I've noticed that several other blogs have beaten me to the topic I meant to blog about a couple of days ago: the media coverage of Michael Jackson's death. I grieve for him, I really do, for the enormous talent he had, for the impact he had on music around the world, for what seems a wasted life. His personal life became so bizarre, and he seemed to waste his talent, and it's hard to overlook that. There were other celebrity deaths last week--Farah Fawcett, who fought a brave, public, and open battle against cancer; Ed McMahon (spelling?) who remained fairly active into his later years though apparently in financial troubles; Billy Mays who sold everything he could on TV (did you know there are now stores called As Seen on TV and they sell lots of the products Mays pushed? I found that amazing); and a great impersonator, whose name escapes me. But for days, the news was all about Michael Jackson--four solid days on the TODAY show, which I really like, plus often the lead story on NBC nightly news, and every time I opened the newspaper there was the blaring headline, pages devoted to the story. Today I've noticed it slowing down a bit but there will continue to be news about the custody of his children, the legal battle over his destitute estate, and so on. Meantime I wanted to know what was going on in Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, all the troubled places of the world; what was happening to the health care reform bill, the energy bill? All those were buried in the back pages of a thin newspaper. It's not original for me to say that Americans have skewed their sense of values, but I feel it nonetheless. We are still losing soldiers in the Middle East, we face terrible threats from North Korea and other countries, our economy is in a mess, an unbelievable number of our citizens are without health care or insurance, and we're reading about Michael Jackson. I give up!
I thought Jordan and Jacob were coming for supper tonight, but luckily I hadn't done much advance preparation for a lovely meal. It turned out Jordan was going to a happy hour and I was feeding Jacob. She did come back a little after 7:30 and eat her dinner, which made Jacob finish a bit more of his. Lesson learned: don't give him blue berries with his dinner. I had been doing that because he loves them and they're good for him, but he eats the blueberries and ignores the broccoli, mashed potatoes, and chopped sirloin.
Two weeks from today is my last day as director of the press. I will still be doing contract work, primarily acquisitions but maybe some editing, but I will no longer be "the director." It's a funny feeling, and yet I'm looking forward to retirement with a great deal of joy.