King of Pain….King of Pop

Obviously if you are reading this, unless you have been under a rock, you have no doubt heard of the sudden death of Michael Jackson, the self-proclaimed King of Pop. Clearly June 25 was quite a day for pop culture with the expected death of Farrah Faucett and the unexpected death of Michael Jackson.

Michael…what can I say. I was born in the early 1970’s…I grew up listening to the Jackson 5 and the ole Black Michael. Mine was a family where we were always listening to music like many working class Black families…I was in either 4th or 5th grade when Michael made it really big with the release of Thriller. Damn, I still remember how cool that cat was when he burst on the scene with that famous moonwalk, as another piece I read last night stated this was before the era of you-tube, when it was a huge deal to see something like what that cat was doing. I remember when every kid wanted a red leather jacket and a glove. Everyone wanted to be like Mike.

But somewhere along with the way, Mike went from being a superstar to a super oddity. First it was a nose job, then a little more nipping and tucking….eventually Mike went from being a Black boy to being a strange looking cat. Then there were the allegations of sexual abuse of little boys which for many Americans turned us away from MJ. I admit between the allegations and strange behavior, I can’t say I have been an active fan for years. But I still have enjoyed his early music.

In many ways Michael changed the music and dance game, even though there are younger generations like my son, that only remember MJ as a circus act, there is nothing that can take away from the reality that he changed music and broke records…his music broke musical barriers, hell he put Black folks on MTV. He was a game changer.

All that said, he was incredibly tragic figure, I was surprised to hear he was only 50. Considering he got in the music game at 5, that was 45 years of actively being in music. It also meant that he never had a life and later years I suspect alot of his eccentricities were the result of a childhood deferred. It’s also been well covered that MJ’s father, Joe was a unrelenting taskmaster who worked his children hard to escape the grind of life in Gary Indiana which truthfully who wouldn’t want to get the fuck out of Gary? Gary Indiana is the arm pit of the Midwest, less than an hour away from Chicago, for as long as I can recall its always been a shitty place.

Yet the level of fame that MJ found came with a price, perhaps he should have called himself the King of Pain since clearly his journey in life despite the riches and fame seemed rather painful at least to me.

Which brings me to another point, in the hours since his passing, I have noticed at least in my online circles, that while many will acknowledge he was a game-changer when it came to music at least here in America, many were so disgusted with the charges of sexual abuse that his professional accomplishments were overshadowed by his tragic personal life. Yet at least within the American Black community, there is a sense that while we recognize he was tragic at the end, we are still able to celebrate the greatness he was before the madness took over his life. Among whites that I know and that includes the Spousal Unit, there is less of a willingness to see that greatness but more of an acceptance for the circus freak he had become in his later years.

I am reminded though how many great whites in entertainment though still stand the test of time despite the rumors and allegations that personally they were unsavory characters on a personal level. Elvis, anyone? Elvis  is still seen as great despite the fact that getting involved with a 14 year old girl when you are 24 is pretty much a no-no and as a parent equally as offensive as allegations of sexually abusing young boys. In both cases its abuse of a child but America has a funny memory when it comes to race and what we remember.

Anyway may the King of Pop perhaps find peace in the next life.

Tuesday ramble

Rain, rain go away and how about you come back in a couple of weeks? Yep, its another gray rainy day up here in my corner of the world. I woke up early to take girl child to her first dental visit and now have a pile of work on my desk that I am avoiding. Too damn tired, so that means I have all sorts of random shit running around in my head…so today’s post has no rhyme or reason other than I was just thinking.

Riddle me this? Why do white guys bring chainsaws when they are about to get down and dirty and fight? No, I am serious, yesterday I was working in my home office and all of a sudden I heard angry voices. As an aside I now understand better why when we were looking at this house, local folks tried to talk us out of buying so close to an apartment complex. I swear 9 out of 10 times if something worthy of calling John Q Law happens on this block its because of the apartment dwellers…by the way I grew up in apartments so I am not bashing folks in apartments it just seems that in Maine, apartment dwellers are a tad rowdier than I am used to but I am getting off track.

Anyway after hearing one guy call another one a filthy MF, I realized maybe I should peek my head out the window. What did I see? A guy who lives in the apartment complex engaging with a man who lives in the townhouse across the road from the apartment. The man in the townhouse had a posse of young men, hopping out of a pickup truck who were all yelling at the lone apartment man, lets go. In case you are not hip on young folk vernacular, that would be the sounding cry that they were about to take the altercation to the next level and get physical.

Now from my view it already looked like apartment guy was about to get his ass kicked unless he was about to bring out his inner Bruce Lee. Those fellas getting out the pickup looked beefy and like they kick asses on the regular and apartment boy looked like he had not been eating his Wheaties. So if that wasn’t bad enough one of the pickup dudes runs to the side of the townhouse and comes back with a chainsaw and starts running towards apartment boy. I admit my heart fell thinking oh shit. Thankfully at about that time, the clear sounds of the police came and the two camps started to back away…guess no one wanted a ride in the backseat.

So who knows what will happen but this scene reminded me of many years ago, my ex-unit got into a verbal altercation with my landlord ( I say mine since we were separated) and the landlord ran in his house and came out with a chainsaw…sadly my ex-unit maced the guy. It had no impact on my relationship with the landlord though the ex could no longer visit our son at my house. But this incident made me think about the fact I have never seen a couple Black or Latino guys getting ready to rumble and deciding hey I need a chainsaw. Shit that makes you go hmmmmm.

So its official Jon and Kate are no more. I know you are devastated just like I was…..not! But riddle me this if your marriage were dying, why the fuck would you put that out there when you have 8 kids??? Look, I know they have a contract but at a certain point where is the common sense. Fucking cancel the contract, work on the family. Sorry, Jon and Kate but I think the college fund may end up being the therapy fund when those cute kids are older.

Also but maybe its me but a show showing each parent at a time with  the kid hardly seems tv-worthy. I mean if we are about to see Kate raises 8 (with a little help from Jon) what the heck is so different between her a million other single Mamas. Ummmm, well she is cute and white and the kids all have the same Daddy. Sorry, but I had to go there.

Lastly, before I went to bed Keith Olbermann mentioned some Republican lawmaker who was against the Summer Food Program that feeds poor kids. In fact she stated that there was no need for a 16 year old to access this program since they could get a job at McD’s…after all hunger is a great motivator. What the hell is wrong with Republicans, I swear they are becoming more unhinged.

Anyway may the sun come out so I can go back out and play between work. Until then I am in my gloomy office with all sorts of thoughts swirling around in my head.

Reflections on Papa

This was originally posted on June 21, 2009 and pretty much captures my feelings on Father’s day.

Its Father’s Day, a day that frankly IMO gets not nearly enough fanfare compared to Mother’s Day. Of course we live in a world where sadly fathers are sometimes not around and Mama plays the role of both Mama and Papa.

I always thought my Dad would die first, but fate being what it is, it was my Mom that passed away first leaving me with just my Dad. In the five years since my Mom’s passing I have gotten to know my Dad a lot better than I did when my Mom was alive. My brother and I have a tenuous relationship with my Dad, he is a man who tries but the best way to sum up my Dad is to say see the movie About Schmidt. Jack Nicholson’s character is very much like my father….awkward to say the least.

That said, on Father’s Day I am thankful for my Pops. A man who tries the best he can though he is limited, maybe its because I am a parent and I have made a lot of mistakes as a parent that I can still love and now accept my dad for who he is, though its been a hard journey. In the early years after my Mom’s death, I wanted him to fill the void left by my Mom but it was not to be….now I accept him for who he is and most days life works better.

On Papa’s Day, I also look at my husband who often feels substandard as a father because he is not the greatest financial provider though when he leaves this early realm I am sure our kids will care less about how little money had and more about the fact that he was always there for them.

My husband has been in my son’s life since elder boy was three and has an amazing relationship with the Spousal Unit despite the fact there is no biological connection. So my son is doubly blessed to have not only his biological father but an amazing step father who has never made any difference in how he treats out two kids.  For our daughter he has always been an amazing and patient man who if nothing else deserves a metal for his willingness to embrace shit duty when the girl child was still in diapers (I hate changing diapers) and even now when she needs help wiping her behind after a bowel movement.

So to the men in my life and that includes the former Spousal Unit…Happy Father’s Day. To all Papas I hope you are having a great day!