Monthly Archives: June 2009

something else about MJ….

Well, actually, a few somethings:

1) Cory said it best: “I’ll bet, today, there’s lots of people singing Michael Jackson songs who wouldn’t have, say, yesterday.”

2) “The Way You Make Me Feel” is an amazing, amazing song.

3) Kiss 108 and Jam’n 94.5 yesterday were both playing tributes to Michael, as I’m sure plenty of radio stations across the country were.  Heard “You Are Not Alone”.  Also, heard something really strange: DJ’s talking about something interesting and substantial for longer than five seconds on a pop station.   This is, probably, the first time this has happened since the mid 90s, which, coincidentally, is the last time Mr. Jackson had a big hit of any kind.  Which, I think, was probably “You Are Not Alone.”

4) The Boston Herald cover today:

Oh, fuck you.

No.  Sorry.  Maybe this begs explanation.   For those of you who don’t pay attention to the tabloids: Michael Jackson was, long ago, when he started going slightly batty, nicknamed Jacko.  The slightly-more-respectable-but -only-slightly Murdoch papers, like the New York Post and our own angry old white guy from Brockton paper the Boston Herald, followed suit.  “Wacko Jacko,” they called him.   Perhaps you remember when he fell during a rehearsal, and wound up in the hospital, which led to the headline “Jacko On His Backo”.  No?  There was an SNL sketch about it, back when I was your age.  Moving on….

So, of course they’d report his death this way.  “Fade To Blacko.”   Jesus wept, guys.

5)  I’ve had “Man In The Mirror” in my head all day.

6)  You people hated him because he was androgynous and you couldn’t deal with that, you petty little suburban close minded mollusks!

7) Whoa.   That was weird.  I wonder where that came from.

8) His nose was unnecessarily freaky, though.

9) The news keeps calling it a “Mysterious” death.  Which it really wasn’t.  It was a heart attack followed by cardiac arrest brought on by an addiction to painkillers, severe body strain, and tons and tons of (mostly self-inflicted) stress.  No mystery at all.  Quincy Jones did not have him whacked.

10) This guy never got enough love as a child.

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Posted by on June 26, 2009 in Uncategorized


Michael Jackson is dead at 50.

I tweeted about this earlier.  This is what I said this afternoon, when I heard what happened:

Michael Jackson. Dead. Like so much about MJ, it’s a mix of sad and weird.

Maybe it’s glib, but for the last – say – 15 years or so, it’s also been accurate.  Michael Jackson was an astonishing performer – the most talented member of a very talented family, and the most fucked up member of a very fucked up family.  He never knew what it was like to be normal.  He was under the wing of a strict and abusive father, and a greedy and controlling Barry Gordy, since age seven.  He never had a childhood, never had to deal with life as we knew it.  He just performed.

The thing about him never having a childhood… that’s why I never bought the allegations of molestation.  Not real molestation, at least.  Were there “tickle parties?”  Probably.  Did he give the kids alcohol?  It’s pretty much been proven.   Did he sleep in the same bed with the kids on his ranch?   Yes.  But did he do all these things because he was a lecherous old pervert who desired them sexually, or because he was a messed up man who didn’t realize he wasn’t still a child?  I’m sticking with the latter.

But that’s his legacy now.  That’s what people of my generation, and the one after me, will probably think of when they think of Michael Jackson.  Not “Off The Wall”.  Not “I’ll Be There.”  Not necessarily Thriller.   Not “Smooth Criminal”, unless they’re thinking about the Alien Ant Farm cover.  It’s like the joke about the old Irishman who won’t be remembered as a teacher, or as a leader, or as a hero, which he did for many years, because “ya sleep with one goat….

So, look:  I’m watching his videos on YouTube now.  I just watched “Billie Jean“, and I’ve got “Jam” on now.  There’s a certain messianic thread that runs through all of his videos.  In “Billie Jean”, the sidewalk lights up as he walks past, and he vanishes as someone tries to take his picture.  In “Jam”, he sinks a basket through the window of a completely different building, against Michael Jordan.   “Remember The Time” has him surviving execution in ancient Egypt by morphing and melting into a pillar of sand for the pleasure of Pharaoh Eddie Murphy and Queen Iman.  Even in “Beat It”, he pretty much puts an end to gang violence everywhere just by showing up.    And the thing is this: Michael may have been the only artist in the history of the world who could get away with this shit.

At the moment, I’m watching “Leave Me Alone“, which, apart from being the most Quantel PaintBox-y thing you’ve ever seen, is like being inside Michael’s brain at the exact moment it all started going horribly awry.  It’s full of paranoia, like a lot of his songs of that period, and the video’s full of tabloids and rumors about Michael marrying a space alien and such.  Then Michael drives off into a strange Yellow Submarine-esque world of oddness.   This should tell you everything right here.

He supposedly hacked off his nose because it reminded him too much of his Dad.   He developed vitiligo, which causes your skin to slowly lose its pigment in blotches, and covered it up with too much pancake makeup.  He became anorexic.  He had other, weirder, surgery done.   In the end, Michael looked like a completely different person than the kid who sang “ABC”.

Again, I’m being really glib.  The fact of the matter is, here was a guy who was one of the most important, influential, and fascinating entertainers of the 20th century.   If anybody represents the 1980s, it’s him (he’s at least third, behind Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.)   He has millions of fans throughout the world, he got black artists played on MTV, he wrote “Beat It”, for chrissakes, and “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Scream” and “Blood on the Dance Floor” and “Man In The Mirror.”  And, honestly, whenever I hear “Man In The Mirror”, I’m suddenly eight years old, in my mother’s blue Volkswagen, and it’s snowing outside.  Oh, and he wrote “Do The Bartman,” for which we are eternally grateful.


Posted by on June 25, 2009 in music, nostalgia


happy belated fathers day all…

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Posted by on June 23, 2009 in Uncategorized


niiice!: NKOTB, “Games”

Perhaps you remember the New Kids on the Block.   They were a “funky” band of Boston kids from the early 1990s, and may very well be the first “boy band.”  They were huge, but like anything else, then came the fall.  Like any phenomenon, the backlash wasn’t far off, and people started hatin’ on them.

Me, I actually used to dig them.  I made fun of them at the same time, of course: I remember Christmas of ’89, I got Hangin’ Tough on tape and first heard the hi-larious tune “New Kids Got Run Over By A Reindeer.”  There was no shame, not yet, in liking something and realizing it was also sort of dumb.  I was a very mature 10 year old.

This is the New Kids post-backlash single, and you can tell.  First, they’ve changed their name to the more “street” sounding NKOTB.  Secondly, the song’s all about tellin’ the haters where to go, even if its done in the name of “positivity” and no one in 1991 knew what a “hater” was.   Enjoy!

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Posted by on June 13, 2009 in boston rock city, Niiice!, nostalgia


songs you don’t know: Placebo, “For What It’s Worth”

Nothing deep or meaningful here – just a new single/video from the one of the best, and most underrated, bands in music.

Dig the funky Tetris riffage at 1:47.   And the bridge is the best lyric/beat cadence the band’s come up with since “Pure Morning.”

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Posted by on June 12, 2009 in music, songs you don't know, youtube


why killing abortion doctors and museum security guards is so lame

You know, there’s a vast difference between throwing red paint on people with fur coats, or sneaking into an animal testing facility and setting all the monkeys free, or holding up a picture of George W. Bush with a Hitler moustache drawn on…. and, well, pretty much anything your average right-wing extremist has ever thought of doing.

I bring this up now because of what happened last week to Dr. Tiller, and what happened two days ago at the Holocaust Museum.  I bring it up because of what the Department of Homeland Security said earlier this year, when they said that the combination of “financial crisis” and “first black President” could spark a surge in acts of violence committed by scared old white men and luckless bull-headed neo-Nazi boys.   I bring it up in particular because of Rush Limbaugh’s instant reaction to the DHS report, which was to ridicule it, and I bring it up because of his current reaction, which was to blame it all on the liberals anyway.

Yeah, Rush, it’s one of those liberal/Nazi conspiracies we’ve been hearing so much about.  See, all the liberal Jews in Hollywood got together and decided to hire a guy to shoot a security guard at the Holocaust museum, because that all makes sense.

People actually buy this crap.

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Posted by on June 12, 2009 in history, politics


if you missed the “Inside the Obama White House” special on NBC….

…you can watch it here.

Watching it now and really enjoying it, but I’m totally gay for the President and everyone knows it.

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Posted by on June 8, 2009 in Uncategorized


I’m still alive. Now, here’s a photograph of President Thomas Dewey.

Busy, with the moving and the working and the flavin, but I’m cookin’ up some interesting stuff for this site in the next few days.

First off, my official Dr. Tiller/abortion debate post is cooking up nicely and should be done tomorrow.

Secondly, io9 has an article about alternate universe Presidents.  If you’ve never read the Alternate Presidents anthology, I recommend it – it’s alt. history at its finest, and features such fascinating “What ifs..” as: what if Victoria Woodhaul, the first woman to run for President, had won and ushered in a new American Victorian era of free-love?  What if Dukakis had beaten Bush and blown the lid off the Roswell conspiracy?  Great stuff.

io9 adds a few more to the list, and why we should write alt. history short stories about them.   Oh, io9, you always tickle my geek spot so fine.

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Posted by on June 3, 2009 in Uncategorized