band). If you want to know why I dedicate these things to Hargrave, you have to pick up the book and read pages 299 and 300; and maybe some of the surrounding pages.

Back Cover Back Cover- The back cover of this book contains all you could hope for; drama, romance, adventure...Well, except for not. However, it did effectively peak my interest with such questions as "How does Bill Gates respond when you try to kiss him on the nipple?" With the promise of an action-packed book stocked with laughs, the back cover is sure to catch the attention of any prankster looking to be inspired. A.J. Fellows
 

And that is it! Review complete!

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February 18, 2007.

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