A colorful, bittersweet romp through Old Fartdom.

How Did That Old Fart Get into My Mirror?


A retired director for The Ed Sullivan Show takes readers on a roller-coaster ride through the joys and perils of aging.

Part memoir, part smorgasbord of fun (but maybe not always accurate) facts, Schwarz’s quirky but sweet debut brims with fast-paced anecdotes about his life amid Wikipedia-type information—the causes of cataracts, the functions of the human heart, and the history of pants. Schwarz, 84, also paints vivid pictures of his childhood and his long-term career in television. The heartbeat of Schwarz’s memoir, however, is his 56-year marriage to his wife, Mimi. Schwarz favors age-related yuks, but the discussion usually spins off into various topics. For example, a story about his “Old Fart” blood pressure also includes mention of the sphygmomanometer and its origin. That tidbit turns into an analysis of how blood pressure works. He adds striking and often poignant life memories to the mix, such as the time when, during a romantic vacation in Venice, Mimi saw trash in the water and exclaimed, “In my memory it will be perfectly blue and crystal clear.”  At his best, Schwarz’s voice is reminiscent of Groucho Marx. Take, for instance, his description of the Japanese paperless toilet: “It washes, rinses, blow dries and even has a heating element for those shivery cold days; just be thankful it doesn’t iron out the wrinkles.” Other times, he sounds like a relentlessly chatty guy at a cocktail party who corners his victims with a dizzying array of trivia—from horses and Scythians to codpieces and corsets. Nevertheless, Schwarz’s friendly, cogent prose creates a buoyant page-turner. His homespun humor is affecting and may resonate with readers who don’t mind laughing at their own gray hair or leaky body parts (“It All Depends on Depends”). Some may wish he had spent a little less time on the parts of the eyeball and a little more time writing about his fascinating television career—he once worked with Janis Joplin. A shift in tone occurs abruptly at the book’s conclusion when Mimi becomes seriously ill. Here, Schwarz’s knee-slapping humor quickly melts into memorable sadness and reflection.

A colorful, bittersweet romp through Old Fartdom.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-5330-1890-8

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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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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