Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Simon Sleeps, Simon Says

(not Simon!)
Alex Taylor's "Beasts" series continues with homicidal sleepwalking zombies -- three words I would have heavily wagered to never type together. Alas, they exist, and you can further research them HERE.

Featured in the Gainesville, GA Times, March 8th, 1988, Prof. Taylor tells of a one Simon Fraser. No, not the Jacobite clan chief loosely paralleled in Starz's Outlander TV series; this Fraser had other issues. Best for a bedtime read? You tell me.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Beast #1: Read What Thou Wilt

It seems wholly unfitting to publish a column about someone as unChristmas as Aleister Crowley. Somehow, my father managed a mere 500-word column to describe a man who, by Christian standards, is the epitome of evil. To be criminally neutral perhaps, I suppose it depends on one's perspective. Crowley lost me after the first paragraph below. Poor cat!

Professor Taylor includes an overview of Crowley's evil, part of which entails his boasting of ritual sacrifice. Was he indeed a murderer? Maybe not, but he apparently enjoyed the publicity created by such assumptions. You might find this as a common trait among professional provocateurs: Create controversy, leverage the position, profit (or is it "prophet"?).

Originally appeared in the Gainesville Times, March 1, 1988. 





*Liner note: Damn you Ozzy Osbourne! I've been mispronouncing Crowley's name all this time because of that song. 

UPDATE 12pm EST 12/24/2019:
The wife and I flip houses as a side occupation. We love rehabbing projects, redecorating, etc., therefore we are always looking for our next. Late yesterday, Maria sent me her list of potentials, and THIS HOME was one of them. Nothing really notable until my jaw dropped upon viewing its 23rd photo. I find coincidence as entertaining as the next person, but this... I mean, what are the odds?

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Alex Taylor's Beasts: Part 1

This column isn't about me of course, but if you've ever wondered what sort of childhood I endured, sharing a domicile under the protection of such an intellect, let's just say it was "interesting". 

Originally appearing in the Gainesville Times, February, 23, 1988, Alex Taylor lays out his series that will study the cases of some of the world's worst human beasts. Oh, and before anyone comments on his use of carnivorous humans, remember, this was 1988, and in-context generalities weren't parsed as in today's Inclusive Society of the Offended™. I'm sure most of you get it. 


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Love, Mom.

We hear all too much about bad journalists, bad journalism, fake news, yadda yadda... We've also endured the constant castigations of zealous police who've not only overstepped their authority, they've committed atrocities incomprehensible to conventional understanding. When it comes to capital crimes and coverups from our most precious defenders, nothing could be worse. 

Prof. Alex Taylor, a former Tampa Police Department detective, reminds us of a migrant case from Prohibition-era Chicago, 1932, ending during WWII. Originally published in the Gainesville Times, February 16, 1988, we learn of a terrible injustice righted by the love, devotion and suffering of the victim's mother, championed by two dauntless reporters. Additional info HERE.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Liberty of the (op)Press(ed)

I'd label this a timely column given the state of liberties taken with journalism lately. Such arguments, it seems, have always been in play.

Originally published in the Gainesville Times, February 9, 1988. Alex Taylor shares the birth of a U.S. freedom.








"It's not libel if it's the truth!" ~Anon

Want to read more on Zenger? Get it HERE.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Poet

I've labored long and hard for bread,
For honor, and for riches,
But on my corns too long you've tread,
You fine-haired sons of bitches.
— Black Bart, 1877

Black Bart's stagecoach robberies are the archetype of Wild West legend. Alex Taylor's Tuesday continues with his story and an unrealized tip. Hmmm... road trip?

As published in the Gainesville Times, 
Tuesday, February, 2nd, 1988. 







For those of you who geosurf: Smoke Creek Desert  
You'll notice the main thoroughfare in the area is "Surprise Valley Road", and I've read the valley acquired that name sometime in the 1880s. ...yep. 

Here I lay me down to sleep
To wait the coming morrow,
Perhaps success, perhaps defeat,
And everlasting sorrow.
Let come what will, I'll try it on,
My condition can't be worse;
And if there's money in that box
'Tis munny in my purse.
— Black Bart

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Short of It - Part II

Original Publication Date: 1/26/1988
The Gainesville Times, Page 3A
"NE GEORGIA" section

Alex Taylor continues Elizabeth Short's murder mystery with a clarification to NBC's fictional take, which ran two weeks earlier. It is was 30 years ago, the case was never solved and still open. Take it from an official source -- the FBI.

Of course, this hasn't stopped others from "closing" it, even as recently as last year.






Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Kiss Me Nots


More from the vaults of Prof. Alex Taylor...

As it appeared in the January 19th, 1988 Gainesville Times, the NE Georgia page exhibits the Professor discussing the history behind the mob's "Kiss of Death." For those not aware, my father endured his own "examinations" by organized crime while serving in Tampa Police Department's Criminal Intelligence Unit during the late '60s through mid '70s. Many of these trials were used in the creation of Bolita.

This 11/1940 *Mittelman photo to the left is either unfortunately-timed by the photographer or purposely-subverted by the most infamous KoD girl. Nonetheless, it appears to be the only known photograph of her. Too bad we don't get to see those remarkable lips.

*Mittelman, also widely spelled Mittleman.




To add...
Evelyn Mittleman was Pittsburgh Phil's (Harry Strauss) girlfriend at the time. Prosecutors during his trial picked her up after visiting his holding cell three times. Each time she carried messages from his associates who were still free. Mittleman made the grand mistake of wearing expensive jewelry and fur coats during her visits, even though known to have been unemployed during the previous five years. (Different times and methods of assessment in those times, FYI). The prosecutors were apparently obliged to toss her in a cell under $50,000 bond until she testified as a material witness. 

Material Kiss of Death Girl.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Short of It

Alex Taylor's Tuesday continues with a cold case from World War II America. Published in the Gainesville Times, Tuesday, January 12, 1988. The weather in Gainesville that day, according to Weather Underground, was likewise cold and blustery by Gainesville norms. Low 21F, high 43F. Brrr!

Nothing like a good mystery to get the juices flowing. Elizabeth Short's case has captivated followers for several decades. Many now say solved, yet not officially. Justice, well, is somewhat a subjective word here.

Shortly before my father's column ran, James Ellroy's novel hit the shelves to critical success, and around twenty years later, Brian De Palma would direct a movie starring Scarlett Johansson -- albeit concentric to the investigators.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Lawyers...

The scan of this week's Alex Taylor column appears below standards for readability, so I've faithfully reproduced it below. Enjoy!

Those Fractious Lawyers

If you ever want to take in one of the best shows in town, stop by the local courthouse and watch closely the antics of your favorite attorney. Perhaps you will observe a troupe state troupe more colorful and entertaining that any Broadway play.
Told around law schools and police academies, the following two stories are examples of how theatrics play a major role in courtroom drama of life and death. Sometimes they work, and others… well, let’s go back a moment in history.

Reluctant Witness
Around 1859 in Southern Illinois, a man was on trial for murdering his wife. Although her body had never been found, the prosecutor had an abundance of circumstantial evidence that should have convicted the defendant.
In a courtroom packed with friends and relatives from both sides, the prosecutor expertly presented his case, then rested.
The defense lawyer began with a long speech on the theory of reasonable doubt. Looking each juror in the eye, the lawyer kept hammering home the possibility that the woman was still alive and had simply left the area. “You must believe that she could be alive, and that to convict this man and have him hanged would be a terrible tragedy,” the lawyer yelled. “Each of you surely must believe, if only for a moment that she could be here today.”
Turning suddenly and pointing to the door, he said, “In fact, there she is now!”
The courtroom erupted as everyone turned to look.
Smiling with satisfaction, the lawyer turned to the jurors and said, “You see, what more proof that that do you need to believe she could possibly be alive.”
The jury returned in less than 30 minutes with a verdict of guilty.
Stunned, the lawyer jumped to his feet and yelled, “But you all looked. Everyone in the courtroom looked!”
“Yes,” the jury foreman said. “Everyone looked except your client.”

The Lawyer and Colt 45s
Temple Houston, son of Texas patriot Sam Houston, was one of the West’s most colorful lawyers. Unusually tall, he paraded around the courtrooms with long hair, Prince Albert coats, white sombreros, and ties made from rattlesnake skins.
He once defended a prostitute named Millie Stacy by pleading with the all-male jury, “Where the star of purity once glittered on her girlish brow, burning shame has set its seal forever. Let Millie go in peace.” They did.
Perhaps his most famous antic occurred when defending a man who had shot and killed a skilled gunfighter. To show the speed of the victim, Houston whipped out a pair of Colt 45s and blazed away at the judge and jury.
When everyone returned to their seats, Houston then related that the guns were loaded with blanks.
Although his client was convicted, Houston argued for a new trial on the grounds that when the shooting started, the jurors mingled with the crowd and could no longer be considered sequestered as required by law. His client was released.
Born in 1860, Temple L. Houston died of a stroke in Woodward, Okla, 1905.

Alex Taylor’s column on history and criminology appears in The Times Tuesdays.


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Rozzers and Rope


As a liner note, London's population around 1829 was approaching 2,000,000 residents, meaning one policeman for every 2,000 residents. If you consider visitors, work shifts, and various leaves of absence, that figure balloons to roughly one policeman for every 10,000. Today's population runs around 9.2M, and there are now over 31,000 police officers in London's Metropolitan Police Force, including about 5,500 detectives. That translates to about one bob for every 300 residents. Applying the same mathematical adjustment comes to about one on-duty roz for every 1,000 Londoners. Too many? New York has about 8.5M residents and employs about 36,000 officers. According to the math, that's one (1) for every 900 NYC residents.

Compare those figures with a smaller city. Gainesville, Georgia (yeah, I know!) has about 40K residents with a mere 119 police department employees (around 2/3 are cops.. so 80-ish).  That comes to about one (1) for every 500 residents. Math applied, about one on duty for every 1,500 Gainesvillians.
Some folks must need more policin' than others.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Stray Prosecution


Rock n Roll HOF Update

Just keeping tabs since my 2011 complaint post.

Updating this every year.... If I can remember!

Some of these are seriously unforgivable.


A-ha
Alice in Chains
Bad Company
Barry White
Big Star
Björk
Black Flag
Blue Oyster Cult
Bryan Adams
Cher
Collective Soul
KC and the Sunshine Band
Dave Matthews Band
Depeche Mode
Devo
Diana Ross (solo)
Dick Dale
Duran Duran
ELP
Eurythmics
Foreigner
George Thorogood and the Destroyers
Gloria Estefan
Iron Butterfly
Iron Maiden
Jane's Addiction
Jethro Tull
Jimmy Buffett
Joe Cocker
Judas Priest
Kansas
Kate Bush
King Crimson
Kool and the Gang
Korn
Kraftwerk
Little Feat
Mariah Carey
Meatloaf
Megadeth
Motley Crue
Motorhead
Nine Inch Nails
Ozzy Osbourne (solo)
Pat Benetar
Pet Shop Boys
Peter Frampton
Peter Tosh
Phil Collins (solo)
Pixies
Procol Harum
Sammy Hagar (solo)
Slayer
Smashing Pumpkins
Steppenwolf
Steve Miller Band
Steve Winwood (solo)
Supertramp
Ted Nugent
Tina Turner (solo)
The B-52s
The Carpenters
The Doobie Brothers
The Go-Go's
The Guess Who
The Meters
The Scorpions
The Smiths
Thin Lizzy
Toots & The Maytals
Toto
T-REX
UB40
War
Warren Zevon
Weezer
Weird Al Yankovic
Whitney Houston

One of your favorites missing?  Let me know!
Check with rockhall.com


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Sweet Jane (not THAT one, THIS one!), and a Very Naughty Girl


Taylor's Tuesday returns with a fascinating twist in America's Revolution. Alex then points his time machine 100 years forward to examine a ... wait.. toot toot, ahhh, beep beep...
Talkin' 'bout a Bad Girl!


(Alex Taylor's Crime and Historycolumn originally appeared in the Gainesville Georgia Times. This one appeared in the NE Georgia section, Page 3A, 12/8/1987)


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

ALEX TAYLOR'S TUESDAY - DC's Race Track, and Old Fake News

Alex Taylor published this column to the Gainesville Times on Tuesday, December 1st, 1987. I am always amazed -- many times startled -- when historical articles ring true of that often-repeated diatribe, "Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it." Such is the case when I reviewed the second half of my father's column this week. Will it ever end?

 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

A Donkey's Tale, and How to Read Journalists

This week, Prof. Alex Taylor ventures into ancient lie detecting and the word-craft of journalism. The straight news is hardly straight.












(Alex Taylor's Crime and History column appeared in Gainesville Georgia's Times from 1987 to 1992. He was also a regular contributor for numerous outdoors and public interest articles, including ghost writing for select local authorities and celebrities.
To me he is simply, "Dad")







Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Brash, Young Journalist was a Crusader


**Incredibly pleased to republish my father’s crime and history column which first appeared in the Gainesville Georgia Times in the Fall of 1987. Many thanks to Shannon Casas, Editor in Chief at The Times.**

Brief Bio: E. Alexander Taylor, faced with being drafted by the military, hitchhiked along with a cousin and a buddy of the same age to Atlanta from north Georgia mountains. They drew straws as to what branch they'd join. As it turned out, my father, Alex, entered the Air Force that day. At the end his hitch, training as a bomber at MacDill AFB in Tampa, Florida under Gen. Paul Tibbets, his superiors thought him a perfect candidate for Tampa's Police Department. Turns out, they were right.

He quickly excelled from Patrolman to Detective, ultimately taking the reins of TPD's Criminal Intelligence Unit, combating all forms of organized crime, including Tampa's infamous mafia. (BOLITA is concentric to this era). After the mob murder of a friend and colleague with the Department, Alex became friendly with several mentors on the FBI, who encouraged him to continue his education. Shortly thereafter, graduated from the University of Tampa with a Masters and, through the grapevine, had a new job opportunity awaiting him as a professor of sociology and deviant behavior with Brenau College (now University) in Gainesville, Georgia — just a small hop from his ancestral home. For another decade or so, he instructed innumerable policemen and civvies the often cruel psychology to which law enforcement officers are often exposed, and the understanding of it.

Of course, he has many stories to tell, but he is also a lifelong student of history and possesses this uncanny 80wpm skill on a manual typewriter. Have to keep this short, but extracurricular activities, particularly his love for the outdoors, and certain luminaries in that field, meant he soon found his way to the Gainesville Times as a part-time contributor, including his work with Ed Dodd, of Mark Trail fame. Many outdoors articles later, The Times took interest in his crime stories and history involving it, offering Alex a regular Tuesday column. That run lasted from 1987 to 1992 and was regarded as a reader favorite.


Here's the first...

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1987

Friday, March 29, 2019

It's Either People or Records, Guns, and Planes


Birthday celebration’s over. Fantastic week with my dear parents, who bravely navigated the angry interstate yet again to spend their precious moments with us. Thanks to Maria and all my fabulous friends and family who posted. Love abounds…

It has been quite some time since the last post, but some frequently reverberating thoughts continue to plague me.

The easy one first…

Remember these?

 

Social Bandwagoning


I’ve often wondered if any of my musically-inclined, socially-conscious friends mentally zoom out to assess the current state of our beloved art. What’s been bugging me is this business of social bandwagoning. You’ll have to look past the unintended pun; what I mean or attempt to define by that label is the way popularity and sales are currently achieved or conversely shunned unless a socially-desirable goal is gained. A privileged handful excepted, music-sharing has all but destroyed recording sales while consumers are drowning in overexposed mediocrity, and any aspiring artist has their own social Olympus Mons to climb before ever having a shot at success. It really doesn’t matter about the level of talent either, referencing the nature of today’s derivative, formulaic compositions. Unless you’re truly original (this is highly subjective) with some sort of intrinsic interest, your chances of success without serious external help are pretty much nil. Great music is everywhere, but who are the gatekeepers of popularity?

Your Value…

I’m not sure of anyone’s value any longer, frankly. Case in point: Because of the free media flood, there is no value attached to new recorded art. Zip. (Don’t bring me the vinyl resurgence fad. That’s cute and fabulous for a very small set of analog enthusiasts but by no means a commanding market segment. Not at this time). Anyway, if you want to make a viable living, you’ll be touring. This is true for long-established professionals as well. The recordings are largely loss-leading write-offs for their eventual tours. On a personal anecdote, it’s like this…

Countless times a colleague will offer their new album for sale, often at a greatly reduced price undercutting traditionally-distributed media. Why? Because it simply doesn’t cost as much to produce and distribute a quality professional recording. Let’s say their price is typically $5 …five…bucks… Now, I couldn’t begin to count how many times I walked into a casino and witnessed a slots player pressing a $5 spin button. Three seconds. Gone. Repeat. Repeated twenty times. $100 gone. They reach for the wallet and slip another Franklin into the bill acceptor. Press, press, press. Done… and on to another machine. Many would say it’s about hope. Hope for a win and financial rewards. Sure, but there’s another side: It impresses those gawkers who gasp at such a gaudy display. Wealth flaunted, social goal achieved. This is where social bandwagoning comes into frame. Players perceive the attention and up their bets. People notice, an onlooking group gathers, social goal achieved. It doesn’t matter if they lose, either; it’s the heroic attempt.

So how does this translate to the art sales world? Simple. Where’s the social gain in secretly buying a $5 CD if nobody else is buying it? There first must be a popular mandate—the catch-22. Someone must tell you it’s great before it’s great. Some “authority” who creates the perception of popularity. The Engine.  
Sad, isn’t it? What happened to the MUSIC?
You tell me.

Ahem…

Before the next mass shooting occurs…


“If only the same attention were focused on A) Root causation and B) Other vastly more catastrophic causes.”

For some, emotions and calls for action have been raging for months if not years concerning malicious firearm deaths, particularly those occurring on school campuses. With all debate angles considered, why is it that only a few folks manage to take a small step back and ask “What made that asshole pick up a gun in the first place? What about the other causes of death?”

Let’s be more specific. Innocent kids are dying. That’s the problem, right? Does the death of a child anger you more if it comes from another senseless kid with a gun, or at the hands of a drunk adult driver? It’s horrible either way, isn’t it? Somebody’s child is gone no matter the reason, but apparently, those killed by deranged adolescent miscreants…

Okay, this might appear off-topic to you, but not to me. Kids die every day in our country. In the hundreds, actually, and firearms are a minuscule reason compared to medical malpractice, car crashes (drunken and/or distracted), drugs, disease and suicide. Where’s the outrage for those?

That’s the real problem. Critical thinking has surrendered to a media-fueled political agenda which contains righteousness only in part. Half-baked, sensationalist, and at worst, “popular”. Even so, I applaud our esteemed public officials, bandwagoning celebrities, and well-meaning citizens who not only understand the PR value, but truly have taken the high road by demanding change. Yes, some of us middle-standing people get it, but we also believe that if you truly wish to save the most lives, your energy is better spent on the other causes.

Now for those of you who insist on some sort of crystallized position out of me on the gun debate, it’s like this: Absolutely, we can agree on some common sense measures to keep firearms – any – out of the hands of a loon. On psychological meds? No guns. Diagnosed psych condition? Banned for three years after cleared. Violent rap sheet? NO ever! Non-citizen? (seriously?) And yes, no full-auto mods, no background loopholes or other workarounds. 3-day wait on all firearms? Why not.

I can think of several others, but it’ll never be good enough for some folks, and there are the phantoms the gun control crowd refuses to acknowledge—lawbreakers. For those of you who insist that nobody should own a firearm period (yes, these people exist), I’m pretty sure history is sticking a Luger in your back. ..or a musket, if that’s your preferred frame of reference. Please—take a good long look at how our country was founded and understand exactly why the Second Amendment was drafted. While you’re at it, research a bit on how certain European citizens were so easily subjugated in wartime. Ask a Cuban refugee. If that doesn’t help, I know of a perfect vacation cabin for you just outside Juneau Alaska. Front door optional.

Will it work? Dope it out. Watch the news, and pay close attention to those cases outside the gun control narrative.

photo credit: wikipedia

Who’s Flyin’ Now?


As a former private pilot, I gotta wonder…

Certainly, today’s airliners are vastly complex vehicles utilizing incredibly sophisticated automations in assisting modern pilots with their task—moving hundreds of travelers as rapidly and efficiently from A to B as possible. Trouble is, I’ve noticed for several years that some of these pilots are catastrophically failing core competencies by relying on the tech instead of looking out the window, feeling the seat of their pants, or referencing their primary flight instruments. Instead, it’s almost as if some captain is pointing to an iPad, screaming, “BUT IT SAYS WE ARE FL370, LEVEL AT 420 KNOTS!” when in fact the nose is slightly up and the airspeed is creeping below stall.

“Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly.” ~Trump

Our President often has the gift of the simplistic; making judgements in areas for which he possesses no competence. Does that make this statement wrong? I don’t know.

What I am aware of, is that modern commercial aircraft have indeed become quite complex, offering automated systems to maximize fuel savings. Unfortunately, these systems sometimes betray us, and the cost is more death than the average mass shooting (sorry). I would prefer to pay just a little more to save myself, to have the pilot completely in command of their aircraft, to trust their instincts and experience, and not debate a monitor reading when the obvious is obvious. Sure, make the jetliners better. Make them safer, more reliable, more comfortable, more features, and a joy to fly, but let’s also make sure the two bright folks at the front are actually FLYING it.

Parting Shot…

To the fine folks of Britain: Are you still a free democracy?
T. Nelson Taylor | Official Site | DusT | Bolita