The same guy who opened up Pyromania Tallow Works in Chico way back in the last millennium, the same guy who became the Executive Director of the Downtown Chico Business Association, the same guy who wrote a Northstate Voices column in this newspaper for a year, this same guy has crammed as many of his (more or less) true stories as possible into a volume with the unlikely title of "Miss Gladys and the Pit Bull Barracuda and Other Amazing True Stories of Human Adventure" ($14.95 in paperback from Flying Pig Press, www.flyingpigpress.net).
Kilbourne owes his inspiration to his jobs (Forest Service Lookout Tower Operator, Wrangler of Rattlesnakes, school psychologist); his "eccentric" father (Chamber of Commerce leader and pyramidologist); his saintly mother ("Gladys" of the title) and Great American brother (Dixon Roy Kilbourne); his daughter Savannah ("Miss Awesome Face," "the finest daughter in all the land"); and his love of brew--so much so that his "16-Step Method for Writing a Simple Story" mentions the Sierra Nevada Taproom ("The Church of the Holy Nectar") at least seven times. He's a proud graduate of Beer Camp #69. He writes his stuff near the pizza oven.
Kilbourne will be signing copies of his book Tuesday, August 14 at 7:00 p.m. at Lyon Books in Chico. Look for a forthcoming interview by Nancy Wiegman of Nancy's Bookshelf on KCHO (Northstate Public Radio, 91.1 FM); the archive is found at kchofm.podbean.com.
The author is enamored with contraptions, like "Uncle Bubba's Electronified Pork-Pulling Machine, a Modern Miracle!" or the "Porkgasmic Belly Rotator." (His fixation on pigs comes from his early "farmer boy" days. He referred to his pet pig, Barker, as "Little Mr. Pulled Pork Sandwich.") The book contains historical photographs to prove everything, though the story about the farmer's wife and her own appropriation of the "Hog Joy" unit is told with, shall we say, a sense of delicate restraint.
As a bonus, the reader is graced with the recipe for "Rice Orgy Parisienne." A guy gets hungry up there is the Timber Mountain lookout, and if you're spotting lightning strikes you don't have time to be picky: Three pounds of rice, melted cheddar, six cans of tuna covered with French dressing. Kilbourne does nothing by half measures in this laugh-out-loud collection.