A former head writer for ``Late Night with David Letterman'' satirizes popular ``happiness materials'' (books, calendars, etc.) with her own entertaining (self-) investigations. Markoe (What the Dogs Have Taught Me, not reviewed) treads somewhere between the absurdism of Dave Barry and the intricacies of Henry Alford, with her own L.A. female spin. Each of her 33 brief chapters begins with a ``happiness hint,'' followed by her own efforts to follow the advice. So ``extend a social invitation to someone you've always been afraid to approach'' leads, natch, to dinner—courtesy of a TV Guide assignment—with the famous-chested Fabio, who bravely annotates his publicity photos for Markoe. Following the counsel of doyenne Martha Stewart on selecting a party theme, the author determines that, given her chaotic table settings and decorations, her theme should be ``the breakup of the Soviet Union.'' Deciding to take a new class, Markoe ends up at a session for would-be dominatrixes (``I realize I'm not in Comp. Lit. anymore''). Her muse guides her through a Medieval Times dinner, a meditation on pets, a close analysis of answering machine messages, and a visit with a psychic interior decorator. Markoe's targets are within the safe maw of mainstream pop culture; only occasionally does she exhibit real bite: when analyzing Madonna's book Sex, she tags la Ciccone as ``the world's first self-employed centerfold,'' and after going to see the play The Real Live Brady Bunch, she observes, ``All that binds us is shared dopey media experience.'' Well, that's a good reason to make fun of it, and for Markoe to try harder when a few efforts—like a satire on the Amy Fisher movies and a tour of movie star homes—go limp. Chuckleworthy in small doses—and a strong argument for caution. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-670-85332-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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