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This Michael Jackson Podcast Will Not Heal The World

The longest episode of “Yaxzon Jackson” to date includes beer sippin’, multiple “Saturday Night Live” references, a small snit about “We Are The World,” and some wild new mailbag sound effects. Dig in:

Yax Jax 007: “Heal The World”

Apologies for lapsing into the Brody Stevens impression. #positivepush

Can’t Let This Michael Jackson Podcast Get Away

“Yaxzon Jackson” soldiers on through Dangerous. Marvel at the link below—it’s your gateway to two hours of discussion about the sixth track, “Can’t Let Her Get Away!”

Yax Jax 006: “Can’t Let Her Get Away”

Highlights: my inability to say “multi-instrumentalist,” Rollie’s ability to receive certified mail in the middle of our podcast, and talk of the infamous MJ/Lisa Marie Presley MTV smooch. Pure sex right in your ear!

Ancient Central Florida Secret: The Splendid China Winn-Dixie

Splendid China: one of Central Florida’s more noteworthy theme park failures. “Failure,” of course, is a relative term. The seventy-five acre space that recreated in miniature some of mainland China’s finest attractions (the Great Wall, the Leshan Buddha) managed to remain open for ten whole years. That’s twice as long as Boardwalk & Baseball.

Unfortunately, for more or less its entire existence, Splendid China was plagued by controversy. Critics lambasted the park, which was purchased by the Chinese government before its 1993 opening from Taiwanese American founder Josephine Chen, for appropriating from other Asian cultures, pushing Communist propaganda, and financial mismanagement (the gov’t owners insisted on importing building materials from China, often at sixteen times the cost). Once Splendid China closed its doors permanently it became a hotspot for ne’er-do-wells, who snuck in through the poorly sealed entrance to steal and/or destroy the abandoned miniatures.

What was left of Splendid China was allegedly demolished last year, but there’s still a large satellite monument to the deleted park’s existence. On West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in Kissimmee you’ll find an entire shopping plaza that mimics the architecture we all associate with the Far East (though only in Florida will you find turquoise pagodas). The plaza’s centerpiece is a Winn-Dixie, but you won’t see that grocery chain’s familiar logo anywhere on the building exterior. The only signal anything occupies this space is the presences of Winn-Dixie’s less recognized subtitle, “Marketplace,” above the entryway.

The photo above depicts what you see the moment you enter Kissimmee’s Splendid China Winn-Dixie. Three tiny figures on the balcony of a more realistic-looking pagoda, beckoning you in with warm off-brand “It’s A Small World” charm. As you can see, this store also makes extensive use of track lighting. I’m not sure how true that is to Chinese custom but it certainly gives a grocery store an otherworldly atmosphere.

What’s most interesting about the Splendid China Winn-Dixie is how it seems to cater most exclusively to a British clientele. At any given moment I’d wager a third of Kissimmee’s population is British tourists killing time between laps around the Magic Kingdom. This supermarket is one of the closest there is to Disney, and their selection of imported English products is staggering. Entire endcaps overflowing with big blue cans of Heinz Beans, Lion bars, and slim glass bottles containing a creamy liquid identified only as “salad sauce.”

I didn’t engage any of the employees about what their professional lives are like at the Splendid China Winn-Dixie, but you can sorta see it on their faces. They know they work in a store that’s still modeled after a theme park that closed in 2003. Talking about it isn’t going to make stocking shelves under track lighting any easier.

And yet the place somehow seems decidedly less bizarre than the Planet Hollywood that continues to thrive on Disney property, that drab grey globe surrounding itself with a moat(!) and the miserable spirits of ’90s Hollywood hubris. A restaurant venture between Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis is something that should have remained relegated to the margins of Last Action Hero, not formed fully in our three dimensional world.

Do You Remember The Time This MJ Podcast Drove You Wild?

Comin’ at ya with a double dose of the “Yaxzon Jackson” podcast. That’s right, two episodes back to back, because my computin’ machine went sunny side up last week and I couldn’t post anything. So technically I’m behind. Technically and every other way.

The good news: at least one entry here covers a Dangerous cut people have actually heard. Imagine that, spending two hours talking about a Michael Jackson song human beings recognize and enjoy!

Yax Jax 004: “She Drives Me Wild”

Yax Jax 005: “Remember The Time”

Thanks for listening.

This Michael Jackson Podcast Refuses To Stay In The Closet

Episode the third of “Yaxzon Jackson” is out and proud. If you think the King of Pop was above handjob references you’ve clearly never experienced the lusty weirdness of “In The Closet”:

Yax Jax 003

Also: Howard Stern, Boba Fett, and the final(?) word on “Batdance.”

Thanks for listening.

Why You Wanna Trip On My Michael Jackson Podcast?

Episode the second of “Yaxzon Jackson” is up and ready to be consumed by you, the eager listener. Dig in to hear Rollie and I discuss “Why You Wanna Trip On Me,” Michael J’s sequel of sorts to “Leave Me Alone” that features zero seconds of rapping from Heavy D:

Yax Jack EP 002

We also turn the tables this time by having Rollie be the one who is too loud.

Other show notes: I had only been awake for fifteen minutes when we started recording, the construction noises you hear are real, the phone calls you hear are fake, Rollie is still handling all the tech stuff so hats off to him, I struggled hard not to make any Garry Shandling references in this ep.

Unsolicited Musings On GTA V

- my roommate acquired a secondhand copy of this game recently and invited me to play it “whenever”; this is a dangerous thing to say to an underemployed freelance writer

- for all of GTA V’s realism and expertly rendered landscapes it’s still just a dumb video game, something outlined clearly when you want your character to jump a fence but it’s too high so his gangly body just slams against it like a fish out of water (another good example: get enough cop cars chasing you and the game becomes The Blues Brothers in terms of police vehicles soaring through the air and recklessly slamming into things)

- every in-game radio station plays the same five or six songs over and over and over again, which is very true to life

- GTA V uses the T.S.O.L. song “Abolish Government/Silent Majority” on one radio station, but considering the objectives of the game maybe they should have gone with “Property Is Theft?”

- I’ve never been to L.A. so I can’t speak to the accuracy of the game’s Los Santos facsimile; it seems legit, but at the same time certain portions appear to be modeled after specific blocks or areas in other lesser celebrated cities, which maybe the designers did on purpose re: hometown pride?

- the coolest auto I have grand thefted so far is a lifeguard’s pickup truck, which is the closest GTA V comes to offering an Ectomobile (yes, I know there are codes/mods you can put in to make an Ectomobile, but come on, I’m a thirty-five year old ex-gamer who dipped before Super Nintendo came out, I’m lucky to have figured out what all the XBox buttons do)

- according to this game there are vicious mountain lions waiting just off the California freeway, desperate for their next taste of human flesh; if they ever make GTA Connecticut they’re gonna have to change that to deer ticks

- one thing you definitely cannot do in GTA V is throw it all away to become a dancer; you can go into the strip club but you cannot climb up on the stage to show everyone your stuff a la Magic Mike, which is total fucking bullshit and forces me to give this game a C

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