Wednesday, January 14, 2009

unto dust thou shalt return

A recent post on a UT football message board suggested that instead of naming more streets after players and coaches, the University should honor famed forensic anthropologist Dr. William Bass. As I drove onto the campus tonight, it might have been easier for me to find my way if I could have just followed Bill Bass Boulevard to where I needed to go. I turned right one street too soon and then couldn't get into the parking garage without going back out to Cumberland Avenue.

I was part of a huge crowd that showed up to hear Dr. Bass speak at a Lifelong Learning event. Two ladies who rode up in the elevator with me kept looking at me like they knew me. I turned to them and said "you didn't think I would miss this, did you?" At that point, one of them said she sent me an email about the lecture. Several people had, for which I am thankful. I was early enough to get a seat inside the University Center Auditorium. Once that room filled, people were sent to an overflow room, where they could watch on closed-circuit television.

The topic of tonight's talk and slide show was cremation, which played into the plot of last year's Jefferson Bass novel, "The Devil's Bones." Most people don't realize that a recognizable skeleton remains after cremation. After any metallic parts (i.e. artificial knees or hips) are removed from the pile, the bones must be pulverized to create the "ashes."

When Dr. Bass finished his presentation, Jon Jefferson briefly took the podium to preview their next book, "Bones of Betrayal." As mentioned previously, the story is set in Oak Ridge and deals with radiation and murder most foul. Afterward the authors signed copies of their books for a long line of fans.

Jefferson and Bass will launch "Bones of Betrayal" at a fundraising benefit for the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association. Tickets are $25 and are available from Knox Heritage, even though Oak Ridge is in Anderson County. After that, they will sign books at several stores in the region. Be sure to get a copy. I've already read a galley proof and it's fantastic. More about that in the days ahead.

Instead of heading straight home, I made plans to grab some dinner with Jon at the Downtown Grill and Brewery. I almost didn't make it because of the incredibly long time it took to get out of the University Center parking garage. Once I got to Gay Street, I found Jon and several of the bar's regulars. They refer to their weekly gathering as "Wednesday Night Prayer Service."

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Anonymous Laura said...

Hi Frank,

My friend Michelle and I were the women in the elevator last night. I just wanted to let you know that we enjoyed sitting next to you and getting to hear Dr. Bass speak. I didn't realize the talk was on cremation, but found the talk absolutely fascinating. I cannot wait for the new book to come out (especially since you wouldn't let me borrow your copy!). Also, when you walked into the lobby last night I made the comment that it was Frank, but was really joking. Then as we watched you a little more realized I was 99% sure that was you, but didn't want to appear to be a Frank stalker and just leave you alone. We figured staring was much more polite than bugging you! Again, it was nice meeting you.

Laura (another Dr. Bass and Body Farm fan!)

Blogger boddleblonde said...

Hello Frank,
Thanks for the information on the seminar. I've yet to attend but I plan to do so very soon. I appreciate you taking the time to keep us informed. Keep up the good work.

Laura (Unfortunately, not the same Laura from the elevator)

Anonymous Leslie said...

I attended the presentation on Wednesday and today happened upon your blog where I found a photo of my husband and myself waiting to get our books signed. I'm the redhead in the glasses and my husband is the one in the green pullover. I am so happy to have found the pic - I remembered that there had been a photo taken but never knew who had taken it. It's nice to see it and have that moment captured!


Anonymous Crystal said...

Frank! I knew that was you!
Lucky ducky getting to sit in the auditorium. I was in the terribly disappointing overflow room.
I saw you walking around several times, each time wondering,"Is that Frank Murphy?"
The pic that Leslie is referring to also has my mom (and my head lol) in it.
We're Dr. Bass/Jon fanatics!
See you at Borders on the 4th?

Blogger Frank Murphy said...

Hi Crystal,

No, you probably won't see me at Borders. I'll get Jon and Dr. Bass to sign my copy of the book when they come in for another 30 minute interview, just like last year.

I plan to post a podcast of the audio, as I've done four times before.


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