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I haven't seen this entire series, but I think that the American Graphic biographies by Capstone Press may fill two needed niches. The first, and probably the intended purpose is to fill the need for easy reading biographies that will interest older kids. A secondary benefit, however, is that these books can bring complex historical figures to a level where they can be understood by young elementary schoolers who so often express interest in people and things way "beyond their years."
First up, the King of Pop
Collins, Terry. 2012. King of Pop: The Story of Michael Jackson. Ill. by Michael Byers. North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press.
Written largely as a first-person account, ten short chapters chronicle Michael Jackson's life, focusing both on his genius and his pecularities, though not going in to great detail regarding the latter. A two-page illustration of tabloid headlines offers the reader a glimpse into Michael's personal life, but "Thriller" and "Billy Jean" are also illustrated expansively - including his famous moonwalk. The book concludes on a positive note with a collage of the many faces of Michael Jackson and the following summation,
And in his heart, he was still a little boy who never grew up ... ... and the world is all the richer for it.
The panels are easy to follow and have easy to read text. This graphic novel biography concludes with two pages of standard text titled, "The Legacy of Michael Jackson," followed by a Glossary (which includes eccentric and surrogate, as well as innovation and mourn), sites and books where more information can be found, and a small index.
I predict this one will be popular.
Next up, Hip-Hop Icon: Jay-Z
This book never even made it onto the shelf! Within minutes of receiving it, a young adult male spotted it on my desk and asked to borrow it. Sometimes, a little bit of information is enough - perhaps that's a third niche for these easy-reading comic style biographies.
The Situation is known for taking his shirt off (but now Abercrombie & Fitch wants to pay him to do so. The student-targeted brand has offered “a substantial payment” to Mike Sorrentino and his cast mates to not wear its clothing.... Read the rest of this post
Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’alls neighborhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse’s shell
Last night, Google announced that its Music service (is out of beta and open to the world at large. So far, the Web has been unimpressed by the service, claiming it’s just a copy of iTunes with its exclusive tracks and free songs of the week.... Read the rest of this post
Ubisoft to release performance-based Michael Jackson video game (the dance and karaoke game will be among the first to use motion sensor technology. And in other E3 news, Nintendo unveils its portable console for 3D games — no glasses required... Read the rest of this post
It is cool here today in the Appalachian Foothills. I wore a sweater this morning, but now in the afternoon the sun is bright and the sky is blue and clear. There is something about the blue sky this time of year that I associate with the events of September 11, 2001, because the sky was so blue that day above the skyscrapers.
My sister Joan E. Phelps, my son Bryce Merlin, and I were in the city, having arrived by car from Ohio Sunday night, Sept. 9th. On Monday we visited Central Park (see photo with Joan and Bryce below) and went shopping. That evening we saw Michael Jackson's 30th anniversary concert.
We were exhausted and excited afterward and I was afraid I wouldn't sleep, so I took a Tylenol PM. The last thought I had before closing my eyes was that we'd catch the subway and go down to the World Trade Center first thing in the morning, around 8. We'd go up to the observation deck and show Bryce the Statue of Liberty. His father and I had been there before he was born, and I remembered the fantastic views. Bryce called the statue "the most beautiful woman in America" and I knew he would love the sights from the WTC.
That afternoon, Joan and I had an appointment at Publisher's Weekly. This was a big deal for Lucky Press, the publishing company I'd founded and Joan helped me to launch. We were from Ohio and this was only the second time I'd been in NYC.
(Photo: Bryce Merlin on the steps of the Parks building in Central Park)
Usually, Bryce and I wake up at 6:30 or 7:00. Invariably. But not this Tuesday morning. Bryce walked from his small adjoining room to my bedside. "Aren't you going to wake up, Mom?" he asked. I looked at the clock: 8:52 a.m. I couldn't believe it. The times I've slept past 8:30 a.m. I could count on one hand.
Joan woke up too and while I was in the bathroom she clicked on the TV. And then, well, you know... When the second plane hit, I sat on the bed stunned. How far away were we from the site? Should we close the windows we'd opened to let in the fresh air? What was happening?
We explained to Bryce, who has mental and physical challenges, that we
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“Were you reluctant to increase the empire?” asked Winfrey in the video embedded above. Rowling replied: “It could be so much worse. Michael Jackson wanted to do a musical … I said no to a lot of things. For me, I love the films, I love the books, and there’s elements that I love around it.”
Winfrey called it “one of the most fascinating interviews I’ve ever conducted.” The women spoke at Edinburgh’s Balmora Hotel, the place where Rowling finished Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows. Rowling mentioned that if she wanted, she could write more Harry Potter books. She explained: “I definitely could write an eighth, ninth, tenth book. I could, easily.”
Lauer will air his interview November 8th. Winfrey will air her interview on November 9th, the day of the book’s release. The regular hardcover will cost $35, but 1,000 copies of it will be signed and specially cloth-bound with a $350 price-tag.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair received a reception of shoes, eggs, and protests during his book tour this year. Would you go to a book signing by former President Bush? Let us know in the comments section.
Last night’s Oscars fell flat (on so many counts. The various efforts to grab young viewers failed. James Franco came across as “beige” and stoned while Anne Hathaway overcompensated to fill the void. The second screen,... Read the rest of this post
The concept for the ‘Behind The Mask’ Project (to create a user-generated video of the Gloved One’s single was awesome, but considering the excessive direction fans were given regarding their submissions — as in instructions for... Read the rest of this post
I was inspired to sew some clothes for myself this summer. So many great projects on creative blogs out there. Here's the first project. It's been decades since I've sewn clothes. It just became cheaper to buy it, but when I saw this fabric, I couldn't resist!
I just love the little button. It's just enough sparkle to jazz up the top. I made a few (ok, more than a few) mistakes, one of them being that I used the selvage. The pattern went all the way to the edge. It wasn't until I finished it late last night that I noticed the name of the pattern written in gold over the blue. Oh well, lesson learned. I'll just shorten it a bit. Next up—a skirt. Well next after I make the jacket Josh just designed. Can you tell he's obsessed with Michael Jackson?
When I mused about the rise of nerd culture the other day, I stuck with mostly gender-neutral terms. But after reading these "5 Tips for Raising Your Girl Geek" on Wired I got to thinking and decided to revisit the topic. From the... Read the rest of this post
Robert Veatch is Professor of Medical Ethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University. He received the career distinguished achievement award from Georgetown University in 2005 and has received honorary doctorates from Creighton and Union College. His new book, Patient, Heal Thyself: How the “New Medicine” Puts the Patient in Charge, he sheds light on a fundamental change sweeping through the American health care system, a change that puts the patient in charge of treatment to an unprecedented extent. In the original article below, Veatch looks at how the empowerment effected Michael Jackson’s medical decisions and the responsibility of his doctor.
Dr. Conrad Murray is the doctor who apparently administered a fatal dose of the anesthetic, propofol, to Michael Jackson in a desperate attempt to respond to his cries for help in getting some sleep. He has received rough treatment from the media. Jackson’s death has been ruled a homicide and the media are reporting that he will be charged with manslaughter. I think that judgment is too quick and want to come to the doctor’s defense.
The case is, of course, being tried in the press before we have all the details, but the likely scenario is emerging. Making some plausible assumptions, I think a case can be made for the doctor’s decisions. Let me assume, for purposes of discussion, that the doctor did not intend to kill Michael (He was reportedly being paid $150,000 a month to be Michael’s full time physician. Even if he had completely abandoned his duty to serve the patient, he would be a fool to intend the death.) Let me assume that the lethal effects were foreseeable, but not inevitable side effects of a very potent drug. Let me also assume that Michael had been informed by Dr. Murray how dangerous the drug was and how unusual it was to use it for this purpose. Possibly, he had even told Michael that the drug’s labeling did not include the use of propofol outside of a hospital and that almost all physicians would refuse to use it this way.
With these assumptions, a prosecutor will have a difficult time accusing the doctor of a crime. It is not even clear to me that “homicide” is the right term for the death. First, it is important to realize that “off-label” uses of drugs by doctors is not illegal. It is done all the time when a physician becomes convinced that it in the patient’s interest. Second, it is critical to understand that medical choices about what is in a patient’s interest are directly dependent on the patient’s goals and values. They cannot simply be read out of a textbook as if medical science can prove what is in a particular patient’s interest. (Think about whether aggressive chemotherapy is in a terminal cancer patient’s interest or whether an abortion is in the interest of a pregnant woman.) The patient’s interest is necessarily a subjective matter about which only the patient can have direct knowledge.
It seems clear that Michael was in the advanced stages of insomnia and was in excruciating agony from persistent lack of sleep. That is an awful situation about which patients often have to make desperate choices. None of us can know what was in Michael’s head that caused the insomnia or led him to plea for pharmacological intervention. We do know that other drugs had been used even that fateful night (benzodiazepines that are often used to reduce anxiety and induce sleep). These other drugs had failed to solve the problem and made the use of the propofol even more dangerous, something Dr. Murray surely knew and presumably had told Michael.
Now the question for Dr. Murray and for Michael Jackson is, given his desperate situation, is the only drug that will give him some sleep worth the very great risk of side effects, even death? Surely, for most of us the answer would be negative, but that doesn’t mean it was Michael’s answer. Given that he had apparently received the drug many previous times without side effects, I don’t see how we can claim that Michael would be wrong to decide that the risk would be worth it in his case. Deciding whether the drug is “worth it” is a value judgment, not a scientific fact that the doctor can look up in a book. Even if almost everyone else would have decided not to try the desperate off-label use, I don’t know how we can say Michael’s gamble was wrong for him.
But, you might say, even if Michael’s judgment was understandable, surely Dr. Murray was wrong to go along with his patient’s demand. Surely, other physicians would not have agreed. A physician is supposed to be a responsible professional who has the right not to go along with a patient’s very unusual and risky demand. Most physicians would have refused to provide the propofol (at least outside of a hospital) and that is understandable, but this does not prove that Michael’s value judgment about the risk was wrong or that Dr. Murray was wrong to comply. Some medical issues are appropriately judged by what is called a “standard of care.” The correctness of the physician’s behavior is judged by what his colleagues similarly situated would have done. This, however, is not a decision that should be judged by that standard. If it is possible that Michael had made a rationally defensible decision that the risk was worth it for him, then a physician is within his rights to decide to cooperate in a legal behavior if he so chooses. He surely would have had the right not to provide the dangerous drug for off-label use, but he also has the right to decide it is a tolerable risk. If he does so after the patient is adequately informed, I don’t see how we can fault him assuming that the lethal effect was not intended.
This turns out to be crucial for the rest of us if we are to get high-quality, rational medical care. We have for many years recognized that most powerful, valuable drugs have anticipated side effects. If we choose to take the risk and the side effect occurs, we don’t say that the choice was a mistake. If the side effect is death, we don’t say it was a homicide. Provided the intended beneficial effects are good enough, we say that the side effect is tolerable even if it is foreseen. That, in fact, is precisely the justification for doctors’ use of narcotics to control severe pain in cancer patients even though they know that the side effect can be respiratory depression and even death. Most ethical systems have long acknowledged that such “unintended, but foreseen” deaths are tolerable. Normally, such a death is not deemed a “homicide.” Just may be, if we put ourselves in Michael’s shoes and plug in the value judgments he made, we can understand why Dr. Murray, apparently with great reluctance, was willing to go along. I can’t fault him if that was what he did.
Today's Ypulse Youth Advisory Board post comes from our resident TV guru Alyx Steadman who like 8.97 million other viewers tuned into the MTV Video Music Awards. As always, you can communicate directly with any member of the Ypulse Youth Advisory... Read the rest of this post
A fast rise to number one on the charts!
The album Thriller was released on November 30. 1982, and sold more than one million copies per week and currently remains the best selling album of all time.
Besides winning 8 Grammy Awards, Thriller cemented Jackson’s status as one of the biggest pop stars of the late 20th century, enabling him to break down racial barriers and gave the musical industry a new direction.
It would’ve been interesting to see where his latest This is Itcomeback tour would have taken him. We’ll never know. Michael Jackson….gone too fast.
This is it movie opening on October 28, 2009, for two weeks only. Link: HERE
You’ve been hit by, you’ve been struck by a smooth criminal … and so, I was. My initial curiosity to see the last footage of Michael Jackson’s final concert rehearsals became utter fascination and inspiration within seconds after the film began.
Throughout my life, I hadn’t ever gotten overwhelmed with fandom for Michael’s music, even if it played in the backdrop to many of my formative years. This Is It has changed that and offers the same potential to others like me who never thought they’d fall under Michael’s spell.
Never-ending streams and pulses of dance energy shoot, pop and break out from Michael Jackson’s lithe frame with every breakbeat and syncopated rhythm. For a neophyte like me, it would have been easy to think he couldn’t contain his energy or, rather, what was so integral to his artistic depth: his chi and vital source of creativity. The truth is he contained and channeled his artistic creativity in measured and tempered song filled with long-drawn breaths, shouts, polished musicality and the art of motion.
This Is It provides such a complex view of Michael and all his talents: the film has a multidimensional focus, much like a faceted cube. There's a 3-D effect this documentary achieves and captures as MJ works, performs, directs and perfects what was so uniquely his—his own art form represented in the marriage of dance, song and feeling.
The viewer should pay a keen eye to his dance ticks and highly-tuned ear. Michael Bearden, credited as Michael’s music director, states, “Michael knows all the tempos, key signatures, key changes of each of his songs.” Michael could hear when the pitch and rhythm were off, too fast, and notes were thudded or being ham-fisted.
Directed by Kenny Ortega, Michael was given regal control while rehearsals went on. It didn’t end there. Michael’s own music seemed to never fail in inspiring him or translating into the infectious calls and responses his dancers carried through in moves and shouts while offstage. In every measured beat and note landed, one can hear a delicacy achieved and seamlessly delivered.
Ortega nurtured tremendous verve among the tour cast, resulting in sets where Michael powered through rehearsals with unstoppable skip and free-form dancing. Astoundingly, Michael mostly held his singing back during each rehearsal—a feat attributable to years spent mastering his music and from raw, unending depth of feeling. Michael said, “It’s all for love.” I finally believed him.
A studious understanding of his anthology of hits and his eras of cumulative success is lacking in my review. However, This Is It takes on a reprise to the indicting and unforgettable Martin Beshear interviews. With each hit performed in the film, it’s palpable how personal Michael intended to be with his fans. Each song is sung for you. So, when he opens with the softly-landed lyrics, “You and I must make a pact,” that artistic pact is most definitely alive with fans in every dance burst, extended vocals, and political message.
Michael certainly was on a different plane of creativity. The heightened sense he had for every performance detail amaze