Not dead yet.

The word of the day is…I guess it’s a compound word, but whatever: “Pre-mourning.”

Allow me to explain.

The news that Aretha Franklin is, quote gravely ill unquote came in late Sunday night. In journo-speak, that means the person involved has hours to live. I generally work Mondays at my non-journalism workplace, but I got there particularly early Monday, so I peeled off my first hour to dash off…I guess you’d call it an appreciation of the queen of soul.

“I will get you something before noon,” I told my editor. It was done by 9:30 a.m. Whew!

But Aretha lingered. Word of her health condition spread. Of course, thanks to social media, everybody has something to say now, and they all started saying it. Traditional news outlets swung into action, some with comical results — two local TV stations did live standups in front of the Motown museum, because TV staffs skew young and apparently no one in their newsrooms knew Aretha had never been a Motown artist, ever. (Columbia, then Atlantic.) The pop music writers started doing their career retrospectives. There was a headline in the Freep yesterday: What we know about Aretha Franklin’s health. Pieces about who was stopping by to visit in these presumably final days.

My poor little appreciation, which seemed crisp 48 hours ago, now stinks like an old fish. This has all been said, I’m thinking, looking at it. It’s not fresh at all. I’ve seen that Kennedy Center thing 14 times on my Facebook in the last hour.

And then I saw this:

The digital age allows us to witness “pre-mourning” on a worldwide scale. And that’s what we’re witnessing right now around the news that Aretha Franklin’s health is failing. People are celebrating her life and bracing for her possible death — and much of this is playing out in public.

OK, first off: Death is not “possible.” It’s inevitable. For everyone, even Aretha Franklin. But I find this kinda…gross. There’s a tribute concert in the works, for god’s sake. It’s not quite like, but close to, the heirs fighting over an estate before the corpse is cool. Let’s give the lady some peace in her final days.

Does your city have Bird scooters yet? Detroit got them a few weeks ago. I won’t say I …hate them, exactly, but man, they can be annoying, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before some eager-beaver bro runs over an old person, or a young person, or some other person, and then we’ll have a situation like they have in Los Angeles, which you have to agree is pretty funny:

As cities like Santa Monica and Beverly Hills struggle to control a rapid proliferation of electric pay-per-minute scooters, some residents are taking matters into their own hands and waging a guerrilla war against the devices. These vandals are destroying or desecrating the vehicles in disturbingly imaginative ways, and celebrating their illegal deeds on social media — in full view of authorities and the public.

I’ve had a few zoom past me on the not-particularly-crowded streets. They get on my nerves when they weave in and out of sidewalks and streets, but I guess that’s the point.

How’s your August going? August is spider season here — they’re turning up everywhere. They’re pooping all over Alan’s boat and making webs outside the back door every night. Big ones, too — I expect they’re genetic mutants enabled by climate change, don’t you? Grabbing the last meals out of summer, although honestly, there are weeks and weeks left before the first frost. I never kill them; I relocate them outdoors. Anything that kills flies is A-OK with me.

So, what are the current events for discussion? Omarosa? I don’t have the energy, except to note that no one could have possibly seen this amazing, astonishing outcome to her White House employment. Also, I hope she has lots more tapes.

And then there’s the One True Church. Ugh.

Time for bed. Over the hump, Wednesday.

Posted at 9:46 pm in Current events, Popculch |

46 responses to “Not dead yet.”

  1. jcburns said on August 15, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    Previously! On! Deborah wrote “As I type my email into the designated slot I’ve noticed sometimes after the fact that autocorrect has ‘corrected’ it to something unrecognizable. So some of my comments are delayed or lost forever. ”

    Hey, turns out these days there are values I can put in to disable those functions on the ‘name’, ’email’, and ‘website’ fields of the comment form. (Some of the code on Nancy’s site dates back to the time before there were smartphones and autocorrect.) So I did.

    I have no idea if this change will work for you, but perhaps, maybe, could be that there is one less problem in your life.

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  2. Deborah said on August 15, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    Not sure what that means JC but if it keeps me from screwing up my own email address I’m all for it. It’s amazing how often my big clumsy fingers hit the wrong keys.

    I think it’s hysterical that Omarosa acts exactly like Trump. Revenge above all else, lies and misleadings but ultimately conniving and never admitting misdeeds or misjudgments, ever.

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  3. brian stouder said on August 15, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    So, speaking of death, Fort Wayne just had an unexpected/out-of-the-blue/news that makes you audibly say “ohhhhh” – news of a particular death this evening.

    To wit:

    FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – WOWO radio has announced Fort Wayne morning radio fixture Charly Butcher has passed away. He was 61 years old. The radio station sent out a push alert around 9 p.m. Wednesday.

    Butcher had been on the air, locally for more than 30 years. He worked on both WOWO and WMEE radio stations.
    Butcher is survived by his wife, two daughters and father. WOWO News Director Kayla Blakeslee told NewsChannel 15 Butcher died late Wednesday afternoon likely due to a cardiac event. She said his death is a tremendous loss to the Fort Wayne community

    I mean, wow. Three or four decades ago, when I had hair, “Charlie & Tony” were the go-to, drive-time guys at WMEE – an FM pop/rock station.

    In recent years, he was on WOWO am-radio (still at drive-time) – and if the weather was iffy (for school go or no-go) you’d pop the radio over to his station, and get the scoop.

    So indeed, the news of his passing made me say “Ohhhh!” out loud; a genuine Fort Wayne institution is gone.

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  4. Julie Robinson said on August 15, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    And indeed my reaction to his death was that it made me feel old, because he was such a young pup. Then I read that he was 61, the exact same age as me. Gulp.

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  5. brian stouder said on August 15, 2018 at 11:36 pm

    Julie, indeed.

    I used to think that passing away like that – all at once – would be the best way; I s’pose after watching my dad deteriorate over an extended period of time.

    But, indeed, having a more drawn-out exit gives one a chance to say goodbye to everyone, and that looks more attractive (not that we get a choice, really!)

    (PS – his 61 years is only 4 more than I’ve enjoyed thus far, so it does get one’s attention!)

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  6. Dave said on August 16, 2018 at 12:46 am

    Yes, when that showed up that Charley Butcher had passed away, apparently from cardiac arrest, I was very surprised. That is the second radio host that’s passed away within the last eight or so months that I heard on any kind of regular basis. There was a man named John Corby in Columbus who broadcast for years on WTVN. I used to listen to him frequently in the afternoon, WTVN has a good daytime signal into Fort Wayne. He got a case of that bad flu and died. He was also 61.

    I, too, didn’t realize that Butcher was that old but he had been broadcasting for a long time, you just don’t quite realize they’re getting old when you don’t see them.

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  7. Dorothy said on August 16, 2018 at 6:06 am

    I’d never heard the phrase ‘pre-mourning’ until this week. Now I know that’s what we’ve been doing, in some ways, this summer. My daughter-in-law’s father is dying of pancreatic cancer. He has lived longer than any of us could have predicted. His doctor visited him at home recently (he wants to die at home) and estimated that he weighs maybe 60 lbs. At least three or four times since early June the hospice nurse has told his family that he had maybe 2-3 days at most. I don’t think I’ll ever believe it if I hear that phrase about anyone else again. Yesterday we heard his breaths per minute were at 6-8. So perhaps it is down to 24-48 hours. But it’s been agonizing for his wife and children. Pre-mourning indeed.

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  8. David C. said on August 16, 2018 at 6:12 am

    Diana ruined celebrity death for everyone. That one was so over the top that nobody knows how to act anymore. If we’re pre-mourning, maybe we should have a hearse roll around Detroit for everyone to throw flowers on for a sort of pre-funeral procession. I’ll stick with my method which is to wait until they’ve actually croaked and say “Oh”. That’s about all that’s required for someone who I liked and listened to, but didn’t know.

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  9. Suzanne said on August 16, 2018 at 7:02 am

    I used to listen to Charley Butcher in the morning when the kids were in school so i’d Get the latest school info. He was about the only WOWO guy I could stand to listen to once WOWO went full lunatic mode (Pat White & then Pat Miller always got me to change the channel) 61, just a year older than me. Not sure what happened but sudden.

    Yesterday as I read about the newest mess in the Catholic Church, all I could really be surprised about is that people are surprised that church attendance is waning.

    And this power outage at Reagan airport
    First thought was that the Russians are doing test runs to see if anybody does anything. Call me paranoid.

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  10. alex said on August 16, 2018 at 7:46 am

    I seem to recall a bunch of “pre-mourning” for Aretha in years past, but she always made a miraculous recovery. So I remain buoyant with optimism.

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  11. ROGirl said on August 16, 2018 at 9:51 am

    The day the news about Aretha first appeared I kept on expecting to open up a news page and read a bulletin that she was gone. Not that I want to see it, but it still hasn’t happened.

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  12. Connie said on August 16, 2018 at 10:01 am

    It has happened. No longer pre.

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  13. Julie Robinson said on August 16, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Pancreatic cancer, just like your inlaw, Dorothy. My sympathies to the family for the hell they’re going through. Our former pastor also has it.

    I wasn’t familiar with the phrase pre-mourning, but with three family members who had Alzheimer’s, very familiar with the concept. In all three death was a blessed release from their earthly bodies.

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  14. Dorothy said on August 16, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Julie do you mean Aretha had pancreatic cancer too? Sorry to be dumb – I wasn’t aware/had not heard specifically what she had. The 84 year old mother of someone in my office (another secretary) is dying of it, too. She’s currently at home and they have visiting nurses coming in. But it’s a slow motion death and this lady is not eating – her daughter described her as looking like someone from Auschwitz – so it’s just like my son’s father-in-law. Not eating – feeling so sick – sleeping a great deal -and the family has to watch it happen.

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  15. Bitter Scribe said on August 16, 2018 at 10:27 am

    Someone took that childhood toy and put an electric motor on it? How weird.

    No matter how annoying they are in meatspace, as the kids say, they can’t be half as annoying as that post-literate website.

    It’s my understanding that once a celeb reaches a certain age, no matter how healthy he or she may be, big news outlets assign an intern or junior staff member to put together an obit with career and other biographic details. This gets filed, waiting to get topped with the circumstances of the death when the celeb does kick. Didn’t Aretha get that treatment?

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  16. MarkH said on August 16, 2018 at 10:41 am

    The pancreatic cancer was not disclosed until she passed this morning. It was apparently just one of a number of undisclosed ailments.

    And, yes, most notable people have obits-in-waiting. Premature publishing of such happens more than you think. Dick Cheney’s false death is oddly amusing.

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  17. Julie Robinson said on August 16, 2018 at 10:43 am

    One of the stories announcing her death was accompanied by a picture and said 1942-2017. Oopsy.

    Dorothy, a story I read said Aretha had pancreatic cancer. I guess I don’t know that for sure, and I think she and her family had not disclosed it.

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  18. Connie said on August 16, 2018 at 10:46 am

    I suspect this one was written ahead of time:

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  19. MarkH said on August 16, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Hmmm…posted an entry here an hour ago, and now disappeared. (??)

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  20. Jeff Borden said on August 16, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    I saw a meme earlier today that really hit me as, once again, we all wring our hands and lament the latest example of mass molestations of boys and girls by Catholic priests. Essentially, it asked what we’d be saying as a nation if 300 imams had molested 1,000 Muslim children. I’m fairly certain President Gaping Piehole would be all over that one. . .Fox would be having conniptions. . .the Oxycontin Kid and his AM howler monkeys would be at fever pitch. They’d be selling out of pitchforks and tiki torches at Home Depot.

    But the One True will soldier on. . .excuses will be made. . .prayers will be offered. If they could let Cardinal Law live the last years of his life in the splendor of Vatican City after the horrors he allowed in Boston, who’s to say anyone will pay a price for the Philly disaster.

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  21. Suzanne said on August 16, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Exactly, Jeff. Exactly.
    Same mentality we see when an immigrant does some terrorist act as opposed to a white guy shooting 800+ people in Las Vegas. One has people shouting that we need to cut off immigration and deport people; the other has people shrugging their shoulders and saying, “Well, what can you really do??”

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  22. Deborah said on August 16, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    Jeff, good point.

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  23. Bitter Scribe said on August 16, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Nancy, with all respect, I think that jibe about Motown was a little…persnickety. Motown is a musical genre, not just a specific record label.

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  24. Sherri said on August 16, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    On a totally random note, I’ve been listening to a new podcast, From Farm to Taber, a fascinating look at agriculture from Dr Sarah Taber. Totally different perspective than what you usually hear.

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  25. Brandon said on August 16, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Today is Madonna’s sixtieth birthday.

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  26. ROGirl said on August 16, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    The Motown sound was created by the record company that put the name on the label. Aretha didn’t record for Motown and her music didn’t sound like Motown music.

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  27. Joe Kobiela said on August 16, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    I can’t figure out how to post the video so if anyone can please do, but if Freeway of love by Aretha doesn’t get you to want to crack a cold one, drop the top down and cruise I really feel sorry for you.
    The lady could bring it!!
    Pilot Joe

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  28. Mouse said on August 16, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    A few years back Aretha’s Tour bus was spotted in the WalMart parking lot here in Angola.She didn’t send some flunky in,there she was shopping for her own damn groceries and stuff.She was talking to everyone and acting like a regular person unlike most celebrities I could imagine.I wasn’t lucky enough to be there at the time but people who were said she was very pleasant.

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  29. JodiP said on August 16, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    Here’s Freeway of Love for you, Joe.

    mouse, your story gave me the best kind of chills!

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  30. Colleen said on August 16, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    Husband was the producer for Charly and Tony back in the 80s during the “Those Two Guys” era. He was sending off sound clips he had archived all morning long. I worked with Charly for a couple of years when I did traffic in the mornings on WOWO. He took his radio seriously. 61 is too young.

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  31. Joe Kobiela said on August 16, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Thanks JodiP,
    Aretha was also seen in the Auburn Walmart a few years ago, all reports said she was nice as could be.
    Pilot Joe

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  32. FDChief said on August 16, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    The e-scooters just turned up here in Portland, and while I can’t say I hate them they do seem to bring out Peak Stupid in the people who scoot (ride?) them. Bombing down sidewalks, zipping out into traffic, riding the wrong way on one way streets…you name it, if it’s some sort of stupid traffic idea e-scooter scooters seem to be unable to resist doing it.

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  33. Deborah said on August 16, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    I have to admit I’ve been thinking about getting LB one of those scooters or something like that for her to get around in Santa Fe since she doesn’t drive and she bunged up her hip so long walks are out for now. Her hip is much better, the PT has helped her a lot and she got the cortisone shot in her joint so her pain is now down to level 1. Just not sure how long that will last but it’s a great relief to her for now. Actually the standing up scooter is probably not the best thing for her because she has balance issues too. We are playing it by ear until we get more of a long term prognosis.

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  34. Deborah said on August 16, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    Wowee, Omarosa is repudiated to have 200 tapes ready to let fly one at a time. This should be interesting.

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  35. jerry said on August 17, 2018 at 1:55 am

    Nancy, my wife is like you – she sees a spider in the house and it has to be given the chance to enjoy the great outdoors. Very kind hearted except apparently house spiders can’t survive outside!

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  36. Dexter Friend said on August 17, 2018 at 2:13 am

    Lester Holt dedicated half his newscast to The Queen, and said he spent all afternoon perusing her work, and closed with the slow ballad “Angel”. msnbc dedicated hours to Miss Franklin. Here’s some dirt, which I should try to forget, but cannot: AF was quirky. One day she had her house staff lug all her awards…Grammys, ALL that stuff, gold record awards too, to the curb for trash pickup. Some neighbor saw the pile and was shocked, and she picked it all up, put it in her trunk, and called the curators of the little Motown Hitsville Museum for advice. The stuff was then stored and after a wait, one of their emissaries who could get to AF called her about this event. Aretha had no recollection of ever telling her staff to trash that stuff. As I recall, some was returned, with most of it kept at Hitsville, and some displayed there. Also, the truth is, Aretha was not a caring person, stiffing people who worked for her constantly, never paying workmen who kept up her house until ordered to pay by a judge…but…what to expect from a diva? Now that I am reminded she never was a Motown/Berry Gordy property, I wonder if the part about hauling off the trash-treasure to Hitsville, USA was erroneous, or since this happened years ago, maybe I have the story wrong. I am positive I read about the stuff junked to the curb in the Detroit newspapers, one or the other, many years ago. And, sad as it is to think about this: she was a deadbeat.

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  37. Julie Robinson said on August 17, 2018 at 7:15 am

    You could tell Lester was a big fan as he allocated the first 10 minutes of the broadcast to Aretha.

    Who knows about all the stories? I’ve read just enough about her early life to get a glimpse of how rough it was. Dysfunctional family, first baby at 12, second at 15; it’s a marvel that she transcended.

    One story played audio of her singing at 14 and it was all there then–the incomparable voice, the phrasing, and most of all, the attitude. I’m still bowing down.

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  38. alex said on August 17, 2018 at 11:39 am

    This WaPo story brings new meaning to “gyrating in the aisles”:

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  39. Connie said on August 17, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    The newspaper rack at the library today is almost all Aretha. Her face is on all the front pages, except the New York Times. Even the Wall Street Journal has her on the cover.

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  40. jcburns said on August 17, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    Hm, Aretha’s on this front page of The New York Times…and these other papers (scroll down.)

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  41. Connie said on August 17, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    I will have to check again Monday, we are sometimes a day or two behind with NYT.

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  42. Jakash said on August 17, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks for posting the link to those front pages, J. C. I love taking a quick jaunt among the nation’s headlines in an e-representation of their natural habitat like that! So much more enjoyable than looking at web homepages…

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  43. jcburns said on August 17, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Yeah, it’s my own personal little link (drawing on pages from the Newseum’s website.) I scroll through it most mornings…although less often these days.

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  44. The Garden Fairy said on August 17, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    For spider lovers, picture lovers, and vocabulary geeks —

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  45. Joe Kobiela said on August 17, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Crazy Rich Asians,
    Recommend you see, good for a rainy afternoon.
    That is all.
    Pilot Joe

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  46. Sherri said on August 19, 2018 at 11:47 am

    More about the Horizon Air ground service worker who stole a plane:

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