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Tampa Bay Rants And Raves



A weekly look at the Tampa Bay area and national politics from a conservative viewpoint – plus a helping of sports and lifestyle items. Warning: not everything printed here should be taken at face value!


Tampa Bay sports scene won’t quite be the same



There was Tom McEwen and then there was Tom Jones. Over the last thirty years or so, the two Toms were unparalleled as sports columnists. They were as different as night and day. McEwen was folksy and could skewer you so you never felt a cut. Jones had more of an edge and was more focused on sports media. We couldn’t wait for his early week column analyzing the analysts from that weekend’s sports activity. McEwen left us many years ago and now Jones is leaving us for the Poynter media think tank – what a waste. Local sports commentary won’t be the same.


Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:



1. We are not sure Tampa Bay Rants and Raves has ever had back to back weeks with sports as the lead article in its five year existence. But the major events with the Rays last week and the loss of a preeminent sports columnist, we believe, justifies it.

2. The passing of Joan Steinbrenner last week reminds us of how much this dynamic couple did for the bay area – the majority of it quietly. You don’t see their names on the fronts of a lot of buildings because they preferred their giving to be low- key but far reaching.

3. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you remember the annual downtown Christmas Parade with merchants staying open late that night.

4. We’re often critical of slow moving road projects. On 62nd Street North in mid-county, a sign announced a week or two for a road project. Two days later, the road was paved, striped and the sign was gone. Pinellas needs to use that contractor more often!

5. Travel news from the 5:05 Newsletter: A new "Titanic" will set sail in 2022. Cruise line officials say they hope to attract travelers who loved the movie but forgot how it ends.



Sports, the media and other stuff:


6. Publix hit the ball out of the park (forgive the baseball metaphor in December) with this year’s heartwarming Christmas commercial. It’s the best we remember since their original holiday commercial – the Last Train Home classic that first aired in 1989 and several years thereafter.

7. Speaking of which, we hope to see at least some visuals of the beautiful Clydesdales from Budweiser during the holidays.

8. With the vultures circling around Dirk Koetter, folks are starting to speculate on his replacement. How about a guy who went 36-44 in his first NFL coaching assignment and, after five years on the sidelines, went 5-11 in his first year with his second team? The name was Belichick. As for us, the optimum coach near term is already on the sidelines in Tampa.  

9. Best wishes to Channel 8’s Mark Douglas who retires after some forty years in “the biz”. If you were a bad guy, you didn’t want to see him at your front door. Otherwise, you knew you would get a fair interview. Fair winds and following seas, Mark. 

10. Sixty years ago, topping the record charts this week (and for the next three weeks) was The Chipmunk Song. No Christmas-themed song has topped the charts since.


Focus group looks back


Hopefully you’re old enough to relate to some of these, but we polled our TBRR Focus Group (comprised of five old cranky people) about their favorite Christmas gifts from their childhood. Two dolls led the list – the Story Book doll, popular in 40s, 50s and 60s and the Toni Doll, an offshoot of the Toni hair products company. Other focus group favorites were a Lionel Santa Fe train from the 50s and 60s plus a custom made wooden toy truck. Our fifth member said a hula hoop, but they have been forced to take a lot of medication recently, and we’re not so sure about their memory.

UP NEXT: Our annual year-end retrospective

Merry Christmas!



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