Happy 50th Birthday Michael Jackson, Rest in Peace

Today Michael Jackson turns 50 years old, and I think at this point it is safe to say he won’t be going on “The Jesus Juice Tour” and resurrecting his career any time soon. There was a time when I liked him as an artist, but never thought he was “The King of Pop”. Being deemed the King of Pop is like Skittles being the King of Bite Sized Candies. It’s debatable, and a meaningless title anyway. (For the record, if there has to be a King of Bite Sized Candies, it’s M & M’s.)

Then, he got freakishly weird, and began to put out dated, unimaginative music, sometimes with lyrics about stuff he knew nothing about, like passionate love for a woman, but a lot of times he just wanted everyone to “stop bothering him,” and “leave him alone.” By that time, I was much more fascinated by his lawsuits and the bizarre, self-created de-evolution of his face.

He’s been dead for a few years now. Not really dead, in the way Amy Winehouse will probably end up, but dead to the media, dead in the music world. I kind of miss that, but what I miss more is watching him do what he did best for a time.

The transformation of Michael Jackson’s face

Hitler’s Shindig

I was going through the family photo album and I came across some old snapshots of when I used to hang out with Adolf. This one in particular is from when he threw a pool party. Actually, the pool was more like a trench he made some of the guys dig, and as for it being a party…well, let’s just say that Hitler’s parties may not have always been fun, but you wouldn’t soon forget them.

The way parties went at A’s house, you really didn’t get to relax for the first few hours. He orchestrated every action of every guest. You had to talk to the people he wanted you to mingle with, eat whatever and whenever he wanted you to eat, and sit where he wanted you to sit. It wasn’t that annoying when he threw a dinner party, because we would all be at a table. But the garden parties and pool parties were horrible, because he would shout out instructions to you from where ever he was at the time. If he was in the house, and you were talking to the wrong person, he would open the window and yell instructions at you. Pain in the ass.

Anyway, this pool party was a little different. It was an unusually hot summer day, and A was a little tired. He had been up pretty late, working on Mein Kampf. So he just sat in a lawn chair under a tree with his dog, Fritz (named after Fritz Thyssen). Fritz was a good dog, and pretty loyal too. The only problem was that he wasn’t much in terms of protection because A had a friend of his who was a dentist file his teeth down until they were flat. A always thought the dog might turn on him one day, and if and when the day came, Hitler would suffer minimal harm. As a result, whenever Fritz would bare his teeth he would look kind of like Gregory Hines, now that I think about it.

So on this particular day, Hitler indulged in a couple of pints of pilsner, and we could all see he was starting to get loose. He started asking why no one was getting into the “pool” and saying stuff about us letting a nice day go to waste. Well, no one really wanted to splash around in a trench just to make him happy. So somebody said, “Why don’t you get in the pool, Moe?” Usually that would get him riled up, because everyone knew A didn’t swim because he wasn’t about to let us see him in swimwear. I’m sure you heard that he only had one testicle. Well, the real embarrassment was not that he only had one, but that the one he had was the size of three testicles. It was something none of us realized until he put on swimwear at the beach one day. It was like a misshapen mango. We never discussed it amongst ourselves.

But this day, A was so tipsy that the suggestion to splash around didn’t seem unreasonable to him. He stood up, took a swig of beer and broke into song. Funny thing about Hitler that few people know is that when he would get drunk he would sing blues songs. Not just any blues songs, but the songs of Ma Rainey. It was funny because he didn’t speak English, but once someone translated the meanings of some of the lyrics for him, he was a big fan. A big closet fan. One of the songs he loved to sing was Shave ‘Em Dry Blues. To hear him sing those vulgar lyrics in English with his accent would have us rolling on the floor.

He jumped into the trench with Fritz and started singing Ma Rainey. This time he’s singing a song he’s just learned, “Sweet Rough Man”. We all had a great laugh, watching him splash around with all his clothes on, dancing and singing. When he got to the end of the song, he climbed out of the trench, grabbed a towel and started to dry off with his clothes on. He then announced that he was going to strip down to his underwear to dry off, that he was among friends, and he wasn’t ashamed of his testicular defect. Hell, if he didn’t care, we didn’t care. It’s not like we were going to gawk or anything. We did, however gawk when he drunkenly “dropped trou” and revealed that he was wearing a pair of ladies’ bloomers. Apparently, he’d forgotten he was wearing them, and now he was standing in front of us, with his t-shirt and his panties on.

There was another one of those buzz-killing silences that we had begun to get used to, as his eyes darted around the yard, measuring the shock and amusement on each of our faces. Then he shrieked like a schoolgirl, and ran into the house. A few minutes later, he opened the window and said, “Why are you still here? This party is over! Get out! Get out!”

And we did.

Don’t Tease Hitler!

(Another in a series of Wicked Ramblings and Bold Faced Lies)

One of the best-kept secrets of the modern world is my relationship with Adolf Hitler. It was a volatile relationship, and looking back I actually cannot say my life was more full having known him.

People often say, “Man, being friends with Hitler must have been really difficult.” That has got to be the understatement of the century. As with any famous person, when you know that person on an intimate level, you get to know their idiosyncrasies. It’s just like me and Eva Braun used to say: the man had some shit with him.

The most annoying thing about Hitler was that he really couldn’t take a joke. I always thought that was odd, you know, with the moustache and all. I mean, anyone who decides that they are going to grow a moustache like that has to have a sense of humor, right? The only other person with a ridiculous moustache like that was Moe from the Three Stooges. As a matter of fact, I always thought that Moe was really a tribute to the Fuehrer. You know, the tough guy in charge, whose plans would always go sour at the end. When things would go wrong for A., and he’d start bossing everyone around, we’d laugh at him and call him Moe. One of the things that would piss him off was when no one would listen to him, and someone would say, “Aw A., why don’t you shut up, you stupid, Moe Howard-looking jerk.” He couldn’t stand that. He’d go into a rage, spittle spewing everywhere.

I remember during one of these insult-fests I chimed in and said that he shouldn’t get so mad, because if you thought about it on a deeper level, The Three Stooges were tragicomedic icons, and maybe it’s not so bad that he reminds us of a character like Moe. Man, he went off! Tears welled up in his eyes, and he was screaming about how he’d show us all and we’d see how funny he was when we were all dead. His voice was cracking and everything. I was waiting for him to say, “sike” or “just kidding” or something, but the tirade kind of petered out with him standing in the middle of the floor, out of breath from shrieking threats at everyone in the room, and wiping spit off of his chin and his stupid-looking moustache.

When he was done the room was so quiet I think I heard a mouse fart. No one really knew what to say, because no one expected him to go that far. I remember thinking, “Oh, so that’s how it is. I try to make you feel better about the fact that you remind us of Moe because you insist on trimming your moustache like a fool, and this is what I get. Now you’re going to kill us all. We’ll see who does what to whom….asshole.” I wasn’t about to actually utter those sentiments because, we’re talking about Hitler here. You never know with him.

Eva was the one who finally broke the tension by announcing that dinner was almost ready. Normally, we dreaded it when she would make dinner, because she was a horrible cook. She would make Sauerbraten and boiled potatoes, and she would always add a cup of sugar and a whole box of raisins to the gravy. She would say she didn’t like the tangy taste of the meat and gravy. Well, duh Eva, it’s Sauerbraten! If you don’t like it, make a plain old pot roast and stop giving us stomach cramps by serving crap that tastes like a beef Cinnabon! But we always ate it to keep from hurting A’s feelings, although I think one of the reasons he became vegetarian was because of her bad cooking. Nevertheless, that was one night that we ate her dinner gratefully, and praised the meal, because it saved us from Adolf’s temper.