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June 2004
 
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Legal Daisy Spacing, By Chris Winn (1985)

SECTION 42B of the Floral Disobedience Act plainly states that daisies must be 25.5mm apart—no more, no less. Snowflakes must conform with Registered Snowflake Design # 65537f (mid-gray). You'd know that if you had a copy of Chris Winn's 1985 book, Legal Daisy Spacing.

Not that that's all it covers. Nothing less than a manual of world improvements issued by the Build-A-Planet program, it gives directions on how to discipline barbaric deciduous trees, bottle tornadoes, bleach overly colorful rainbows, and deal with those nasty Bipedal Growths.

Winn is primarily an advertising illustrator, but his imagination runs pretty wild throughout the book. Nearly every other page has a drawing showing volcanoes being freshened, or parish churches being compressed.

So, why a book about this subject? The easy answer is that it's a comment on environmental issues, what with instructions for oiling shorelines and such, but Legal Daisy Spacing goes so far over the edge that easy answers are suspect. Madness is what it is; the madness, perhaps, of an advertising illustrator who just has to let go from time to time and do something really bizarre.

That, at least, is the result, regardless of the intent. It's a delightfully twisted little book that begs to be read aloud, especially at parties, and that also teaches us the importance of Build-A-Planet's motto, "Order Through Vigilance, Decency Through Purification."

There's even a handy, bound-in ruler to help you comply with Section 42b.

—Bud Webster

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