Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Michael

Yeah, I understand how you feel--another birthday!

But today on Michael Jackson's 51st birthday, take a moment to be kind, to be tolerant, to help someone in need. Think love, think compassion. Think about putting yourself in someone else's shoes. No matter how you feel about MJ, it's just a good day to think about the importance of love, respect and understanding--just as it is everyday.

Happy birthday Michael!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Love You More

I have been traipsing around the internet and on reading posts by people who are just overwhelmed by sadness and loss. As I am not feeling too perky myself over his loss, I thought I would take a second and post something that might help.

I didn't think about this until tonight, but I seem to be a bit older than many of the Michael Jackson fans I ran into. I grew up in the same era as Michael and only 50 miles away. I remember Michael -- and Donny (gotta love him) Osmond -- as little boys slightly younger than I. To give it some perspective, I remember running to the store to buy my first Beatles album (vinyl in mono!) for $3.00 and I also remember seeing our President shot in a car on a Dallas street on television and years later seeing his brother killed as well.

I have seen and experienced alot and have been a chronic fan most of my life (even though I've managed to have a complete life with family, kids, job, cats!!). My point is that when horrible things happen like Michael's death, it is normal to grieve and be sad. But as sad as I am, I know that eventually it gives way to a sense of amazement and gratitude--and a sense of joy. The feelings you had when you saw "Thriller" for the first time or watched him moonwalk or shook his hand or went to his concert will NEVER go away. And some day when you have your own family, you will pop that DVD in of "Scream" and tell your kids that it was completely innovative for it's time.

Sure, they may roll their eyes at you, but you know. You know what it was like when you saw it the first time. And you are gonna smile.

I guess the only way to really explain all this is for me to talk Beatles. I was absolutely heartbroken and horrified when John Lennon died. I cried so hard. I couldn't believe it. I had to pull my car over to the side of the road when a song of his would come on the radio -- or even a Beatles' song -- because it made me so awfully sad. He died several days before my birthday and I don't remember if I even celebrated.

His death, like Michael's, was unfair. I felt cheated. John Lennon had so much to live for--music to write, a family to raise. Just like Michael. And John was maligned much like Michael--his peace efforts, his nude album cover, his recordings of Yoko screaming, Yoko -- period, his drug use, his outspokenness--the FBI file on John Lennon was practically as long as a football field and he was constantly threatened with being thrown out of the U.S. His son Sean was 2 years younger than Blanket when his father was murdered.

But I can tell you with 100% certainty that the pain over Michael's death will slowly ease. I know mine will because my sadness over John Lennon's (and subsequently George Harrison's) deaths eased -- and we are talking Mount Everest of sadness. Now I go to a Beatles Convention once a year (since 1982; John died in 1980) and the message of John, George and all the Beatles---of love, kindness and peace is still very much alive. Their music is alive. The charities are still strong. The fans come and the fans bond and the fans talk and fans have fun and laugh and remember. Now, the fans bring their children and there is a whole new generation of Beatles' fans...and there is alot of love.

So it will be with Michael, as hard as it is to believe now when his loss is so close. His legacy of love and caring and his incredible talent will live forever. You will be so incredibly grateful to have been a part of it that there will be a time you will put in "Michael Jackson Number Ones" and not have tears flood your eyes. You will actually smile and laugh and call your kids in and help them learn a dance step or two (while they think you are crazy) or amaze them that you still know all the words to "Beat It". There is a continuum and a constancy that is comforting. I rocked my babies to sleep with Beatles' songs and you will rock yours to sleep with Michael Jackson songs.

With Michael, we've all been a part of something amazing that will never happen again. Just as there will never be another Beatles' or another John Lennon or George Harrison, there will never be another Michael Jackson. And for all of us, we are so grateful that we've learned when someone says "I love you", we answer: "I love you more".

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Speaking of Universal Translator

I met with a person from our company's IT department, and somehow Star Trek and Captain Kirk was mentioned. I am always up for a Star Trek/Captain Kirk discussion, even in the middle of a work day. Anyway, this IT person was talking about how computers "talk" to one another (I still don't get it, but I've got IT--do I REALLY need to "get" it?) and he used the idea of the Star Trek "Universal Translator".

Well, he started it. It wasn't ME who mentioned Star Trek.

I interjected with one of the enormous questions that have plagued me since 1966. And that is: Star Trek is based on going "where no man has gone before". Is that right? And yet, they had a universal translator which communicated with beings that they have never even had contact with. For are going in space. You end up at Omega Triphon 17, where NO ONE had visited before. On Omega Triphon 17, they speak Zilliswanni, which has no written alphabet. BUT! The universal translator is gonna figure it out so those speaking zilliswanni can understand you and you can understand them?


I think Gene Roddenberry took TONS of literary license with that piece of equipment.

Monday, August 17, 2009

At the Very Least

Michael Jackson's death has caused me to write more, blog more. Which is good for me. There is the floating theory that I am using this to distract me from my current set of problems, but I'm not so sure that it's a bad thing. I really am stuck in the camp that going through my feelings about MJ's death have liberated some of my glossed over neuroses.

But anyway, should fans wish to find a place to share, go to There are forums and lots and lots of cool things. Great pics, terrific links, stuff, updates and even a conspiracy theorist who showed up today. I'm not sure though if he is trying to prove that Michael Jackson died months ago or is still alive. Part of the beauty of this website is that it is filled with people from all over the world and I've learned that some things get lost in the universal translator.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

MJ Death Blues, Reprise

I spent the weekend at BeatleFest *(Don't Ever Call It BeatleFest Again) and laughed my ass off with my oldest and dearest, Anne. Ronnie Spector (jail-bird Phil's ex) was there and didn't seem to impart any sadness over the imprisonment of her one-time husband. We didn't get a chance to ask her how many times he brandished a gun at her. Since she was in lock down most of the time, maybe he didn't have to wave a gun at her face.

The Hudson Brothers were there also. Always a treat! Anne said a couple stories had the ring of old vaudeville routines, but even if so, they were delivered with the Hudson particular brand of humor. And no need to mention Martin Lewis or Wally or Terri. I purchased several teen magazines from the 1960's and we laughed ourselves nearly to death as we looked back into our teenybopper lives.

But Anne and I had several long discussions about my recent posts and the Michael Jackson Death Blues. One thing became apparent. She will take over my life as I seem to have gone down the Stony End.

I don't really have any problem with that. Anne always has my best interests at heart. I know that. She has since she was 6--and it is always so clear to me when we talk for hours on end that she is a much better friend to me than I am to her. She always puts others before herself...and she is as smart as she is funny. Her heart is never in any place but a kind one.

After I dropped her off at home, I thought about some of the things we talked about. We had a discussion about Michael Jackson and she feels in her heart of hearts that he is/was a predatory human being who prayed on young boys. In her eyes, the travesty is that no one believed those boys whom he damaged--whether it was physically or emotionally. It falls right into the idea that female rape victims were historically brushed under the rug and not believed either.

When my son came home one day from baseball practice and wanted to quit because of sexually inappropriate remarks from his high school coach to the team, I of course believed him. I ended up going to the school board and making a formal complaint, for which I got some apology in a letter that was 4 lines long and a total joke. But Sean was off the team and that was that.

I think it is mandatory for adults to listen to children and believe them. I believe it is mandatory for police and hospital employees to believe a woman who says she has been raped.

So how can I believe Michael Jackson? Was he a victim of his own life? Yes. Did he set himself up for potential trouble? Yes. Did he intentionally hurt anyone? I think not, but people who's opinions I trust and admire believe he was a pedophile. And yes, a jury of his peers found him innocent in 2004--but the justice system is not infallible. So what do I think? How do I reconcile that I feel children should be believed and yet I feel that MJ was largely innocent?

I think I will not think about it. We love who we love. As the Elvis Presley fans have told the Michael Jackson fans, focus on the music and the dancing and the entertainer and the humanitarian. I believe I will place Michael Jackson in a separate compartment of genius and uniqueness. For if there is one thing I know, he is the last of his kind. There will never,ever, be another like him.

And I'll be damned....but his loss still bothers me. Perhaps it's our wires crossing at Anesthesia Avenue and Xanax Boulevard, I don't know. I do know that no matter what, Anne will get to the bottom of it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

MJ Death Blues, Side 2

As I continue down the rabbit hole of my own insanity, further analysis of the case of MJ’s death may indicate that the stupid, inept, moron of a doctor probably killed him---with stuff that Michael wanted anyway. I’m sure the doctor didn’t tie him to the bed and force the IV in his arm against his will. You can argue that Michael was genuinely ill with a sleep disorder and panic and depression and anorexia and didn’t get the help he needed. That’s true. But he might not have wanted the help either—drugs are faster than years of medical tests and therapy. There’s a lot of gray areas there surrounding professional responsibility and personal responsibility. And, in his case, celebrity. Being a celebrity didn’t help Michael Jackson one bit.

All this reminds me of the John Belushi drama. The woman who supplied the drugs that he took of his own free will ended up paying a price too. If you drive drunk, the person who supplied the liquor is responsible too. But that doctor had a professional responsibility that he completely ignored. His creed says “First, do no harm”. And for that…and for all of them that did that….may they all rot in hell (preceeded by a nice stint in jail).

Back to the issue though. Don’t get me wrong. I love anesthesia. Wouldn’t have an operation without it. Working in medicine and being a chronic patient, I know how anesthesia works. I know how it feels. Some knock you out flat. Some give you moments of a type of relaxation just before oblivion that is something that can't be found in nature. Slipping away and not coming back is what I wanted. Slipping away for a nice long nap and waking up for another day is what Michael wanted. Maybe God switched the wires and something got lost in translation.

But no matter what, I wouldn’t hook it up to my vein in the privacy of my own home even with a doctor there. Common sense tells you that it just has some kind of bad. That it’s supposed to be used in a hospital cuz people smarter than you with initials after their names said so—probably after many mishaps. But all of this is really water under the bridge, which brings me to my next point:

It is clear to me considering the circumstances between me and MJ that he reached the Bridge of San Luis Rey before I did. We read that story in school -- it’s a Thornton Wilder Pulitzer prize winner from the 1920’s. The story surrounds a group of people who, by chance, meet at a rope suspension bridge. The bridge collapses and everyone is killed. The Father who witnesses the accident begins to find out about each of the people who were killed and discovers they were all at points in their lives when they were looking forward. They had let the hurts and disappointments of the past go and they were focused on a goal in front of them. The issue then stands --- did they die at the perfect time for them? With no fear of their past and only forward to go? And as it is with death—it’s always sadder for those of us left behind---does it make it doubly sadder that we missed out on their triumphs?

Don’t look at me. I have no idea. I find it hard enough to deal with MJ and my karma trains crashing at the anesthesia crossing. But I think this story defines what happened to Michael Jackson better than anything and makes me feel good for him, bad for me. It seems that with the O2 announcement, he was looking ahead. Putting the past behind. And he knew his fans still loved and wanted to see him. He had his children and it appears, a plan for their future as a family. It does seem that he even had a plan to get his health back.

Of course, we don’t know. We like to analyze and pray and speculate and ruminate to help us get past painful things. To help make sense of them.

I don’t know if I understand why our paths crossed the way they did. It could, in the words of David Steinberg, just be God’s will… “and that mystical sense of humor that is only His.”

MJ Death Blues

I'm working on it, ok?

I should first explain I am indeed an MJ fan. Stating that is quick sand and understandably so. He tried the patience out of all of us. However, I spent untold time and energy preserving who Michael Jackson was to me. Several years just didn't happen--like say, 1993, and almost completely from 2003 to 2009. I told Anne once that it is my God-given right as an American to turn MJ off the television. Any good fan should have....because it preserved him as a true wonderment. And maybe I'm mourning that wonderment now.

He was a true dancing, singing miracle in "Thriller". He was sexy but safe (thrusting pelvis aside) in "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Bad" -- the short and the full 18 minutes and "Beat It" -- showed sides of him we didn't know before. I was never that crazy about "Billie Jean" -- but I loved those white socks and loafers dancing down the lighted sidewalk floor. Then I remember watching the "Black and White" Panther version and thinking: I wish I could slap him. What the hell is he thinking? Apparently John Landis thought the same thing and it was re-edited without the violence at the end. Here, I thought--ok. He'll be ok. But no. It was vitiligo (not his fault of course, but it was ONE MORE THING). Then surgeries on the nose...and his discovery of the Lancome counter. Then the Beatles catalog (a shrewd business move, but McCartney was his FRIEND), then court and rehab...then Lisa Marie and are they or aren't they?...and then I don't know what else. I remember Anne trying to talk to me about the Bashir interview, which I never saw until after his death. I had just stopped looking. Michael Jackson reverted to that sexy but safe guy chasing the girl down the street. I'm no dummy. I know where to land my fantasies where they are safe and sound.

I stuck a toe in every so often, careful to guard my fantasy. And he didn't always make me run for my 1980's cover. I loved "In The Closet". I saw the "You Rock My World" video and the director's attempt at hiding MJ's face only distracted from his great dancing. I loved "Blood on the Dance Floor" and thought he looked absolutely great. But then that cover of Ebony? He did that on purpose! And that face on the mug shot from the 2005 trial? It was something created from fear and isolation...pain and illness. Way too much reality for me.

I heard about his appearances on music shows, read about his comings and goings. I knew he was alive and walking and talking somewhere or another. I heard he was a great dad. I, like everyone else, wanted to see pictures of his kids. But then I wondered how he could tell his children they had no mother....and oooppppps.....too close. Reel it in, boys....back to my man in "The Way You Make Me Feel." Phew. Thanks.

I grew up with the Jacksons and the Osmonds--me, Donny and MJ hit 50 within a year or so of each other. "Stop the Love" is one of my all time favorite songs and it was put on my iPod from day 1. I worked in disco radio back in the day and "Rock with You" was practically our theme song. I heard it 250 times a week.

So perhaps my problem stems from: exceptional bad timing and an incredibly well honed fantasy system that had MJ stuck in the 1980's disguised as a healthy, happy guy in his 20's. No illness, no trials, no identity issues, no (more) plastic surgery, no cosmetics.

Now I have been inundated with the misery and mystery of this human being that I froze in time. It's like I never knew him at all--which I didn't. (Yes, even my fantasy brain knows I don't know Michael Jackson AT ALL). So armed with all this new information, I want to understand because I'm sorry I didn't before. I know there will never, ever be another like him. For good or bad. And in the back drop, I will never, ever be a young girl watching a young boy and his brothers sing on tv, or a young woman working at a radio station with her life in front of her, or a young mother dancing with her little one to a Jackson 5 song.

Maybe I went to a place where what has gone before is more interesting than what lies ahead.

I'm Apparently Not Done

Sure, in the previous post I said "And that's all I have to say about that", but if you know me, I've always got more to say. Especially if I have all the time in the world to say it.

Anne has told me that I need to blog my way out of the MJ Death Blues. I am incredibly sad and can't believe I am fixating this way. I know what you are thinking: and yes. I've had my meds adjusted.

What can I say?

You won't believe what I can say.

I believe his death hit me at the wrong time. I was home just post-surgery. I was watching the news and began listening from the moment someone mentioned that Michael Jackson was being taken from his home to the hospital "apparently in a coma". I really thought it was going to be a Karen Carpenter situation. If you don't remember, she died from complications from anorexia. I'd seen Michael over these last months. He looked frail and not well at all while being wheel-chaired through Vegas. And I thought it was very suspect that when he announced the O2 gig, he was fairly well covered. Big glasses, hair around his face. You can't really "get" a person if you can't see their face--particularly their eyes. If he was gung-ho, ready to go, London-here-I-come, you would have seen it in his eyes -- but we couldn't.

But besides that, I have been tossing around my own demons and having a particularly tough and rough time with depression. My panic disorder, funny enough, seemed to be under control, prompting me to think: do I need to choose between bouncing off the walls at 2am in a sweaty panic or laying on the couch wishing I was invisible? But anyway, in a fit of depression, I wished that once I went under the anesthesia for surgery, that I just wouldn't wake up. I asked God. I wanted it. It was time on my clock.

Not on God's however. I woke up. And several days later, Michael Jackson allegedly used anesthesia to just get a good night's rest. And never woke up.

You can see here that the timing was bad...can't you? Our karma trains crashed. But why? I don't get it either.