Absinthe & Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously - William Gurstelle 

Exercise your inner MacGyver with "Absinthe & Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously," from William Gurstelle, the author of the similar how-to book, "Backyard Ballistics ." Like that title, this one's strictly for Type T personalities "? the "T" standing for "thrill seeker," of course.

Inside, following many a legal disclaimer, you'll find detailed instructions on how to whip up a batch of black powder, build a potassium nitrate rocket or make your own smoke bombs. You'll also learn how to crack a whip, throw a knife and cook up a so-called "danger dog" (its main ingredient: half a dozen poblano peppers).

In a chapter with far less potential for fatalities, Gurstelle demonstrates lighter tricks and offers tips on selecting absinthe "? that highly alcoholic green liquid only recently legal in the United States.

And, yes, start making a list of books you find objectionable, because the final chapter is a step-by-step tutorial on making your own flamethrower. (Get ready to crank that baby up to 451 degrees Fahrenheit!)

Guys who consider "Mythbusters" to be appointment TV might warm to this oddball piece of nonfiction, which aims to put a smile on science, if a rather mischievous one. Trouble is, it's heavier on the "Ruminations" than the "Projects," taking an awful long time "? like, 50 pages' worth "? to get to the good stuff. Chicago Review Press. "?Rod Lott

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