Tag Archives: Michael Jackson


I’m not usually a fan of the public memorial, but I sat down the other day to eat my lunch and take a peek at Michael Jackson’s.

Got completely sucked in.

(Don’t worry, BeckyLanders. There are no Thriller videos in this post, nor is it really about MJ. It’s about me. As it should be. Duh.)

It was such an interesting combination of church-concert-tribute-memories. Sad, but interesting. Brooke Shields made me cry. Marlon made me laugh. Parris broke my heart.

Then I started thinking about Michael Jackson’s legacy, which is obvious, which led to wondering about mine, which is decidedly less so.

Clearly, there’s not much resemblance between MJ and me. While he was busy being a child star, I was busy being a child. While he tore up the pop charts, I tore open the Pop Tarts. While he broke barriers, I broke fingernails. While he went platinum, I went gray.

But we both have a legacy. His is his music. Mine? I dunno.

I can narrow it down. I won’t be remembered for trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat. Or getting arrested for dog-fighting. Or dying in a vat of melted chocolate. Or becoming part of a group known as “Furries” who dress up like team mascot animals and create inappropriate spectacles of themselves at parties. (I prefer to create an inappropriate spectacle of myself dressed in jeans and sneakers. Not at all like them.) Nor will I need to be tased after biting a Sheriff’s deputy. And I definitely won’t beat a fawn to death with a shovel after finding it in my flowerbed.

Swear to God, all these were stories in my newspaper this morning. The lady who killed the fawn, by the way, said she was afraid of it and used a shovel to try to make it move. I guess she thought it would move faster if she beat it to death.

But I digress.

My legacy.

My collection of Broadway musicals in CD, VHS and DVD format? My teapot from England? My photo albums? All my unpublished writing? My closet full of mismatched sheets and towels?

While my children will get all my worldly possessions, such as they are, I’d rather leave them something else.

I hope I leave them knowing how to laugh at themselves, at the world and at other people. I don’t care who you are, other people are just funny.

I hope I leave them a sense of curiosity and whimsy.

I hope I leave them with the capacity to dust themselves off after failure and to learn from mistakes without being consumed by them.

I hope I leave them optimism tempered with a dose of cynicism and street smarts.

I hope I leave them with an appreciation of history, both theirs and the world’s.

I hope I leave them knowing they can do anything they want, as long as they want it enough to work for it like crazy.

I hope I leave them knowing that true happiness and peace comes from within.

I hope I leave them knowing practicalities of life ”” map-reading, nutrition, how to keep their clothes wrinkle-and-static-free, defensive driving, and that sharp crayons make everything better.

Actually, I hope I’ve already given them those things. But they better keep their hands off my Broadway collection. I plan on enjoying it for a very long time.

What’s your legacy?

Page 56 Story

Before I left town to visit my dad, I offered another chance to play the Page 56 Game.  I got distracted briefly by the untimely death of Michael Jackson and the zillions of Thriller dance videos moonwalking and crotch-grabbing through cyberspace. But I finally focused for eight-and-a-half minutes and pulled together all the sentences into a, ahem, story. Please don’t search too hard for a beginning, middle and an end. It’s more like a muddle. But it’s a BeckyLand muddle, which makes it fun …..

The sentences in red are the ones provided. Words in black I added. You know. To make the story flow effortlessly with perfect prose.

[Note: Turns out someone in BeckyLand ”” I’m not naming names ”” is a doofus and didn’t use all the sentences that were provided her him them. HERE is the Actual Page 56 Story.]

Mother’s House in Des Moines

Cast of characters:
• Moose ”” the monkey
• Great Basin,
• Mojave, and
• Chihuahuan ”” three jazz trumpeters from Arizona, known in jazz parlance as “rain-shadow deserts” because they drench their listeners with sweet melody until it seeps into the earth.
• Sticky ”” one of Mother’s former students who owns a monkey-sitting business
• Dave ”” creative writer, thinking of joining the military
• Mother ”” teacher, mother of Dave

“He’s looking for you,” Sticky whispered ever so quietly in Dave’s ear (as he’d been keeping a watchful eye on the little rascal since the monkey had landed with a thump on his fuzzy orange rump).

“He is cute, but I can’t have a crush on him because he’s way too old, like twenty-eight or something.” Dave said. “Plus, I’m thinking of joining the Army. And he’s a rhesus monkey.”

Dave understood that creativity was an economic force long before the twentieth century, but not as it pertained to the military. He, Sticky and Mother accepted their creative limitations, but the other three ”” the Great Basin, the Mojave, and the Chihuahuan ”” are classic rain-shadow deserts. They lifted their trumpets to their mouths, but before they could sound a note, Mother jabbed her knitting needles in the air and said, “Go on, get dressed, Moose…”

Her shoes and stockings were still downstairs by the fireplace so Moose wiggled into them.

In Des Moines, a live radio broadcast covered the progress of 600 men of the 168th Infantry from East First Street across the Grand Avenue Bridge to Union Station. Dave sighed, voicing the same old should-I-enlist arguments in his head. “Such a sweet uniform, and patches ”” so many patches ”” but little time will be left me to ponder upon my destiny!”

A commotion distracted him. The three musicians were fighting over the wii.

“Hit the mountain lion in the head, especially around the eyes and mouth.”

“Rubber bands?”

“No! With the spider web blaster!”

As Mother dabbed a few tears of joy from her rosy cheeks and chuckled, “Spider legs!” one of us, as a final thought, said her fondest memory had to be the one of Mom cheerfully knitting us those slippers with the big pom-poms.

Every teacher of middle age or more can count up instances of highly successful former students who, as freshmen or sophomores, even juniors or seniors, seemed silly beyond all hope of reclamation.

And today was no exception in Mother’s house in Des Moines.

Don’t Stop ”˜Til You Get Enough

I was minding my own business over the weekend, reading the Denver Post while nursing a lovely cup of coffee, when I saw a blurb about prisoners in the Philippines doing the Thriller dance. Now, trust me when I say I had every intention of letting the Michael Jackson news fade away from Beckyland.

Alas, I was lying to myself. In my defense, I didn’t know that Filipino prisoners ”” and so many others ”” have created YouTube videos of the Thriller dance.

Take a look at these.

Filipino Prisoners Thriller … The only scary thing about this is the guy in drag playing the girl from the video.


Sobe Lizards Thriller …


Wedding Party Thriller …you wouldn’t believe how bridal parties choreograph the Thriller dance! Almost makes me want to get married again.


Bollywood Thriller … what they lack in expertise, they make up for in speed


And it wouldn’t be BeckyLand if I didn’t have a Marching Band Thriller … always funny to see a marching band dance! Thrilling even! Skip ahead about 40 seconds or so.


World Record Thriller … that’s a lot of college zombies


Toddler Thriller … if she had a little bit of gray hair, I’d swear it was me dancing.


Marine Thriller … truly secure in his manly military bearing.


Star Wars Thriller … sorry – I can’t stop!


Thriller Hungary … I think they wanted to show off their costumes for a bit because it doesn’t actually start till about 1:40


Flash Mob Thriller … two of my favorite things



Of White Gloves And Red Swimsuits

Another chunk of my youth slipped away. Farrah, then Michael.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who wanted to look like her and dance like him. I fell disastrously short on both counts.

There’s only one Farrah Fawcett.


I won’t pretend to understand Michael Jackson’s demons, but by jinkeys, that man could dance. [For some reason today the Jacko videos are disabled, but they’re still on YouTube, so I’ve just added the links to copy/paste.]



If you want a trip down Michael Jackson Lane, here’s what made MTV famous.

Beat It …



Billie Jean …



And the entire gloriously creepy Thriller video …



Thanks for weaving your threads through the tapestry of my life, old friends.

Remember where you were when you saw Thriller for the first time?