This is a great article, I’m reprinting in full from the Washington Post. The King of Morocco is a great man, no doubt about it. I think Morocco is very fortunate to have him as the changes he is making are sweeping and progressive. I see a bright future for Morocco, and it’s nice to see that I’m not the only one who appreciates it.
In Morocco, an Alternative to Iran
By Anne Applebaum
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
RABAT — If you want an antidote to the photographs of police officers beating demonstrators and girls dying on the streets of the Iranian capital, take a drive through the streets of the Moroccan capital. You might see demonstrators, but not under attack: On the day I visited, a group of people politely waving signs stood outside the parliament. You might see girls, but they will not be sniper targets, and they will not all look like their Iranian counterparts: Though there is clearly a fashion for long, flowing headscarves and blue jeans, many women would not look out of place in New York or Paris.
Welcome to the kingdom of Morocco, a place which, in the light of the past two week’s events in Iran, merits a few minutes of reflection. Unlike Turkey, Morocco is not a secular state: The king claims direct descent from the prophet Mohammed. Nor does Morocco aspire to be European: Though French is still the language of business and higher education, the country is linguistically and culturally part of the Arabic-speaking world. But unlike most of its Arab neighbors, the country has over the past decade undergone a slow but profound transformation from traditional monarchy to constitutional monarchy, acquiring along the way real political parties, a relatively free press, new political leaders — the mayor of Marrakesh is a 33-year-old woman — and a set of family laws that strive to be compatible both with sharia and international conventions on human rights.
The result is not what anyone would call a liberal democratic paradise. One human rights activist painted for me a byzantine portrait of electoral corruption, involving “mediators” who “organize” votes on behalf of candidates. Others point out that if the demonstrators I saw at the parliament had been Islamic radicals or Western Saharan guerrilla leaders, rather than trade unionists, the police might not have been quite so blasé. Though women have legal rights, cultural restraints remain. A tiny fraction of the population reads newspapers, even fewer have Internet access, and somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of the country is illiterate; as a result, election turnout is very low. Political posters feature symbols, not words.
Yet in at least one sense, Morocco truly stands out: Alone in the region, the Moroccan government has admitted to carrying out political crimes, and it has set up a “Truth Commission” along South African and South American lines. Beginning in 2004, the commission investigated crimes, held televised hearings and paid compensation to some 23,000 victims and their families. The crimes in question — arbitrary arrests, “disappearances,” torture, executions — occurred during the reign of King Hassan II, who died in 1999. The Truth Commission is the creation of his son, King Mohammed VI. But although this acknowledgement of wrongdoing was made possible by a generational change, it did not require a regime change. There was no revolution, no violence. The king is still the king, and he still has his collection of antique cars.
The result of the Truth Commission’s work is a kind of social peace. Not everybody likes the monarchy, but even its opponents concede that the break with the past is real: If nothing else, people feel it’s safe to speak openly, safe to form civil rights groups, safe to criticize the electoral process, even safe to complain about the king. Saadia Belmir — a Moroccan judge and the first female Muslim member of the U.N. Committee on Torture — told me that despite obstacles, “we can now build the future on the basis of our good understanding of the past.” Controversially, perpetrators were allowed to fade into the background. But the crosscurrents of anger and revenge that might otherwise have marked the young king’s reign have subsided.
Is this a model for others? The Moroccans think so, and they have quietly “shared their experiences” with African and Middle Eastern neighbors. Belmir told me that an informal group had been working on setting up a Truth Commission in Togo; others hint at Jordan, though of course that’s unofficial. They all hasten to point out that their formula — slow transformation under the aegis of a (so far) popular king — doesn’t apply everywhere. One thinks wistfully of the shah of Iran and of what might have been.
Still, watching the extraordinary range of clothing and skin colors on the Moroccan streets, one takes away at least one thought: Transformation from authoritarianism to democracy is possible, even in an avowedly Islamic state, even with an ethnically mixed population, even with the presence of a jihadist fringe. More importantly: It is possible to acknowledge and discuss human rights violations in this culture, just as they can be discussed elsewhere. Just because much of the Arab world lacks the political will to change doesn’t mean that change is always and forever impossible.
I love this contest. Someday, maybe I will win it, as it stands, I’m happy to not be the winner yet.
SAN JOSE, Calif. A shambling sentence about screaming seafarers on the sturdy whaler Ellie May stood shoulders above the rest in an annual bad writing contest. David McKenzie, 55, of Federal Way, Wash., won the grand prize in San Jose State University’s annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest with this:
“Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin’ off Nantucket Sound from the nor’ east and the dogs are howlin’ for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the “Ellie May,” a sturdy whaler Captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin’ and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests.”
The contest, a parody of prose, invites entrants to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. It is named after Victorian writer Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, who opened his 1830 novel “Paul Clifford,” with the much-quoted, “It was a dark and stormy night …”
Contest categories include purple prose and vile puns. Among other winners announced Monday were:
“How best to pluck the exquisite Toothpick of Ramses from between a pair of acrimonious vipers before the demonic Guards of Nicobar returned should have held Indy’s full attention, but in the back of his mind he still wondered why all the others who had agreed to take part in his wife’s holiday scavenger hunt had been assigned to find stuff like a Phillips screwdriver or blue masking tape,” from Joe Wyatt of Amarillo, Texas, winner in the adventure category.
“She walked into my office on legs as long as one of those long-legged birds that you see in Florida the pink ones, not the white ones except that she was standing on both of them, not just one of them, like those birds, the pink ones, and she wasn’t wearing pink, but I knew right away that she was trouble, which those birds usually aren’t,” from Eric Rice of Sun Prairie, Wis., winner in the detective category.
On the Net: http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/
We the Scary Arab Clowns have noted with great sadness the passing of many great entertainers in the past few days but there is one we think deserves more notice, we consider him one of our own.
Impressionist Fred Travalena, a headliner in Vegas showrooms and a regular on late-night talk shows with his takes on presidents, crooners and screen stars, has died in Los Angeles. He was 66.
We would have preferred it to be Pat Buchanon, though in the article we’ve linked to, we think he made a couple of good points. Bye bye lily white USA. Maybe it’s time to head up to the local porn shop and lock yourself in a room with a vibrator…according to a recent survey, half of American’s use them!
About half of American adults indicate using a vibrator, according to a new survey that sheds light on acts that take place beneath the covers and behind closed doors.
The survey was funded, however, by Church and Dwight Co. Inc., maker of Trojan brand sexual health products. It finds it’s not just women taking advantage of the battery-operated tickle toy. Forty-five percent of men said they’d employed a vibrator, with most heterosexual men doing so during foreplay or intercourse with a female partner. About 17 percent of men said they used a vibrator for solo masturbation.
One might think that Iraqis too are using them by the looks of ecstasy on Iraqis faces today:
U.S. troops pulled out of Baghdad on Monday, triggering jubilation among Iraqis hopeful that foreign military occupation is ending six years after the invasion to depose Saddam Hussein.
We hope it’s not a premature evacuation.
Israelis on the other hand prefer to cum inside and stay there, no withdrawl from them and no joy on their faces either:
Israel’s Defense Ministry said on Monday it had approved construction of 50 new homes at a West Bank settlement as part of a plan for 1,450 housing units, an expansion that defies a U.S. call for a settlement freeze.
Former vice president Dick Cheney looks like an Israeli but we think he secretly uses a George Bush Buttplug.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday said he is concerned about U.S. forces withdrawing from Iraqi cities within 24 hours.
But hey, it’s not the end of the world….or maybe it is…grasshopper plagues are hitting Utah:
Grasshoppers are regular summer visitors and a perennial crop-eating pest for farmers, but this year’s invasion in Tooele County west of Salt Lake City is worse than anyone can remember. Tooele County commissioners have been swamped with calls about grasshoppers, particularly by people living next to undeveloped land where grasshoppers hatch sometimes up to 2,000 per square foot.
At least one man is maintaining his optimism though:
Friends and even family members of Kimberly Jacobs still ask her husband, Stan, if she’s returned yet, after disappearing 10 months ago from their Waikiki apartment.
We are with you Stan. She will be back.
And the economy will get better too:
A senior White House adviser said Sunday the economic stimulus package has not yet “broken the back of the recession” but set aside calls for a second massive spending bill. Republicans, meanwhile, called spending underway a failure. “We have confidence that the things we’re doing are going to help, but we’ve said repeatedly, it’s going to take time, and it will take time,” David Axelrod said. “It took years to get into the mess we’re in. It’s not going to take months to get out of it.”
We don’t know about it getting better in months though…maybe decades.
We’d love to tell you more about the state of the world but we have to go to a MJ memorial with Bubbles.
No one has posted any ideas about the domains…it’s really easy. All you have to do is post an idea about what you would like to do with it and I will give you this great domain….
(then you have to renew it for $7-9 after you set up a free godaddy account and you can set up a free wordpress blog on it, get email, etc.)
This is a great domain…no one wants it? Really????
(admin note: Guest bloggers are always welcome here at existensis and it doesn’t even have to be about me!)
The Meaning of Old Friends
I always wondered what it would be like to have an old friend. When I grew up I moved from place to place and went to a different school almost every year until 9th grade. Finally, I started to fit in and find my place during my 9th and 10th grades at Big Bear High.
When my best buddy moved from Fawnskin during the middle of 10th grade I knew I had lost a good friend. Things began to break down in my life and living in Big Bear sucked more than ever. I had no friends in that damn little town and felt like a prisoner. My mom and I both knew it was time for me to go and live with my father again. Like so many times before I was leaving that which I knew to go into the unknown.
I knew it would be hard to find a new best friend. Moving so much proved to take its toll on my social life. Going from Big Bear to Huntington Beach was too much. I fit in like a sore thumb. The surfer guy I thought I was when I moved to Big Bear was a now a surfer wannabe. A few years passed and I managed to find my way, but I knew that my chance to have life long friends was lost. I did not have the luxury of going to school with the same kids year in and year out and making friendships that would last a life time. I didn’tt even go to my high school graduation. When it came time for college I went but felt even more lost. I went, I learned, and I left.
I managed to hook back up with my old pal from Fawnskin one time, but we had gone different ways and lost touch just as quickly. The saving grace was that I managed to find the love of my life and twenty years later I still cherish her. I had found my dad to be a good friend but then in his sudden death I found myself lost again. I found myself searching. Through that search I got in touch with my lost uncle, a few old friends from Huntington Beach High and then, with the internet, I even found my long lost amigo from Fawnskin.
I finally talked to that old friend who you’ve probably figured out by now is Vago. The crazy thing was he was on his way to see the world. So just when I thought we might get in touch again, he was on his way out of the country. I found this blog and followed his amazing adventures. He was so far away and so busy I knew he had no time to keep in touch with an old friend he had last seen 17 years ago.
Life is always like that, just when you think that it is not possible, something happens. This ties so well with Vago and the concept of what a fool would do. That old friend takes a chance travels to the east and heads to the west. He suddenly finds himself needed by his father in So Cal and by the means of his thumb and a few dollars ends up in the very place where we first met some 23 years previous.
We got in touch and planned a meeting. I didn’t know what to expect. I left my family and headed to Big Bear all by myself. I felt so lost with out my family. I always go to Big Bear with them as I have for the last 15 years. Not this time though! I was going to see an old friend!
When I lost my father I found myself searching. I didn’t know what I was searching for or what I would find. I wasn’t sure if all that I had become was what I had hoped that I would become. Was being a married man with a wife and a child was what I had been looking for? I had so many questions about myself and about my life and about everything. Should I have searched and explored the world like Vago and learned more about what life has to offer? Was I living in a box that was leaving me uncertain with what life was all about? Had all that Vago had seen, felt and become left him with the meaning of life? With all that time that had passed would we even be able to reconnect? Would we even have much to say or would we be so far apart that what had made us friends was not there anymore?
What I found was that we were to people who went to different directions and found the same answer. No matter how hard you try to understand it all you cannot know. There is something in life that leaves us all searching. We don’t know what we are looking for and no matter how hard we look or do not look we still come to the same conclusion. We just don’t know. We can pursue the American dream, we can study all that man has known, we can travel the world. But when two old friends meet after many years apart what brought them together is still a common bond between them. That is what I learned.
We both went searching for the meaning of life and we did not find all the answers. We found some answers but not all. We could still give each other some insight but only a small glimpse. No matter how much we grow up or how wise we become we will always wonder about if we had taken different paths We will always think if only I had done x or what if I had done y? No matter if we did either we still would think about the other.
The beauty of having an old friend is that we can get some insight into just what it would be like if we had done things differently. We still never know what we are looking for. What I do know is that I have been given some insight and now I know that I am right where God intended me to be. Maybe we will never know the true meaning of life but old friends can give us some clarity when we are looking for it. Reconnecting with my old friend has given me some peace in an unforgiving world. That is why what I did not know then is what I still do not know now…and you know what? That is ok.
That is why I say now, thanks old friend.
I’ve got a couple of domain names that are going to expire soon. I think they are pretty good domain names but I haven’t really come up with a good use for them, so I figured I would give all of you the chance to take them off my hands.
Here are the rules:
1. You have to set up a free GoDaddy account at Godaddy.com so that I can transfer the domain name to you.
2. If you think you have a good idea of how to use the domain name, just comment and list the domain name and your idea for it here.
3. At the end of the contest deadline, I will select my favorite response and then transfer the domain name to you.
That’s it. Here are the first three domains and the contest expiration date followed by the domain expiration date. You are responsible for renewing the domains yourself. Fair enough? If no one participates, I will let the domains expire.
domain namecontest conclusiondomain expiration date
homocrat.com 6/30/2009 7/3/2009
Don’t waste time, you can see that these all expire in just a few days. I wish I would have thought of this idea sooner.
Yes, I know this is morbid, but you have to wonder…will it be Fidel Castro, Kirk Douglas, Karl Malden, Kim Jong Il, or Liz Taylor?
I got to wondering and found two websites…one dedicated to the oldest living celebrities and the other a sort of horserace listing of who is predicted to die. Deathlist 2009.
If you guys want to post your own suggestions that aren’t on the poll on the right sidebar (at existensis.com), just comment here at existensis.com and I will add them. We’ll run this poll for about two weeks….
Also feel free to post your memories of any and all deceased persons at the existensis forums under ‘to eternity’.
This was written inside one of the closet doors, I felt guilty of killing those memories for whomever the girls were, so before pulling the door off and putting it in the dumpster, I figured I would save those memories from dying, just a little bit.
As a guy who is pretty used to freebooting and having a fair amount of time to himself, this has been challenging in a few ways. Since we are living on the jobsite and the project belongs to my Dad, there hasn’t been a lot of downtime. Dad likes to wake up early and go to work, since we are living on the site, he usually sees something right off that needs to be done and gets to it. I can’t really let him labor on while I sit and write or work on the computer and so I usually labor alongside him.
At the moment, Dad is taking care of some business in town and Murray has gone to the Home Depot down the hill, so I am taking a few moments to catch up a bit. What a relief!
My uncle Murray (named for our Irish ancestors The Murrays…not a hebrew name…) has been here for the past week or so and the upside is that we’ve been getting one hell of a lot done. The downside is that I haven’t really had a chance to just relax and explore or blog about any of this.
Murray, Mama Jeanne, and Dad relaxing on the lanai after a day’s toil.
Last weekend, my old friend James came up from the Inland Empire and we decided to take a little hike up to Gray’s Peak in our old stomping grounds of Fawnskin on the other side of the lake.
It was nice to take a couple of days to just hang out and explore this place. As you can see from the pictures, Big Bear is a beautiful place. The weather has been stellar and it was nice to get out and do a little hiking.
Gray’s Peak sits at an elevation of 7920 and we started from Fawnskin at an elevation of about 6900 feet above sea level.
The hike took about 4.5 hours and took us through the region of the Fawnskin Caverns where we used to spend a fair amount of time, then up to some Alpine Meadows, past the area where the firefighters managed to put out one of the big forest fires a couple of years ago and finally up to the peak.
I forgot my camera and the batteries on James camera were dead so we both took pictures with our phones, so I apologize for the resolution and color bleeding.
During James visit we of course talked a lot about old times, had a couple of nice dinners with the folks and even visited one of our old hangouts The Goldpan Restaurant in Fawnskin where I briefly worked as a dishwasher. It was funny to look out and see that things haven’t really changed in Fawnskin at all, the kids still hang out in front of the pizza barn, just like we used to.
Also last week I had the opportunity to spend a little time with my oldest friend on the planet, Kris Rafferty. How strange to hang out with someone that was my first friend when I was 4 or 5 and realize that neither of us have really changed very much. We instantly fell into the comfortable comaraderie we used to have as kids running around our neighborhood and causing mischief. Kris lives in Palm Desert and comes up to Big Bear fairly regularly so I think it is pretty likely we’ll be able to hang around more over the summer.
One thing that I’m not too happy about is that I’ve probably put on 10 pounds since being back in the United States, mainly because of the huge portions of food people eat here. My Dad is a real meat and potatoes guy and serves up huge steaks off the barbacue and after a day of working hard, I tend to clean the plate, I’m realizing that I need to start eating half and saving the other half for later or I’ll end up obese.
As an example of how big the food is here, check out this hamburger my friend Dave Walker made for dinner before I left Bellingham
On that plate is a full meal for my entire Moroccan family. By the way, while it’s nice to be in Big Bear and seeing old friends and family, it isn’t home to me. Home is where the heart is and for me that is in the little town of Sefrou in Morocco where Hanane and her family are in an environment that isn’t too radically different from this one, though the culture certainly is. I think about going back to her and Morocco often and look forward to finishing up the work here so I can head home. Of course, I’m also looking forward to whatever adventures happen along the way back there.
I was saddened to hear of Ed McMahon’s death yesterday. When I was working in radio in the late 1990’s, we had a morning show bit on 92.9 FM Independent Rock where we would call up celebrities at home and see what they had to say. It was my job to find the celebrities numbers and sometimes to call them up, Ed McMahon was the greatest. He always answered the phone himself, he was always cheerful and friendly, and you could just tell he was a great guy. I’m very happy that I had the chance to watch him as the greatest sidekick in history next to Johnny Carson and to talk with him a couple of times.
Playing the second banana, the sidekick, is a lost art, as Ed McMahon’s death Tuesday, June 23, reminds us.
McMahon, 86, was, of course, the greatest sidekick of them all, serving as running mate to Johnny Carson for almost 30 years on “The Tonight Show.”
Carson was the epitome of cool control, smooth as a sheet of glass, the host on which late-night talk show hosts are forever modeled. McMahon was more raucous, more rough-edged – in other words, the perfect compliment.
McMahon was the best known sidekick, certainly – “The Tonight Show” was on top – but back in the day, such a pairing was a crucial ingredient in the late-night recipe. Regis Philbin, among others, first got famous as a sidekick.
But ever since Andy Richter left Conan O’Brien’s side on “Late Night,” hosts have eschewed the sidekick. It’s too bad, in some ways, but it’s also understandable.
The role of the sidekick requires something in short supply in today’s celebrity culture: humility. As McMahon proved, night in and night out, the job is to support the host, not overshadow him. Sometimes that means coming up with a catch phrase, such as “Heeeeres’ Johnny!” Other times it’s nothing more than an off-camera belly laugh. McMahon was famous for both.
What self-respecting “star” today would be willing to defer to someone else? You can now become tabloid-cover famous by having reality-TV camera crews film your crumbling marriage, among other things. Who’s willing to play second fiddle when instant celebrity awaits at every turn?
McMahon’s life straddled both eras. In the last year he’s made news for financial and health troubles, not show business. My, oh my – what would Johnny have thought of that?
There was more to McMahon’s career than “The Tonight Show,” of course. He hosted “Star Search” for years, and co-hosted (with Dick Clark) “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes.” And many people of a certain age daydreamed about him ringing their doorbell with a camera crew and an oversized check for $10 million in tow, courtesy of American Family Publishers’ sweepstakes.
In perhaps the best measure of his television ubiquity, McMahon was immortalized by the late Phil Hartman in a pitch-perfect impression on “Saturday Night Live.” (“You are correct, sir!”) That’s a sure sign, not that one was needed in his case, that you’ve made it.
Here’s one last “Hey-o!” for you, Ed. You deserve it. (from AZCentral.com)
Then this morning as I was working with my uncle and Dad on these apartments, I heard that Farrah Fawcett had died. I remember watching Charlie’s Angels as a little guy and really loving those women. Farah was the heartthrob everyone loved. I don’t know if I liked her as much as I liked Suzanne Sommers, but I definitely had a crush.
LOS ANGELES A winsome smile, tousled hair and unfettered sensuality were Farrah Fawcett’s trademarks as a sex symbol and 1970s TV star in “Charlie’s Angels.” But as her life drew to a close, she captivated the public in a far different way: as a cancer patient who fought for, then surrendered, her treasured privacy to document her struggle with the disease and inspire others.
Fawcett, 62, died Thursday morning at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, nearly three years after being diagnosed with anal cancer. Ryan O’Neal, the longtime companion who returned to her side when she became ill, was with her.
“After a long and brave battle with cancer, our beloved Farrah has passed away,” O’Neal said. “Although this is an extremely difficult time for her family and friends, we take comfort in the beautiful times that we shared with Farrah over the years and the knowledge that her life brought joy to so many people around the world.”
In the end, Fawcett sought to offer more than that, re-emerging in the spotlight with a new gravitas.
In “Farrah’s Story,” which aired last month, she made public her painful treatments and dispiriting setbacks from shaving her golden locks before chemotherapy could claim them to undergoing experimental treatments in Germany.
“Her big message to people is don’t give up. No matter what they say to you, keep fighting,” Alana Stewart, who filmed Fawcett as she underwent treatment, said last month. NBC estimated the May 15, 2009, broadcast drew nearly 9 million viewers.
In the documentary, she also recounted her efforts to unmask the source of leaks from her UCLA Medical Center records, which led a hospital employee to plead guilty to violating a federal privacy law for selling celebrities’ information to the National Enquirer.
“There are no words to express the deep sense of loss that I feel,” Stewart said Thursday. “For 30 years, Farrah was much more than a friend. She was my sister, and although I will miss her terribly, I know in my heart that she will always be there as that angel on the shoulder of everyone who loved her.”
Other “Charlie’s Angels” stars also paid tribute.
“Farrah had courage, she had strength, and she had faith. And now she has peace as she rests with the real angels,” Jaclyn Smith said.
Said Cheryl Ladd: “She was incredibly brave, and God will be welcoming her with open arms.”
Kate Jackson said she would remember Fawcett’s “kindness, her cutting, dry wit and, of course, her beautiful smile. Today when you think of Farrah remember her smiling because that is exactly how she wanted to be remembered, smiling.”
Fawcett became a sensation in 1976 as one-third of the crime-fighting trio in “Charlie’s Angels.” A poster of her in a clingy, red swimsuit sold in the millions and her full, layered hairstyle became all the rage, with girls and women across America mimicking the look.
She left the show after one season but had a flop on the big screen with “Somebody Killed Her Husband.” She turned to more serious roles in the 1980s and 1990s, winning praise playing an abused wife in “The Burning Bed.”
Born Feb. 2, 1947, in Corpus Christi, Texas, she was named Mary Farrah Leni Fawcett by her mother, who said she added the Farrah because it sounded good with Fawcett. As a student at the University of Texas at Austin, she was voted one of the 10 most beautiful people on the campus and her photos were eventually spotted by movie publicist David Mirisch, who suggested she pursue a film career.
She appeared in a string of commercials, including one where she shaved quarterback Joe Namath, and in such TV shows as “That Girl,” “The Flying Nun,” “I Dream of Jeannie” and “The Partridge Family.”
She was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006. According to the American Cancer Society Web site, an estimated 5,290 Americans, most of them adults over 35, will be diagnosed with that type of cancer this year, and there will be 710 deaths.
As she underwent treatment, she enlisted the help of O’Neal, who was the father of her now 24-year-old son, Redmond.
This month, O’Neal said he asked Fawcett to marry him and she agreed. They would wed “as soon as she can say yes,” he said, but it never happened.
Fawcett, Jackson and Smith made up the original “Angels,” the sexy, police-trained trio of martial arts experts who took their assignments from a rich, mysterious boss named Charlie (John Forsythe, who was never seen on camera but whose distinctive voice was heard on speaker phone.)
The program debuted in September 1976, the height of what some critics derisively referred to as television’s “jiggle show” era, and it gave each of the actresses ample opportunity to show off their figures as they disguised themselves as hookers and strippers to solve crimes.
Backed by a clever publicity campaign, Fawcett then billed as Farrah Fawcett-Majors because of her marriage to “The Six Million Dollar Man” star Lee Majors quickly became the most popular Angel of all.
Her face helped sell T-shirts, lunch boxes, shampoo, wigs and even a novelty plumbing device called Farrah’s faucet. Her flowing blond hair, pearly white smile and trim, shapely body made her a favorite with male viewers in particular.
The public and the show’s producer, Spelling-Goldberg, were shocked when she announced after the series’ first season that she was leaving television’s No. 5-rated series to star in feature films. (Ladd became the new “Angel” on the series.)
But film turned out to be a platform where Fawcett was never able to duplicate her TV success. Her first star vehicle, the comedy-mystery “Somebody Killed Her Husband,” flopped and Hollywood cynics cracked that it should have been titled “Somebody Killed Her Career.”
The actress had also been in line to star in “Foul Play” for Columbia Pictures. But the studio opted for Goldie Hawn instead. Fawcett told The Associated Press in 1979 that Spelling-Goldberg sabotaged her, warning “all the studios that that they would be sued for damages if they employed me.”
She finally reached an agreement to appear in three episodes of “Charlie’s Angels” a season, an experience she called “painful.”
After a short string of unsuccessful movies, Fawcett found critical success in the 1984 television movie “The Burning Bed,” which earned her an Emmy nomination.
As further proof of her acting credentials, Fawcett appeared off-Broadway in “Extremities,” playing a woman who seeks revenge against her attacker after being raped in her own home. She repeated the role in the 1986 film version.
Not content to continue playing victims, she switched type to take on roles as a murderous mother in the 1989 true-crime story “Small Sacrifices” and a tough lawyer on the trail of a thief in 1992’s “Criminal Behavior.”
She also starred in biographies of Nazi-hunter Beate Klarsfeld and photographer Margaret Bourke-White.
In 1995, at age 50, Fawcett stirred controversy posing partly nude for Playboy magazine. The following year, she starred in a Playboy video, “All of Me,” in which she was equally unclothed while she sculpted and painted.
Fawcett’s most unfortunate career moment may have been a 1997 appearance on David Letterman’s show, when her disjointed, rambling answers led many to speculate that she was on drugs. She denied that, blaming her strange behavior on questionable advice from her mother to be playful and have a good time.
In September 2006, Fawcett, who at 59 still maintained a strict regimen of tennis and paddleball, began to feel strangely exhausted. She underwent two weeks of tests that revealed the cancer.
“I do not want to die of this disease. So I say to God, `It is seriously time for a miracle,'” she said in “Farrah’s Story.” (from Yahoo News)
When I heard about Farrah, I said to my uncle, “Celebrity deaths always come in 3’s, who is gonna die now?” About six hours later we heard about Michael Jackson’s heart attack. Hard to believe how cool he was when I was a kid, but I’ve already admitted it, I tried to moonwalk plenty of times but without too much success. I’m just glad I never had the zipper jacket or the solo glove. For the record, I’ve never thought he was a child molestor.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) Michael Jackson, the child star turned King of Pop who set the world dancing but whose musical genius was overshadowed by a bizarre lifestyle and sex scandals, died on Thursday. He was 50.
Jackson was pronounced dead at 2:26 p.m. PDT (5:26 p.m. EDT) after arriving at a Los Angeles hospital in full cardiac arrest, said Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office. The cause of death was not known and an autopsy would likely take place on Friday, he said.
Jackson was taken ill at home and his personal physician tried to resuscitate him but could not, his brother Jermaine told reporters. Jackson was taken by paramedics to the hospital, where doctors worked for more than an hour to try to revive him before pronouncing him dead, the brother said.
Known as the “King of Pop,” for hits that included “Thriller” and “Billie Jean,” Jackson’s dramatic, one-gloved stage presence and innovative dance moves were imitated by legions of fans around the world.
His lifetime record sales tally was believed to be around 750 million, and with his 13 Grammy Awards and boundary-breaking music videos he was one of the most successful entertainers of all time.
But Jackson’s belief that “I am Peter Pan in my heart,” his preference for the company of children, his friendship with a chimp, his high-pitched voice and numerous plastic surgeries also earned him critics and the nickname “Wacko Jacko.”
Jackson led a reclusive life after his acquittal in 2005 on charges of child molestation, the second time he had faced ultimately unproved allegations of abuse of young boys.
“For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don’t have the words. I’ve lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him,” Quincy Jones, who helped arrange the music on the album “Thriller” and produced the “Off the Wall” album, told MSNBC.
Jackson had been due to start a comeback series of concerts in London on July 13 running until March 2010, and had been rehearsing in the Los Angeles area for the past two months. The shows for the 50 London concerts sold out within minutes of going on sale in March.
Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery Homicide division searched Jackson’s home in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, saying they had been directed to do so by Chief William Bratton because of the media frenzy.
“The Los Angeles Police Department handles death investigations every day,” said officer Gregg Strenk. “Robbery Homicide was assigned to this case due to the high profile nature of it. Don’t read anything into it.”
Tributes poured in.
He was a “true musical icon whose identifiable voice, innovative dance moves, stunning musical versatility, and sheer star power carried him from childhood to worldwide acclaim,” said Neil Portnow, president and CEO of The Recording Academy in a statement.
Jackson was one of the first black entertainers of the MTV generation to gain a big crossover following. As he grew older he appeared to lighten his skin to a pale white — which he said was caused by the skin pigmentation condition vitiligo.
There were concerns about Jackson’s health in recent years — last year he was photographed in Las Vegas in a wheelchair for reasons that were never explained.
But the promoters of the London shows, AEG Live, said in March that Jackson had passed a 4-1/2 hour physical examination with independent doctors.
About 200 fans and reporters gathered outside the Los Angeles hospital. Some fans cried and hugged each other.
“I hope he’s gone to God, and I hope that he’s free of all the troubles he’s been plagued with,” Tonya Blazer, 50, who said she had been a fan going back more than four decades.
“I just feel like I’m paying tribute to him,” said Dawn Burgess, 42, a fan who said she had posters of Michael pinned to her bedroom wall when she was a child.
CHILD STAR TO MEGASTAR
Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, the seventh of nine children. Five Jackson boys — Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael — first performed together at a talent show when Michael was 6. They walked off with first prize and went on to become a best-selling band, The Jackson Five, and then The Jackson 5.
Jackson made his first solo album in 1972, and released “Thriller” in 1982, which became a smash hit that yielded seven top-10 singles. The album sold 21 million copies in the United States and at least 27 million worldwide.
The next year, he unveiled his signature “moonwalk” dance move, gliding across the stage and setting off an instant trend, while performing “Billie Jean” during an NBC special.
His personal life was troubled.
In 1994, Jackson married Elvis Presley’s only child, Lisa Marie, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1996. Jackson married Debbie Rowe the same year and had two children, before splitting in 1999. The couple never lived together.
Jackson was survived by three children named Prince Michael I, Paris Michael and Prince Michael II, known for his brief public appearance when his father held him over the railing of a hotel balcony, causing widespread criticism.
In 1993, Jackson announced he had become addicted to painkillers, and abruptly canceled a world tour to promote his album “Dangerous.”
Dozens of fans gathered near Jackson’s modest boyhood home in Gary, to pay their respects to the entertainer who left the city long ago. Some deposited flowers or toys and others blared his hit songs from their car stereos.
Gary Mayor Rudy Clay called Jackson the “world’s greatest entertainer” and said he had made the city proud.
In New York, fans gathered at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, singing Jackson hits and dancing in celebratory tribute.
(from Yahoo News)