outskirts: life and times in charlottesville

…small town life

MJ unveiled his plans for a string of farewell concerts yesterday before 1,000 screaming children.

Image of TJ and MJ at Monticello

The superstar revealed this summer’s gigs will be his curtain call during a bizarre appearance at Monticello in Charlottesville.

Emotional Jacko, 50, said: “This is it. I mean it. This is it.”

The star, added: “A few years ago during my trial I started talking with Bubbles quite a bit in the evening. TJ started stopping by every now and then telling me about how much fun he had in this area, so I just had to see it and give it what the children around here want.”

He then paused, placed his hands over his heart, reached out and clasped hands with TJ, and bowed his head.

Jacko is to perform at least ten shows at Moticello beginning in July.

The Thriller singer gushed: “I love you so much. These will be my final show performances in TJ’s house. I’ll be performing the songs my fans (particularly the children) want to hear.

“This is the final curtain call. I’ll see you in July. And I love you. You have to know that. I love you, from the bottom of my heart.”

Security for paranoid Jackson’s appearance was unprecedented at Monticello. Everyone was frisked and had to walk through a body-scanner searching for weapons while bags went through X-ray machines.

A source said: “We’ve had superstars here from Bush to Kevin Bacon and this is the tightest security we have ever had. He requested it for his kids.”

But backstage staff at Monticello expecting impossible demands were amazed when Jacko asked only for a plate of vegetarian sandwiches, a bottle of wine, and some personal time with TJ.

He flew into Charlottesville from LA on Tuesday with children Prince Michael, ten, Paris, nine, and five-year-old Prince Michael II.

The star, cleared of child sex charges four years ago, is feared to have picked up a superbug during plastic surgery on his nose. As a side note, U2 may also play here in Charlottesville.

As we all know, squirrels are not loved around here. Just last year a squirrel caused a blackout that took power down to most of the village.

In an effort to deal with this growing epidemic of power hungry squirrels, the village is doing all it can in current construction efforts. On the historic downtown mall you can see the remains of a tree that some squirrels called home.

Fresh Historic Lumber

Just off the mall things are even a bit more drastic. Many morning commuters park out on Garrett and have to fight off squirrels constantly. Since the 2nd round of Norcross Station construction has started the developers went right in and eradicated the home of the defenseless squirrels. Below are the before and after photos. Five out of six trees were eradicated. I’m sure a few new shrubs will get planted though.

Garrett With

Garrett Without

Tourist are also a problem that we must deal with. With the downtown mall construction in full swing, the walkways are unbelievably narrow, particularly for people in wheel chairs or that are just a bit on the large size (aka most locals). It only makes sense that some stores on the mall, particularly those that cater to the rich and famous, should place advertising in the middle of the path. This insures that no two people can ever walk side by side while sightseeing, and also makes it clear that no wheel chairs are welcome in this area.

Space Sucker

Feel free to go measure the distance between the sign and the walls. There isn’t room for a wheel chair. I wonder how many rules are getting broken here. Oh well.

Another clear sign of the hatred of tourists is the most recent graffiti on the Garrett Wall. Based on my skills of reading graffiti, I believe this one is saying that if you a) wear yellow, b) smile, c) look like a banana, or d) ride a skateboard you will be given a ticket and then “erased” less than a week later.

Hot Dog Skateboarder

Tourists…you are as wanted as squirrels. Good riddance to all of you. Now, where is my downtown supermarket?

The excessive noise due to construction on the mall has totally decreased productivity among white collar workers, but that is not important. The important thing is getting done on time.

The group that got the 7.5 million dollar contract has contracted out to non-C-Ville people. No wonder things are moving so quickly. People are working on Sundays, and when it rains. I seem to recall that when the half a block project next to Chap’s was getting done by locals that a) work was almost never occurring, b) it took about twice as long as expected, and c) no one ever worked on a weekend.

My how things have changed.

Along with that change comes the possibility of the next big city burn down. As we know, locals love to smoke.

C-Ville Scenery

Unfortunately, many of the smoker trash cans are now out of reach, or are entirely removed. Thus, butts get thrown all around. The mall is now almost impassable to fire engines, and hydrants are all surrounded by the dreaded green walls.

Trapped Hydrants

This combination of facts can only lead to one thing.

Trapped Hydrants
(artist’s conception)

The dreaded combination of rain, temperatures below 50 degrees, and a milk disaster have caused massive lines to form at local grocery stores. Those on the scene say it feels like Russia during the Cold War.


I urge locals to not panic. The sun will come out tomorrow and a new supplies will be brought in by the c-ville guardians.

‘Twas the night before the New Year, when all through the village
lots of creatures were stirring, even the breeder results with lice;
The bricks were getting pitched from the mall with care,
In hopes that TJ and his hos soon would be there…

Since I was out of town doing a job for 2.5 weeks during my vacation (in this depressed economy does anyone ever get a single day off?) I missed the typically eventful (by village standards) New Year’s Eve celebration that happens on the mall every year. Luckily I had a few sources fill me in on events that transpired that evening so I was able to piece together this accurate sequence of events.

New Year’s Eve in Charlottesville, December 31, 2008.

The evening started off as every other New Year’s Eve in C-Ville does: screaming kids, no booze, screaming kids (oh wait…I said that already), dozens of police to keep the racial violence and pedestrian run-downs to a minimum, and the same crowd of one tooth/string banjo playing bums.

NYE 2007

The overall number of people was a bit low due to the brutal 55 degree weather (it is typically around 70 at this time of year in the village now that global warming has settled in).

Things seemed normal.

The village then let information sneak out. As we recall in 2008 construction began on the biggest building in the history of the village. So big that a crane was required during the construction.

Crane Supreme

Since the finances for the construction have run out due to shady art deals by the hotel developer, the city offered to use the spare 2 million dollars that they found kicking around in their coffers to buy a few seconds of fame for the village, and drop a ball from the crane, just like Times Square in NYC. What a brilliant idea!

They needed a few things first. A ball, a way to lower the ball, and a clock such that the ball would drop at the correct time. Most people might think this is easy, but you have to remember where this is taking place (yea, C-Ville…where technology is feared, and time is still kept by TJ’s clock up at Monticello).

Reports are sketchy, but the ball was apparently designed by a 12 year old girl (users reported an age range from 10 to 14). An exercise ball was donated by ACAC (since they charge a ridiculous monthly fee they could afford it), and the local technology club (you know who you are) had lots of modern CD technology laying around that they normally would distribute to new residents.

Making New Year's Eve Ball

Things were going well. A ball had been made. Getting the ball to the top of the crane required a special permit from City government, but with a bit of cash that was quickly taken care of (the city won’t accept credit cards…only cash or check – what is a check?). Now a rope was required to get the ball to the platform that was on top of the unfinished landmark hotel.

To get something as complex as a rope (plus a crank so that it could be raised/lowered) an emergency meeting of the BAR (Board of Architectural Review, or is that Boneheads Accepting Revenue) was called. Since everything must be the same as TJ’s day, it was determined that the rope would have to be made out of hemp. To get this “hemp” the organizers had to walk about 50 feet to the other side of the tracks. Along the way they had to shut down a road as a distraction.

Closed 2nd Street

Things were almost ready. Finding a clock that adhered to Jeffersonian standards was tricky. It was decided that the only official time in the world is kept at Monticello, so someone would be there with a lantern and a piece of wood. A sequence of light flashes could be used to let the person on top of the landmark hotel know the proper time (one if close to midnight, two if past midnight…or something like that).

Everything was in place.

The audience below the hotel on the downtown mall was ecstatic. Nothing like this had ever been done before. The man stationed in Monticello gave the signal and the ball started getting lowered to the big 2009 that would light up (via candles) when the ball reached the platform after a 10 second countdown. The crowd went wild and started to count down.

This is where things got fun. The man who was lowering the ball decided it was time for a smoke (who in this village could possibly live without a cigarette for 10 seconds). He lit up and was enjoying the smoke, so the ball stopped moving. No one on the ground was sure what to do. Chaos was about to erupt. As the man light up, he had discarded his match next to the rope. The rope was beginning to smoke. Needless to say, smoking “hemp” started (some report Puff the Magic Dragon started playing).

The rope then started to burn a bit more feverishly. The cigarette of the man went up in a puff of smoke, along with his sideburns, and that got him back on task. The ball once again started getting lowered, but a bit more quickly this time. The fellow at Monticello had passed out trying to signal that midnight had already passed by. The crowd stood by. Some had stopped counting. Others were well in to the negative range, and some had started counting upward in to 2009.

The candles were lit on the 2009 sign, and contentment of the new year settled in. Increased unemployment, more bums, empty buildings, and increased assessment values await the residents. Screaming kids were loaded in to SUV’s and the parent were wondering if they would be the next person to run over a pedestrian. TJ settled back in with Sally for another year, and the “hemp” rope mysteriously vanished (perhaps C-Ville government accountants will find it at the end of the year). The AOL CD’s have been returned to local technology groups, and the exercise ball is back at the gym.

Will this sort of event ever happen again? Tune in next year, same TJ channel, same TJ time.

PS. I one reader let me know that due to the time delay of the event that the ball lowerer was sent packing and was told he wouldn’t be invited back next year. This picture of him was snapped the next evening. Oh my…how sad.