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All picks by Michael Stabile

By Gary Lee Boas, 302 pages, $27.95 (Dilettante Press)

Before and after Andy Warhol, there was and remains Gary Lee Boas. From the age of 15, Gary would wait (sometimes hours, sometimes days) to capture a fleeting glimpse of fame on his Kodak Instamatic. Starstruck--the record of his "adventures" with Ike Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Uncle Miltie, Marlene Dietrich, Richard Nixon and countless others (his photos number in the tens of thousands)--is a blurry, stalking tome. Most of the time, the A photo of Katherine Hepburn is merely of a hand covering a face as she leaves the Plaza. The Mike Douglas Show, Merv Griffin, the Dr. Joyce Brothers Show and Studio 54 provided countless opportunities for Gary to hide in the bushes, snapping photos of everybody who was anybody (or at least somebody) like a guerrilla in the urban mist. Amazing. Nowadays people are arrested for less. (MS)

Cuss Control
By James V. O'Connor, 235 pages, $12.95 (Three Rivers Press)

A bar of soap disguised as a book. It's hard not to notice--even after reading only the introduction--how often and how regularly we curse. James V. O'Connor targets bad language as lazy language and instructs the reader to choose words more carefully. One especially potent argument is his claim that swearing makes you appear lower-class and undereducated. Personally, as one who has $30,000 in educational debt, this is the last thing that I want to appear. Try not cursing for a day and, like quitting smoking, you'll suddenly notice how often others do it. Once you learn to look down upon them, it makes it even easier to give up the habit. Ahh, the power of conceit. (MS)

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From the March 20, 2000 issue of the Metropolitan.

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