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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 29, 2009 7:05 PM. The previous post in this blog was Green: the new rose-colored glasses. The next post in this blog is Whatever, kids. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Monday, June 29, 2009

I can't go for that

I will miss Michael Jackson, but not this much.

Comments (10)

Why would anyone want to end it before knowing how many drugs were in MJ's system when he died? I'm betting there were 5 or more drugs in the mix. It's a large figure, but so was Michael.

Sam lucks out again. Next to the late Mr. Jackson, Sam looks like an average Joe.(although their spending habits are similar)

They say there's a will and it sure sounds authentic. In it Michael names the executor of the estate to be Peter Pan.

Let's name a major Portland street after him, in the interest of preventing Teen (and especially Gay Teen) suicide (remember the Mayor's personal commitments in that cause.) Jacko has as much connection with Portland as that other guy - even more, since Jackson probably played a gig here, which Chavez did not. How about the road up to OHSU; only partial renaming, & gets the kiddie angle with Doernbecher.

I'm not comfortable with disparaging comments about Mr. Jackson, his legacy or his legion of fans and so … wait a minute, wha—?

The whole world's been following parallel tracks with this. The one is the celebrity part of the story which has completely supplanted the musical side for around 15 years.

But the real shocking thing for me still remains Michael's musical ability so young. All these old timers talk about an old soul who sang with the technique and knowledge of a 40-year-old at age 6. That's what I've been pondering as much as anything with this story lately.

All this other stuff is...well, it's pretty shocking too, but how do you explain Michael Jackson's gift arriving ready to go when he should have been playing in a sandbox?

Okay, there's 2 possible explanations and I hesitate even to mention the first. I scoffed at this notion until ABC News did a story of another young man who seemed to arrive with knowledge he shouldn't have.

Check it out: The book is called, "Soul Survivor" but you can see the clips online. This is the most intriguing story in many years. Just enter, "boy fighter pilot". That should get you there.

I don't know what to make of it.

The second explanation for Michael Jackson is just your standard musical genius. There are brains that can soak in music upon one hearing and then reproduce it. More than that - they instantly own it.

One of these rare minds belonged to the jazz pianist Erroll Garner who played by ear starting at 3:
"At bedtime, Garner's mother would play recordings for her children on the Victrola, and the next morning a young Garner would pull himself up on the piano stool and play exactly what he had heard the night before."

Michael had to have had that. Every note he heard went right into his brain forever. He ate whole musical languages the way you or I eat a bowl of cereal. There's plenty not to like with this guy, but that part you have to respect - this was a great brain along with all the soul.

The weird part? I still can't convince myself that this is how it really happened. You hear that brilliant little kid singing and, sure, there's an amazing depth to the phrasing and all the musical things, but there's an equal depth to the emotion.

"Don't you know I sit around with my head hanging down, wondering who's loving you."

That blues song, "Who's Loving You" is the one I can't process. It is inexplicable. This is not "ABC" or some other bouncy tune about being a kid. This is an adult singing about love. Ironic, no?

So it is with great embarrassment and a little pain, that I can only conclude one possible thing about Michael Jackson: He was reincarnated from somewhere else. We've got another "Soul Survivor" here.

Okay, I'm sort of kidding, but I'm sort of not.

When a kid is that ready to go, that young, the grownups in the picture have a major decision to make. I think in Baby Michael's case, the more humane move might have been to hold him back a little. Even Steveland Judkins didn't really get going until he was around 12. When you're that strong, you don't have to be a novelty kid act.

Then again, there were four other brothers, spread out over what? Eight years? And in a much smaller view of the world than was called for in this case, that was the show to try to sell.

"Who's Lovin' You" was written by Berry and Smokey, which meant it came from the very top. It was better in the hands of the Temptations, but Michael could handle just about anything.

I didn't mean to imply Michael wrote the song - just the emotional way he sings it or interprets it. I knew the Temps did this, although I just found out Tito didn't play guitar on the Jackson 5 records until much later - and that hurts.

I wish there was a website listing all the musicians on all these tracks. Obviously, the Funk Brothers were involved, and I know of a couple more like the bass player from the Brothers Johnson( Louis "Thunder Thumbs" Johnson). Of course, Eddie Van Halen was on "Beat It" and my favorite drummer name of all time was on some records and the Victory Tour: Jonathan "Sugarfoot" Moffett.

That's one thing Quincy Jones had: The best rolodex in the music biz. Who were all these stunning musicians and composers for that matter? Oh well, back to the young Michael:

I thought of another possibility: There's some kind of language of music you can be born with, passed on over the eons.
Maybe he was doing this instinctively.

Okay, maybe the reincarnation thing is a the wall...but it's damn hard for me to believe he just learned all this sitting around kindergarten.

I still think this is the biggest mystery here - how did this kid show up with these chops?

I found a couple of weird intonations in "I'll Be There" where he seems to go flat for a moment.
"Where there is love, I'll be there..." The first time he sings "I'll be there" on the recorded version sounds a little messed up, and there's another little snafu on the same line later.
But during the rest of the 50 years there were very few musical goofs. And by very few I mean zero.

Bill, you don't make it as big of a deal as the 'others' (linked to), and I don't make it as big of a deal as you. If I may disagree without sounding disagreable.

No doubt there was talent. But not legendary. And not 'King of Pop' (a personal peeve -- methinks it/he doth try too much, to upstage Elvis, The Beatles, whatever, instead of just go with the flow).

"Zero defects" is easy: It all got fixed in Post. Even as electrified as you got in concert, you don't know but what it was lip-synched, the ultimate Post-Production where it precedes the 'real' 'Live' thing ... "on our stage tonight" (Ed Sullivan, all lip-synch, all the time).

As for 'what gets into a kid,' there is some marvelous video lessons (for school teachers) on the PBS website in the The Music Instinct productions.

This one (Early Musical Training ) or this one (Music Can Change the Brain) might pertain to M.J.'s innate talents.

- -
I did go so far as to look at the astrology picture, re: Aug. 29, 1958. He never was his own mind or person, all his presence was choreographed. His own self was so pliant it had no solid substance. He could dance, goodgawd yes, (a dandy-dancing close friend of mine has the same 'markings': Venus-Uranus domain). However, all in M.J. was without principle. And, as for the end, (and for years and years coming to it), he was a flagrant pharmaceutical flower ... on steroids. It'd blow your mind if you knew -- some truth can't be handled (humanly), stick to the wonders of Nature, such as mushrooms.

Priorities: ten people off themselves over Michael Jackson, three did for John Lennon, and not a single one for Sid Vicious or G.G. Allin. Elvis help us all when Madonna gets repoed right off the grease rack while her staff is replacing her spark plugs and checking her oil.


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L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
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James Joyce - Dubliners
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William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
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Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
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Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
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Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
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William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

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Total run in 2016: 155
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In 2013: 257
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