Michael, Say It Isn't Auf Wiedersehen
How do you say "Neverland Ranch" in German? Michael Jackson has fallen in love with Berlin and wants to move to the city, his father told the German newspaper Bild yesterday.
Other newspapers in Germany reported that the singer was fond of the city's zoo, the beauty of nearby Potsdam and supportive European fans. Hey, Washington has a zoo, too! Supportive? Eh.
On Wednesday, the loose-lipped Joe Jackson said he will celebrate his 76th birthday today in the German capital, an event his son will not attend. The pop star's official Web site posted a statement that expressed his "sincere regrets" and wished his father a "very heartfelt 'Happy Birthday.' " We hope he at least calls or sends a card.
Die Welt, another German newspaper, quoted an "adviser" named Shawn Andrews as saying Michael Jackson wants to move because he feels he has been treated poorly in America.
The Real Mr. Clean
Dirt and scum, beware: A Germantown man is on a mission to clean America!
Power washer Henry Bockman founded Clean Across America, a national campaign that donates services to communities in need, in 2003. Bockman says the program raises public awareness about his profession: "Everyone thinks power washing is just waving around a high-powered wand. Power washing is like a science."
Last year, this near-scientist cleaned Camp Friendship in Palmyra, Va., an ice rink in Wheaton and the Izaak Walton League of America in Gaithersburg.
His next project is to spiffy up Abner Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y., before the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum induction ceremony on July 31.
While he's only scrubbed part of the mid-Atlantic region so far, Bockman has plans to keep on squirting. "We'll do a nonprofit, a public works facility, different hospitals -- we don't want to go in to make a slumlord's land better or anything." Okay, so he won't clean all of America.
An Artist Ready for Liftoff
At least she's logging in frequent-flier miles. Landscape artist Barbara Ernst Prey is commissioned by NASA to capture the launch of the Discovery space shuttle. The problem is, the ship was supposed to leave Earth more than a week ago but hasn't. Prey flew from her home base of Oyster Bay, N.Y., to Cape Canaveral on July 12 for the next day's scheduled launch, only to fly back home the following day -- without painting -- because of the shuttle's technical difficulties.
"I'm on standby," she said with a chuckle. Although Prey pays her own travel expenses, she says she doesn't regret traveling so much last week.
Prey does extensive research on her subjects before she picks up a brush. For the shuttle launch, she studied photographs and plans to snap pictures, as well as be a "roving eye" during the event.
This painter is part of NASA's little-known fine arts program, which has included Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol. In the past, she has painted the international space station and a commemorative portrait of the space shuttle Columbia.
Prey plans to pack her bags and travel to Florida yet again for Tuesday's scheduled launch.
* Beam him up -- no, really. Relatives of "Star Trek" star James Doohan plan to send the actor's ashes into outer space, as was done for the show's creator, Gene Roddenberry. Doohan's agent and friend, Steve Stevens, said, "He'll be there with his buddy, which is wonderful."
-- Compiled by Korin Miller
from staff and wire reports