Monday, September 17, 2007

bookworms go in, bookworms go out

Dr. Bass can always tell when the interviewers haven't read the book. That's the helpful tip I got from Stacey Handel as she was cutting my hair over the weekend at Garde Bien. Longtime readers know that another of Stacey's clients is Carol Bass, the lovely wife of the famed forensic anthropologist. Tomorrow I get the opportunity to record another interview with Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson for Sunday's public affairs show. As of right now, I have finished twelve chapters of their new non-fiction book, "Beyond the Body Farm." I still need to read the last four chapters tonight.

I should have read the whole book as soon as I got an advance copy. Instead, I didn't start until last week when I finally knew the date of our interview. One thing I have tried to impress on my children is be the tortoise, not the hare. In my academic career, I was definitely a hare. I waited too long to start homework projects and term papers and would then have to race to catch up. More often than not, my first draft and final draft were the same thing. Fortunately, my children have found that school is easier when they get an early start on their assignments. I believe that our high school and college systems test a student's ability to handle the work load, not their intelligence. I came to that realization too late to help myself when I saw a fellow GMU student plod through his studies and graduate the year before I did.

Having said all that, I really need to get back to reading. The new Body Farm book chronicles several true stories including The Big Bopper exhumation and the Leoma Patterson case. Chapter 5 is especially grisly but fascinating. It describes in detail the aftermath of an explosion at an illegal fireworks factory in Polk County. I will be sure to ask the authors about that and about another chapter that angered me. A young girl was murdered by a prison inmate who was on his way back to prison after a day on work release. I need to ask if the deputy who trusted the inmate to drive a police vehicle has any responsibility in the death of the girl.

If you can't wait to hear Sunday's radio show, you can ask Jefferson and Bass yourself at an event Tuesday night. The authors will be at the East Tennessee History Center at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $25. Refreshments and a copy of the book are included. If you're busy tomorrow, there are several more book signings on the schedule in East Tennessee and around the country.

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Anonymous Lindsey said...

I learned of Dr. Bass through your blog and comments on the morning show. I've read a couple of the books and am very excited to hear him speak at the Women's Expo in Kingsport in October.

Anonymous Jessica said...

Hello Frank! I just wanted to say thanks so much for doing the interview with Dr. Bass and promoting the book Beyond The Body Farm. I promptly picked up a copy of it after I heard the interview, mainly for the morbid curiosity of the Polk County explosion. I've always had a deep interest in the body farm. My childhood memories include visiting my dad's office, at the UT Med Center, which was perched high up on the third floor with a stunning view of the Body Farm, although the only thing very visible was a white El Camino out in a clearing near the wooden fence with a cadaver poised behind the wheel. I also remember having to park at the lot next to the wooden fence (actually the very parking spaces that are pictured in Beyond the Body Farm) and the smell during hot summer days. My parents always wondered why I have such a fondness for the macabre.

Anyway, thanks for being weird, Frank. lol I mean that in the most genuine way. Oh, and I'm very jealous of the cake you received at the Women's Expo earlier this year. You know the one, skeletons and donated from Food City? I work at the same Food City and begged Marie, the woman who made your cake, to make one just like it for me. I'm the office manager there and we were all very thrilled at the attention Marie got for the cakes she made, not just yours but Marc and Kim's as well. Unfortunately Marie is no longer employed with us so I'm afraid I'll have to remain forever jealous of your skeleton cake. :)


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