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Deadline day miscellany

Mid-morning, it looked like the Current's favorite bubblegum-robotics duo, Hyperbubble, would handily win Best Swag Bag of the day: tube of sunscreen, hot lavender shades, and their brand-new maxi-single "Better Set Your Phasers to Stun". Gilbert Garcia made off with that, so look for commentary soon.

Then a package from Whole Foods arrived with one of those super-cute lunch-size reusable bags we've been coveting (but how many bags in one trunk is justifiable?) stocked with a summer-survival kit: tea-tree ointment, arnica gel, kid-friendly herbal bug repellant, more sunscreen. No music, though.

But I think the message is clear: The Current needs more summer outdoor fun.

In other news, Express-News Editor Bob Rivard is back to his confounding ways, with a column in Sunday's paper about fallen pop star Michael Jackson.

"I'm not indifferent to the talent and legacy of Michael Jackson. 'Thriller' was the first music video that truly mesmerized me, especially viewing it for the first time from a war zone in Central America*," Rivard begins before warning us:

"But don't expect the Express-News to send a reporter to Los Angeles, ground zero for the worldwide outpouring of grief in the wake of Jackson's sudden death at age 50. Don't look for a special section or keepsake poster in the Express-News either.

Even worse than trying to buy a different skin color and, every few years, a new face, Jackson used his fame and wealth to pursue his obsession with young boys."

The message: Jackson was a child molester, and the E-N won't be overlooking that fact in some hysterical hagiography. But, of course, the key word in that second paragraph is "Express-News," which should be interpreted very narrowly. The Express-News faux-alt 210sa printed a Michael Jackson commemorative issue (that's what it said ... on the cover ... admittedly in pale, pale gray letters) last Wednesday with a big (admittedly bad) cover photo of Jackson wearing his signature glittery glove. And here you'll find ... yes, that's a (the E-N website) Michael Jackson special section, heavy on the photos, with about a billion links to forums, recollections, etc.

It reminds us of the time way back when the E-N endorsed McCain for President in the fall, and 210sa sold Obama victory T-shirts the following winter. I think there's a new-media lesson here: If you diversify your brand, you can issue empty moral proclamations out of one side of your mouth, and whistle for the masses out of the other.

* I don't know where Gilbert Garcia first saw the 'Thriller' video, but it holds special significance for him, too: It marked the beginning of the end.

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