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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Friday, April 13

George Zimmerman & Music Memories

The George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin incident in Florida continues, and I’m confused about the whole dog and pony show. The family and those appealing for Zimmerman’s arrest have put pressure on the police to arrest him and bring him to trial, in this case for second degree murder. It seems to me that this charge will be impossible to prove, may not even go to trial. And Zimmerman will be released. And the world will go on about its business. The district attorney has placated the family and the protesters with this arrest, but he will also, by charging Zimmerman with second degree murder, placate the gun people and those who believe in the “Stand Your Ground” defense. Why didn’t they consider charging him with voluntary manslaughter, an act “committed in the heat of passion,” which would be a lot easier to prove than murder two?

I’ve been thinking about all the “stuff” I’ve accumulated in my life, the things that will one day be given away or sold for peanuts at a garage sale after I’m gone:

the ancient toaster we found at a garage sale in New York, the double-neck bottle of Benedictine and B & B I bought half a century ago that now resides on the shelf above our mirrored wall, the two-record original Porgy and Bess I bought for some unremembered reason sometime in the Fifties, the carved pheasant I received when I retired in 1993, all the 45’s I have tucked away in the back cupboard. That thought led me to my musical memories from my strange youth. There I was, a naïve, unsophisticated South Dakota boy, a huge fan of the music of Stan Kenton. How in the world did I become a Kenton fan? I know I collected 45’s of most of the big bands of the day—Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Harry James, Benny Goodman. But I also remember the sounds, the exact notes played, of Erskine Hawkins’ theme song “Tippin’ In” and Claude Thornhill’s theme song “Snowfall.” I distinctly remember riding home from a high school football game, listening to the radio and telling my fellow riders that what they were hearing was the sweet sound of Bobby Hackett and his fat little trumpet. Hackett’s was a really distinctive sound and I took great pride in being able to recognize it. I knew most of the artists who comprised Kenton’s band—Pete Rugolo and his arrangements, the trumpeting Condolis Pete and Conte, Maynard Ferguson and his screaming, soaring trumpet, June Christy and her renditions of “His Feet Too Big for De Bed” and “Willow Weep for Me.” I listened over and over to Kenton’s “Artistry in Rhythm,” “Eager Beaver,” and “The Peanut Vendor.” I remember Sunday afternoons when I was only ten or eleven listening to Carmen Cavallaro’s piano renditions on the radio. A decade later, when I was in Korea, I listened to the popular vocalists of the day, especially hating the insipid stylings of Joni James but loving Doris Day and Rosemary Clooney and Peggy Lee. My army buddy Chuck Cavallaro introduced me to Frank Sinatra and the Mary Kaye Trio. I remember especially their rendition of “Toreador” and Chuck’s telling me he was a friend of Mary Kaye’s. I remember listening to the tapes that played in my father’s grocery store when I worked there after getting out of the army, all the early albums of Sinatra, all the Jackie Gleason romantic ballads. I remember how much I hated rock and roll when it made its first appearance. I remember listening to someone in the Phi Delt house extolling the sounds of Elvis, telling me what a huge star he was going to be. I remember telling him how much I hated the sounds and sights of Elvis Presley. To this day I still say that the day the music died was the day that Elvis first set foot on stage. And oh how that pisses off the rabid Elvis fans. Where will all my memories of my musical past go when I die? Into that eternal trashcan that takes in all of us, all our good and bad deeds, all our good and bad intentions, all our memories, all our “stuff.”

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