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Good morning, City Desk readers, and welcome to a somewhat hungover Fringe Friday! Your intrepid blogger, after much good-natured cajoling, ended up at last night’s Fringe kick-off in Chinatown. Boy oh boy, did I have fun! I met Wrath, Gluttony, and Greed from The Sin Show, and according to all the cards I found in my back pocket this morning, I met lots of other friendly people, too! My only regret is the tequila! Trey Graham posted some photos from the launch party (he calls them “Fringe Fotos”—so fun, changing ph’s to f’s in honor of Fringe!) at the Fringe and Purge blog, which you should all bookmark and check regularly, for the hobbit references, and because a whole bunch of us will be bloggy-bloggy-blogging there nonstop until Fringe ends.

Why the whole world loves/hates the Washington City Paper, Michael Jackson’s immortal soul, and some Friday zen, after the jump.

  • Howie “the Howitzer” Kurtz sums up what Gawker called a “beautiful” cover thusly: “…it pushed the journalistic envelope with a three-word phrase in the cover headline, which was posted online Tuesday. The phrase—which can be rendered here only in sterile, Starr report-like language—is a colloquial term for an act of oral sex performed on a man. The headline sparked a wave of angry calls to the alternative weekly, complaints from a handful of distributors and charges of racism from Barry supporters yesterday.” One of those offended was this lady, who, for lack of a name, we will call “Pinker Bell.” Word around the office is that Pinker Bell lit into Jason Cherkis‘ ass over that cover (that blurry thing to the right is Cherkis). Is that funnier than the cover itself? YOU DECIDE! Editor Erik Wemple makes an appearance and defends the decision really well (seriously). Only problem with Kurtz’s column: “City Paper trumpeted its cover online as a “collector’s edition”—a bit of a joke, since all of its 72,000 copies are free.” Actually, if he cared to look inside the front cover, he might’ve seen that we doubled the newsstand price (DOUBLE-FREE) for this special collector’s edition.
  • NEXT: Is Michael Jackson in Heaven? All the MJ coverage made me gag, but this Daily Beast hypothetical by the guy who writes all those religious pocket books considering Jackson’s soul is just too good to pass up: “God’s pity aside, Jackson exhibited behavior one doesn’t expect from the heaven-bound, from his alleged drug addictions to his accused pedophilia. Still, those don’t automatically exclude him from paradise, says Chris Seay, the pastor of Ecclesia Houston and president of Ecclesia Bible Society. “We shouldn’t be surprised to find someone like Jackson in heaven,” he says, calling attention to biblical passages like Matthew 7:21-23. “Jesus makes it most clear that we will all be surprised to see that the beautiful and upstanding people we thought were ‘locks’ for heaven did not make it in, and the people we thought hell was created for might have the largest palace on our golden street.”” My take on Seay’s philosophy is that to get into Heaven, we should all commit a sex crime right before we die; groping your Hospice nurse should do.
  • And now a video for your summer, courtesy of Cinco products: