Twenty minutes! That’s all the time I have before I have to hit the ground running, and I really should wash my face and put on a bra first, so make that…15 minutes! Let’s bunt this post with a cleanout of my iPhone photos, stupid picture-notebook stuff I’ve been carrying around thinking this might make a blog item, but probably won’t. (And usually doesn’t.) But maybe when we combine them, we can get a much bigger lame-ass blog. Let’s find out. First, a Proustian memory-prod:


Pyramids of this stuff were stacked in the window of my local paint store, which I don’t visit often, but it’s next door to the bakery, which I do. It went up around the end of the school year, and even though this area doesn’t do much in the way of student rentals, there’s something about this no-nonsense product — “Detroit’s Original”? Really? — that conjures up memories of end-of-term moving day, of packing the boxes and suitcases and carrying them to the truck. The stuff you thought was so important in September turned out to be not-so-much; in fact, September is a distant memory. You leave behind a few loose papers, maybe some hangers in the closet. Soon the painters will be here with five gallons of Detroit’s Original Xtra Hide Apartment Flat, and that will be the end of your chapter in this place.

OK, so not exactly a madeleine. Let’s move on.

I have so many stories that begin “I knew the newspaper business was finished when…” that I really look like an idiot. If I knew, why didn’t I leave when I had the chance? Answer: Because I’m lazy and inert, and suck at everything else. But here’s one of those I-knew moments, in the Pets aisle at Target:


Do you realize, in a few more years, reporters won’t be able to make jokes about their work today being used to housebreak dogs tomorrow? It’ll be like the expression “dropping a dime.” What’s that? A pay phone? And it once cost a dime? Why didn’t they use Skype, grandpa? Shaddup, kid.

Finally, I’ve seen several of these vehicles around town in the last couple years:


They have signs on posts, too, but at least two and maybe three white vehicles — I’ve seen an SUV and this van — with the same message. SOMEONE KILLED R*SA, and dammit, they’re going to let the world know about it. (I don’t dare use this woman’s name, as I suspect they troll Google every 30 minutes, and the last mailing list I want to be on is theirs.) I went to the website, and it appears they do have a valid complaint; patients should not fall off the table in the cath lab. Nevertheless, it’s possible to view this as cruel and unusual punishment for poor Dr. B*rman.

And now it’s been 15 minutes, and I must begone. Begone! And have a swell day.

Posted at 9:29 am in iPhone, Same ol' same ol' |

78 responses to “Speedblogging.”

  1. coozledad said on July 7, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I can see a market for those “allegation vans”; especially if you offer a lower rate for simple insults.

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  2. Dexter said on July 7, 2009 at 10:43 am

    clogged toilet? no problemo!

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  3. Dorothy said on July 7, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Happy 87th birthday to my mom today! She’s with us for a little over two weeks while they work on the elevator in her apartment building. I’m picking her up in about a half hour and taking her to lunch. Four co-workers are joining us, as is my husband, since she knows no one here in Mount Vernon. Have to do lunch cuz I have rehearsal tonight – which means we can’t go to dinner. Sorry Mum, but we’re gonna have a fun lunch anyway!

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  4. Sue said on July 7, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Will LAMary be providing us with ongoing commentary regarding the little event planned in LA today?

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  5. moe99 said on July 7, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Do folks here know that Lance Armstrong, along with Americans Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner, are cycling for Team Astana which is sponsored by the City of Astana and the country of Kazakhstan? I hope Borat is there to cheer them on.

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  6. Hattie said on July 7, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Catching up with your ever entertaining blog. And well written, of course.

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  7. Dexter said on July 7, 2009 at 11:40 am

    moe: yep, and I watch it every day, and took a break and TiVo’d the last hour of the team time trials . When I was a kid, I’d watch baseball, basketball, football, and have to dash out to play that sport a little bit—couldn’t wait.
    That left me , naturally…but I am an old timer now and after watching cycling for a couple hours I GOTSTA go for a bike ride!
    These tdf riders are tough hombres! Horrible crashes? No problem…the race-doctor will patch you up on the fly, out the car window! Three nasty crashes today, but no eliminations necessary for broken bones …yet!

    Last year…this bike went a quarter mile down the mountain!

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  8. brian stouder said on July 7, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Dorothy – Happy birthday to your ma!

    So, since she was born four score and seven years ago, if you go out for Italian for lunch, it’s possible she’ll end up with a genuine spaghetti blurred dress (little Pennsylvania joke, there) (very little!)

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  9. Catherine said on July 7, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Sue, if you want the MJ play-by-play, I recommend the live stream at http://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/

    We’re fortunate to have local public radio that’s all-news. The host, Larry Mantle, is smart and funny. Coverage starts at 10 Pacific.

    I have a meeting at 1:00 in Burbank, not far from Forest Lawn. Pray for me!

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  10. LAMary said on July 7, 2009 at 11:52 am

    I got in to work at about 7:30, across the freeway from Forest Lawn. Lots of helicopters hovering, and lots of CHPs guys and Sheriff’s Dept. along the freeway and along the closed Forest Lawn ramp. I think you’ll be ok in Burbank at 1, Catherine. It’s downtown that’s going to suck at that hour. It’s going to real time constant coverage and commentary going on for days, as well as months of lawsuits over money, custody, music rights.

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  11. Julie Robinson said on July 7, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Happy Birthday to Dorothy’s Mom, how terrific! Mine will be 77 later this month and seems to be going strong except for cataracts. We just spent the weekend with her and the rest of the fam, which is to say my sister and our two kids. DH’s is 86 but sadly lost in Alzheimer’s.

    When I read that 20 lawyers had gone to court initially, I wondered if MJ’s estate will be like the infamous Jarndyce and Jarndyce in Bleak House. After years of litigation the suit is finally settled but the entire estate has been emptied in the process.

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  12. beb said on July 7, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Your ghoulish thought for the day: Will they bury MJ like an ordinary person, in just a casket covered with dirt or are they planning to bury in in some kind of huge concrete vault to prevent sickos from digging him up?

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  13. moe99 said on July 7, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Palin, like Sanford, cannot stop talking:


    …But as for whether another pursuit of national office, as she did less than a year ago when she joined Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in the race for the White House, would result in the same political blood sport, Palin said there is a difference between the White House and what she has experienced in Alaska. If she were in the White House, she said, the “department of law” would protect her from baseless ethical allegations.

    “I think on a national level, your department of law there in the White House would look at some of the things that we’ve been charged with and automatically throw them out,” she said.

    There is no “Department of Law” at the White House….

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  14. nancy said on July 7, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Beb, I believe everyone gets a concrete vault these days. The dirt-falling-on-polished-walnut shot you see in the movies is just artifice.

    Jews, I believe, still go for plain pine boxes and no vault, but for more cemeteries it’s now SOP.

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  15. Sue said on July 7, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Oh for crying out loud, beb! Now I’m going to be thinking of Michael Jackson relics showing up on ebay, little altars with curtained boxes flanked by candles in red votive cups, magical healing powers assigned to various body parts…

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  16. coozledad said on July 7, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Sue: Like this?

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  17. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 7, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Del (re: last thread), i’m somehow not saying it right: i don’t think any terrorist/s test any one particular politician (there may be exceptions, but rarely and w/ special circumstances). It’s the fact that for over a century now, acts of mass terror have come with irregularly regular reliability. We’re due for another one, and it’s likely to have nothing to do with Osama. Which is what i think Biden was trying to say — there will be a terrorist attack in Obama’s first term, because, well, there will be, and people will watch to see how we handle it.

    I’ve been in a hatful (well, three) homes in Indiana & WV where there was a scarf under glass or in a case, and candles nearby — one had a cross behind it. They were thrown by Elvis during concerts in his last few years. No one — as far as i could tell — actually knelt and prayed in front of them, but they were the focus of attention in the living rooms where they were arranged.

    So MJ gloves are only a matter of time, right? Or did he throw those the way Elvis tossed scarves and towels?

    BTW, many families want to toss dirt onto the coffin, and do, though most leave before the lowering. In my experience, maybe 1 in 10 stay to watch the lowering (and most of those have a few who want to add some earth to the grave, and do), and 2 out of some 250 i’ve done insisted on staying until the vault lid was set (now *there’s* a sound with finality) and the grave filled. Younger family members stepped up to the cemetery staff and courteously took the shovels and said to the backhoe operator: thanks for making the grave, and we’ll take care of filling in.

    And at one of those two, a fellow whipped out a harmonica when the sweating and straining was over, and played a lovely tune while his brothers smiled. They said “we wouldn’t have felt like we’d really laid Grandma to rest without doing that,” and i was honored to help them finish the task that way. YMMV.

    edit note: Coozledad, i love that website. It’s a bookmark bar fave.

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  18. Sue said on July 7, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Cooz! Behave yourself.

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  19. Dexter said on July 7, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Well, ya want a stand-up burial?

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  20. Dexter said on July 7, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    coozlepops: Thanks for the inspiration. I’ll have the crematory save my head and decorate it for the kiddies.

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  21. Sue said on July 7, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    MMJeff, a little late on this, but did you hear that Stephen Colbert called on citizens of Missouri to help Rep. Cynthia Davis climb the political ladder by taking her food away from her whenever possible? He thinks that she hasn’t risen far enough in her political career and it might be because she gets too much food and is therefore not properly motivated. Given that the Colbert Nation rises to every challenge, count on this happening next time she shows up at the cream puff or fried-thing-on-a-stick booth at the State Fair or something. Personally, I hope the cameras are running when it happens.

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  22. coozledad said on July 7, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I’m thinking about being freeze-dried, spray painted black and stuck out by the road like one of those plywood cowboy silhouettes.

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  23. moe99 said on July 7, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    I have bookmarked that site. It is fascinating in a very odd way. Thanks!

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  24. jeff borden said on July 7, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I’m going with cremation. No kids so there’d be no one to visit my grave anyhow. Plus, it’s in keeping with Neil Young’s theory that it’s better to burn up than it is to rust (or rot).

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  25. Dexter said on July 7, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    jeff…ever walk past the Jewish cemetery that’s very near Wrigley Field? (Racine Ave, Grace St., and Seminary Ave.) Totally weed covered, toppled stones…looks like nobody’s tended the graves for decades…this was a few years ago, maybe it’s been cleaned up?

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  26. Sue said on July 7, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Hey, journalists, what’s going on at the Washington Post? Access dinners? Froomkin’s been hired by the Huffington Post, so he’s landed on his feet, sort of. But really, for-pay access dinners?

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  27. coozledad said on July 7, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    moe99: I liked their article on the Josephenium (sp?). Those wax anatomical models are stunning.

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  28. LAMary said on July 7, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I’m still telling the kids to put me on an ice flow and push me out to sea. If I’m dead, fine. If I’m nearly dead and just in the way, fine as well.

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  29. Dorothy said on July 7, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Count Mike and I among the ones who will be cremated. I’d rather be dust sooner than later.

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  30. basset said on July 7, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    back to the van for a minute – wasn’t Geoffrey Fieger one of Dr. Kevorkian’s lawyers?

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  31. LAMary said on July 7, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    That name sounded familiar to me too. I google it and yes, he was the guy on the Kevorkian and Jenny Jones cases.

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  32. Rana said on July 7, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Cremation here, though I’d consider green burial if it were an option.

    I had a friend who wanted to be cremated and made into bone china. I always thought that sounded rather cool.

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  33. 4dbirds said on July 7, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    No vault. Fire me up!!

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  34. Sue said on July 7, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    No, folks, here’s what’s going to happen. It will turn out that the Rapture is the real thing, and after spending our later years at the Nancy Nall Nursing Home (some of us in the Pot-and-Pizza wing, some of us in the Margarita Wing), because of a celestial computer glitch we will all be called up to Heaven together and spend eternity harassing the True Believers and waving to our friends down in Hell.

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  35. Dexter said on July 7, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Geoffrey Fieger is the brother of Doug Fieger of The Knack, too.
    Geoffrey was everywhere in the media for years, mostly because of Dr. Jack, who I adored; Dr. Jack used a VW Microbus as a quickie-hospice terminus.
    Fieger was in the papers all the time, at a time when I could get Detroit dailies out of a cash-box here, and I read about him all the time. He was also a fave guest of WJR-am 760 at different times all through the day…I mean, you couldn’t be even remotely connected (like I was) to Detroit and not know everything about Geoffrey Fieger.


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  36. Dexter said on July 7, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Sue…some of will end up in the Ashley Morris wing of Remedial Writing Skills, imitating Professor Ashley, calling out to classmates “You fucking FUCKMOOKS!”

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  37. Sue said on July 7, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Oh, I want to be in that wing! Can we all wear sweatshirts with FYYFF on them?

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  38. 4dbirds said on July 7, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Dexter was that sarcasm about Dr. Jack? Sometimes I miss the fine line of sarcasm. I think Dr. Jack was a serial killer. I know he made a good argument ref dignity, painless, right to die etc, but something about him was too eager to see people go.

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  39. alex said on July 7, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Kevorkian was a creepy personality, to be sure, but when you’d see the testimony of the families he assisted you couldn’t help but believe in what he was doing. This was exactly why juries exonnerated him every time. Except of course for the time he decided to be his own lawyer — never a smart move — and was prevented from having such witnesses testify on his behalf.

    Kevorkian certainly was not the best messenger for what is otherwise a very worthy cause. And Fieger came across as an unsympathetic personality also.

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  40. Lex said on July 7, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Re the van, I saw a twist on that here the other day: an SUV with a spare-tire cover emblazoned with something on the order of “Remove [child’s name] from DSS custody!” and a URL. Was driving so couldn’t take photo.

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  41. moe99 said on July 7, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Okay, I have a dumb Michael Jackson question because I am not up on my MJ lore. Are his kids related to him by blood? I am assuming it was in vitro fertilization but I really don’t know.

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  42. LAMary said on July 7, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Seems like the memorial service went along without a hitch and there was no crowd craziness or traffic meltdowns. We had some helicopter action here about an hour ago, but I don’t think it was related. Likely was a transfer of a patient to or from some other facility.

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  43. nancy said on July 7, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    It is said to be widely known that the Jackson tots are not genetically related, that he used a sperm donor and perhaps an egg donor, although obviously none of this has ever been confirmed. However, it is a source of bafflement to me to see MJ so fiercely embraced by the black community when it is so obvious his racial identity was a source of pain and self-loathing, and I’M SORRY BUT HOW MUCH MORE OBVIOUS DOES IT HAVE TO BE THAN THE FACT THE GUY CHOSE TO HAVE WHITE CHILDREN, AND, and …

    God, what a fool’s game even thinking about this is. I’d best leave it for Hank. Someone sent me the YouTube link to the sobbing daughter, and it sent me off the rails for a moment. Who. ARE. These. HIDEOUS. People?

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  44. Dexter said on July 7, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    4birds: Dr. Jack is a hero for a controversial cause. Hey, it’s an either/or choice. Deep seated religious views prevent many people from seeing things Dr. Jack’s way, I know. I respect your viewpoint, and I am not a crusader for assisted suicide, I just believe in it as an alternative that should be a legal choice, like that other societal issue that gets people killed in this great country.

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  45. LAMary said on July 7, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Liz Taylor didn’t even go to the service. We were spared that.

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  46. Sue said on July 7, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    My Michael Jackson question is: how was he raising his kids? How can a man who has absolutely no idea of what a normal childhood is, who seemed to frequently confuse fantasy with reality, whose experience with childhood discipline included frequent use of a belt, raise kids by the normal method (do what you think is right and then hope for the best)? My guess is that the atmosphere in the house was similar to Neverland before Wendy showed up.
    Edit: and another question: who’s going to play him in the movie? I can hear you all screaming now. I guess Johnny Depp.

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  47. Dexter said on July 7, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    nance: I tried my damndest to avoid this event on TV, but Mrs. had it on and I noticed the huge backdrop was a blow-up of the African-American MJ, not the white-looking, clownish appearing MJ. While I was in the room where she had it on the teevee, I heard MLK’s children praising Jackson for being the best or whatever…well, I found myself recalling former sendoffs for music greats, a couple, Miles Davis and Dexter Gordon, barely got mentioned off the obit page.

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  48. Dexter said on July 7, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Opie and Anthony (XM 202, Sirius 197) were making fun of young MJ’s home Christmases with Papa Joe…wonder what that was all about…?

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  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 7, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Johnny Depp would probably pull it off, and with class and without recriminations from any side . . . speaking of which, and remembering who rushes in where angels fear to tread:

    Nancy, i’d pull that observation back a notch or two. The fact of the matter is that the African-American community has a long standing, vexed, ambivalent relationship with the question of skin tone. Leave aside the whole vitiligo/lupus/auto-immune thing, which Deepak Chopra said really was a problem (not my preferred medical source on any subject, but an MD who has been candid about his attempts and his weakness in trying to mount an intervention for Jackson).

    Read Haley’s “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” and you’ll encounter literally searing descriptions of what “conking” your hair by homebrew was like, back in the day, just to get it a bit straighter, and what it meant to be “Detroit Red” with the lighter shade of not-pale. You get a bit more about what’s involved with chasing women who are blond, let alone white.

    Then try out Spike Lee’s films, where he gets painfully specific in most and spent a whole picture once trying to get at the multiple meanings of lightness for blackness among Blacks (“School Daze”), let alone in “Jungle Fever.” And then watch the various shadings in Tyler Perry’s films of how characters pair off and relate, very often along the brownness spectrum.

    It just doesn’t track with the reality of the African American experience, as i very much secondhandedly understand it, to say he was self-loathing or “wanted to be white.” That’s part of it, but it nowhere near sums it up. I say all of this simply because i don’t understand it, but i do understand that blacks of my acquaintance are very sensitive about critiques, particularly from whites, about hair straightening, skin bleaching (extremely common in more upper-middle-class communities, less so in wealthy or poorer black communities), or, yes, nose jobs. I’ve heard lots of Jewish folk i’ve known talk relatively casually about rhinoplasty among them and theirs, but African Americans are very uncomfortable about either talking about the subject, or hearing others criticize it. But ask a plastic surgeon about the subject, and with a quick glance over the shoulder, they will say “yeah, happens all the time, and the weird thing is, it’s usually such a small change it doesn’t even seem worth it.”

    Just thought you’d like to hear that side of it . . .

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  50. Jeff Borden said on July 7, 2009 at 6:39 pm


    I ride my bike past the Jewish cemetery you referenced each time I go to Wrigley Field, most recently last night. It remains something of an eyesore, but there have been some efforts to clean it up. It probably would be a great story to chase. Years ago, when I was at Crain’s Chicago Business, we had a front page story on a cemetery that had gone bankrupt. The “perpetual care” funds had been lost in some sort of stock crash. I’m rather proud of the fact that the headline I suggested ran above the story: “Night of the Living Debt.”

    The most poignant Jewish cemetery I’ve ever seen is in Prague. Rampant anti-semitism gave the Jews only a tiny, tiny, tiny patch of land on which to bury their dead, so headstones are literally inches away from each other. And, in the great tradition, most of the headstones have piles of small stones and rocks on top. The building nearby had been a Jewish community center. It is now a memorial to the thousands of Czech Jews shipped to the death camps. The names and dates of birth and death are listed from floor to ceiling in an unending cascade of letters as you walk from room to room.

    The most heart-rending part of the visit was learning about a Jewish art teacher, who asked the children who had been shipped to the camps to paint and draw what they saw. Somehow, these works were preserved. You look at them and below is the name of the child and whether or not they survived the camp. Most did not.

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  51. joodyb said on July 7, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    may i just say i love the word ‘bunt.’

    and who’s for going ahead and making up some of them FYYFF sweatshirts? cuz i’m in.

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  52. brian stouder said on July 7, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Years ago – in fact, it was Pam’s and my honeymoon(!) – we visited the National Battlefield Park and the National Cemetary at Shiloh, and while the Union boys’ remains reside (for the most part) within marked graves on a beautiful bluff above the Tennessee River, with lots of ground flowers and mature shade trees, if you wonder the battlefield you occasionally come across muted markers that indicate this or that 100 foot strip contains the remains of (for example) 475 Confederate soldiers, give or take.

    This caused me to stop and ponder; In any case, lots of long-forgotten heartbreak in the pretty cemetary and in the blunt mass graves…I wondered – if given the choice – which alternative the soldiers would have selected.

    But let’s leave old Death aside (‘ask not for whom the bell tolls’ – and all of that, right?); in two weeks we’ll have a major, major 40th anniversary to talk about – one where my parents literally did “wake the kids and phone the neighbors”; a historic moment that was also no less an iconic cultural/political/societal happening; the night the curtain rose for the original ‘moon-walker’ moves by that fellow from an Apollo stage, by way of Wapakoneta (instead of Gary).

    Really, it should get at least 10% of the blanket punditry and archival recaps that Michael Jackson’s passing has gotten, yes?

    Afterall, all of us folks of a certain age know precisely where we were that night, yes?

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  53. nancy said on July 7, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Interesting thoughts as usual, Jeff. I’ll give you the vitiligo, but you have to give me the nose. And the lips. And the hair. And the white kids. That’s 4-1. I win!

    Actually, I remember when Spike Lee was openly critical of MJ, accusing him of race hatred, etc. That was a different Spike Lee, however, back when he talked about sending his kids to public schools, etc. Then he married a buppie lawyer worthy of being president of the sorority in “School Daze” and I’m fairly sure he’s prep school all the way now.

    I’m fully aware I’m not worthy of expressing an opinion on this to an actual African-American, but lordy, am I sick of the whole Jackson clan. It was the clip of the sobbing daughter that did it, and how her whole family seemed more concerned that she “speak up” and directly into the microphone than anything else. They learned from the best, sure, but at this point I only want a pox upon all their houses.

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  54. Catherine said on July 7, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    You can’t assume those kids are 1) white; and 2) not his, based on looks alone. In my circle there are lots of children of interracial couples and some of them look just like Paris (the daughter), down to the blue eyes. Hearkening back to 10th grade biology, all you need is two recessive blue eye genes. Many, many African Americans have white ancestors, and recessive genes can get passed along for generations without being expressed. So you’re still at 3-2, if you’re keeping score, and I’m not arguing too much with the overall point, but let’s give the kids a break.

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  55. moe99 said on July 7, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Well, this is the first time I’ve seen the kids without their masks on and I was startled at how very unlike Jackson they look. And I seem to recall that it was artificial insemination that was used for conception with no real designation of who the father was at the time. And I wondered if the masking was done to try and keep these sorts of inquiries to a minimum.
    And on the converse we have Angelina Jolie and Madonna adopting children of another race with little comment. So why would MJ feel the need for all this secrecy if that’s what was going on?

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  56. nancy said on July 7, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    I’m know a lot of biracial people with light eyes, but not too many towheads. Agreed, however, that kids are kids and should be left alone.

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  57. beb said on July 7, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    I’m with JTMMO on this. Color is a big issue among people of color. Look at all the successful black men who’ve married white women. At the same time Nancy dies have a point that MJ’s children are, from all appearances, white. The bigger point is that Jackson was really messed up. The suggestion that Jackson used a sperm donor instead of donating his own suggests that at age 50, Jackson may have been a virgin. An honest to god, literal 50 year old virgin.

    But enough of Jackson. What are the odds that Senator Al Franken will go an entire year in Congress without cracking one joke? I think they’re pretty good.

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  58. Jolene said on July 7, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Nancy, that towheadedness came from a bottle. Here’s a picture of the three kids from today. Also, I saw an earlier picture somewhere in which his roots were showing. Joe Jackson, Michael’s father, reportedly has blue eyes.

    It’s kind of surprising that someone as vain as Jackson would have wanted someone other than his own wonderful self to father his children.

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  59. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 7, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Janet saying “honey, speak into the mike” really broke into the moment . . . or brought us back to reality. The idea that this is more about celebritism than racism i can buy into wholeheartedly.

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  60. Jolene said on July 7, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    One more picture. In this one, it’s clear all three kids have light brown skin. And, in this photo, the older son looks a bit like the younger, and both boys have somewhat broad noses.

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  61. nancy said on July 7, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    I can’t believe we’re discussing this, but…

    Towheaded kids almost always darken with age, and not much age at that. You’re looking at one.

    That said, I still think those kids are white, whatever white means.

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  62. Jolene said on July 7, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    I agree. It’s a weird discussion to be having, and I wouldn’t necessarily argue that the childrens’ father wasn’t white. But I don’t think that kid was a natural towhead. If I come across the other picture (the one w/ the roots) again, I’ll post a link.

    In the meantime, if you want detail re how bizarre MJ might really have been, there’s nothing like the articles published by Maureen Orth in Vanity Fair.

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  63. moe99 said on July 7, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Orth’s last article in the series indicates that the natural father of Rowe’s children was probably white. That’s a devastating article. Will read the others as well. Thanks for the lead, Jolene.

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  64. Jolene said on July 7, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    I’ve read several of the Orth pieces, and found them both horrifying and frustrating–horrifying because of the story she tells and frustrating because the stories are so weakly documented. Many of her interviews were off-the-record, and there are many second-hand reports.

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  65. velvet goldmine said on July 7, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    I got the impression that Paris’ wish to address the crowd was a sudden decision of hers, and I can’t say it pushed me over the edge into outrage. I felt the way one does when one sees a child at a parent’s funeral: Pretty torn up. She wanted to say something, and the adults around her (aunts and uncles) were helping her, just like you see at a million school assemblies and graduation ceremonies. Nothing to sneer about, in my opinion.

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  66. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 7, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    The event is hard to get a grip on from news bits and YouTube snippets (i don’t have either the connection speed or the time to watch the whole deal), but i have to admit i’m grabbed by the idea that his favorite song is one written by Charlie Chaplin. That takes my head in multiple directions, and just adds to the poignancy of the whole thing.

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  67. velvet goldmine said on July 7, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    I saw an ambush interview with a man alleged to me the older kids’ biological father. If he is, I’m sorry — those kids dodged some major genetic bullets. They are absolutely gorgeous and this man and Debbie Rowe are on the plain-to-average side, one would probably have to say.

    The kids look biracial to me, but what the hell do I know?

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  68. del said on July 7, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    I enjoyed MJ’s music, and, if a karoake machine’s around would perform “I Want You Back” at the drop of a hat. But coverage of his death is revolting. Just revolting. It’s so disturbing because, to me, it highlights the Cassandra nightmare that certain poor children had to endure. Weren’t there children whose own mothers “sold” them for adventures at Neverland? Fuckmooks.

    JTTMO, point taken (though I will say that after my post last night I saw a clip on The Daily Show of a wingnut on FOX who surmised that only a Bin laden attack could save us from Obama.)

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  69. Catherine said on July 8, 2009 at 1:01 am

    If the children are not genetically MJ’s, and he didn’t legally adopt them, then they are in a custodial no-man’s-land. As disordered, irresponsible and self-destructive as he apparently was, you’d think that the attorneys who got him to execute that will would have made sure that the custody issues were taken care of, too. That’s one reason I ultimately think they are genetically his.

    Is anyone else thinking about John Lennon’s death?

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  70. Jolene said on July 8, 2009 at 1:20 am

    I’m not sure that’s correct, Catherine. I’ve heard several attorneys say that, under the law, they are his children. In the case of the two older children, he was married to the woman who gave birth to them, which makes him the father regardless of their genetic connection. And, presumably, there was a contract that makes him the father of the youngest child. Perhaps one of our lawyers can comment.

    Not sure what your reference to John Lennon was about.

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  71. basset said on July 8, 2009 at 8:03 am

    maybe Catherine meant Ringo’s birthday, which was yesterday… his 69th, the oldest Beatle.

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  72. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 8, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Lennon’s death seems like the last time before this that a celebrity death garnered so much media and cultural attention, over as long a period. In between have been political deaths and extended funerary folderol, but from Lennon to Jackson i can’t think of any other pure celeb that got this sort of general cultural conversation.

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  73. basset said on July 8, 2009 at 8:30 am

    well, yeah, but the nature of media was so different then. and I suppose MJ had some effect on mass culture, but compared to the Beatles? no way.

    meanwhile… I see another “lost” Beatles track has been dredged up and is supposed to go on release soon, some old demo that the surviving Fabs added parts to… far enough back that George is on it. come on now, this stuff didn’t get released way back when for a reason.

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  74. Julie Robinson said on July 8, 2009 at 8:39 am

    With all respect to Jeff tmmo and celebrity deaths, Princess Diana.

    Valuing lighter skin is common in many cultures around the world, especially India.
    Our daughter was telling us about her exchange student from Indonesia, who had gotten a tan here and was very worried about her friends’ reactions. She felt she had dropped a notch or two in social status. She is smart, well-off, and beautiful, and yet she values herself by skin color.

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  75. moe99 said on July 8, 2009 at 8:58 am

    There is a legal presumption that children born to couples in wedlock are the legitimate offspring of the parents. So, Jolene would be right wrt to the older two of Jackson’s children. Have no idea about the third and I have been staying as far away from the debacle as possible.

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  76. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 8, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Well, you can’t call Diana an entertainer . . . or can you? But she surely wasn’t a politician.

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  77. LA Mary said on July 8, 2009 at 9:43 am

    The kids mom said a while back that MJ is not the father, and yes, kids can be nearly platinum blonde and their hair darkens. I have two of those kids. One is still blonde but a dark blonde, the other brown. I don’t think MJ’s a virgin, but I think he wanted white kids just as he wanted white wives.

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  78. 4dbirds said on July 8, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Lisa Marie Pressley stated that there was sex in their marriage. Why do I know these things?

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