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Cory Doctorow

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

When I appeared back to the surface this morning . .

. . . from my daily light rail trip into Hollywood, I thought I had the whole day figured out.  In fact, Hollywood Boulevard was already shut down early this morning in preparation for tonight's world premiere of "Brüno".  I had a few places in mind to walk to for lunch that were well away from the Boulevard.  All of the tourists (God love 'em!) tend to clump like dust bunnies to the underside of a bed when all of the barricades, grandstands, carpeting and Krieg lights are trotted out onto the Boulevard.

Then, as I'm getting close to my morning break, the news of Farrah Fawcett's passing spread.  Truthfully, her death was not a huge surprise.  She had spent a good deal of time battling cancer.  Having lost three family members to cancer, I could only feel relief when I heard of her passing, knowing that all of the pain and suffering were no more.  Her fans set up a beautiful tribute on her Walk of Fame star. It was the nicest one I had seen in the many months I have worked in the Hollywood area:
Gossip abounded in between calls at work today about her death.  News vans queued along the Boulevard:

I left for lunch at 12:30 and returned an hour later to news from CNN about singer Michael Jackson being rushed to the hospital.

More gossip continued in between calls during the early afternoon until after I returned from my afternoon break to hear/read about Michael Jackson's death.

Now, just about after 4 pm Pacific today, where I was becoming accustomed to a fast paced last hour of work, a pall had descended over the office and the call volume slowed to a crawl.

I knew that the walk to the Metro station would easily take twice as long between the movie premiere, fans of Farrah paying their respects, Jimmy Kimmel's show being taped, a private event at the El Capitan theatre and, as I mentioned earlier, tourists clumped together in larger groups in a now even smaller space.

Unfortunately, Mr. Jackson's star on the Walk of Fame resides under the "ü" in "Brüno":
So, flowers, etc., for Michael Jackson were placed about 2 feet away from where I took this photo.  As was always the case in the last three months of my grand Hollywood adventure, it was European tourists who were taking photos of the makeshift Jackson memorial.  Every time I walked past Michael Jackson's Star, there were always a European tourist or two (I can tell this by the fashion choices -- believe me, the same is true when Americans travel in Europe - our fashion sense makes us stick out like sore thumbs) snapping photos of Michael Jackson's Star.

It seems he has never really left the hearts of people outside of the U.S.  It's too soon to tell if the U.S. had left Michael Jackson behind and we are just now trying to make up for lost time.

While I was never really a fan of Farrah, I liked Michael Jackson as much as anyone else.  In fact, at the age of 10, the first album I ever bought was "Off The Wall".  I wore down the grooves in the vinyl and was happy to be able to replace it with a CD years ago.

I'm signing out and headed to iTunes to try and build a Michael Jackson cover tunes playlist (such as Alien Ant Farm's version of "Smooth Criminal" -- one of the best Michael Jackson covers of all time) to enjoy over and over this weekend.

Even if you were never a fan of either star, please take the weekend to let those you love know that you love them, you appreciate them and you cannot imagine your life without them.  Days like this serve to remind all of us that we really don't know how much time we have left to say the things we want to say.


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