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This week’s topic for High Fives was set to be health care for all, but you may have noticed Michael Jackson’s recent death has taken a front row in the news these days. As millions mourned and flocked to the memorial service, the news networks had trouble concentrating on anything else. And if CNN and Fox can’t talk about real news, why should we? Besides, upon hearing of MJ’s death, the real question on everyones minds, what does Todd Richards think?

1) How did the recent passing of MJ affect you personally?

Well, I can no longer tell the joke: what is the difference between Michael Jackson and a bag that your groceries come in? One is white, made of plastic and dangerous for kids to play with, and the other you can carry your groceries in. But seriously, Mike Jackson died when his skin got dyed.

2) Are you in any way offended or surprised that the news of his death superseded the political conflict in Iran, that dude from South Carolina who had an affair or any other the other multitude of issues facing the world right now?

Um yes. It was very strange that that little fucker in North Korea diarea was saying he was going to wipe us off the planet, the Iahtollah was killing women in the street and oh what’s this? A suspected child molester weirdo that had sweet music back in the 80’s and possibly the worst ride at Epcot Center kicked the can. Shit you tell me. I don’t really see a senator from South Carolina nailing a bridge troll as news either, though.

3) What was more shocking. Michael Jackson dying young or Sarah Palin resigning from her job as governor of Alaska halfway through her term?

Obviously Michael Jackson. I think it’s ironic that he began to really resemble one of the zombies in the thriller video. Wait is that irony, or just fucked up? Sarah Palin, Jesus H Christ hanging on a stick, she is as fucking retarded as they come. I think that Tina Fey would have been a better candidate for Vice President.

4) As a California resident, are you concerned about how the city of Los Angeles will pay for MJ’s lavish memorial ceremony?

Oh man, well with all the hearsay about how in debt the king of pop was when he died…one things for sure Lionel Richie ain’t paying for it! Wait, isn’t Califonia in massive debt? And drought? And over due for an earthquake of magnitude 5 or better? Fuck, I’m moving to Canada.

4 part 2) Be honest, did you try to get tickets to the memorial?

I would rather watch re-runs of MASH in Spanish than go to the Michael Jackson memorial. Weird how everyone forgets that he was really suspect of fiddling children not that long ago. Fuck that man, I don’t forget. I have kids and that dude, although his music is nothing short of genius , is a weirdo. End of story. If you saw him come out of a shadow in an alley on the way home the way he looked recently, you would deuce your trousers!

5) As a knower of many things, care you speculate on the real cause of death? Perhaps Pepsi finally succeeded after trying to light him on fire in the 90s didn’t work?

He may have overdosed, but I hear he got food poisoning. Choked to death on a 7 year old wiener.


With all these celebrity deaths of late, it wasn’t a question of if, but rather when the exploitation would occur. Usually though, I limit my exploitation of tragedy to a few off-color jokes in close company. But when snowboard company Neff put out a Michael Jackson tribute tee, well, it was the first time I sort of cared about Michael Jackson’s death. Frankly it seemed absurd and needed to be mocked, especially since I run a site with the tag line “making fun of snowboarding.”

Then when Awesome Auger spokeman Billy Mays passed away Sunday, the opportunity was clear. Rip off Neff’s design and make a Billy Mays tribute shirt. Jared and I laughed the whole time at how ridiculous it was, but when the design was finished, I strangely wanted one. Though we toyed with the idea of not actually making them available for purchase, we also agreed that no one would actually buy them, so we might as well make it legit. A few clicks and for just $19.95, anyone can now purchase a YoBeat Billy Mays Tribute Shirt from the YoBeat store. I posted the release and figured maybe we’d get linked around a few a laughs.

Then something happened. Someone bought a shirt. And then a few other people did too. So now, not only do we have to make the shirts, but I feel totally hypocritical. I tried to make myself feel a little better by commiting to donate some of the proceeds to the American Heart Association, but man, who would have thought anyone actually wanted one of these? Oh, the irony.