Monday, June 18, 2007

Weekend Odds and Ends

  • The Hamburger Pimp is dead! Fort Worth's Vanius Murray "VP" Rackstraw, co-star of the blaxplotation classic Dolomite, died April 14 at age 65. The obit ran in the Saturday Startlegram. Why the delay? Evidently, Rackstraw "remained at the funeral home for a month because the convalescent facility where he died lost his death certificate. His mother had him cremated him May 7, but money and transportation issues kept her from submitting his obituary notice until this week." There are some great moments in this obit, like "Family members said Mr. Rackstraw was a devout Muslim who loved Muhammad Ali, Richard Nixon and, of course, his mother." Nixon?! WTF?! Take some time to read this. It's worth it.

  • Ornette Coleman collapsed onstage while performing at the Bonnaroo Festival this past weekend. Apparently, he was suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration. Coleman was given fluids, taken to a local hospital and released a few hours later.

  • This story about Tarrant Sex Predators on MySpace seemed like the perfect mix of public service and prurience for a Sunday read. But this lead really jumped out at me:
    Tarrant County prosecutor Lori Varnell looked at the teen-age girl’s MySpace page, and a red flag went up.

    The teen had included too much personal information -- enough for anyone, including a sexual predator, to find her.

    With a few clicks of a mouse and an online directory, Varnell quickly had the girl’s phone number and address. Later, Varnell drove to the girl’s home, pulled into her driveway and called her mother.

    “Look out your door,” Varnell told the woman. “See the headlights out here? I’m a prosecutor and I found your daughter from her MySpace page. She is 16. She goes to a school near me. You definitely want her to take it down.”

    Is it just me or does this seem a little wacko? Honestly, if I had been the parent she called, I think I would have thought this woman had come a little unglued. But if 10 percent of this county's sex offenders are on MySpace, who's to say Varnell's an oddball? But this is the kind of scare-the-pants-off-your-readers stories that editors love. It sells papers. And selling papers is important.

  • As we mentioned before, musicians are getting their equipment boosted all over the place. Now, it turns out even dead musicians aren't safe. There's a story in the Austin American-Statesman today about $100,000 in backstage passes, music equipment, photographs and other memorabilia of Stevie Ray Vaughan stolen from the storage unit belonging to his brother Jimmie.

  • Ryan Adams is clean and sober according to the NYT.
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