The Futility Infielder

A Baseball Journal by Jay Jaffe I'm a baseball fan living in New York City. In between long tirades about the New York Yankees and the national pastime in general, I'm a graphic designer.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Death Scores a Hat Trick

Like everyone else, I was surprised and saddened by the death of Michael Jackson yesterday, capping a surreal day of celebrity demises that also claimed Farrah Fawcett and garage rock legend Sky Saxon.

I'm old enough to remember when Thriller hit the racks and was all the rage; I didn't have a copy, but my brother did, and that was more than enough for me to get sick of it — except for maybe Eddie Van Halen's guitar playing on "Beat It" - because for a couple of years, his songs were everywhere. Still, for a kid who didn't have cable TV, I have to admit that his videos, watched sparingly in their rotation on Friday Night Videos, were something else.

Nonetheless, for some reason the two video clips I thought of with regards to Michael Jackson's music aren't those well-worn classics but these rather off-the-beaten-path ones which speak to his broad cultural reach by featuring his music but not his image (Cliff Corcoran curated an idiosyncratic selection of Jackson vids at Bronx Banter, while Pitchfork has the motherlode). The first is from the Kevin Smith movie Clerks II, a scene in which Becky (Rosario Dawson) teaches Dante (Brian O'Halloran) to dance to the Jackson 5 classic "ABC." Joyful, absurd, and poignant all at once:

The second one is just surreal — a group of some 1,500 Filipino prisoners at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center learning an ensemble dance routine to "Thriller." You can read about the dance program here, but for now, just watch:

Meanwhile, here's a clip of Saxon's band, the Seeds, in a 1967 clip on the Mothers-In-Law show, lip-synching their hit "Pushin' Too Hard," one of many garage rock staples immortalized on the Nuggets compilation. Saxon's the guy with the cape:

As for Fawcett, being the prettiest of Charlie's Angels, married to The Six Million Dollar Man made her about as famous as Reggie Jackson in my eight-year-old mind. Here she is in the opening credits to the pilot episode of her first star vehicle:

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