“Bad days happen to everyone, but when one happens to you, just keep doing your best and never let a bad day make you feel bad about yourself.”

–Big Bird (Caroll Spinney)

At the end of my freshman year of college in May 2005, I went to visit my best friend at Stanford University in Palo Alto, C.A. Stanford is a wonderful school–amazing academics, a gorgeous campus, and what I think is the best college bookstore out there. While my friend/hostess was busy writing an epic paper, I walked around the stacks and stacks of books and gorgeous mahogany wood furniture. I could have bought a book on say, Literary Theory and Criticism as explained by one of the best literature professors in the country. Instead, my big buy from the Stanford University Bookstore was The Wisdom of Big Bird (and the Dark Genius of  Oscar The Grouch): Lessons From a Life in Feathers a.k.a. Big Bird’s memoirs. And I don’t regret it.

Big Bird–er, Spinney, follows the Marie Osmond style of writing, where instead of writing a straight up autobiography, he writes about key memories–how he got into puppeteering, the day he joined Sesame Street, the day he swore at a child as Big Bird (which is a highlight, he’s still remorseful over thirty years later!) Each chapter starts off with a quote, usually by Big Bird, Oscar or Ralph Waldo Emerson, that relates to Spinney’s anecdote.

Spinney’s book isn’t the most remarkable memoir, however, it is a memoir that makes you feel good and helps you to stop and think–not about the hardest things, but just how to have fun and enjoy yourself, much like he does while dressed as Big Bird or Oscar the Grouch. It should also be noted that Spinney is a great illustrator, providing the illustrations seen on various pages. As I said before, I don’t regret buying this book when I did–I was in the middle of a transition, going from a small, private college in Pittsburgh to a big, public university in Binghamton, N.Y.. I felt better, like I was worrying way too much about silly things and that I wasn’t thinking of the greater, more positive possibilities, such as, larger classes at the state school meant meeting more people than at the small liberal arts school.

Reading it again, in the midst of transition from student–>miserably unemployed–>on the way to a full-fledged career. I still felt warm and fuzzy when I finished. However, this transition is drastically different than the one I was going through five years ago. That being said, instead of feeling super stressed, I was more relaxed and very, very entertained.

So, who is this book for? As hokey as it is, anyone who is going through anything but  not quite sad/lonely enough to pick up The Heroin Diaries. I also recommend this as a quick read, as Spinney’s words only fill 176 pages.

What are your thoughts? Have you read The Wisdom of Big Bird (and the Dark Genius of  Oscar The Grouch): Lessons From a Life in Feathers? Comment away!

Next time: Drew Barrymore’s teenage auto-bio Little Girl Lost.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

More Shameless Self-Promotion Time!

Equally Wed‘s Summer issue has hit the web, and in it, there is a Q and A with Duff Goldman from TV’s Ace of Cakes. The questions were asked by yours truly. Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Shameless Self-Promotion Time!

I have another blog (gasp!) I’m the primary writer for Equally Wed‘s Style Watch wedding fashion news blog. (try saying that five times fast!) I’ll usually be updating on Tuesdays and Fridays, so be sure to check it out here: http://equallywed.com/style-watch.html

Enjoy! Check back here in a few days for  Big Bird’s memoir review! :)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

“I’m Gonna Take This Itty Bitty World by Storm/and I’m Just Gettin’ Warm…”

–LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out

Check it. Originally, this entry was going to be about Alicia Silverstone’s lifestyle guide The Kind Diet:A Simple Guide To Feeling Great, Losing Weight and Saving the Planet.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it. Instead, I found something better: LL Cool J’s Platinum 360 Diet and Lifestyle: A Full-Circle Guide to Developing Your Mind, Body and Soul. Yessir, Mr. Kangol is officially a rapper/actor (NCIS: LA)/lifestyle guru. Like most celebrity novels, it’s easy to laugh. But his advice actually isn’t bad, although a little clichéd.

Platinum 360 starts off with typical motivational speaker-esq quips, like, believe in yourself, you can be anything you want to be if you just visualize it, etc. It’s not condescending, but you do get the feeling you may have heard this advice before, just not from LL Cool J’s point of view. The pages contain a sidebar of top five lists, such as “My Top Five Influential People.” (If you’re curious: (5) Silver Fox of The Fantasy 3 (4) Rick Rubin (3) Russell Simmons (2) Quincy Jones (1) Diddy.)

Section two, the workout section, offers an impressive weight lifting routine. There  isn’t anything new, but he does offer different combinations as well as photos of him and a pretty blonde demonstrating some of the routines.

Section three, the diet section, is probably the best. His food combinations sound really delicious. For example, he recommends a Mediterranean scramble for breakfast, which includes olive oil, feta cheese, eggs and spinach served with a slice of toast. I would eat that in a second. What I like the most, however, is that he doesn’t treat his readers as if they have the body of Jillian Michaels or Gilad Janklowicz already. He divides his ingredient list into  different weight ranges  so you can get the right portions for your body without sending it into starvation mode, which is something I really appreciate.

All in all, Platinum 360 is great. Although there are some points you may feel that someone wanted to write this book and slapped LL’s face on it just to move sales, it’s really positive, and anybody can do what he suggests, it’s not limited to those who are already fit, and there’s no hidden commercials, like, “Buy LL Cool J water! It’ll knock you out, just like mama told me to!” This one’s a keeper.

Next time: We get to know the man behind (inside?) Big Bird in Caroll Spinney’s The Wisdom of Big Bird (and the Dark Genius of Oscar The Grouch): Lessons from a Life in Feathers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

“When I Met Heroin, It Was True Love”

–Nikki Sixx, the introduction to The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life of a Shattered Rock Star.

Oh! Hi! Long time, no see. How have you been?

I apologize for the unexpected hiatus. Not long after my last entry, things got a little hectic, and I let my CLC duties slip. However, I’m back, and there will be a better updating schedule. I’m not able to update once a week, but it will definitely be less than a month between entries, I promise!

Before I go into my latest review, I have some sad news: the book I was going to review after Rue McClanahan‘s (RIP), Alyssa Milano’s Safe at Home: Confessions of a Baseball Fanatic, had to go back to the library before I got to take notes on it. So, instead, I present to you the CLC take on Nikki Sixx’s The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life of a Shattered Rock Star.

For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Sixx, he is the guitarist of the greatest hair band of the eighties, Mötley Crüe. The Crüe is responsible for such hard hits as “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Dr. Feelgood” and “Shout at the Devil.” Known for their killer look and loud, fierce sound, the Crüe spent the better part of the decade of decadence as the greatest rock stars–sex, drugs and rock and roll was their mantra.

Now, based on that description, I’m sure many people think that what Sixx has to say about his wild days is either “totally awesome, brah, totally awesome” or they dismiss it, thinking he’s another rock star trying to write to make some money.

If anything, my friends, Sixx’s memoir serves as a cautionary tale.

The Heroin Diaries is not written in a typical memoir fashion. Unlike, say, Marie Osmond or Paul Feig, he is not writing these stories from memory. Instead, he published his journals from Christmas 1986 to Christmas 1987 (the date of his infamous overdose, where he was pronounced DOA at the hospital. Luckily, two shots of adrenaline revived him.) and added his reflections/interviews with people who were there during his addiction, making for a more sobering (for lack of a better term) experience.

Disclosure: I first read The Heroin Diaries three years ago. I pre-ordered it in hardback, excited to read it as I had watched someone I love go through a very nasty heroin addiction for a while. To me, biographies/memoirs in which the subject dealt with any sort of addiction, particularly hard drugs, were and still are very therapeutic. They give me some insight about what an addict goes through, it gives me a better understanding.

When the book arrived at my off-campus house, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to read it. I went to campus early one day, to read a few pages before class started. I would resume when the hour-long class was over. Well, my readers, I never made it to class that day. I stayed in the library for a good two-two and a half hours reading the first half of the book, which I then put down and didn’t touch for a week as I was so shook up by what I had just read. It was that powerful.

Reading it again, I was still shook up. Even though I knew what was coming, I still felt overwhelmed and saddened by Sixx’s story. The entries at the height of his addiction really brought me down. It’s easy to dismiss him as a spoiled rock star, but when you’re that addicted, you become childlike. You regress.

So, in short, I do not recommend The Heroin Diaries as a beach read. I recommend it for a rainy day read, or if you know someone going through a similar situation. Yes, it will be hard, but it’s comforting to know that your friend/mom/dad/brother/sister/other relative/etc. isn’t alone (as heartbreaking and awful addiction is.)

Next time: something more lighthearted. As to what, exactly, I’m not sure. But it will be much, much lighter.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

“From Now On, When My Name Appears In Print, It’d Better Read ‘Blanche Devereaux COMMA 39!'”

–Rue McClanahan as Blanche Devereaux, The Golden Girls.

Lately, Betty White has got all the attention. She hosted SNL last weekend, has popped up in various romcoms, and now has a facebook campaign to convince the Academy to pick her to host the Oscars next March. Life sure is swell for Betty. And while there is no doubt Ms. White is awesome (did you know she was one of the first female television producers?) we cannot forget Rue McClanahan, aka Blanche Devereaux. Time Magazine had the balls to add McClanahan to their “100 Least Influential People List,” simply because she’s not all over the place like White. I disagree, as would any reader of her 2007 autobiography.

McClanahan is a smart woman. She knows that she is now, and will always be identified by the Blanche Devereaux persona–bold, sassy, fabulous. Like Marie Osmond and Wendy Williams before her, you feel as if you’re talking to her one on one, over a cup of coff–er, a plate of cheesecake. However, you won’t find any scandal or trash talk, not even from behind the scenes of The Golden Girls. (I always seem to pick the friendliest celebrities, don’t I?) Although McClanahan does give a grading system to her men, she is never malicious. And while she has faced many obstacles in her life, she never dwells on the hardship or asks for pity. She’s just telling us about her life, and frankly, that’s just fantastic.

Have you read My First Five Husbands…And The Ones Who Got Away? Did you enjoy dipping your toes into the lake known as the woman who played Blanche? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Apologies for the delay in posting, especially to Christine :)

Next Week: Batter up with Alyssa Milano’s Safe at Home: Confessions of a Baseball Fanatic.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

“‘Cause They Be All Up In My Business Like a Wendy Interview…”

-Mariah Carey, “Touch My Body”

How you doin’?

Wendy Williams is now famous for hosting a fun, syndicated morning talk show called The Wendy Williams Show. Disclosure: I love The Wendy Williams Show. It helped get me through unemployment. Wendy is vivacious, hilarious and doesn’t kiss her guests’ ass–instead, you feel like you’re participating in a gossip session between friends. Plus, the “Ask Wendy” segment is just too fabulous.

With that aside, if you watch TWWS, you know that Wendy first got her start on the radio, working in various markets including Boston, New York and Philadelphia. After reading The Wendy Williams Experience: Queen of Media, I must say that “TV Wendy” and “Radio Wendy” are two different people.

First, let me start off by saying that I got the vibe that Queen of Media was more of a book for fans of her radio show. Williams gives her opinions on certain stars of the R&B/Hip Hop world, and reprints many interviews, including a rather infamous chat with Whitney Houston where she said some not so nice things to Williams.

Now, I don’t want to call Williams herself mean, but “Radio Wendy” is definitely more gritty than “T.V. Wendy.” Is it because Williams is now on television, where she’s watched by millions of people (as opposed to radio, which, sadly, isn’t drawing the same audience as it used to?) Or can we chalk it up to age? Williams is now 47, Queen of Media was first published six years ago, so maybe Williams has calmed down. Or, perhaps she’s happier on T.V. than she is on radio. Or, maybe it’s because Wendy has to cater to an entirely new audience–when Wendy was on the radio, her show was mostly broadcast on “black” stations. Her  T.V. show, however, caters to a more “diverse” audience. If Wendy isn’t “ethnic,” she’s more marketable. (this is sad yet very true in a lot of media outlets.)

That’s not to say I dislike “Radio Wendy”–I like that she didn’t pull punches with her guests and didn’t kiss their asses to high heaven. That being said, she wasn’t running her mouth all over town. She knew when to back off and when to admit she was wrong. I’m looking forward to reading her autobiography, Wendy’s Got The Heat, so I can learn even more about this fabulous woman.

What’s your take on “Radio Wendy” vs. “T.V. Wendy?” Did you read The Wendy Williams Experience: Queen of Media? What are your thoughts? Feel free to share in the comments section!

Friday (remember, there’s two reviews this week!): A peek into Blanche’s boudoir, aka Rue McClanahan’s My First Five Husbands…and the Ones Who Got Away.

Thank you and I love you for reading! :)

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized