When I heard that Michael Jackson died, I remembered back to a sleepover at my friend Theresa McCoy's house when I was in 5th or 6th grade. We played the board game Life with modified rules, so that you could marry and divorce specific folks. Michael Jackson was one of the potential husbands, and my friends (Theresa, Lorraine, probably Stephanie, and I don't remember who else) got mad at me cause I wouldn't divorce Michael after I had "married" him. As you can surmise, I thought he was great. That he was black didn't seem to matter -- I was at an integrated school and had friends of both races (and at a sleepover in the "black" section of town -- Theresa's father was African-American and mother was Japanese). He was SO cute, his songs were catchy and he could dance. I continued to have a huge crush on him until he started getting too weird.
I can't add much new here, but I will (like others) note how much I enjoyed Michael Jackson's amazing singing, dancing, and overall performance skills during his early career. Off the Wall was , still is, one of my favorite albums. Yes, I still use that word, despite the changes in technology. Thriller was pretty great too, and some of the Jackson 5 and earlier solo tunes (ABC, I'll Be There, The Love You Save, even Ben).
Even here in India, there is wall to wall coverage of his death. The good thing is that we get the chance, again, to hear and see him before the weirdness set in, although we are also getting to see that more sordid part of his life. I hadn't seen the clips of the Jackson 5 in so long (but now I know that I should watch them from time to time on YouTube), I had forgotten about the cute afro, the motown coordinated dances, and the laughable outfits from the very beginning. I have to say that I prefer those to the later thong outside the pants look along with the re-sculpted face. That beautiful little boy (and the charmer on the over of Off the Wall) mutated into someone scary. So while we will miss his performances, in some ways it will be easier to focus on the great performer, musician and dancer in our memories.
On another topic, congrats to Jonny Flynn for getting drafted #6 in the NBA draft -- a big success from Niagara Falls! Now, making it in the NBA is the hard part, but as he noted (with tremendous poise) in the post-draft interviews, adjusting to the off court life is probably harder than the challenges on the court.