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Facelift!

I am delighted to announce that Did You Have Juice? has a shiny new header. If you’re reading this from Google Reader or another RSS feedburner, you need to click through right now and check out the awesomeness that is my blog’s new little artistic touch. I can’t say how much I love the little details – man, she even got my ubiquitous sandals right!

My header was custom-made by my sister Meredith, who rocks my socks, and who is working on putting together her very own artist website/blog.

meredith sketch  meredith photo

Please take a moment to check out her site at Spiral Bound, tell her how much you like my new header, and give her some words of encouragement and support!
 spiral bound

I may let her – and others, if you’re interested – design me new headers from time to time, just to keep things interesting. Let me know if you’d like to give it a shot!

Increasingly Uncertain that Michael Jackson Actually Existed

That is, perhaps, an overstatement. I have no real doubt that this

mj1

was Michael Jackson.

I will also allow that this young man

mj2 

was Michael Jackson, as well.

My Suspension of Disbelief Engine turns over, however, when I am asked to believe that the above two photographs show a person who grew up to be

mj3

“Michael Jackson.”

If not actually MJ, though, then who? Well… I have a theory.

THE EVIDENCE

  • Photos, as seen above, show that Michael Jackson appeared to be a black male for only the first two decades of his life.
  • Many times, MJ appeared in public partially or fully masked.
  • Second link in previous bullet point shows MJ crossdressing; the abaya is a woman’s garment in Islamic culture. Celebrity biographer Ian Halperin has just released a book that claims MJ frequently dressed in women’s clothing in an attempt to pass as a woman.
  • In the book, Halperin also claims that MJ took multiple male lovers.
  • MJ died mysteriously; the body was handled and transported in moderate secrecy; the doctor wouldn’t talk about it; the burial location is kept secret.
  • Michael’s father, Joe, responded very strangely to the news of his son’s death. Instead of mourning his child,  he immediately started talking about business and about his record label.
  • MJ’s children were, apparently, born of a surrogate mother using another man’s donated sperm.
  • In the aftermath of MJ’s death, the children allegedly have bonded with Janet and have chosen her as their confidante and preferred caregiver.

 

MY THEORY

Michael Jackson did not die – at least, not in 2009. If he is dead, he died in the early 1980s.

After his early successes, MJ stopped performing. Maybe he decided he didn’t like it and voluntarily retired from the public eye. Maybe he went insane, had a stroke, or otherwise became physically or mentally unable to continue his career. Or, perhaps, he died in some sort of accident.

Joe Jackson knew that his son’s fame was important to his bank account and notoriety, so he refused to let MJ’s career die/retire with him. Instead, he did what came naturally to him – he used his children. Janet had been refused a position with the Jackson 5, but clearly had talent. Using the vast resources of money, connections, and evil genius at his disposal, he transformed Janet into a more androgynous version of Michael.

For decades, Janet enjoyed double fame as herself and her brother. Makeup, computers, and plastic surgery – not to mention context, psychological expectations, and marketing – can work miracles at fooling people.

Understandably, as time went on, the quality of “MJ”‘s work declined.  Things began to fall apart.

Then, someone began pushing for a big tour – one last great hoorah for Michael Jackson, one  last push for the Jackson family coffers. For whatever reason, it became impossible. Maybe Janet got sick of the ruse, got sick of playing dress-up for her father. Maybe someone found out the truth and threatened to expose them. Whatever the case, the tour could not go on – and neither could the second, crazy life of Michael Jackson.

 

HOLES

I don’t understand the pigmentation thing. I don’t understand the inappropriate behavior with children thing. And of course, I mean, yeah. I can use Google the same as anyone else, and I see the photos with Michael and Janet standing there together.

Clearly, my theory has holes, but… it’s feasible!

 

DISCLAIMER

Don’t sue me. If you’re offended, think of this as satire, or the ravings of a madwoman, or the frantic attempt of a blogger to belatedly catch the coat-tails of the media explosion surrounding MJ’s death. And if you’re NOT offended – well, buy me a copy of Catcher in the Rye to show your appreciation, why don’t you?

The Kitty No One Knows

People have heard of our cat, d’Artagnan, but few have actually seen him. Fewer still have touched him. He’s an enormously shy – some would say standoffish – feline. It’s honestly not a matter of rudeness; he is, for some unknown reason, terrified of everything. To my knowledge, he’s never been abused or neglected. We adopted him from a family when he was a kitten and have taken very good care of him ever since. And yet, he’s still convinced that every noise is a monster and everyone is a bogeyman.

Except, that is, for R and myself. And it’s hard to explain exactly what a sweet cat he is to people who think he’s a prickly touch-me-not. He insists on cuddling under our arms, being held like a floppy teddy bear. He doesn’t mind if he’s on his back, if we hold his feet, if we play with his tail or his belly. He runs to the door to greet us, “talking” all the while. His favorite thing in the world is to find a rubber band or hair band, bring it to us while we are in bed, and have us shoot it across the room or into the hall. He’ll play catch with us for hours, if Paisley doesn’t steal the rubber band from him mid-chase.

He also has literary interests. If I’m computing on the bed, and  leave the room, I’ll return to find him curled up on the keyboard. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come back to find that I’ve been Googling “fffffffffffffffghb nop0-er” or that I’ve opened up fifteen different Microsoft Help windows. And,of course, like any good kitty cat – especially one named after a fictional character – he likes to curl up with a good book.

k8dartreading

d’Artagnan, in one of his more feline-traditional poses.

dartbellyrub

Upside down, receiving belly rubs.

dartonhead

Sleeping in his favorite place (on my head)
and pretending not to be a demon cat.

Oh here, we need another shot of that:

dartonhead2

In that one, Paisley’s helping.

dartreach

He likes cameras, too. 🙂

Personal Anthroponymy

Disclaimer: Before anyone gets all excited, I don’t have any legitimate reason to be thinking about baby names. Promise.

If you were to ask my mom, she’d tell you that I’ve been obsessed with names since I was in grade school. I pilfered the family baby name book shortly after my sister was born; today, you’ll find it, heavily annotated, on my bookshelf next to the 2003 edition. My excuse has always been that, as a writer, I need great character names. In truth, I rarely go to a baby name book or website to name a character; they tend to name themselves.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about names because I know a lot of people who have been procreating lately. Ryan’s cousin was considering naming her unborn child Katherine Elizabeth – not sure if she knew it would be a direct namesake or not – but now that it’s going to be a boy, I doubt he’d appreciate it. (I still like Wyatt Elizabeth, though.) And, in all honesty, at SOME point in the future I hope to be poring over baby names for my own family, and I needed something to write about… so here you are!

Etiquette of Baby Naming

I’m blown away by the rudeness some people exhibit, to the point where I’d consider refusing to share my eventual name ideas with others. Why would you ask someone what names they liked, if you can’t refrain from exclaiming over how much you hate that name? It’s fine if you don’t like a name – don’t give it to your kid, or dog, or pet rock, or whatever. If that’s the name your friend or coworker or relative loves, you need to be gracious about that!

That Being Said, There Are Names I Can’t Imagine Someone Using

I went to www.namenerds.com and saw that they have a daily feature: Name of the Day. Today’s name is Chernobog, which immediately raises eyebrows due to its unavoidable similarity to Chernobyl. Then there’s the meaning:

CHERNOBOG: meaning ‘black god’ in Slavic, Chernobog was the god of evil, darkness and grief in Slavic mythology.

Can you just imagine?

Additionally, I’d have a hard time keeping a straight faec if you told me you were going to name your kid Dorcas, even if it does mean “gazelle.”

On the other hand, one of the past Names of the Day and its description put a naughty smile on my face:

LUCIFER: Unappreciated! Unloved! Scorned and shunned for its darker connections while its sweetness and light go unseen! C’mon, this name rocks. And it’s fun to tell people you plan to name your child Lucifer.

This brings me to another link that I have to share: What to Name Your Baby Goth. Although isn’t the proper term “baby bat”?

Beyond the Name Itself

Names have meanings, of course (although in today’s culture of “hey, I wonder what your dad’s name would sound like if I added de- to the beginning and -ina to the end?” name construction, some meanings might be along the lines of “bored on a Thursday evening”).

I’m not sure if people give a lot of consideration to name meanings, or if anyone thinks about the first and middle names’ meanings together. Mine means pure / God is my Oath, from the Greek and Hebrew respectively.

What does your name mean? Here’s some of my family:

  • Andrew: man, warrior (Greek)
  • Bonnie: pretty (English)
  • Bryn: hill (Welsh)
  • Kit: pure (Greek)
  • Meredith: guardian of the sea (Welsh)
  • Ryan: little king (Gaelic)
  • Wally: ruler of the army (Germanic)

If you don’t know what your name means, try ParentsConnect or BabyNames, and let me know what you find out!

Note: When I looked up “Bryn,” it came with a list of related names. One, with Norse origins, was Brynja. I am in love with the name Brynja and will probably have to call her that from now on. Ha!

Names I Like (Today, Anyway)

Remember what I said earlier about not being rude? 🙂

I’m always amending this list. If you’d asked me what names I liked for kids when I was a teenager, I would have said Olivia, Julie, Jill, Philip, James, and Christopher. Only one of those names survived to my current list. Plus, some of these names are on my “liked names” list but wouldn’t make it to a “names I’d actually use” list.

Boy Names

  • Acheron* (first syllable is “ash”) – river of woe (Greek)
  • Christopher – bearer of Christ (Greek)
  • Daniel – God is my judge (Hebrew)
  • Elwood – elder tree (English)
  • Graham – abode (English)
  • Rowan – redhaired (Gaelic)**

Girl Names

  • Abigail – Joy of the Father (Hebrew)
  • Aisling (pronounced ASH-leeng or ESH-leeng) – dream (Gaelic)
  • Anjuli (pronounced ahn-juh-lee) – beloved (Hindi)
  • Madeleine – woman from Magdala (Hebrew/French)
  • Megan*** – pearl (Welsh)
  • Penelope – weaver, duck (Greek)
  • Sydney – wide meadow (English)

* This would be an example of a name I like but wouldn’t actually use. It ought to go on that baby goth list, though!

** Presents problems, as I’m opposed on principle to having multiple people in the household with the same initials, and we’ve already got an R in the house. It just makes labeling things too difficult! 😉 Unrelatedly, this name could go on the girl list, too, but everything’s much more symmetrical if I just put it on the boy list.

*** This used to be my very favorite name, but I got a negative connotation for it after a while. This past year, I met two vivacious girls – Megan and Meghan – who changed that. So it’s back on my list.

Audience Participation Time!

What are your favorite names? Any particular reason why you like them? What does your name mean, if I didn’t already define it?

Five Things… I Like About My Neighborhood

  1. Steady influx of juvenile squirrels, always needing to be shown that I’m not going to eat them and am, in fact, going to provide them with a little box full of corn and sunflower seeds (despite what it does to my flower bed).
  2. Almost-decipherable echoes of high school games rolling from the stadium all the way to our front yard.
  3. Trees that remind me that some of these “student rentals” were standing, much more isolated, decades before I was born.
  4. Neighbors who put out food for scraggly cats so that they can get back on their feet.
  5. Accessibility – by bike, foot, etc. – to Greenbelt, Library!, parks, shopping, campus…

Listening

I’ve been spending some time wandering through the CD shelves at the LIBRARY! and giving my iTunes an infusion of fresh music. Not sure, honestly, what the legality of that is. I mean, it’s at the library – if I’m not going to redistribute and/or sell it, is it okay to import it to my personal computer? One hopes, because one does…

Anyway, the iTunes are shuffling, and I’m listening to:

  • Yo-Yo Ma on the Seven Years in Tibet soundtrack
  • Tower of Power
  • Shitake Monkey
  • Bowling for Soup
  • the Dave Matthews Band (not that I didn’t have them before, of course)
  • Arcade Fire
  • Onomatopoeia – easily the coolest named musical ensemble this side of the Boise River
  • The Corrs
  • Wilco (which, I maintain – despite what iTunes wants me to believe – does not belong in the country genre)
  • KT Tunstall – specifically, Drastic Fantastic
  • More Music From Northern Exposure
  • a Dark Side of the Moon tribute by the Vitamin String Quartet
  • and Blake Lewis, who was robbed

What are you listening to? What would you recommend to me? More importantly, what would you recommend that I can also find at the Boise and/or Ada libraries?

Not Sure Mermaids Would Approve of Tide Elimination, Though

Operating under the questionable assumption that one would desire a cure for lycanthropy (that being werewolfism, for those who didn’t do their homework before logging on this morning), the always bizarre and often wonderful Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal posits three solutions:

So true, Engineer Friends. So true.