DON'T STAND TOO CLOSE TO A NAKED MAN

The spawn of Seinlanguage: shticky meditations by a stand-up comic who now stars in a top-rated television show. As Tim Taylor, Allen is the focal point of Home Improvement, but his manly-man persona plays off his wife, ``Tool Time'' cohorts, and other characters. Here we have Allen solo, closer to the stand-up mode, musing ``about many things I want to say about being a man.'' His short chapters mainly consist of riffs on his past, his humor safely in the middle American mainstream. Born Timothy Allen Dick, he learned to cope with his unusual moniker through humor and thus segues into observations genitalistic. Allen resents women saying men's cars are linked to their penises: ``What's an extension of the vagina—a purse?'' His life was transformed, he writes, by a Playboy centerfold, and he does have some wise thoughts on objectification: ``If we could have had sex with our cars and boats, it would have been a lot easier. But we'd be a smaller species.'' What should men ``look for in a gal? The answer is easy: breath.'' Allen balances such cheap laughs with some insights, suggesting that women, like men, seek glitz in a partner but eventually settle for ``the family station wagon.'' There's more: marriage, sports, and, of course, tools, leading to his innovative analysis of the impact of tool belts on butt cracks. He ends with some heartfelt sentiments on fatherhood. Allen only briefly touches on the traumas that have fueled his psyche: the death of his father in a car wreck when Tim was 11 and a prison sentence for selling drugs. (The lack of privacy in prison supplies the book's title.) More memoir and less shtick might have been a better balance here. For loyal fans, who should still be plentiful. (First printing of 500,000; first serial to TV Guide and Playboy)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 1994

ISBN: 0-7868-6134-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Hyperion

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...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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