Tag Archive: autobiography


This is the autobiographical memoir story of the first half of a life whose backdrop lays bare a dysfunctional family environment which she could not jettison as she grew older, only to rise above all, to superstardom; of talent and belief in self over drama.

I never cared whether Mariah Carey was Caucasian or just a light-skinned black American; in-fact, I figured she was “mixed” the first time I held one of her records in my hot DJ hands, without a second thought – obviously she wrestled with it.  Candid and insightful, Mariah and Michaela Angela Davis write a mix of slang and sesquipedalian words, in The Meaning Of Mariah Carey (Andy Cohen/Henry Holt, $29.99 978125016468), and I must admit that the co-author’s name threw me a bit, being a fan of the activist, philosopher, former Black Panther and professor with a similar moniker.

In describing her life in four parts, she amazingly defies poor decisions to thrive on the world’s greatest musical stages!

Making questionable decisions with some men, which were not in the ilk of her Army veteran father, who she loved, but did not strive to stay with and emulate, her descriptions of affairs saddened me.  I liked how she injected her  various song lyrics into the chapters and you will notice increasing mentions of God as her storied read progresses.

Also, I learned that her father’s trademark linguine dish is also one of my favorites to make!

As a music radio disc jockey at the height of my career during her Tommy Mottola marriage period, knowing what I’d heard about him, I always found it troublesome and curious as to why she married him!  It led to her post-Mottola “melt down”, which she totally could have avoided, in my opinion.  Maybe I like her less as a person – but more than many who I mention her to – as a result of the revelations here, but still will always enjoy her music. She mentions “radio” often and its a wonder our paths never crossed! Maybe cause I’m such a fan (“lamb” as she calls us) and was in that same music business on the radio DJ side during her times of struggle – part of my 40 years on the air – that its so difficult to read about the family hand she was dealt and her not understanding that her mother was emotionally conflicted.  Then when she “made it” was surprised they would try to soak her for endless “loans”, which would never be repaid. Not a totally unfamiliar scenario, but Ms. Carey seemed not to see it coming. Fortunately, her music saved her life.

Unfortunately, the story, with its great middle photo-album section, never speaks about her having higher education, like college, which may have trained her mind to recognize those who would try to use her fame to their advantage. Yes, the recording studio was her solace, as she kept trying to believe, even seeking a therapist, that family would change; they seldom DO.

Mariah also wrote this tome to set the record straight about how she became “the high-priced spread”, to push back against what the tabloid press puts out there about her life and struggles, “In her own words”, as the cliché goes.  I’m surprised she doesn’t mention the great Smokey Robinson in her “Few Words About Great Men” chapter, where she clearly adores fellow Motown hall of famer, Stevie Wonder’s lyrical musicianship and writing genius; I’d love to hear a Smokey & Mariah duet!

I kept this book on my bedside night table and read a chapter per night, since I saw it in the “Bestsellers” section at my local public library; Covid-19 library closures allowed me to keep the volume longer, and so, Mimi got into my dreams a few times – I guess I was concerned about her! For me, ‘the meaning of Mariah Carey’ is, “its in the Mix.”  I recommend this book for both Lambs (her fans) and casual popular music lovers alike, with five stars.

[May, 2019 while hassling a relocation]

Growing up through my mid-teens, my main sports heroes were Roberto Clemente, Roger Maris, Muhammad Ali and Joe Namath. The latter were two of the most controversial athletes of my comeuppance – that’s one of the main reasons I admired them! Back then, controversy was not sleazy or tabloid like the “reality tv” gossip is today – often catty. It was the beginning of the end of the “Ossie and Harriet era” (if you don’t know what that means, it is your first “homework” assignment after you finish reading this blog post).

Had you happened into my college dorm room, you would have seen this life-size poster, sans the text, on our wall next to my top bunk.

I wonder where I got it from and where is it now? Probably was a casualty of one of the floods that happened while I had stuff stored at my parent’s house back in the mid-1980s. Sad. Regardless, I discovered pro football on TV around the time that the NY Titans became the New York Jets; Pops was a Giant fan.

Consequentially, I smiled to myself with anticipation when I learned of Joe’s new book that came out in May, “All The Way, My Life In Four Quarters” [Little Brown and Company, May 2019] ! Having read a couple of other biography-style books about Joe “Willie” Namath, mainly penned by sports writers through the years, I was first impressed that he, himself wrote this one with a little help from his friends Sean Mortimer and Don Yaeger.

The backdrop (or “drop back to pass”) is Mr. Namath reviewing Super Bowl III from his present kitchen table as he scrutinizes his life simultaneously. He writes about his traditional Catholic family, Hungarian roots, upbringing in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania and his two main football coaching influences, his high school coach, Larry Bruno and the late Paul “Bear” Bryant of the University of Alabama (“Go TIDE!”,he would say here). While Joe relives the greatest win of his professional football career, he self-analyses his foibles, like drinking too many adult beverages (the Suzy Kolber interview) and how he’s now defeated those foes also. I’m impressed that he tells of still working out regularly on those famous knees, both of which were surgically replaced! Throughout the book he takes you inside the huddle, calling a quarterback sneak (I used to love when he did that!), back when quarterbacks were trusted to call their own plays, and the next moment, he describes events like why he came to wear his trademark white shoes and sport a Fu Manchu mustache for a while.

My favorite quote from the book is by his mother, and was uttered on the heels of one of Namath’s first experiences with racial segregation. The victim of a shopkeeper’s prejudice was his lifelong best friend, Linwood, and his mom explained, “There are some people in this world who are so sad and angry that they find ways (reasons) not to like other people.”

There is a neat little photo album section just about half-way into the tome, which includes his family, sports memories and candid, introspective moments. “First down!”

At 232 pages, “All The Way” is a solid, enjoyable, easy autobiographical read whether you are a Jet fan or not. The only thing missing is an index, so I could quickly refer back to the many highlights of his story (like describing my all-time favorite Jets defensive back, Johnny Sample, who talked smack in competition like Ali did). Joe is aging well, thanks be to St. Jude. I cannot wait to purchase a copy and hopefully have him autograph it for my personal book library. Five-out-of-five footballs is my rating. Way to go, Joe!

spencer fleury dot com

proto-thoughts, fleeting obsessions and insomnia cures from an occasionally unreliable narrator.

Gobbledygook

We all go a little mad sometimes.

Off the Charts

American Journal of Nursing blog: diverse nursing voices and stories

Longreads

The best longform stories on the web

Weapons

A brain is a battlefield of ideas

Keith Miller

Experience Life

Billb62's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Voices of Ukraine

Politics, anti-government rallies, other. Maidan.

%d bloggers like this: