The Week in Review

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm actually starting to feel sorry for the Republican Party. One more of the so-called Golden Boys has fallen by the wayside. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford stood before the cameras earlier this week and confessed to having an affair with a woman in the Southern Hemisphere. Apparently the guv was quite surprised to learn that there was so much interest in the fact that he'd slipped away (for 5 days, yet). And this man's name was being tossed around as a possible Republican Presidential candidate in 2012?

One refreshing thing about this was the absence of Mrs. Sanford at the press conference. I don't think I could have stomached yet another political wife standing by her man and looking like she'd rather be undergoing a breast biopsy. I haven't seen such defiance since Gary Hart's wife Lee claimed that an ear infection prevented her from joining her husband at a campaign event just days after news of his cavorting with a much-younger woman on a boat became public way back in 1988 (the Harts are still married, if anybody's interested). What a nice change from Mrs. Spitzer, the former Mrs. McGreevey), and Mrs. Craig (her husband of the famous toe-tapping restroom shenanigans).

Jerri Nielsen FitzGerald passed away this week, with remarkably little press. As the lone physician at the South Pole station in 1998, she found a lump in her breast during the half of the year when the bottom of the world is inaccessible. She had to perform her own biopsy, and when it proved to be malignant she had to train some of her non-medical colleagues to assist her in administering chemotherapy treatments that had to be dropped from a plane because it was too frigid to land. Ms. Nielsen made the most of her remaining time after her 1-year South Pole contract ended, writing a book about her experience, traveling extensively, and remarrying. Her cancer returned in 2005, attacking her bones and brain, yet she remained active until her last 90 days. This brave woman was just 57 years old.

Another brave woman was Farrah Fawcett. I admit to never being a fan of hers, but I'm glad she insisted upon playing more substantial roles than the fluff that was Charlie's Angels. But where she really impressed me was with her warts-and-all chronicling of her illness and the sharing of her private thoughts. It's rather sad that her only child's life is on its way to becoming the same train wreck as his father's other children (have any of Ryan O'Neal's children not had substance abuse problems?), but the one I really feel for is her elderly father. Like Luther Vandross' mother, he is the last survivor of the family he created with his spouse. It's got to be hell to have to bury your children as well as your spouse, especially when you're past 90.

The cynic in me wonders how Ryan O'Neal feels about Farrah being kicked to Page Two by the unexpected death of a superstar. His widely circulated account about how he asked Farrah to marry him and her acceptance of his proposal, but dying before they could carry it out just seemed a little too publicity-driven for me (who the hell marries on their deathbed . . . not to mention it suggests Farrah was in denial about her terminal condition (she reportedly promised to marry him when she "felt stronger.")

It was when a co-worker about to leave for the day on Thursday was surfing the net and remarked that Farrah Fawcett had died that I checked the New York Times website for more information. The headline was not of Farrah's passing, but that an unconscious Michael Jackson had been rushed to the hospital. Not five minutes later, when I turned on the TV in the break room to watch the NBC Nightly News, that I saw a picture of Michael with the dates "1958-2009" underneath. My jaw dropped, but I managed to recover quickly enough to run to the door and shout out the news to my co-worker, who had just gone off duty and was getting into her car.

Now, maybe I shouldn't admit this, but after the initial shock wore off I realized it wasn't all that surprising to me. Michael Jackson struck me as being a very unhappy person for many years now, and that usually isn't conducive to a long life. He also had the look of someone who swallowed a lot of pills. This aside, my condolences go to his family, and I fervently hope his children don't inherit his eccentric ways. Incidentally, there will be some very large royalty payments issued to somebody, likely the person or persons who ultimately end up with custody of the kids. Is a custody battle to follow the money on the horizon? Let's hope Michael left a will and not just a lot of bills, which happens all too often in the black community.

The media has gone completely goofy in their coverage of the passing of these two icons. I personally thought Farrah Fawcett unusual in that her looks were both wholesome and sexy, but hearing her described as "extraordinarily beautiful" made me gag (very reminiscent of the ridiculous praise of the "beauty" of the ordinary-looking Jackie Onassis). And spare me from any more reminisces about Michael like the one by Quincy Jones, in which he stated that Michael told him he's had people standing outside his house hoping for a glimpse of him from the time he was 5 years old (I'm sorry, but in 1963-64, when Michael was 5, I don't think anyone in Gary, Indiana, even knew who he was other than a cute kid in a house with many cute kids).

I don't know about you, but I'm hoping next week is quieter!

Enjoy your weekend.