Thursday, June 25, 2009


And perspective

August 29 1958 - June 25 2009

I was a young child when I first saw Michael Jackson sing, with his brothers in the Jackson 5. I could not believe that so much talent poured from his mouth, and danced through his body. Later when I was 19 years old I watched in amazement when Michael Jackson moon walk danced across the stage on the Motown 25 Yesterday Today Forever television special. I was speechless and my father, who didn’t like anything close to popular music (and nearly never cursed), exclaimed, “what the hell just happened?!”.

That moment was one that many fans and witnesses of his career remember. But his life was one of joy and pain, both from inside his family and from the outside world. Michael Jackson sang from an early age and performed incredibly, and started achieving hits with the Jackson 5 and moved to singing solo and never stopped creating hits. And there are reports that he was physically and emotionally abused. He was accused later in life of sexually molesting children. But he either avoided prosecution through settlement or was acquitted of the charges. I am not commenting upon his innocence, except to say he was never proven to be anything, except different.

For me Michael Jackson was a child who never grew up, with amazing talents, who was broken. For time beyond measure the mediocre have attacked the genius, and Michael Jackson was made to be even more strange than he already made himself into being. I do not, again, claim to know what he had done, or not done, but I do know, that he was prey for the media, and his talents became his sorrow, for if he’d been less gifted might he not have lived normally? This doesn’t forgive or forget things he might have done. Simply points to the question, but for this would that...

February 2, 1947 – June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcet was an icon of beauty, forever symbolizing American fascination with the glorious blonde, captured upon film and television, but through humankind’s memory I think, for a very long time through one iconic poster. She was in swim suit, apparently somewhat wet, and a bit cold, and beaming with a smile you couldn’t manufacture.

Her acting would have been considered weak if she’d only appeared upon the T & A fest CHARLIE’S ANGELS, but she didn’t end her career there. She went out of her way to find hearty roles that would display her talents. And in doing so she created a certain question mark, for while we seem to adore empty headed gorgeous people, she seemed to possess something more. Whatever that might be. Certainly she had talent, and beauty.

I was not particular to her iconic appearance, I have no particular fetish for hair color or hard nipples, but I do think she was a nice person from what I saw.

March 6, 1923 – June 23, 2009

A television presenter, comedian, comedian straight man, an announcer, and more Ed McMahon became a part of American television culture due to his presence there. It wasn’t just his voice, or his physical appearance, he didn’t dance, he didn’t sing, at least on camera. He was however someone we trusted, and seemingly loved.

He became famous as the “sidekick” to Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, his work there was to give the brilliant Carson someone to bounce comedy off of, to pace the opening of the show, and to generally give the viewer a feeling that you too are a member of the fun.

It is the fate of such a person to be considered in the light of another’s success. His work was complimentary to Dick Clark, Jerry Lewis and the aforementioned Carson. However, he shined in an area lesser known but just as important. He flew as a training pilot teaching others to fly during WW II, and as a tactical air and artillery observer in the Korean Conflict. He retired as a Brigadier General in the Air National Guard, and as a Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. He was everyone’s friend so to speak, and more than one generation of viewers will remember his voice and presence upon the stage.


In amongst the tributes for recent celebrities who have died, I suggest we end with a sobering reminder that people die every day who are not famous and who are doing very important work...


Sgt. Justin J. Duffy 31 02 Jun 2009 3rd BCT, 82nd Airborne Division, MND-Baghdad Died June 2 of combat-related injuries after an IED detonated near a patrol in eastern Baghdad / DoD Rlease: Died June 2 in Baghdad, Iraq, when an IED detonated near his vehicle

Spc. Christopher M. Kurth 23 04 Jun 2009 3rd Bn, 82nd Field Artillery, 2nd BCT, 1st Cavalry Division, MND-North Died from injuries received during a grenade attack on a patrol in the Kirkuk province of northern Iraq, June 4 / DoD Release: Died June 4 in Kirkuk, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by an anti-tank grenade

Spc. Charles D. Parrish 23 04 Jun 2009 5th Engineer Bn, 555th Engineer Brigade, MNC-Iraq Died of injuries received during a grenade attack on a patrol in the Diyala province of northern Iraq, June 4 / DoD Release: Died June 4 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered earlier that day in Jalula, Iraq, when his vehicle was struck by an anti-tank grenade

Lance Cpl. Robert D. Ulmer 22 05 Jun 2009 1st Bn, 8th Marine, II MEF Headquarters Group, II MEF, MNF-West Died as the result of a non-combat related incident June 5 / DoD Release: Died June 5 as a result of a non-hostile incident in Anbar province, Iraq

Staff Sgt. Edmond L. Lo 23 12 Jun 2009 797th Ordnance Company, 79th Ordnance Bn, MNC-I Killed by an IED during combat related operations June 12 / DoD Release: Died June 13 in Samarra City, Iraq, when an IED that his explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team was acting to neutralize detonated

Sgt. Joshua W. Soto 25 16 Jun 2009 1st Bn, 77th Armor, 4th BCT, 1st Armored Division, MND-South Killed by an IED near the city of Samawah June 16 / DoD Release: Died June 16 in Iraq of wounds suffered when an IED detonated near his vehicle

Capt. Kafele H. Sims 32 16 Jun 2009 18th Engineer Brigade, MND-North Died as a result of a non-combat related incident in the Ninewa province of northern Iraq June 16

Spc. Chancellor A. Keesling 25 19 Jun 2009 961st Engineer Company, MNC-Iraq Died as the result of a non-combat related incident June 19 / DoD Release: Died June 19 in Baghdad, Iraq of a non-combat related incident

Originally posted at this link

Saturday, June 6, 2009


I am not much on rants. Normally I give and get back, I take and try to be gracious and realize that other people have views, and most are every bit as right or wrong as my view. But...

I heard some kids in the Gamestop or Gamecrazy where my son was spending his money talking about how a certain game was cheap at only 50 dollars new. I am sorry to be sounding, here, like an old fart, I realize things have changed, and I am no longer young, at 45 years old. But you have to understand something when I grew up we read books. And now you can buy books from when I was growing up for half of their cover price, for a dollar or maybe two. You hear me? Exciting mind warping adventures, sexy heroes and babes, guns, swords, magic...

So, for a dollar or three, let us say $2 you could go and get a kick ass story. Yeah you can splurge, by something more expensive, and it would be good too. But here is the thing, the best fiction, the best books remain good. Meanwhile your fifty damn dollar game is done once you unlock the secret mojo. I am not, actually complaining about any video game. Or for that matter, the cost of such. I am not saying one is better than the other. I am saying, if you are comparing things, my imagination runs much better at $1.50 RE Howard fueled, than Halo Wars or some such thing for fifty damn dollars. And if you want to compare fine, I can read 25 books in three weeks for fifty dollars and you can play your one game. And then my brain will be bigger and yours will be animated.

Really, games are great. I am not so old that I don’t get that. But pick up a classic fantasy or speculative fiction book for cheap. Read the hell out of it, and share it. Check out or a local used book store. Seriously, reading classic stuff makes you smarter and happier. Or at least smarter.