Saturday, June 27, 2009

Confessions: My First Celebrity Crush

It was with great and genuine sadness this week that I learned of the passing of my first celebrity crush:
Michael Jackson.

I fell in love with Michael in 1983, when I was 8 years old. My love for him continued throughout the third grade and into the fourth. I was known throughout my school as the "crazy Michael Jackson girl." I wore one white glove to school for months. My mother had to forcibly restrain me from wearing it to church.

The elementary school I attended was made up of mostly African-American students. I remember my first encounter with racism: an older girl cornered me on the playground and told me that I wasn't allowed to love Michael Jackson because I was white. I thought of Michael and his love for all children, and told her that I was too, allowed, and she should just leave me alone.

My father gamely endured most of my feminine squeals over how "cute" Michael was, and helped me appreciate his music. Dad bought me Off the Wall as well as Thriller, and listened to it all with me. "Human Nature" was the first popular song to move me to tears. His videos thrilled me, though I couldn't watch the full video for Thriller until I was 27.

By the time "Bad" was released in 1987, I was over my crush on Michael. As the years went on, I progressed from teen pop to metal to grunge to alternative, but those Michael Jackson cassettes lived on in my collection. As things got stranger and Michael became almost unrecognizable, I remembered the music and the joy it gave me, and tried not to believe most of what I was hearing (though I couldn't deny what I was seeing).

About two months ago, I downloaded a collection of Michael Jackson music from iTunes. I put several of my old favorites into my "Music I Love" playlist and have been rediscovering my love for this music.

As we were leaving Branson on Friday, I plugged in my iPod, set to random, and "Human Nature" was the first song to play. Sven looked at me and asked, "So are we listening to Michael Jackson all day today because he died?"

"No," I answered, a little lump in my throat. "I just like this song."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Eyewitness Confirms: Chivalry Not Dead

Deb News Service, Branson, MO: It was reported at 9:25 this evening that chivalry, long thought to be extinct, is in fact alive and well, at least according to one Missouri tourist.

"It was amazing," the unnamed woman exclaimed. "I've seen polite behavior, and I always appreciate it, but chivalry? This was a first for me."

The story began at Garfield's restaurant, a local eatery popular with the tourist crowd. One Texas family had gathered there with friends to celebrate their visit. Suddenly, things went wrong.

"The meal was almost over, and the waiter brought out balloons," explained Blondie Spielberg, a friend of the family who was there for the meal. "Dexy [the baby boy] was fine, but Princess [the three-year-old girl] didn't want the balloon string around her wrist."

What happened next was the stuff of nightmares.

The balloon, untethered, escaped the child's grip and became lodged in the corner of the 12-foot ceiling.

"Of course we couldn't get it," the mother of the little girl snapped. "It was too high."

"I thought we would get another balloon from the waiter as we left," Spielberg continued. "I didn't think it would be a big deal."

She was wrong.

As they were leaving, with tears of anguish still streaking down the cheeks of young Princess, a bespectacled youth, somewhere between 7-9 years of age, approached the company and wordlessly handed his balloon to Princess.

"Thank you," she gulped.

"I got teary-eyed," the mother confessed. "He didn't have to do that, there were plenty of balloons, but he wanted to make her feel better."

"His dad gave him a high-five," Spielberg elaborated. "This was obviously a boy who's being raised right."

"He came back after a few seconds to remind me to tie it around her wrist," the mother added with a shamefaced smile. "Princess was thrilled."

"It just goes to show you," Ms. Spielberg, a stunningly beautiful blonde who, despite all appearances to the contrary, works behind the camera, stated: "chivalry isn't dead."

---Deb News Service Staff

Monday, June 22, 2009

Deb's Travel Journal: Arkansas

I love Arkansas. It is the only state where I can go into Walmart wearing bedroom slippers, no make-up, and a greasy hairdo and still hold my own, attractiveness-wise.

It is also the state that allowed me to visit an actual, functioning outhouse. Today.

(Disclaimer: for those of you of the male persuasion who read my blog, the following contains sensitive terms regarding certain aspects of life exclusive to women. Explicit terms such as "cramps" and "breeze" will be used. Read on at your own peril.)

Whilst traveling the "scenic" route from Hot Springs to Harrison, I became aware that I had the need to visit a comfort station. My "friend" came to "visit" Sunday, the day we left Texas, but, curiously, her "welcome" is already worn. I only mention this to illustrate that my "calls of nature" have become "emergency bulletins," and I received one in the proverbial "middle of nowhere." I, following the primitive instincts that have allowed our species to thrive, alerted Sven, who was driving. My man would take care of it, I knew.

Sven, ever alert, saw this sign: "Comfort Station 1000 feet." It had a picture of the international restroom symbols. I thought all would be well.

How wrong I was.

We found ourselves in a parking lot. There was a sidewalk. At the end of the sidewalk was a small brick building. Each half of the building had an inexplicable smokestack-like protuberance emerging from its roof.

I approached the building with supplies in my hand and trepidation in my heart.

At the door, dead wasps. What could have killed them? I wondered, but hastened in to perform what was necessary.

The door slammed shut behind me, making a sound reminiscent of a jail cell slamming shut.

There was no electricity. There was no sink. There were three rolls of toilet paper padlocked to the wall.

Then, I saw it. The apparatus.

I cannot call it a toilet. To call it a toilet would give you, my dear reader, the wrong impression.

It was a plastic pickle drum with a seat.

Beneath it: the hole.

I couldn't study the hole too closely. The lack of tank and handle unnerved me, but I soldiered on, necessity making me brave.

It must be some sort of "port-a-potty," I thought. Surely, I won't be sitting over some hole in the middle of the woods. That would simply be...barbaric.

Yet, I felt the breeze. I know the truth.

I shall speak of this no more. Heed me, my friends. Route 7 is not the way of those accustomed to comfort. It is for the bold. The adventurous.

It is not for me.