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Whoa! Prince turns out to have been a junkie all along. But a covert junkie.

Kind of interesting the way his life parallels that of his arch rival, Michael Jackson.

I was and remain a huge Michael Jackson fan, dating back to his Jackson Five days. I maintain that Jackson’s ode to a killer rat, Ben, is one of the most perfect love songs ever penned and crooned.

(Reader, I married him!)

The kicker – if you believe The Daily Mail (and why wouldn’t you?) – is that despite their celebrated performer magic, both Jackson and Prince suffered from excruciating performance panic and thus, needed to anesthetize themselves thoroughly before they could climb up on a stage and go through the prescribed moves.

Both were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses, a religion I know nothing about and tend to confuse with Seventh Day Adventism.

Apparently the Witnesses reject Christmas and birthday celebrations as pagan rituals, and they do not believe in the Trinity, hell, or the soul’s immortality. Death is the endgame for most of us. The soul, like the body, can die. The lucky few will be resurrected to go on living some time after Armageddon in a representative democracy governed by Jehovah. The end times started in 1914, and the big blowup should happen any moment now.

The Witnesses are on a first name basis with the Supreme Deity (unlike, say, the Jews who think God’s true name is powerful mojo and avoid speaking or spelling it.) Think of them as primary candidates trying to get your vote for the Jehovah platform!

I am not quite sure how Jesus fits into their equation. I do know that the Witnesses tend to anthropomorphize Satan more than other post-Restoration Protestant religions.


Anyway, it's becoming quite obvious to me that Prince died so that I wouldn’t have to read about the primaries for four whole days.

It was an act of sacrifice! It was an act of LUV, deep and profound. Unfortunately, its effects are wearing off. Just this morning, an article on byzantine Pennsylvania delegate selection techniques snaked its way into my newsfeed.

It’s time for some other celebrity to step up to the plate.

I'm talking to YOU, Kim Kardashian!


In other news, apparently 90,000 protestors turned out on the streets of Berlin to voice their disgust with Obama’s pet Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Presumably, many, many more Germans are sitting at home, gnashing their teeth over the prospect. Of course, in this country, anti-trade deal rhetoric is a major part of both the Sanders and the Trump platforms. Could it be that people are finally getting wise to the fact that global trade deals are mostly only good for corporations seeking cheap labor and fresh markets for shoddy electronics?

And if I were a Brit, I would so be voting to get out of the EU! Upfront cost savings, freedom from restrictive regulatory burdens, and more intensive security measures at the borders. The Norway model.

Yeah, yeah, there would be five to ten years where the remaining EU members would pout and play vindictive. But it would pass. The bilateral relationships would quickly resume.

Terrorism is the offspring of globalism. I do support immigration, but I also think it’s absolutely ridiculous in this day and age not to vet the immigration process very, very, very carefully. The EU mandate is for “open” borders, and increasingly, I think that’s dangerous.

But, of course, the U.K. won’t vote to leave the EU.
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I’m relatively lucky, I suppose, that I can hunker down and earn extra money when I need to. Not huge sums of money, but the small sums that are sufficient to my modest needs.

Nonetheless, the whole process is disheartening. I chafe at it; I grow resentful. I think of psychotic Emily Dickinson in her yellow-wallpapered house. I think of Emily, the maddest of the Bronte sisters. I think of millions of human prisoners locked away century after century, a honeycomb of white stone cells. I feel sorry for myself, in other words.

It’s some quirk in my mind. What I’m feeling right now, right at this very millisecond, is what I’ve always been feeling from the very beginning of time. No alteration is possible.

It’s very Zen in a way. Though not quite what Ram Dass was thinking when he said, “Be here now.”


It’s looking as though Prince OD’d on Percocet, which makes me kind of sad. Not entirely clear whether the Percocet was recreational or whether he was using it as an analgesic. Apparently, he ruined his hips prancing around in 6-inch stiletto heels. (Real Housewives be warned!)

I often wonder why anyone pursues fame in the relentless, unwavering way that Prince did. I mean, the pursuit of money I can understand. But fame? They all seem to die miserable and constipated. Fame, it turns out, is never a big enough rush. Eventually, they all turn to opiates.

As an opiate lover myself, I can relate.

But then, why not just eliminate the middleman? Legalize heroin so we can all be Emily Dickinsons with yellow wallpaper, but stoned Emily Dickinsons with yellow wallpaper?
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The soundtrack to Patrizia: The Lost Years has a lot of Prince on it.

1999, Little Red Corvette, When Doves Cry, the Cyndi Lauper cover of When You Were Mine but also a relatively obscure tune from the 1982 breakthrough album entitled Automatic:

The backup girls – really Prince in falsetto – croon A-U-T-O-matic, just tell me what to do, ooh, A-U-T-O-matic, I'm so in love with you, while the androgynous, insinuating over-voice wails dissonantly:

I remember how you kissed me, not with your lips but with your soul
With you I'm never bored, talk to me some more
I can hear you, I'm going to have to torture you now...

I had a whole little dance routine I’d worked out to that number. The song didn’t get any play in the clubs I went to in between watching people die on the cancer wards or patching them up in the ER, so I practiced my dance routine at home, prancing around in front of the enormous pair of full-length mirrors that were practically the only furniture in my apartment on Derby Street. Dancing by myself was okay. I did a lot of blow in those days. I liked to buy my own blow, and I didn’t like to share.


I hardly know how to begin enumerating the many things that made Prince such a unique, extraordinary artist. Guitar virtuoso right up there with Jimi Hendrix (whose style was very similar): Check. Evocative, soul-wrenching, cheeky vocalist: Check. Brilliant lyricist: Check. Pyrotechnic performer (I saw him live twice in the 80s): Check. Maestro of Self-Invention: Check.

I imagine there’s a treatise that could be written on Prince’s insistence on living in Minneapolis even after he got rich as Croesus. Resolved: Prince Rogers Nelson was the quintessential Midwesterner!

But I’m not gonna write it.


In other news, one of Max’s pals posted this charming picture of my oldest son on Instagram:


In the caption, he’s saying, "I'd like to think she hates the fact she's doing this...and she'd rather be at home, in sweat pants, watching reruns of 'American Dad'."


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Every Day Above Ground

September 2017

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