Before I get started, I just want to say that I'm not really sure I'm ready for another tribute article just quite yet. Michael Jackson's was hard enough, and to find out that Billy Mays died just a couple of days later was a complete shock and just made the way I felt at that time that much worse. That said, I'm going to try my damnedest to honor the memory of Billy Mays as best I can. AWESOME UPDATE: Billy Mays III says he really liked this tribute!
Hi, ThinkSoJoE here for a tribute to Billy Mays, the greatest pitchman of all time! Bought a ShamWoW from Vince? Didn't work too well? Billy's got something for that! Your knives are too dull to even cut through a sponge? Billy's got something for that! Cat's litter box smell too bad? Billy's got something for that! Hungry? Billy's got something for that too!
But wait - there's more!
If you're living in an apartment where you're not allowed to put holes in the wall, how can you hang up new shelves for more storage? Billy's got something for that! Need to clean a bunch of things but don't want to buy numerous expensive cleaning products? Billy's got something for that!
How much would you expect to pay for this one of a kind pitchman? $100? $200? No way! If you act now, you'll get Billy Mays for just two easy payments of...
Billy Mays, we'll miss you. While we're cleaning everything in sight with OxiClean and hanging shelves on the wall with Mighty Putty, we'll be enjoying some patented Billy Burgers from the Big City Slider Station in your memory. We've had a lifetime of guys trying to sell us products for "incredibly low" prices, but your charisma and winning personality pushed you through the crowd and into a league of your own. We'll need a whole lot of Mighty Mendit to fix all the broken hearts left in your passing.
William Darrell "Billy" Mays, Jr
1958 - 2009
It's time. I was going to do this last night but I just didn't have the words. I'm still not sure if I do. Thursday afternoon, Michael Jackson died. It came as a shock to everybody, and I don't think anybody really wanted to believe it when - ugh - TMZ broke the story.
I found out on facebook, actually, when I signed in and saw somebody's status saying that he died. I searched Google News and the only story I found was the aforementioned TMZ article. Everybody else was just reporting that he'd been taken to the hospital. I believed everybody else over TMZ. I turned on Headline News as Caroline walked into the room. I told her, "TMZ is reporting that Michael Jackson died. Everybody else says he's alive and just in the hospital." We sat and watched as Headline News told us that the LA Times and CBS reported that TMZ was right. When the HN anchors started treating it as though he was gone, that's when we started to believe the horrible news.
We eventually turned off HN and put on MTV, who had pre-empted all of their regular programming to show Michael Jackson's music videos. At 9PM, the Viacom owned music channels all broadcast a special look at the life and times of the King of Pop. I took a break from the coverage to watch TNA iMPACT! wrestling on Spike TV, but came to work at 11 to find that CNN was on, and talking non-stop about Michael, taking fifteen minutes every couple of hours to talk about Farrah Fawcett, who passed away hours before Jackson. Friday morning, I was expecting a package from UPS, so Caroline and I sat around and watched Michael's music videos across three or four different channels - and by the way, fuck you, VH-1 for stopping your Jackson block to air "Daisy of Love." Luckily Fuse and MTV Jams stepped in to pick up the slack.
Earlier in the week, a movie about the Jackson 5 was on television. It led to a conversation on Wednesday about the child molestation allegations that Jackson faced, how neither of us thought he actually did that. The man was a 50 year old little kid, who had sleepovers with his friends. Creepy? Certainly, but that doesn't mean that he's touching them or doing anything inappropriate. He was a big kid because he never had the chance to be a little kid - he was a performer by the age of five.
I called my mother while we were watching the video marathons, and I asked her if the news channels went this crazy about John Lennon's death. She told me they didn't even go this crazy when Elvis died. That's how much of a cultural icon this man was. Bigger than The Beatles. Bigger than Elvis. Probably the biggest star the world had ever known.
Michael Jackson trancended race, gender, religion, culture, language, and any other barrier you can think of. He was often called "The King of Pop," but he trancended genres. I'm a metalhead without question, but I was busting out my best Michael Jackson moves Friday morning while watching his videos. Hell, I even busted some out at Club W a couple years back when Jorge and I hit up a performance by The Fracture. When he danced, the man was the very definition of liquid motion, and he defied the laws of physics at times. When he sang, you knew who it was immediately, he had such a unique and iconic voice. He's influenced and inspired so many artists who came after him, and there will never be another one like him. Thank you, Michael, for making this world a better place for the short time you were in it.
Michael Joseph Jackson
So I've been pretty broke the last few weeks (damned car repair), and while I was at the laundromat this morning, I saw a sign advertising a website that purports to give you inside information on how to get government grants. I figured, what the hell, I'm broke, what have I got to lose? So I go to check out the site, and I immediately recognize that it's one of those "pay us and we'll show you how to make money" sites. Greedy bastards. So just for kicks, I decided to scroll down and see how much this alleged information would cost. That's when I found the following:
Yes, folks, that's a savings of 0%! Take advantage of this limited time offer while supplies last!
MySpace used to be the social networking site. In fact, I'd venture to say that most of the people I've met since 2005 I've met via MySpace. The site is probably directly responsible for 95% of my life over the past four years, and you used to not be able to go anywhere without hearing somebody say "I'm on MySpace, my address is myspace.com slash whatever." Then facebook came along.
A few years ago I tried facebook for the first time. I didn't like it. I even tried going out of my way to get my account cancelled. I posted a random picture of bare breasts and another image that was just text that said "FUCK FACEBOOK, DELETE ME!" in hopes of getting my account cancelled via terms of service violation. Didn't work, so I put my account on hold and gave up on the site for a while. After all, what did I need facebook for when I had MySpace?
Soon enough, however, I was somehow sucked back in to facebook. I started using the apps on a regular basis, adding mostly real-life friends and some of those crazy characters from the World Wrestling Insanity message board. I've since reconnected with old friends who I haven't seen in years and found out about my High School reunion through the site. Meanwhile, I started using MySpace less and less while MySpace started to become more and more like facebook. All the facebook apps started popping up on MySpace as my messages and comments started getting fewer and further between. Some days, I didn't log in to MySpace at all, but I couldn't go a day without checking facebook.
I logged in to MySpace a few minutes ago and noticed something I hadn't before - there's a blue toolbar at the bottom of the site that includes the MySpace Instant Messenger feature - just like facebook's instant messaging toolbar! I fully expect within the next six months to be able to bookmark my favorite MySpace apps in the toolbar, just like facebook. The transformation is almost complete!
For MySpace to ever surpass facebook, the answer is not in imitation, it's in innovation. Let's see how much longer MySpace has left before it's just a memory.
I have terrible road rage. There's nothing I hate more than being stuck in traffic, but there's something soothing about being behind a gigantic real life Tonka pickup truck from Texas. This probably didn't come out all that well as he was driving away when I managed to snap off the picture from my camera phone, but it was a cool sight, and something you don't see it Niagara Falls, NY every day.