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Some thoughts and memories of Michael Jackson February 20, 2010

Nearly eight months ago the world lost one of its greatest entertainers, Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson was the bestselling artist of all time. He died in June 2009.

For me, personally, many things come to mind when I think of Michael Jackson. First of all, a flood of memories come back. I believe the first time I ever  listened to him was when I was a freshman in highschool in 2001. I went to a private religious (lutheran) and the Invincible album came out, along with that television special that he did with his brothers, the Jackson 5 as well as Usher and Chris Tucker. I never watched it until his death when it re-aired on either BET or TVONE.

Also, that year we would have chapel and there was this chemistry teacher who would frequently give the chapel lesson. He would use the moniker of this fake movie called “Cash Money.” “Cash Money” would act like a mafioso – you didn’t pay him back, you would face consequences. Usually when cash money was about to give someone a beat-down, Beat It would be the ambient music.

That year, I got a Squire by Fender black jazz bass guitar for Christmas. One day I found Beat It while looking for bass tabs on the internet, so I printed it and tried it because it looked so easy. I also downloaded the song so I could play along. I think I got okay with the song, but not nearly as good as the bassist on that recording.

Later on, all those allegations about him being inappropriate with a child came out. Call it looking back in remorse or whatever, but it was wrong of me both as a devout Christian and US citizen to prejudge him and continually say that he was guilty when he was not. I looked at the evidence and the evidence does not render a verdict of “guilty.” It is wrong to prejudge ANYONE.

Then he died.

The weird thing is that day, and the days before he died, I remember those days rather clearly.

I was in summer school at the time, and I remember talking to one of my best friends, Briana, at her birthday party. We were at the symphony and were talking about the next big article that I wanted to do. She, being the good friend that she is, told me that I would get another mega-article.

Little did I know that a week later, that mega article would come in the form of the death of the King of Pop unfortunately.

That day is a day that I will never forget. Like I said, I was in summer school when the whole thing happened. That day I was having an interesting day because I was facing a deadline for another article. I got on the internet before class and heard the news about Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett passing away, but there was nothing about Michael Jackson. After that, I got on my facebook page (I used to have one, but no longer do) and saw my friend’s status that read “OMG Michael Jackson died” and then saw a conflicting status that said he was at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, but that nothing serious had happened. I believed the latter.

By the time I had arrived at a vocal lesson, my voice teacher had the tv on and was apparently watching the news. As usual we traded niceties and she told me about Jackson’s death.  I was rather shocked and it put a damper on the lesson as a whole.

When I got home, it was ALL OVER the news – there were at least 2 Barbara Walters specials about his death and Farrah’s death. Out of curiousity, I did want to watch them but was unable to due to the fact that I had a spanish test the next day.

The next morning, my friend Jenny called me because she was helping me with the previous article that I was working on. I had it on the local R&B station and they were talking about and playing his music and they were playing either Thriller or Smooth Criminal. I lamented to Jenny about what I had heard about Michael Jackson, how it was a major loss to ALL the music world – not just pop/rock (Jenny likes lots of classical music as well as country and maybe some rock, but mostly her world is classical). I even told her a few memories in regards to the artist in which she responded with her trademark phrase “good times, good times!”

Suprisingly enough, it was not really addressed at school in class. But I knew I was going to write something about Jackson’s death, so I decided to try to write something on facebook, but failed. So instead I decided (and got permission) to write a tribute article concerning Michael Jackson.

So with the editor’s blessing, I conjured up a tribute/career highlights article and, literally, stayed glued to the television the whole weekend. All the news networks, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, as well as all the music channels Mtv, Mtv2, MtvTres, VH1, VH1 Classic, and Fuse had constant videos and/or news concerning his death. Also, someone on youtube posted Captain EO in its entirety. So I watched it.

Then Sunday came and I went to church.  You would think that people would be talking about it after church – mainly those that grew up listening to Jackson’s music. Some did but the conversation was initiated by me, especially when I talked to my friend J., who apparently listened to him as a child. J, being a few years older than I, recalled that she listened to him as a child and that his music brought back childhood memories.

The next few days were rather rushed. I had to publish the article on time – the one about Michael Jackson, and also had another article about UH Concert Chorale going to Wales. Both the Michael Jackson tribute article and the Concert Chorale Wales article were in the same issue of the Daily Cougar!

The memorial service was another entity in itself that week and I ended up covering a celebration of his life at UH. It was a great and memorable celebration.

 

Stuff Christians like website……yes people there is one! January 29, 2010

Christian radioI found a rather interesting website. It is sorta like stuff white people like but its for christians. Though I am a rather devout Christian, I just thought I would share some personal commentary on some of these subjects.

  1. Famous Christian people – My personal favorite has always been Amy Grant. I think she has powerful lyrics (see: the both the entire Unguarded (1985) and Lead Me On (1988) albums and you will hear what I mean.)
  2. Saving seats in church – This one actually has some sad truth to this. This is really destructive and can make others feel left out or unwelcomed at church. I try not to do this, but always fail.
  3.  rooting for the christian on American Idol – ATTENTION ALL CHRISTIANS: AMERICAN IDOL SUCKS! It makes me wonder if true creativity is dead on all fronts of musicdom.
  4. not dancing – Growing up in a Southern Baptist church, this one was quite common. Apparently for some people dancing=sex when here is a thought: David danced before the Lord. Now the church I attend has dancers in the worship service – but I am a terrible dancer and I fear my dancing will end up on youtube. Acutally though I have a funny story for this one. I was at a the Amy Grant Lead Me On 20th Anniversary concert one time and, during the song Everywhere I Go, she asked everyone to get up and start dancing. However this was a rather interesting dance that just involved you bending your knees and lifting one foot after another off the ground. She explained that if this were to further progress, it would be “blasphemous” according to her late grandmother. (She was raised in the Church of Christ) It was a very funny moment from an excellent concert.
  5. Chick-fil-a is not a christian company. They may think that they are and maybe were founded by one. However, when you have to experience working there and all 3 of your bosses do not adequately train you and you mess up=they get pissed, that is not very Christ-like now is it?
  6. Christian radio – Though hopefully I will be working at a radio station like this one day, I think we need a big change in christian radio. The personalities could be a bit more honest.
  7. Not forgiving Amy Grant nearly fast enough – Every single time I bring her up with someone who either grew up listening to her (like me) or is a member of any church, there is always 2 categories that they fall in: those who have forgiven her (like me) and listen to her music and those who are still judging her. To the latter I have a word for you STOP JUDGING HER! Her divorce is in the past and God already forgave her when he sent his son to die on the cross for all sins, mine included as well as yours! Also, it is not right to judge such a public figure like that because, well, you honestly don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, such as the fact that her ex-husband had a drug problem and was jealous of her success – as seen in the Age to Age tour video. I am sorry but if I were her, I would leave that guy too.
  8. anxiously awaiting autotune to infect christian music – The last bastion of music that gave us greats like Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, and Nicole Nordeman should NEVER consider using autotune.
 

Changes that should be made at the House of Mouse: Disney January 12, 2010

The other day, I purchased The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2010. For those of you that love the Walt Disney Company (like I do), I highly recommend this book because, aside from things like hotel accomodations, it gives a little bit of inside info in regards to the parks and what may become extinct soon.

Reading the book, I could not help but come up with some ideas for the Walt Disney Company.

Disneyworld:

This is one great place that Disney could make some changes.

Epcot:

  • Where the Wonders of Life pavillion used to be, make another ride. One idea that would work well would be a 4D spectacular ride called Space Paranoids – based on the 1982 Disney cult classic and video game Tron and the December 2010 release of its sequel, Tron Legacy. It would take elements of the Toy Story Midway Mania ride and expand on them. The preshow area would consist of narration and instruction by a man named Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) and there you would recieve your 4D helmets which would come in adjustable sizes. The interior of the place would look alot like Flynn’s arcade in the original movie. These helmets would look like the ones in the new movie – complete with surround sound and a clear shield that would show you things such as targets. The preshow area and helmets would be designed by the original Tron designers Syd Mead, Peter Lloyd, and Jean Giraud (a.k.a Moebius). The ride would start off as a virtual track ride where each participant would ride in a light-cycle and would be guided by bit, who can only tell you in yes-or-no fashion whether a data bit is safe to merge with. The second game in the ride would be the light-cycle race, where (in virtual form) the object of the game is to cut off the other light-cycle. The last one standing would be the winner. In the final game, it would be a shooter style game where you shoot down enemy spacecraft. The helmets would look like what is seen in this trailer.

Epcot World Showcase

  • Another country needs to be added. My recommendation would be Australia so that you could do the outside exterior of the Sydney Opera House which would house The Rescuers Down Under ride.  There, you could add a Rescuers Down Under-style 4D show where Cody, Bernard, Miss Bianca, and Marahute rescue a red kangaroo from the clutches of fur-hunters. The Sydney Opera House structure at Epcot could also house other live acts such as Austrailian cover bands that would cover such artists such as Rebecca St. James, Men at Work, Kylie Minogue, Keith Urban, INXS, AC/DC, and Olivia Newton-John. As far as retail shops go, a Billabong surf shop would be a great aspect to the Australia pavillion. They would offer shipping of your surfboard or skateboard (should you choose to purchase one) to anywhere in the world. Swim and skatewear would also be sold. Next door there would be a shop where children could purchase toys such as boomerangs, rugby balls, stuffed kangaroos, as well as Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed up as surfers. For dining, 2 restaurants – one being a fine dining/bar and the other being a quick-service restaurant would be a great choice. These choices would be Uncle Tony’s Kebab’s, an actual fast food restaurant based in Australia that serves kebabs but in this case would also serve vegemite sandwiches, and Quay.
  • The Germany Pavillion would have a new live-music act entitled 99 Luftballoons that would play popular music from Germany. Included in their setlist would be the german version of 99 Red Ballons by Nena and both Der Kommisar and Rock Me Armadeus by Falco.
  • The England pavillion would lose the cover band “The British Invasion”- a Beatles tribute band in favor of a ride entitled Yellow Submarine – based on the upcoming Disney film of the same title, which has been in talks by Disney for a remake directed by Robert Zemeckis. To replace the cover band, there would be a Top of the Pops-style show that would feature 1 band that would cover lots of British artists and bands such as the Eurythmics, Coldplay, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Oasis, The Clash, Yes, the Who, Queen, Kate Bush, Duran Duran, the Pretenders, etc.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formely MGM studios)

  • The Great Movie Ride, while it is a good ride on its own, needs a little updating. It was suggested in the forementioned travel guide that they are thinking of getting rid of the soundstage set for Alien (1979) and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). In place of those soundstages, some suggested great assets to these sets would be the soundstages for Poltergeist (1982), Blade Runner (1982), and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (2005).  Some suggested scenes that could be used would be the scenes from Poltergeist where Carol Ann Freeling is getting messages from the static in the tv and exclaims “They’re heeree!” , the scene where mom gets possessed , or when Carol Ann gets rescued . The most appropriate scene from Blade Runner would be the following scene . Any scene would do from The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
  • Get rid of Sounds Dangerous starring Drew Carey. Instead, why not a show about how special effects are done?

The Magic Kingdom

  • Get rid of Stitch’s Great Escape. Replace it with a 3D space adventure-motion simulator ride.
 

Happy Festivus! December 23, 2009

Alas, another year has come to pass and once again we as a nation are brought to this day, 23 of December, better known to all Seinfeld fans (like myself) as “Festivus.”

If you are not familiar with the holiday of Festivus, the holiday has a rich history that starts with a man, Frank Costanza, who explains here in this video how festivus came to pass:

Instead of using a Christmas tree, it is required that you use an aluminum pole so that participants won’t be distracted by the tinsel.

“The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances.”

With that said, it is now time for 2009’s Airing of Grievances!

  • Ex boyfriend: Things were going just fine between us and then you had to break it off just days before one night in heaven event, my birthday, and valentines day. You suck!
  • Facebook and whoever posted U2 concert photos on that site: You became an addiction for me. I had to rid myself of you because frankly I do not care about who posted U2 concert photos. Furthermore, I do not care that the rich church-fakery-playboy named Matt Ferstler went to the U2 concert and was in that little circle. He probably paid off the band or his rich daddy did! Thanks for rubbing it in of what I don’t have and what some don’t deserve!
  • People who leave me out of things such as invites, parties, etc: I may understand if we are not close, but I frankly don’t need to know about your dumb party all over facebook. Thank you for not inviting me, you suck!
  • The band “Heart” a.k.a “Ann and Nancy Wilson:” In 2008, you put on a rockin’ show at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion with Journey and Cheap Trick. The air was hot (as it is in Houston when it is summertime) but the concert was cheap for lawn seats – $29.oo for me and my friend Caitlyn to go. In 2009 you come back to Houston, TX to the Htown Arena Theater with just the band and no other acts like Journey or Cheap Trick and you jack up the ticket prices to a whopping $65!  So guess who could not go to your concert? Two great fans of yours named Christina (me) and Caitlyn! Thanks! Other than that your music still rocks!
  • Jon and Kate Gosselin (of the tv show “Jon and Kate Plus 8): Kate you must change your attitude! You are mean on that show and mega-harsh!
  • The “De-friend” option on facebook: Oh how I love to know that people I thought were my friend were, well, not!
  • Healthcare public option: There is a reason that people come from all over the world for healthcare. Yes, systems have flaws and our private healthcare is no different; but getting the government involved will not solve any issues, but will make things worse. Just look at how other countries are having troubles with public healthcare, therefore their citizens are coming to the USA.

Now all of you must try to wrestle. Don’t knock yourselves over.