Posted in C-Haze, Current Events, Michael Jackson, Music, News, Nostalgia, Off The Wall, The Whiz, Thriller

Michael Jackson, Peter Pan and Never-Ever Land

I was planning to talk about other things today, but those plans were waylaid by the untimely death of Michael Jackson. 

I haven’t known what to say with regards to his passing, or perhaps I’ve had too many words… regardless, I couldn’t put it all down on paper until now.

Like millions of people worldwide, I loved Michael Jackson. Perhaps I took him for granted, as being born in the late ’70s, I literally grew up listening to his music.

From “The Whiz” to his albums “Off the Wall” and “Thriller”… to his sappy “We Are The World” to his ridiculous mini-flick at Disney World… and all things in between, not to mention what came before my time (when he was part of the Jackson 5), and everything he’s produced since…. I have loved this man.

I remember watching the “Thriller” music video for the first time on Mtv. I had to be sneaky about it, as my mother had a strict “No Mtv” rule.

I was a mere 6 years old when I peeped it, and had nightmares for months thereafter.

I won’t pretend to have understood him.

Perhaps that was part of the attraction to all that is was The King of Pop.

He was, if nothing else, an enigma… a complete mystery.

His personal life, of course, has been in absolute shambles for years.

He was weird, he was eccentric, he was isolated… but perhaps most importantly- maybe even the key to all his strange idiosyncrasies-was his perpetual adolescence.

I read an article recently at Time.comabout Jackson’s life. The author discusses the well-known Jackson comparisons to Peter Pan- from his intangible unwillingness (inability?) to grow up to his very tangible Neverland Ranch. He makes a very powerful statement regarding the fact that maybe we were all wrong- maybe Michael himself got it wrong…

… He was no Peter Pan.

Jackson more appropriately fits the mold of one of the Lost Boys.

For a man who gave so much- both on stage and off- he never found whatever it is he was looking for in return.

Michael Jackson- predictably- fell tragically victim to a stereotypical world of drugs and excess… certainly nothing new in the world of superstars. However, with the sole exception of his prescription drug addiction, Jackson never fit the mold. Throughout his entire life, in spite of all his unorthodox behaviors and his non-traditional lifestyle, Jackson maintained an almost unheard of innocence. Still, at the age of 50, he remained absolutely childlike in his aura… there was an air of innocence around him that never diminished. Not with age, not with complete super stardom, not with lawsuits or criminal charges. He never hardened… and perhaps even became more fragile, as time ceased being his friend.

Perhaps the biggest tragedy of his entire life, even worse than charges of pedophilia, was Jackson’s self-hatred. Like a pre-teen in emotional pain, a child who cuts themself to release some sort of inner anguish, Jackson was faithful to his own self-mutilation tactics. He wasn’t a cutter, but managed to accomplish far worse in his absolute obsession with plastic surgery.

Some believe he was obsessed with becoming white.

I disagree.

I think he was obsessed with pain… I think he hated himself so thoroughly that he wanted the world to see the disfigured freak of a man he viewed himself to be.

And yet we still loved him, even as we shook our heads in disappointment at the fact that he no longer even had a nose to speak of.

The true source of Michael Jackson’s self-hatred will likely remain a mystery forever.

Was he irreparably scarred by the alleged abuse he suffered at the hands of his father?

The pressures of the industry?

A grueling public’s constant scrutiny?

Mental illness?

When I think of his personal life, his love for children- boys, especially- I do not think of a predator.

Rather, I think of the movie “Big“, starring Tom Hanks.

The premise of the movie centers around a boy- a pre-teen- who, tired of being short and puny, constantly picked on for his size, makes a wish at a carnival to simply be “big”. When he awakens the next morning, he’s big… as in an adult. The movie centers around an adolescent boy who is stuck in a man’s body- in an adult world. I remember the scene in which he meets a woman, and takes her back to his newly rented apartment- an apartment he’d filled with bunk beds, games and toys. The woman, of course, is expecting a romantic encounter… but Tom Hanks has other ideas. After a night of playing innocent child games and jumping on the bed, they fall asleep- with him on the top bunk, her on the bottom.

That, to me, is was Michael Jackson.

An adolescent stuck in a man’s body… thrown into an adult world while just a baby.

His behavior with boys was inappropriate for sure.

I do not believe, however, he preyed on them sexually, nor do I believe he ever meant to harm a single soul. To Michael, these were his intellectual equals. They were the age he was when he stopped growing, stopped maturing. When considering his small stature, his high-pitched voice and his never-altered childlike innocence, one begins to understand the Peter Pan analogies.

He never grew up.

To Michael Jackson:

You will be missed. We love you, and hope you can finally find the peace you so desperately craved.

Posted in C-Haze, Children, Memories, Music, Nostalgia, Single Mom

Childhood Memories, Nostalgia and The Last Unicorn

I love a good reminder of my childhood.

Last night, while in Wal-Mart with my black-women-In-training, I happened across the $9 movie rack.

Now you know as well as I do that this rack typically consists of nothing that anyone really wants to watch… thus the reason the movies only cost $9.

Last night was different.

I saw 2 movies that I simply had to buy.

Not for their amazing cinematography, but because they were favorites of mine as a kid.

The first being “Labyrinth” and the second, my favorite of all favorites… “The Last Unicorn”.

We watched “Labyrinth” as soon as we got home… and let me just say… it’s horrible.

Seriously- is that David Bowie??

I never made that connection for some reason…

My kids loved it… but for me, even accounting for all the warm-fuzzy feelings of nostalgia it produced, I could barely sit through it.

Horrible.

I waited until today to watch “The Last Unicorn”… mostly because I was scared it would be as awful as “Labyrinth” was, and for the sake of my childhood memories, I just wasn’t sure I could take it if that happened.

It’s animated, but Mia Farrow, Jeff Bridges and Angela Lansbury are the voices of the characters.

It’s about a lone unicorn who learns that she is the last one left… or is she?

She goes about trying to find all the other unicorns… and has a lot of adventures along the way.

This movie captivated me as a child.

I’d watch it over and over again… the backdrops, the music, the voices of the characters… I truly could not get enough of it.

I happily learned, after finally seeing it again, it has lost none of its magic.

Not a single drop.

Anything I enjoy watching at 30 as much as I enjoyed watching at 6 has to be a classic!.

I found a short clip of it on youtube.

I hope it takes you on a walk down memory lane as well.

Posted in C-Haze, Children, Funny, Humor, Music, Single Mom

The Myth of the 3D Glasses

I need to have a word with this Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana chick, as I have unwittingly had to dedicate the better part of my weekend to her.

The reason for my despair is the showing of Ms. Montana’s “Best of Both Worlds” concert in 3D on television tonight.

I, of course, have heard nothing over the past 24 hours other than my daughter’s incessant wailing- “We just have to go get the 3D glasses! We have to!”

Well I tried dammit.

I looked everywhere for those stupid glasses and have come to the conclusion that they do not exist. There is not a single store in the entire metropolitan area that still has them in stock, and no one in the city- or elsewhere, for that matter- has any more of the TV Guide issues that supposedly contained them either.

I heard a rumor that Wal-Mart had them… so I called the store closest to my house.

“Yes, I’m calling to see if you have any more of…”

The person on the other end of the line didn’t even let me finish my sentence.

“No m’am, we are out of Hannah Montana glasses”

“How the hell did you know what I was calling for? I didn’t even get a chance to tell you…” I was sort of surprised. Wal-Mart employs psychics now?

The lady just laughed at me, explaining that every single call she has taken over the last 48 hours has been an anxious parent in need of these elusive glasses. She happily informed me that no one has them, and that they sold out the first day they came in.

I think the dumb glasses are a myth, and I’d bet a week’s salary at this point that it was all just a publicity stunt… an urban legend that will likely be debunked first thing Monday morning on snopes. Millions of parents all over the country will come to realize that they were the butt of the newest Disney joke.

My daughter’s watching this much-anticipated concert even as I type, and by the way she’s acting, you’d think this teen sensation is currently in my living room- in the flesh.

I am absolutely amazed at Disney’s ability to take a kid, slap a wig on her head, and somehow turn her into an entire industry.

Sigh.

I’m in the wrong damn line of work.

Posted in C-Haze, Memories, Music, Nostalgia

Az Yet, Peter Cetera and a Hot and Bothered Me

I was being nosy yesterday morning- procrastinating, really. I should have been getting ready for work, but was instead sitting at the computer, clicking around on myspace. I happened upon an ex-friend of mine’s page (oh stop- I was NOT cyber stalking anyone!), and was absolutely astounded to hear a specific song on his playlist.

MySpace

“Last Night” by Az Yet. Man, that song does things to me. Always has, and as I learned yesterday- it definitely still does.

Actually, as I’m writing, I’m breaking into a sweat (!!).

After sitting on this guy’s page, listening to that song play over and over again, the nostalgia kicked into high gear, and I was reminded of another song by Az Yet from back in the day. The one where they remade Peter Cetera’s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”.

az yet white

Whew- that’s another good one!

Whatever happened to those guys, anyway? I remember as a freshman in college I had their CD… they were great and everyone loved them for about 15 minutes. Then they disappeared.

Back to yesterday morning- One thing led to another, and before I know it, I’m burning CDs like a mad woman. Visions of Peter Cetera and Az Yet dancing in my head…

By the time I was finished, I was still in my jammies, hadn’t even begun to get ready for work- but should have left the house about 20 minutes ago.

I didn’t care. It was worth it. Nothing gets me all hot and bothered like listening to some of those older honies like Az Yet and Peter Cetera. Well- that is nothing other than a real man, of course. However, it has unfortunately been my experience that men who miraculously appear in my living room at that perfectly magical moment, when Az Yet has finished singing “Last Night” to me are in desperately short supply. So what I’m saying is, barring that particular scenario, there’s not a lot that can turn me on more than these guys’ songs can.

Peter Cetera

I’ve always been kind of dorky where songs- music in general- are concerned. Music is probably the single thing- again, other than a real person- that can provoke such strong emotional reactions in me. Reactions that slide up and down the spectrum. Some songs, like the ones I’ve already mentioned kick the sex drive into high gear. Others make me happy or sad; occassionally they can make me laugh, cry, or even get angry. A lot of times the reactions are a result of the way the songs actually sound- they just move me. More commonly, some songs remind me of specific events or times from my past. Depending on the memory, my reactions are quite varied.

I’d bet it’s the same with most people.

Here’s to all those sexy songs, and all the sexy memories they invoke- the people who can put those words every woman wants her man to say to her on paper (for me it’s Az Yet, Boyz II Men, Peter Cetera, Babyface, Jodeci (later, K-Ci and JoJo), and Phil Collins- just to name a small few), mix it up with some amazing instrumentals (oooh- or betta yet, sing it accapella), and sound like they mean it, dammit!

Music Game  Boyz II Men    Kenny quotBabyfacequot Edmonds  But seriously

Yum!