Tag Archives: smile

“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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“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.

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Marvelous Marie Osmond!

Even before I read Might As Well Laugh About It Now, I had a high level of respect for Marie Osmond. The woman has over come so much in her career and personal life—divorce at twenty-five, a nasty bout of post-partum depression (which is chronicled in her first book, Healing from the Heart: The Inherent Power to Heal) and the recent suicide of her son, Michael Bryan. Although Might As Well Laugh About It Now was written before her son’s untimely death, I cannot believe how strong this woman is. She’s not boasting about her struggles, yet she doesn’t keep them a secret. To her it’s like, “yes, this happened, but I’m not going to dwell on it, I have to keep living my life.”

What I like is that Osmond admits that she had some help writing this book. Marcia Wilkie’s name is on the cover and on the spine, not hidden away in the publishing information page. She’s not going to pretend that she’s the greatest writer. I also like that she chose to write her book as a series of stand alone essays, rather than a grand narrative. You really do feel as if you’re in her kitchen, sharing her stories over a cup of (decaf) coffee.

It’s easy to accuse Osmond of sugar coating her stories—surely there must be some dirt on her famous family. If there is, she’s not going to embarrass her family just to make money. These stories are about Marie, which is a model more celebrity “authors” should follow.  I believe she’s being genuine—just because she didn’t struggle with a cocaine addiction or forgot to wear underwear on the day of a big red carpet event where there were 80,000 photographers doesn’t mean her stories are worthless. She had an eating disorder at a time when nobody really knew what they were or how to treat them. She was a television hostess at age sixteen, and didn’t completely lose her mind. Through it all, she managed to keep up good spirits and a sense of humor.

Most people in my age group (20-25) will most likely dismiss Might As Well Laugh About It Now as a corny, cheesy read. I say, don’t brush it off. With the way the world is, it’s nice to know that there are people who aren’t entirely bitter with the things life has dealt them. Yes, it’s light, but I guarantee you’ll smile.

Have you read Might As Well Laugh About It Now? What did you think? Was it too light? Were you expecting some scandalous Osmond dish? Let me know in the comments section!

Next Week: Lauren Conrad’s work of “fiction,” L.A. Candy

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