Saturday, June 27, 2009
I'm not allowed to give you any more information just yet, but I'll tell you this - he's working so hard that he's fallen sick. Watch this space for updates.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Like everyone else on the planet, I am a huge fan of MJ. I wholeheartedly agree that he died too young. However, for someone who always strived to be young, to be Peter Pan, his death has made us look at him in a different light. It’s true that we only miss and value something when we lose it.
Jackson’s personal troubles won’t overshadow his legacy as a musician and performer. The good will always outweigh the bad.
When he was alive we called him Wacko Jacko and dissected his every move, watching and expecting juicy gossip and scandals. Pretty much like what we did to Princess Diana. Now that he’s gone, we look at him with love and affection, and we warmly remember only the good that he gave us. Michael was not just a singer. He was an entertainer. There is a world of difference between the two.
Michael was US $400 million in debt, on the cusp of a final comeback after well over a decade of scandal. He received a daily injection of a synthetic narcotic similar to morphine – Demerol, to combat the pain from rehearsing for a massive 50 gig tour. Tickets sold out within 5 hours of counters being open.
How do you put into words the way you feel when the news is flashed around the world: "Michael Jackson Is Dead?"
For many it was too shocking to absorb.
You tell yourself it's a mistake. Then the confirmation of his death spread across the Internet, and people around the world shared their grief at his passing. Millions felt the void in their lives that I did.
Beside his musical talent, Jackson was a cultural phenomenon & ground breaker as the very first African-American to reach the status of global mega-celebrity.
In doing so, in the early 80’s, he paved the way for others African-Americans global stars such as the plethora of Hip Hop stars, Tiger Wood, Oprah Winfrey and even to some extent President Obama.
His life may have become overwhelmed by odd behaviour and scandalous accusations for the last 15 years, but there is simply no disputing Michael Jackson’s legacy as a titan of the music industry and an icon of pop culture around the world.
Skyrocketing to stardom at 5 years of age, the “King of Pop” would go on to sell more than 750 million albums worldwide, set world records for awards won and quite simply become the definitive performer for an entire generation.
It was his zeal when performing that gave Jackson’s music such universal appeal. It was the passion in his music. When he made music, it didn’t just pinpoint one race. He made music for everybody.
In that spirit, here’s my personal tribute to Michael Jackson:
100 facts about the king of pop
1. Michael Jackson's favourite animated character was Pinocchio
2. When he was a child his favourite books included Rip Van Winkle and The Old Man and the Sea
3. Michael was very ticklish
4. Saint Vincent, an island in the Caribbean, once issued Michael Jackson stamps
5. The singer once owned a boa constrictor called “Muscles”
6. As a youngster he used to put spiders in sister La Toya’s bed
7. He played a scarecrow in The Wiz, a movie version of the Wizard of Oz
8. He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (one for himself and one as part of the Jackson Five)
9. Quincy Jones nicknamed him “smelly” – a slang term similar to “funky”
10. Jackson described his own voice on early Jackson 5 records as “like Minnie Mouse”
11. He was a big fan of The Three Stooges
12. He was an Exeter City fan
13. He had two llamas called Louis and Lola
14. His album Thriller spent 37 weeks at number one in the US Billboard chart.
15. In 1984 he won eight Grammy’s – the joint highest amount ever won by one person in a single year
16. He gave his first public performance at the age of 5 singing Climb Every Mountain
17. He had eight brothers and sisters
18. His marriage to Lisa-Marie Presley lasted only 19 months
19. Jackson paid $47 million for the publishing rights to the Beatles back catalogue in 1985 and sold a share of to Sony in 1995 for $95 million
20. His middle name was Joseph
21. He was born on Aug 29, 1958
22. At the Brit Awards in 1996 Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker took exception to his bombastic performance of Earth Song and ran on to the stage
23. Jackson was very fond of Mexican food
24. In 1993 Jackson’s dermatologist said he had a rare skin disease called vitiligo, which causes sufferers to lose pigmentation in their skin
25. Thriller is the world’s best-selling record of all time with an estimated 50 million copies sold worldwide
26. Two of his other albums – Bad and Dangerous – are also among the world’s best-selling records
27. He popularised dance moves including the robot and the moonwalk
28. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice
29. He won 13 Grammy Awards
30. Billie Jean was the first video by a black artist to air on MTV.
31. Jackson owns the rights to the South Carolina State Anthem, South Carolina on My Mind.
32. He has waxworks in five Madame Tussauds museums across the world. Only Elvis Presley and Madonna have more.
33. He has sold more than 750 million records worldwide
34. His favourite superhero is Morph from X-Men
35. He had a pet ram called Mr Tibbs
36. His total lifetime earnings are estimated at $500 billion
37. Jackson regularly wore a black armband to remind people of children suffering around the world.
38. The moonwalk was picked up from street dancers
39. Little Richard wanted to be played by Jackson in a biopic
40. Jackson had a pet python called Crusher
41. In 1984 a French fan committed suicide because he couldn’t have surgery to look like Jackson
42. The video for Scream was the most expensive ever at £3.8 million.
43. A library once accused the singer of owing $1 million in overdue book fines
44. Jackson was a vegetarian
45. He won an MTV award for Best Movie Song in 1994. It was for Will You Be There from the movie Free Willy
46. HIStory was the biggest selling double album ever released in the United States
47. Jackson was given a royal title in the Ivory Coast in 1992
48. Before concerts he would drink Ricola candy dissolved in hot water
49. His birthplace Gary, Indiana, is planning a museum in his honour
50. He patented a shoe device that allowed dancers to lean forward at gravity defying angles
51. He was a best man at Liza Minnelli’s wedding to David Gest
52. The largest television audience in US history watched him perform at half time during the 1993 Super Bowl
53. Martin Scorcese once directed a Jackson video
54. A survey in 1997 declared him the Most Famous Person in the World
55. He paid $1.5 million in 1999 to buy for the 1939 Oscar for best film won by Gone With The Wind
56. Jackson once described Elizabeth Taylor as “a warm cuddly blanket that I love to snuggle up to”
57. He recorded a voice-over on The Simpsons
58. Macauley Culkin is godfather to two of Jackson’s children
59. Jackson co-wrote We Are The World with Lionel Richie
60. He is godfather to Nicole Richie
61. He is also godfather to Bee Gees singer Barry Gibb’s son Michael
62. Jackson shares a birthday with Sir Richard Attenborough and actress Rebecca DeMornay
63. At the time of his death Jackson was rehearsing for his greatest comeback, with 50 shows scheduled in London
64. He was four years old when he began singing with his brothers Marlon, Jermaine, Jackie and Tito in the Jackson 5
65. The Jackson 5’s number one hits included “I Want You Back,” “ABC” and “I’ll Be There”
66. In 2002 Jackson caused controversy when he playfully dangled his infant son, Prince Michael II, over a hotel balcony in Berlin in front of fans
67. MC Hammer once challenged Jackson to a dance off
68. In a TV documentary he acknowledged sharing his bed with children but described the practice as sweet, and not sexual
69. During production of a 1984 Pepsi advertisement Jackson sustained burns when an explosion set his hair on fire
70. Jackson’s 13 number one hits on the US Billboard charts put him behind only Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Mariah Carey
71. Jackson’s father Joseph worked in a steel mill
72. Joseph Jackson and his brother Luther were in an R&B band called The Falcons
73. Michael was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness by his mother
74. In a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey the singer spoke of a traumatic childhood including suffering from loneliness
75. Jackson showed his singing talent at the age of five when he performed at a Christmas recital
76. The family band was originally called the Jackson Brothers
77. Michael was promoted to joint lead vocals at the age of eight and the band became the Jackson 5
78. They toured extensively in the US Midwest from 1966 to 1968
79. He initially used his eccentricities to promote his music but strongly disliked the “Wacko Jacko” nickname
80. Wild stories about him included that he slept in an oxygen chamber and that he bought the bones of The Elephant Man.
81. During the world tour for Bad he performed to 4.4 million people
82. His first autobiography, Moon Walk, took four years to complete
83. The book reached the top of The New York Times best sellers’ list
84. Jackson admitted to having had two nose jobs
85. He suggested weight loss and a strict vegetarian diet had contributed to the change in his appearance
86. He paid $17 million in 1988 for the land in California that became the Neverland Ranch
87. The 2,700-acre property had a theme park, a menagerie, and a movie theatre.
88. Its grounds were protected by a security staff of 40
89. Neverland was valued at $100 million in 2003
90. The profits from his single “Man in the Mirror” went to charity
91. In 1991 he signed a contract with Sony worth $65 million
92. In 1992 he founded the Heal the World Foundation which brought underprivileged children to Neverland and made donations worldwide
93. When he visited the African country of Gabon 100,000 people turned out to see him
94. Jackson’s most famous pet was Bubbles the chimpanzee
95. Bubbles was adopted at the age of three from a cancer research clinic in Texas.
96. Bubbles sat in on recording sessions for the Bad album and accompanied Jackson to Tokyo
97. The artist Jeff Koons made a series of sculptures of Jackson and Bubbles
98. Jackson fathered two children with Deborah Jeanne Rowe – Michael Joseph Jackson Junior (also known as “Prince”) and a daughter, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson
99. The couple divorced in 1999 and Rowe gave full custody rights to Jackson
100. Vitiligo, the skin disease from which he suffered, affects 1 to 2 per cent to 2 per cent of the population
Michael’s legacy is music that has defined moments in our lives and leaves us telling our Michael Jackson stories and laughing as our kids on the playground try the moonwalk in their sneakers.
Yes, he was too young to die -- but maybe if you're Peter Pan that's the best way to go.
One of my childhood crushes, actress Farrah Fawcett, who rose to stardom in the 1970s on U.S. television show "Charlie's Angels, died last Thursday 25th June 2009 after a long battle with anal cancer. She was 62.
* Fawcett was born Feb. 2, 1947, in Corpus Christi, Texas. She was named Mary Farrah Leni Fawcett by her mother.
* Millions of teenage boys in the 1970s decorated their bedrooms with the poster of Fawcett clad in a red one-piece bathing suit and flashing a dazzling smile while playing with her tousled blond mane. Sales of the poster and her role as a crime-fighter on the television show "Charlie's Angels" made her one of the most recognized women in the United States at the time.
* Despite the show's popularity, Fawcett tried to leave "Charlie's Angels" after its first season. As a result of a lawsuit by the producers, she agreed to return for six guest appearances in the next two seasons.
* In 1985 she had a son with long-time companion Ryan O'Neal and the couple starred in a short-lived sitcom, "Good Sports," in the early '90s. Fawcett's struggle with cancer brought them back together and O'Neal had said this month that he had asked Fawcett to marry him and that she had agreed.
* Fawcett chronicled her fight against cancer in a 90-minute television documentary titled "Farrah's Story." It drew 9 million viewers and included footage of her shaving off her hair, as well as scenes in which she was bedridden and heavily medicated.
* Fawcett married Lee Majors in 1974 and they appeared together in his television show, "The Six Million Dollar Man," before divorcing in the early 1980s.
* After "Charlie's Angels," Fawcett wanted to show her range and some of her best work featured characters who were victims or caught in domestic turmoil. She was a battered wife in "The Burning Bed," a rape victim in "Extremities," the unfaithful wife of a preacher in "The Apostle" and a mentally unstable woman in "Dr. T and the Women."
* Fawcett's hair set a fashion trend and was one of the most talked-about styles in Hollywood. The New York Times called it "a work of art that looked as if it had just come out of the sea and been tossed by the wind into a state of careless perfection" and was "emblematic of women in the first stage of liberation -- strong, confident and joyous."
* Fawcett was nominated for three Emmys and six Golden Globes but never won.
* Before stardom, Fawcett had small roles in 1960s and '70s television shows such as "Mayberry, R.F.D.," "Three's a Crowd," "I Dream of Jeannie," "Marcus Welby," "McCloud," "The Flying Nun" and "The Partridge Family."
Sunday, June 21, 2009
The current worldwide financial crisis is probably the most serious economic crisis we have faced after the Great Depression. Stock markets from around the world fell as much as 20% in a single week, dozens of banks either failed or were rescued by governments and private institutions, and companies are laying off employees as a consequence of the reduced demand.
We know how we entered into the crisis, but we don’t know when or how we will be getting out of it. Considering that issue, the Spanker decided to do a little bit to help cheer everyone up by presenting the future logos of some renowned companies …. AFTER the crisis, with mergers, takeovers and bailouts having taken place.
Let's start with the obvious - 2009 is not a good year is it?
the stock market is down
Lehman Brothers is facing bankruptcy
Motor Vehicles & Fuel
no need for captions, right?
Ford's attempts to sell cars is not working
Chrysler has been sold to Fiat
VW have stopped producing parts for older models
Ferrari sales are no longer galloping but limping along
so much so that Vespa are now considering buying Ferrari
while the fuel price hike has Shell laughing all the way to the bank
and they are considering buying over Dell Computers
Carrefour are in takeover discussion with Canon
Starbucks have been bought up by the Dark Side
service at KFC is really bad due to incompetent staff
and now the Colonel is forced to kill his own chickens due to lack of manpower
while McDonald's sales have also dropped due to poor service
Pizza Hut have resorted to selling hats to survive
and 7-11 has stopped selling condoms
and overworked UPS staff continue to make wrong deliveries
Sun Microsystems are feeling the effects of piracy
similarly Hewlett Packard are in need of assistance
and might be taken over by JK Rowling
Dell Computers have died and gone to....
while Apple have lost big chunks of market share
Nokia is getting tough with bill defaulters
LG can now confirm that life is not always good
Internet search engines have finished off the yellow pages
Tommy has reduced prices to cater to everyone
Nike has just done it with Nikon (merged the company lah)
Jebsen & Jessen have laid off all their employees
Lego sales have fallen due to their pride
the economic crisis has forced the Discovery Channel to diversify
Really, times are so bad now that Toys R Us are selling children.