Here's the Scoop: July 1, 2009

Stars are falling
The world lost a bunch of famous folks over the last week or so. Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Ed McMahon and Billy Mays. Wow.
These people all had varying degrees of fame, but were well-known for different reasons.
When I was in college, anyone who didn’t have THE Farrah Fawcett poster in their room was viewed as somehow lacking in the wonders of higher education. This shapely swimsuit shot provided the type of inspiration that wasn’t found in any college textbook.
Michael Jackson, well, what can I say? When I was young, I found his songs intruding into my life anywhere a radio was playing. As I got older and Michael grew progressively weirder, I found myself trying to avoid looking at any photo of him.
The bottom line is this fellow creeped me out long before his perverted ways became public. I guess his talent was undeniable, but his music was not the type I like. So, I couldn’t stand looking at him and didn’t much like listening to him. Does that make me a “bad” person?
Ed McMahon was not someone who I really thought much about either. Sure, he was a goofy late-night sidekick and I read where he hosted Star Search, but I never watched that show. The good news is that he seems to have died using the same nose with which he was born. Michael Jackson could have learned from him.

Loud and clear
And then there’s Billy Mays. A few weeks ago, I wrote in this space about how annoying I find it that everyone on TV and on the radio (and the world in general), feels it’s necessary to scream and shout to get a message across. I must admit, Billy Mays was in my thoughts when I wrote that column.
However, this is not meant as one of those pieces where everyone turns out to be a great person once they’re dead. In my book, plenty of dead people were jerks. Good riddance.
I will admit, though, I felt saddened when I opened the computer and the news of Billy Mays’ death shouted out at me. For all his loudness, I always felt that Billy was sincere about all the products he was yelling for us to buy.
I don’t know that I ever purchased any of these items, but I always felt like if I did buy some OxiClean or Orange Glo and it didn’t work well, that I could have written to Billy and he would personally send me a refund.
Of course, I could be completely wrong about Billy’s faith in the products he pushed, but I liked to think that he would stand behind them.
Unfortunately for Billy and Farrah (sorry, Ed, I don’t think your fame status was quite that high), their deaths fell during a brief period where the King of Pop died, or their fame could have endured a bit more.
For instance, I recall a few years ago when actor John Ritter died. He had the lucky timing of dying when apparently no other celebrity had as much as a cold. Again, Ritter seemed like a nice guy. In death, his fame took on gargantuan proportions.
In fact, I recall reading his obituary just to see if I had missed some of his achievements. Nope. A bunch of sort of mid-level acting roles. No disappearning nose. No changing of skin color. Always wore two matched gloves — and only in the winter. Timing, as they say, is everything. Especially when you die.