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Tampa Bay Rants And Raves

WEEK OF APRIL 26, 2020


A weekly airing of national and local politics, sports and lifestyle items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.



Economic recovery: a tale of three companies



This week, the tale of three companies – CB Lundy’s, small catering company in mid-Pinellas county, Shake Shack, a 200 store fast food chain based in New York and the bay area’s Tampa Bay Times. Briefly, CB Lundy’s is struggling but can’t seem to get any of the bailout money from the federal government intended for small (under 500 employees) businesses. Shake Shack somehow got $10 million dollars and promptly returned it – rightfully so given their size. The Times, who employs just short of 100 times the folks as CB Lundy’s, had no quibble with taking $8.5 million which rightfully should go to much smaller companies like CB Lundy’s. The Times, which has found little they like about our government’s recovery plans, apparently is willing to look the other way while their pockets are being stuffed. If they had any integrity at all, they would follow Shake Shack’s (and other larger companies) example and return the money so smaller companies like CB Lundy’s and hundreds of others can survive.


Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:


1. Listening to the pronouncements of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo helps you understand why the rest of New York State would like New York City to become our 51st state.

2. Number of the week – 10 percent - the percent of fatal crashes in the U.S. caused by texting while driving. In hard numbers, that is just about 4000 people a year. In case you’re wondering, there is no hard data yet on the number of texting while driving tickets issued since Florida’s new law took effect on January 1.

3. Presidential politics 100 years ago – Warren G. Harding defeated James Cox and his running mate in the 1920 election. Both men bounced back nicely from the defeat. Cox focused on building the media giant Cox Communication and his running mate (FDR) became the only four-term President in U.S. history.

4. From TBRR five years ago this week (4/26/15): Add New Port Richey to the growing list of central Florida cities who are dumping their red light cameras. And give them credit. They were very forthright in saying the reason they are dropping the camera is they are no longer making money for the city as opposed to other cities that ask us to drink the “safety issues” Kool Aid.

5. With thanks to a friend, by the time this isolation thing is over, you’re going to need either AA or Weight Watchers – or both!



Sports, media and other stuff:


6. We’re not sure whether signing Gronk will improve the Bucs’ offense, but it sure is not going to hurt ticket and jersey sales!

7. As we go to press nearly two dozen MLB teams have stepped up and agreed to pay their non-players through May. Not among the two dozen munificent teams – our Tampa Bay Rays.

8. What a light slap on the wrist for the Boston Red Sox in the MLB cheating scandal.

9. The 5:05 Newsletter is at it again with this absolute gem: There should be a reality show where 16 congressmen are forced to take jobs in the private sector.

10. Over the past few months, Bay News Nine has lost two of their principal anchors – Veronica Cintron and Al Ruechel – one plus, one minus on the ledger.



Remembering “Howard the Trader”



Editor’s Note: This marks the fourth in our “Remembering” series posted on the last issue of the month. Previous features have been the Star Spectaculars (1/26/20); Tampa Bay Spring Training (2/23/20); the Clearwater Bombers (3/29/20) plus a preview piece The Way We Used to Shop (12/22/19).


Long, long before there was a Home Shopping Channel or QVC, there was Clearwater Florida’s Howard the Trader. Based in a series of Quonset huts at the northwest corner of Gulf to Bay Blvd. and Duncan Avenue, Howard Ewing’s operation was a sight to behold. There were daily auctions, many of them televised, which drew not only a TV audience but a “studio” audience in the rather hot facility. Usually, during the evening of bidding on items, a shouted bid of “nine cents” would come from the audience to which Howard, acting as auctioneer would say, “Sold, but one only” because you could buy whatever merchandise was up for bid at the same price as the auction price as long as supplies lasted. It was 1950s and 60s small town entertainment at its best with Ewing stoking the crowd with his famous “Talk to this old boy!” Unfortunately, the house of cards created with stretched credit, collapsed in the early 60s along with the equally famous 65 cent haircuts at the property.

UP NEXT: MLB’s next ten years; Stability in Phil’s dugout; Mail it in?



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