The King of Pop's Latest Moonwalk

We swore after he dangled the baby, no more Michael Jackson for the next year. But when a guy who looks like the Tin Man tells the world how sweet it is to sleep chastely with children--other people's children--you just have to think out of the box. Jackson sure does. In a British documentary, rebroadcast on ABC last week, journalist Martin Bashir coaxed Jackson to talk about all sorts of things. About how he's had plastic surgery only on his nose. About how he's Peter Pan. (We believe that.) But naturally people fastened onto Jackson's disquisition about how "the most loving thing to do is to share your bed with someone." Since Jackson had paid an out-of-court settlement in 1994 after a 14-year-old boy dropped a civil suit that accused Jackson of sexually molesting him (Jackson denied the accusation), this was surprising. Or not.

Jackson's friend Uri Geller (yes, the guy who used to bend spoons) helped put him together with Bashir; Geller now says, "I thought Michael was grown-up enough to be careful." But Geller told us that the ever-resilient Jackson's now talking to "a major U.S. aviation company" about being launched into space. (Presumably this started before the Columbia disaster.) "He says he wants to do the moon dance on the moon, so I do not think it's the last we have heard of Michael yet." Roger that.

Q&A: 50 CENT

Last week rapper 50 Cent, a.k.a. Curtis Jackson, released his much-anticipated debut album "Get Rich or Die Tryin' "; his song "Wanksta" was a highlight of the "8 Mile" soundtrack. The 26-year-old protege of Eminem's and Dr. Dre spoke with NEWSWEEK's Allison Samuels.

Your mother was a drug dealer, killed when you were just 8. What are your memories of her?

Well, we didn't exactly get to have much quality time together. She had me young and then began hustling to make ends meet. My grandmother was the one who ended up raising me.

You began selling crack at 12. How did your grandmother react to that?

She didn't know. She had nine kids and the last thing I wanted was to be a burden to her. I didn't want to ask her for a pair of Air Jordans when I knew she couldn't afford them, so I began working to get my stuff and not stress her out. She didn't deserve more pain.

You'd been signed by Columbia Records. Why is your debut on Eminem and Dr. Dre's label?

Columbia got scared off when I got shot nine times. They didn't understand that I'd kept my day job.

Nine times? Did you find out why?

Karma. I did some things I shouldn't have done to some people, and that s--t always comes back to you in one way or another. Mine came back in the form of a bullet--or nine bullets--but it wasn't a problem. I survived. Being dead--that's a problem.

When your first mentor, Jam Master Jay, was killed last year, the NYPD warned you of a possible threat on your lie. Were you worried?

I was like, "Well, have you picked someone up? What you callin' for? If you got reliable sources, go arrest somebody."

Did you accept their offer of protection?

No. I've never known the police to do nothing to stop a n--r from being killed. They come with the yellow tape and s--t, but I ain't never heard about them preventing s--t.

Were Dre and Eminem worried about your past?

Nope. They asked was everything cool and I told them everything was cool. Then we just made music.