Thursday, January 19, 2006

Extra! Daily Pulp for the nonfiction crime crowd

Bob Norman has a new website, The Daily Pulp.

“Daily” as in updated every day.

“Pulp” as in the juicy oranges of south Florida, and “Pulp” as in the riper-than-fiction true crime fodder that Florida serves up in such abundance.

Bob writes about crime and media and politics (often, he points out, one and the same) for the New Times Broward-Palm Beach. He’s known as the best and most dogged investigative reporter in the steamy region, and is featured here this week, as the intrepid journo who exposed the scary underbelly beneath the lazy newsmedia’s celebration of Farris Hassan, the Florida teen who supposedly used his allowance for a fact-finding trip to Baghdad.

Bob’s new Daily Pulp site, continues to keep an eye on the coverage, and updates the great Florida crime stories that we’ve loved since the days of Eames Yates' classic cinematic and influential reportage of the death of Lobster Boy Grady Stiles.

The Daily Pulp has only been around a few days, settling in here after kicking off on another Norman site.

And even in these early hours, a check of either one gives a clear idea of the fertile dirt Bob is sifting: up-to-the minute reports—and, all the more fun, incisive critiques on coverage of the teenage baseball bat homeless killers, a Colombian drug lord and corrupt city planner.

South Florida has provided prime-picking for tabloid television for two decades now, and not just because the tabloid papers were settled in Lantana and Burt Reynolds has a place in Jupiter. Something about the heat and the sun and humidity and the fact it’s a perfect place to set down your mobile home or build up your mansion has made it the Sunshine State of Tabloid.

So it’s about time a great journo provided one-stop shopping.


The last time we were in South Florida, we were producing Frozen Pictures’ documentary series, Adults Only: The Secret History of The Other Hollywood, for Court TV. The series, hosted by and turned into a book by Legs McNeil, traced the criminal history of the porn business, and showed how the wave washed up from the Sunshine State (Deep Throat was filmed in a Miami motel) and through the rest of the nation.

We hadn’t been back since the Eighties, when South Florida was our vacation stomping ground. The Mai-Kai was mecca, the Fifth Street boxing gym was banging out fighters, Thomas “The Hitman" Hearns tuned up for his title fight with sparring sessions in the lobby of the Eden Roc Hotel, The Sheraton Yankee Clipper was Fort Lauderdale’s finest, there were manatees in the intercoastals, drug dealers shot it out in strip malls, and Overtown and Coconut Grove alike would periodically flame up in race riots.

It was a place of great tabloid and literary inspiration, and a time of Elmore Leonard’s mass success, Edna Buchanan’s transition to fiction and Charles Willeford’s great last hurrah with the Hoke Moseley books. (We flew to Miami once in 1988, intending to look up Willeford while we were there. He died the day we landed.)

And of course, Palm Beach has always been a tabloid bonanza, from William Kennedy Smith, Roxie Pulitzer and Count de la Moussaye, to hilarious Palm Beach Post gossip, Jose Lambiet.

We digress. Bob Norman’s also got a book coming out in March. Florida Pulp Nonfiction is, we hear, "crawling with inveterate killers, cheating lawyers, crazed soccer moms, terrorists, gunrunners, cocaine slingers, and out-of-control government agents. You know, the stuff that Florida is made of."

Good stuff. Already, biggies like Joe McGinnis and Tabloid Baby’s friend Aphrodite Jones are singing its praises.

Bookmark Bob Norman’s site.

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