Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
This column will run Monday and then will be absent for a week as I attend to matters in Virginia related to my mother’s recent death.
I appreciate all the many kind things said in response to this news, and wish to say that her passing comes as a kind of blessing, really, however sad it is to have her gone, as she was a very independent woman and many times warned us that she would not take kindly to losing her independence, a warning she held true to as Alzheimer’s began its ghastly and savage campaign against her. I am not necessarily superstitious, but I do feel that her spirit is freed, and I feel that we can now at last celebrate her life.
I know that some letters convey bigger issues than others, but my letter describes an impending small crisis that I feel powerless to control. I feel like I’m watching a dream pass me by in slow motion. This may not be one of the incestuous, lost-my-job, I-can’t-stand-my-wife-anymore issues, but it’s a big deal to me and my sister. Many years ago we made a solemn pact to go see Michael Jackson if he ever went back into a concert tour, no matter what the cost. Now, Michael, in his infinite wisdom, has chosen to do a concert tour in London. With these uncertain economic times (my sister has been jobless for about six weeks now and my job is on the bubble), we cannot afford to go to England to see the show. This is a disappointment, but we’re not giving up for the following reasons.
In addition to being incredibly talented, Michael Jackson created songs that were the soundtrack of my teenage years. My whole family, including my overworked mother, spent hours wearing gym socks trying to learn the moonwalk on the linoleum floor in the kitchen. My high school PE class canceled wrestling one day and we all gathered around the documentary TV usually reserved to warn us of the dangers of STDs. There, on the wooden gym floor, my fellow students and I were enthralled by the famous “Thriller” video. I listened to Michael Jackson’s music and it made me feel cool and with-it for the first time in my life. I even got a part-time job at a kosher deli when I was 13 so I could save the money to buy the parachute pants he popularized. Since everybody liked Michael Jackson, this nerdy boy felt a connection to others through Michael’s music. I can honestly say that Michael’s music inspired me to make more of myself. I spent many nights listening to it and feeling that I could do more with my life. That will always be the reason I’m so grateful to him.
Also, my sister and I both believe that Michael is one of the most generous men on the face of the earth. He has given back so much to children and charities. He is known for his generosity, but for some reason he gets slammed for rumors and innuendos. He was accused, but never prosecuted for, illicit activity. We believe that a person of his wealth and influence is an easy target for opportunists.
So, we love Michael Jackson because of his boundless talent, generosity, the priceless memories he’s given us and that fact that we think he’s been wrongly prosecuted for and acquitted of crimes that he most certainly did not commit.
Here’s where we need your advice. What do you think would be the best way to get Michael Jackson to agree to perform a concert tour in the U.S.? We have been trying to get the idea to catch fire online, but have discovered that we’re not really good with that. We have written letters, but a man as busy as Michael Jackson doesn’t get to read all of his letters. How can we start a grassroots movement to get Michael Jackson back in the country that birthed him, where his history lives and will continue to grow?
Thank you so much for your attention to this matter.
Billboard reports that the first of Michael Jackson’s planned four nights in London has been postponed and the remaining dates have been pushed into March 2010. The reasons given were the complexity of the show, etc. Right. The complexity of the show, the desire to give the fans what they want, etc. Right. Naturally.
I love the image of you and your mother trying to moonwalk on the kitchen floor. This is what performers can do for us when we are young. And you made a sacred pact to see him.
Of course I have no idea how one persuades Michael Jackson to do something, and the question in that sense seems preposterous. But that is the beauty of a fan’s love, no? Preposterous? Dreamlike? Impractical. That is the essence of the fan, is it not? Devotion, pure devotion, something which if contained elevates the soul.
I worked for a number of years writing about rock and pop performers, and it seems to me that once the tour machinery is in place, unless there are legal or business impediments we are unaware of — and there may be — it is to be expected, and it is the logic of the business, that the show, if it makes money, would come to the U.S. When? Who knows? But I would more or less expect it. Wouldn’t you? Why not?
Meanwhile, as to how you can further that, I have no idea. As to the moral and legal problems that surround him, likewise, I believe nothing, I know nothing, I have no opinions. I know more about the god Pan than I do about Michael Jackson, and I know virtually nothing about Pan.
That our outsized passion for rock stars and pop entertainers is best understood as polytheistic worship is a predictable idea, coming from me. I imagine that one’s particular attachment to Michael Jackson reflects, among other things, one’s troubled and contradictory relationship to Pan, who, incidentally, was also the god of theater. One thinks of Jackson and his animals and his purported interest in boys and children, and his genius for performance, and one thinks of Pan.
And then one thinks of money.
Makes a great gift. Can be personalized for the giftee of your choice. Signed first editions on sale now.
What? You want more advice?
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.