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Tampa Bay Rants And Raves



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


Chet, David and Walter, we sorely miss you 


Alex Sanchez, the CEO of the Florida Bankers Association, recently wrote a excellent op-ed piece in “Florida’s Best Newspaper” asking (with proper credit to Simon and Garfunkel) where have you gone Peter Jennings? Mr. Sanchez rightly points out you never knew what Jennings’ political leanings were, he simply reported the news. The same can be said for Chet (Huntley), David (Brinkley) and Walter (Cronkite). Today we have George Stephanopoulos, Lester Holt and Sean Hannity. Anybody out there have any questions about their leanings? About the closest we have to down the center reporting is Chris Wallace, but he is primarily a commentator as opposed to an anchor. On the print side, we, once upon a time, had a newspaper that pretty much struck a middle of the road chord – The Tampa Tribune, but it was bought out and shuttered by the Times. Anybody out there have any questions about their leanings? We sum up Mr. Sanchez’ piece with this direct quote, “None of us have the time or the inclination to monitor the politicians — state, local or federally elected ones. The media is supposed to be the watchdog. But to do its job, we need a media that is a watchdog, not a lap dog playing favorites with candidates and political parties.” To which we say Amen.


Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff: 


1. We’ll say this about Trump, with him leaning on companies to bring jobs back from offshore; we could understand more than half the customer service people we spoke with during the last four years. We fear that will be a thing of the past come January.

2. “Retreads” – that’s the word many political observers are using describing Joltin’ Joe’s inner circle. It’s a pattern of familiarity versus competence in the majority of his hires.

3. Among the more worrisome Biden cabinet appointments is California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. There is hardly a more strident pro-abortion ideologue in our nation than Becerra unless it is Biden’s Veep pick. Both go beyond the right to choose. Becerra was recently swatted down by the Supreme Court in his attempt to force pregnancy help centers to be required to hand out abortion literature as well – a clear First Amendment violation.

4. In the spirit of the holiday, this gem from a previous 5:05 Newsletter: Covid19 News: The World Health Organization is now reporting that a 180-year-old obese man from the North Pole was the first confirmed case of COVID19 last Christmas Eve and there were possibly cases before that, predominantly among elves who worked in a certain toy factory. The man's extensive travel records are now being heavily scrutinized.


Sports, media and other stuff


5. An end of an era next week – greyhound racing at Derby Lane concludes on December 31. The track had operated for 95 years. At its height, greyhound racing was featured year round rotating between tracks in Sarasota and Tampa as well as Derby Lane.

6. In a related note, you’ve lived in the bay area a long time if you ever visited the Tampa jai alai fronton on South Dale Mabry Highway. The fronton or arena opened in 1953 and closed 45 years later. Chula!

7. Rays note: Would you trade Charlie Morton for Michael Wacha? No, but given that Charlie has left the building, Wacha represents a solid pick up for the Rays.

8. You tend to forget that Ray Perkins was an outstanding pass receiver for the Alabama Crimson Tide and the NFL’s Baltimore Colts. The former Bucs head coach passed away last week at age 79.

9. Factoid: The five biggest selling Christmas singles of all time are (5) Mistletoe by Justin Bieber, (4) Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by Gene Autry, 3) All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey; Number 1 & 2 are both by Bing Crosby (2) Silent Night and (1) White Christmas, which is the biggest selling record of any sort with over 50 million copies.

10. Minor Christmas rant – in this impersonal world in which we live, is it too much trouble to hand address your Christmas cards and actually sign them with a short personal note – not some rambling page long, pre-printed “this is what we did this year” opus?


Remembering: historic toys


(Editor’s note: In this issue we conclude our year-long end of the month’s look back at the people, places and things that make the area what it is. Previous subjects have included Star Spectaculars, Spring Training, the Clearwater Bombers, High School Graduations, Clearwater’s WTAN, Howard the Trader, water front dining delights, Radio’s 100th birthday, Christmas past and cool things we miss in our area.)


With Christmas upon us, last week (TBR&R 12/12/20) we mentioned Play Doh, the wallpaper cleaner turned kid’s sensation in the mid-fifties. It was one of the first toys inducted into the National Toys Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York. Play Doh was part of the 1998 “charter class” with Barbie, Crayola Crayons, Erector Set, Etch a Sketch, Frisbee, Legos, Marbles, Monopoly, Teddy Bears and Tinker Toys. This year’s inductees were Jenga and Sidewalk Chalk. There are a total of 74 items in the Hall of Fame including a stick and a cardboard box – hey, we kids were inventive!

UP NEXT: Our year-end retrospective

Merry Christmas!



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