Book Review: Singing to a Bulldog

bulldogSinging to a Bulldog is an autobiography by Anson Williams – who is probably most known for his role as “Potsie” on Happy Days. The book is subtitled “From Happy Days to Hollywood Director, and the Unlikely Mentor Who Got Me There”.  The book is broken down by “lessons” and not chapters which was an interesting approach.  I liked how he wanted to get in to the business so he went to an agents office and just waited until someone could see him! He also talked about how he almost missed his audition for Happy Days.  He was having car trouble and of course back then there were no cell phones! He ended up getting there late but it was a good thing he did end up getting there because they wanted him for the role!  I Also didn’t know that there were 2 pilots for Happy Days.  The first one did not get picked up!

Anson’s mentor was a janitor – who “talks” throughout the book and Anson hears him giving advice whenever he needs him.  Anson said that it was Ron that kept the group on the show normal, since he had already been a successful actor for many years.  Also through Happy Days he was able to meet people like John Wayne and John Lennon!  I also didn’t realize that he was very involved with CP and involved with telethons because his cousin has CP. Now I love him even more!  When he met Elvis he told him he sang “darn good”

Another great story (and probably only because it is a bit timely) was that Happy Days decided to have an alien on after Garry Marshall’s son had seen Star Wars and decided that there needed to be an episode about Aliens.  Anson writes that this was the “worst script ever” and the alien was called “Mork” and played by a character actor.  When he left and they needed to find someone else – a comedian called Robin Williams got the part of Mork.  He immediately came up with a back story and a language for Mork (Nanu Nanu!) and from that appearance on Happy Days, Mork and Mindy was born!

The end of the book Anson goes back to meet with his mentor, Willie.

I thought this was a really sweet book and I really enjoyed reading it!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Growing up in 1950s California, young Anson Williams was clumsy and unsure of himself. He started working odd jobs as a teenager to help support his family and met Willie, an aging, uneducated, African-American janitor who unexpectedly became a mentor. In Singing to a Bulldog, Williams relates both the life lessons taught by Willie and the never-before-revealed stories of the famous (and not-so-famous) folks he’s encountered during his 40 years in Hollywood, including:

– the day Robin Williams woke up Happy Days
– being directed by Steven Spielberg in his first dramatic role
– getting kidnapped by Gerald Ford’s daughter at the White House
– being inspired by Shailene Woodley on the set of The Secret Life of the American Teenager

Book Review: Excess All Areas

excessExcess All Areas is “A Lighthearded Look at the Demands and Idiosyncrasies of Rock Icons on Tour”.  Band riders are always interesting to me.  I was also drawn to this book because the illustrations are pretty awesome. The book is just a compilation of various demands that bands have when they are on tour.  Some are your typical things that make sense – tea for after the show to sooth their throat, maybe a little bit of oxygen… but then some of the demands are really out there.  The Eels for instance ask for a Furby Toy and a Telletuby Toy?

Some other interesting requests were a used paperback (probably better for the environment that way), stuff that is non-polluting, non-GMO and organic… enough ice to take a bath in… James Brown asked for a golf cart… the blood hound gang asked for a fridge magnent from somewhere local (maybe they were a collector or maybe one of their kids was! This is actually a pretty neat idea and if I’m ever a rock star I may have to add that to my rider!)  One band wanted a disgruntled house monitor engineer. Um, ok?

I think that this book is also UK based – a lot of the bands that were featured I had not heard of – but I of course had heard of Elton John and Ozzy Osbourne that were included.  Oh – and Eminem – who had an intersting request of Taco Bell and Mountain Dew imported from the US.  While I can’t fault him for this meal – it is one of my favorites as well – how good can it really be if you’re importing it from the US? How does that even work?  And doesn’t the UK have any decent food that is easier to get?

I do also think (or hope) that some of these outlandish requests are just to see if people actually read the riders or not…

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Excess All Areas takes readers on a roller-coaster, backstage ride into the surreal and unpredictable world of the band contract rider. A rider is a shopping list of items, usually food and drink, requested by the band, which forms part of the contract for the concert venue. If you think Van Halen’s ’80s demands to remove all of the brown M&M’s from the sweet bowl in their dressing room was a tad precious, think again.

Excess All Areas
 delves into the dressing rooms of our favorite musical acts, from Black Sabbath to Usher, and has a good old rummage around, discovering a penchant for expensive champagne, enough towels to dry an army, the odd boa constrictor, inflatable sumo outfits, ice without square edges, water from the top of Mount Olympus, white tube socks (12 pairs, to be exact), and soda water – just for spilling on the floor.

This colorful volume includes illustrations that are equally as entertaining as the outlandish 100 featured riders and will leave you amazed, stomping your feet, and shouting for more.

Book Review: Elvis Presley

elvisElvis Presley was not exactly what I was expecting. It was listed under “Arts & Photography” so I thought it would be more of Elvis’ life through photographs (which would have been really, really neat) instead it was just a biography of him.  Which was not disappointing – but just not what I thought I was getting into when I downloaded the book.  Elvis has had such an impact on music and its history and evolution, it was nice to get a chance to read a bit more about him in one central location rather than just mentions of him here and there.

The book did not appear to have any photographs in it at all (I am not sure if the final product will include an insert or not) but it did tell a great story.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

In Elvis Presley, one of the most admired Southern historians of our time takes on one of the greatest cultural icons of all time. The result is a masterpiece: a vivid, gripping biography, set against the rich backdrop of Southern society–indeed, American society–in the second half of the twentieth century.

Author of The Crucible of Race and William Faulkner and Southern History, Joel Williamson is a renowned historian known for his matchless ability to write compelling narratives. In this tour de force biography, he captures the drama of Presley’s career and offers insights into the social upheavals following World War II. Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, Presley was a contradiction, flamboyant in pegged black pants with pink stripes, yet soft-spoken, respectfully courting a decent girl from church. Then he wandered into Sun Records, and everything changed. He first went onstage in 1954. “I was scared stiff,” Elvis recalled. “Everyone was hollering and I didn’t know what they were hollering at.” Girls did the hollering–at his snarl and swagger. Williamson calls it “the revolution of the Elvis girls.” They took command, insisting on his sexually charged performances. They lived in an intense moment, this generation raised by their mothers, when men had been at war. The first Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education occurred two weeks before Elvis’s first gig, turning high schools into battlegrounds of race. Explosively, white girls went wild for a white man singing a black man’s songs, “wiggling” erotically. The book illuminates the zenith of Presley’s career, his period of deepest creativity, which captured a legion of fans and kept them fervently loyal throughout years of army, wine, and women. Williamson shows how Elvis himself changed–and didn’t. The deferential boy with downcast eyes became the bloated, demented drug addict who, despite his success, never escaped his sense of social inferiority. He bought Graceland in part to escape the judgment of his wealthy, established neighbors.

Appreciative and unsparing, musically attuned and socially revealing, Elvis Presley will deepen our understanding of the man and his times.

Book Review: Riddles In Mathematics

riddlesI don’t even know what to say about this book.  It is a book of paradoxes – a paradox is “conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality should be like” and has a bunch of brain teasers in it.  A lot of them made me crazy trying to figure it out.  A lot of them blew my mind.   I really don’t know how to write about this book – but if you want your mind blown then you have to read it.  If you’re interested in Math and crazy brain teasers you have to read it.  The only notes I wrote about this book was “mind blown”.  I can’t even explain it but these paradoxes definitely made me rethink everything I thought I knew about math!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Two fathers and two sons leave town. This reduces the population of the town by three. True? Yes, if the trio consists of a father, son, and grandson. This entertaining collection consists of more than 200 such riddles, drawn from every branch of mathematics. Math enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy sharpening their wits with riddles rooted in areas from arithmetic to calculus, covering a wide range of subjects that includes geometry, trigonometry, algebra, concepts of the infinite, probability, and logic. But only an elementary knowledge of mathematics is needed to find amusement in this imaginative collection, which features complete solutions and more than 100 black-and-white illustrations.
“Mr. Northrop writes well and simply. Every so often he will illuminate his discussion with an amusing example. While reading a discussion of topology, the reviewer learned how to remove his vest from beneath his jacket. It works every time.” — The New York Times

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :