Rita Howell’s column

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 13, 2012

Rita, Uncle Bob get new mugshots; LSU fan hides mug under hood

They’re called mugshots. And I’ve got a new one. See the picture somewhere down below these words? Malcolm Morehead took it for me and took ten years off my mug in the process.

Newspapers commonly use small head-and-shoulders shots of people mentioned in news stories, or in my case, the writers of columns on the opinion pages. Columnists’ photos can easily become outdated. Having a new portrait made is not a high priority. So we end up using the old ones over and over.

In the case of outdoor writer Robert Hitt Neill, whose column The Panolian has carried for more than 20 years, his mug shot was, well, vintage. He was wearing a leisure suit when he had it made, for crying out loud.

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But I fixed him.

In today’s Sports section, on page B8, you will see the new and improved photo of the guy we affectionately refer to as Uncle Bob.

The local Red Wasps baseball team had invited Uncle Bob to speak at the Batesville Public Library last week, and several of us from The Panolian attended. I got him to sign my 1994 Panolian ice storm survivor t-shirt (we had published a photo of him in his own survivor shirt prior to his visit). We bought a copy of his Pulitzer-nominated novel “The Two Jakes” and got him to sign that, too. Rupert has already finished it.  I heard him cackling out loud several times as he was reading it this week.

Anyway, I was snapping pictures of  the Delta author enjoying himself visiting with local folks at the library. I was looking through the photos later and discovered there was one among them that could be easily cropped for a decent mugshot to replace the leisure suit picture.

If he doesn’t like it, it’s his own fault. Sports editor Myra has more than once requested an updated picture, and he just keeps sending the 1970s version.

My own mugshot was dreadfully outdated. My hair is longer and my field of vision shorter, requiring the eyeglasses that I wear all the time now. After a pleasant visit with Malcolm at his Curtis photo studio last week, Rupert and I are both supplied with new mug shots.

Somehow we had missed an earlier appointment when Malcolm took new head shots of the entire staff. I was jealous of Myra Bean’s fresh photo, and even sports writer Brad Greer could have qualified for a spot in GQ after Malcolm finished with him.

But, about Brad…

This week has been hard on him. His beloved LSU Tigers lost in that ugly contest Monday night when the Crimson Tide rolled over them, 21-0.

Brad was last seen with his purple hoodie pulled down over his mug.