Tag Archives: Caroll Spinney

“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.


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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! 🙂

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“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.

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