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Tampa Bay Rants And Raves

WEEK OF APRIL 18, 2021

Tampa Bay Raves and Rants is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyles and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.

 

(Editor’s Note: At approximately the one-third point in our 7th year, we are making a slight adjustment to our weekly presentation. Our lead and closing items will remain pretty much the same, but the Great Tampa Bay and Sports, Media and Other Stuff sections will no longer be numbered and will not necessarily be five each section every week. Some weeks demand a dozen items, other weeks not so many. As a good friend and mentor, Dr. Don Ardell, once said in one of his extraordinary wellness books – “Let us not be rigid.”)

 

Joe & friends try to undo 150 years of justice

 

Somehow our justice system has stumbled along for 152 years with a Supreme Court of nine justices. FDR tried to bloat it in the 30s and the response was something akin to “get out of town.” Now Joltin’ Joe, who is certainly no FDR, wants to team up with fellow left wingers and juggle things on the Court. Over the last century and a half, we have had conservative majorities and liberal majorities and somehow we have survived. Joe and company are all shook up because there is a solid conservative majority now and none of those Justices seem inclined to step down. Joe’s boys and girls are not going to change that through legitimate means in the next four years, so they do as Democrats often do – try to find a way to circumvent the law of the land. Even the Court’s eldest justice, Stephen Breyer, a Democratic appointee, says this latest dictatorial effort will “undermine public trust.” As if Biden and friends weren’t losing the public trust more and more every day.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

Related note, the far left, including Lefty Leonard, seems quite comfortable with stuffing the Supreme Court. We can only imagine the histrionics if there were currently a liberal majority on the high court.

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace wonders if Kamala Harris, who Biden put in charge of the border crisis, knows the border is a "mess and doesn't want her fingerprints on it." Kamala has been nowhere near any of our southern borders.

Idle thought: remember when we looked to our elders, religious leaders and educators for advice? Nowadays, misguided people put way too much credence in the opinions of people whose greatest qualifications are being able to dribble a basketball or utter words, written by others, in front of a camera.

A lesson last week from Amazon to employers everywhere: take good care of your workers and unions can huff and puff all they want, but your doors will remain standing.

A tip of our cap to Governor Ron DeSantis for prohibiting the so-called “virus passports’ requirement for services or travel. Something like that sounds alarmingly like 1930’s Europe – or today’s China.

Also kudos to the Clearwater City Council for not bowing to the Scientology-controlled Downtown Development Board’s request to limit council appointed ex-officio members to one.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

Now with two shots of a COVID vaccine, it is wonderful for so many people of faith to feel safe enough to attend church again after over a year of watching televised services.

Looking back fifty years (1971) this week, the biggest hit of the year went to #1 and would stay there for six weeks – Three Dog Night’s Joy to the World. Twenty five years ago (1996), only eight songs made it to #1 – a record for the fewest songs in a year. Two songs, The Macarena and Toni Braxton’s Un-Break My Heart combined to top the charts for fully half of the year.

A couple centuries back, there were handwritten newsletters. Then along came Mr. Gutenberg and eventually the newspaper replaced newsletters. Now, according to The Economist’s Tom Standage, newsletters are replacing newspapers. Wow, we’re on the cutting edge and didn’t even know it!

The All-Star game, stolen from Atlanta, has been moved to Colorado – a solid “blue” state. Surprised? The only surprise would have been moving the game to states like Florida, Missouri, Ohio or Texas, all of whom have two major league stadiums, but Rob Manfred’s boy, Joe Biden, was an overwhelming loser in all four states.

Another curious shortage – stain removers like Oxi-Clean and Shout. Suddenly store shelves are barren of any type of this product. We wonder why?

 

Our annual music rant

 

Next year, we promise we’ll get this out of the way in our first blog of the year – our annual ranting about Paul Anka and Neil Sedaka not being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – a combined 83 charted hits plus six #1 songs for the two of them. Just a few of the hits they wrote (and sang) for themselves and others – My Way (Anka for Sinatra); Tonight Show Theme (Anka for Johnny Carson); She’s a Lady (Tom Jones); plus his own #1 hits Diana, Lonely Boy and The Times of Your Life. Sedaka penned songs for The Captain and Tennille (Love Will Keep Us Together); Connie Francis (Where the Boys Are and Stupid Cupid)) and The 5th Dimension (Puppet Man and Working on a Groovy Thing); plus his own #1 hits – Laughter in the Rain; Breaking Up is Hard to Do and Bad Blood.Any music hall of fame that doesn’t include these two giants is a joke.

NEXT WEEK: Border fiasco; Standing O; Sixties’ hit makers

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WEEK OF APRIL 11, 2021

 

Tampa Bay Raves and Rants is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyles and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.

 

 

Statehood for a city?

 

Every time the White House and Congress lean to the left, the ages old idea of statehood for the District of Columbia raises its ugly head. After all, it has a population larger than two of our 50 states (Vermont and Wyoming), but it is a city not a state. There are 19 cities with larger populations than D.C. and you don’t see Columbus, Ohio or Jacksonville campaigning for statehood. Democrats, of course, would love it as the biggest GOP presidential vote getters in DC history were Richard Nixon at 21 percent and Ronald Reagan at 13 percent. Single digit counts for Republicans are more the norm (Trump got five percent in 2020). DC Statehood would give the Democratic Party two additional Senators plus a Representative. DC already has three electoral votes compared to none for Puerto Rico which has four times the population. It seems more logical to attach DC to Virginia which appears to have the same values set – just repealed the death penalty (but still kills unborn children) and now has just legalized recreational marijuana. That DC was not incorporated as part of either Virginia or Maryland in our formative days was a mistake. Making the 19th largest city in the country a state now would only compound the problem.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1, Quote of the Week: It’s getting harder for the Biden Administration to claim we’re in an economic crisis that demands more spending. It’s closer to the truth to say the economy is growing in a way that calls for spending and monetary restraint. The Wall Street Journal.

2. An Echelon Insights poll of last week has as the leader for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination – Governor Ron DeSantis, by a hair over Mike Pence despite 60 Minutes extremely misleading report (to be generous) on the Governor’s vaccine policy. DeSantis and Pence are leaders among actual people – the biggest draw in the poll was “Unsure” at 35 per cent.

3. City news: Dunedin’s city commission approves construction of a new $20 million City Hall. Meanwhile, Clearwater city government still operates on an out-of- sight floor of a bank tower in downtown with no solution in the near future.

4. Rumblings in the Florida Senate about giving even more power to tribal casinos are troubling. We think back to warnings from Clearwater drug store magnate and gubernatorial candidate Jack Eckerd about gambling in Florida. Everything he predicted has come true – and worse.

5. Item: New York State legalizes recreational marijuana. The thoughts of a career New York state law enforcement officer tasked with dealing with the after effects of drug use – “the tax windfall (from marijuana sales) will go largely to the downstate black hole instead of wholly funding substance abuse education and treatment.”

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Thanks to the 5:05 Newsletter for this masterpiece: “ Major League Baseball is moving the All-Star Game out of Atlanta this year because of Georgia's new voting law. So if you go to the ballpark this year and they ask you to show them a ticket call it ‘Fan Suppression’ and set something on fire.”

7. Thought from a veteran sports observer: “I've been waiting for the PGA to move The Masters, but I guess golfers aren't as "woke" as the coelenterates in charge of MLB.” And yes, we had to look it up too. It is a grouping of sea life, none of which have a spine.

8. Yes, Baylor won the NCAA tournament, but the story of the event was the 11th ranked UCLA Bruins, led by scrappy Jaime Jaquez and their well-prepared coach Mick Cronin. They came one half-court shot from the championship game.

9.The University of North Carolina basketball program has been blessed with two of the finest coaches in college history – Dean Smith and the now retired Roy Williams. With Krzyzewski, Knight and Wooden, they are truly the “Fab Five” of college coaching ranks.

10. Call us old fashioned, but the Mustang should not be an electric car. The Mustang, by the way, is the most popular car of the last century.

 

A black eye for National Geographic

 

During some research recently, we needed some quick facts on several American Presidents. We found the book Our Country’s Presidents put out by National Geographic. It is actually a book for a juvenile audience, but we felt the facts we needed would be in the book. They were – such as they were. We learned that Ronald Reagan was probably the worst President since Andrew Johnson. That George W. Bush should be ashamed of his military service, but no mention of Bill Clinton’s pulling all number of strings to dodge the draft. We read of the corruption in the Nixon White House and Justice Department, but the antics of Obama’s minions Holder and Lynch go unnoticed. You get the drift. The author, a Wisconsin based writer, Ann Bausum, makes no apologies for the left wing book. But the scary thing is kids read this book. Kids who quite probably are not all that discerning might accept this book for fact. If we’re burning Dr. Seuss books, this piece of nonsense should hit the dumpsters as well. Even worse, National Geographic has put its name on this book – a major hit for their credibility.

NEXT WEEK: Joy to the World; Back to church; Three stooges

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WEEK OF APRIL 4, 2021

 

Tampa Bay Raves and Rants is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyles and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.

 

The majority rapidly becoming the minority

 

Fact: 75 percent of the American voting public supports the requirement that an ID be required to vote – just as it is required to drive or check out a library book. Yet recent Georgia legislation requiring just that has become reason for major league baseball and its pinhead leader Bob Manfred to move this year’s All-Star game out of Atlanta. We doubt Mr. Manfred, who makes guys like Ford Frick, Happy Chandler and Bud Selig look like geniuses, could recite any of the salient points (95 pages worth) of the Georgia legislation. He chose to, instead, bow to pressure from the radical left including our geriatric president and move the game. Georgia’s legislation, by the way, is far more liberal than that of Mr. Biden’s home state of Delaware which allows for no in-person advance voting. Biden’s fellow Democrat, Cobb County Commission Chair Lisa Cupid, put it best saying the president hadn’t taken into account the financial well-being of the people who helped propel him into office five months ago. If you agree with this move by major league baseball, so be it. If you see it for what it is – just another bow to the radical left, please join us in boycotting everything baseball this summer – with the exception of the Atlanta Braves and their city – the harmless victims of this nonsense. Finally, there is  an on-line petition to keep politics out of baseball. If you agree with that proposition, Google Keep Politics out of Baseball and sign it.    

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. At “press time,” no decision on the new locale for Atlanta’s All-Star game. It would be only fitting if MLB’s Mr. Manfred and the rest of the village idiots re-located the All-Star game to Minneapolis, Seattle or even Portland – assuming their burned out infrastructures have recovered sufficiently from last year’s riots.

2. At a press conference last week, Joltin’ Joe said he expects to run for re-election in 2024. He is expected to be opposed by Thomas Dewey, oh wait; at least one of them is dead.

3. Elizabeth Warren joins Joltin’ Joe in criticizing the amount of taxes that Amazon pays – taxes they pay under tax laws that were crafted by Warren, Biden and company in the Senate.

4. Speaking of Amazon – their employees at a large Alabama facility are being urged to unionize even though they earn at least twice the minimum wage, and get health, vision and dental care without paying hundreds of dollars in monthly union dues. If the union can sell that, we tip our cap.

5. Iowa Democrat Rita Hart bowed to the inevitable and formally withdrew her challenge of Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’election win last year which had been certified by Iowa’s bipartisan state elections board. This ends the efforts of Speaker Pelosi to undo the win. Ms. Pelosi has difficulty understanding she currently runs the House – not the nation.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Factoid: the five largest chain restaurants in America are McDonald’s, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell and Burger King.

7. Number of the week – 25 percent. That’s the percentage of annual sales of McDonalds Filet-O-Fish that is consumed in the 40 days just past – Lent.

8. It was unintentional, but this week’s TBR&R has a definite restaurant bent. One more item – another Gulf to Bay chain restaurant casualty is the long time Boston Market restaurant on the east end of the highway.

9. It is easier to name the local radio stations Tedd Webb did not work at than those who did employ the colorful personality over the years. Best known as Jack Harris’ sidekick on WFLA radio, Webb died last week at age 72.

10. As we get ready for an already tainted baseball season and a reported crackdown on foreign substances, we share one of our favorite quips from the late, great pitcher and raconteur Don Sutton, who was often accused of putting a foreign substance on the ball. His reply was everything he put on the ball was proudly made in America.

 

Achmed’s picks to click in 2021

 

(Editor’s Note – a lot of advance planning went into this feature, so we are running it. We don’t anticipate much additional baseball coverage through the summer months).

Baseball season is underway and our crack prognosticator and former second to the Great Malenko, Achmed Walled (pronounced wall-ED), has his surefire picks for 2021. First, he predicts that after this season, the ridiculous man on second rule in extra innings will be tossed aside as the worst experiment since the Ford Edsel. In the National League, he predicts the Braves will make it four in a row in the NL’s toughest division – despite their suspect bullpen; in the Central, it could be a four-way tie, but Achmed goes with the Cardinals who always seem to find a way to win. It’s hard to bet against a World Series champ like the NL West’s Dodgers and Achmed will not. The Padres, on paper look like the next best team in the NL and the Mets, suddenly flush with cash, will probably buy their way to the other playoff spot. In the American League, our peerless predictor goes with the chalk pick in the East – the Yankees. He likes the powerhouse lineup of the Twins to take the Central Division and Houston by an eyelash over the Oakland As in the West. His wild card picks in the junior circuit are the aforementioned As and the strong lineup of the White Sox. Achmed feels the Rays lost too much pitching to offset their pedestrian offense and will be staying home in October. And our “it could happen” predictions are a collapse by the Astros (even though he picked them) and a World Series ring for the boys from San Diego despite the great Dodger lineup and pitching staff.

NEXT WEEK: Black eye for National Geographic; Electric Mustang?

Happy Easter!

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WEEK OF MARCH 28, 2021

 

Tampa Bay Raves and Rants is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyles and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.

 

Gasoline prices – don’t liberals get it?

 

Good old Joe, the friend of the downtrodden, or is he? Joe and his merry band don’t seem to get it that rising gas prices have a greater effect on the folks he allegedly is trying to help than any other class of people. The idle rich treat gas prices as pocket change. We in the middle class whine a bit, but maybe forego a couple Starbuck visits a month. For the folks near the poverty line, it becomes a contest between a few gallons of three dollar gas, food, insurance or the rent. Food is becoming no bargain either, but those prices are hidden on the shelves of grocery stores and not displayed with large signs on the highway. Yet, nobody in the Biden White House seems to care that gas is up nearly 35 per cent in the few short weeks Joltin’ Joe and crew have been in office. We have no doubt the Obama $3.50 a gallon prices are just around the corner further strangling low wage earners unless somebody in the Biden administration wakes up.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Breaking news from the White House – Biden picks Harris to deal with border crisis. In a related note, Bucs pick Hillsborough JV coach to manage their defense.

2. A reason to smile even if you’re already feeling the oppression of the government by executive order regime – you will not wake up in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, LA, DC or Seattle tomorrow morning.

3. Yes, we know they are suing or threatening to sue everybody in sight, but if you were a state or local official responsible for buying new voting equipment, would you buy from Dominion Voting Systems? "The lady doth protest too much, me thinks."

4. Hunter Biden’s “memoir” is due out next month. Kind of doubt we’ll read it. We are more looking forward to Bill Stevenson’s book which has been inexplicably delayed.

5. USPS searching for a word that rhymes with mail that describes a creature slower than a snail.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. From the latest edition of the 5:05 Newsletter: Biden stumbles going up steps to Air Force One; Harris briefly sworn in between fifth & sixth step.

7. Major League Baseball kicks off this week with all 30 teams playing on April 1. In the past, opening day was reserved for the games of its oldest team – the Cincinnati Reds. Another tradition that has bitten the dust – but we do have the runner on second in extra innings!

8. Incredible stat: three of this week’s Opening Day starters are from the same high school. The school is LA’s Harvard-Westlake and the starters are the Card’s Jack Flaherty, the Braves’ Max Fried and the White Sox’ Lucas Giolito. And yes, they all pitched there at the same time. We went to a fairly large high school and can only think of two pitchers who even made it to the major leagues.

9. 36 years ago this week in their April 1st issue, Sports Illustrated ran a feature article on pitching phenom Sidd Finch and his 150 mph fastball.

10. In this last week of Lent, we offer a final fasting suggestion from Pope Francis – “Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.”

 

The top vocal groups of the 50s

 

At the end of each month this year, we are focusing on the top recording artists who made those records we bought as teens and young adults. This month, we focus on the top recording groups of the 50s. Topping the list on the strength of number one hits like Twilight Time, The Great Pretender and My Prayer were the Platters. They were followed in order by The McGuire Sisters, Bill Haley and the Comets (Rock Around the Clock), The Four Lads, The Everly Brothers, Four Aces, The Diamonds ( Little Darlin’) Ames Brothers, Fontaine Sisters and the Chordettes (Mr. Sandman). Like the male and female singers featured in our end of month “1950s countdowns” in January and February, there is a mix of pop and rock and roll in the top ten.

NEXT WEEK: Achmed predicts; Economic indicator; Biden in ’24!

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WEEK OF MARCH 21, 2021

 

Tampa Bay Raves and Rants is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyles and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.

 

Biden’s immigration “reform” is not reform

 

We lead off with White House news from the 5:05 Newsletter: In a great and humane gesture, Joe Biden signed an executive order today granting citizenship to everyone who voted for him. Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch but Joe Biden wants to change our nation in a month or two with a bunch of presidential executive orders. Many of them involve illegal immigrants which is a slap in the face to law abiding Americans. At a time when there are so many higher priorities, to grant carte blanche to people here illegally is an insult to working men and women who have broken no laws, pay taxes, defended our country through their military service and need help right now. Our newly elected leader has to get his head on straight and take care of immunizing our citizens against COVID-19, help our American jobless and get our economy back to the levels of the Trump administration before granting a free ride to yet another over 25,000 people (last month alone) who need to earn it. As Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody put it so well – “President Joe Biden’s radical decision to abandon his responsibility, mandated by federal law, is tantamount to abolishing important requirements of immigration enforcement without congressional approval. This is not immigration reform. This is blatant disregard for our laws, for which every other citizen is held accountable.”

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. In an ABC News interview, Joltin’ Joe said he believes New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign if the investigation into his alleged sexual harassment reveals wrongdoing. “I think [Cuomo] will probably end up being prosecuted, too,” Biden added. Glass houses, Joe?

2. A recent PolitiSpin piece implies all the misinformation about the pandemic was a product of the right while the left was entirely blameless. With stuff like that, why continue to publish the comics?

3. Factoid – despite this past year’s pandemic, COVID-19 was only the third most common cause of U.S. deaths in 2020 behind heart disease and cancer. So stay on that wellness path!

4. Tell us again, who is going to pay for all these $1400 checks and other Democratic pork wrapped into the “COVID virus relief bill”?

5. Our elderly chief executive is becoming the new Jerry Ford, stumbling twice boarding Air Force One last Friday. Where is Chevy Chase when you need him?

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Forty years ago this week, the Clearwater High School basketball team, led by the state’s top center Mike Britten and top sixth man David Stewart and coached by the legendary Jack Wilson won the only state basketball championship in the school’s history.

7. Answer: Austin, Texas. Question what is the largest city in the U.S. without a pro sports franchise? Austin currently ranks as the 11th largest city in the nation.

8. Idle thought: you can tell a lot about human nature by watching people return (or not return) shopping carts in a grocery store parking lot.

9. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you remember the Sea Shell Hotel on the white sands of Clearwater Beach.

10. As we enter the final two weeks of Lent, we offer this fasting suggestion from Pope Francis - “Fast from grudges and be reconciled.”

 

Your first trip to the record store

 

I’ll put on the old 45s – from Barry Manilow’s classic The Old Songs. Think back to your time at a record store and that precious piece of vinyl that was your first purchase. We asked our TBR&R Focus Group (recently classed up with the addition of two new members) about the first 45 they carried home from the record store. One of the founding female members of the group recalls The Dupree’s 1962 arrangement of the standard You Belong to Me; another of our elders who bought way, way too many singles through the years (over 3000), says his first record was Al Caiola’s 1960 recording of The Theme from the Magnificent Seven; another of our number got the most (8 minutes and 36 seconds) for his first purchase money when he bought the classic Don McLean side American Pie; The Fleetwoods had great success in the late 50s and early 60s with 11 hits on the charts including a #1 tune Mr. Blue which was the first purchase of another of our august group; One of our group has a slightly warped sense of humor even on his good days and swears his first record purchase was the bizarre Napoleon XIV recording They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa! The song made it all the way to #3 on the charts, so our strange friend had some company; another member’s first purchase was the classic Gerry and the Pacemaker’s 1964 hit Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying. And our newest focus group member recalls her first purchase being an album (only hippies bought albums back then) but she wanted the most for her money and it was a greatest hits album from the terrific Mamas and Papas.

NEXT WEEK: 50s top groups; St. Louis Browns; Sidd Finch

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WEEK OF MARCH 14, 2021

 

Tampa Bay Raves and Rants is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyles and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.

 

 

Biden: did we think it would be this bizarre? 

 

Clueless, insensitive to the working man or woman, government by proclamation are just a few descriptions of the Biden regime thus far. You have to wonder if the election were held today, would that many Americans still drink the Kool Aid - very unlikely. With a stroke of a pen, Joltin’ Joe has eliminated thousands of jobs; attempted to bring thousands of aliens into our country, already strapped for means to support our own citizens and he continues to pander to regimes like Iran who just laugh up their sleeves at his ineptitude. And you now can get a pro-rated $15,000 a year for not having a job. You just wonder how much weirder it will get.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. From The 5:05 Newsletter: Gas prices are shooting up faster than the Biden vote count at 2am. In that vein, we stand corrected on our lead article from last week chiding Politifact for their erroneous (to be charitable) facts on gas prices. We said the price was $2.69 – well it was for half the week before shooting up to $2.85 – more than a 30 percent increase in Biden’s first 50 days in office.

2. Ah, day light savings time. It’s another year of springing ahead despite our state legislature’s decision several years ago to do away with that nonsense. There are nearly two dozen states that feel the same way, but repeatedly get ignored in Washington.

3. The House passed H.R. 1 – a bill that basically says come one, come all in relation to voting is scary beyond belief. The good news is it has absolutely no chance of passing the Senate.

4. Answer: Donald Trump and Herbert Hoover. Question: who are the last two Presidents to lose the White House, Senate and House of Representatives during a single term?

5. Life in the fast lane: the Biden pick for the Federal Trade Commission is Columbia professor Lina Kahn who is less than four years out of law school. Perhaps someone with a little more experience, Joe?

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. One of the last of the old guard TV journalists, Roger Mudd, passed away at age 93 last week. Mudd, a veteran of both CBS and NBC, masterfully reported the news without adding the political slants so common today.

7. Number of the week: 45 years ago – the last time perennial powerhouses both Duke and Kentucky were not in the NCAA tournament.

8. Baseball Factoid: the Braves franchise now in Atlanta has won exactly one World Series in each of the cities in which they’ve played – Boston (1914); Milwaukee (1957) and Atlanta (1995). So, do they have to move the team to Charlotte or Nashville to win another?

9. You’ve lived in the bay area (or anywhere else) a long time if you remember the introduction of WATS (Wide Area Telephone Service) 60 years ago this year. Originally, all WATS or toll-free lines began with 800, now there are several WATS prefixes beginning with the number 8 – you know, the ones you don’t answer when they show up on Caller ID.

10. We continue through Lent with another fasting suggestion from Pope Francis – “Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.” 

 

Another plea to subsidize newspapers


Every day on Page 2 of our local newspaper, there is a plea to send them money on top of what you begrudgingly pay them for what they send. That’s okay if you want to support their far left, pro-abortion and DNC stances. But what’s not okay is their current campaign telling you that won’t know about your property taxes, school bus schedules and zoning changes if our government doesn’t continue to spend unnecessary tax dollars on legal notices. That, of course, is simply untrue. Property taxes are explained in trim notices; you can find your kid’s bus schedule on line and any zoning changes near you are covered with a required mail notification. The Florida newspaper industry merely wants this government subsidy to continue propping up their waning fortunes. The Florida legislature is correct in their move to end this tax dollar giveaway.

Correction: We apologize to Robert Brucker who, along with James Foster, was the technical wizard who got TBR&R off the ground seven years ago. Being of old age and not so sound mind, we scrambled his last name last week with another longtime acquaintance – Robert Ricker who is one of the most skilled craftsman with a printing press we’ve ever met.

NEXT WEEK: First 45s; State Champ Tornadoes; Who pays?

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WEEK OF MARCH 7, 2021

 

Tampa Bay Raves and Rants is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyles and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.

 

 

When lying, don’t make it so easy to check 

 

Quote of the week from the “always believable” Political Fact people concerning soaring gas prices: Part of that has come on Biden’s watch — prices have risen about 10% since he took office in January 2021. The bulk of the increase came under Trump. Second quote of the week from our 1/3/21 TBR&R -   $2.15 – This is a number we track every year – the year end cost of gas locally. At the end of 2019, it was $2.14 – pretty much the same, but not near the $1.97 of the beginning of 2018. Watch out for this year! So using simple math, gas prices have risen a robust 25 percent to $2.69 during Biden’s tenure. We are sure it had nothing to do with his axing an economical fuel delivery service – the Keystone Pipeline and the 11,000 jobs that went with it. Memo to Politifact – try to make your untruths a little less easy to disprove.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff: 

 

1. The state of Virginia’s recent repeal of the death penalty would have been much nobler if it included companion legislation to outlaw the slaughter of unborn children in the state.

2. Hey, it could have been worse, former Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is proposing a two percent wealth tax. It, fortunately, has no chance of passage. One of the bill’s co-sponsors is the nut case from Hawaii – Sen. Mazie Hirono. You remember her – she’s the one who asked now Supreme Court Justice Amy Barrett Comey if she had ever been accused of sexual misconduct.

3. “Florida’s Best Newspaper” seems to have a problem with Publix Supermarkets handling COVID shots. It’s not like Publix is making a ton of money on this public service and if you’ve had your shot at a local Publix, you know the procedure runs smooth as can be.

4. The weather was justifiably blamed for the week-long delay in COVID-19 shots, but you have to wonder where the blame would have been placed prior to January 20.

5. Speaking of the weather, last weekend’s Chamber of Commerce weather gave us the first beach back up of the year with traffic on Court Street backed nearly as far east as Missouri Avenue.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. He was the face of what was then a local power company, Florida Power. Executive and civic leader Andrew Hines died late last month at age 98.

7. Factoid: The University of Tampa was founded as Tampa Junior College in 1931 just four years after St. Petersburg Junior College.

8. Congratulations to the women’s basketball team at USF for winning their first ever American Athletic Conference title. Go Bulls!

9. From TBR&R Five Years Ago (March 8, 2016) Now that Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s “election campaign” is over, expect him to start positioning himself for a run for governor in 2018. Fine, but mayor, please remember what we are paying you to do in the interim. (Buckhorn tested the waters, but passed on a run).

10. As we pass the halfway point in the season of Lent, we present another fasting suggestion from Pope Francis – “Fast from anger and be filled with patience.”

 

This week we turn seven

 

(Ed. Note: To answer a few similar questions we’ve been asked, TBR&R is reached simply by typing in Tampa Bay Rants and Raves on your search engine, then bookmarking. There is a similar-named site associated with Craig’s List, but we don’t hawk anything here – except perhaps some politically incorrect ideas. New editions usually post by approximately 6 p.m. the Saturday before the date of publication.)

 

It’s been seven years and over 300,000 words since TBR&R ranted its first on March 9, 2014. First, a thank you to James Foster and Robert Brucker, the IT pros that helped us get started seven years ago. In that time, we’ve covered two very disappointing presidencies with a third (and quite possibly worst) now underway. Our Focus Group (a group of old, mostly cranky people) have weighed in on music, movies, Presidents and the like. Our crack prognosticator Achmed Walled (pronounced wall-ED) has had a great run of World Series predictions – so-so on Super Bowls. We’ve witnessed the demise and then revival of The 5:05 Newsletter and the demise, but sadly no revival, of the area’s only trustworthy newspaper, The Tampa Tribune. And in just the last year, we’ve witnessed glory for the Bucs and Lightning and a near miss for the Rays. We seem to be nearing the back side of a pandemic, and we hark back to our beginning issue with “what ever happened to Alex Sink?” Now, as we ponder an exit strategy three years hence, we begin our eighth year.

NEXT WEEK: Legal notices; DST again; Trump and Hoover

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WEEK OF FEBRUARY 28, 2021

 

Tampa Bay Raves and Rants is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyles and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.

 

 

Making elections work for all Americans

 

“This one will never sell … this one’s for you” with apologies to Barry Manilow. We ranted about the $14 billion spent on last year’s Presidential and Congressional races (TBR&R 11/15/20). That’s 14 times the American Cancer Society’s annual budget. Then there was another over half billion spent on just the two Senate run-off races in Georgia – simply obscene. Here’s a quick answer to this madness that will never sell. It’s a 15% surcharge on each national political contribution. You give a candidate $10,000 and $1500 of that goes to a non-partisan organization for distribution to qualified charities – a sort of United Way for political contributions to places like the National Cancer Society, Salvation Army or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital just to name three of many worthwhile charities. And the surcharge applies to every contribution – soft money, hard money, PACs – you name it. And you make the penalties for trying to dodge the surcharge extremely steep (like barred from political contributions for 10 years along with a little jail time). And we would be the first in line to volunteer to help make it run – a process that would have generated well over $2 billion for worthwhile charities in the last election cycle – and reformed election contributions.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Speaking of charities, we salute Amazon for their Amazon Smile program which donates a small percentage of each purchase to your favorite charity. It adds up. Our named charity, not a large entity, nonetheless has received close to $7000 from the merchandising giant.

2. Speaking of elections, a tip of our cap to Governor Rick DeSantis for his call to end so-called ballot harvesting where a person can turn in multiple ballots at a ballot drop box – which can only lead to suspicion of fraud if not outright fraud.

3. The ceremony was moving - paying tribute to the 500,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19 over the past year; but what we really need is more action by the White House to get vaccines in people’s arms before another 500,000 die.

4. Florida’s Minister of Marijuana, Nikki Fried, has decided she wants to run for Governor (there’s a shock). She is already in attack mode, righteously demanding an update on the incident at the Oldsmar’s water treatment facility. We’ll wager that a month ago, Ms. Fried didn’t know where Oldsmar was.

5. Political news from The 5:05 Newsletter: President Donald Trump was acquitted of impeachment charges when the Senate failed to get the necessary two-thirds vote to convict. It would have been different, but a suitcase from Georgia containing 30 more votes to impeach did not arrive in time.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. We thought we’d let the 5:05 Newsletter write the majority of the blog this week – this, too, is a gem: MLB News: Pitchers, catchers, cardboard cutouts report for Spring Training.

7. In the first MLB power ranking of the year, our local nine are ranked 9th – pretty low for a team that played in the World Series. But even if they play to that lowered bar, they would still be in the postseason.

8. You’ve lived in the bay area (or anywhere else) a long time if your first taste of Coca Cola came from a 6.5 ounce glass bottle. Purists say no Coke since has tasted as good as the 6.5 ounce variety. It was the “real thing.”

9. The Crimson Tide has lost one of its most rabid supporters. Bob Furney was a superb educator at Clearwater High, armed with an incredible wit. In addition, he was a medical miracle fighting off severe lung and kidney problems with an iron will. Our condolences go to his wife Suzanne, their son Rob and his siblings Les and Margaret. Bob will be deeply missed.

10. We continue our series of Lenten fasting suggestions from Pope Francis – “Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.”

 

Remembering the top female singers of the 50s

 

Last month (Jan. 31, 2021TBR&R) we highlighted the top ten male singers of the 1950s. This week, we look at the top female performers from that decade starting with that “singing rage” Patti Page who got her name from the Page Dairy that sponsored her early radio shows. Patti (Tennessee Waltz and many others) was followed by Teresa Brewer, Connie Francis, Sarah Vaughn, Georgia Gibbs, Jaye P. Morgan, TV’s Gale Storm, Rosemary Clooney (George’s aunt), Doris Day and Joni James. Just missing the Top 10 were two other hit makers from the early 50s – Kay Starr and Jo Stafford. Next month – the 50s biggest groups - guess who was number one.

NEXT WEEK: TBR&R turns seven; UT’s beginnings; It’s only jobs

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WEEK OF FEBRUARY 21, 2021

 

Tampa Bay Raves and Rants is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyles and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.

 

The Pelosi posse rides again

 

Nancy Pelosi and her henchmen just won’t give up. Foiled in their doomed attempt to impeach President Trump, now Fancy Nancy and her troops want to launch what they call a 9-11 type investigation into the January 6th violence on Capitol Hill. At the same time, Ms. Pelosi is doing a bit of squirming as members of the House are asking “what did she know and when did she know it” regarding the siege of Capitol Hill. Soon, there will come a time when Ms. Pelosi is going to have to let go of her obsession with President Trump and move on to what we pay her for – getting people vaccinated and back to work for starters.

 

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. The price of poker certainly has gone up. Last week, the Clearwater City Council voted to delay a decorative lighting project on the Causeway Bridge estimated at $1.5 million. The Sand Key Bridge lighting project some years back cost $100,000 which had some city commissioners (they were commissioners back then) balking at that price.

2. Religious scholar Dr. William Donahue remains perplexed as to why our new President, a Catholic or at least a CINO, is praised for his religious beliefs such as they are, while then Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, a real life practicing Catholic, was all but burnt at the stake during her confirmation hearings. Puzzling, yes?

3. Thought from the youngest member of our TBR&R Focus Group: I'm wondering if the true purpose of the fencing in DC might just be to keep Sleepy Joe from wandering off somewhere.

4. Speaking of which, Joltin’ Joe spent last weekend at Camp David. It was pointed out that President Trump spent much of his off time at one of his clubs. It’s what you’re used to – with Trump it was his clubs, for Joe it was either Camp David or back to his basement.

5. Idle question: Did you miss Daniel Ruth in the Times? Neither did we.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Continuing our Lenten fasting suggestions from Pope Francis during this holy season – “Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.”

7. We lost three leaders in their respective fields last week. First, jazz icon Chick Corea passed away at age 79. And one of the area’s first orthodontists and the owner of the Sea Captain motel on Clearwater Beach, Dr. Don Eifert, passed away at age 91 – a truly interesting man. And the conservative’s conservative, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, died at age 70.

8. When our daughter married a very nice young man over a decade ago, our extended family became that much better. One of the truly nice members of that family, David Mullis, passed away last week. Our heart goes out to the Mullis and Kelly families.

9. When the most recent Presidential Medal of Freedom awards were handed out, one name a lot of Americans may not have recognized was Mildred (Babe) Zaharias. That is sad, because Zaharias who died at a young age in 1956, was simply the greatest female athlete of all time, excelling in track and field in the Olympics, pro golf plus basketball and baseball.

10. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you remember veteran newsman Howard Hartley who served as news director for both WTAN and WAZE radio stations over the years. He had a distinctive clipped delivery and was a master of his craft despite being blind. He was ably assisted by his wife, Jo Hartley.

 

The Wrecking Crew – soundtrack of the ‘60s

 

They’re called hooks - those little pieces of songs that stay with you forever, the neat guitar lick at the beginning of Wichita Lineman, the cool drum intro to Don’t Worry Baby or the Ronettes’ Be My Baby. All of those sounds and hundreds more came from a unique backing group called the Wrecking Crew. This loosely constituted group of 15-20 very skilled musicians haunted the various recording studios in LA during the sixties and seventies. They provided backgrounds for Glen Campbell (originally a member of the group), Simon and Garfunkel, Sonny and Cher, the Beach Boys and Johnny Rivers just to name five of more than 50 name acts they backed. Much in demand, they might start with a session in the Capitol Records studios with the Beach Boys, then an afternoon session with the Mamas and Papas followed by an evening gig at a third studio with the 5th Dimension and repeat the next day and every day Monday through Friday. Many of their number are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame including drummers Hal Blaine and Earl Palmer, as well as the group as a whole being inducted in 2007. There is a book by Ken Hartman that details the work of this amazing crew as well as a 2008 film documentary produced by Denney Tedesco, the son of one of the group’s mainstays, guitarist Tommy Tedesco. Both are worth a look if you enjoyed the music of the sixties and seventies.

NEXT WEEK: Girl Vocal Stars; Election Funding; The Real Thing

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WEEK OF FEBRUARY 14, 2021

 

Tampa Bay Raves and Rants is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyles and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.

 

Marco Rubio and 2022

 

Democrats, no doubt fueled by the anomaly that was Georgia earlier this year, will be smelling blood in 2022. Twenty GOP (versus 14 Democratic) Senate seats are up for election in 2022. One of those seats is held by Florida’s Marco Rubio. There are two questions. First, is Rubio vulnerable enough for Demos to waste time and money to try to unseat him? Probably not, but the events in Georgia have some Democrats thinking that no GOP seat is untouchable. However, mid-term elections are usually advantage party not in power. In normal times, the GOP would reclaim the Senate. But are these normal times? Georgia suggests they might not be. Second question – if the Democrats think they have a legitimate shot at the Rubio seat, what candidate do they bring to the table? Florida has a Republican governor, a Republican legislature and very few high profile Democratic public officials to offer up. An added plus is Rubio’s Senate colleague, Rick Scott, is heading up the Republican Party’s Senatorial Committee. Scott tends to win races. So far, Democrats are having trouble getting someone to play in the Rubio contest. Here’s a not so longshot Demo suggestion, Rep. Val Demings of Orlando. The second term Congresswoman was in the headlines during the Biden VP selection process and, by all accounts, vetted well. She came off as a bit shrill in the feeding frenzy after the Capitol mess, but she could be a viable candidate if the Democrats think they have a chance against Rubio next year. If she’s as smart as we think she is, she’ll tell her fellow Democrats, “thanks, but no thanks.”

 

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Related – Charlie Crist never seems happy with any political job (the only kind he’s ever had) for any length of time. Now he wants to be Governor saying the vaccine rollout was a mess. It’s important for Rep. Crist to remember that the House had something to do with the vaccine rollout as well.

2. The recent arrest of Clearwater investment executive and Scientologist David Gentile begs the question – when are the Feds going to get ahead of or at least even with these Ponzi and other financial schemes that ruin people’s lives? Have we learned nothing from Madoff, Matrix schemes and yesteryear’s bucket shops?

3. Mayor Rick Kriseman’s knee jerk eviction of a small business owner at Albert Whitted Airport because of a Super Bowl party’s violation of some protocols is beyond belief. The owner of the hanger donated the use of his facility for a charity event. A fine perhaps, but threatening a man’s livelihood is just another example of clueless politicians not understanding what it takes to make an honest buck in our current environment.

4. Congressional news courtesy of the 5:05 Newsletter: “New Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer promised that he will work diligently with Republicans in 2021 and that every proposed bill will receive full and fair consideration. He was of course joking, but this is not obvious, because even when he is in a jovial mood Schumer looks like a man passing a kidney stone the size of the Hope Diamond.

5. Five Years Ago in TBRR (Feb. 14, 2016) CBS has ordered production of Four Stars, a drama loosely based on activity at MacDill AFB. (It was cast and a pilot shot, but the show never hit the airwaves). By the way, wasn’t the flyover at last week’s Super Bowl impressive, albeit lightly covered? But it beats the classless remarks on a similar flyover earlier in the year voiced by Fox’s halfwit team of Buck and Aikman.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Lent begins this week and it is the custom in the Christian world to give up or sacrifice something like sweets, a favorite food or beverage during this forty day period – fasting. Pope Francis gives slightly different takes on fasting which we will share with you weekly during this holy season. His first – “Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.”

7. Busy week – Valentine’s Day followed by President’s Day, followed by Fat Tuesday, followed by Ash Wednesday. By the way, a good suggestion from one of our local TV news outlets this past week - move Super Bowl Sunday to the Sunday before President’s Day, a federal holiday, thereby lessening the impact of millions of employee callouts the day after the big game.

8. We’re happy that the usually reliable dolphin, Nicholas, at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium missed predicting the outcome of the Super Bowl. Oh, and the reason for no prediction from our very own Achmed Walled (pronounced wall-ED) – we asked him, but before he could answer, we both drifted off into a conversation about our new doctors and new pills.

9. 55 years ago this April, a fellow disk jockey working at WFUN in Miami, scored us tickets for the Supremes’ engagement at the Deauville Hotel. It was our first “big name” concert. Mary Wilson, the longest running member of that great trio, passed away last week at age 76.

10. You’ve lived in the bay area (or anywhere else) for a long time if you remember when only spies and the military dealt with codes. Now, all of us are barraged with area codes, bar codes, security codes, tracking codes and zip codes – too much for the elderly brain.

 

Is it worth a buck a week?

 

Should a person pay a dollar a week to have offensive material delivered to one’s home each day? After all, we pay the Solid Waste Department to haul unwanted garbage away one or two times a week. The offensive material of which we speak is the extremely odorous waste dumped at our doorstep or our computer by “Florida’s Best Newspaper.” Do you pay a buck a week to have everything you hold dear, like religious freedom, the sanctity of life and self-sufficiency (to name just three) being derided by left wing journalists? These questions come to mind with the annual renewal plea from FBN. In years past, there was the down the middle Tampa Tribune as a more than adequate alternative. FBN silenced that rational voice by buying them out five years ago. So what do we get for a buck a week? We’re old and we nervously first turn to the obituaries to see if we’ve lost another acquaintance. Our Saintly Wife likes the Wednesday Publix ad. That’s it. Their left-leaning “news” is history by the time we might read it – same for sports. And their opinion page can only be termed hazardous waste. We have about a week to decide. Do we pay a buck a week to be offended daily? Stay tuned.

NEXT WEEK: The Babe, Immigration; Howard Hartley

Thank you Bucs for a memorable season!

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WEEK OF FEBRUARY 7, 2021

 

Tampa Bay Raves and Rants is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyles and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.

 

Biden’s worst pick

 

Over the past many weeks, American’s collective jaws have dropped as Joltin Joe announced his cabinet picks – a former mayor of a town smaller than Clearwater as his Transportation chief; a woman to head the Small Business Administration who hasn’t been involved in a small business in nearly two decades; and a Commerce Secretary – a former governor of a state slightly larger than Pinellas County. But the scariest pick of all is his climate czar – John Kerry. The poor little rich boy, who has never had a real job in his life, dismissed 11,000 workers who lost their jobs with a stroke of a pen as “people who should have considered more appropriate jobs.” Hey, they couldn’t have all married ketchup heiresses, John. There are few, if any, people in government more out of touch with the American people than John Kerry – a climate czar who travels around the country in a private jet with the carbon footprint larger than a trucking fleet – a fleet that will now be used to carry crude at 25 times the environmental danger than the pipe line the cognitively challenged Mr. Biden wiped out along with 11,000 precious paychecks.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Idle question: how many folks who huffed and puffed that they would never shop at Publix again because of a founder’s heir donating money to Trump, later lined up to get the vaccine shots the store is now offering? The company has always been a great corporate citizen and a donation from a person not involved in their daily operations doesn’t change that.

2. It should come as no surprise that a black market has developed for the COVID vaccine including some of the critical medicine missing in St. Pete. But at least, cooler heads prevailed when Joltin’ Joe attempted to divert some of the vaccine to terrorism detainees at Guantanamo Base in Cuba.

3. Related, we find it unconscionable that Clearwater (and other) police officers have not yet received COVD-19 vaccinations.

4. Suggested sign for the White House Briefing Room: “We don’t have the time or the CRAYONS to explain this to you.”

5. Number of the week – 54. The number of executive orders, executive actions, memos and proclamations issued thus far by the Biden regime. This compares to previous highs of 20 each by Obama and Trump - so much for bi-partisan cooperation and unity. His rationale - “I’m not making new law; I’m eliminating bad policy.” (Not to mention thousands of jobs.) Keep saying that Joe, some might even believe you.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. We’re holding our breath, but pitchers and catchers are only a week away.

7. Media news from The 5:05 Newsletter: AT&T is reportedly looking to at selling its cable news station CNN. Expect a bidding war between China, Russia and the Democratic National Committee.

8. In October, the middle of the pandemic and the election season, the latest departure of Keith Olbermann from ESPN went pretty much unnoticed. Olbermann is a superb sports analyst, but he can’t decide whether he wants to do that or be a political commentator.

9. We were tempted to slip in a photo of Bernie and his mittens in this week’s issue, but we maintain our six-year policy of no pictures, only text.

10. You’ve lived in the bay area (or anywhere else) a long time if you remember NBA teams like the Minneapolis (now LA) Lakers, the Syracuse Nationals (now the Philly 76ers), the Fort Wayne (now Detroit) Pistons and the Rochester Royals since then the Cincinnati and KC Royals and now the Sacramento Kings.

 

Focus Group and “surf-stoppers”

 

Our Tampa Bay Rants and Raves Focus Group (a group of six or so old and mostly cranky people) is back after a long holiday layoff. They have been challenged with identifying a sure fire “surf stopper” – that movie which will stop you dead in your tracks while channel surfing as you watch it for the 10th or 50th time. Our youngest member, and the individual who coined the term, goes for Shawshank Redemption; our crankiest member gets stopped by lighter fare like Major League; the least cranky member of the group opted for the Chevy Chase - Goldie Hawn romantic comedy Seems Like Old Times; another of our elders stops and views whenever a Clint Eastwood “spaghetti western” comes on – like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; our newest focus group member will stop every time she comes across the Meryl Streep-Clint Eastwood movie The Bridges of Madison County – an eclectic mix to say the least.

NEXT WEEK: Four Stars; Marco and 2022: Different kind of fasting

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WEEK OF JANUARY 31, 2021

 

Tampa Bay Raves and Rants is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyles and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.                                                                                                                                                                            

Note to Joe: energy production is not a bad thing 

 

One of the many things Joe, the job killer, doesn’t seem to grasp is that meeting the energy needs of the United States and protecting our environment are not mutually exclusive. Trying to cut back on domestic energy production is inviting disaster with the loss of an estimated 11,000 jobs at just the XL Pipeline alone. Many of us remember the gas lines of the 1970s and the $3.50 plus per gallon gas prices of the Obama administration. The last thing we want to do is have less than friendly foreign nations dictating oil prices and supply to us again. But Biden’s so-called environmental team is scary in terms of their lack of business knowledge and experience. He seems to be trying to create diversity rather than a competent team that can balance the environment with our nation’s energy needs and independence.

 

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Related note: GM announces an all-electric fleet of cars and SUVs by 2035. Good and well, but will our already shaky electric grid support such a massive new load? Most experts say we have a lot of work to do between now and 2035 to make that happen.

2. The Vaccine Blues: From an article in “Florida’s Best Newspaper”: “For those who do not have Internet access, you can also pre-register by phone. To find the designated number for your county, visit https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/FL-VACCINE-HOTLINES_updated-0124.pdf.” Now, what is wrong with that picture?

3. “Mr. Unity” missed a chance to get America back on track last week with his urging that the impeachment of President Trump “has to happen.” He apparently did not read our lead article from last week. We’ll email him a copy.

4. We know it’s not true (we think), but it’s funny. That is if we had just handed off the COVID-19 vaccination distribution to Amazon and Chick-fil-A, we’d all be vaccinated by now.

5. We shouldn’t be surprised that New York’s shifty governor undercounted COVID deaths in state nursing homes by fifty percent – and, of course, blamed it on the White House. Families who lost loved ones to COVID in New York nursing homes are incensed by this outright lying of a disgusting human being.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. To this old broadcaster, the two best radio talk show hosts over the past half-century were Bruce Williams and Larry King. Williams, who lived the later part of his life in New Port Richey, passed away two years ago after thirty years of hosting his coast to coast show. And last week, we lost Larry whose career was launched on Miami’s WIOD and later on the old Mutual Radio Network. King was truly one of a kind and led the league in ex-wives (7). He was 87.

7. Was there any role Cloris Leachman could not pull off? She appeared in diverse roles in The Untouchables, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Young Frankenstein and probably her most well-known role as busybody neighbor Phyllis Lindstrom in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Ms. Leachman died at age 94 last week.

8. From the Belleair Road sign guy – “How ‘bout dem Buccaneers.”

9. No new Hall of Famers this year. Curt Schilling, one of the best two or three postseason pitchers in the last half century, missed by 16 votes. The path to the Hall for Curt is clear; hold your nose and become a liberal.

10. You’ve lived in the bay area a while if you remember some of the local fledgling bands of the sixties like Terry and the Pirates, the Roemans, the Impacs, the Hurricanes (featuring a future Circuit Court judge) and the Rockers (featuring a future heart surgeon) just to name a few - more on singers just below.

 

Remembering the 50s’ top male singers

 

Last week we highlighted the top selling male artists of the fifties through the eighties. This week, we begin a monthly series looking more closely at the folks whose records we bought in those decades starting with the top selling male artists of the fifties. As we mentioned last week, Elvis, to no one’s surprise, was at the top. The other top male acts of the fifties, in order, were Jacksonville native Pat Boone, Perry Como, Fats Domino, Nat “King” Cole, Frank Sinatra, Ricky Nelson, Johnny Mathis, Eddie Fisher and Jimmy Rodgers – he of Honeycomb fame – not the country legend. Two surprising omissions are Chuck Berry and Paul Anka, but you have to remember that rock and roll didn’t take off until mid-decade and before that pop singers like Como, Sinatra and Nat Cole were the big sellers. Next month, the female stars of the fifties.

NEXT WEEK: “Surf-Stoppers”; Ft. Wayne Pistons; Joe’s worst pick

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WEEK OF JANUARY 24, 2021

 

Tampa Bay Raves and Rants is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyles and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.

 

Biden missing a chance to make a difference

 

We have to admit we are already tired of hearing Joltin’ Joe say help is on the way. If Joe truly wants to do something positive for his country, he will get on the phone to Schumer, Pelosi and McConnell and tell them to forget about the pointless impeachment of Donald Trump. It is taking up time and effort better directed at easing some of the country’s ills. Further, many constitutional scholars say it is meaningless now that President Trump has left office. Biden can sit back with his clueless grin and say there is nothing he can do. Nonsense, three polite, but firm, calls can get this done and then he and Congress can get “help on the way” if that’s his genuine intent and not just a bunch of rhetoric.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. While Joltin’ Joe is signing executive orders as fast as his aged hands permit, one that needs to go to the head of the line is requiring proof of residency to get a COVID-19 shot that channels Florida’s. Americans don’t mind standing in line behind the endangered elderly, first responders and school teachers, but they should not wait a nanosecond for folks who slip across state or national borders. Get busy, Joe!

2. Related to our lead article: the new head of the Small Business Administration is Isabel Guzman, who has spent the last fifteen years running a small business. No, you would think that. She has actually spent the last decade and a half at the public trough. Nice pick, Joe. Now about your Transportation Secretary who was mayor of a town smaller than Clearwater. It’s about qualifications sir.

3. To name the Pinellas County Courthouse after long time prosecutor Bernie McCabe seems like a good idea. To name it jointly after McCabe and trailblazing Pinellas County Public Defender Robert Jagger who passed away last year seems an even better idea.

4. Idle thought – there should be some sort of requirement that computer nerds while designing websites we need to navigate have a real person looking over their shoulder saying, “not everybody out there is a computer nerd.”

5. He touched thousands of lives in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties with his spirituality and Scottish brogue and humor. Father Eric Hunter who first came to Clearwater’s Light of Christ Church from his native Scotland and went on to be a guiding light in four other parishes for nearly fifty years, passed away earlier this month at age 76. His last pastorate was at St. Brenden’s Catholic Church on Island Estates.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. We guess we would be more upset about Google and some others removing Parler – if we knew what Parler was.

7. They may have a billionaire owner with lots of money to throw around, but the Mets are still the Mets firing their GM after 37 days on the job for very inappropriate images sent to a female reporter five years ago. This comes after firing their manager before he managed a game last year. Good job of vetting, guys.

8. The answers – Elvis Presley, Elton John and Michael Jackson. The question: who were the top selling male artists of the 50s, 60s (both Elvis), 70s (Elton) and the 80s (Michael)?

9. Born 100 years ago this week was one of America’s sweethearts, Donna Reed, the co-star of It’s A Wonderful Life and star of her own sitcom that ran eight seasons and made teenage stars out of Shelley Fabares and Paul Petersen.

10. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you indulged in an adult beverage at the Gas Buggy Lounge in the pre-Scientology Fort Harrison Hotel.

 

Baseball loses two more greats

 

Mention the number 755 to a baseball fan and the immediate response is Hank Aaron, the beloved Milwaukee/Atlanta slugger who passed away last week at age 86. The first number was, of course, 715 – the number where he passed another baseball immortal and home run hitter Babe Ruth. It was tougher for Hank than the Babe who set the major league career record when he hit his 125th home run. And then there were the racial issues – threats, slurs and things the Babe did not experience. You tend to forget that this great player played an integral front office role in turning the hapless Braves into the winningest NL franchise over the past thirty years. He was one of the ten greatest players of all time. Earlier in the week, baseball experienced a second significant loss with the passing of 75-year-old Hall of Famer Don Sutton. As brilliant as he was on the mound (324 wins), his star shined just as bright in the broadcast booth. Sutton never missed a start in his MLB career and he trails only Nolan Ryan and Cy Young in the number of major league starts. It’s amazing that Sutton is considered the Dodger’s third best pitcher all time, but when the other two are named Koufax and Drysdale – third isn’t all that shabby.

NEXT UP: Energy crisis coming; Tampa Bay’s bands; 50’s Best

Again, we thank James Foster of Right Click Computer Consultants in Clearwater for dealing with our log-in problems of a couple weeks ago. James and his company are simply the best.

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WEEK OF JANUARY 17, 2021

 

Tampa Bay Raves and Rants is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyles and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.

 

 

Looking forward to Politics 2022

 

It’s not a good time to be a Republican or Libertarian or even an Independent. Because of a small percentage of fools in Washington a few weeks back, the Democratic Party, the most corrupt organization in the free world, suddenly occupies the moral high ground – for the moment. We have no doubt that shenanigans like those of Obama, Biden, Holder, Lynch and company will again come to the fore and the seesaw will then be balanced or even tilted back the other way. This will open the door for Republicans to reclaim the Senate (the House would be a stretch) in 2022 and return sanity to our government. But for the next two years, we can only hope the damage to our great nation will be minimal.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. The Biden $1.9 trillion giveaway reflects a plan by a guy who has never run a business - business which will be egregiously damaged if the giveaway is passed and flies in the face of the truism that you cannot borrow your way to prosperity.

2. Thanks so much to our Congress for wasting our money and time on a removal process everyone in America knew was not going to matter. We will reserve our thanks for the 2022 elections.

3. Another item in the death spiral of “Florida’s Best Newspaper.” They are eliminating 150 jobs; selling off their once profitable printing plant and will farm out the printing of what’s left of their paper to a Gannett plant in Lakeland.

4. Speaking of “FBN”, in a recent “news” article, a pinhead reporter named Natalie Weber tried to connect the fact that the U.S. had its single worst day of COVID-19 related deaths to the unrest in Washington the same day. Ah, walk us through that thought process if you will.

5. Numbers of the Week 49 vs 1927. As we come down the home stretch, President Trump has granted 49 pardons - mostly for white collar crimes. His predecessor Barak Obama granted 1927 pardons mostly for drug dealers.

6. Watching the 3-2 vote in Port Richey over hiring a new city manager recently and all their other tussles reminds us that the smaller the community (population 2600), the more contentious the politics.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

7. So what is the over/under in years on Urban Meyer’s tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars? Given his history, we peg it at fewer than two.

8. If you’re just a casual football fan, you probably didn’t know the name DeVonta Smith a month ago, but you sure do now.

9. The Rays got a good haul for left hander Blake Snell, but you have to believe part of the equation was the narcissistic lefthander had worn out his welcome in Tampa Bay.

10. The recently announced closing of Nathan’s Men’s Store in Lakeland reminds us that no such individually owned store has existed in Upper Pinellas County for several years. Long gone are the better men’s stores like Webb’s and Short’s in Clearwater and Darby’s in Dunedin.

 

Government gone crazy

 

We predict you will see many similar headlines in the next four years, but this particular idiocy has nothing to do with the incoming Biden administration. It is just a case of government bureaucracy run amok. Early in the pandemic, in addition to paper goods, you couldn’t find a bottle of hand sanitizer anywhere. Well, our nation’s distilleries jumped in and began diverting a little bit of alcohol production (much to the dismay of our friends at The 5:05 Newsletter) and devoted some of their production to alieving the shortage of hand sanitizer. A couple weeks ago, in a backhanded way of saying thanks, the FDA slapped the distilleries with a $14,000 fee – a fee normally reserved for drug manufacturers. Fortunately, our law makers hauled the FDA bureaucrats out in the hallway and slapped them around a little bit until they rescinded the fees. Now they need to tell the industry thanks for helping out at the expense of not manufacturing a product with a much higher profit margin.

NEXT UP: Gas Buggy; Wrecking Crew; Don’t Blame Me

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WEEK OF JANUARY 10, 2021

 

Tampa Bay Raves and Rants 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.

 

Political over-correctness: here we go again

 

Watch out Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City and San Francisco, your team’s nickname, some of which go back more than a century, are next on the chopping block. The Cleveland Indians recently bowed to political correctness and will be changing their name some time in 2021. As we’ve pointed out before, Cleveland has always been one of the more progressive franchises in any sport – hiring the first Black manager, employing the American League’s first Black player and being the leader in first bringing Latin American players to the majors. Their 106-year-old name in no way reflects any racism of this model franchise. The Braves of Atlanta have a partnership with the Cherokee nation that aids schools and literacy. But facts be damned, the Braves, the Blackhawks, Chiefs and Warriors will be feeling the pressure to “fall in line”. Somewhere among those four franchises is an ownership that will properly say “no, this is ridiculous”. That ownership will gain the admiration of sports fans across the nation. These entities play games and entertain us – lighten up!

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Biden manages to buy two Senate seats in Georgia with his offer of another $1400 if Democrats are elected. Now, a test of his historically shaky integrity; will he deliver on his promise?

2. The 5:05 Newsletter strikes early in 2021 with this: Biden News - President-Elect Biden got his Covid19 vaccine shot. Not to be outdone, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got rabies and distemper shots. In other "Biden News" the president elect traveled to Philadelphia this week where he placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Voter.

3. Yes, we qualify for an early coronavirus vaccine shot, but get back to us when our nursing home patients, first responders and school teachers have gotten theirs.

4. A not too wild a guess that the five most disliked people in America, in no particular order, are Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell.

5. A week of loses: we bought our first new car from Dwayne Hawkins’ Crown Pontiac 49 years ago because his employees said such great things about him and his dealership was much more customer friendly than the other Pinellas County Pontiac dealership. Mr. Hawkins, who was the patriarch of the Crown dealerships, died last week at age 85. Bernie McCabe was a no-nonsense prosecutor who served our area well for nearly thirty years, but he also had a wicked sense of humor as we witnessed years ago at a roast for one of his key staff members. McCabe died last week at age 73. Both will be missed by our community. Finally, the man who bled Dodger Blue, Tommy Lasorda passed away last week at age 93. The former skipper had been part of the Dodger organization for 71 years.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Wanting to get away from the news and hysteria of last week, we dialed up a sports commentary show we watch very occasionally. Lead story – not the NFL playoffs, not that day’s blockbuster baseball trade or the pending hockey season, but a commentary of the events at the Capitol by two people, frankly unqualified to comment. Guys, if you want to be political commentators, forward your resumes to CNBC.

7. When incoming college athletes accept a scholarship, that scholarship should specifically state the athlete will play all team games and not skip bowl games to prep for their anticipated NFL career.

8. Answer: Pabst. Question: who was the first beer company to sell six-packs of beer? The first Pabst six-pack appeared in 1949 – 105 years after the company was founded. But the first company to introduce the six-pack concept was Coca Cola in 1923.

9. Number of the week - $7000. The price this year for the seven swans a swimming in The Twelve Days of Christmas.

10. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you still refer to the intersection of Cleveland and MLK as “Five Points.”

 

Our early All Star ballot

 

Major league baseball will announce the new Hall of Fame class soon. We thought we would help them out with our four picks – all holdovers although we think in future years, some of the new candidates, particularly five-time All Star Mark Buerhrle or four-time All Star Tim Hudson may have a shot. We give you a clutch starting pitcher (Curt Schilling) who should already be there; an 11-time Gold Glover shortstop (Omar Vizquel) whose fielding numbers are right there with Ozzie Smith and with a batting average ten points higher over his career; a wipe out closer (Billy Wagner) who may be the best left handed relief pitcher in history; and a man with one of the sweetest swings in the last fifty years (Todd Helton). Much is made about half his games being played in hitter friendly Coors Field, but compare his away numbers to Hall of Famers like Chipper Jones or Edgar Martinez and you will find a marked similarity.

NEXT UP: Energy needs; Pardon me; Government run amok

In conclusion, we’d like to cancel our subscription to 2021.We’ve experienced the free 7-day trial and we’re not interested.

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WEEK OF JANUARY 3, 2021

 

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.

 

Georgia on our mind

 

Depending on when you read this, the Georgia Senatorial race could be over. We call it the Georgia Senatorial race because we don’t know why they call it a primary. The results seem like they would be pretty final to us, but then we don’t understand the Iowa caucus either. Here are a couple of numbers to try to wrap your arms around - half a billion dollars. That’s what has been spent on two lousy Senate seats. As we reported late last year (TBR&R 11/15/20) - $14 billion was spent on the White House and Congress in the November election. Now approximately 5 percent of that amount is projected to be spent on just two races. As we pointed out in November, that money should be spent on much better causes. The second number is 36,000 – the number of voters who did not even vote in the Presidential election who have voted in this election. Why? Couldn’t they be bothered? There was a lot more than just the Presidency at stake last November in the Peach State. It’s hard to figure as we await the results of this very odd election.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. An appropriate post-mortem for the Trump presidency: All his troubles came because he neglected so many wonderful opportunities to remain silent.

2. We struggle to understand things like Sen. Marco Rubio’s getting a coronavirus vaccine shot is selfish while radical Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ vaccination is portrayed as “educational” even though she lives in a state where there is the greatest need in the country for vaccinations of nursing home residents. It all goes back to that “some animals are more equal than other animals” thing.

3. William Barr, our outgoing Attorney General, left office with his head held high. Contrast this with the previous administration’s Attorney General who left office just hoping she wouldn’t be indicted.

4. If you’re following the suit by 35 states against Google, you may have noticed that entering “Google suit” on their site most often auto-corrects to “Google Suite” and tries to sell you one of their products. What Google does daily may not be illegal, but it certainly is not for the benefit of the consumer.

5. $2.15 – This is a number we track every year – the year end cost of gas locally. At the end of 2019, it was $2.14 – pretty much the same, but not near the $1.97 of the beginning of 2018. Watch out for this year!

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Sunshine, Clearwater and Countryside – the three indoor malls our city has seen. Sunshine is gone; Clearwater Mall became a sprawling outdoor mall anchored by a Costco and Target. Now Countryside is being taken over by its lenders, its future in doubt.

7. As the bowl season is winding down, many schools including Auburn are jettisoning head coaches. Auburn went 6-4 under Gus Malzahn. They play in a conference with Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida and Georgia to name a few. The problem isn’t the coaching.

8. Only Cy Young and Walter Johnson threw more innings in the 20th century than knuckleballer Phil Niekro who spent the majority of his career with the Braves, although he won 32 games in just two seasons with the Yankees. Phil passed away last week at 81.

9. The No Fun League (NFL) fined New Orleans Saints star Alvin Kamara five large for his neat combo red and green cleats on Christmas Day where he just happened to score six touchdowns. Is there any institution more tone deaf than the NFL and is there any player more underrated in the league than Kamara?

10. From TBR&R five years ago (1/3/15) The Bucs (and we taxpayers) will be spending $100 million dollars to upgrade Raymond James Stadium and presumably put us in line for another Super Bowl (it worked, sort of). The price of poker has gone up. Here’s what $100 million used to buy you – all of pre-developed Island Estates, 10 times over; Dodger stadium – four of them; 15 Fenway Parks, 100 of the Packer’s Lambeau Field and, in the spirit of the holidays, this year’s price for the items in the 12 Days of Christmas nearly 3000 times over including the partridge in a pear tree.

 

A thought for your pennies

 

We have an acquaintance who for the last couple of decades has crusaded for the elimination of the penny in our coinage. Hey, we all have our causes. But the penny - what’s it good for? Good for a very large copper company in Tennessee which makes the blanks for the 13 billion pennies our mints crank out each year – at the cost of 1.75 cents per coin. Do the math, that’s a big hit annually. We also take a loss on the nickel at 8.1 cents per, but we digress. Getting rid of the penny would not be that disruptive. We only need to look across the border to Canada who dropped the penny in 2012 with hardly a quiver. You simply round a total bill up or down to the nearest nickel i.e. .01 and .02 become .00 and .06 and .07 become .05. Likewise, .03 and .04 become .05 and .08 and .09 round up to .10. And it’s relatively simple to program cash registers to do the heavy lifting. Economists much smarter than us, say it’s an even split between consumer and merchant as far as who gets the break on rounding. There is no rounding, of course, on cashless transactions. Your penny doesn’t lose its value; you can turn them in at a bank or one of those machines you see at the grocery store. It really makes sense to follow Canada’s lead and unburden yourself of those mostly copper things you have in your jars and drawers. This is probably more than you wanted to know about the penny, but for geeks like us, there is a fascinating documentary Heads Up, Will We Stop Making Cents with even more thoughts on pennies.

NEXT WEEK: Five Points; Six Packs; Seven Swans

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WEEK OF DECEMBER 27, 2020

 

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.

 

 

This week, our favorite edition of each year, a look back at the items that shaped the year – and what a year it was!

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. From earlier this month: Sorry Joe, the train has left the station. You campaigned on your plan to end the Coronavirus; meanwhile the Trump administration has fast tracked not one, but two effective vaccines. You’ll be able to get your shot before you take office.

2. From January: Former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf has been hit with $17.5 million in penalties by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for the company’s egregious scamming of its customers. Get back to us when the former CEO and the other players do some jail time. And why is this company even still in business?

3. It’s beginning to look like the asset/debit balance sheet on Gasparilla is leaning more and more to the debit side. Fun is fun, but when drunks beat up kids and generally endanger the public, it’s probably time to reign in things more than a little.

4. Number of the Week: 93% - the percentage of traffic stops in the state of Kansas that are out of state plates. My, my, the United States has its own larger version of Waldo, Florida.

5. (From February) Happy trails and best wishes to Deborah Clark who will step down as Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections at the end of next month. In contrast to contemporaries on Florida’s east coast, her office has been quietly efficient in her two decades of leadership.

6. Come on Duke Energy, dispense with the phony line item Asset Securitization Charge and truthfully say “we really botched our nuclear energy program and we’re charging you a few bucks a month into infinity to make up for it”.

7. Joltin’ Joe Biden takes on Amazon, saying they don’t pay their fair share of taxes. Amazon responds with their $15 billion tax bill from 2019 and pointing out they pay those taxes under tax laws which, for the most part, were developed while Biden was either in the Senate or VP. Try taking on a hungry grizzly bear next time, Joe.

8. (From late March)Watching our Pinellas County Commission attempt to deal with a Safer at Home resolution revealed some very strong commissioners, particularly David Eggers and Karen Seel and a few who, frankly, are an embarrassment. You owe to yourself to watch/attend when possible your particular jurisdiction’s public meetings rather than just blindly voting for a name every November.

9. (From April) 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. (From April) Quote(s) of the Week (both from Tampa Mayor Jane Castor): March 29 - “This is the highest level of unpreparedness from the federal government that I have ever seen in any type of an emergency.” April 15 - “That’s not my style. Frankly, I think it’s just a waste of time to be critical of others.” With a herculean amount of restraint, we offer no comment to the above quotes.

11. “Florida’s Best Newspaper” could find little to like about the Trump Administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic recovery efforts – except, of course, the $8.5 million they pocketed to keep their struggling newspaper afloat.

12. Idle thought: a great many bad things in the world can be avoided by simply obeying our laws.

13. (From May) Number of the week: 72% - percentage of U.S. citizens who believe the information in the nation’s major news media to be false or deliberately misleading. We suspect the number is higher here in the Tampa Bay area.

14. (From June) Ah, do you get the feeling Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried wants to run for governor in 2022? The commissioner, whose only agriculture experience is pushing for marijuana usage, criticizes our governor at every turn.

15. A friendly request to our national and state legislative leaders, work to resolve the coronavirus issue, don’t politicize it (gee, that worked out well, didn’t it?)

16. (From July) Quote of the week: “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along” - the words of Rodney King during equally disturbing times in the spring of 1992. It has been twisted to “can’t we all get along” over the years but either way, it should be the mantra of our nation right now.

17. Idle thought: it’s so easy to have all the answers when you are on the other side of the dais or executive’s desk.

18. From September: you can understand the ire of a couple in California who lost their home in the wildfires. They are not allowed back into their property to see what can be salvaged, but VP candidate Kamala Harris and the state’s Democratic Governor were allowed to trespass on the poor couple’s property for a photo op. Just sickening.

19. (From November) - . Quote of the week: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not – Joe Biden. Sir, if only we believed you.

20. (Also from November) Republicans are still grumbling about some suspect vote counts in Philly and elsewhere. But, to their credit, not a single Target store has been torched.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

1. Longtime Hollywood actor Kurt Russell says that celebrities and entertainers should perhaps stay out of politics and do what they do best: Entertain the people who pay them to do so. We tip our cap to Mr. Russell, one of few celebrities who seem to get it.

2. Bill Cowher’s election to the NFL Hall of Fame says as much about the Pittsburgh Steeler ownership as Cowher himself. The newly minted Hall of Famer is only the second of three coaches in the past 51 years of Steeler history. And you might as well clear wall space in Canton for his successor, Mike Tomlin, now in his 14th season with the Steelers. The Rooney family certainly knows how to run a franchise.

3. Since MLB chieftain Rob Manfred seems to think it should be no problem for players to maintain households in two cities 1500 miles part, we suggest that the MLB office split its year between New York and Oklahoma City – approximately the same distance apart as Tampa and Montreal.

4. Idle thought: The black cloud over the Houston Astros probably will not go away until Jim Crane divests himself of the team. There is probably no smaller group in sports than those who believe he didn’t know what was going on.

5. If you’re a football fan, you have to be happy for Andy Reid, one of the sport’s truly nice people who grabbed pro football’s ultimate prize in Super Bowl 54.

6. (From April): Thanks to the NFL for throwing sports fans a bone by holding their draft on schedule this week – specifically the 23rd through the 25th. We’re guessing viewership ratings for the event will be at an all-time high (and they were).

7. From May - As we labor through coronavirus, another lighter note from the 5:05 Newsletter: "I've washed my hands so many times that I can read the answers to a math test I took in 1966."

8. (Also from May) If we had any respect for Rays pitcher Blake Snell, it went out with the garbage after hearing him whine about getting about half his salary (approximately $3.5 million) – while people in Florida are hoping they finally get an unemployment check.

9. A third item from May - Tale of two lefthanders: while the narcissistic Snell complains about his multi-million dollar salary. David Price is quietly writing $1000 checks to each of the Dodgers minor leaguers who will not have a season – or payday. That is over 200 young players – good for the ex-Ray!

10. From June - we bow to the marketing geniuses at Ford and Quaker Oats. Ford is returning the Bronco to its product line on O.J. Simpson’s birthday while Quaker Oats has decided to eliminate the branding of its Aunt Jemima pancake line after 130 years. Who thinks up these things?

11. (Also from June) From the sometimes accurate 5:05 Newsletter: “In Chicago, 60 people died last month from COVID19 related gunshot wounds. This means they will have to vote by mail in November.” Additional note: 5:05 Newsletter to move its offices as bars are forced to close.

12. Idle thought with thanks to a Facebook friend – One moment you’re 20 in the 70s, now you’re 70 in the 20s.

13. (From October) Joe Buck certainly hasn’t won many friends over the past several weeks. He was roundly criticized for his LA bias in both the NLCS and World Series broadcasts. And then he and his NFL tag team partner Troy Aikman seemed to find fault with the Ray-Jay flyover during the Bucs-Packers game calling it a waste of taxpayer money. Had Buck and Troy Boy done their homework, they would know flyovers are regular training exercises – no different than flying over an empty Gulf of Mexico and add not a penny to military budgets. Buck really needs to go.

14. Wow! The liberal spin doctors are not going to like this one. Texas U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert is demanding the Democratic Party change its name given the history of the party on slavery and bigotry. Seems the shoe doesn’t fit quite as well when on the other foot.

15. Media note from the 5:05 Newsletter: One big difference between the U.S. and North Korea is that North Korea forces its people to listen to endless propaganda; while in the U.S., we pay a monthly cable bill to listen to it.

16. Both Alex Cora and A.J. Hinch again have managerial jobs after being suspended and fired for cheating. On that basis, Joe Jackson and Pete Rose belong in the Hall of Fame.

17. Idle question - what percentage of remarks attributed to Mark Twain and Yogi Berra did they actually say?

18. “Book him Danno.” This week marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Hawaii Five Oh’s Jack Lord.

19. Topping the charts the last week of the year fifty years ago (1970) were George Harrison’s first solo single, My Sweet Lord; at number two was the 5th Dimension’s version of Bacharach-David’s One Less Bell to Answer and at number three, down from the top position a week earlier, was Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ The Tears of a Clown.

20. (And the best of the year) The 5:05 Newsletter pretty much sums up this election season: "In my lifetime, we have gone from Dwight Eisenhower to Donald Trump and we have gone from John F. Kennedy to Joe Biden. If this is evolution, I believe that in a few more years we will be voting for plants."

 

Our Last Song Together

 

(Editor’s note: We have changed this year-end segment slightly. It now focuses only on local people of note, although our weekly issues will still record the passing of folks on the national and world fronts. If you’re relatively new to these pages, the title of this segment was inspired by the poignant Neil Sedaka song interpreted so well by the late Glenn Yarbrough.)     

His yearly football bets with lumberman and Gator Carroll Nall were legendary. Realtor, entrepreneur and civic leader Bobby Byrd, a ‘Nole through and through, died in late December at age 79.

Sam Wyche, the colorful head coach of the Buccaneers from 1992 through 1995, passed away in January at age 74. He also coached the Cincinnati Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance and had successful stints in broadcasting and politics as well.

(From March) We were saddened to read of the passing of former St. Petersburg city official Rick Dodge, a truly nice man. Rick led the quest for a major league franchise for St. Pete first by relocation, then expansion.

Back when the 6:00 anchorman was like part of the family, Channel 8’s Arch Deal was a welcome guest in the living room each evening. The veteran anchor died tragically in mid-March at age 88.

The more you got to know former Clearwater Police Chief Sid Klein, the more you appreciated him. Sid passed away in March at age 78.

(From March) We note the passing of long time media figure, Earl Emmons at age 85. Earl held many positions at The Tampa Tribune over the years and we enjoyed sharing a microphone with this most interesting man broadcasting prep sports in the late sixties and early seventies.

The man who was married to our only sibling for 62 years died Easter Week, just a few short months after the passing of the love of his life. Joe was never a brother-in-law, but the big brother we never had.

Zev Buffman who oversaw the expansion of Ruth Eckerd Hall, and tirelessly pushed for the controversial Coachman Park amphitheater project, died in April at age 89.

If there were a Mt. Rushmore of Tampa Bay restauranteurs, some of the names would include Gonzmart (Columbia), Heilman (Beachcomber), Siple and Laxer (Bern’s). The matriarch of Bern’s Steak House, Gert Laxer, passed away in late April at age 93.

In May, Clearwater lost one half of a couple who did so much good for the city over the years. Marian Justice, wife of educator Bill Justice, passed away at age 99.

(From June) Thousands and thousands – the number of people, including your humble blogger and saintly wife, whose lives were touched by Bill Justice. The former coach, educator and city commissioner passed away last week at age 98 – just weeks after the passing of his wife, Marian (see above).

(From July) He was one of the area’s leading foot specialists for years in addition to a community volunteer in Rotary, the Boy Scouts and other organizations. Dr. Scott Hale passed away at age 91. He and his charitable efforts will be missed.

For years Harry and Janie Cline were a force in making Clearwater a better place to live in so many aspects. Janie passed away in July at age 77.

(From August) Pinellas County’s first Public Defender, Robert Jagger, died last week at age 92. If you followed his 35-year career, you know Pinellas County got their money’s worth and much more from this devoted man of the law.

Also in August, the Nall family lost its matriarch. Barbara Nall, who died at age 87, was one of the sweetest, kindest human beings in this world. For over two decades, she was a fixture at Kennedy Middle School. Our condolences go to her husband of 65 years, Carroll, and their sons Andy and Scott.

Bill Heller, the man behind the considerable growth of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, passed away in September at age 85. The USF Education Building is named in his honor.

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 in December at age 79.

Noted Pinellas County contractor and civic volunteer, Frank Kunnen passed away last week at age 88.

Even if you lived in Clearwater all your life, you learned something about the place where you live every time you talked with Mike Sanders, Clearwater’s honorary historian. To this day, his book Clearwater: A Pictorial History sits on our coffee table. Mike passed away earlier this month at age 74.

 

Finally, Five Rants, Five Raves

 

(A new year-end feature saluting five people or things for outstanding achievements and, likewise, five bozos for, well, being bozos.)

Rants:

1. Donald Trump for not gracefully bowing to the obvious and conceding the election in a timely manner.

2. The University of South Florida for moving to drop their College of Education – the largest feeder of teachers to Tampa Bay area schools - with no public input.

3. Florida voters for blindly passing a $15 per hour wage amendment that will eventually bite them very hard in their wallets while taking away thousands of jobs.

4. Idiots scattered across the nation calling for the defunding of police. (Who ya gonna call?)

5. Joe Biden for, given his advanced age, not picking a stronger running mate and possible successor. But then he probably didn’t think he’d win either.

Raves:

1. Our medical professionals for their tireless efforts during the 2020 pandemic.

2. The Trump Administration’s fast track of multiple vaccines.

3. Our local charities for working double overtime this year to provide for so many more people in need.

4. The 5:05 Newsletter for “coming out of retirement” to provide at least some levity during a very troubled year.

5. The Stanley Cup Champion Lightning.

UP NEXT: Pennies; More crayons needed; Georgia on our mind

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WEEK OF DECEMBER 20, 2020

 

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!

122020/83

 

WEEK OF DECEMBER 13, 2020

 

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.

 

Expect softer coverage of the White House

 

Last week, Joltin’ Joe announced an all-female press crew for the White House. We fully expect some trained chimps would be able to handle the softballs the liberal press lobs during “press briefings” going forward. We’ve already gotten a preview during the election with ABC, CBS and NBC holding lovefests with the Biden campaign. Oh, there will still be Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and Newsmax to ask questions beyond “How are your dogs doing?” However, for the most part, the attack journalism of the last four years will vanish when Joe and company take center stage in mid-January.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Sorry Joe, the train has left the station. You campaigned on your plan to end the Coronavirus; meanwhile the Trump administration has fast-tracked not one, but two vaccines. You’ll be able to get your shot before you take office.

2. Longtime Hollywood actor Kurt Russell says that celebrities and entertainers should perhaps stay out of politics and do what they do best: Entertain the people who pay them to do so. A tip of our cap goes to Mr. Russell, one of few celebrities who seem to get it. In a related note, add Robert DeNiro to the list of Hollywood leftists whose movies we will never watch.

3. After Time Magazine’s 2019 person of the year climate change advocate Greta Thunberg, who leaves a carbon footprint equal to a large trucking fleet, the magazine’s honorees this year are Biden and Harris. Seems fitting.

4. In this challenging year, the number of locations for the Salvation Army kettles has been somewhat limited. With that in mind, those of us who have not been as hard hit by the pandemic could perhaps up the ante a bit this year for one of the world’s most deserving organizations.

5. From The 5:05 Newsletter: What if 2020 refuses to let 2021's transition team get to work?

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Boston College is the first; we expect there will be more – teams opting out of bowl games because of our current health situation. And that’s not a bad thing.

7. It indeed has been a most unusual college football season. What we have missed most, while not being a grad of either school, is the UF-FSU game. Hopefully, this will be a one year anomaly.

8. Number of the week: 9 – the number of NFC teams, including our Bucs, who have a better road than home record this season.

9. The year was 1956 and under many Christmas trees and in many stockings was one of the hottest new items for kids – Play Doh – an offshoot of a company’s product for cleaning wallpaper. Play Doh was one of the first toys inducted into the Toys Hall of Fame in 1998.

10. He was a genuine American hero. Chuck Yeager, who was a World War II fighter ace and the man who broke the sound barrier, died last week at age 97. And on the entertainment front, Charlie Pride, who broke the color line in country music, passed away. The singer of Kiss an Angel Good Morning and other hits was 86.

 

A Christmas wish list for our Rays

 

We know, like a seven-year-old’s Christmas list, we can’t have anything on this list, but a few of the items here would go a long way to making the Rays a contender again in 2021. First, there’s pitching, the key to any team’s aspirations for post season play. An innings eater starter would be ideal – not a Trevor Bauer, but someone from the second tier of free agent pitchers. This, of course, is more critical with the Rays’ attempt to cheap out on Charlie Morton backfiring. The trendy opener or bullpen games won’t get it done. And while, you’re at it, add another strong bullpen arm preferably a lefty. And float Tyler Glasnow’s name out there and see if you could get a really strong return. His post season work was worrisome. Strengthen first base; find a guy who can give you 150 starts there rather than two or three mediocre platoon guys. Find a glove first catcher who can hit a little. Both of the team’s receivers were justifiably tossed on the scrap heap. The outfield looks strong; we just need to hope that Randy Arozarena’s crash landing from unsustainable late season heights isn’t too severe – if indeed, he’s allowed to play. And finally, 162 games and some fans in the Trop would be the icing on the cake for 2021.

NEXT UP: End of an era; Historic toys; Chet, David & Walter

121220/83

 

WEEK OF DECEMBER 6, 2020

 

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.

 

Already, there are ominous signs

 

Joltin’ Joe assures us that his administration will not be Obama II, but all the signs are it will be exactly that. First comes the appointment of John Kerry, who couldn’t seem to find a job, as climate change czar or some such. Kerry is a guy who has barely worked in his life, having inherited a bunch of money and married into more – the Heinz fortune. Next, Joe says he will “empower” the EPA. The EPA had noble beginnings until Obama and crew got ahold of it, turning it into a shakedown mechanism aimed at businesses big and small. Donald Trump reined that in, but here we go again. And no mention of voting reform. Joltin’ Joe won the election, but anyone who believes there were no ballot irregularities is completely naïve. The American public needs to hold his feet (including the broken one) to the fire on a clean election process going forward.

 

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. In introducing his economic team, Joltin’ Joe declares “help is on the way”. Don’t know about you, but as a normal taxpaying U.S. citizen, we find that downright scary. Thanks to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem for reminding us of the wise words of President Ronald Reagan, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.'"

2. Entitlement is wonderful. Next time you suffer a minor injury, try to find a doctor on Sunday afternoon – and be taken there by a motorcade, no less.

3. Headline news: Biden finally gets access, once again, to top secret President’s Daily Brief. Related comment, yes but will he comprehend it?

4. Number of the week: 4 per cent – the difference in the growth of the stock market when an incumbent was re-elected versus when they are defeated. So, the market shouldn’t go all bear on us, it just won’t be as strong had Trump been re-elected. Thanks to Craig Phillips of Client First Advisory Group for the research.

5. Idle thought: Now that hurricane season is behind us, why not start each season with leftover names from the previous year? That way, Teresa, Ursula, Victoria and Wendy would get their day in the sun (or showers) and we can forgo Epsilon, Zeta and others.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. The first MLB pre-season rankings are out with the usual suspects. The top three are all NL teams, Dodgers, Braves and Padres in that order, followed by three AL teams – the Rays, White Sox and Yankees. Biggest upward bounce – the Mets with their new ownership and predicted biggest drop belongs to the Brewers, a 2020 playoff team, ranked 18th in the pre-season picks.

7. Remember the name Zack Greinke. Besides winning over 200 games in his major league career, plus a couple Gold Gloves and a Cy Young Award, he may well go down in history as the last pitcher to win a Silver Slugger Award (2019). This assumes, of course, that major league baseball stops dragging their feet and make permanent the designated hitter.

8. The Florida Gators are having a great year, but the road to a possible National Championship goes right through Alabama – actually Atlanta where they face the Crimson Tide in the SEC championship.

9. A term we enjoy hearing at least once per football season – coffin corner – when a well-executed punt goes out of bounds inside the opponent’s five-yard line – pretty much a dying art nowadays.

10. With a lot of college football schedules crumbling at the end, here comes college basketball. Let’s hope things go better for the hoopsters.

 

We continue to revise our history

 

This week’s 79th anniversary of Pearl Harbor makes us want to share a book we recently concluded by retired Air Force Colonel Robert Harder. The title is The Three Musketeers of the Army Air Forces. The book revolves around the lives of Paul Tibbets, Thomas Ferebee and Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk. Tibbets’ name is familiar to many as the pilot of the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945, in effect, bringing an end to World War II. The other two gentlemen may not be as well known. Ferebee was the bombardier on that mission and Van Kirk the navigator. What is not so well known is that three men also flew as a crew on more than two dozen B-17 missions over Germany before being assigned to the Manhattan Project. And they remained very close friends after they left their careers in the service. Over the years, they along with the rest of their crew were alternately heroes or villains depending on the mood of the times. As more and more of the Allied soldiers die off who were fighting in the Pacific and had their lives saved by the end of the War (the estimate is around 500,000 – Japanese lives saved by not having to invade the country – two to three times that amount), the accomplishments of the Enola Gay crew becomes more and more discounted. The men, at great peril, carried out the orders of their commander-in-chief and did our nation a great service. No amount of revisionist history can change that fact. To our regret, we never met any of the musketeers, but they were friends and fellow bridge players with members of our extended family who had only the deepest respect for these patriots. Just a side note - virtually every book we have reviewed over our six year existence is available in the excellent Pinellas County Library System.

NEXT UP: Rays’ Christmas list; Press coverage; Salvation Army

120520/83

 

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 29, 2020

 

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.

 

It’s going to be a bumpy four years

 

It is more than abundantly apparent that the Democrats have won the White House. It is just as abundantly clear that there were voting irregularities in the 2020 election – not enough to swing the election, but enough that should make the American voter extremely concerned. This needs to be addressed in the next two years, but we’re not sure we can trust the incoming administration to do so. We can just hope that 2021 on will not be a repeat of the years 2009-17 with a corrupt Justice Department, weak economy and a general lack of confidence in the administration. The early days of the new administration have not inspired confidence. Do we really need another cabinet infected with John Kerry?

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Last Tuesday upon unveiling his first handful of Cabinet nominees, President-Elect Joe Biden urged the Senate to consider his picks in good faith. “I hope these outstanding nominees receive a prompt hearing, and that we can work across the aisle in good faith to move forward for the country,” Biden said. Sure Joe, just the way it was over the last four years with Chuck, Nancy and the gang.

2. In a related note, Joltin’ Joe names Antony Blinken as Secretary of State. The new administration is expected to announce posts for Winkin and Nod at a later date.

3. Political scientists looking at Donald Trump’s strong showing in South Florida have a simple answer. Biden is linked to a lot of socialistic factions and the great many Cuban expatriates living in South Florida have seen the socialism movie before and didn’t particularly like it.

4. Our “President- Elect” spent a great deal of the campaign ensconced in a bunker, but let our Governor be out of pocket for a few days and our liberal excuse for a newspaper goes nuts. Boy, it sure matters what letter follows your name.

5. Idle thought: can’t help wondering how our founding fathers would have viewed New York’s Emperor Cuomo’s attempt to limit church attendance during the season of Advent. Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court last week struck down the governor’s unilateral restriction on worship.

 

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. This week we celebrate the 100th birthday of jazz giant Dave Brubeck who won a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1996.

7. And lest we forget, Happy Birthday, Sis.

8. It’s not surprising that the Rays are open to offers on Blake Snell. He generates quality innings, but at what cost to the team’s chemistry? Prediction, the Rays will obviously be looking for an over pay for Snell. We don’t think they’ll get it.

9. Sports idle thought: shouldn’t the Bucs be in the Eastern Division of the NFC rather than Dallas?

10. From TBR&R Five Years Ago (Nov. 29, 2015): Cubs and former Ray’s bench coach Dave Martinez apparently doesn’t interview well as he lost out on the Ray’s top job and, more recently, the Dodger’s managerial post. One of these days, he will be thrust into the top spot by a firing, resignation or whatever and when that happens, he will make a couple clubs very unhappy they didn’t hire him. (Update - that happened and last year he led the Washington franchise to its first ever World Series championship.

 

 

Remembering: Christmas of years past

 

(Editor’s note: In each month’s final edition, we take a 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, very cool things from our past that we miss and radio’s 100th birthday).

This one is tough because each of us have family traditions that are special to us. In our family, it is the Christmas stocking. Both our children are in their forties, but you better have a Christmas stocking for them on Christmas Eve or Day. For our community, it was the annual Christmas Parade down Cleveland Street, the huge Christmas tree at the bottom of the hill on Cleveland, just before the Causeway and some of the beautiful Christmas pageants put on by our places of worship. It seems many of us got our first bike at Christmas – particularly in Florida where you could bike year round. Conversely, a prized Christmas present up north was a sled or toboggan. No matter where you grew up, there was always (and still is) the red kettle of the Salvation Army where Mom or Dad would hand you a coin or two to drop in the kettle – perhaps in exchange for a candy cane from the bell ringer. Two movies that have become staples at Christmas are Jimmy Stewart in 1946’s A Wonderful Life and the 1983 family favorite A Christmas Story.

NEXT UP: How bad will the economy be; 3 Musketeers; More bumps

112920/86

 

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 22, 2020

 

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.

 

U.S.A. to the world: we know we can do better

 

On this, the 57th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy, we reflect back on our nation’s leaders. We know, we, as electors, have not done well. Considering the Top 10 Presidents as great or near great in a non-partisan U.S. News poll, we have produced one Top 10 President in the last fifty years – Ronald Reagan. The last three, including our President-Elect have been jokes (sad jokes, but jokes). Kennedy wasn’t quite as good as we baby boomers wish to remember – ranked number 10 in the poll of historians. The top five Presidents in the poll, and every such poll we’ve ever seen, are both Roosevelts, Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. The worst five are James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, Warren G. Harding and William Henry Harrison – kind of harsh since he only served 31 days before dying. So with Presidents neither great nor lousy with the exception of Reagan, most of us have been saddled with middling Presidents during our lifetime. Although, you can be pretty sure space near the bottom of the poll is being reserved for our current President and the guy stumbling in after him. Can we all vow to do better in 2024?

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Here we go with the 2021 spending spree – forgiving student loans. And what of us who saved, budgeted and sacrificed to pay off those loans over the years? We’re not happy. Modify terms of re-payment perhaps if you will, but it all comes down to being responsible adults – and not putting another burden on taxpayers like you and me.

2. A belated Happy Birthday to Joltin’ Joe. At 78, he is statistically two years younger than the average person admitted to a nursing home.

3. This week’s bad idea – a registry for downtown Clearwater properties that are vacant - complete with a fee. The city is throwing the baby out with the bath water (read Scientology) as the last thing a property owner needs while trying to fill an empty space is more paperwork and more expense.

4. All four new Apple iPhones are now available for sale ranging from $699 to $1099 – no charger included. Man, you would think for a grand, they would include a lousy wire and two connectors. Yet many people, your humble flip phone blogger not included, will buy these things.

5. Breaking News: Chelsea Clinton blames Trump for Secret Service COVID infections. Raise your hand if you lose sleep over what Chelsea Clinton thinks.

 

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. This week marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of versatile actor Ricardo Montalban, perhaps best known for the Fantasy Island series and the big screen’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

7. After this year’s successful staging of the World Series in Texas, there is at least some talk of making the series an “event” much like the Super Bowl in either warm weather or domed facilities. Our guess is the idea dies on the vine.

8. Tampa is the latest “rent a city” for a Canadian pro team – the NBA Raptors. The Toronto Raptors finished second in the NBA East last year.

9. To no one’s surprise, Kevin Cash won the AL Manager of the Year award. What is puzzling is the runner-up Rick Renteria was fired by the White Sox after leading them to the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. He joins Joe Girardi who actually won Manager of the Year with Miami in 2006 – having been fired the previous week.

10. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you did some of your Christmas shopping at Montgomery Ward on the corner of Missouri and Cleveland downtown. The store later moved adjacent to the then new Clearwater Mall on U.S. 19 and ceased operations in 2001.

 

Thank goodness for mentors

 

Recently we read of the passing of a woman just a year or two younger than us. Frankly, we never had the pleasure of meeting her, but her late father was a terrific mentor when we began a business nearly forty years ago. He was just one of several folks we were blessed with over the years offering advice, guidance and, as we often required, restraint. Most of them are gone now, but there are a couple younger people who have also been guides as we navigate life. We’d like to think that, like our incredible wife, we may have been a mentor to a few folks over the years. We never really thought about it in that regard until just recently with the passing of our mentor’s daughter. But as we enjoy Thanksgiving week, let us all pause and give thanks for the good guidance we’ve received (and perhaps given) over the years.

NEXT UP: Christmas Past; Another Bad Amendment; Take Five

Happy Thanksgiving!

112220/85

 

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 15, 2020

 

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.

 

What could you do with $14 billion?

 

First, let’s tell you where we got that seemingly random number. $14 billion was the amount of money spent on the races for the White House and Congress this election cycle. That does not include a single state or local race. $14 billion would create 280,000 jobs at $50,000 each. It is 14 times The American Cancer Society’s annual budget. Fifteen of our 50 states don’t have budgets that big. The number is double the revenues of Raymond James and over three times that of Bloomin’ Brands, the parent company of Outback Steak House. More than anything, it is an obscene amount of money to be spent on politics. This is isn’t about the First Amendment, it’s about jamming our mailboxes and airwaves with lies and half-truths, and it needs to be reined in and money like that used for more worthwhile pursuits.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Quote of the week: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not – Joe Biden. Sir, if only we could believe you.

2. Republicans are still grumbling about some suspect vote counts in Philly and elsewhere. But, to their credit, not a single Target store has been torched.

3. Those of us in Pinellas County owe a debt of thanks to our library system. Balancing public safety with service to their residents, the libraries have been open for some time, albeit on somewhat reduced schedules. Hillsborough is finally reopening their libraries on November 16.

4. The “bastion of journalism” we are stuck with in the bay area spews 52, count them, 52 paragraphs on a $40,000 hire by Governor DeSantis. Our state wastes more than that a day on questionable stuff – and has for years. Had to be an extremely slow news day.

5. A tip of our cap to the utility workers who came from the Midwest and Texas to help us through the damage during Hurricane Eta. Thanks also to the folks who supported them with places to stay, some good meals and other essentials.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Although some found him to be a pompous and condescending personality, it is hard to argue with the success Alex Trebek brought to the long running show Jeopardy. The game show host lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at age 80 last week.

7. Why is major league baseball dragging their feet on a DH decision for 2021? Let’s face it, the DH is coming, why delay it and keep teams guessing while trying to address their 2021 rosters?

8. Both Alex Cora and A.J. Hinch again have managerial jobs after being suspended and fired for cheating. On that basis, Joe Jackson and Pete Rose belong in the Hall of Fame.

9. You hate to jinx things, but this could be the first time in history that all three Tampa Bay sports franchises make the playoffs.

10. Hey, we’re coming in at under 800 words for the first time in quite a while (actually we’re been exceeding 900 most weeks.) We’re sure with the lowly anticipated Biden presidency, things will pick up shortly.

 

The crowded Mt. Rushmore of vocal groups

 

Our Tampa Bay Rants and Raves focus group’s most recent assignment was to come up with a Mt. Rushmore of vocal groups. Instead of four faces on the memorial, there would be 20 when you total up the number of members of our All-Star groups. Our only musician in the focus group went for the most successful British vocal group in history – the Beatles. Another member chose “America’s group” – the Beach Boys. Then came one of Motown’s most successful groups - Levi Stubbs’ the Four Tops and finally, the group that combined great rock with polished brass – Chicago, our largest group with seven regular members. Just a side note on each group’s biggest selling song - they were the Beatles’ Hey Jude; the Beach Boys’ I Get Around; the Tops’ biggest was I Can’t Help Myself and Chicago’s Hard to Say I’m Sorry was their biggest seller. Together, these four super groups charted 226 records with 29 of them going to number one. That is a true Mount Rushmore of groups.

NEXT UP: Mentors, We can do better; “Monkey Wards”

111520/84

 

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 8, 2020

 

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.

 

Blitherin’ Biden wins, we think

 

The Democrat’s 2020 strategy paid off – keep Blitherin’ Joe Biden mostly out of sight and script everything he says, allow everybody, dead or alive, to vote whenever they felt like it and get him elected. Now comes the fun part. Trying to continue to keep someone with the brain power of a hamster out of sight and just whisper in his ear the things the radical left wants him to parrot. Here are three or four things to keep an eye on. First, your taxes - as a middle class taxpayer (we have no rich readers), compare your tax bill this year to next year’s under a full year of Taxin’ Joe. Jobs – it’s a little hard to track, but doable - follow the number of jobs that return overseas as they did during the Obama-Biden years. Watch and see if our Covid-19 cases take a precipitous drop as opposed to the general trend they were already tracking. Tomatoes, gas and bread – keep your eye on things you have to buy and see what happens to the prices in the next twelve months. Inflation and Democrats seem to go hand in hand. Track small business failures in 2021. If you think this year was bad for small business, wait until Biden economics kicks in. And finally, before you shoot off fireworks (if you can afford them) on December 31, 2021, ask yourself if you’re better off than you were in the previous four years.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. The 5:05 Newsletter pretty much sums up this election season: "In my lifetime, we have gone from Dwight Eisenhower to Donald Trump, and we have gone from John F. Kennedy to Joe Biden. If this is evolution, I believe that in a few more years, we will be voting for plants."

2. Even twenty years later, political pundits mention the hanging chads of 2000. The fact is Florida has one of the very best vote counting systems in the nation and folks in places like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and a half dozen other states might want to phone their colleagues in the Sunshine State and learn how to do it right – and perhaps legally.

3. The Good News: no more political/half-truth ads on your TV. The Bad News: we’ll be blitzed with Medicare ads between now and December 7.

4. The Associated Press, which has gone from a once respected news source to a far left advocate, is already predicting a failed Biden presidency, but blames it on Donald Trump. Huh?

5. A heartfelt thank you to all our veterans for their service to our great nation. Happy Veterans Day.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Sean Connery was James Bond. For us early baby boomers, all others were fakes. Connery also starred in Marnie, The Man Who Would be King and his Academy Award role as Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables. Sean Connery died last week at age 90.

7. Ah, last week we rolled the clock back an hour and marked yet another year of our national legislature ignoring the will of Florida’s residents to standardize our time.

8. We grow weary of folks saying “Publix is so expensive.” It all comes down to what you pay for – a bagger at the end of every line at Publix – or endless lines at Walmart. As our late, great friend and WTAN morning host Harry Lytle used to say, “You pays your money and you takes your choice”.

9. The answer: Patti Page, Brenda Lee, Olivia Newton-John, Madonna and Mariah Carey. The question, who were the top female artists of the decade for the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s respectively?

10. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you refer to the now–razed building on Greenwood and Laura as the “old” Clearwater High School and not the one on Gulf to Bay that is being replaced by a new facility just to the south.

 

Election reflections

 

Some tidbits on local elections last week: Pinellas voters missed a chance to eliminate arguably the weakest of our county commissioners as Janet Long squeaked out a one percent win over a better qualified Larry Ahern. Speaking of the county commission, we now have two Gerards feeding at the public trough as Eric Gerard, husband of Commissioner Pat, outspent incumbent Largo City Commissioner Curtis Holmes 2 to 1 and won by 3000 votes. South of the Skyway, “Florida’s Best Newspaper” kept pushing the “close race” between veteran U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and Margaret Good. Buchanan won by 11 points – hardly a close race, more like liberal wishful thinking. Charlie Crist re-elected as District 13’s U.S. Rep. We believe he ran on the Democratic ticket this time. Charlie tends to join whatever party is opportune for him at the time or become an Independent when that fits the purpose. But, we must say this: the man does represent his constituents well. Overall, there were few upsets in bay area elections.

NEXT UP: The Boys, Tops and others; Apple lemmings; $14 billion

110820/79

 

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 1, 2020

 

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.

 

Comey perhaps Trump’s best appointment

 

We join the majority of Americans in applauding the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. With all due respect to Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, this is President Trump’s finest appointment of any kind during his Presidency. We admire this young woman’s tenacity in ignoring the slings and arrows thrown her way by Chuck Schumer and company. Without doubt, the most outrageous line of questioning came from the distinguished whack job from Hawaii. That would be Mazie Hirono who asked “Since you became a legal adult, have you ever made unwanted requests for sexual favors, or committed any physical or verbal harassment or assault of a sexual nature?" The Senator followed that up with, “Have you ever faced discipline or entered into a settlement related to this kind of conduct?” Showing enormous restraint, the soon to be Justice answered “No, Senator” to both questions rather than “have you ever been tested for any degree of mental acuity?” Our country is getting a very qualified legal scholar for our highest court - one without the left wing baggage of her predecessor.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Wall Street usually reacts in front of impending events. The precipitous decline of the last ten days indicates a fear of a Biden victory. Should he win, most experts expect a continued, but moderate decline. A Trump victory, they say, will produce a strong upward spike.  

2. If Joe Biden is elected President, it’s not so much him and his diminished capacity we need to worry about, but rather the people he listens to.

3. Basement Biden seems to think if he is elected, America will all join hands and sing Kumbaya. We not sure if that indicates extreme naivety or further diminished mental capacity.

4. Statistics: Florida, the third largest state in the union, is 11th in Covid deaths. The states with the highest death rates are New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts.

5. Further statistics: Florida is the largest state in the union that doesn’t just automatically pull a lever in Presidential elections. The last time two other “Top 4” states, California and New York voted Republican was 1988 and 1984 respectively. Is it any wonder we’ve been stampeded by the candidates?

 

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Spanning the globe, The 5:05 Newsletter offers this time reminder: Day Light Savings Time begins November 1. Don't forget to set your clocks back to 1861.

7. We’re not sure whether the bag over this USF alum’s head is because of our awful football team or the school’s awful decision to shut down their School of Education. Believe us, it’s the latter.

8. Here’s a name for you – Hector Headley Lopez, until this year, the only player to ever have a sacrifice bunt and a homer in the same World Series game (1961) as well as being our long-time friend and lifetime Yanks fan’s least favorite player. One historical baseball book described Lopez as the worst fielding player in the history of the game. Our friend would agree.

9. Baseball factoid – two major league clubs notched their 11,000th win in the just completed baseball season – the Dodgers and the Cubs. The team with the most wins over their history is the Giants with just under 11,200. Most losses - that would be the Phillies with just over 11,000.

10. Disappointed yes, but you have to tip your cap to the LA Dodgers. The World Series champs had to beat the other three toughest teams in baseball (Atlanta, San Diego and the Rays) to claim their prize - no cakewalk there. They earned their seventh World Championship.

 

Understanding Tampa Bay baseball

 

Annually, or even more often, one of the local baseball writers complains they don’t understand Tampa Bay baseball fans. They specifically don’t understand why the Rays are one of the two worst draws in baseball. So, we’re going to type this real slow and maybe they will grasp the facts of Tampa Bay baseball life. It starts with Tropicana Field – unquestionably the worst baseball venue in the universe. Its horrible location was the result of a lot of political brokering that had nothing to do with the best geographical site, but who could get money in their pockets. The facility itself is a dungeon and it, along with its various workers, is not fan friendly. Next, you walk down any street in St. Pete and ask anybody over 40 “where are you from” and you get Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, New York and so on. If they are baseball fans, they established those loyalties before there was a Rays team. And then there’s the elephant in the room – Atlanta. Folks who did grow up here latched on the Braves with the Superstation back in the 60s and after 30 years of Hammerin’ Hank, Dale Murphy and Chipper Jones, they didn’t change colors. (The Braves winning a lot has something to do with it as well.) Will a new stadium help? Probably not. Will the Rays continuing their winning ways help? Maybe. Would changing leagues help? We honestly think that would be the best solution as the bay area tends to attract Midwestern transplants and the Midwest is heavy with NL teams – think Cubs, Cards, Pirates, Brewers, Reds plus the Phils who have a large fan base here after training in Clearwater for over 70 years. Will any of these things happen? It remains to be seen. In the meantime, get used to continued sparse crowds in the south county dungeon.

NEXT UP: 3 Musketeers; Election Wrap; Patti, Brenda and the girls

110120/79

 

WEEK OF OCTOBER 25, 2020

 

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.

 

Perhaps our favorite story of the year

 

We thought it would be a good idea to take a deep breath and pull away from nasty politics in our lead article and focus on a truly good news story. It concerns Dr. Paul Milgrom, a professor of economics at Stanford University who won the 2020 Nobel Prize for Economics. Unfortunately, the Nobel Committee did not have Dr. Milgrom’s phone number and could not reach him. Luckily, the committee did have the number of his co-winner and neighbor, Dr. Robert Wilson. So in the middle of the night, Dr. Wilson knocks on the door of Dr. Milgrom to tell him he won and that Wilson had given the Nobel Committee his cellphone number. Seldom does a knock on the door in the middle of the night bring such good news. Congratulations to Drs. Milgrom and Wilson.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Joe, if you have such a terrific plan for quelling the Covid-19 virus, why haven’t you shared it with our nation’s health leaders, thereby eliminating a lot of misery? Or is it a bunch of smoke and mirrors as most of America suspects?

2. Most troubling quotes of the 2020 campaign – (a) “You’ll know my opinion on court-packing when the election is over,” (b) “This is a person (Kamala Harris) who is ready on day one to be president of the United States of America.” Both came from Joe Biden, who wants to be our next President? Harris was roundly rejected by her own party in the primaries mainly because of her lack of qualifications – other than trying to trash Justice Kavanaugh.

3. Next Tuesday is Election Day. Is it true that Big Bill Thompson is still on the Chicago mayoral ballot? The corrupt 1920s mayor would be a better choice than the current office holder who has a few years to go before a majority of rational voters dump her.

4. Idle question prompted by our TBR&R special U.S. History edition on July 5: Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump, how did the two of you escape military service during the Vietnam era when damn near every one of our college classmates (all your age) did not? (BTW Zero is the amount of minutes the four people on our national ballot have served in the military).

5. With a week before the national election, it appears Joe Biden has his own version of Jimmy Carter’s brother Billy – his son Hunter Biden who just can’t seem to stay out of trouble with his influence peddling.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Answer: Chicago Cubs. Question: What is the only major league team not to have a single Covid-19 case during the MLB season? This is despite the fact that Illinois and Chicago, in particular, have one of the highest rates in the country.

7. Joe Buck certainly hasn’t won many friends over the past several weeks. He was roundly criticized for his LA bias in both the NLCS and World Series broadcasts. And then he and his NFL tag team partner, Troy Aikman, seemed to find fault with the Ray-Jay flyover during the Bucs-Packers game calling it a waste of taxpayer money that “wouldn’t happen in a Kamala-Biden administration.” Had Buck and Troy Boy done their homework, they would know flyovers are regular training exercises – no different than flying over an empty Gulf of Mexico and add not a penny to military budgets. We are bewildered as to why Buck and Aikman still have jobs.

8. Speaking of dolts up and down the dial, this breaking and shocking news: “A staggering 97 percent of the jokes Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon told about the candidates in September targeted President Donald Trump, a study released Monday found.” Wow, who would have thought that coming from two of the most liberal clowns on TV?

9. If you voted absentee in Pinellas County, the Supervisor of Elections website will tell you if your ballot has been received – and if it’s already been counted - neat site.

10. Breaking political news from the 5:05 Newsletter: As we head for the November elections, Democrats are riding high after defeating two cartoon characters, a pancake mix, a box of rice, an ice cream bar and an old lady on a syrup bottle.

 

Remembering: The 100th anniversary of radio

(Editor’s note: In each month’s final edition, we take a 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 and very cool things from our past.)

 

On November 2, 1920, in a small, crowded facility in Turtle Creek, Pa., America’s first commercial radio station, KDKA, hit the airwaves. Its first broadcast? It was the results of the 1920 Presidential election between Warren G. Harding and James M. Cox. The station was developed by Westinghouse Electric and was responsible for a lot of Westinghouse radios sold in the years to come. One of the first two announcers for KDKA was a Westinghouse engineer by the name of Ted Harnack. Mr. Harnack was a career employee of Westinghouse and retired to Clearwater after over thirty years with company. Mr. Harnack wisely stuck to his day job of engineering rather than the less stable broadcasting field. He was an acquaintance of our father, also a career Westinghouse man, and he kept us spellbound with his stories of the early days of radio – a career we enjoyed for two decades. Ironically, the loser in that 1920 election, James Cox, went on to build one of the largest chains of media outlets in the country comprised of dozens of radio and TV stations and daily newspapers. Six of those radio stations are in the bay area including the market’s most listened to station – WDUV-FM. As for KDKA, it remains a Pittsburgh institution rated number two among over six dozen radio outlets in the Steel City. Oh, the first station in Tampa Bay was WDAE 1250kc just two years after KDKA signed on. It was a strong CBS network affiliate for decades.

NEXT UP: 11,000 wins; Joe & the Supremes; Built, but nobody comes

102520/84

 

 

WEEK OF COTOBER 18, 2020

 

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.

 

USF lets our community down

 

Pinellas and Hillsborough counties have well over 32,000 teachers and no institution has provided more of those than the University of South Florida. The 32,000 figure does not take into account the number of teachers in contiguous counties (Pasco, Polk and Manatee) that also have been provided by the University of South Florida’s School of Education. Now USF is shutting down the School of Education which it says will save $6.8 million over the next two years – a very paltry sum when compared to USF’s $1.8 billion dollar budget. It is little wonder that outrage has been expressed in local education circles – most of whom were not even give a heads up on the move. And what of local high school graduates who plan a career in education? Sure, there are other options in Florida – options that require dorms rather than living at home, travel and, often, the loss of opportunities to hold on to a part-time job that will help defray educational costs. This decision was not at all well-thought out, and we suspect (and hope) when the tidal waves of protests come, a decision that should be revisited in conjunction with local education officials. 

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Quote of the Week from an observer of the Senate Judiciary Hearings on Amy Coney Barrett: “Joe Biden needs a teleprompter just to introduce his wife at a campaign event. Amy Coney Barrett handles 10 hour hearings with no notes in front of her.”

2. The guys in St. Pete who put out that twice weekly rag should hire the editorial writer for The 5:05 Newsletter. To wit: Editorial: To me, members of the current U.S. Congress are like "Post Turtles." You are driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top. That is a "Post Turtle." You know it didn't get there by itself. It doesn't belong up there. It doesn't know what to do while it is up there. It is elevated beyond its ability to function and you just have to wonder what kind of dumb ass put it up there to begin with. Best Congressional commentary we’ve read since Mark Twain’s “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

3. Anticipating the wailing and gnashing of teeth when some ballots don’t get counted in next month’s general election, we offer the following advice. Mail the ballot tomorrow! There are over two weeks until Election Day. Don’t cry crocodile tears if you mail your ballot two days in advance and it doesn’t make it on time.

4. The Pinellas Sheriff’s race is getting ugly with some attack ads from the Democratic Party against incumbent Bob Gualtieri regarding his office’s handling of rape cases. The Sheriff claims the Democrats are using rape victims as “political pawns.” Perhaps so, but this is not the first time his office has been chided for categorizing rape cases as “a waste of time” or worse.

5. Let us try to understand this: many of the same people who support or actually have knocked over statutes of Christopher Columbus are more than willing to take the second Monday in October off with pay.

 

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. The recent passing of Conchata Ferrell at age 77 reminded us again of how much supporting actors add to the flavor of shows. Can you imagine what Two and a Half Men would have been without the beloved Berta? The same holds true for Wayne Knight’s Newman on Seinfeld; Edward Winter’s Colonel Flagg on M*A*S*H; Jack Riley’s neurotic Elliott Carlin on The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart himself as Professor Proton on The Big Bang Theory. And there are dozens more just like them.

7. This post season oddity: twice in the NLCS the Atlanta Braves’ Ozzie Albies homered and both times Braves closer Mark Melancon caught the ball in the Braves bullpen. The Braves ace has caught more home runs (2) in the bullpen this season than he has given up on the mound (1).

8. Two weeks in a row, we, with sorrow, report the passing of a pitching immortal. Last week, it was Bob Gibson; this week “The Chairman of the Board” Whitey Ford, a stalwart with the Yankees for 16 seasons. Whitey was 91. Also passing away was Red’s star second baseman Joe Morgan at 77.

9. Strange managerial moves. The White Sox say thanks for getting the team to post-season for the first time in 12 years by firing Manager Rich Renteria. And the Red Sox tell Ron Roenicke thanks for helping us get out from under a cloud of cheating by firing him after one season - curious set of values.

10. From an internet friend: You know you’re getting old when “friends with benefits” means having someone who can drive at night.

 

Things we are glad we still have

 

As a corollary to our TBR&R Remembering article of 9/27/20, here are a bunch of people, places and things we are glad we still can enjoy: The Stanley Cup as well as both a major league baseball team and an NFL football team, both relatively successful this year; Capogna’s Dugout; the scenic docks at Tarpon Springs; one of the world’s best beaches; the Beachcomber; one of Florida’s best fishing fleets; a good minor league affiliate (most years) in the Threshers; Ferg’s in St. Pete; some good television stations headlined by Channel 13; the Frenchy’s seafood chain; top notch higher learning institutions –St. Pete College, UT and Eckerd College; the county’s outstanding library system; Keegan’s on Indian Rocks Beach; Morton Plant Hospital; WFLA’s Jack Harris; Publix; The Sweet Sage Cafe on North Redington Beach; our three bay area Spring Training sites; our favorite diner – the Largo Family Restaurant; the people at Regions Bank; Pier 60; the Sheraton Sand Key; and most of all, our family and friends.

NEXT UP: Scary quotes; Century old landmark; Q for Don & Joe

101820/82

 

WEEK OF OCTOBER 11, 2020

 

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.

 

Keeping Keene green and other down ballot stuff

 

The issues are way down below the Trump-Biden equator but there is potential dynamite on the second page of your ballot. First, for Clearwater voters, one of the most important issues is the very last on the ballot – the referendum to allow the city to lease some 58 acres of the Landings Golf Course, by the Clearwater Airpark, for light industrial use. That is simply too much green space to give up and there is already plenty of light industrial space available in North County. We recommend a “no” vote. No votes are also important on Constitutional Amendments 2 and 3. Amendment 2 urges us to arbitrarily increase the minimum wage in the state to $15.00 an hour by 2026. Well and good if you don’t mind $15 Big Macs or $6.00 a pound tomatoes. (More on this in TBR&R 1/12/20). The second poison amendment is Number 3, which urges us to allow cross party voting in primaries. This defeats the entire concept of primaries – for Democrats to nominate their strongest person to face off with the best in the view of Republican voters. The proposed amendment invites partisans with only one viable candidate in an election to jump parties and attempt to vote in a less qualified nominee from the opposition party. This so-called “top two” primary is practiced in only two states – California and Washington – that should tell you all you need to know.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. We are also being asked (depending on where you live) to elect almost a majority of our Pinellas County Commission. Unlike previous years, there is not much to choose from. Charlie Justice and Rene Flowers have been average public servants, but the difference is their opponents are woefully unqualified. But it’s not the same with Janet Long, at best an average county commissioner, whose opponent Larry Ahern brings a much stronger resume to the table. A fourth commissioner, Karen Seel, is unopposed – no surprise as she has been arguably the shining star of the commission in her twenty plus years on the board.

2. It is hard to feel any sympathy for potential voters who were inconvenienced by a 15-minute glitch in the registration system on the very last day to register. What were they waiting for – a check from Bloomberg?

3. With Justice Ginsburg’s passing, who becomes the liberal lightning rod of the high court? It’s just about 50-50 between Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, like Ginsburg, both ultra-liberal and protectors of abortion clinics.

4. Let us try to follow this. California wants to ban gas-powered cars replacing them with electric cars - this in a state that already has rolling blackouts. What are we missing here?

5. From the Purellitzer award winning 5:05 Newsletter, this thought: “Every single frozen corpse on Mt. Everest was once a highly motivated person. Stay lazy, my friends”.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Idle thought: what a difference a good quarterback makes for a pro football team.

7. In TBR&R 6/7/20, we opined on our “dream pitching rotation” specifically Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Greg Maddux and Nolan Ryan. One of those five giants passed away last week at age 84. All five hurlers were extremely competitive, but none more than the Card’s Bob Gibson – who chose baseball over a pro career in basketball.

8. Ah, can't you see me standin' here; I got my back against the record machine; I ain't the worst that you've seen – a classic line from Van Halen’s biggest hit – Jump. The band’s namesake, Eddie Van Halen, succumbed to cancer last week at age 65.

9. It was an odd year in baseball indeed. Two sets of numbers jump up – NL MVP Christian Yelich finishing the season just over the Mendoza line (.205) and Dodger’s slugger Max Muncy coming in at .192.

10. Recently seen on a bumper sticker: “Pray for our Police.” Amen to that.

 

MLB: Twelve down, four to go

 

The extraordinary field of 16 MLB teams has now been trimmed to four. Probably the biggest surprise survivor is Houston. The Astros limped into the playoffs but their big bats prevailed over the A’s. An errant Aroldis Chapman pitch to Mike Brosseau allowed our home town nine to squeeze into the AL finals to contest the legitimacy of the Astros’ season. The Marlin’s incredible streak of seven straight playoff series victories ended at the hands of the Braves’ powerful lineup and the top bullpen in major league baseball. And the Dodgers were again the Dodgers – simply the best team in baseball. We think this is their year after a 32-year drought.

UP NEXT: Things we appreciate; Mail it now; Chairman of the Board

101120/SU

 

SPECIAL MID-WEEK EDITION

 

Special edition – why Biden is the wrong choice

 

(With one month to go before Election Day, we present the numerous reasons why Joe Biden is the wrong choice to serve as our President.)

1. First and foremost, he will not be our President. Biden is so beholden to left wing causes that the troubles we’ve seen over the past several months in liberal climes like Chicago, Minneapolis, Portland and Seattle willseem like a picnic.

2. He’s too old. Granted, Trump is no spring chicken. There are young 70-somethings and there are old 70-somethings. Biden is the later to the extreme. And, if God forbid, he is elected and passes away during his term, because of a politically motivated rather than rational choice, we would be stuck with a freshman Senator as our chief executive. America has never had such an inexperienced Veep take the reins and this is not the time to find out how that would look.

3. But let’s assume Biden is elected and does survive his term. Again, there are young and old 70-somethings and anyone who says Biden’s brainpower is not diminished is in denial (see TBR&R 9/6/20).

4. The Supremes. In TBR&R four years ago, we opined that the number one reason to vote for Donald Trump was a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Now comes the death of Justice Ginsburg; and a couple of her colleagues will likely need replacements in the next four years We, at last, have balance on the Supreme Court and you know Biden will do everything in his power to bankrupt that balance – he is ambivalent about “packing” the court as FDR unsuccessfully attempted in the 30s.

5. He will most likely try to resuscitate the failed Obama health plan – the either buy it or be taxed plan. It didn’t work then, and it won’t in 2021.

6. Speaking of Obama, Joe likes to attach himself to the former president’s coattails. We don’t know why. For example, Black unemployment doubled during the Obama administration. Even with Coronavirus, it has significantly rebounded during the Trump administration, but then so has every other employment segment.

7. While on the subject of employment, Biden was part of an administration that lost millions of jobs to overseas corporations during its eight years in office.

8. His “plan” to eliminate Coronavirus, whatever that plan is, will be moot as conditions on that front are improving daily.

9. Biden is proposing the largest permanent tax increase since World War II. That burden will fall on the middle class.

10. Speaking of the middle class, there is absolutely no way one can foresee a better standard of life over the next four years under a Biden administration – higher taxes, yes; higher standard of living – no.

11. That’s as in 11 million illegal immigrants to whom Biden wishes to grant amnesty complete with jobs and unearned benefits.

12. Then there is the old, tired “Trump’s going to eliminate your Social Security” argument. First, if he was going to do that, why hasn’t he done that? Second, and the answer to number one, he can’t without the consent of congress – who won’t do it unless they wish to be unemployed.

13. His hypocrisy – Biden touts his Catholic faith, yet is a staunch supporter of abortion and his running mate Kamala Harris, in the words of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, “is the most openly anti-Catholic bigot to be on a national ticket in modern times.”

14. Biden’s buddy, Mike Bloomberg, a failed candidate who pumped millions into his own campaign, is now trying to buy Florida for Biden with about $100 million. Footnote, Bloomberg’s enormous cash outlay netted him only American Samoa on Super Tuesday. It’s harder to buy votes in Florida and elsewhere than it might be in New York or Chicago.

15. Lastly, “Florida’s Best Newspaper” supports him as they have every Democratic Presidential candidate in the paper’s history. We always use FBN as a guide if we are undecided on a race. We simply vote for their endorsee’s opponent.

UP NEXT: Back to our regular programming!

100720

 

WEEK OF OCTOBER 4, 2020

 

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.

 

Bloomberg, Amendment Four a farce

 

So the billionaire who could not buy the election for himself is now trying to buy it for Joe Biden. Michael Bloomberg’s spending spree in Florida is anything but altruistic. Let’s look at the facts – first about 5 out of 6 felons who show a party preference list Democrat – you don’t think Bloomberg’s cash is seeking out Republicans, do you? Second, we’re not quite sure paying off court fees in order to enfranchise someone is even legal. U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz certainly doesn’t think so. Another, in our mind, larger problem is fines are being paid off – no mention of restitution to harmed parties. It’s just sick that felons are being portrayed as victims rather than the injured party in the crimes. It’s even sicker when rich people like Bloomberg think they can buy their way out of anything.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. The revelation that the President and First Lady have the Covid virus will no doubt have the far left screaming “unable to govern, blah, blah, blah.” Give us a feverish Don over stumbling, bumbling Joe any day.

2. The nonsense surrounding the case of a dying 87-year-old Supreme Court Justice re-emphasizes the need to put an age limit on Justice’s terms. 75 years of age seems a logical number with current Justices being exempted.

3. Number of the week – 96 as in 96 years ago. That’s the last time a Presidential candidate was successful without carrying Florida. And you wonder why Bloomberg is trying to buy the state for Biden?

4. Do we watch the Presidential debates? No, virtually everybody who does watch them is what political observers call “high information” people who already know the arguments – and who they are choosing. If we have any questions about who won the debate, “Florida’s Best Newspaper will tell us – Biden (the story having been written before the debate took place). And more importantly, the baseball playoffs are underway.

5. Prompted by the recent bad news from Stein Mart, you’ve lived in Clearwater at least a little bit of time if you remember when Stein Mart occupied the former Maas Brothers location on Clearwater’s bluff.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. To the casual hockey fan, it seems incredible that 16 years have passed since the Lightning last won the Stanley Cup. Way to go Bolts!

7. Just a guess on our part – Dodgers over the A’s in the World Series. The two teams have a bit of a home field advantage over Central and Eastern Division teams.

8. Seen recently on a bumper sticker – When I die, please don’t let me vote Democratic (see #10 below).

9. In our misspent youth, your humble blogger spun the discs at a couple local radio stations as well as in Panama City. Two truly talented people from that era passed away last week – singer/song writer Mac Davis (Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me) and Helen Reddy (Delta Dawn, Angie Baby and I am Woman all topping the charts). Both were 78 years old.

10. Some Chicago notes from the latest 5:05 Newsletter: I asked Alexa what I should pack for my upcoming trip to Chicago and she said "heat." And this gem: Chicago cemeteries aren't allowed to be fenced in. It's considered voter suppression.

 

Some interesting first round playoffs

 

It was the first (and probably last) 16-team MLB playoff with a record seven teams from the Central division’s – all seven lost in the first round. First round winners in the Rhyming Bowl: Rays over Jays. And in the Cheater’s Bowl, the Garbage Can Astros beat the Twinkies whose domed stadium folks did funny things with the AC and exhaust fans in the 1987 and 1991 World Series. And in the Strikeout Bowl, the Braves advanced over the Reds. In the 13 inning opener, the two teams struck out a record 37 times. The Yanks, the Rays’ second round opponent, proved that good pitching doesn’t always beat good hitting in postseason, battering the celebrated Indians’ staff for 22 runs in two games. The Dodgers, as expected, advanced, but anything less than the World Series will be a shortfall for baseball’s best team. San Diego is coming on, taking out a Cardinal team that did not play like a typical Cardinal team with their leaky defense. The A’s, just like our Rays, do it with smoke and mirrors – winning on a small market budget and the Marlins still have never lost a post season series; we think this might be the year they do, but what an improved team! Here’s hoping Round Two will be as entertaining as Round One

UP NEXT: Mid-week special; Top groups; Keeping Keene Green

100420/79

 

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 27, 2020

 

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.

 

1970: The darkest year in college football

 

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the darkest six weeks in the history of college football. It began on October 2nd when a Martin 404 airliner carrying a traveling group of Wichita State football players, coaching staff and family crashed into Mount Trelease in Colorado. There were 40 people on the plane (including approximately half the football squad). A plane carrying the other half of the team took a far safer route to their Logan, Utah destination. Eight people survived the crash, and they and their teammates decided to continue the season in honor of their fallen teammates. Just six weeks later, on November 14th, a Southern Airways DC-9 charter from East Carolina University to Huntington, WV carrying the Marshall football squad, crashed just short of the Huntington Airport killing all 75 people on board. It remains the worst sports-related air tragedy in U.S. history. After great consideration, Marshall decided to resume their football program the next year using JV players and athletes from other sports and did manage to win two games in 1971 despite the obvious handicap. Today, it remains a strong member of Conference USA with an 8-5 record last season and an appearance in Tampa’s Gasparilla Bowl last December. As for Wichita State, sixteen years after the tragic crash (1986), the school discontinued their football program.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Quote of the week: From the late Justice Ginsburg – "There's nothing in the Constitution that says the President stops being President in his last year,” Of course, this comment was made when Barack Obama was in the White House and tried to fill Justice Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court just prior to the 2016 election.

2. It is going to be interesting how Democrats present their arguments against Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett given her incredible resume. This time, they won’t have bogus frat party charges like they tried with Justice Kavanaugh. Biden is already railing that Judge Barrett was opposed to Obamacare like it was some sort of Holy Grail rather than the deeply flawed plan it was.

3. We know they mean well, but Presidents and other high-ranking officials should simply stay away from areas ravaged by fires, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Airport security and motorcades merely draw resources that need to be used in restoration. The best thing a President can do is phone a governor or mayor and ask “what can I send you?”

4. Sign of the times: In Louisville, two journalists for a conservative media outlet are arrested while covering the out of control demonstrations. In St. Pete, a couple is verbally assaulted by demonstrators, and we get some wimpy proclamation from the city’s ultra-liberal mayor – and no action by St. Pete police.

5. You gotta love Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd’s sidebar news conference in conjunction with Governor DeSantis’ crackdown on thuggery in Florida. He demonstrates through pictures a peaceful demonstration (folks carrying signs) and a not peaceful demonstration – a business being torched and another picture of looters rifling a store.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. This sports note: A-Rod and J-Lo have dropped their quest to buy the New York Mets in favor of a more promising investment – an Edsel franchise.

7. You can probably count on one hand the number of servicemen overseas who didn’t read Stars and Stripes at least occasionally. The newspaper, which dates back to the Civil War, was saved from a September 30 cessation of the paper by an executive order from President Trump. Good news for its millions of readers over the years and those of us fortunate enough to contribute to the paper during our military careers.

8. This week marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Walter Matthau. The prolific actor had dozens of film credits – among them Charade, The Odd Couple, Grumpy Old Men, Plaza Suite and The Fortune Cookie which won him an Academy Award.

9. Justin Verlander’s Tommy John surgery will most likely keep him from pitching in 2021 and could well prompt his retirement. If the man never throws another pitch, he’s a Hall of Famer – most likely first ballot.

10. With the MLB regular season just concluded, the LA Angels finished with the sixth worst record (and second highest payroll) in the American League. Apparently, Joe Maddon is no longer a genius.

 

Remembering: things we wish we had back

 

(Editor’s note: In each month’s final edition, we take a 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 and water front dining delights.)

In no particular order, rhyme or reason, here are a few dozen people and things, mostly in Pinellas County, we wish we had back: Maas Brothers; Hein’s/Merz Record Shop on Fort Harrison; the Philly Hoagie Shop on Cleveland; across the street – the original stores in Cleveland Plaza; Siple’s Garden Seat; Pontiac with its great cars like the Le Mans, Firebird and GTO; Robby’s Pancake House (you can tell we like to eat); the Gulf-to-Bay Drive In; Chief Charleys; the Carib Theater; two beautiful Bristol Cruiser charter boats at the Clearwater Marina – Capt. Bob Bestle’s Doolie Brook and Capt. Nick Lopez’ Flo Jo; the short-lived Krispy Kreme doughnut store on Gulf-to-Bay; the two-seater Ford Thunderbird – both the original and the retro models; Howard Johnson’s (later the Beach Diner) at the end of the causeway; Tampa’s Golden Gate Speedway; the Old Schoolhouse Restaurant on Alt. 19; Clearwater’s original putt-putt golf course and driving range on Gulf to Bay; the REM go cart track on NE Coachman Road where Walmart now sits; Gulf Discount on Drew Street where you could get an iron, a toaster or a razor fixed instead of throwing it away; The Clearwater Sun; Capt. Fred Price’s Rainbow party fishing boat; Clearwater Ten Pin Lanes; the Clearwater Beach Hotel; the bay area’s smooth jazz station, WSJT; Post Corner Pizza; Eckerd Drugs; the Marina Restaurant; The Sandy Book Store; Morrison’s Cafeteria; The Tampa Tribune; Glen Oaks Golf Course; Bob Edwards on NPR’s Morning Edition; the trampolines on Clearwater Beach; Ronald Reagan; Aunt Hattie’s; Woolworth’s and McCrory’s Five and Dimes on Cleveland Street; The Pelican Restaurant; the Clearwater Auditorium and the many dances it hosted; Wolfies on Central in St. Pete; the Little Big produce stand on S. Fort Harrison Ave.; Young’s BBQ; the four way red light at Cleveland and Fort Harrison; the Palm Garden Restaurant and, finally, full service gas stations.

Many thanks go to some long time Clearwater residents (our unofficial historian in particular) for helping jog our memory on some of these terrific items from our past.  

 

UP NEXT: Buying Florida votes; MLB season wrap up; Chicago

092720/82

 

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 20, 2020

 

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.

 

Replacing Justice Ginsburg

 

Despite the desire of a majority of Americans who feel the U.S. Supreme Court is far too liberal, replacing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg needs to await the outcome of our Presidential election six weeks away. This was the way it played out when Barack Obama tried to force a liberal appointee on the country prior to the election four years ago, and it should be no different now. Ginsburg, a Clinton appointee, created this situation when she did not voluntarily step down as it became increasingly apparent her advancing illness was severely limiting her effectiveness on the nation’s high court. But fair is fair and what was fair four years ago should hold sway now. And it also reinforces the need to keep the liberal ticket of Biden-Harris out of the White House.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. You can understand the ire of a family in California who lost their home in the wildfires. They are not allowed back onto their property to see what can be salvaged, but VP candidate Kamala Harris and Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom were allowed to trespass on the poor couple’s property for a photo op. Just sickening.

2. Many analysts are calling ABC’s Town Hall with President Trump “an ambush.” Folks, it’s ABC with former Clinton mouthpiece George Stephanopoulos; did the President and his supporters expect anything short of an ambush?

3. Number of the Week – 26 years. It was 26 years ago that Fox 13 debuted Good Day, Tampa Bay. The constant during that run has been principal anchor Russell Rhodes, a terrific TV journalist.

4. Bill Heller, the man behind the considerable growth of the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg passed away last week at age 85. The USF Education Building is named in his honor.

5. From the most recent 5:05 Newsletter:CNN continues to call rioters demonstrators. What are they demonstrating? That Portland is the world's longest infomercial for Duraflame?

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. We know our alma mater USF’s first two opponents were worlds apart (Citadel and Notre Dame). But this weekend’s game against Florida Atlantic should prove interesting as Jeff Scott’s Bulls take on their former head coach Willie Taggart.

7. As the regular baseball season winds down, our first choice would be to see the local nine competing in the World Series. Failing that, give us an inter-city series between the Cubs and the resurgent White Sox.

8. Idle thoughts on crafty lefty pitchers – the first provided by our nephew, far wise beyond his years - The thing about a lukewarm heater is that it tends to reduce exit velocity, thereby allowing the batter more time to admire his homer. So true – only one or two Tom Glavines come along in a lifetime. But there was Bobby Shantz from the previous generation. He couldn’t break a pane of glass, but at age 95, he is the oldest living MVP recipient (24 wins in1952 with the downtrodden Philadelphia A’s).

9. Our TBR&R “unofficial historian” reports an arthritis flare up from having to push her mute button so often during the deluge of political ads. And it will only get worse in the weeks ahead – the ads and the arthritis.

10. From TBRR Five Years ago (9/20/15) The fashionable Clearwater neighborhood of Harbor Oaks wants to return to brick streets and avenues in conjunction with upcoming utilities work. A majority of their residents are willing to be assessed for the additional cost. Like the undergrounding of utilities on Sand Key several years back, this seems to be a no-brainer. (Update – unfortunately, it did not happen).

 

FBN recommends – why bother?

 

A week or so before the Florida primaries, “Florida’s Best Newspaper” spewed 12 paragraphs on how they make their recommendations of election hopefuls. The process is only slightly different from the general election in that they endorse races in both Republican and Democratic primaries, often endorsing Republican candidates they feel would not be the strongest candidate against the presumed Democratic hopeful. In the general election, it goes like this – the recommendation goes to the person with a “D” after their name unless the choice would be so ludicrous as to make an even bigger laughingstock of FBN. In its over one hundred year history, the paper has never endorsed a Republican candidate for Governor or President. This gave you great selections like the now drug-rehabbing Andrew Gillum, Charlie Crist when he was a Democrat, but never as a Republican and Presidential stalwarts like Mike Dukakis, John Kerry and Walter Mondale. The process is so laughable that many candidates just don’t show up for interviews – why bother? And any discerning voter would say the same of the one-sided recommendations – why bother?

UP NEXT: College football’s darkest year; Stars and Stripes

092020/76

 

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

 

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.

 

Trump was the right pick in 2016 – and 2020

 

We sometimes forget why we voted for Donald Trump in 2016. More than anything else, it was a response to eight years of an Obama presidency with its failed medical system which, in effect, fined people if they didn’t buy in. The vote represented displeasure with a stalled economy which took off like a rocket once Obama and crew vacated the White House. It was a vote that said we’ve had enough with a corrupt Justice Department which did its bidding for the Obama/Clinton coalition rather than the American people. Voters decided they wanted to be rid of an unbalanced Supreme Court churning out decision upon decision vastly tilted to the left. Four years later after rejecting the Obama agenda, we are being asked to elect his flunky of eight years. Instead, remember why we voted for Donald Trump.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. $40 million – that is the amount of money the Biden campaign is throwing at Florida thus far. Think winning back our state isn’t important to the Democrats?

2. Why, in heaven’s name, would organizations like NPR and The New Yorker give a crackpot like Vicky Osterweil a forum for her book In Defense of Looting? The book and its author have been roundly criticized by officials of both political parties. Free speech, yes, but this is shouting “fire” in a crowded theater.

3. Quote of the Week: "I think it's ridiculous when you make decisions that are knee-jerk political decisions that are not based on evidence, not based on research," Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, whose department is welcoming law officers to his city who have been affected by knee-jerk reductions in other cities.

4. Election item from The 5:05 Newsletter: The Democratic Party election strategy is phenomenal. When I awoke after anesthesia from dental surgery this week I had an "I Voted" sticker on my shirt.

5. A sign of the times, one of Clearwater’s and Florida’s very first Checkers Restaurants on Gulf to Bay Blvd. has closed.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Idle thought – until the last week or so, we were seeing less of the “5 o’clock express” than we usually see in late July, August and September. That is the five o’clock shower from the east that helps cool off the late afternoon and evening.

7. Cardinal great Lou Brock passed away last week at age 81. The first ballot Hall of Famer was at the center of one of the most lop-sided trades in baseball history. The big name coming to the Cubs in trade for Brock was Ernie Broglio who won just seven games in his three years with the Cubs while Brock starred for 15 seasons with the Redbirds.

8. The Rays are currently ranked as having the best farm system in baseball. It’s a nice accolade, but means little. Over the past five years, the top systems have been the Braves, the Nats, Tigers and Padres. The Nats and Braves have shown a knack for turning those prospects into All-Stars (Soto, Acuna, Albies etc.). The Tigers and Padres have gotten little production from their farm or have traded away top prospects.

9. While it looks like the National League will go down to the wire with teams qualifying for playoff sports, the American League, with a larger set of weak teams, is pretty much set with Tampa Bay, the Yanks, Toronto, the White Sox, Twins, Indians, As and Astros moving on. As it stands now, in the first round, the Rays would play the Yanks – a team nobody wants to play in post season.

10. Sixty years ago this week, a song went to Number 1 on the charts – one of only two identical songs to ever top the charts in different years. It was Chubby Checker’s The Twist which would again hold the top spot for two weeks in 1962. The only other song to do so was Bing Crosby’s White Christmas which topped the charts in 1942, 1945 and 1946.

 

Every MLB team’s greatest

 

MLB.com had an interesting piece a couple weeks back on every team’s greatest player. Their selection of the Rays’ greatest was Evan Longoria. You sometimes forget how many offensive categories in which #3 holds the team record – homers, runs and RBIs to name just three. He is also one of just three active players named the best in their franchise history – the others being Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Trout (the only one of the three still with their original team). The rest of the list is pretty predictable – Ruth, Williams, Mays, Aaron, Musial, Koufax, Cobb, Feller, Brett, Griffey, Seaver, Schmidt, Banks, Rose and Gwynn. Our only two arguments might be picking the Twins’ Kirby Puckett over their home run machine Harmon Killebrew and Pittsburgh’s Honus Wagner over Roberto Clemente. Granted, we never saw Wagner play while, as a kid, we thrilled to the cannon of an arm and the magnificent gap power of Clemente. Those are minor quibbles about an incredible list of players.

UP NEXT: A-Rod & J-Lo; Hitting the mute; Crafty lefties

091320/76

 

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 6, 2020

 

 

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

 

The Landings golf course – yes or no?

 

Your humble blogger (and perhaps you as well) received a provocative polling call last week asking if Clearwater should allow some light industrial development where the Landings golf course now stands – just west of the Clearwater Airpark. The only recreation facilities falling on harder times than golf courses are bowling alleys. But you’re looking at approximately 45 acres of green space you can never get back – cue Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi (pave paradise and put up a parking lot). You will have a voice in this as the designation of open space, recreational lands in Clearwater is subject to a referendum. Clearwater needs jobs, but it also needs green space – a tough call – one that we all will have to make in the not too far future.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Quote of the week: “COVID has taken this year — just since the outbreak — has taken 100 year. Look, here’s…the lives…it’s just…I mean, think about it. More lives this year than any other year for the past 100 years.” Joe Biden on the campaign trail last week, prompting one veteran commentator to say, “I like Joe Biden. But there’s a reason they’ve kept him hidden in the basement. This is hard to watch.”

2. Second Quote of the Week: “I served on the mission to capture Saddam Hussein. @SpeakerPelosi, I know what an enemy of the state is. Do you?” Tennessee US Rep. Mark Green replying to Pelosi’s ridiculous comment that President Trump is an enemy of the state.

3. Number of the Week: $1.7 million dollars. The amount of money spent thus far by the state of Florida grappling with the felons’ voting mess created by a poorly executed Amendment 4 on 2018’s ballot.

4. Medical marijuana will now be available in forms like candies, cookies and other taste treats. Can’t see anything going wrong with that plan.

5. Another institution falls to political correctness and knee-jerk reactions. Dixie Hollins High School founded over six decades ago and named for Pinellas County’s first Superintendent of Schools has had its name and team name changed. Mr. Hollins, a very progressive educator, had as much to do with the Confederacy as you or me. Perhaps we need to voice our displeasure in future school board elections.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. The Nall family lost its matriarch last week. Barbara Nall, who died at age 87, was one of the sweetest, kindest human beings in this world. For over two decades, she was a fixture at Kennedy Middle School. Our condolences go to her husband of 65 years, Carroll, and their sons Andy and Scott.

7. If you ever in your life doubted where Google is on the political continuum, do this: search Fox News and one of the first things you’ll see is a piece titled “What’s wrong with Fox News?” No such entry when you search ABC, CNN or NBC or any other left-leaning news organizations.

8. 311 – the number of wins primarily for the Mets and Reds in the career of Tom Seaver. The Hall of Famer died last week at age 75.

9. Several years ago, Major League Baseball instituted a rule that protected catchers from being “blown up” by a runner coming from third. As a former wearer of the tools of ignorance, we appreciated the rule. The caveat was the catcher could not block the plate without possession of the ball. That part of the rule is now roundly ignored prompting one respected major league manager (and former catcher) to say,“They need to take that off the book and just start blowing up catchers again." If the prohibition of blocking the plate without the ball is disregarded, we agree.

10. From the latest edition of the 5:05 Newsletter: “Chicago to limit looters to 25 per store.”

 

MLB has but one month to go!

 

As we write this, most major league teams have completed half their seasons (30 games) and there are less than a half dozen teams that have no chance to make the “come one, come all” playoffs. Pittsburgh is the only NL team to have buried themselves. In the weaker American League, Boston, Kansas City, Texas, Seattle and the Angels are out of contention. There has been a power shift this year with the NL West possibly having four playoff teams. The World Champ Nats are in jeopardy of not making the dance. The power division in the AL is the Central with the Indians, White Sox and Twins all in play for post season. The most surprising team in the AL is Oakland winning two out of every three games while the NL’s Marlins are hanging tough in a division where everyone picked them fifth. Teams not in first place but well could be at the finish are the Yankees who eventually will get well and in the NL, the Phillies who seem to have patched their one glaring weakness – their bullpen. Best move at the odd August 31st trade deadline would seem to be San Diego’s acquisition of ace right-hander Mike Clevinger. But San Diego has a reputation of moving around a whole lot of bodies (well over a dozen this time) with negligible results. As for the local nine, most baseball experts give them a D or F for their trade deadline moves (or lack of).

UP Next: A very unique 45; Summer weather; Each team’s best

090620/76

 

WEEK OF AUGUST 30, 2020

 

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

 

Memo to MLB, NHL and NBA, let us relax!

 

To quote an old Kingston Trio song, these are the times that try men’s souls. We’re fighting an unprecedented pandemic, our jobs are in jeopardy, and we’re being badgered by political ads every three minutes. We need to relax, and at least fifty percent of our population turns to sports for relaxation. The one thing we absolutely don’t need is a bunch of social commentary and other mumbo jumbo infiltrating our brief respite from the rest of the world. We get enough of that nonsense 24/7. Your job MLB, NHL and NBA is to entertain us, not barrage us with junk we can get on CNN, Fox News or MSNBC. We get the feeling if our major sports can’t (or won’t) separate their political agenda from entertainment, folks will walk away. And a goodly portion may not come back.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Joe Biden has a plan to eliminate the coronavirus pandemic. And Richard Nixon had a plan to end the Vietnam War. We predict both plans will have the same success.

2. And about Joe’s running mate Comma-lah: she strongly opposes people’s right to own those deadly firearms, but has absolutely no problem with the murder of unborn children.

3. Idle observation: the weekend before the Donkey convention, FBN shouts “its’ coming, it’s coming,” from the front page. Last weekend’s GOP convention coverage nets page 15 placement. Tampa Bay deserves so much better.

4. Nancy Pelosi moves heaven and earth to get more money for the post office hoping somehow that will get more liberals elected. But on the same day, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows approaches her about getting more money in the pockets of folks affected by the Coronavirus and is blown off. Easily translated – get us liberals elected, the hell with people suffering.

5. A few weeks back (TBR&R 7/19/20) we suggested some proactive consumer action against companies that wish to force their political correctness on us – and their employees. The latest offender is Goodyear and their pronouncement that employees may wear BLM and LGBT garments, but don’t dare show up in Blue Lives Matter or MAGA attire. Like Pepsi and Nike, the good news about snubbing Goodyear, once the gold standard of tires, is there are now far superior options in the market place.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. The passing last week of Paula Caray, widow of the late, great Braves broadcaster, Skip, reminds Brave fans of what a hurtful month August is for the faithful. The three key elements of the WTBS Superstation days, Skip, Ernie Johnson and Pete Van Wieren all passed away within a block of a few years in the month of August.

7. Another baseball broadcasting note: the Southeast, including the bay area, is loaded with fans of the Blue Jays, Braves, Cards, Cubs, Phils and Yankees plus a few others. Those fans can probably understand a blackout on their favorite team’s game when they play at Tampa Bay, but not when the game is played in their team’s home park. Fans play over $100 a year for the privilege to see their team and their announcers on cable. MLB should revisit this broadcast policy.

8. Be honest, did you know the NBA playoffs were even going on? The playoffs ceased for one day in some sort of social protest after which the overpaid NBA stars realized the world would not stop spinning if they stopped dribbling.

9. Mention the name Bert Parks to a millennial and you will get a blank stare. It’s hard to believe forty years ago, the perennial host of the Miss America pageant was dumped after a quarter century with the pageant seeking a “younger look”. It created a furor with many former Miss Americas and TV giant Johnny Carson taking up Bert’s cause. The pageant has not been the same since.

10. Answer – 1910. The question: when was the last time a state capitol was changed? In 1910, the state of Oklahoma moved its state capital from Guthrie to Oklahoma City. Someday, perhaps Florida will do the same and move the capital to a more central location.

 

Remembering: waterfront places where we ate

 

(Editor’s note: In each month’s final edition, we take a 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 and Howard the Trader)

Clearwater and environs have been blessed with many fine restaurants over the years. This month we remember some of the best and most popular on or near the water. First would be the granddaddy of top restaurants – 72 years and counting, Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber on Clearwater Beach. Back in the day, its main competitors were virtually across the street – Henry Henriquez’ Pelican and Buckley’s. Just down the road, was possibly the best kept secret on the beach, the dining room at the Clearwater Beach Hotel.   And at the south end of the beach was Fisherman’s Wharf. As you venture away from the beach, you had to make a stop at the Flagship or the double-decked Seaspire on Island Estates. Once on the mainland, there was the down to earth Bay Drive In on the bayfront where they would cook your catch from one of Clearwater’s numerous fishing boats. Lastly, you had the elegance of Siple’s Garden Seat, on Druid Road, with its beautiful lawns that sloped down to Clearwater Bay. All but the Beachcomber are gone today, but what a treat these fine restaurants provided to Clearwater residents in the middle of the 1900s.

UP NEXT: Come to Houston; MLB update; Enemy of the State?

083020/79

 

WEEK OF AUGUST 23, 2020

 

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

 

 

Will the “everything free” plan work for Biden?

 

 

More and more, we get the feeling that a lot of folks are going to vote for Joe Biden expecting him to be the next incarnation of Santa Claus. You’ve heard it –free tuition, free medical care, free monthly checks, free Eskimo Pies (okay, we made up the last one). But we get the feeling that if enough people asked for it, Joe would promise it. Forgive us if we think all this sounds a bit like the Bernie Sanders platform which Democrats rejected as too socialist. And while this seems great, somebody has to pay for it. And no matter how Joe and his spin doctors try to twist the numbers, it will be that revered middle class Joe is always talking about who will take the hit.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Voters are, and should be, nervous about mail-in balloting in states that have never before handled anything of that magnitude. Florida’s “request it and get it” mail-in ballot is much more sound than, say, Nevada which intends to mail ballots to everyone on the voter rolls – without confirming if the person even still lives in the state – or is even alive.

2. Biting commentary from The 5:05 Newsletter: If you won the lottery, would you mail in the ticket? Or would you go in person? Why is that? (Remember this when you go vote.)

 

3. Okay, Ms. Pelosi, you stomped your feet and held your breath until you got your way on the postal service. Now, do as you intended and call back the House and get some relief for people who need it.

4. “Florida’s Best Newspaper” devoted many, many column inches on the op-ed page last week on how to pronounce the Democratic Veep nominee’s first name. It’s like the punctuation mark comma with a la like in la de dah at the end. No space required here on pronouncing Mike.

5. Quote of the week: “We have a right in our home to live in peace." Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on banning protests on the street where she lives, while encouraging protests in other parts of the city. Rotations of over 100 police officers have been assigned to protecting her home. Again, more of the Chicago Mayor’s do as I say, not as I do guidelines (TBR&R 5/17/20).

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. To paraphrase Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore show – “it all began at a 5000 watt radio station.” Glenn Beck, who began his conservative talk show career at Tampa’s WFLA radio, has been inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.

7. The answer: Luis Garcia of the Washington Nationals. The question: who was the first player born in the 2000s to hit a major league home run? He did it last week.

8. At this writing, there would be no teams with a losing record in the baseball playoffs – barely. The National League would have two teams right at .500 qualifying (Miami and Milwaukee) and four of the five teams in the NL West would make the dance. In the American League, only one .500 team (Baltimore) would qualify for post season and the Rays are solidly in with the fourth-best record so far in the AL.

9. This week marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Charlie Parker. The jazz great played a mean sax and was instrumental in the development of the bebop genre.

10. Factoid – a few weeks ago (TBR&R 7/19/20) we mentioned Coke’s dominance in the soft drink industry. Here are the Top 5 soft drinks 1. Coke leads with more sales than Pepsi and Mountain Dew combined, 2. Diet Coke, 3. Pepsi, 4. Mountain Dew, and somewhat surprisingly, 5. Dr. Pepper just beating out Sprite.

 

Election reflections

 

 

Local primaries did not offer a lot of surprises unless you consider a couple of folks who were outspent and were victorious. That was the case of U.S. House District 13 hopeful Republican Anna Paulina Luna who defeated the better-funded Amanda Makki and will face off against Charlie Christ in the November general election. It’s an uphill battle for Luna in a Democratic-heavy district. Former school board member Rene Flowers also prevailed against State legislator Wengay Newton who raised more money and brought a heftier resume to the table. But the three-way race pitted two men against a single woman, all well-known, and the two men split half the vote. Now the games begin with just over two months until Election Day.

 

UP NEXT: The Landings; Bert Parks; Joe and Dick’s plans

082320/81

 

WEEK OF AUGUST 16, 2020

 

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

 

The misuse of the term “patriot”

 

About a month ago, we nearly choked on our morning coffee when one of the liberal news outlets described a recently passed public figure as a patriot. The individual in question was one of the most divisive Americans in recent history. We’re not sure we can give you an ironclad definition of a patriot, but we know what a patriot is not. Patriots never dodged the draft; they never boycotted an inauguration of a President because the “wrong” party won; patriots don’t tear down statues of individuals who gave great service to our country; they never blindly attempted to reject a qualified appointment because the party leadership so directed. To describe people like this as patriots is an affront to people like Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Nathan Hale and thousands of others, all with some human flaws, who put their nation ahead of some private agenda.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri tested positive for Covid-19 last week. Many would say that is karma as the sheriff is putting inmates at his 49th Street jail facility at risk by not providing face masks – completely irresponsible.

2. Joe Biden’s pick of Sen. Kamala Harris of California as his running mate is hardly a surprise. All but two of the names being floated by Biden came with rather serious baggage – the other safe pick being Rep. Val Demings of Florida. Obviously, Rep. Demings would have been a better choice for Florida if Biden prevailed. We also suspect she would have been a better choice for Biden from a geopolitical standpoint. California will go for Joe Biden – or Joe Stalin for that matter. Florida is more of a toss-up and Demings could have helped here.

3. Will the last rational person to leave please bring the flag when they exit Minneapolis, Chicago, Seattle or Portland?

4. Factoid – in this time of need for a lot of folks, the three biggest and most effective non-government charities remain The Salvation Army, The United Way and Catholic Charities.

5. Number of the Week – 4. That’s the number of companies that are part of the current Dow Jones Industrial Average that were there fifty years ago. They are GE (the oldest on the DJ - since 1907), Exxon/Mobil, Procter & Gamble and Raytheon Technologies (originally known as United Aircraft).

 

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Here is a money making opportunity for cable and unwired providers. We assume the technology exists to charge each customer who wishes an extra fee to block all political ads between now and November, replacing that 15 or 30 second block with a period of smooth jazz or new age music.

7. Major League baseball’s elite starters are taking it on the chin in this convoluted season. Four of the ten best starters in the game, Houston’s Justin Verlander, the Nat’s Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer along with the Brave’s Mike Soroka have all been hit with injuries in the first two weeks. Soroka is out for the season, the others are in various stages of recovery.

8. We knew the baseball season would be odd. At mid-week last week, the St. Louis Cardinals had played but five games (the Rays at that point had played 18) and the Atlanta Braves finally got a day off after being scheduled for 20 straight days.

9. He made his mark by adding pop styling to Peter, Paul and Mary songs like If I Had a Hammer and Lemon Tree. Trini Lopez passed away last week at age 83.

10. Again, your Humble Blogger celebrates the anniversary of his greatest feat – convincing an otherwise very intelligent girl to marry him 51 years ago this week.

 

The Mount Rushmore of female vocalists

 

The TBR&R focus group reconvenes - this time with the task of creating a Mount Rushmore for female vocalists. Our matriarchs chose the Canadian school teacher turned pop phenom Anne Murray and a woman who charted 11 number one records, but whose career ended all too soon – Whitney Houston. The guys opted for another phenomenal act whose career started in 1967, Linda Ronstadt, along with a name who gets a bit of an asterisk, because she was technically part of a group with her brother, but oh what a voice – Karen Carpenter. And the singular musician (and youngest member) in our group of ancients chose the legendary Billie Holiday. An incredible quintet to be sure.

UP NEXT: Coke, election reflections and vote Joe, get free stuff

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WEEK OF AUGUST 9, 2020

 

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

 

75 years ago – the week WWII ended

 

This is the week that World War II ended for all intents and purposes. America had just dropped two nuclear bombs on a recalcitrant Japan. Japan’s Emperor addressed his people on radio saying it was time to end the war. Remarkably, the vast majority of the nation’s populace had never heard his voice prior to the broadcast. The events leading up to Japan’s capitulation is neatly chronicled in Chris Wallace’s bestseller Countdown 1945 which tracks the 116 days since FDR’s death and ascendency of Harry Truman to the end of the war. It took the sweat of millions, many of them our Dads and Granddads, as well as the sacrifice of 418,000 American lives, to bring about the end of this global conflict. We remain in their debt, this greatest generation.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. We’ve often been critical of the Hillsborough County School Board and their infighting at the cost of intelligent planning. This week, we tip our caps to the board for their measured decision to push back in-school instruction at least a month. We wish other school boards would follow suit and that the state stay out of what is a local issue. Numerous states have mandated virtual learning for the beginning of their school year.

2. Jurisprudence update: It makes you feel secure when some 17-year-old punk hacks the accounts of folks like Apple, Gates and Buffett. Early indications are authorities are going to throw the book at the Tampa resident and his two confederates - as they should.

3. Don’t you wish you could get into the brain of New York’s Rep.Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and find out what affliction makes her say things like recognizing the work of Father Damien of Hawaii constitutes colonialism and white supremacy? The man, now a Saint, worked in Hawaii’s leprosy colonies for 16 years before the disease claimed his life.

4. Number of the week – 6 weeks. That’s the length of time it’s taken to decide a Democratic primary in New York due to 12,000 disputed mail-in ballots. My, won’t November be fun?

5. Pinellas County’s first Public Defender, Robert Jagger, died last week at age 92. If you followed his 35-year career, you know Pinellas County got their money’s worth and much more from this devoted man of the law.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Media note from the 5:05 Newsletter: One big difference between the U.S. and North Korea is that North Korea forces its people to listen to endless propaganda; while in the U.S., we pay a monthly cable bill to listen to it.

7. A Happy 55th Birthday this week (8/13) to former Atlanta Brave Mark Lemke – the best fielding second baseman to never win a Gold Glove. The switch-hitting “Lemmer” does hold one major league record however – 3664 career at bats and never hit by a pitch – seems unbreakable with pitchers throwing inside more and more these days.

8. Answer: 1954. The question is when is the last time, until this year, that at least one team did not start the season 3-0. 1954 was a great year with the Giants upsetting the packed pitching rotation (Feller, Lemon, Wynn) of the Indians. Bobby Avila of the Indians (.341) and Willie Mays (.345) were the batting champions. Both Lemon and Wynn had 23 wins and the Giants’ Johnny Atonelli 21.

9. Is that so? Not so long ago, the city of Clearwater was the 10th largest city in Florida. Now, with a population of slightly over 114,000, it ranks 17th just behind Lehigh Acres and ahead of Brandon. For what it’s worth, the state’s top five cities by population are Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Orlando and St. Pete.

10. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you remember when TikTok was not an app, but a cocktail lounge (Tick Tock) downtown.

 

MLB: twenty percent of the way home

 

Major League Baseball has managed to stagger through the first fifth of their season and still be playing – in itself a major achievement. We had forecast that some strange things (other than virus related) would happen, but things are pretty much normal with the Yanks, Twins, Astros, and Athletics showing the way in the American League, while the Braves, Cubs and Dodgers are the cream of the NL. The Padres are the only real surprise in the NL. A lot of optimists liked the local nine’s chances in the AL, but they can’t win on the road and their bullpen is pretty much toast after overuse during the first stanza of the season. The Rays might have wanted to hang on to that Pham fellow who at this juncture is hitting a cool .305 and a big reason for the Padre’s surprising start. But there’s still a lot, no, make that a little bit, of baseball yet to be played.

NEXT UP: Patriots? Great gal singers; a couple of cable suggestions

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WEEK OF AUGUST 2, 2020

 

 

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

 

Ya gotta have friends (Thanks to Bette Midler)

 

This week’s day of issue for TBR&R (8/2/2020) is National Friends Day - a day to celebrate the guy who knocked on the door of your new home to ask if he could borrow your ladder; the kid you met on the Little League field over sixty years ago; the couple who taught Sunday School in the room next to yours; the great guy who shared a part-time retirement job; the neat couple who wouldn’t see you socially until their daughter graduated from your wife’s school to avoid any conflict of interest; a couple of friends you didn’t know all that well in high school but became good friends later in life; the nice couple who, by luck of the draw, became your baseball season seatmates; the wonderful couple who came to be your daughter’s in-laws and finally, the gal who said “hi” in the hallway of St. Pete Junior College who became your very best friend. Different circumstances have brought us into each other’s circle of friendship. This week, contact them (particularly those you haven’t chatted with in a while) and tell them how much their friendship means.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Grade of the week – “A” to Attorney General William Barr who maintained a calm demeanor while deflecting politicized charges of a Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee last week.

2. Imagine what fun that noted trustbuster Teddy Roosevelt would have had with today’s tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google who are now in the gunsights of Congress.

3. Further reinforcing the truism that a liberal is someone who has not yet been mugged, this report from Oakland’s Channel 7 – an ABC affiliate - Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf voted against further police budget cuts Tuesday after vandals defaced her home earlier the same day.

4. Hey Barack, it was supposed to be a eulogy, not some attack speech. Way to keep it classy.

5. Good for the Hillsborough Charter Review Committee. They rejected a proposal for a nine member County Commission. Hillsborough’s seven member board is dysfunctional enough. In fact, five would be even better. That seems to work for the majority of bay area communities.

 

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. The Rays, Oakland As and Atlanta Braves were the beneficiaries of the first three T–Ball League rule games that place a runner on second in extra innings. Curiously, all the teams scored more than one run in the 10th inning using this “novel” approach.

7. Speaking of the Rays, one observer of the team noted that during the Corona Virus protocols, the stands at the Trop look pretty much the same – empty. But there’s good news – despite being in a grouping with 3 or 4 of the best teams in baseball, the Rays have a decent chance of being one of the 16 playoff teams if the season does play out – something that is very problematic right now.

8. From the nearly world famous Gassman Law Firm marquee on Court Street, Corona Virus 19 - Florida 0.

9. The entertainment industry lost two giants last week – 104-year-old Olivia de Havilland, who along with her sister Joan Fontaine, were the only siblings ever to win an Academy Award. Miss de Havilland actually won the Academy Award twice, but neither time for her most famous role as Melanie Hamilton in Gone with the Wind. Ubiquitous was an apt description for Regis Philbin. No one graced the television screen for more hours than Regis. Those of us, a bit long in the tooth, remember him as Joey Bishop’s sidekick on late night TV. Then there was Who Wants to be a Millionaire; Regis and Kathie and later Kelly. The man was everywhere! Philbin was 88.  

10. Five years ago in TBR&R (8/2/15) : In a touching final tribute, about 50 family and long-time marina friends said goodbye to David Rulison, the “Can Man”, (see TBR&R 7/12/15) as his ashes were scattered over the Gulf of Mexico from the Double Eagle III last Wednesday evening. The marina and the environment have lost a good friend.

 

The conundrum that is the Tax Collector’s office

 

This could be one of our “you’ve lived in Pinellas County a long time” features. That is if you remember when O. Sanford Jasper was our Tax Collector – a position he held for 32 years. Mr. Jasper was the personification of a public servant – honest to a fault, hardworking and the captain of a tight ship. Since then, the office has been occupied by a string of politicians to the detriment of Pinellas County. The latest palace intrigue has the last two office holders/politicians coming out for the incumbent Charles Thomas’ opponent – Joyell Bobala even though the two conspirators encouraged Thomas to run for the office four years ago. Oh, there is a Democratic candidate for the office – Joe Saportas – who has governmental experience, but not in the area of tax collection, but perhaps he could become the next O. Sanford Jasper which Pinellas County badly needs.

UP NEXT: The War Ends; Saint Damien & Ms. Cortez

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WEEK OF JULY 26, 2020

 

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

 

 

America’s gerontocracy and its poster girl

 

 

The word above is a real word. We admit we had to look up the correct spelling. It is defined as rule by elderly people. The American poster girl is, of course, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. At 87, she currently spends more time in the hospital than on the bench at the Supreme Court. She’s not alone. Fellow Justice Steven Breyer is closing in on 82. Four of the other seven Justices are at what normally is considered retirement age – 65 or older. Up the street in Congress, we have geriatric leaders Nancy Pelosi (80) and Mitch McConnell (78). Come next January, the man sworn in as President will be 78 or 74 – either person easily being the oldest ever. What has happened to the Kennedys, Teddy Roosevelts or Grants (only 46 when sworn in)? America needs to find a new crop of competent leaders – and, we strongly suggest, put an age cap on public service to avoid having a bunch of leaders on life support.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Wow! The liberal spin doctors are not going to like this one. Texas U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert is demanding the Democratic Party change its name given the history of the party on slavery and bigotry. Seems the shoe doesn’t fit quite as well when on the other foot. Thank you, Rep. Gohmert.

2. In our Alice in Wonderland type world, extreme left wingers, including elected officials, don’t seem to understand that lighting a fire in a court house is not protected by the First Amendment. In fact, we would have been terrified to see what would happen to such people during the days of our founding fathers.

3. If the accounts of our immediate past president and other heavy hitters can be hacked, we want no part of Twitter – plus your technologically challenged HB has no idea how it works.

4. Idle thought: it’s so easy to have all the answers when you are on the other side of the dais or executive’s desk.

5. A comment by Fox 13 weatherman Dave Osterberg caught our attention last week. Dave wondered why nations don’t band together in their exploration of space rather than sending multiple vehicles towards Mars at the cost of billions – money that could be used for more worthy endeavors here on earth (our comment, not his).

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. This was a week for breakout hits of two America’s biggest acts. Fifty years ago, the Carpenters scored the first of their four number one singles Close To You. Ten years earlier, Brenda Lee had the first of her two number one singles, I’m Sorry, to go along with some 50 other charted records.                                                                    

7. Since the PC police are busy trying to rename sports teams they find offensive in any fashion, we wish to add our two cents. Given their seemingly unending search for a home field, make it the Toronto Refugees.

8. Remember Little League where every kid got a trophy? Major League Baseball is channeling that in 2020 with 16 of the 30 teams getting a postseason appearance, rewarding mediocrity.

9. In this unsteady time of the virus uptick, a surefire safety measure from The 5:05 Newsletter - If the CDC said that staying inside and never leaving your house for 14 days would save the college football season, the entire South would be locked up in their homes right now.                   

10. For years Harry and Janie Cline were a force in making Clearwater a better place to live in so many aspects. Janie passed away last week at age 77 - our condolences to Harry and their daughter on the loss of this lovely lady.

 

Remembering: Clearwater’s home town radio station

 

(We continue our monthly Remembering feature. Previous subjects like Star Spectaculars, Spring Training, The Bombers, Howard the Trader and the Rites of Graduation can be found in each month- ending issue of TBR&R)

 

WTAN went on the air in 1948 operating from studios in Clearwater’s old Auditorium on the bayfront. About five years later, studios were built across the street on Pierce Blvd. The people who were the voice of the station tended to stay a long time - foremost Frank Parker who was with the station well over twenty years on the air and also doing fishing reports and broadcasting Bomber games after another long time voice, Bob Weatherly, left to pursue politics full time. Another name that was a household word was Scott Dilworth, who hosted the station’s immensely popular “Scotty’s Swingshift” evenings for the station’s teen audience. Clearwater residents woke up daily to the very talented Harry Lytle, a combination of quick wit and extreme intelligence. Two other early voices on the station, Gene Allen and Chuck Adams, were part of the 1950s crew until they left to start their own station - day timer WAZE. WTAN responded to its first in-city competition by launching an FM station in 1963 under the genius of engineer/programmer Frank Reid and bringing a kid over from a St. Pete station who would hang around for twenty years. Unlike many stations whose personalities come and go, WTAN’s folks were part of the community, like the station itself, until its sale in the mid-1980s.

UP NEXT: Friends; In search of O. Sanford Jasper; More on Frank

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WEEK OF JULY 19, 2020

 

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

 

The sports nickname games begin

 

The Washington Vanilla football team is the first to cave in the tidal wave of political over-correctness cascading on the world of sports. Dan Snyder the Washington owner, who has been the target of so many anti-Semitic insults from the far left (hardly ever reported), has finally thrown in the towel after being pressured by corporate sponsors FedEx, Nike, Pepsi and Bank of America to name just four (more on that below). Next in the set of dominos will be the Cleveland Indians who have already ditched their Chief Wahoo logo. If the whack jobs promoting all this PC garbage actually looked at the Cleveland franchise, they would see possibly the most progressive franchise in baseball history – first Black player in their league, first Black manager and first Latin players. But the progressive police target the Cleveland nickname while overlooking franchises like the Boston Red Sox who stalled for over twelve years after the color line was broken to add a Black player.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Do you have the feeling that Florida with its mounting virus numbers may have to go the way of California and start shutting down restaurants, bars, gyms and churches again? It may be necessary, but you shudder to think of doing anything that California does.

2. From our “glass house” department, a quote from “Florida’s Best Newspaper” on paycheck protection loans: The Florida Chamber of Commerce, one of the primary backers of Republicans in Florida, received up to $350,000. It should be pointed out that “FBN” one of the primary backers of Democrats in Florida received over twenty times that amount - $8.5 million dollars to be precise.

3. Idle election thought: entrepreneur Mark Cuban’s endorsement of Joe Biden is disappointing. On the other hand, Cuban is a bit of a wild card, but can’t help thinking he’d be a better chief executive than either Biden or Trump – unless, of course, my friend Joe (no, not that B name) runs.

4. Number of the week: 9200 – the numerical advantage of registered Democratic voters versus Republicans in Pinellas County. There are almost 200,000 non-aligned potential voters in Pinellas according to this month’s numbers from the Supervisor of Elections as we near next month’s primaries.

5. From the latest 5:05 Newsletter: History Thought: I'm just curious. For all the millennials who would erase Southern heritage to signal your virtue, I have just one question: How many of you drive a Volkswagen?

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. He was one of the area’s leading foot specialists for years in addition to a community volunteer in Rotary, the Boy Scouts and other organizations. Dr. Scott Hale passed away last week at age 91. He and his charitable efforts will be missed.

7. A few weeks back (TBR&R 6/7/20) we mentioned some nice discoveries on television to ease the tedium of our self-imposed isolation. We add a few more that we’ve found entertaining - Bosch, Goliath and the quirky Burn Notice. Only downside is you have to have access to Amazon Prime to enjoy a few of these shows.

8. Baseball begins its bizarre 60-game season this week. The cynic in us wonders how many team personnel will have to be affected by the Corona virus before they shut it down. By the way, with the weird scheduling, the toughest early season schedules belong to the Yanks and Braves; the easiest to the Reds and the World Series champion Nationals.

9. A follow-up to our “Mount Rushmore” of starting pitchers (TBR&R 6/7/20) – here are five pitchers who we would have liked to see have a full career without some debilitating injury: Cleveland’s Herb Score, Houston’s J.R. Richard, the Cubs’ Kerry Wood, the Braves’ Steve Avery and the Tigers’ Mark “the Bird” Fidrych.

10. Five Years Ago in TBR&R (7/19/15): Tale of two counties: Hillsborough County wisely continues their moratorium on “pain management” clinics while Pinellas drops theirs. Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says the county is “virtually pill mill free”. Sheriff, we’ll give you the name, address and phone number of a pill mill operating in downtown Clearwater any time you want. (Update – it’s still there).

 

In our small way, time to strike back

 

In our lead article, we mentioned four major corporations who put the squeeze on the Washington Redskins to change their name. Perhaps it’s time to say we don’t like your very selective political correctness. Let’s start with Bank of America. They pressure the Redskins, but have no trouble marketing a credit card complete with the Atlanta Braves logo, including a tomahawk to us. We’ve cancelled the card. Nike does so much that’s offensive to a person with a social conscience that we’d never buy any of their products. Pepsi is a poor second to Coke in the minds of Americans, so boycotting them is simply a favor to our taste buds. We dine out a lot, so if the only choices at the restaurant are Pepsi products, it’s water with lemon, please. Granted, these are small gestures, but if multiplied by 100 or 1000 or 10,000 perhaps corporate America would get the message – leave our sports icons alone.

UP NEXT: Brenda & Karen; Clearwater’s radio station; Gerontocracy

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WEEK OF JULY 12, 2020

 

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

 

Thanks, Mr. Justice

 

Your humble blogger had the privilege of attending CHS when Bill Justice was the assistant principal. Like many other long time Clearwater folks, we later had the opportunity to work with him on various civic and community projects, but he was never “Bill” to us – always Mr. Justice. You just had too much respect for the man to call him by his nickname. On the occasion of his passing, we share a story only our immediate family knows. In our senior year at CHS, our many pranks and indiscretions proved too much even for the usually patient William Justice, and he suspended us for a day – terming the suspension a “lifetime achievement award”. Many years later your humble blogger replaced Mr. Justice when he stepped down from the Clearwater City Commission. In the newspaper article covering the event, he referred to us as “a good boy” during our CHS days – conveniently forgetting the events of thirty years previous. We hadn’t – just as we never forgot what huge shoes we were attempting to fill on the city commission. William Justice was one of the few individuals in this community to truly deserve the term legend.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Quote of the week: “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along” -the words of Rodney King during equally disturbing times in the spring of 1992. It has been twisted to “can’t we all get along” over the years but either way, it should be the mantra of our nation right now.

2. One of the best organizations in Pinellas County is recruiting its next class. Leadership Pinellas dates back to the 1970s and its graduates are a who’s who of Pinellas County movers and shakers. To learn more about this unique program, go to leadershippinellas.com/programs/apply. The deadline for applications for this fall’s class is July 31.

3. Ah, do you get the feeling Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried wants to run for governor in 2022? The commissioner, whose only agriculture experience is pushing for marijuana usage, criticizes our governor at every turn.

4. The city of Clearwater, like every other city, is facing a budget crunch due to the corona virus. The good news is the city is in a lot better shape than other cities, but they still have to tighten the belt. One of the most obvious areas to cut is the possibly nice to have, but certainly not necessary, proposed changes to the city’s bay front.

5. Tampa International’s decision to delay almost a billion dollars in construction projects generated this idle thought. We would probably loan a close friend or family member money for the trip; look after their dog; water the plants – virtually anything as long as we didn’t have to pick them up at the airport.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Another gem from the 5:05 Newsletter: “Breaking News: Nancy Pelosi Orders Destruction of the Entire Side of the U.S. Capitol That Faces South”.

7. With the bizarre MLB season (TBR&R 6/28/20), our wizard of odds, Achmed Walled (pronounced wall-ED) will not lower himself to prognosticating pennant races only slightly longer than Little League seasons. For what it’s worth, the pros in Vegas have the Dodgers and the Yankees as the top two choices with Houston and Atlanta the next two. Frankly, it could be the Tigers and Marlins as strange things can happen over a short span of games.

8. Good for the Ivy League! The collection of eight prestigious schools has cancelled all Fall sports reminding us of the dangers of the corona virus and – that sports are secondary to education on our college campuses.

9. A happy 25th anniversary this year to the Morton Plant Treehouse, Clearwater’s version of the Algonquin Roundtable (TBR&R 1/28/18 and 6/10/18).

10. Our humble publication bids fair winds and following seas to Tommy Duff who, like many other Pinellas residents choose to do, is relocating to North Carolina. Tommy and his restaurant were a part of the fiber of Clearwater for a couple of decades.

11. (An extra remark as we do on occasion). Thanks again to James Foster, of Right Click Computer Consultants, for his work in getting our blog back up after it crashed like the Hindenburg last week.

 

The Mount Rushmore of Male Vocalists

 

This week, the TBR&R Focus Group (five old, cranky people) welcomes a new member whose many credentials include being Pizza Hut Employee of the Month for March 1979 – and we should add for the sake of this ranking, the only musician in our august group. We asked the group to help us place five faces on the Mount Rushmore of Male Vocalists. Our elder chieftain says Elvis called Roy Orbison the best he ever heard and that’s good enough for him. Our two female matriarchs weighed in with the King and Michael Buble’ while the other two ancients went for two great ballad singers – Mathis and Sinatra. A solid list for sure.

UP NEXT: Drive a VW; Score, the Bird and J.R.; Mark Cuban

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WEEK OF JULY 5, 2020

 

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

 

Happy Birthday America!

 

(We apologize for the delay in getting this week’s edition to you and give a hearty thank you to James Foster of Right Click Computer Consultants for straightening out the problems we would not begin to understand)

 

 

Think before asking for the back-up quarterback

 

Each fall when things get tough at good old Everyman U, the fans immediately call for the coach to bring in old what’s his name, the back-up quarterback. He looks really good carrying the clipboard; surely he’d be better than what we have on the field. No doubt some (but hopefully not many) will fall for that logic this November. Was Donald Trump’s reaction to our pandemic perfect? No, but the U.S. recovery is going as well as any other sizable nation. Would Biden have been any better? He would probably tell you so with that “trust me” face. The virus is the best time for Monday quarterbacking since Seattle’s failed pass play in 2019. But the facts remain the facts. Trump’s administration handled the pandemic as well or better than any nation in the world; he turned the muddling Obama economy into the best in decades; and our nation’s defense is strong. Those facts ignore another reason so many voted for him – he brought balance back to the U.S. Supreme Court – a tenuous balance we cannot afford to lose.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Thousands and thousands – the number of people, including your humble blogger and saintly wife, whose lives were touched by Bill Justice. The former Marine, coach, educator and city commissioner passed away last week at age 98 – just weeks after the passing of his wife, Marian. We offer our condolences to his son and fellow CHS classmate Garry and his daughter Julie.

2. Perhaps you caught it on line – good for the spunky New York City 60-something woman who stood up to some punk trying, with other punks, to vandalize a statute of Teddy Roosevelt – someone the kid wouldn’t know from Teddy Williams. It was a classic example of the free speech our forefathers strove for on this weekend over two centuries ago – free speech the radical left is trying so hard to extinguish.

3. Apparently our concerns over absentee balloting (TBRR 5/10/20) are well founded as two New Jersey Democratic city councilmen are facing ten and over thirty years respectively for voter fraud in their recent election – and it’s early!

4. Los Angeles to cut $150 million from police budget. In the words of a great American, “what could possibly go wrong”?

5. You’ve lived in the bay area a long time if you remember S&H Green Stamps main competitor in our area was Top Value Stamps – given primarily by Winn Dixie stores. Top Value and S&H faded from the retail scene in the 1980s and 90s.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Over 30 major league players, including a couple superstars, have the Covid-19 virus. This is more than an entire major league roster. Mr. Manfred, it’s time to shut it down.

7. One of our TBRR focus group (a group of five, old, cranky people) recently viewed Hamilton and pronounced it well worth viewing. We will take her word for it.

8. The answer: Linda Cohn. The question: Who has anchored more Sports Centers than any other person? The 28-year veteran of ESPN really knows her stuff – particularly hockey where she is an absolute encyclopedia.

9. It is very difficult to think of a more versatile TV personality than Hugh Downs. Today Show, Tonight Show, 20/20 and Concentration are just some of the successes on his resume. The TV legend passed away last week at age 99.

10. This week marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of America’s greatest television journalists – David Brinkley.

 

America cries out for a new dictionary

 

About a month ago, veteran Tampa city council member John Dingfelder was called out for using the word “thug” in describing looters in his city. Apparently, this word that has been around for over two centuries is no longer appropriate in describing hooligans who do bad things like looting and burning businesses. In fact, we’re not even sure hooligan is acceptable any longer. Dingfelder was counseled by a new member of Tampa’s governing body, Orlando Gudes, saying, “Everyone needs to learn the changing acceptability of language.” This would apply to Gudes himself who, earlier this year, uttered an anti-Semitic term during public debate. We desperately need Merriam-Webster or some other company to publish a PC Dictionary listing words that someone, somewhere will find offensive as well as a glossary of new words like woke, sus or lit to name a few. It would be a great aid to us Neanderthals who grew up in the 20th century.

UP NEXT: Great crooners; Tree House; A personal note on William Justice

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SPECIAL EDITION

 

Special Edition - Ten questions radicals should be able to answer before they vandalize monuments.

 

(Editor’s note: as we approach the 4th of July, the birthday of our country, we are sickened by a bunch of radicals who want to rewrite American history in 90 days. Before they try to do so, we propose they be able to answer at least eight of the following ten questions).

 

1. How many Presidents are on Mt. Rushmore – and who are they?

2. Teddy Roosevelt distinguished himself in what war?

3. Who were the first and last generals to become President of the United States?

4. Who was the last President to serve in the military?

5. How many Presidents did not serve in the military?

6. Before the Civil War, in what war did Robert E. Lee serve?

7. In what city was the U.S. Constitution signed? And the Declaration of Independence?

8. How many Vice-Presidents have become President without the benefit of incumbency caused by their predecessor’s death?

9. Who is the only President to win the Congressional Medal of Honor?

10. Which of this year’s presumptive Presidential candidates served in the military?

The answers are below. And shame on the know-it-all radicals who have to go to Google or somewhere else to ascertain the answers. But at least they would have learned a thing or two about the nation they are trying to disassemble.

1. Four - Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

2. The Spanish American War.

3. Washington the first, Eisenhower the most recent.

4. George W. Bush

5. Thirteen with an asterisk. Taft was appointed a General in the Red Cross during WW I, but had no actual military service. There were 12 others including three of our last four.

6. The Mexican-American War

7. Both documents were signed in Philadelphia.

8. Only five – John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren, Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush

9. Teddy Roosevelt won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service in the Spanish American War.

10. Trick question – neither President Trump nor Joe Biden ever served in the military.

 

WEEK OF JUNE 28, 2020

 

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

 

Biden or Trump – neither is Jimmy Carter

 

As more allegations of impropriety are thrust Joe Biden’s way, we can be assured we will not be electing a puritanical chief executive this November. Trump’s inappropriate behavior is legendary and apparently, Biden is no saint either. But does it matter? Americans, unfortunately, have become used to the foibles of their chief executives. In fact, it is probably easier to list the straight laced Presidents of the last century than those who strayed. We have Clinton, LBJ, JFK, FDR and Harding to name five Presidents who had confirmed affairs while in office and there are whispers about a few others. So, if you’re looking for Jimmy Carter, forget it and concentrate on things like the economy, national security and other things you value in a President.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Quote of the week: “Right now the officers feel like they can’t win. And I would have to agree with them.” From Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan. And any rational citizen would agree with Chief Dugan.

2. Protesters who randomly are tearing down statues honoring war heroes need to learn a little history before they tear down statues of Ulysses Grant and other patriots.

3. The bay area counties face mask ordinances provide a two-pronged defense against corona virus. First, the obvious – masking helps reduce the spread of the virus and secondly, the masks are a pain. So you’ll rethink all but essential trips to businesses. The downside, of course, is the negative effect this will have on businesses that are just starting the recovery process.

4. Tarpons Springs’ initiative to buy a marina across from the sponge docks seriously fails the sniff test. The marina is being brokered by one of the city commissioners. Recusing yourself from the voting is not enough. You need to back out of the deal to make it seem clean.

5. Five years ago in TBRR (6/28/15): Item: former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor has changed party affiliations from Republican to Democratic. Are we the only ones who were surprised Castor was not already a “D”?

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Number of the week – 39 years. The number of years Pat Sajak has hosted Wheel of Fortune – the record for hosting game shows. Another Sajak fact – he replaced Adrian Cronauer on Armed Forces Radio’s Dawn Buster show in Vietnam – the radio show that was the focus of the movie Good Morning Vietnam.

7. We must take part of the blame for the financial troubles of the iconic Brooks Brothers chain. We think Bush II was in office the last time we wore one of their excellent dress shirts and ties – or any other shirt and tie.

8. We’re coming up on the biggest boating weekend of the year. If you’re a boater, and have not perused the site “Qualified Captain,” you need to. Some bad luck, but it mostly features folks you see on the water who make you shake your head or use foul language.

9. From the sometimes accurate 5:05 Newsletter: “ In Chicago, 60 people died last month from COVID19 related gunshot wounds. This means they will have to vote by mail in November”. Additional note: 5:05 Newsletter to move its offices as bars are forced to close.

10. The answer: Northeast High School alum Craig Lefferts. The question – who was the last pitcher to hit a walk-off homerun? He did it while playing for the San Diego Padres in 1986. Lefferts, a southpaw, also pitched for the Angels, Cubs, Giants, Orioles and Rangers in a 12-year career.

 

One giant *

 

(Editor’s note: our month-ending Remembering feature will resume next month)

Baseball traditionalists have shuddered over the years as one gimmick after another has been added to the game. It started in 1960 when a third major league was formed – the Continental League. It was short lived when major league baseball agreed to expand. Today, all but one of the proposed Continental League cities has a team – Buffalo being the exception. Expansion brought more games each season and the first asterisk – Roger Maris’ 61 home runs the first year of expansion. Ten years later came the abomination that is the designated hitter (1973 to be exact). The rule is being forced on National League teams this season without forewarning where they could have picked up one of the half-a-players who serve as hitters only. The only change that makes some sense is larger rosters as traditional spring training will not happen. The most ridiculous, by any measure, is starting extra innings with a runner on second base – something that shouts T-Ball league and was panned by 80 percent of Major League Trade Rumors readers. This 60-game, money grab season by players and owners is nothing more than one giant asterisk. We might as well bring back Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and their traveling medicine show.

UP NEXT: New dictionary needed; Top Value; Linda Cohn

062820/78

 

WEEK OF JUNE 21, 2020

 

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

 

 

Things just get curiouser and curiouser!

 

 

We seem to have to reach back to authors of a different era to describe what is going on in our country- first George Orwell (TBRR 5/17/20) and now Lewis Carroll. The knee jerks to police brutality in Minneapolis began with some wack jobs wanting to get rid of police departments. We still haven’t heard the plan when one’s home is broken into or a girl is being beaten up by her boyfriend. To borrow from Ghostbusters, “who ya gonna call?” Not satisfied with stripping Americans of their protection, the radical left now wants to rename military bases, pull America’s number one film of all time, Gone with the Wind, off the airwaves and God help you if you’re a television show with the words police or cop in the title. At least two have already been canceled. You have to ask yourself when is this madness ignited by four bad cops in Minnesota going to stop – and what are the consequences? Or to reach out to another renowned man of the pen, T.S. Eliot, “Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm. But the harm does not interest them.”

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. One of the businesses damaged by senseless rioting in Minneapolis has announced it is leaving the troubled city for a new location. Sigma-7 had been part of the city’s business landscape for a third century. Their plant was destroyed by fires during the turmoil in the twin cities.

2. Idle thought: a great many bad things in the world can be avoided by simply obeying our laws.

3. Suddenly, it’s a big deal that Publix won’t allow BLM face masks on its employees? Any major corporation has standing policies on politically charged wearing apparel in the workplace. You won’t see masks with MAGA on their employees either.

4. Speaking of Publix, did you ever wonder why The Times chose Wednesday to go along with Sunday in their diminished two-a-week circulation? Surely it has nothing to do with the thousands and thousands of dollars they reap from the supermarket’s weekly flyer.

5. You’ve lived in the bay area a long time if you ever feasted on a Biff Burger. Bonus points if you ever ate at Burger Chef. Biff Burger originated in Clearwater and now has just two stores left - on 49th Street and in Greensboro, NC. Burger Chef sold out to the Hardee’s chain in 1982.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. With your Humble Blogger, it’s always been Faith, Family and Job followed very closely by baseball. But at this juncture, we’re good with punting the 2020 season – particularly with recent developments at the Blue Jays’ and Phillies’ complexes.

7. It’s the start of summer and time for our annual summer playlist suggestions starting with two great Carolina beach songs – John Franklin’s haunting Ocean Drive Sunday and Alabama’s Dancin’, Shaggin’ on the Boulevard along with the Beach Boys’ recollection of summers past – Do It Again; add in Keeping The Summer Alive by The Legendary Surf Riders and, in our first summer as a very young DJ, the most requested song, the Tymes’ classic So Much in Love.

 

8. Sticking with music, the recent passing of Bonnie Pointer reminds us that only a half dozen acts had more popularity than the Pointer Sisters but no number one record. They did peak at number two with both Fire and Slow Hand.

9. We bow to the marketing geniuses at Ford and Quaker Oats. Ford wanted to return the Bronco to its product line on O.J. Simpson’s birthday while Quaker Oats has decided to eliminate the branding of its Aunt Jemima pancake line after 130 years – a brand that made ex-slave Nancy Green (aka Aunt Jemima) a millionaire. Who thinks up these things?

10. Hard to believe: Erin Murphy who played Tabitha on Bewitched turned 56 last week.

 

Brand loyalty isn’t what it seems

 

 

We begin with a story from our youth. In the 1950s, our Dad managed a division of Westinghouse in the southern tier of New York that manufactured radio and TV tubes. They would do a run of a particular tube and then halt the line briefly and change the stamp on the tube from Westinghouse to Sylvania or RCA or GE. Being young and naïve, we thought Dad was going to get arrested for such a practice. About 75 miles down the road, a GE plant was cranking out tubes with Westinghouse and other brand names on them. Yet, so many folks would not buy a product unless it had a Westinghouse or GE or RCA nameplate. It’s the same with the “Buy American” campaign. By 1968, there was only one American television manufactured entirely in the U.S. Today, the transmission in your Ford could likely be manufactured in France. Conversely, the Toyota Camry is built in Kentucky and the Buick Encore and its Chevrolet cousin, the Trax are both built in Mexico. The good news – the Hershey Bar is still made in Hershey, Pa. You just don’t mess with some things!

NEXT UP: Waterfront dining; Craig Lefferts; In search of Jimmy Carter

062120/79

 

WEEK OF JUNE 14, 2020

 

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

 

The worst public policy proposal in US history

 

In the epitome of a knee jerk reaction, several cities are seriously looking at “defunding” or disbanding their police departments in the wake of the Minneapolis mess. Exactly what are these civic leaders using for brains? Wack job groups like “Take Back the Block” are leading this very misguided initiative which constitutes an open invitation to come to Minneapolis and start looting. In New York, their left wing mayor is talking about police cuts – just what is needed right now in America’s most screwed up city. Remarkably, other liberal-led cities are considering similar measures. This will work great until some folks wake up and realize why we have police departments. It all goes back to the whimsical but oh so true observation - “A liberal is someone who has not yet been mugged”. Reform yes, radical surgery – a menu for disaster.

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Quote of the week: “I think (that’s) more of a knee jerk reaction than sitting down and actually assessing the responsibilities of law enforcement agencies and the need out in the community.” - Tampa Mayor (and former police chief) Jane Castor’s response to Minneapolis’ radical plan cited in our lead article.

2. Also related to our lead item: CNN’s Chris Cuomo, brother of New York’s distinguished governor, declared that police officers are those required to remain peaceful — not demonstrators. Supposedly, Mr. Cuomo has a law degree. We also suppose that he was absent the day when his Constitutional Law class discussed the 1st Amendment and the right to peaceful assembly.

3. Another offshoot of the corona virus is the unavailability of large appliances right now. The industrial shutdowns and diversions to virus-related materials have created a backlog of orders for things like refrigerators and washing machines. Another area of shortages right now is bicycles.

4. Congratulations to Clearwater Central High graduate Msgr. David Toups who has been named Bishop of the Diocese of Beaumont, Texas.

5. You’ve lived in the bay area a long time if you dined at Maas Brothers Suncoast Restaurant at Westshore Mall with its view of takeoffs and landings at TIA.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. We always enjoyed and were informed by ABC’s This Week with David Brinkley. Recently, we were in a situation where we were more or less forced to view this generation’s version of the show with former Clinton mouthpiece George Stephanopoulos. Brinkley, the great TV journalist, would be embarrassed. Truth be told, the entire news division of ABC is an embarrassment.

7. Number of the Week – 5. That’s the number of U.S. cities that have multiple daily newspapers from which to choose. They are New York, Chicago, Boston, Detroit and Washington. The bay area lost its second (and best) newspaper The Tampa Tribune when the St. Pete Times bought and folded it in 2016. The Times itself is now just a two paper a week sheet.

8. Best wishes to former Rays’ outfielder Denard Span who has announced his retirement. A career .281 hitter, Span was acquired from the Giants for legendary, but fading, third baseman Evan Longoria and was later flipped to the Seattle Mariners after only 43 games.

9. Answer: former Ray’s reliever Jesse Chavez. The question: what current major leaguer has been traded more than any other active player - eight times? The veteran reliever has modeled nine uniforms – including Texas and Toronto twice. While the property of the Rays briefly in 2009, Chavez did not pitch in the majors for Tampa Bay.

10. And this gem from the 5:05 Newsletter: California News: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered store owners not to resist rioters and looters and, instead, "show them love and humility." Minutes later he was named the defense minister of France.

 

College athletics have become a joke

 

Think back to when you were a kid and the college athletes you admired. Being older than dirt, we admired the great athletes of Bud Wilkinson’s mid 1950s Oklahoma teams like Tommy McDonald, Clendon Thomas, Jerry Tubbs and Jimmy Harris. And the San Francisco basketball teams lead by Bill Russell and K.C. Jones. Now, the best you can hope for is one season from your college superstar and three, at most, from your favorite school’s football BMOC. And it’s getting worse with the NBA, in particular, coming around to every kid being a LeBron James or Kobe Bryant – going straight from high school to the pros – or maybe even skipping their high school senior year. It seems the madness is headed in that direction. It’s probably Pollyanna to say okay, you dozen or so kids go straight to the NBA, the rest of you, we expect four years for the tuition, room and board, we provide. And if you want to leave early, we’ll take 15 percent of your salary for every year until your graduation year – returning college sports to what it was meant to be.

UP NEXT: Summer songs; Biff Burger; Qualified Captain

061420/00

 

WEEK OF JUNE 7, 2020

 

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

 

The cost of doing business

 

We suppose it was inevitable that some Japanese steakhouse would add a surcharge for their cost of masks, cleaning supplies and the like to a dinner tab. Elsewhere, dentists are adding a similar charge to their fees – ten bucks a head. This is simply a cost of doing business – did they not clean and sanitize before the epidemic? Oh, UPS is tacking on some surcharge for an undetermined reason. Then there’s gas stations and other businesses who want to surcharge you for using a credit card – we avoid those folks like we avoid poisonous snakes. The same with our vendors who added delivery charges during high gas prices – most of which did not disappear when as prices normalized. A price should reflect all costs and then the consumer can decide whether to purchase or not. But don’t surprise us with added fees after food or services have been rendered.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. An addendum to our lead article. If there is one person         who would be justified in an added charge, it is a physician friend. His patients were stealing bottles of hand sanitizer from his exam rooms during the height of the virus scare – pretty cheesy.

2. “Florida’s Best Newspaper” is completely clueless. They recently took White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany to task for voting by mail in her home county – Hillsborough County. She and the rest of us would have no problem with vote by mail if it was all done in Hillsborough or Pinellas County instead of various places around the country and our state where “funny things” happen during elections (TBRR 5/10/20).  

3. Joltin’ Joe Biden takes on Amazon, saying they don’t pay their fair share of taxes. Amazon responds with their $15 billion tax bill from 2019 and pointing out they pay those taxes under tax laws which, for the most part, were developed while Biden was either in the Senate or VP. Try taking on a hungry grizzly bear next time, Joe.

4. Let’s just say we’re glad we never had Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey leading our troops into battle. And a tip of the hat to the city of Tampa for their quick imposition of a curfew in response to bands of thugs who chose to make a tragic situation a reason for looting and destruction.

5. GE’s recent sell off of their light bulb division after 125 years reminds us that most of the home appliance names from the 50s and 60s are no longer around. We think of Admiral, Curtis-Mathes, Philco, Sylvania, Westinghouse and Zenith to name a few.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. 80 years ago this summer – a pivotal event in baseball. A very promising pitcher for the Daytona Beach Islanders injured his pitching shoulder diving for a ball during batting practice. With the severe injury, the youngster’s manager, former MLB pitcher Dickie Kerr, suggested he try to further develop his hitting skills and become a position player. The kid's name was Musial.

7. Idle thought – the best five starting pitchers we have had the privilege to watch over the years are Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Greg Maddux and Nolan Ryan.

8. 65 years ago this week, NBC Radio premiered their weekend-long show Monitor – one of the best productions in the history of radio. It would air for twenty years and become the model for NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

9. A friend shared a not so complimentary nickname for the Neiman Marcus Stores which we profiled a couple weeks back (TBRR 5/24/20) – ‘‘needless mark-up.” The same could apply to the pricey Pier 1 – which has folded the tent permanently.

10. And from the always credible 5:05 Newsletter: “When expelled into the air by people speaking very loudly or shouting, the Coronavirus can hover for 15 minutes ... which explains why the infection rate is highest in New York City.

 

The pandemic – rediscovering television

 

Years ago, FCC Chairman Newton Minnow described television as “a vast wasteland.” Overall, we can’t say we disagree. Other than Channel 13’s excellent morning news program and baseball (remember that?), we don’t spend much time in front of the set. But with our “interesting times,” we discovered a few enticing things to make up for the lack of books and outside activities. Mostly we’ve watched shows we were going to get around to someday like The Good Wife, Monk, Veep, Curb Your Enthusiasm plus a dozen or more historical documentaries. The only current running show we’ve latched on to is the captivating The Amazing Mrs. Maisel – arguably our favorite of the bunch with its excellent scripting and outstanding cast. These shows along with MLB’s airing of the last two baseball seasons have made the quarantine tolerable. Granted, there were just as many disappointments such as our visit back to Pardon the Interruption which is still ridiculously overloaded with inconsequential pro basketball stuff and little of value, but overall, the return to TV has been a pleasant experience.

UP NEXT: The worst public policy proposal in US history

060720/71

 

WEEK OF MAY 31, 2020

 

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

 

Here comes summer and Cristobal and Nana

 

As we officially enter the hurricane season this week, Arthur and Bertha have already come and gone. Officials are telling us to expect an active 2020 season with Cristobal next up followed by Dolly and later Nana – our granddaughter’s name for her paternal grandmother who hopes her namesake and her fellow storms will be “weak and feeble.” From her lips to God’s ear! We’ve seen tremendous acts of help and kindness during our pandemic just as we saw during the last two major Florida hurricanes – Irma in 2017 and Michael in 2018. What we hope not to see is the hoarding prevalent during the coronavirus and the gouging (7-11 and Chevron being the two biggest offenders) we saw during Irma. Stay safe!

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. All the brouhaha over the state employee cashiered for insubordination. Rebekah Jones violated so many principals of corporate or governmental communications. It is surprising her dismissal didn’t come earlier. If you disagree with policy, you take it upstairs, not to the internet which is career suicide.

2. Now, if we were running President Trump’s re-election campaign, our advice would be don’t say a word about Joe Biden (which we know is impossible) and just let Biden keep talking. Joltin’ Joe’s interview with a Black media outlet last week was a doozy.

3. We love the lawn signs all over Pinellas County proclaiming a 2020 grad lives at the residence - more on graduations below.

4. The latest decision by a federal judge on the felon voting issue is far from final. It will certainly be appealed as a first year law student can see flaws in the judge’s order. And relieving a felon of their obligation to pay restitution to an innocent victim is simply unconscionable.

5. Just when we were starting to feel really good about humankind, along comes Minneapolis.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Quote of the week: As one of the more willing of union spokesmen, he was far more articulate than some goofball in Tampa - a national sportswriter’s characterization of Blake Snell in comparison to one of the leading spokesmen among major leaguers during the last work stoppage 25 years ago.

7. In a related note, Snell has signed on with agent Scott Boras. A perfect match of possibly the two most disliked men in baseball.

8. Tale of two lefthanders: while the narcissistic Snell complains about his multi-million dollar salary. David Price is quietly writing $1000 checks to each of the Dodgers minor leaguers who will not have a season – or payday. That is over 200 young players – good for the ex-Ray!

9. Maria Morales, the owner of Hair Du Soleil, is one of the finest stylists on the planet and a friend for a couple decades. Your Humble Blogger and Saintly Wife are in her debt for making the two of us a lot less shaggy in the safety of her salon.

10. With thanks to a dear friend, you’ve lived in the bay area a long time if you remember Toppers on South Garden Avenue (now the site of Emily’s) in downtown Clearwater and their outrageous ice cream creations.

 

Remembering: The rites of late spring

 

(Editor’s note: we continue our end of the month series of looking back on people, places and things that shaped the way we remember the bay area. Previous features on Star Spectaculars, Spring Training, the Clearwater Bombers and Howard the Trader can be found in the last editions of each month in TBRR.)

We feel for the graduating seniors of 2020 and their missed proms, walking the stage and other rites of passage. We start with prom – usually honoring the senior class and their dates and put on by the junior class at most schools. You dressed your best, bought a corsage or boutonnière for your date and cleaned up the family car – no limos back in the day! A little later in the month was the legendary or more mythical senior skip day. Then came the signing of yearbooks – and don’t you wish you could take back about half of what you wrote? But hey, you were seventeen. Then came the big day when you walked in front of family and friends and at some point in the evening threw your cap in the air. For Clearwater High seniors, there was an extra special treat FAG (Festival after Graduation) Night staged by the Rotary Club of Clearwater for graduates and their dates. It started with a dance, followed by a movie and ended with breakfast usually at the Clearwater Country Club. That was followed by about eighteen hours of sleep! About a week or so later came Beach Week, a less formal gathering of graduating seniors to say their goodbyes before they headed for Gainesville, Tallahassee, Tampa and other points across the state and nation. For many, the next time they would see each other was the first reunion, usually ten years hence. But what an unforgettable month!

Next Up: Gas Wars; Monitor; Musial;

052420/75

 

WEEK OF MAY 24, 2020

 

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

 

Memorial Day – Remember what others have done for you

 

Polio, Pearl Harbor and the SF earthquake

 

We begin with a thought from the oft-quoted 5:05 Newsletter – “Biden Slams President Trump For His Response To The Polio Epidemic”. Very tongue in cheek, but the very same week comes some harebrained commentary from a guy named Eugene Robinson blaming President Trump for all the ills spawned by the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Robinson writes for the Washington Post – now there’s a surprise. The missive from the lunatic fringe conveniently overlooks about 100 or so facts like America’s recovery compared to any other major nation in the world; the fact that our country is getting back to work daily and, of course it offers absolutely no worthwhile (or not worthwhile) alternatives to what is being done. It’s simply Trump’s fault for the 80,000 plus U.S. deaths from the pandemic. What twisted logic. The poison pen piece stops short of blaming our President for the nearly 300,000 deaths worldwide as well as the attack on Pearl Harbor and the San Francisco earthquake, while assuring us all will be better if we place Joe Biden in the White House this fall. This assumes, of course, Lonesome Joe finds his way out of his basement bunker by then.  

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. The Hillsborough County Commission is tone deaf. Their proposal for increased impact fees could not come at a worse time when Florida has close to a half-million people unemployed. Granted, new development does impact infrastructure, but now is not the time to bump up rates as our fragile economy tries to rebound.

2. The St. Pete Police Department is looking really bad in their skirmish with two demoted lieutenants who allege others did what they were accused of – padding time sheets. The city dragging its feet and their lame excuses for same doesn’t reflect well on the county’s largest department.

3. Pot calling the kettle: “America’s sweetheart” takes a jab at President Trump regarding his fitness in regards to his weight and age. Trump, like most of us, not as trim as he once was, is 73. The leading harpy of the Democratic Party is 80.

4. Our nomination for the last bay area place to reopen would have been the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa with its shoulder to shoulder gambling and a demographic best described as long in the tooth.

5. You’ve lived in the bay area (or anywhere else) for a long time if you grew up reading Nancy Drew or Hardy Boy books as a kid. They were both written by a syndicate headed by Edward Stratemeyer with nom de plumes Carolyn Keene and Franklin Dixon being used for the many folks who actually wrote the books. Bonus points if you read two other popular books of that era – Clair Bee’s Chip Hilton sports series or the Rick Brant sci-fi series by John Blaine (aka Harold Goodwin).

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Recent CNN panel show on the coronavirus featured several former high ranking medical experts and Greta Thunberg, Thunberg is a high school student from Sweden who is famous for not attending high school. Was Ralph Nader not available?

7. NBC’s Chuck Todd deliberately edited a response from the nation’s Attorney General changing the context of the answer. Frankly, we are shocked (see disclaimer above). This is certainly not the first time Todd has played fast and loose with the facts.

8. One of the more interesting things about a potential baseball season is the concept of a taxi squad for MLB teams. The additional 25 on each roster would play 5-6 inning games before the big clubs each day, keeping the taxi squad sharp for potential call-ups.

9. Number of the week – 18. That’s the number of Gold Gloves won by Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, the most in history – one more than Oriole third baseman Brooks Robinson and Jim Kaat who modeled six different uniforms and won 283 games and, incredibly, is not in the Hall of Fame.

10. Five years ago in TBRR (5/24/15): Don’t know about you, but there wasn’t a dry eye in your HB (Humble Blogger’s) home during last week’s send off for Channel 8’s Gayle Sierens. What a class act.

 

The downfall of Neiman Marcus

 

There were stores and then there was Neiman Marcus. In its halcyon years, it was headed by Stanley Marcus, a shrewd businessman with a flair for the flamboyant – especially at Christmas. Each year, Neiman Marcus would feature one or more outrageous gifts for the “one per cent”. One year, it was a $120,000 sleepover at their Dallas flagship store for six ladies; a first class trip to the Ryder Cup worth over $200,000; then there were cars – a his and hers Jaguar – a car for him, a jaguar coat for her. In 2002, the store offered the retooled Ford Thunderbird two-seater before the public could buy one – detailed in the company’s corporate colors – now a collector’s item. There have been other “experience” type gifts too – like a $425,000 VIP trip to the Academy Awards. A certain portion of each of these extravagant purchases went to charity making them slightly less ostentatious. Now, Neiman Marcus is in bankruptcy – not the same company that Stanley Marcus led, but the product of several buy-outs; going private, then public and other machinations. We hope they will survive, but it will never be the store of the Stanley Marcus days.

NEXT UP: Bertha, Cristobal & Nana; Rites of late spring; Topper’s

052420-75

 

WEEK OF MAY 17, 2020

 

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

 

Politifact: some animals are more equal….

 

That bastion of journalistic integrity, Politifact, recently blew off the claim by Tara Reade that Joe Biden was less than a gentleman when she worked for him in his Senate office. We guess we might tend to concur if Ms. Reade were the only woman making those accusations against the former vice-president. And we might give it more credence if Politifact had not all but hung Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings two years ago. Perhaps Politifact should have watched Biden’s two-step even when faced with questions from a left-leaning interviewer before they all but absolved him. As always with Politifact, it comes down to which letter (D or R) follows your name. Or, in the words of George Orwell, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” How true.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

 

1. Number of the week: 72% - percentage of U.S. citizens who believe the information in the nation’s major news media to be false or deliberately misleading. They too must read politifact.

2. Quote of the week: “I am the public face of this city.” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot defending her violation of her own order shutting down beauty salons. Again, some animals are more equal than others. By the way, some interesting numbers – Illinois has a population of 13 million; Florida 21.5 million, yet the Sunshine State has half the number of coronavirus cases as Illinois and half the deaths from the pandemic.

3. A little over a month ago, we offered up a mantra for this unusual time from wellness expert Dr. Don Ardell – “Cave and Roam Alone” (TBRR 3/29/20). Now from our long-suffering bride comes “Secure and Shaggy.” Sure enough.

4. This week marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the revered Pope John Paul II.

5.From a recent 5:05 Newsletter: Do you realize that 100 years ago, in 1920, the U.S. outlawed alcohol and now liquor stores have been ruled an essential service. We've come a long way!

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. If we had any respect for Rays’ pitcher Blake Snell, it went out with the garbage after hearing him whine about getting about half his salary (approximately $3.5 million) – while people in Florida are hoping they finally get an unemployment check.

7. Our daughter whose baseball (and personal) IQ is about three times her Dad’s, fears the 10-team alignments being proposed might provide the slippery slope for the dreaded DH to be forced on NL teams. The nuclear clock is nearing midnight for pure baseball.

8. Years ago, I thought I was on an intelligence level with my daughter until I learned her 4 plus GPA had been accomplished in one year as opposed to the cumulative three years it took me to get to four plus at CHS.

9. Another shake-up in the MNF booth. The show will never have the cachet as in the days of Frank, Dandy Don, Howard and Hank. That was must see television.

10. Idle sports thought – Arnie, Jack and Tiger – the three best golfers in the history of the game. You pick the order, but no one else comes close.

 

Two stalwarts in the entertainment biz

 

Good Golly Miss Molly, Long Tall Sally, Jenny, Jenny and Great Gosh A’Mighty were just four of the hard driving songs from the large library of Little Richard. He was truly one of the pioneers of rock and roll along with Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis. Only Jerry Lee is still with us. Little Richard was 87 at his passing last week. And when you say Jerry Stiller, you think of his irrational fatherly roles in The King of Queens and Seinfeld. We often forget the brilliance of his comedy routines over the years with his wife, Ann Meara to whom he was married for over 60 years. She preceded him in death in 2015 and he is survived by their son, acclaimed actor/comedian Ben Stiller. Jerry Stiller was 92.

UP NEXT: Neiman Marcus; Nancy Drew; The Blame Game

051720/71                  

 

 

 

WEEK OF MAY 10, 2020

 

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

 

Mail ballots may be needed, but they are scary

 

Full disclosure, we have not voted at the polls in any election since 1998. It is just too easy to fill in a ballot provided by the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections and mail it in. But this is Pinellas County, not Chicago, New York City or even the southeast coast of Florida where funny things happen during election time. It appears mail ballots may be the only avenue to full (but not “fuller”) participation during the year of the pandemic. We’re okay with full just not fuller voting where Grandma Brown, who has been dead for three years, miraculously casts a ballot. And then there’s a left wing suit alleging that vote by mail constitutes a poll tax. Nonsense, if you don’t want to mail it, you will still be able to drop it off unless you want to spin the tiny bit of gas you might use to get it to a drop box as a poll tax as well. In any event, with all mail balloting must come much stronger federal and state oversight so we avoid the bad times like 1960, 2018 and other abuses of years past.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. A monstrous black mark on the otherwise good job done by our governor in the coronavirus response is the total meltdown of the state’s unemployment system. Heaven and earth must be moved to get this right. And any bureaucrat who adopts any sort of attitude with someone trying to get their rightful benefits should be summarily dismissed.

2. Related to our lead article, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has turned down a bid by the Democratic Party to undo a Florida law that places the party in power first on ballots. This law was first enacted by a Democratic-controlled legislature in the mid-20th century. If ever the term “hoisted by their own petard” applies, it’s in this case.

3. Quote of the week: “I will not die of stupid” – from a left wing South Florida columnist whose gibberish appears way too often in “FBN”. If you’ve read his meanderings, you would know if you could die of stupid, this guy would have been six feet under a long time ago.

4. News from the Biden Bunker: While Me Too activists are now reluctantly admitting that Democrats do bad things too, there is good news – the endorsement of Hillary Clinton – and yes, we get the irony of these two events. And nice “virtual rally” in Florida this past week, Joe.

5. The best thing about the coronavirus epidemic is that it has given birth to a new bunch of 5:05 Newsletters. From their latest: The first toilet paper roll of the spring appeared today in our grocery store so, hopefully, we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately for New Yorkers, the light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Before his arrival, south Florida’s NFL team was a joke with a 15-39-2 record over its first four seasons. Don Shula took the Dolphins to the playoffs in his first year and the NFL’s only perfect season two years later. The legendary coach passed away last week at age 90.

7. If there were a Mt. Rushmore of Tampa Bay restauranteurs, some of the names would include Gonzmart (Columbia), Heilman (Beachcomber), Siple and Laxer (Bern’s). The matriarch of Bern’s Steak House, 93-year-old Gert Laxer, died on April 28.

8. A happy 15th anniversary to our go-to site for baseball news MLB Trade Rumors. A spin-off of Tim Dierkes’ Roto Authority, it attracts something like a half-million viewers per day and is a welcome respite during these days of empty ballparks.

9. Pinellas libraries to open at 25 percent capacity on Monday the 18th. Yippee! But do check hours at your favorite facility. They will be staggered during the day to allow for cleaning. Hair cutting facilities will, for the most part, open on the 11th.

10. You had to wonder where the stars from the mega hit Big Bang Theory would wind up. Jim Parsons, of course, already has a gig narrating Young Sheldon. Next up would appear to be the loveable Mayim Bialik (Amy) in a Fox Network show Call Me Kat which will premiere later this year.

 

Phils could have had Girardi two years ago

 

As we opined last week, the best off season baseball move may well be the Phils hiring Joe Girardi as their manager. The sad thing is with a phone call, they probably could have had him two years ago avoiding their disastrous hiring of Gabe Kapler. It probably took Phils brass three games into the 2018 season to realize they had made a horrible choice. In his first game, Kapler yanked ace Aaron Nola after 68 pitches and a 5-0 lead. He then mismanaged his bullpen into an 8-5 loss. Two games later, he yanked starter Vince Velasquez, but had no one warming up. The reliever, rushed into the game, coughed up three quick runs. The Phils under Kapler blew division leads in both 2018 and 19. The second year was particularly egregious after the club added two of the best position players in baseball – J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper. Girardi should turn that around this year even with the screwy schedule and have the Phils in the hunt to the very end. A coda to this story, the Giants astonishingly hired Kapler to replace their retiring Hall of Fame manager Bruce Bochy.

Next Up: Golf’s Big 3; All animals are equal; One of rock’s pioneers

051020/73

 

WEEK OF MAY 3, 2020

 

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

 

Opening up Florida – slowly

 

Count us among the near unanimous collection of folks who applaud Governor Ron DeSantis’ cautious approach to reopening Florida. The ability to get a meal at your favorite restaurant, if you wish, to patronize a favorite store and (thank goodness) to check out a book is a great first step. Frankly, being in the so-called at risk group, we plan to hold off on that first meal for a while and, despite our shagginess, a much needed haircut when salons first open. And we hope others in that “older than dirt” group will exercise similar care. We will still order out from our favorite restaurant once or twice a week, but will wait a few weeks to see how things develop before dining in. It’s so tempting to just break out of the house after the past several weeks, but caution should continue to be the byword. This was evidenced by the leader of the area’s largest group of the faithful, Bishop Gregory Parkes of the Diocese of St. Petersburg delaying, at least for a while, the resumption of Masses in the five county diocese. And again, we pay tribute to our governor and his staff for their management of an incredibly difficult situation.

 

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Our world famous beaches are now open. Kudos go to Pinellas Commissioners Dave Eggers and Karen Seel who took the lead in this initiative. We need to move slowly, but the vast expanse of beaches is a good place to start.

2. We normally respect Microsoft founder Bill Gates, but his defense of China in the coronavirus pandemic is, well, indefensible. Where does he think this mess started – the Fiji Islands?

3. Fox News morning host introduces Tampa mayor as Jane Castro – well, there are some similarities.

4. News from the Biden Bunker – as reports of improprieties mount up, there is good news. The former VP has received the endorsement of Nancy Pelosi. That should push him over the top.

5. As we labor through coronavirus, another lighter note from the 5:05 Newsletter: "I've washed my hands so many times that I can read the answers to a math test I took in 1966."

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Ouch! MLB’s proposed 10-team divisions would place the Rays in a division with NL East powerhouses the Mets, Nationals and Phillies, not to mention the Yanks.. The only bright note for the Rays is geographically-challenged MLB thinks Atlanta is in the Midwest.

7. One of the most amazing baseball items of the off-season is that the Washington Nationals have not yet exercised their 2021 option on manager Davy Martinez who did something no Washington manager had done since 1924 – win a World Series.

8. While patiently waiting for the start of Spring Training 2.0, this thought - the best acquisition in the offseason is not Cole, Rendon, Betts or Donaldson, but the Phillies finally getting some stability in their dugout with Joe Girardi.

9.Alas, in more normal times this would be Derby weekend. Side thought – with a fall running this year, will the ladies’ hat fashions change?

10. The New Orleans Saints signing of Jameis Winston is curious. They have a Hall of Famer under center in Drew Brees, a valuable back-up in Taysom Hill and just drafted Mississippi State QB Tommy Stevens.

 

MLB’s next ten years

 

Frustrated baseball fans are searching through their closets for their old Strat-O-Matic. But as the calendar flipped to a new decade, a selection of MLB players were asked about their predictions for the next ten years in various categories such as number of World Championships. Besides the “chalk” picks of the Yankees and Braves, the next team mentioned most prominently by these big leaguers was the Chicago White Sox – a team like the Yanks and Braves loaded with a bunch of young stars – maybe just a step or two behind the other two teams right now. And briefly in the pitching categories, besides DeGrom, Cole, Buehler and Bieber was the name Nate Pearson who has not thrown a game in the majors – yet. The Blue Jays prospect from nearby Odessa has the fastest heater in organized ball and amazing control for a power pitcher. Keep your eye on him, this year and in the future.

NEXT UP: Amy’s next gig; Rise & fall of the turn signal; More on Joe

050320/68

 

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?

042620/68

 

WEEK OF APRIL 19, 2010

 

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.

 

Our recovery - one size does not fit all

 

Mark Sharpe of the Tampa Innovation Partnership stole our thunder this week (see his op-ed piece on line). Our lead piece was to be one size fits none in regards to the pandemic recovery. Florida is beginning to see things stabilize; New York is still a hot mess. Places like South Dakota are asking what pandemic? Even in Florida, other areas will normalize before South Florida. Our leaders seem to have a grasp of this, and we should follow their lead.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Quote(s) of the Week (both from Tampa Mayor Jane Castor): March 29 - “This is the highest level of unpreparedness from the federal government that I have ever seen in any type of an emergency.” April 15 - “That’s not my style. Frankly, I think it’s just a waste of time to be critical of others.” With a herculean amount of restraint, we offer no comment to the above quotes.

2. Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says, in so many words, his presidency would be an extension of the Obama regime. Didn’t Clinton say that? And didn’t Americans reject that?

3. Looking for silver linings during this stressful period? Here’s one – the outbreak of coronavirus in China has led many U.S. companies to rethink their physical presence in China as well as how much we outsource there.

4. We would argue that many who will be receiving stimulus checks really don’t need them, but we are gratified that earliest checks went to those with the lowest incomes. And for those who insist on nitpicking even in times of national crisis, who really cares who signs the checks?

5. Idle thought related to #4 above: Maybe if you were one of those folks who really didn’t need a stimulus check, you might want to cut a check or two to some of your favorite non-profits.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

 

6. Thanks to the NFL for throwing sports fans a bone by holding their draft on schedule this week – specifically the 23rd through the 25th. We’re guessing viewership ratings for the event will be at an all-time high.

7. Speaking of the draft, barring a monumental turnaround, it’s safe to say the top two picks in the NFL draft five years ago, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, were busts.

8 What with the library closed, we thank goodness for Amazon Prime, MLB.com and good old AMC and TMC. Speaking of the library, Pinellas libraries want you to hold on to your checked out materials – no past dues or fines until further notice.

9. It has survived Marvin Miller, a few strikes over the years, and the infamous 1919 throwing of the World Series (chronicled well by Charles Fountain’s The Betrayal) and the national pastime will overcome the shutdown occasioned by coronavirus pandemic.

10. From the recent special edition of the 5:05 Newsletter: Entertainment News: The Rolling Stones announced they will be doing another world tour this year. World tours used to be easier for them in their younger days because the continents were much closer together.

 

Wild ideas in the sports world; some may work

 

Imagine, if you will, a come one, come all playoff in the NHL – maybe the same for the NBA. Baseball seems focused on a Florida-Arizona system. That’s not good news for the Rays because in addition to the Yanks, Twins and Astros, they might also have to face the World Champ Nats, two National League division winners – the Braves and Cards, plus the Red Sox, who are not chopped liver. Biggest problem with the scheme is each state has 15 teams which means two teams (one in each state) are off every day. There, of course, are others. If you think Florida is hot in the summer, try Arizona. Financially, all three schemes are tough financially because they most likely would be played without fans and the concessions they patronize. Revenue would only come from broadcast rights and we’re not sure networks and cable providers would be all that willing to pay top dollar for what they might perceive as one step up from exhibition games. Our best bet for normalcy in sports is probably the NFL season and that is far from a sure thing.

UP NEXT: Talk to this old boy; 5:05’s reality show; The toll of texting

041920/68

 

WEEK OF APRIL 12, 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.

 

A blessed Easter to all

 

Florida’s chief executive needs our support

 

We first saw Ron DeSantis on a baseball field as a 12-year-old, and we were impressed. He impresses us now as he deals with something no governor, senator, mayor or any other elected official saw coming. He has a lot to deal with. What he shouldn’t be dealing with is a bunch of second guessing by folks armed with a fraction of the knowledge he has at his disposal. Chief among those is Tampa’s mayor flaunting her resume of 11 months in elective office. Mayor Castor is already sounding like someone who aspires to replace Governor DeSantis – good luck with that. But between now and when qualifying begins for the next election cycle, how about you and the rest of the vast squad of Monday morning quarterbacks getting on board and supporting our state’s efforts?

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. In a follow up to last week’s lead piece about the very possible demise or sell off of “Florida’s Best Newspaper,” if we had a choice of a new parent company it would be Cox Media whose Atlanta Journal Constitution is, by far, the best newspaper in the south, if not the nation.

2. Headline of the Week: Jane Castor gets 78% approval rating in pandemic, outdoing DeSantis, Trump, new poll shows. Even a casual reading of the story below the headline reveals incredible playing with numbers. As the old saying goes, figures don’t lie, but liars figure.

3. Zev Buffman who oversaw the expansion of Ruth Eckerd Hall, and tirelessly pushed for the controversial Coachman Park amphitheater project, died last week at age 89.

4. Item – new area code coming for Hillsborough County as 813 combinations are virtually exhausted. Back in the mid-90s, a printing company owner conservatively estimates that the 727 area code and zip code changes on business stationary and forms put a child through college.

5. During these troubled times, thank goodness for the several special editions of the 5:05 Newsletter. From a recent edition: In his last video, Joe Biden lost his train of thought. There were no survivors.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. XFL and the Vipers – we hardly knew ya.

7. As April 15th approaches (though the deadline has been extended), this tax thought from the Farmer’s Almanac,“If Patrick Henry thought that taxation without representation was bad, he should see how bad it is with representation.”

8. Introduced 56 years ago this week was the Ford Mustang. Projected to sell 100,000 models the first year, it sold 400,000. The iconic car debuted at the 1964 World’s Fair.

9. You walk into a restaurant at a Princess Cruise Line resort in Fairbanks, Alaska and the last person you would expect to see at a table is baseball great Al Kaline, but there he was. The 18-time All Star passed away last week at age 85.

10. Good move by the Bucs to bring back QB Blaine Gabbert. He knows the Buc’s system and will lend a veteran presence should the unthinkable happen and Brady goes down with an injury.

 

 

Ode to a big brother

 

Forgive us this week as we dwell on something deeply personal - saying farewell to a brother-in-law who was never a brother-in-law, but the big brother I never had. I was about eight when I first met Joe, a guy who was hopelessly in love with my sister, nine years my senior. I remember how mature I was at age 16 (not at all) and how mature my brother-in-law to be was at that age. He was like a surrogate dad, - helping with my limited baseball skills, building me a soap box derby-type car and, worst of all, having to act as co-babysitter with my sis should one of my parents’ social activities conflict with their date night. What fun that must have been. Joe was a hard worker, fiercely independent, a superb athlete, champion skeet shooter and a great Dad, Granddad and Great Granddad. Even though we were separated by some 1300 miles, we managed to see each other at least once a year – the last time being December when the love of his life passed away. His heart was broken and now less than four months later, he will join her again. That gives some comfort to the love of my life and I who will miss him dearly.

 

UP NEXT: The Draft; The Stones; Wild sports ideas; Hypocrisy reigns

041220/69

 

WEEK OF APRIL 5, 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.

 

The Times: beginning of the end?

 

We begin with a piece from the August 17, 2014 TBRR – our first year of publication: Think of things that were here a quarter century ago and now gone forever (i.e. the Pontiac and VHS). Think ahead twenty five years about things that now exist and will be gone then. Two candidates – AM radio and the daily newspaper.

It’s beginning to look more and more like we were about two decades off in the demise of the daily paper. The Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s Best Newspaper (FBN), as they are fond of labeling themselves, has announced today it is becoming a twice-weekly paper. Those with a sharp memory will remember this was the first step in the demise of the beloved Clearwater Sun. The paper, of course, lays its troubles at the foot of coronavirus, but there were stormy seas much in advance to the pandemic – salary cuts, layoffs and a continuously shrinking paper. Even cash infusions from some deep pocketed individuals have not been enough. The reasons for their perilous position - there are many, but some of the major missteps – a disconnect from their population base in Pinellas in an attempt to become more “regional”, their continual march to the left (if you believe the Times, there never has been a GOP presidential or gubernatorial candidate worthy of their endorsement in the paper’s entire existence) and dragging their feet in entering the digital age. Will the Times go away? Probably not, we see them eventually bowing to the inevitable and being absorbed by a chain which hopefully would lead to more balanced reporting. But if the paper does succumb, we will not dance on the grave, but sorrow in the loss of our last daily newspaper – a tragedy the Times, for the most part, brought upon themselves.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. In a related note and further reason for their troubles: we’ve always considered FBN’s John Romano a hack, but his recent branding of Governor Ron DeSantis a coward is beyond the pale. Forgetting his naval career as a SEAL and JAG, DeSantis has busted his tail to do the right thing for his home state in an unprecedented crisis. Romano’s irresponsible words and FBN’s allowing them to be published show just how far the art of journalism has sunk. He and his paper owe the Governor of this state an apology.

2. Buried by all the coronavirus news was the swearing in last week of Clearwater’s new council members – one an avowed anti-Scientologist, the other endorsed by Scientologists during the election. Should be fun.

3. In a related note, Arizona’s chief elections official is calling for an all-mail election during the current crisis. This is something that makes way too much sense - pandemic or not.

4. Things could be worse on the health front. While we all self-isolate, in New York State’s hospitals, workers are simply not showing up for their shifts. We’re sure Governor Cuomo will find a way to blame this on our President.

5. Idle thought: Funny how you adapt to a failing device and then see how inefficient it had become when you replace it – like the mouse on the computer that generates this weekly drivel.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. It has almost become a weekly again – from the most recent “special edition” of the 5:05 Newsletter -Sports Thought: This is the perfect time for Jerry Seinfeld to create another television "show about nothing." They can call it ESPN.

7. A belated Happy Birthday to Tampa Bay’s WTVT Channel 13 which signed on 65 years ago last week. Channel 13 is one of the many, many good things about living in the bay area.

8. Given their history of excellent ads over the years, we shouldn’t be surprised by the content of the most recent Publix ad, explaining in simple terms what they are doing to help us and we can do to help them and our fellow shoppers.

9. We note the passing of long time media figure, Earl Emmons at age 85. Earl held many positions at The Tampa Tribune over the years, and we enjoyed sharing a broadcast booth with him covering prep sports in the late sixties and early seventies. Earl was an interesting and terrific guy.

10. Speaking of the media and reflecting back on our Remembering piece of last week, you’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you remember two men who chronicled the Clearwater Bomber’s success – the Clearwater Sun’s Bill Currieand WTAN’s “Mayor Bob” Weatherly.

 

Return of the TBRR focus group:

 

It’s been awhile since our TBRR Focus Group (a group of four old, cranky people) has convened due to health issues and, sadly, the passing of one of our members. We queried the group about the things they miss most during the self-imposed isolation during the virus outbreak. Their answers were major league baseball, their favorite restaurant, attending church, the library, gathering with friends and, from the workaholic in the group, going to the office.

UP NEXT: Monday morning QBs; Birth of the pony car; MLB’s future

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WEEK OF MARCH 29, 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.

 

 

The virus: Our Roses and Onions:

 

 

We will couch our comments on the virus to this point in the form of Roses and Onions. Roses to Governor Ron DeSantis and his team for the handling of the pandemic to this point. We are in uncharted territory – there’s no playbook and the governor has done well. Roses to the members of the Pinellas County Commission, particularly the few who have actually had to make a payroll in their lives, for guiding their fellow members away from a ruinous “shut down everything” ordinance. Onions to St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman for trying to impose his city’s (or his) will upon our entire county. Onions to Tampa’s Mayor Jane Castor for the same, plus her unwarranted criticism of the federal government’s handling of the crises – specifically her snarky “This is the highest level of unpreparedness from the federal government that I have ever seen in any type of an emergency.” This from an ex-cop who has been in office what six months? More Onions to dopes who keep hoarding things like toilet paper and cleaning supplies. But Roses to merchants who are telling those hoarders “Enjoy your one gross of toilet paper, but don’t expect to return it for credit after the crisis is over.” More Roses to our nation’s Department of Justice cracking down on hoarders and gougers. Further Roses to folks who have suggested that policy makers who are hell-bent on suggesting safety practicing businesses shut down and rob folks of a paycheck forfeit their own paychecks first.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Watching our Pinellas County Commission attempt to deal with a Safer at Home resolution revealed some very strong commissioners, particularly David Eggers and Karen Seel and a few who, frankly, are an embarrassment. You owe to yourself to watch/attend when possible your particular jurisdiction’s public meetings rather than just blindly voting for a name every November.

2. Some news that has somehow remained buried. Life in China, after about two months of quarantines, is returning to normal with schools scheduled to reopen the first of April, no more face masks and even gyms reopening.

3. Another sign of the times is going to be longer hair as shop after shop closes. We were able to watch our publicity seeking sheriff on TV personally attaching one of his flyers to the shop we frequent.

4. Should Clearwater’s city elections become partisan? You could argue they already have with clumsy attempts by both political parties to influence the last two elections plus undue influence guised as news coverage by our left-leaning area newspaper.

5. You’ve lived in the Bay Area a long time if you remember that conservative talk show host Glenn Beck launched the political opinion phase of his career twenty years ago this year at WFLA Radio. Prior to that, he had been a successful morning DJ in several major markets.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. From the brilliant and sometimes quirky mind of our friend and wellness guru, Dr. Don Ardell, a motto for the pandemic – “Cave and Roam Alone.” Indeed, a few miles of solitude on a trail or bike path can do wonders for pandemic-induced stress.

7. The more you got to know former Clearwater Police Chief Sid Klein, the more you appreciated him. Sid passed away last week at age 78. And the entertainment industry also lost an icon – Kenny Rogers who began singing counter-culture songs and transitioned into one of America’s most successful country-pop singers. The “Gambler” was 81.

8. Thanks to the AAA Living Magazine for their short feature in their March/April issue on one of our favorite places on earth - Alachua’s Retirement Home for Horses. You’ll find it on Page 14.

9. A shout out to MLB.com for making available all 2018 and 2019 games for starving fans. We are personally through game number seven of our favorite team’s 2019 season.

10. And on a less happy note, last Thursday would have been Opening Day.

 

 

Remembering: The Clearwater Bombers

 

(Editor’s note: During 2020 on the last issue of each month, we will be looking back on people, events or things that shaped our memories of the bay area. We welcome your input.)

 

It was just about this time of year that the Phillies headed north for the summer and Jack Russell Stadium was converted for softball play. If you wanted to find anybody on a Friday or Saturday night, they were probably at the Clearwater Bomber game. The Bombers, for a quarter century, were the best in the game winning their first national championship in 1950 and their tenth and last in 1973. Pitching was always their strong suit with left hander John Hunter and righty Weldon Haney both winning three MVPs at the national event. There were also names like Herb Dudley and Eddie King, the winningest Bomber pitcher, who formed the nucleus of the staff over the years. These four men along with 17 other Bombers are in the Men’s Fast Pitch Hall of Fame – the most of any team in history. The Bombers’ ten world championships is another mark untouched in the history of men’s softball. The Bombers and their success put Clearwater on the map in the mid-1900s.

Next Up: Bill and Bob; Mail it in; Beginning of the end for "FBN"? 

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WEEK OF MARCH 22, 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.

 

(Editor’s Note I: Other than a casual reference below, this is not your source for coronavirus news. We are a weekly blog and, as we all know, this situation is changing hourly. The around the clock media has done a decent job in keeping us informed without, for the most part, politicizing this pandemic. Be well!)

 

Memo to newly elected Clearwater officials:

 

First congratulations, although in time you will probably realize, as one very recognizable council member once said: “the job is not all it’s cracked up to be.” Once you’ve learned where your seats and offices are, get on with the most important thing you can do for your city – stop trying to save downtown Clearwater! A couple of decades of your predecessors have tried and have been met with mixed results at best at the cost of many, many tax dollars. Just like the ill-fated Harborview Center, a 4000-seat amphitheater won’t turn around downtown Clearwater.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Good luck to newly-elected Mayor Frank Hibbard. He’s been saddled with a one-trick pony (anti-Scientology) council member along with another new member with some extremely radical and potentially very costly ideas. Neither new member received a majority of votes in their contest - unlike Hibbard. The Mayor does have a solid returning crew in David Allbritton and Hoyt Hamilton, but Hibbard could be presiding over the most dysfunctional city body since the mid-1990s.

2. Funny, we did not hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth from “Florida’s Best Newspaper” when a Democratic-backed group tried to derail the election campaign of Clearwater Council member Hoyt Hamilton a couple years ago.

3. No refunds for the cancelled St. Pete Grand Prix? That’s going to play really, really well. It’s probably time for this event and its promotors to shuffle off to Sebring or some other destination.

4. Looking back on the Presidential race four years ago this week, Rev. Al Sharpton declared he would leave the country if Donald Trump were elected President. So where’s your country of residence Al?

5. Idle thought with thanks to a Facebook friend – One moment you’re 20 in the 70s, now you’re 70 in the 20s.

    

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. We guess the Bucs agreement with Tom Brady would have created more excitement but for the world pandemic and the fact that other big name quarterbacks like Bridgewater, Newton, Rivers and, of course, Winston are also on the move.

7. Back when the 6:00 anchorman was like part of the family, Channel 8’s Arch Deal was a welcome guest in the living room each evening. The veteran anchor died tragically last week at age 88.

8. It reads well that “Rays pledge $1M to help Trop staff.” Truth is they had little choice with pressure being applied by MLB.

9. From a recent special edition of the 5:05 Newsletter - NFL News: The Buffalo Bills announced that they will allow Senorise Perry to be the first player in 42 years to wear OJ Simpson's old number. That number is 1027820.

10. Born 100 years ago this week was character actor Werner Klemperer best known as the bumbling Colonel Klink on Hogan’s Heroes, but his acting career included Broadway roles, opera and even a cameo on The Simpsons. Although a native of Germany, Klemperer served in the U.S. Army in World War II’s Pacific Theater.

 

Another set of six, yes they’ve won but….

 

(Editor’s Note II: we’re holding off on this week’s scheduled Achmed Walled’s (pronounced wall-ED) predictions until MLB gears up to start their season – optimistically sometime in late May. My, that seems like a long time!)

 

Three weeks ago, we profiled the six teams including our boys in the Trop who have never won a World Series. This week, we feature the half dozen teams that have won a World Series but have since suffered a drought of decades. The Indians have the longest dry spell – 72 years although they came oh so close in ’97. Others who haven’t seen a championship for a while – the Pirates (1979’s We Are Family team); the Orioles (1983); the Tigers (1984); the Mets in 1986 and, most surprising, the Dodgers who last won the big one 32 years ago although they are the co-favorites with the Yankees to win the 2020 World Series.

NEXT UP: The team that put Clearwater on the map; Stones; Virus Rant

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WEEK OF MARCH 15, 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.

 

TBRR turns six

 

(Ed. Note – The official anniversary of our first publication was last week, but all that Super Tuesday stuff took precedence.)

Perhaps you were one of 1700 plus misguided folks to read our first edition back on March 9, 2014; or maybe this is your first stop by these quarters. Either way, we humbly say thanks. A lot has changed over the course of some six years and a quarter million words. We’ve chronicled the changing of the guard at the White House, the continued futility of the Bucs, the demise of two great publications – The Tampa Tribune and The 5:05 Newsletter and continue to endure The St. Pete Times. Ahead, we have two important elections – Clearwater’s this week and our nation’s in November. And we hope to enjoy a Rays World Series victory and, at least, a winning season for the Bucs and Bulls. Hope you’ll stay with us as we continue to view things through our politically incorrect eyes.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Surreal is the way one sports site described the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the sports world – an appropriate word for all of our world with schools closing, going to online instruction and, yes, our recreational pursuits being shut down one by one. It’s all being done with an abundance of caution and anyone who criticizes these moves is simply nuts.

2. And while on the subject, a friendly request to our national and state legislative leaders, work to resolve the issue, don’t politicize it.

3. Joe Biden’s win in Michigan pretty much wraps things up. The Democrats have to win Michigan in November to have a chance at the White House and if you can’t win the Democratic primary, chances are good you won’t win the general election.

4. We were saddened to read of the passing of former St. Petersburg city official Rick Dodge, a truly nice man. Dodge led the quest for a major league franchise for St. Pete first by relocation, then expansion. One of our most precious possessions was a Tampa Bay White Sox shirt Rick gave us during the quest to bring the south siders to St. Pete.

5. With thanks to the world’s best Nana, you’ve lived in the bay area a long time if you remember the thin Top 50 Surveys distributed for free each week by WLCY Radio.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. ESPN either has to deeply refine their “All Access” feature, which we sincerely hope will be confined to spring training, or get rid of it. The audio is awful with the players not being able to hear the commentators; the game on the field is completely ignored and in a couple games, conversations between booth and field were completely in Spanish – fine for ESPN Deportes but not for an overwhelmingly English speaking audience.

7. For a great basketball story, Google Snacks – Jackson State - some precious video.

8. You have to be a bit of a music geek to know the name Hal Blaine. He was without doubt the greatest studio drummer of the rock era adding distinctive drum lines at the beginning of the Beach Boys Don’t Worry Baby and Johnny River’s Poor Side of Town or at the end of Roy Orbison’s I’m Hurtin’ and literally hundreds of other hit songs. Hal passed away a year ago this week, and, to our great regret, it was not mentioned at that time.

9. Answer – J.K Simmons. Question: who is the actor who does such a great deadpan in the Farmers Insurance ads? A couple Simmons tidbits - He won an Academy Award for his role in the 2014 film Whiplash and he actually has a name in the Farmers commercials – Professor Nathaniel Burke.

10. Elizabeth Warren is the latest politician to do a bang-up job on one of the network comedy shows. The tradition goes all the way back to Dick Nixon’s famous “Sock it to me” on the classic Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In.


For sports, the timing couldn’t be worse

 

As pointed out above, the moves to cancel large gatherings is the best and only course to deal with our world pandemic. But three crown jewels of the sports world will be adversely affected. Principal of those is the NCAA basketball tournament that fans of every size and shape look forward to annually. Next month’s Masters, golf’s crown jewel will hopefully become this fall’s Masters. We feel for those folks who through years of begging and pleading finally got ahold of probably the toughest ticket in sports and hope they can rearrange their schedules. And the oldest major event to be at least temporarily cancelled is the opening day of our National Pastime. And speaking of long standing events, if this world wide crisis is not soon resolved, an event even older than baseball’s opening day, May’s Kentucky Derby, dating back to 1875, may be in danger.

NEXT UP: World Series droughts; Memo to city newbies; Thanks, AAA

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WEEK OF MARCH 8, 2020

 

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.

 

Takeaways from Super Tuesday

 

In as few words as possible, it’s a two man race. Even as the Democratic field narrows the questions expand exponentially. For instance, is Biden simply Obama II which most of America doesn’t want? Is his age (78 when he’d be sworn in) a factor? Of course, his rival Bernie Sanders is even older. As for Sanders, most of middle income America is terrified of him. He seems to think a family that earns more than $60,000 a year is rich and can be heavily taxed to support his socialist agenda. With Bloomberg out of the race, it’s comforting to most Americans that millions and millions of dollars can buy you American Samoa and nothing else. In our mind, Biden will get the nomination and then the decision becomes do you want four more years of Trump or Obama II? Neither choice is very tasteful.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Related to above: Answer – George H.W. Bush, Richard Nixon, and Calvin Coolidge. Question: who are the last three vice-presidents to be elected President on their own without the benefit of incumbency (like LBJ). Bush and Coolidge were elected immediately after serving as vice-president, Nixon eight years later.

2. Quote of the Week (Irrational Class): “You won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” Senator Chuckles Schumer issuing a warning to Supreme Court Justices should they rule on the side of a pro-life issue before them. Second Quote of the Week (Rational Class): Chief Justice John Roberts on Schumer’s remarks - “Not only inappropriate, but dangerous.”

3. As we all know, every self-anointed expert can run a restaurant, hotel or baseball team better than those in place. Now, we are privileged to have the same group weigh in on how to better deal with the world’s latest health crisis.

4. Come on Duke Energy, dispense with the phony line item Asset Securitization Charge and truthfully say “we really botched our nuclear energy program and we’re charging you a few bucks a month into infinity to make up for it”.

5. With thanks to our unofficial TBRR historian, you’ve lived in the bay area a long time if you dined at the 94th Aero Squadron at the St. Pete-Clearwater Airport.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. We feel for the employees of the erstwhile St. Pete Times being forced to take a ten per cent pay cut. It isn’t like the old days where you could take a job across town at the Independent or in the next city at the Tribune or Sun. Such is the state of the newspaper industry.

7. Sports oddity – Dusty Baker who has been out of baseball for three years, will manage the American League in this year’s All Star game by virtue of being an emergency hire by the AL champ Astros after the house cleaning in Houston.

8. The National League East favorites, the Atlanta Braves, have to be a bit concerned about their $36 million dollar investment in pitcher Cole Hamels and outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Hamels, with a shoulder injury, has not picked up a ball this spring and Ozuna is, at this writing, zero for spring with over half his at bats being punch-outs.

9. Another takeaway from our February “Remembering” segment (TBRR 2/23/20) was during the Blue Jays’ first spring training in 1977 meeting rookie second baseman Garth Iorg – a class individual. He marveled at our career in the media. This failed amateur catcher could only reply “Want to trade?”

10. Topping the charts fifty years ago this week was Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge over Troubled Water, the biggest hit of the year.

 

Clearwater’s Election Day coming up

         

Next Tuesday is Election Day in Clearwater. Last month, we previewed our choices for the three council seats – Frank Hibbard, Bruce Rector and Bud Elias, although candidly, there are other good choices in all three races. It’s a good problem for the city to have, and we hope some of the unsuccessful candidates will return to the ballot in two years when there will be at least one vacant council seat. As for the six referendum questions (make sure to turn over your ballot), we recommend six yes votes as some are just some housekeeping issues except the use of city land for workforce housing and the right to deed over some unproductive city land pending a hearing. Extending the length of time between charter review committees makes sense – in fact we would have been happier with ten years between charter reviews.


UP NEXT: World Series droughts; Insurance guy; Publix closing 

030820

 

WEEK OF MARCH 1, 2020

 

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.

 

That troublesome Amendment Four

 

The most recent “victory” for Amendment Four backers isn’t really a victory. This mess promulgated by a sloppy constitutional amendment initiative will end up at the U.S. Supreme Court. When you are limited to a certain number of words, as are Florida constitutional amendments, you leave room for vagaries open for everybody’s interpretation – specifically the “complete the terms of their sentence” line in the ballot issue. The devil is in the details of what complete terms of their sentence includes. Is it all court costs and fines? Is it all restitution – which it should be? In the end, the nation’s highest court will decide this. In the meantime, felon’s voting rights, or lack of, will hang in the balance.

 

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

 

1. It took about a New York minute for Mike Bloomberg to politicize a world-wide health epidemic. Disgusting.

2. TIA has announced some modest increases in parking prices. Unless another revolt occurs like it did a couple years back, it will soon cost more to park at the Clearwater Marina than at TIA – outrageous.

3. Uber announces that rides soon can be secured by calling a phone number. What a concept!

4. In honor of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day, every automobile in the bay area is currently green – or is it the pollen combined with no rain?

5. Idle question - what percentage of remarks attributed to Mark Twain and Yogi Berra did they actually say?

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. It was one of the best pieces of fiction we ever read. Clive Cussler who started his string of successful novels with Raise the Titanic died last week at age 88. He authored over 80 novels in his career.

7. Suddenly our mornings seem a lot less phony – just saying.

8. Yes, we are as confused as you are about the future of Jameis Winston and the Bucs. NFL.com predicts that the most likely landing spot for the bewildering quarterback is …. The Bucs. The next likely teams according to NFL.com are the Raiders (wouldn’t that be interesting?) and the Colts. Stay tuned.

9. With baseball’s tradition of bobble head, T-Shirt and cap giveaways, our son has come up with the ultimate giveaway idea – a miniature garbage can lid with a small mallet for when a certain AL West team comes to town.

10. Our Remembering segment from last week reminds us that a lot of the younger folks attending Phillie’s spring games this year never attended a game at the revered Jack Russell Stadium. And there are an even bigger bunch of fans (your Humble Blogger included) who never attended a game at the original Phils venue – Green Field.

 

Now, there are six

 

With the National’s feel-good win of the World Series last year under former Rays coach Davy Martinez, there are now only a half dozen teams who have never won the World Series. They are the Brewers, Mariners, Padres, Rangers, Rockies and, of course, our Rays. The good news, according to Las Vegas, is of the six teams, the Rays have the best chance to win it all at 25-1 with the Brewers the second best chance at 50-1. The Mariners are the longest shot at 500-1.

NEXT UP: Trading careers; The 94th; TBRR turns six

030120

 

WEEK OF FEBRUARY 23, 2020

 

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.

 

Can the Democratic nomination be purchased?

 

Mike Bloomberg certainly hopes so, while Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and the other contenders hope not. You have to admire the strategy, if not the man; – don’t waste your time on the crazy Iowa caucus or New Hampshire with next to zero delegates. Bloomberg’s hopes and millions are focused on next week’s Super Tuesday votes in some 14 states. It’s a calculated gamble, if he wins enough of those states on March 3rd; he’s right up there with the other established Democratic candidates. If enough voters in enough states resist his attempt to buy the nomination, he’s probably finished. It will be a bellwether day for the 2020 presidential nomination.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:             

 

1. In a related note, Tampa Bay’s most famous carpetbagger (TBRR 3/9/14) Alex Sink has come out in favor of Bloomberg. That should play well in Pinellas County.

2. Happy trails and best wishes to Deborah Clark who will step down as Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections at the end of next month. In contrast to contemporaries on Florida’s east coast, her office has been quietly efficient in her two decades of leadership.

3. Good news for pet owners in east Clearwater. A new emergency clinic has opened up on the US 19 service road just south of Clearwater Mall. It is called CARE and will be open 24/7 eliminating the need to drive almost to Ulmerton Road on Belcher for emergency service.

4. Idle thought while looking at the plethora of campaign signs at the shuttered Steak and Shake on US 19 – we will vote for whoever pledges to get one of our favorite burger joints re-opened.

5. Continuing that thought, you’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you remember when the city’s lone Steak and Shake was on the northwest corner of Gulf-to-Bay and Duncan Avenue.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Hawaiian Eye and Wild, Wild West were the two shows that launched Robert Conrad’s career. But we remember him best for his portrayal of the legendary “Pappy” Boyington in Black Sheep Squadron. The veteran actor died last week at age 84.

7. We mentioned the retirement of Deborah Clark above. A hallmark of her early campaigns for Election Supervisor was giving out Clark Bars at campaign events. The Clark Bar has had a rugged few years, but now is under the wing of the Boyer Candy Company (Mallow Cups) and will be back in most stores by Easter.

8. Not to be outdone by baseball’s ridiculous playoff trial balloon, the NFL is now running its own scheme up the flagpole – a convoluted system with only one first week bye and the possibility of a few 8-8 or worse teams making the playoffs.

9. With spring training games now underway, our baseball expert and former assistant to Dr. Harry Raitano, Achmed Walled (pronounced wall-ED), is warming up in the bullpen and will present his surefire predictions in our March 22 edition.

10. Born 100 years ago this week was the very versatile Tony Randall who made his mark in films, on Broadway and particularly as Felix Unger on The Odd Couple. Not as well-known was his encyclopedic knowledge of opera – making numerous appearances as a panelist during intermissions of the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts.

 

Remembering: The bay area’s spring training seasons

(A series of look backs at the people, things and places that shaped our memories of the bay area   – appearing in the last week’s edition every month in 2020).

 

Over the past half century, the constant has been the long standing relationship between the city of Clearwater and the Philadelphia Phillies which began in 1947. Only the Detroit Tigers-Lakeland association has lasted longer (1934 – with an agreement that will have the Tigers there through 2034). Dunedin is right up there as well – hosting the Blue Jays since their inception in 1977 and unveiling a completely remodeled stadium this spring. The Yankees began training in the bay area in 1925 (St. Pete) and have left and come back several times finally settling in Tampa in 1996. For many years, the Yanks’ spring training partners in St. Pete were the Cards who trained in the Sunshine City for over fifty years (1946-1997). So you got to see a lot of Stan the Man along with the Mick, Yogi and Whitey. Prior to the Yanks, Tampa hosted the Cincinnati Reds (Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and company) for over fifty years before they moved eastward to Plant City for about ten years and finally landing in Arizona. Our home town nine started training here at their inception, but trying to expand their west coast market moved to Charlotte County in 2009. Spring training has gravitated from the center of the state to the coasts over the past decade with Lakeland now being the only site not located very close to either of the coasts.

NEXT UP – Green Field; Green cars; Then there were six

022320

 

 

WEEK OF FEBRUARY 16, 2020

 

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.

 

A trip every pro-abortionist should have to take

 

Every grandstanding pro-abortionist, the disgusting Mike Bloomberg comes to mind first, should have to take a trip to the outskirts of Chicago. That is where a grisly discovery was made last week – some 2500 fetuses discarded by a now deceased butcher/abortionist named Ulrich Klopfer. The dead children were given a decent burial last week in Indiana where the murderer plied his trade. The story of this atrocity was buried inside our ultra-liberal local newspaper while garbage like Roger Stone’s sentencing and student activism take center stage on Page 1. Our moral compass is badly broken.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Breaking news – a special edition of the 5:05 Newsletter hit the internet this past week with this and other nuggets: France News: President Macron announced that France would not participate with the United States if it goes to war with Iran. A war without France's help would be like... well, World War II.

2. In a related note, McClatchy Papers which publish the Miami Herald and the Kansas City Star among others has declared bankruptcy. An investment group is going to bail them out, but the writing is on the wall for the newspaper industry. Funny, the newspapers who are the healthiest are papers with a more moderate tone than the left of center Herald and her sister papers.

3. Three Florida cities that Northerners always butcher – Dunedin, Kissimmee and Wimauma.

4. Number of the Week: 93% - the percentage of traffic stops in the state of Kansas that are out of state plates. My, my, the United States has its own larger version of Waldo, Florida.

5. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you remember the Sea-Orama on the second floor of the Clearwater Marina.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Noted sports author Roger Kahn passed away last week at age 92. He authored the cult favorite The Boys of Summer. But in our mind, his overall view of the New York baseball scene, The Era, was an even better book.

7. Spring games begin next weekend and Pinellas fans will get to see a few “name” clubs with the AL East champ Yanks visiting both the Phils and Blue Jays twice. The NL East champion Braves will make one visit to each park and the Red Sox also make an appearance in both Clearwater and Dunedin.

8. As spring training ramps up, it’s funny how things work out. The Mets, being the Mets, pass on Joe Girardi as their manager for Carlos Beltran and after the cheating mess, end up with a guy who looks like a desperation hire.

9. Idle thought: The black cloud over the Houston Astros probably will not go away until Jim Crane divests himself of the team. There is probably no smaller group in sports than those who believe he didn’t know what was going on.

10. Just how many NHL coaches have been fired this season? It seems like half the league has a new coach.

 

What in hell are they thinking?

 

Pardon the first ever use of bad language in a TBRR headline, but if you follow our thoughts on the National Pastime, you knew it was coming. Rob Manfred is suddenly making Clueless Bud Selig look like a genius by floating a trial balloon that would turn major league baseball’s successful playoff system into a version of the NBA and the NHL’s “come one, come all system” of playoffs. After years of tinkering, MLB finally got it right – putting a premium on winning your division – without automatically dismissing wild card entrants – see Nationals, Washington. But expanding the playoffs to virtually half the teams in the league and allowing teams to pick their opponent makes all those gimmicky football leagues that have come and gone seem downright sane. (For what it’s worth, more than three quarters of some 13,000 fans polled by Major League Baseball Trade Rumors voted thumbs down on the radical idea).

NEXT UP: Mark and Yogi; Felix; Spring training through the years

021620

 

WEEK OF FEBRUARY 8, 2020

 

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.

 

Bud Elias for Clearwater Council Seat 3

 

Again, we lament the fact that Clearwater has too many qualified candidates and not enough council seats to go around. Too many times in the recent past, the city was scraping the bottom of the barrel to find candidates. The Council 3 seat features two good candidates and one who is just plain scary with some of their radical proposals. The incumbent Bob Cundiff has brought some fiscal soundness to the board – often being the lone voice against some questionable spending. In most years, his bid for a second term would be a walkover. But Bud Elias brings a set of credentials seldom seen in first time candidates. With years and years of Clearwater residency and public service, he knows the city’s neighborhoods, its problems and its many assets. We only wish he had chosen to run for the open seat on the council as he and Cundiff would present a strong duo. But playing the hand the voters are dealt, Elias presents a stronger option for Seat 3. We feel he, former Mayor Frank Hibbard, Bruce Rector and holdovers Hoyt Hamilton and David Allbritton will give Clearwater a strong council moving forward.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Only the Democratic Party could run a calamity like the Iowa caucus. We fully expect a winner to be announced before the 2020 presidential election. No truth to the rumor the Democrats have brought in former Broward County elections chief Brenda Snipes to sort things out.

2. Publicly tearing up the President of the United States’ state of the union speech. Way to keep it classy, Nancy. What an embarrassment.

3. It’s beginning to look like the asset/debit balance sheet on Gasparilla is leaning more and more to the debit side. Fun is fun, but when drunks beat up kids and generally endanger the public, it’s probably time to rein in things more than a little.

4. A rainy day or two, but overall good weather for the Florida State Fair that runs through Monday the 17th.

5. Idle thought: Best reason not to retire early – day time TV.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. If you’re a football fan, you have to be happy for Andy Reid, one of the sport’s truly nice people who grabbed pro football’s ultimate prize in Super Bowl 54.

7. Different segments of the entertainment world suffered losses last week. Prolific (and our Saintly Wife’s favorite) author Mary Higgins Clark passed away at age 92. She authored over 50 best-selling novels. The Kingston Trio recorded five #1 selling albums as well as 17 charted singles in the late 50s and the 60s – the heyday of folk music. Their last surviving member, Bob Shane, died last week at age 85. And actor and producer Kirk Douglas who had a decades-long career died at age 103.

8. Since MLB chieftain Rob Manfred seems to think it should be no problem for players to maintain households in two cities 1500 miles part, we suggest that the MLB office split its year between New York and Oklahoma City – approximately the same distance apart as Tampa and Montreal.

9. Hello, is anybody home in the Rays’ front office? The hometown team loses another top executive with James Click taking over as GM of the troubled Houston franchise.

10. As pitchers and catchers get ready to roll into town, the answer is the Cleveland Indians. The question: what was the last team to train in Clearwater before the Phils arrived in 1947?

 

A fitting tribute to Freddie Dyles

 

Last week, Gibbs High School did something that should have been done about two decades ago -paying a fitting tribute to the greatest high school basketball coach in Pinellas County history – Freddie Dyles by naming their gym after the coaching icon. Awesome is an often overused word, but not when describing Dyles’ Gibbs High Gladiators of the 60s, 70s and 80s. He won three state championships with teams that played a fast tempo game – ShowTime before there was a ShowTime. We witnessed firsthand his team’s rivalry with the other top basketball program at that time – Clearwater High with those games often being moved out of the respective school’s home gyms to a neutral site that could hold the huge crowds the games drew – including a 7000 person crowd at the old Bayfront Center. We had the privilege of broadcasting some of those games and watching two coaching legends Dyles and Clearwater’s Jack Wilson match wits. It’s hard to understand why it took so long for this honor for Dyles who passed away in 1999. He was simply the best.

Next Up: A trip every "pro-choice" advocate should have to take;Sea-Orama

020920

 

WEEK OF FEBRUARY 2, 2020

 

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.

 

Our choice for Clearwater Council Seat 2: Bruce Rector

 

We wish the choices we face in selecting a candidate for the Clearwater City Council were always this difficult (as is the Mayor’s race TBRR 1/26/20). Too often in recent years, we’ve had to choose who would do the least damage – the last election cycle being the exception. Council Seat 2 offers two appealing choices – Mike Mannino and Bruce Rector. Both men appear to be very neighborhood oriented which Clearwater has seemed to drift away from in recent times. What sets Rector apart for us is his focus on economic development – another area Clearwater has badly neglected since the halcyon days of the late 1990s. Clearwater cannot go wrong with either candidate, but Rector brings more to the table and should be a strong presence on the Council. (Next week Seat 3).

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Mark your calendar for February 22nd. Clearwater High is inviting grads to have a “last visit” of the nearly 70-year-old school before it is razed for a new facility. The event is from 11 am to 1 pm. Later that day, the Classes of 1963 through 66 are having a get together at the Clearwater Country Club. Class of ‘66 grad Sam McClelland (441-3493) can give you details.

2. Former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf has been hit with $17.5 million in penalties by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for the company’s egregious scamming of its customers. Get back to us when the former CEO and the other players do some jail time. And why is this company still even in business?

3. Breaking news: Michael Bloomberg endorsed by Judge Judy - just another reason not to vote for the latter day Ross Perot.

4. Great thought: Any effective committee should fit inside a taxi – from the father of the Polaroid camera and other great inventions – Edwin Land.

5. You’ve lived in Pinellas County for a long time if you remember when the grocery store was called Winn Dixie/Kwik Chek.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. If you were picking a Top-10 all-time NBA team, Kobe Bryant, who died along with eight other people in a tragic helicopter crash last week, would have to be on it.

7. The Rays top the major leagues with six prospects in the Top 100. A number of teams have five including the Braves, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners and Marlins. Only one team, the Brewers, had no prospects in the Top 100.

8. Breaking sports news: Astros hire septuagenarian Dusty Baker as their manager. Baker has an interesting legacy – he managed the Giants, the Cubs and the Nationals – all teams that won World Series just a year or two after he was let go. Astro fans can’t be happy.

9. Quote of the week: “I’m coming back to the NFL” – Antonio Brown. Yeah, good luck with that. The guy is radioactive.

10. They’re here! This week in 1964, topping the charts for the first time (they would top the charts 20 times total) are the Beatles and I Want to Hold Your Hand. It would be the biggest hit of the year.

 

Everybody loves a good conspiracy theory

 

Some of the great conspiracy theories include FDR knowing about, even inviting, Pearl Harbor; Amelia Earhart being on a spy mission went she went missing and the dozens of JFK conspiracies. A more recent vintage theory involves the loss of the U.S. nuclear sub Scorpion some fifty years ago. Two books, one by Panama City based author Ed Offley (Scorpion Down) and the other by veteran submariner Kenneth Sewell (All Hands Down) cover the subject. Both gentlemen reach the same conclusion – that the sub was sunk by the Soviet Union. Only the methodology differs. And both authors agree on the reason for the sinking – the Soviet Union’s suspicion that the U.S. downed one of their subs – the K-129 – a separate conspiracy theory that is documented by Sewell in Red Star Rogue as well as at least a couple of other authors. Would we bet our house on either theory? No. But given the extensive documentation of all three books, we wouldn’t bet against the theories either. All three books are well worth a read.

Up Next: The Clearwater Indians; Don’t retire early; Honoring Freddie

020220

 

WEEK OF JANUARY 26, 2020

 

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.

 

 

Two good men; can only pick one – Hibbard’s our choice

 

The vote by mail ballots for the Clearwater city election will be in your mailbox soon. Chances are good the election will be decided before Election Day. And yes, we know there are four candidates running for mayor, but there are only two with a legitimate chance of winning – long time city council member Bill Jonson and two-term mayor Frank Hibbard. Frankly, Clearwater would be blessed with either candidate. The two men present differing profiles – Jonson is extremely analytical and that has served the city well during his time in office – better translated, he has saved you and me a lot of tax dollars during his tenure. Hibbard is not what we would call a free spender with tax dollars; he just has more of a big picture approach to governing. That is an approach we feel Clearwater will need as it moves ahead during the next four challenging years – not to mention the fact that he governed ably from the center seat during his two previous terms. Hoping that he will revisit his stance on 4000 seats on the bayfront, Frank Hibbard will get our vote on March 17. (In the next two weeks, we’ll review the two city council seats up for election).

 

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. In the upcoming session, Florida legislators will address a bill that would provide for a state-wide referendum to limit terms for school board members to two four year terms – a proposal that seems to make a lot of sense. We’ll have more on this in the weeks ahead.

2. In a related note, the Hillsborough County School Board made what appears to be an excellent hire in Addison Davis as their new superintendent. Now, if they will just stay out of the way and let him do his job.

 

3.The Tampa Bay market has not been kind to specialty grocery stores - the latest evidence being Lucky Stores pull out leaving the former Albertson’s site at Gulf to Bay and Belcher in Clearwater looking for a new tenant.

4. Hooray for the airline regulators who are putting a stop to the ridiculousness on airliners regarding bogus “support animals”. Now how about the supermarkets and other retail establishments?

5. Idle thought: it’s been almost a year since the 5:05 Newsletter ceased publication. We really miss it, Joe.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. We have absolutely no argument with the inclusion of Derek Jeter and Larry Walker in the Hall of Fame. Our very unofficial ballot also included another Rockie, Todd Helton along with baseball’s best left handed reliever Billy Wagner. Our other two selectees were post season stud Curt Shilling and the man who arguably is the second best fielding shortstop to Ozzie Smith, but was also a better hitter - Omar Vizquel.

7. No surprise that the Mets were the first of the three “managerless” teams to strike a deal since they had internal candidates not tainted by the sign stealing scandal. But they could have done a lot better.

8. Our predictor par excellence Achmed Walled (pronounced wall-ED) says put your money on the 49ers on the 2nd.

9. There are a few naysayers, but we absolutely believe that retired Giants QB Eli Manning will join his brother in Canton.

10. Topping the charts this week in 1962 was The Peppermint Twist by Joey Dee and the Starliters. Joey Dee, a native of New Jersey, has for the past several years, called Clearwater home. More music stuff directly below:

 

 

Remembering: The Star Spectaculars

 

(Editor’s note: During 2020 on the last issue of each month, we will be looking back on people, events or things that shaped our memories of the bay area. We welcome your input.)

 

In the 1960s, the Clearwater Parks and Recreation Department in conjunction with WLCY radio would bring big name acts to the Clearwater Auditorium on Clearwater’s bayfront. To the young teens who flocked to the relatively inexpensive dances, it seemed incredible that acts like Brenda Lee, Roy Orbison, Mitch Ryder, Del Shannon and others would come to the relatively small (population at that time of about 35,000) city of Clearwater. Little did they know that the next night the same act would be in Orlando followed by perhaps Jacksonville the following evening as part of a cavalcade throughout the Southeast. It was a win-win for the city and the area’s biggest rock and roll station with WLCY heavily promoting the event and then having their disk jockeys host the dance gaining good karma for “Fun Radio” as it was known.

UP NEXT: Committees and taxis; Yeah, yeah, yeah; CHS

012620

 

WEEK OF JANUARY 19, 2020

 

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.

 

The problem is obvious

 

Three items caught our eye this past week. Here in Florida, two companies that sell pot are pushing an initiative called Make It Legal. The proposed ballot item would allow medical pot dispensaries to sell recreational grass. Wow, who didn’t see that coming when Florida passed its ill-considered medical pot referendum back in 2018? Make It Legal is full of holes – the biggest is the fact that even if we go off the deep end and allow recreational pot to be sold, it is still illegal under federal law. As it looks now, the legislature will at least kick that can down the road to 2022. The other news items that caught our eye were the story of a New Jersey woman, fueled by a doobie got tired of waiting in line at a DMV, went on a rampage and destroyed about 25 grand worth of equipment at the office. Worse yet was the death of a prominent Tampa man on Bayshore Boulevard killed by a driver high on pot and booze. As a great, great American is fond of saying – the problem is obvious.

 

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

 

1. And now there are twelve. Cory Booker’s exit from the Democratic presidential sweepstakes brings the number of candidates to an even dozen – with more dropouts soon to come. The field at one time had swelled to over twenty.

2. Speaking of elections, Clearwater will elect a majority of its city council in March. You owe it to yourself and your city to attend a forum and learn a bit about the candidates.

3. The Florida Supreme Court’s refusal to allow people who have served their time on felony charges to vote without paying off onerous “court fees” is very disappointing. As we advocated (TBRR 5/5/19) some time back, released felons should be responsible for restitution (i.e. losses to their victims) but not court fees. Those fees are more or less just a method for the state to shake down folks who need every penny they can hold on to. We hope the legislature will sort out this mess this spring.

4. Factoid – Kennedy Township, Pa., located just west of Pittsburgh is the last municipality to be named after an American president. That happened in the mid- 1960s.

5. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you remember “Uncle Al” Cook’s bike shop on Cleveland Street and East Ave. “Uncle Al” was one of the pioneers of the three wheel adult trike.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. The consequences were harsh, but MLB said enough of this cheating and Astros owner Jim Crane agreed when he fired both manager A. J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow just a month before the start of spring training. This, at least in the short term, should put an end to sign stealing through electronic means.

7. If you think Hinch and Luhnow got harsh punishment, wait until the Wily Coyote anvil falls on fired Red Sox skipper Alex Cora who was involved in both the Astros and Red Sox cheating scandals.

8. Full disclosure, we correctly predicted the Super Bowl favorites, the Baltimore Ravens, would not reach the big game (TBRR 1/5/20), but we didn’t see the Tennessee Titans as the spoiler.

9. Bill Cowher’s election to the NFL Hall of Fame says as much about the Pittsburgh Steeler ownership as Cowher himself. The newly minted Hall of Famer is only the second of three coaches in the past 51 years of Steeler history. And you might as well clear wall space in Canton for his successor Mike Tomlin, now in his 14th season with the Steelers. The Rooney family certainly knows how to run a franchise.

10. Give us Clemson in the 2021 college championship game. Dabo Sweeney is building a dynasty in South Carolina.

           

The Houston Astro tsunami

 

Just when you think you’ve seen everything there is to see in baseball, along comes a bizarre string of events that leaves three potential pennant contenders without managers a month before pitchers and catchers report. Realistically, only the Mets can reach from within for a manger. Current bench coach Hensley Meulens or third base coach Gary DiSarcina could be possible fits. Both have earned the opportunity, but neither has held the top job. It would be hard to justify an internal hire in either Boston or Houston given the scandals from within. Only three top shelf former managers are out there and two of them, Bruce Bochy and Ned Yost don’t want to come back. Either Houston or Boston could do a lot worse than the third of the elite group – Buck Showalter. The rest of the field is composed of some tired retreads and some guys who’ve never managed. You need to go for an experienced hand given the short period of time to get up to speed with a new team. It will be interesting to watch.

Next Up: Peppermint Twist; Star Spectaculars; Our pick for Mayor

011920

 

WEEK OF JANUARY 12, 2020

 

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.

 

The folly of the $15.00 minimum wage

 

What good or service is going to increase in price by over 70 percent in the next five years? Hopefully, nothing will jump by that astonishing amount. If something(s) does, it will make the Carter years look like a picnic. But that is what backers of the $15 minimum wage want to do over a five year period. Just take a moment to think about the ramifications of the minimum wage going up 70 percent. The hardest hit industries will be food and hospitality. The ten dollar burger will probably be considered a bargain and hotel room rates, extremely critical to Florida’s economy, could easily jump by 20 percent without even factoring in other economic pressures. But most important will be the inevitable shrinkage of the job market. Some jobs simply aren’t worth $15 an hour. Those jobs will go away or be covered by other employees – increasing the effort they must expend to hold on to their jobs. From an ivory tower, it looks great; from street level where business is really conducted it, stinks.

 

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

 

1. The state of Florida’s stinginess represents a golden marketing opportunity for a Florida based company. The state has cut out free orange juice at the welcome centers in North Florida. For a mere $250,000 (chump change to a major corporation) a company could take over the distribution of the free OJ complete with corporate emblazed cups and displays. Let’s see who jumps at this opportunity.

2. Okay, it’s 2020 and about nine months until we cast ourselves into blackness again with the silly changing of the clock. It’s time to start filling the email boxes of Senators Rubio and Scott along with Reps. Billirakis, Castor and Crist and get Congress off the dime in honoring Florida’s wishes regarding Daylight Savings Time.

3. Last week President Trump issued a statement that compared briefing Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y on the Iran drone attacks to giving a heads-up to the Iranians. Yes, the distinguished gentleman from New York does love to hear himself talk.

4. Number of the week: $26,000 and change. The amount we Clearwater taxpayers paid for a survey telling us what we already know – we like Clearwater. Here’s your sign, city officials.

5. Our Facebook friend, Paula Christ Dalton, posted an interesting question not long ago – Do you still talk with your senior prom date? We carry that one step further and ask do you remember who your senior prom date was – or even if you went to the senior prom?

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. It is no longer chic to be a series on network TV as witnessed by virtually no nominations for network shows at the recent Golden Globe Awards - this despite the fact that only just over 30 percent of viewers watch services like Netflix, Hulu or HBO.

7. Tis the season for Girl Scout Cookies. If you’re trying diligently to keep that New Year’s resolution, there is a program in place where you can buy the cookies and have them donated to our troops or other worthy causes.

8. We know it’s early but the Yanks (3-1) and the Dodgers (6-1) are the Vegas picks for October at this juncture – approximately a month and a few days before pitchers and catchers.

9. Idle question: when will the Buffalo Bills playoff ineptitude end?

10. His annual bets with lumberman and Gator, Carroll Nall, were legendary. Realtor, entrepreneur and ‘Nole through and through, Bobby Byrd passed away on the last day of 2019 at age 79.

 

Team with the best talent gets the best coach

 

You almost saw it coming, the Dallas Cowboys the coach-less team with the best, although underperforming, talent reels in the best free agent coach, former Packer head coach and Super Bowl winner Mike McCarthy. There are a few skeptics that argue the game has outgrown McCarthy. Get back to us on that next post season. McCarthy’s hire dashes the hopes of teams like the Browns, Giants and Panthers all of whom had him on their radar. The only other name on everybody’s list is Josh McDaniels whose only head coaching experience was a subpar two year 11-17 stint with the Broncos in 2009-10. He, too, was mentioned in the Dallas search. Inexplicably, the only other name to surface in Dallas was Herm Edwards, a .500 coach, who is winless in seven postseason appearances. Dallas has been watching that movie for the past ten years going 3-9 in playoff games.

UP NEXT: The problem is obvious; Uncle Al; Astro tsunami

011220

 

WEEK OF JANUARY 5, 2020

 

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.

 

Mayor Jane and the business of baseball

 

First, an admission, we don’t know very much about Jane Castor’s professional field – law enforcement, but we know a little about the business of baseball and from the Mayor’s recent comments, she doesn’t. She seems to like the idea of locating a 41-game stadium out near the fairgrounds in east Hillsborough – a move that would pretty much cut ties with the Ray’s Pinellas fan base. She hopes an east Hillsborough site would draw from the Orlando metro area. Orlando has their own plans for baseball and has the Mayor driven I-4 much? And no, Mayor, a baseball stadium that hosts half as many games will not cost half as much. The Mayor is probably a quick study, but she really needs to start cramming and get up to speed on the business of baseball.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. As we enter the 2020 election year, what group of Republicans is going to have the intestinal fortitude to tell Donald Trump “you need to step aside.”

2. Speaking of elections, March’s Clearwater city contest will have a field of over a dozen contesting three seats. Only problem is the two best candidates for the city council are in the same race.

3. Spectrum has announced they will no longer send you a written statement. No option of opting out of a paper statement – they are just doing it because as a semi-monopoly, they think they can get away with it. It will save them thousands upon thousands which, we are sure, will be passed on to their customers.

4. Some advice from Gas Buddy – the national service that keeps track of gas prices and trends – best time to fill up is Monday morning. The worst time? Friday afternoon most places. For some reason, Thursday is the worst day in Florida to top off. And, of course, the three best prices are at the bay area’s three club stores – BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s – usually nine to twenty cents a gallon lower than anywhere else.

5. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time (and attended Clearwater High) if you remember the annual Senior Assembly where the highlight was a harmonica solo by then Vice Principal Bill Justice.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. Bold prediction: the darlings of virtually every NFL observer, the Baltimore Ravens, will not make the Super Bowl.

7. Number of the week – 17. The number of years the Cleveland Browns have not been to the NFL playoffs. Otto Graham, Lou Groza and Paul Brown are rolling over in their graves and Jim Brown isn’t too happy either.

8. Sports lost some legendary folks the first week of the new year (see below), but broadcasting took a hit in late December with the passing of shock jock Don Imus, a New York city staple for a couple decades.

9. Biggest bowl win – Clemson over Ohio State despite losing one of their key offensive players early in the game and having a very woozy quarterback after a cheap hit by an OSU defender.

10. Happy trails to Al Ruechel who brought a measure of credibility to Bay News Nine. The veteran newscaster retired in late December.

 

Tough first week for the sports world

 

The week started with the passing of former NBA commissioner David Stern who probably did more than any other commissioner to turn the NBA from a baseball-football afterthought to a major force in pro sports. Stern was 77. His passing was followed by a journeyman pitcher who caught lightning in a bottle on an October day in 1956. Don Larsen, career record 81-91, is the only man to pitch a perfect World Series game, shutting down a Brooklyn Dodger lineup that included Hall of Famers Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider. Later in the week, the Tampa Bay Bucs most colorful, if not most successful, head coach Sam Wyche passed away. A college and pro quarterback, father of the no-huddle offense and former Bengal head coach, Wyche improved the Bucs record each year of his tenure, but it was not fast enough for the Glazer wizards who fired him at the end of the 1996 season. Wyche later successfully dabbled in politics and broadcasting. He was 74.

UP NEXT: Best talent, best coach; $15 an hour; Bye, bye Big Top

010520

 

WEEK OF DECEMBER 29, 2019

 

This week our yearly look back at the highlights and people that made 2019 the year it was

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Just after the New Year, the gas station closest to our home had regular at $1.97. We made a bet with ourselves that there would be a 2 before the 97 before year’s end. Stay tuned. (12/29 update – it never made it that high).

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

3. In February, the heralded 5:05 Newsletter ended its 23-year run with the sign off: All mediocre things must come to an end. It’s been fun.

4. Elizabeth Warren has announced plans to run for the Presidency in 2020. It will give the country a chance at having its first Native American President, oh wait…

5. Florida now has a Director of Cannabis. Have you ever in your life been prouder to be a Floridian?

6. Florida has added another five specialty license plates bringing the total to just north of 125. Our long suffering bride suggests that the state just issue us blanks and some permanent magic markers.

7. Quote of the week from Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, on the Trump administration’s crack down on government funding of abortions: “This is a major step toward the ultimate goal of ending taxpayers' forced partnership with the abortion industry.”

8. Number of the Week: 56. That’s where Tampa Bay ranks in U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of the best places to live in the United States. Darned if we can think of 56 – or even six places where we’d rather live than in the Bay Area.

9. At “press time”, the Democratic Party had 13 declared candidates for President. That’s one for each stripe on the U.S. Flag – how patriotic. It could well be one for each star on Old Glory before all is said and done. Update - by summer, the group had grown to over 20.

10. With all the nonsense surrounding school mascots like the decades-old Chiefs nickname of Chamberlain High, we’re glad our “mascot” was a Tornado which no one has found offensive – yet.

11. Sign of the week: Observed during the opening week of school on the marquee of a local liquor store – “Welcome Back Teachers”.

12. Several leading conservatives feel that Elizabeth Warren will be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020. We feel that may be wishful thinking from the right.

13. From August: Number of the Week: 21,000 – the number of insurance claims still outstanding from Hurricane Michael nearly a year later. It’s just another reason Florida needs to completely change its toothless insurance regulation laws.

14. You no doubt remember the seemingly endless project that was Druid Road (we changed Presidents during the timespan). Now, it has been replaced by the western end of Sunset Point Road and it’s quite possible we will see another Presidential election before that project is completed.

15. It appears Clearwater may have its strongest mayoral field in at least two decades with long time city council member Bill Jonson announcing he will take on two-term mayor Frank Hibbard next year.

16. From early September: How heartwarming to see the gaggle of power trucks assembling in and around St. Pete College Saturday night along with large buses hauling utility workers to the area to stage for wherever they may be needed. It’s the same feeling we experienced two years ago when we saw so many such trucks headed south on I-75 in the wake of Irma.

17. In October, the ill-fated Moonraker II was finally pulled from the bottom off the Howard Franklin Bridge and towed ashore for demolition, ending the whining of the idle rich along the shoreline (TBRR 6/23/19).

18. Broward County sheriff Scott Israel’s fate should have been decided at the ballot box – not on the floor of the Florida Senate.

19. From November: In our inaugural edition of TBRR (3/9/14), we opined if we had the money, one of our top projects would be restoration of Tampa’s Jackson House. Now, bless their hearts, the Viniks who own the Lightning have stepped up with a million dollars to fund the rehab project.

20. And in August, your Humble Blogger celebrated the 50th anniversary of tricking an otherwise very intelligent young woman into saying “I do”.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

1. If we ever win one of those mega jackpots (guess we’d have to buy a ticket first, but we digress), we would buy the Rays, rename them the St. Petersburg Saints, move them to Al Lang Field and into the National League.

2. Samsung has unveiled a cellphone that will sell for $1980. Amazing as it may seem, some people will buy those things.

3. Our son-in-law who is wise beyond his years, has this simple suggestion for cable, phone and internet companies, just give us a price you can live with which does not necessitate us calling back each year threatening to cancel in order to get a reasonable rate.

4. Capturing Bryce Harper was a great add by the Phils, but we think their stealing catcher J. T. Realmuto from the Marlins will pay bigger on-field benefits.

5. Bruce Bochy to retire after this season - prepare the plaque for Cooperstown.

6. Seven thousand strikeouts – the increase in season strikeouts from the 2008 to the 2018 baseball season. Bring back Nellie Fox who struck out 216 times – over 19 seasons!

7. Idle thought: We’d probably stroke more checks to more charities if they had a check-off box that read “Here’s my yearly contribution, save printing and postage and get back to me in one year.”

8. Factoid: with a Stanley Cup appearance by one of the “original six”, you might recall when there were only six NHL teams and each team had exclusive bargaining rights with any player who lived within 50 miles of its home stadium – a definite advantage for the Canadian teams in the early days.

9. Hats off to the Miami Dolphins for paying out the full salary of Kendrick Norton and keeping him on their injured roster so he can collect NFL insurance. Norton lost an arm in a car accident last month.

10. Likewise, a tip of the cap to the Boston Red Sox for their very classy move of sending a plane for their former slugger David Ortiz so he could receive further treatment in Boston from the senseless gunshot wounds he suffered in the Dominican Republic.

11. The fact that he never grabbed the gold ring at the College World Series does not diminish the career of perhaps the greatest college baseball coach ever – FSU’s Mike Martin who retires after 39 years and over 2000 wins. Happily, his son, Mike Jr., will carry on the tradition as FSU’s new head coach.

12. At last, the Nationals get a manager who can get them beyond the first round of the playoffs – Davy Martinez. It could have been the Rays.

13. Some words of wisdom from ESPN writer Sam Miller – “Baseball people are unanimous in this opinion: The test of a team is the six-month season. The seventh month is largely about luck”.

14. World’s largest outdoor cocktail party to stay in Jacksonville at least through 2023 despite some mild protest from Georgia’s head football guy. Hey, you don’t drop the New Year’s ball in Milwaukee and you don’t play the Florida-Georgia game anywhere but Jacksonville.

15. It took an historical World Series (in which the visiting teams won all seven games) to upset our sports whiz Achmed Walled’s (pronounced wall-ED) pre-season pick of Houston to win it all. Congrats to Davy Martinez.

16. Florida 24 Auburn 13 – Gator head coach Dan Mullen’s biggest win to date? Probably.

17. It took just two weeks for the NFL season to be turned topsy-turvy with injuries to two of the league’s elite quarterbacks – Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger. The Saints were a popular pick to reach the Super Bowl and the Steelers given at least a chance to make the playoffs. (Update – we just didn’t see Teddy Bridgewater in our crystal ball).

18. Idle thought - three players who belong in the Hall of Fame who are not there – Roger Maris, Dale Murphy (both two time MVPs) and the game’s best left handed reliever Billy Wagner. And ok, since you didn’t ask, three players in the Hall who don’t belong there – Bill Mazeroski, Phil Rizzuto and Hoyt Wilhelm.

19. Good hires – FSU’s choice of Mike Novell of Memphis and USF’s pick of Jeff Scott as their head football coaches. For the life of us, we can’t think of better fits.

20. Fifty years ago the top three songs in America were Someday, We’ll Be Together by The Supremes ( the last # 1 song of the sixties), Steam’s ballpark favorite Na, Na, Hey, Hey Kiss Him Goodbye and CCR’s Down on the Corner.

And our favorite from 2019: Quote of the week from June: “This is not a staged exit” – Rays’ owner Stuart Steinberg. Those words are almost identical to that of the Dodgers’ owner Walter O’Malley when he started moving Dodger games to Jersey City in the 50s. Let’s see, Brooklyn still has a baseball team, right?

 

Our last song together

 

The CHS Class of ’64 lost one of its best the last week in December 2018. Bob Crown, who over the years quietly helped so many people in need through Isaiah’s Inn, died at age 72.

His Dad was an acclaimed symphony conductor; his nickname (The Captain) was bestowed on him by Beach Boy Mike Love and with the attractive Tony Tennille and some strong Neil Sedaka tracks, the Captain and Tennille charted 14 songs in the 70s and 80s. Darryl Dragon died in January at age 76.

So long Dolly. Few performers have been so identified with a single Broadway show as Hello Dolly’s Carol Channing who passed away at age 97.

An entertainer on a different scale, Max Pierre also passed in January at 61. You could see and enjoy Max and his sax on your way to the parking lot after every Rays’ home game.

January also saw the passing of former St. Pete mayor Don Spicer – a policymaker who truly knew how to reach across the aisle for the good of his community. Don Spicer was 91.

Frank Robinson was baseball’s only MVP winner in both leagues; his number is retired by three organizations. The first ballot Hall of Famer passed away in February at age 83.

Tampa Bay’s Romper Room host June Hurley Young passed away in February at age 87. She hosted the show for 15 years.

Radio legend was the only way to describe Bruce Williams whose syndicated show spanned some three decades. Williams died in February just short of his 87th birthday.

The man whose family brought dinner boats to Pinellas and was a champion for regional tourism, Phil Henderson, Sr. passed away in February.

She was the first woman to ever qualify as a U.S. Astronaut, but NASA’s glass ceiling in 60s and 70s kept Jerrie Cobb from ever going into space. Cobb passed away in April at age 88.

NBA Hall of Famer and the best sixth man in the history of NBA, the Celtics’ John Havlicek died in April at age 79.

May saw the passing of one of the class acts in baseball – Phillies chairman David Montgomery at age 72.

One of the greatest basketball players in Clearwater High School history also passed away in May. Dick Danford went on to star at FSU and have a successful career as a high school and college coach. Dick was 73.

While CHS alumni suffered a big loss, the entertainment world lost two greats in the same week’s span – the perpetual girl next door, Doris Day and one of television’s greatest comics Tim Conway. Miss Day was 97, Tim Conway 85.

He presided over Clearwater’s foremost restaurant for several decades. Dick Siple passed away in May at age 93.

He had as much to do with success of NASA’s early astronaut program as guys like Shephard, Armstrong and Glenn. Chris Kraft, NASA’s first flight director, died in July at age 95.

Clearwater Bomber great and respected Clearwater High teacher and baseball coach, Doug Mason passed away in July at age 88.

August marked the passing of banking executive and community leader Dave Carley who headed both the Bank of Clearwater and Citizens Bank during his illustrious career.

She was TV’s “everygirl” – Rhoda Morgenstern. Talented actress Valerie Harper passed away in late August at age 80.

Her name became a synonym at the legendary Morton Plant Treehouse gathering for a member who came for coffee but didn’t work out. Rosie Ruiz who took a cab to briefly claim the Boston Marathon championship in 1980, died in August at age 66.

She was a superb journalist and one of the classiest women (or men) in her profession. Cokie Roberts passed away in September at age 75.

From October: We note the passing of Clearwater’s Jana Carpenter at age 64. Jana was a champion for the unborn and other human beings termed disposable by today’s secular society. She will be missed.

One cannot measure the effect David Straz had on the Tampa Bay community. His legacy will live on for generations.

Paul Volker, whose monetary policies quite likely cost Jimmy Carter a second term in the White House, died in December at 92. He was the chair of the Federal Reserve from 1979 to 1987.

NASCAR icon Junior Johnson passed at age 88 in December. The racing legend won 50 races as a driver and added 132 more as a successful car owner.

Ed Haver, for a quarter century an integral part of the Clearwater Sun sports department, passed away in December at age 88. Ed was a terrific golfer, bowler and all around nice guy.

And a great personal loss came last week when our only sibling, the brighter child in the family, passed away. As a young woman, she did not let cancer defeat her nor did blindness in her later years quash her indomitable spirit.

NEXT UP: Mayor Jane and baseball; Who won’t be in the Super Bowl

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WEEK OF DECEMBER 22, 2019

 

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.

 

We refuse to allow the Grinch to steal Christmas

 

The Grinch has been out in full force these past couple weeks. In Largo, a couple of punks vandalized the beautiful tree that graces the city’s Central Park. In West Chase across the bay, mail is being stolen and an Amazon delivery guy is arrested for stealing packages and gift cards he was entrusted to deliver. Despite all this and the embarrassing exhibition in our nation’s capital, the spirit of Christmas will win out as it always has. To all of you, our wishes for a blessed Christmas!

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Only a couple of days left – don’t forget the Salvation Army’s red buckets. Few agencies do more good for mankind.

2. A tip of our cap to Frontier Communications for installing a pair of robocall fighting tools in their system. We should expect Spectrum to step up as well.

3. Time comes up with another off-the-wall choice as their person of the year. Joining previous such persons of the year as Wallis Simpson and “You” is 16-year-old Greta Thunberg an “environmental activist” who in her efforts leaves a carbon footprint equal to a large fleet of tractor trailers.

4. Ed Haver, for a quarter century an integral part of the Clearwater Sun sports department, passed away last week at age 88. Ed was a terrific golfer, bowler and all around nice guy.

5. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you enjoyed a Krystal hamburger at their store on Gulf to Bay across from Clearwater High. Now, the closest Krystal is on Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Two of the best Christmas songs you may not have heard, both with same name but with different lyrics, Hey Santa by the unique group Straight No Chaser and the second by Carrie and Wendy Wilson, Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s daughters.

7. Mark September 26 on your 2020 calendar. That’s when the Jeff Scott coached USF Bulls play the Florida Atlantic Owls and their new coach (and old USF coach) Willie Taggart.

8. In a related note, not to nitpick but was it really necessary for Coach Scott to cashier every one of Charlie Strong’s staff? You know he wants his own folks, but you have to believe that some of the former USF coaches are as good as or better than anyone Scott is going to recruit.

9. The Rays made a risky move to increase their power signing Japanese slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. For every one Ichiro Suzuki, there are three or four Kenshin Kawakamis.

10. Thought of the week (thanks to longtime friend Bob Green): “All I want for Christmas is June.”

 

Remembering: The way we used to shop

 

(Editor’s note: this is a sneak peek at Remembering - a monthly feature that will appear in each month’s- end edition in 2020.

Having just completed our Christmas shopping on Amazon, Vermont Country Store, EBay and Card Universe, we reflect back on how it used to be starting with our cards that usually came from the Sandy Book Store on Drew Street. Then it was down the street to our go-to store for something nice for our wife – Maas Brothers. Maybe a record album or two from Merz Record Shop on Ft. Harrison Avenue. For a nice guy’s gift, there was Shorts, Wolfe Brothers and Webb’s. If a big family present like a TV was on the list, there was Gordon’s on Drew Street, Irions or Towers on Gulf to Bay. And we remember the year of the really big family gift – a new Olds 88 from Lokey Olds also on Gulf to Bay. Then there were the many stores on Cleveland Street like Fremacs, Colony Shop and the inviting jewelry stores like Tilley’s, K. K. Smith and Trickel’s. It wasn’t as easy as sitting in front of a computer, but it sure was more fun!

UP NEXT: Our annual retrospective

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WEEK OF DECEMBER 15, 2019

 

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.

 

Crackdown coming on texting?

 

In just a few weeks, the gloves come off and careless drivers caught texting while driving will be formally charged. The first offense is only $30 – way too low although court costs would be additional. With the second offense, the fine (again sans court costs) is double. These fines are ridiculously low, but it is the hand law enforcement was dealt by the legislature. Now comes the tricky part, seeing if the new law is indeed strictly enforced come January 1.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Our military families living at MacDill AFB should not have to go to court to seek relief from mold permeating their living quarters.

2. The merger of BB&T and SunTrust was completed last week. The first of the year will begin the rebranding of all locations to the new name Truist. You, me and a third person we picked up randomly on the street could have come up with a better name.

3. Paul Volker, whose monetary policies quite likely cost Jimmy Carter a second term in the White House, died last week at 92. He was the chair of the Federal Reserve from 1979 to 1987.

4. Breaking news: Democrats bash Trump for lack of help for Puerto Rico. But wait, isn’t this the same party that played political games delaying aid for the area surrounding Tyndall AFB in the panhandle?

5. You’ve lived in Pinellas County a long time if you ordered holiday citrus for the folks up north from Bilgore or Orange Blossom Groves.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Wow, it seems like the NHL is jettisoning a coach a week in their still young season.

7. It’s kind of sad the Army-Navy game doesn’t draw the attention it used to in the days of Staubach, Bellino, Davis and Blanchard.

8. The playoffs are out of the question for the Bucs, but the first .500 season in three years is obtainable with two very winnable games out of the last three.

9. Ted Simmons was a decent pick by the Hall of Fame old timers committee, but the selection of Marvin Miller was an affront to the vast majority of fans who have followed the game for any length of time.

10. Factoid: Bing Crosby’s classic White Christmas is one of only two recordings to top the charts in separate years. The other was Chubby Checker’s The Twist in both 1960 and 1962. Crosby’s record is the largest selling single of all time at over 50 million and counting.

 

Solid hires by USF, FSU

 

The hirings of Mike Norvell and Jeff Scott were excellent moves by FSU and USF respectively. Norvell has taken a moribund Memphis program and made it a perennial bowl team during his four years at the school. He is an offensive maven. The only black mark on his record is a winless bowl slate. It has also been mentioned that he lacks Florida roots, but then again, so did Bobby Bowden. As for Jeff Scott, he checks the box as for Florida roots; his Dad is a USF grad. And he is one heck of a recruiter and, like Norvell, a whiz on the offensive side of the ball. This branch of the Dabo Sweeney coaching tree should bring better times to USF. The only concern is how long do we keep him?

UP NEXT: Hey Santa; 9/26/20; Kudos to Frontier

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WEEK OF DECEMBER 8, 2019

 

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.

 

 

Dunbar’s exit should mark a new era for city parks

 

 

First, Mr. Horne what took you so long? The shenanigans in Clearwater’s Parks and Recreation Department should have spelled the end for director Kevin Dunbar a year ago or more. All the financial sleight of hand is just part of the parks department’s shortcomings. An equally disturbing trend has been how the parks have become for sale to the highest bidder rather than a place where kids and adults can swat a softball, shoot some hoops or play a game of volleyball. Instead so many of the city’s parks, which we pay for, have fences around them. That is just a sad state of affairs. We hope, no, we should demand that parks again become the property of the people rather than rental spaces for only those who can pony up dollars to unlock the fences.  

 

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Don’t bet the farm on St. Pete’s decision to nix the split season between Tampa Bay and Montreal for the Rays as the last word. These things have a way of changing, but it’s still a lousy idea.

2. There is probably no excuse for the recent vandalism on Clearwater’s Island Estates aimed at some HOA functionaries. But if there were an excuse, it would be retaliation against condo Nazis, who when given the first taste of power in their pathetic lives, go nuts to the detriment to those who live under their regime.

         

3. During a large recent human trafficking bust in Hillsborough County, Sheriff Chad Chronister referred to the bay area being known as the strip club capital of the United States. Now, doesn’t that make you proud?

 

4. Statistic of the week – one out of every 11 single-family homes being sold in Pinellas County is being bought up by real estate trusts or funds. This pretty much parallels the national average – significantly reducing the amount of homes for sale.

5. You’ve lived in Clearwater, or anywhere else, for a while if you ever owned a Chevy Camaro (our first new car was its cousin – the Pontiac Firebird). Now reports are indicating the GM pony car will go out of production in 2023 leaving only the Ford Mustang in that category.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. Quote of the week (actually from the 11/17 TBRR): Charlie Strong will be on the sideline at USF (in 2020). Again, our predictions are shifting sand solid. The later thought was valid – the first not so.

7. Related note, with the same caveat as above – we’d guess that the name of the next USF coach will elicit the response from fans - “Who”? More on USF below.

8. One coaching move we did have right (TBRR 1/6/19) was Carolina dumping Ron Rivera. And our next prediction concerning Rivera is that he will pop up somewhere else. Guys who take their team to the Super Bowl usually get a second gig somewhere.

9. The Rays trade of the very effective Tommy Pham is not all that hard to understand as he was slated to make about $8 million this season. Just the same, it seems you could have gotten someone better than Hunter Renfroe who hit .216 last year. By the way, nice rant Blake.

10. Another restaurant in our 2017 weekly list of good dining spots has ended its run. Post Corner on Clearwater Beach is being sold off for yet another tower to scar the landscape. Thank goodness for Capogna’s!



USF football: what’s ahead?

 

Charlie Strong is gone and Nick or Dabo or Jim (as in Leavitt) aren’t coming. There’s no on-campus stadium in the future – nor should there be as there are more pressing issues. USF’s athletic director Michael Kelly, like his predecessors, just doesn’t seem to get it. There is little football heritage at USF. About half of the university’s graduates did not experience football during their education at USF- unlike Florida, FSU and Miami. Even UCF, a relatively new school to football, has a huge base due to their enormous size – they are the biggest Division I school in the country. In the foreseeable future, USF is going to be a middling football program and will draw middling head coaches. As for the reported possible reunion of Willie Taggart and USF, those reunions never seem to work out (we’ll see about Greg Schiano and Rutgers). Plus Willie already has four baggage tags on his luggage (three in the last four years) and once his kid stops playing, or sooner, the wanderlust will probably kick in again. Better to choose someone who elicits a “Who?” who might be around for a few years. It’s not an easy task facing Michael Kelly.

NEXT UP: Oranges; Crackdown on texting; Taking care of our military 

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WEEK OF DECEMBER 1, 2019

 

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.

 

Orlando makes way too much sense for baseball

 

Pat Williams, a heavy hitter on the Orlando sports scene, wants to bring major league baseball to Orlando – at last a Florida market that makes sense for the National Pastime. It has been calculated if somewhere around two to two and a half percent of Orlando’s visitors attended one game; an Orlando ball club would draw right at two-million before a local ever entered the park. The Marlins have drawn over two million once since their honeymoon opening year – the Rays never. Stadium? Well, the very attractive Disney Stadium was constructed so as to allow for a second deck or, believe it or not, there’s still a lot of vacant land in the Orlando area that would comfortably hold a stadium. It would take some time to bring everything together – say seven years or so – that would be 2027. There’s something familiar about that date.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. One cannot measure the effect David Straz had on the Tampa Bay community. His legacy will live on for generations.

2. Good for Clearwater city councilman Bob Cundiff – the only no vote on an ill- advised and premature bond issue for Imagine Clearwater. Council members need to step back and take the pulse of their constituents before rushing ahead with the bayfront project.

3. Idle thought: Dunkin is cutting back on the use of foam cups. What most Americans need is to cut back on the use of Dunkin.

4. In related note, we are now officially in the holiday season; don’t forget to set your scales back ten pounds this week.

5. You’ve lived in the bay area (or anywhere else) a long time if you remember the rugged Marlboro Man, Joe Camel or Willie the Kool’s penguin.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. The answer – Tim Anderson of the White Sox. The question – who lead the American League in hitting this past season? Bet you could win some wagers with that piece of information.

7. Who ya got in the FSU or USF coaching sweepstakes?

8. Folks who bemoan the stranglehold southern teams have had on the National Championship recently forget the 80s when not a team from the deep south won the championship for almost a decade. These things run in cycles.

9. Lyric of the week: With no name pitchers and local bands and mustard and relish and all the rest. (Alabama’s Cheap Seats). MLB needs to think long and hard about the proposal being floated to eliminate about 25 per cent of minor league teams and the effects that would have on mid-sized communities.

10. Idle thought as we sit approximately 75 days from pitchers and catchers – if you’re a baseball fan and haven’t been to Cooperstown, what’s holding you up? Other than attending a World Series game, it‘s our biggest baseball thrill.

 

A Christmas book of sorts

 

There is very little mention of the Jolly Old Elf, but the setting is the Christmas season of 1941. The subject is the first meeting of Roosevelt and Churchill after Pearl Harbor. The book One Christmas in Washington depicts how America and Great Britain figuratively went to war with each other before eventually uniting to defeat the Axis powers in World War II. The book depicts the super-egos of Roosevelt and Churchill along with their various functionaries laboriously pounding out a global blueprint of men, materiel and strategy to execute the war while at the White House over the holidays. Canadian authors David Bercuson and Holger Herwig do a fine job of profiling the players on both sides of the Allied conference and rightfully pointing out that is neither Roosevelt or Churchill but George Marshall, whose steady hand and, to some degree, temper brought the allies together to shape the strategy for their eventual victory.

NEXT WEEK: Kurt Browning; USF football; Not those Tornadoes      

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WEEK OF NOVEMBER 24, 2019

 

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.

 

November – memory month – Pinellas Past

 

We’re just about through November – the month of Thanksgiving, “No Shave Month”, one of only four months with 30 days and it is also known as “Memory Month”. To celebrate, we remember some neat things from Pinellas Past – the great chocolate milk shakes at Brown Brothers downtown Clearwater; the city’s first strip mall – Searstown; the first enclosed mall across the street on Missouri – Sunshine Mall; Clearwater’s first McDonalds across the street from Clearwater High; Jack Russell Stadium and the Bombers; the opening of “Drew U” in the mid-sixties; an evening stroll with a loved one on Clearwater Beach; the Pinellas County Fair in Largo; the original Clearwater High on Greenwood at Laura; “Florida’s Department Store” – Maas Brothers on the Bayfront; Doc Webb’s fantastic drug store and a Sunday brunch at Siple’s. That’s just a dozen, we’re sure each of you have dozens more of Pinellas Past.

 

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. We take note of a recent judge’s ruling that the Republican Party can no longer have its candidate on top of the ballot by virtue of winning the previous election.The ruling will no doubt be appealed, but Democrats are in ecstasy. Funny thing – this law was enacted by Democrats when they held sway in Florida back in the 50s.

2. As this impeachment thing drones on, possibly the best take on it comes from The Washington Post’s David Von Drehle. You can read it on their website.

3. As of the first of the year, Florida will have less than a half dozen K-Marts left in the state. Linked to Sears, they are in the death spiral with what was once America’s store of choice. Even before that, K-Mart doomed themselves with the philosophy that low prices would offset lousy service. They don’t.

4. In our inaugural edition of TBRR (3/9/14), we opined if we had the money, one of our top projects would be restoration of Tampa’s Jackson House. Now, bless their hearts, the Viniks who own the Lightning have stepped up with a million dollars to fund the rehab project.

5. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you ran/walked in the first Turkey Trot held 40 years ago this year.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. Number of the week – 8 minutes, 36 seconds, the length of the longest song to ever top the charts – Don McLean’s American Pie released this week in 1971.

7. As we head into the MLB post season wheeling and dealing, The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Michael Cunningham points out that 24 of the last 25 World Series have been won by teams in the upper half of the league’s payroll teams – bad news for his hometown Braves, the Reds, Twins and, of course, our local nine among others.

8. The 2020 Hall of Fame ballot is out and includes a third straight first ballot slam dunk following Chipper Jones (2018) and Mo Rivera (2019) and that is Derek Jeter. With the help of our sports wizard Achmed Walled (pronounced wall-ED), we’ll cast our very unofficial ballot in a few weeks.

9. We’re just a month away from the NFL’s “Black Monday”. This year’s cast of characters could include at least a couple big coaching names.

10. Lyric of the week: “I’m on the next plane to London, leaving on Runway #9” (Rose Garden ‘67). The nonsense about the LA Chargers relocating to London is just that – nonsense. NFL team owners are not going to buy into 3500-5500 mile road trips on a yearly basis.

 

A classic commercial thirty years later

 

Thirty years ago Publix aired their first holiday commercial – the classic Last Train Home – recognized as one of the very best commercials of its time. It aired for several years before yielding to other good, but not great, holidays ads. If you’ve never seen it, or just want to relive the simple beauty of the production (no words), you can find it on YouTube.

NEXT WEEK: A Christmas in Washington; Orlando Dreamers

(Editor’s note: Our Thanksgiving week issue is coming to you a day or so early as your humble blogger and saintly wife spend the holiday with loved ones several states north. The trip may make next week’s TBRR a day or two late. Enjoy your holiday!)

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WEEK OF NOVEMBER 17, 2019

 

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.

 

Citrus County newspaper rubbish

 

So the Citrus County Commission doesn’t want to spend just south of three grand so their library patrons can read The New York Times on line. We’re okay with that as the vast majority of their library patrons won’t read it which makes it like ordering a bunch of books in Portuguese which few, if any, would read. Their problem with this financially responsible move came when they started up with the fake news clutter which lit the fuse of every liberal in Citrus County – we’re guessing there really aren’t that many. But what a brouhaha – even attracting the attention of “Florida’s Best Newspaper”. Brief sidebar – who needs The New York Times when you have the St. Pete Times? We’re guessing the library system doesn’t subscribe to The Santa Barbara News Press, arguably the most conservative daily in the county, so why New York’s “gray lady”? But the horse is out of the barn, and the Citrus Commission should probably fold its hand and move on to far more meaningful things.

 

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. To our extreme embarrassment, we failed to note Veteran’s Day last week. Our sincere apologies to our fellow vets – and thanks to Perkins Pancake House, Publix and many others who showed their gratitude to vets. It was appreciated.

2. First the good news, the area is getting $1.4 billion to improve the I-4 and I-75 interchange in the years ahead. Now the bad news, the area is getting $1.4 billion to improve the I-4 and I-75 interchange. Imagine what fun that construction project is going to be.

3. “Florida’s Best Newspaper” dropped its local section last week – yet another ominous peek into its future. It is not yet on the widely publicized death watch of ten dailies which includes its tag team partner in south Florida – The Miami Herald.

4. Amidst the entire impeachment furor and everything else is the extreme oddity that Florida will have only one statewide race next year in an even numbered year and one ending in a zero to boot - doesn’t happen often.

5. You’ve lived in the bay area a long time if you were in the crowd at Al Lopez Field 56 years ago this week to hear President John F. Kennedy speak – just days before the tragedy in Dallas.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. There is only one legitimate response to the spying mess involving the Astros and that is to the clear the decks from the GM on down.

7. Hard to argue with the post season baseball awards although we frankly expected more voting for Anthony Rendon in the NL MVP contest. The guy had a monster year before an equally great post season.

8. As we go to press, the NHL has over twenty games under its belt – who noticed?

9. In our misspent youth, we occasioned the wrestling matches at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in Tampa, but we never saw anything like the donnybrook that broke out at the end of the Browns-Steelers game last week.

10. Idle thought: How many 32 year-old quarterbacks with a bum arm who didn’t take a knee get a special workout before NFL brass – and then openly sabotage it?

 

Tampa Bay football – a couple premature guesses

 

These two predictions are worth every dime you’re paying for it. First, the Bucs – come next September, their starting quarterback will be …. Jameis Winston. Who are the Bucs going to get who’s any better, unless by some miracle they could draft Joe Burrow from LSU and even then there’s the rookie learning curve. Trades won’t bring you anything unless you strip your roster and draft picks. As for Winston, unless we’re missing something, no team is going to be banging on his door. Across town, at USF, we have Charlie Strong. He has even a (pardon us) stronger case because he’s a proven winner with a 74-50 record at three Division I schools. He has a pretty hefty buyout and let’s face it; USF isn’t going to attract Nick Saban. Charlie Strong will be on the sideline at USF. Again, our predictions are shifting sand solid.
UP NEXT: 8 min. 36 sec.; Classic commercial turns 30; Next Plane to London

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WEEK OF NOVEMBER 10, 2019

 

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.

 

Lewis Grizzard and an honor long overdue

 

Last week, the late, great Lewis Grizzard was inducted into the Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame. As mentioned in this space a few years back, if you don’t know who Lewis Grizzard is, you are functionally illiterate. His “home paper” and the South’s best newspaper, The Atlanta Journal Constitution re-published a few of his columns this past week and they may still be available on line. If not, you can read this great man’s writings in one of many books. Our personal favorite is I Haven’t Understood Anything Since 1962. The 19th century had Mark Twain who had no peer as a humorist. The same can be said of the 20th century and Lewis Grizzard.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. The comment from one wag on our Scientology-Times piece from last week: “Don’t you wish both of them would just go away”? Yeah, pretty much.

2. Agriculture Secretary and Florida’s number one pot booster Nikki Fried claims pot has 25 million uses which leads us to believe she has been overdoing it in pot’s number one use.

3. The 128,000 new jobs generated in October (most likely subject to an adjusted increase) isn’t good enough for the liberal spin doctors. Do they wish to go back eight or ten years when we were losing that many jobs a month?

4. In the recently concluded St. Pete city commission race, one successful candidate spent $80,000. Are you kidding?

5. Born 100 years ago this week, Groucho Marx’s sidekick and butt of his jokes – George Fenneman. Little known fact about the versatile radio-TV guy: his was the dulcet voice you heard every week on Dragnet with “The story you are about to hear is true, only the names have been changed to protect the innocent”

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Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. Lyric of the week: “I know a cat named Way-Out Willie” (credit to Johnny Otis). And Willie is way out after less than two seasons in Tallahassee.

7. The Mets picked the best of their field of managerial candidates in Carlos Beltran. But, frankly, the field was weak. Even though it’s in the city that never sleeps, a lot of top talent steers away from the dysfunctional Mets.

8. Great news that Dewayne Staats is a finalist for the Ford Frick Award at the Hall of Fame. The nomination should have come a long time ago for the longtime Rays announcer who also has been behind the mike for the Astros, Cubs and Yanks.

9. David whips Goliath – Tulsa, the smallest Division I school in the country, beats the largest school in the division UCF 34-31.

10. Our alma mater’s 17-7 loss to Temple last Thursday was ugly, but not nearly as ugly as those USF uniforms.

 

Your White House BFF

 

We recently polled our TBRR focus group (a gathering of old cranky people) on what American President they would to have liked as their BFF. Unsurprisingly, three of the five chose the “great communicator” Ronald Reagan, who to all three, seemed like a truly nice guy. The same was said of another pick by our group – Jimmy Carter. The other selection based on sameness of age and outlooks was Bush the younger - all good picks. Who would you like to have as your presidential BFF?

NEXT UP: Pinellas Past; NFL’s 5500 mile road trip; Running out of 813s

111019

 

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 3, 2019

 

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.

 

 

Scientology and the Times

 

First a disclaimer – do not count us as a member of the cult’s fan club. But “Florida’s Best Newspaper’s” (FBN) recent piece on Scientology’s distribution of their magazine Freedom pegged the hypocrisy meter. FBN lays waste to the cult for distributing their publication in the early morning hours. When does FBN deliver – high noon? But the biggest sin of the cult publication was criticizing FBN’s coverage of Mr. Miscavige and his merry band. FBN’s creed seems to be “We’ll criticize (justly or unjustly) all we want, but don’t you dare criticize us.” Interestingly, after our lead piece was written for this issue of TBRR, we (and many others) received an email from the reporter who wrote the most recent article seemingly trying to justify the newspaper’s actions.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Breaking news – Clearwater city officials extend traffic light cameras, claim safety is the motivating factor and do it with a straight face.

2. On another city note, cash irregularities again in the city’s parks and rec department – a department that should have been swept out with a broom well over a year ago.

3. Another year, another year of Congress ignoring Florida’s wishes to be on DST year-round. Senators Rubio and Scott have done their part but we continue to be rebuffed. Let’s see, Florida has 29 electoral votes. Maybe we need to impress that on whatever party wants the White House in 2020.

4. We note the passing of Clearwater’s Jana Carpenter at age 64. Jana was a champion for the unborn and other human beings termed disposable by today’s secular society. She will be missed.

5. With the new St. Pete Pier nearing construction, you’ve lived in Pinellas a long time if you remember one of the original pier’s tenants was Tampa Bay’s first television station WSUN-TV Chanel 38 which signed on in 1953.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. If only Mike Evans could play quarterback.

7. World’s largest outdoor cocktail party to stay in Jacksonville at least through 2023 despite some mild protest from Georgia’s head football guy. Hey, you don’t drop the New Year’s ball in Milwaukee and you don’t play the Florida-Georgia game anywhere but Jacksonville.

8. With all the managerial moves headlining the offseason, one very significant move flew under the radar – the retirement of Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt after 14 notable seasons of guiding a very successful LA pitching staff.

9. It took an historical World Series (in which the visiting teams won all seven games) to upset our sports whiz Achmed Walled’s (pronounced wall-ED) pre-season pick of Houston to win it all. Congrats to Davy Martinez.

10. World Series reflection: if we were starting a baseball franchise, give us either of the guys managing those two teams and our team would do just fine.

 

Pressure on front offices to perform in 2020

Now that the World Series has concluded and several managerial vacancies are being filled, the spotlight turns to team front offices. Two general managers were let go in the wake of the 2019 season – Boston’s Dave Dombrowski and Pittsburgh’s Neal Huntington. This compares to six managerial firings – two managers Bruce Bochy and Ned Yost left of their own accord. But the pressure will be on the front offices of the Angels, Cubs, Giants, Mariners, Mets and Phils – teams that despite heavy payrolls have been absent from the playoffs too many times in recent history. The front offices are where there could be considerable bloodshed next postseason.

NEXT UP: White House BFFs; George Fenneman; Misguided school bill

110319

 

WEEK OF OCTOBER 27, 2019

 

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.

 

There’s no amount of money….

 

We begin with our quote of the week – if not year: “There's no amount of money that's going to change the devastation and destruction that they've done to families not only all across our county but all across the country”. The quote is from Travis Bornstein, whose son got hooked on opioids and eventually died from a heroin overdose. Bornstein was scheduled to testify in the first ever trial of drug companies and their aggressive marketing of drugs they knew were highly addictive. Just before a jury was about to be seated, the companies agreed to settle two Ohio counties for $260 million dollars – a pittance compared to the some 400,000 deaths opioids have caused. It was the easy way out for the multi-billion dollar industry. We still look forward to the day when there is a trial and some of the masterminds behind the drug pushing see some well-earned jail time.

 

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Broward County sheriff Scott Israel’s fate should have been decided at the ballot box – not on the floor of the Florida Senate.

2. Term of the week - “national critics”. Quoted by liberal media trying to gain credibility on some assertion in a news piece. Let’s see, you and I are a couple of old slaps who live in Florida, so if we weigh in on an issue in, say, Michigan that makes us “national critics”, right?

3. That was a nice little bombshell dropped by Bob Ballard during the so-so Titanic feature on the National Geographic channel. His real mission when he found the Titanic wasn’t the ill-fated liner but two lost U.S. nuclear subs – something known only to the geekiest of geeks and conspiracy theorists - more on this in the weeks ahead.

4. Johnson and Johnson recalls their Baby Powder. Can nothing be trusted anymore?

5. You’ve lived in Pinellas County a long time if you remember when Publix was closed on Sundays and gave S & H Green Stamps.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. The NFL is attempting to muzzle players who justifiably criticize officials who make bad calls. Five figure fines are being handed out to players like Baker Mayfield, Clay Matthews and others as the level of officiating in the NFL continues to deteriorate.

7. In a related note, MLB umpire Eric Cooper died last week at age 52.

8. After the Mets swung and missed badly last year, the Red Sox hired Chaim Bloom of the Rays as their chief baseball officer. We predict a resurgence for the Bosox much like that of the Nationals who wisely hired Davy Martinez after other teams passed.

9. The clear winner in the 2019 World Series was West Palm Beach which hosts both the Nationals and the Astros.

10. Bobby “Boris” Pickett left us 12 years ago, but for this week, his claim to fame lives on virtually every music station in America – The Monster Mash – number one on the charts this week in 1962.

 

The managerial turnstile – so far

 

 

You pretty much knew Maddon was going “back home” to LA once he wore out his welcome in Chicago. Girardi to the Phils is a bit of a surprise. We had him penciled in for his hometown (he’s from Peoria) Cubbies. Ross is a likeable guy, but for the most part, the “new fresh face” thing hasn’t been working out –see Mets, Phils etc. Likewise, we expected the Padres to go for a more experienced hand like Ron Washington. Not sure who will fill the Mets dugout. That job is not all it’s cracked up to be – same for the Giants. And the Pirates and Royals are going to have to take whomever they can get.

NEXT UP: Traffic cams; More MLB post mortem; WPB Wins!

102719  

 

WEEK OF OCTOBER 19, 2019

 

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.

 

Media finally waking up to problem in the panhandle

 

You could have knocked us over with a feather a couple weeks ago when we saw a front page story on the year-long agony folks in Panama City, Mexico Beach and environs have been enduring for over a year. Way, way too often, our front pages and newscasts are full of Biden’s kid, Trump’s rants and the usual “if it bleeds, it leads” trash. Our media has completely lost focus on issues like a community that struggles for a year while the pinheads in Washington on both sides of the aisle work on their sound bites for that news cycle and our Governor sits on his hands. It’s disgusting.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

 

1. Related to our lead piece, boy do we miss Walter and Chet and David.

2. Our law enforcement agencies have instructed their deputies to look the other way on drivers using pot in all but the most egregious cases. Makes you feel safer on the road, right?

3. Number of the week – one dozen. The number of stores a very occasional mall shopper found shuttered at Countryside Mall. Second number of the week – one – the number of Christmas presents your humble blogger has purchased for his saintly wife in a brick and mortar store – all the rest were purchased on line. Hey, I’m an early shopper.

4. Apparently there is an app that will tell you if your local McDonalds is currently serving the McRib sandwich. There is news we all need.

5. Lyric of the Week: Do you dig the swinging dance with top recording stars - from the ads for Clearwater’s great Star Spectaculars in the 1960s at the Municipal Auditorium.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. As we try to fill the void left by the 5:05 Newsletter as an equal opportunity offender, we offer this: Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate Halloween, we guess they don’t appreciate random people coming up to their doors.

7. Let’s chalk off Jameis Winston’s five interceptions in London to jet lag. He had just five picks in his first five games.

8. Joe Maddon’s move to the LA Angels didn’t move the odds maker’s needles. They are 50-1 shot to make the World Series next year, 25-1 to make the playoffs.

9. Earlier, we celebrated the fact that half of the MLB playoff teams were in the lower half of major league payrolls. But when we got down to the final four, it was numbers 3, 6, 7 and 8 playing for the world championship. Money still talks.

10. The Brewers, Cubs – and the Braves have to be scratching their heads after watching the hapless Cardinals asking themselves “these guys beat us”?

 

For the first time since 1933!

 

1933 – Prohibition had just been repealed, FDR, not Teddy Roosevelt like the idiot play by play guy on TBS said, was in the White House. The Washington Senators had three future Hall of Famers on their roster and won the American League by seven games over the Yanks. Alas, the Nationals, as they were also known, lost the World Series to the New York Giants four games to one. The Washington Hall of Famers were outfielders Goose Goslin and Heinie Manush plus shortstop Joe Cronin who would also serve as a manager, general manager and president of the American League. There are probably three Hall of Famers on the 2019 version of the Nationals in Rendon, Scherzer and Strasburg. And there was another guy on the 1933 team – arguably their best pitcher in the postseason - pitching to a sub one ERA over three games. This native Texan would eventually settle in Clearwater and have a stadium named after him –Jack Russell.

NEXT UP: MLB 2019 Recap; Bobby’s Mash; S&H Stamps and no Sundays

102019

       

 

WEEK OF OCTOBER 13, 2019

 

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 back in the hunt for the Rays?

 

 

With all this Montreal talk from the summer, some folks on both sides of the bay took their heads out of the sand and apparently decided maybe we need to do something about 2027 – the year the Rays’ lease at the Trop is over. It appears that St. Pete my yield and give Tampa another shot at finding a home for the Rays. A Tampa venue might help the Rays attendance a smidgen – but not more. If you think Tampa residents wouldn’t cross the bridge to the Trop, wait until you see how few Pinellas residents will head east for a game. One thing about the Trop is the traffic situation is navigable – Tampa not nearly as good no matter where you put a stadium – particularly anywhere near downtown. Pinellas residents avoid Tampa traffic like the plague so the uptick in attendance will be minimal. Stay tuned as the drama unfolds.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. This coming weekend marks Clearwater’s annual signature event – Jazz Holiday at Coachman Park. It has grown into more of a pop event with headliners like Chicago and Blood Sweat and Tears, but it remains the year’s premier happening – now in its 40th year.

2. And you wonder why Hillsborough County schools are such a mess? At a meeting earlier this month, their school board spent a vast amount of time micromanaging the design of a flyer advertising their Superintendent position. Priorities people!

3. Breaking news – ATM rates in Florida are some of the highest in the country. Not so breaking news – millions of Americans somehow manage to get along without these devices and smile all the way to the bank.  

4. In Nevada, that cultural centerpiece of America, they have now replaced wine tastings with marijuana tastings. Look how far our great nation has come.

5. You’ve lived in the bay area a long time if you remember Hood’s Dairy in Dunedin. The Hood family sold out to Pet Milk in the early 70s.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. Florida 24 Auburn 13 – Gator head coach Dan Mullen’s biggest win to date? Probably.

7. The yawning you hear is over the China-NBA tempest in a teapot.

8. The Cardinals now own one of the most colossal collapses in post season history after laying 13 runs on the Braves in the NLDS Game 5; they proceed to get one run on four hits in the first two games of the NLCS – brutal.

9. Game Four of the Rays-Houston matchup proved yet again the folly of starting a pitcher on short rest in the postseason. Every manager and every star pitcher thinks they can buck the trend but history has proven going with a pitcher on short rest is foolishness – even if it’s Justin Verlander.

10. Other idle thoughts from the first round of playoffs – teams should be allowed to have their own broadcast teams do playoffs in their home market; along that same line, why do Natiional League fans have to endure Ron Darling every year? And why can’t one of Tampa Bay’s four dozen or so radio stations carry the postseason games? At last, the Nationals get a manager who can get them beyond the first round of the playoffs – Davy Martinez. It could have been the Rays.

 

“The granddaddy of all crime shows”

 

Sixty years ago this week, a TV classic, The Untouchables aired its first episode. Over four years, it would blaze a trail for future crime shows. Its relatively short run was occasioned by an outcry over the violence (for that time) in the show and protests from Italian groups. The last year of programs was a watered down version of the first three because of the violence complaints. Its cast was eclectic with an Italian, Robert Stack, as Eliot Ness, of Norwegian ancestry; Jewish character actor Bruce Gordon as Italian Frank Nitti, Ness’ chief protagonist. Then there was Mexican actor Abel Fernandez playing a Native American member of Ness’ squad; Italian Paul Picerni as a Boston-raised Untouchable, Lee Hobson; Steve London, who later earned a law degree, as agent Jack Rossman and the only surviving member of the cast, Nick Georgiade, a Greek, playing Italian G-Man Enrico Rossi. Add in the staccato narration by Walter Winchell and Nelson Riddle’s dramatic themes and you had arguably the best cop show in television history.     

UP NEXT: Presidents as BFF; Media finally wakes up; Old is new on 2020 models

101319

 

WEEK OF OCTOBER 6, 2019

 

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.

 

The most compelling story of the year

 

When was there ever a more heart tugging story than that of Jacquez Welch? The Northeast High School football player collapsed on the field from an unknown pre-existing condition. He was kept on life support at his family’s request until his organs could be used for transplants. Fully 500 people lined the hall of the hospital to say a final goodbye as he was wheeled to the operating room for the last time. The young man and his family are an inspiration.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. For all we know, Bernie Sanders doesn’t believe in a higher power, but even if he’s an agnostic or whatever, his recent health issue has to tell him, it might be time to pull up stakes.

2. You know the idea of a fish farm off the west coast may not be that bad an idea. Most of the arguments against it ring pretty weak.

3. Idle thought – why doesn’t Polk County’s Grady Judd spend less time trying to be a TV star and more time on crime prevention? The same holds true for his compatriots on both sides of Tampa Bay.

4. Halloween falls on Thursday this year. We still think it would be a good idea to move it to either the last Friday or Saturday of October to allow a “sleep in” for kids the following morning.

5. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long while if you enjoyed an adult beverage or two at the legendary Judge’s Chambers downtown.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

 

6. The Rays overachieved this season and now they need to manage expectations for next season when the American League East with a revitalized Bosox and a rising Toronto squad won’t be quite as easy a task.

7. On the NL side, pity the poor fans who have to watch their first round playoffs on TBS. With exception of Ernie Johnson, Jr., you wonder if these guys have ever seen the competing teams prior to the telecasts.

8. Numbers of the Week: 80, 86, 89 and 92. These are the only four numbers never worn by an active major league player. With all the sixties and seventies you see in the bigs anymore, it’s only a matter of time until the remaining four are snapped up.

9. The Bucs 2-2 mark at the quarter post is better than we (and most) expected.

10. Our airwaves have become further polluted with the return of Al Franken to the broadcast realm.

 

With a big payroll, you better win

 

Only half of the top ten teams in payroll made the playoffs this year and that is taking its toll on general managers and managers. Boston, with the biggest payroll, canned GM Dave Dombrowski. The Cubs, underperforming with the second largest payroll, said farewell to Joe Maddon. The Angels (with the 9th largest payroll) fired first year manager Brad Ausmus, deluding themselves that Maddon will lead them to the Promised Land – he won’t. The Mets canned the wrong person. Mickey Callaway didn’t construct that awful roster with great starting pitching and one notch over Triple A everywhere else. And there are other teams like the Angels dreaming that a managerial change will turn them around – see Pittsburgh (Clint Hurdle) and San Diego (Andy Green) – again it won’t. On a more positive note, five teams at or below the average MLB payroll, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Oakland and the Rays made the playoffs although three squeaked in as wild card teams.

UP NEXT: ATMs; Hillsborough micromanagement; Eliot versus Al and Frank

100619

 

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 28, 2019

 

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.

 

Insurance companies and their lap dogs

 

Back about two months ago (TBRR 8/4/19), our “number of the week” was 21,000 – the number of unpaid insurance claims from Hurricane Michael which occurred just under a year ago. Since our August 4, edition that number has “dwindled” to 18,000. This is an unconscionable situation that our lawmakers are allowing to happen by making insurance laws with as many holes as Swiss cheese. The time has come to hold Florida lawmakers feet to the fire. All Florida House seats and roughly half the Florida Senate seats are up for election in 2020 and the candidates for election – or re-election need to answer some tough questions about why insurance companies are running roughshod over Florida’s citizens – and what you Mr. or Ms. Candidate is going to do to change it.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

 

1. There’s a good deal of whining about the length of Tampa City Council meetings. The reason seems to be some newly elected council members asking some tough questions of staff rather than just rubber stamping items. Good for them!

2. Idle thought: could we just impeach Nancy Pelosi?

3. Good for Publix to place a ban on open weapons in states where there is an open carry law. Fortunately, in Florida it is not an issue on mixing groceries with Glocks.

4. It’s been announced that 7-11s are coming to malls including Brandon’s Westfield Mall. So, does this mean you’ll be able to get ripped off during a natural disaster at the mall now - a bit snarky but as former Attorney General Pam Bondi pointed out in 2017 (TBRR 9/10/17) – they earned it.

5. You’ve lived in Clearwater a very long time if you recall the sinking of the deep sea fishing boat the Miss Buckeye II around this time of year many decades ago (1951). Fortunately due to the efforts of another long time deep sea fishing boat, the Sea Fever, all 43 people on board were saved.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. And you think the Bucs have kicking problems? The Jets are now on their fourth placekicker of the year. If only that were the Jets’ biggest problem.

7. Number of the week: 1968 – the last time the six-time Super Bowl champs Pittsburgh Steelers started a season 0-4. They play the other 0-3 AFC North team, the Bengals, on Monday Night Football.

8. Coolest name by far of all the MLB September call-ups – Oakland outfielder Skye Bolt.

9. Our crack prognosticator Achmed Walled (pronounced wall-ED) post season picks are below, but here are some words of wisdom from ESPN writer Sam Miller – “Baseball people are unanimous in this opinion: The test of a team is the six-month season. The seventh month is largely about luck”.

10. We conclude (sort of) our best player by the number series (back story TBRR 3/10/10) with numbers 30 and 31. Number 30 is a close call because this Hall of Famer wore both 30 and 34 over a long career. Both numbers have been retired – 30 by the Angels and 34 by Houston and Texas. We speak, course, of Nolan Ryan. The number 31 has also been retired by multiple clubs - the Braves and the Cubs that number belonged to perhaps the smartest pitcher to ever toe the slab – Greg Maddux.

 

Achmed’s MLB post season picks

 

First the good news, our wizard of odds Achmed Walled (pronounced wall-ED) is on the road to a full recovery from a nasty medical issue a few weeks back. He remains a little shaky – at first predicting the Cardinals over the Browns in six. After we reminded him that was the 1944 World Series result, he got to the task at hand and forecasts the Houston Astros will play the LA Dodgers in the World Series and that the Astros will win their second championship in the last three years while the Dodgers go down to their major league record 15th series defeat. But you have to have been there a lot to lose that many and only the Yankees have appeared in more Fall Classics than the Dodgers.

NEXT UP: Judge’s Chambers; Sensible approach to Halloween; Black Monday

092919

 

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 22, 2019

 

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.

 

Thinning the herd of donkeys

 

The 2020 Presidential race is over a year away but the field is narrowing quite rapidly. It’s coming down to Biden, Sanders and Warren with first term senator Kamala Harris as a fourth ranked outsider. We can’t see her party, left-leaning as it’s become, putting her at the top of the ticket. Sanders had his shot in 2016 and came up short which leaves Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. If the Demos want to win in 2020, they will choose Biden. While old, he is not that much older than Donald Trump and his age should not be a factor – at least any more than Trump’s age. But the party will have to choose a running mate very carefully and it most certainly will have to be a centralist like Biden to win in 2020. The Democrats best play is to run Biden knowing full well he will be too old to serve in 2024 even if elected and focus on finding a more palatable choice for 2024.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Consult the dictionary under chutzpah and you will no doubt see the picture of former St. Pete Housing director Tony Love. The guy who was justifiably canned has offered not to sue his former employer if they offer him some job that doesn’t exist with his former benefit package.  

2. Number of the week: $50 million. This is the amount the state stands to lose for hiring an unqualified company to handle the processing of its tolls. There were cheaper, more qualified companies than Conduent that somehow lost out in the bidding process. That is simply bewildering.

3. Wow! The first words out of our mouth last Friday when we walked outside to a 73-degree morning. While we’ll still have some warm afternoons, WTVT’s Paul Dellegatto says our summer pattern of really hot days and afternoon showers is just about over.

4. She was a superb journalist and one of the classiest women (or men) in her profession. Cokie Roberts passed away last week at age 75.

5. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you remember when the land now occupied by Clearwater Mall and the Seville condominium complex was a peacock farm.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. It took just two weeks for the NFL season to be turned topsy-turvy with injuries to two of the league’s elite quarterbacks – Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger. The Saints were a popular pick to reach the Super Bowl and the Steelers given at least a chance to make the playoffs.

7. After polishing off South Carolina State, the USF Bulls have a couple more cupcakes in the next few weeks, and then Charlie Strong’s boys have a pretty daunting trail the rest of the football season.

8. Factoid: With two weeks left in the baseball season, major league batters are on a pace to strike out more times than they record a hit for the first time in baseball history. We’ll examine this more at season’s end.

9. Speaking of the season’s end, we’re just a week away from “Black Monday” when several MLB managers “get a copy of the home game”. The biggest shuffle could be in the NL East where the Braves’ Brian Snitker occupies the only truly safe chair.

10. We were originally not even close to being a fan of baseball’s wild card. But it sure makes this week interesting for a number of teams – including our local nine.

 

Numbers 28 and 29

 

As the season winds down, we double up on a couple numbers worn by outstanding players. Number 28 is a fairly easy call with honors going to Bert Blyleven, a Hall of Famer who notched 287 wins and over 3700 strikeouts in his Hall of Fame career. There are those who say he owned the best curve ball in the modern era. Number 29 is a bit tougher. Only 29 (coincidently) major league players own a better career batting average than Rod Carew’s .328. On the other hand, no major leaguer has matched John Smoltz’ 200 wins and 150 saves. Like some other numbers - a razor thin call that goes to Rod Carew.

UP NEXT: Reigning in insurance companies; Playoffs; 80, 86, 89 and 92

092219

 

 

 

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 15, 2019

 

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.

 

Clearwater’s lack of institutional history

 

The city of Clearwater lacks a memory. It’s not alone – most cities want for an institutional history. Recently at a discussion of the future of Crest Lake Park, which turned into a shouting match featuring our mayor and others, the main topic of concern was the city’s plan to cut down some 155 trees in the park that covers a full city block on Gulf to Bay Blvd. Not mentioned in the discussion was a program called “Tree Thoughts” a program fostered by the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce years ago because there were not enough trees in the park – particularly its northern side. Folks “sponsored” a tree planting and a small marker was placed honoring a death, a birth or an anniversary in that particular family. We can forgive the well-meaning city officials who well may have been in elementary school during the project. But this is just one example of the new forgetting what the intention of the old was and why Clearwater, and every other substantial city, should have a semi-official historian to tell them why things were done the way they were done.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

 

1. It appears Clearwater may have its strongest mayoral field in at least two decades with long time city council member Bill Jonson announcing he will take on two-term mayor Frank Hibbard next year.

2. Speaking of council members, the citizens of Tarpon Springs are mourning the passing of their former council member Jim Archer at age 87. Jim was also a major league pitcher for the Athletic and Orioles in the 50s and 60s.

3 You no doubt remember the seemingly endless project that was Druid Road (we changed Presidents during the timespan). Now, it has been replaced by the western end of Sunset Point Road and it’s quite possible we will see another Presidential election before that project is completed.

4. Another transportation note – the city of Clearwater is now looking at scooters. This is an attraction that looks good on paper but not so much upon implementation – just ask Tampa. More on this next week.

5. Oh, about that Aunt Sandy Hall tease in last week’s TBRR: You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you remember when downtown offered diverse dining choices like Aunt Hattie’s, Morrisons, Ponderosa, Sandy’s, Vince Anna’s, Jimmy Hall’s and others. Now downtown offers a couple of pizza places and a rotating palate of restaurant failures. Sad.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. In the category of what have you done for me lately, the Red Sox fire GM Dave Dombrowski one year after the team wins the World Series. Perhaps ownership wants to return to the good old days when they went 86 years between world championships.

7. Part of the Rays’ attendance problem is playing weak teams during prime time like last weekend’s series against the Blue Jays. In fact, doesn’t it seem the Rays play the Blue Jays and Orioles like 50 times each year?

8. Numbers of the week: 303 vs. 100 – the number of no-hitters versus the number of immaculate innings in MLB history. An immaculate inning is nine pitches, nine strikes, side retired. Last week, Braves reliever Chris Martin became only the 100th pitcher in history to turn the trick.

9. In the second week of college football rankings, five of the top ten teams represented the SEC which should make for some very interesting matchups as the season progresses.

10. This week, we combine numbers 26 and 27 in our best player to wear the number series (BRR 3/10/19). Number 26 belonged to a hitting machine for the Boston Red Sox – Hall of Famer Wade Boggs who was the first ever player to hit a home run for his 3000th hit – for his home town Tampa Bay Rays. Number 27 is not as clear a choice with the great right hander Juan Marichal and slugger Vlad Guerrero wearing the number. But there’s a future first ballot Hall of Famer playing out in California who outshines both the great Marichal and Guerrero and that is Mike Trout – already a two time MVP plus Rookie of the Year and at the ripe old age of 27 is having the best year of his career and a sure shot for a 3rd MVP.

 

Achmed’s no doubt about it NFL picks

 

Our ace sports prognosticator and former gardener for acting legend, Oscar Homolka, Achmed Walled (pronounced wall-ED) has his NFL predictions in hand. Achmed finds it extremely hard to pick against the New England Patriots in the AFC – particularly with their acquisition of problem child Antonio Brown – he’s a spoiled brat but he can catch passes. In the NFC, Achmed figures an officiating team cannot deny the New Orleans Saints two years in a row and he picks them to oppose the Patriots in Miami on February 2nd. As for the Bucs, Achmed is not optimistic and has them at 5-11. In a couple weeks, Achmed will have some World Series picks you can take to the bank. (Editor’s note: our lifelong friend who does sports predictions under the nom de plume Achmed Walled is battling some significant health issues right now. Please join us in praying for a full and speedy recovery).

UP NEXT: The Clearwater Peacock Farm; Thinning the field; Record whiffs

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WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 8, 2019

 

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.

 

Unintentional consequences of a bloated constitution

 

It’s only the beginning; more trouble is on the way. The greyhound industry, being put out of business by one of 2018’s bundle of unnecessary constitutional amendments, is suing the state for the loss of revenue and property. For what it’s worth, most legal scholars think they will be unsuccessful. Pray they are right, because if the industry prevails, it would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars. The proponents of the amendment didn’t tell you that did they? Even if the state prevails, it’s going to cost the state (meaning you and me) many thousands of dollars to defend their position. There is going to be more collateral damage from other not so well thought out amendments, yet we continue to want to stuff them into our constitution without really thinking out the consequences.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Even though it did minimal damage to Florida, Hurricane Dorian reminded us of the terrible span of some 45 days fifteen years ago when Hurricanes Charley, Francis, Ivan and Jeanne wreaked havoc in the Sunshine State. Even though she was the only “lady” of the bunch, Jeanne did the most damage to the bay area in 2004.

2. On a related note, there was scattered criticism when Pinellas public schools decided to remain closed last Tuesday when the threat from Dorian subsided, but the school system did the right thing erring on the side of caution.

3. Yet a third Dorian note – it was gratifying to see NOAA’s first all-female team do a mission into the hurricane last month.

4. Also storm related – it absolutely stinks to see the critical repairs at Tyndall Air Force Base being turned into a political football by our President and Democratic leaders in Congress.

5. You’ve lived in the bay area or anywhere else a long time if you remember the 50’s fad of “come as you are” parties. We tip our hat to novelist and Daily Guideposts contributor Debbie Macomber for reminding us of this fab fifties trend.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. Good Vibrations is a 400-some page tome by Beach Boy Mike Love. If you were into the music of the early and mid-sixties, it an interesting read, but Love belabors his outlook that everything good that happened with the group was his doing and the bad was the fault of his uncle and cousins of the Wilson family.

7. You have to wonder about Sirius/XM’s marketing strategy as more and more new cars have no trial subscriptions as in the past. The satellite service is being squeezed by multiple streaming options.

8. She was TV’s “everygirl” – Rhoda Morgenstern. The very talented Valerie Harper passed away last week at age 80.

9. Going in to the final month of the season MLB’s power rankings have the Astros, Yanks and Dodgers as the top three teams and, mysteriously, the Twins ranked fourth over the Braves and Nats who were a combined 17-3 going into the rankings. Ask any major league front office which team they would rather play in the playoffs – the Braves, Nats or the Twins?

10. Number 25 in our continuing series of “best to wear the number” (TBRR 3/10/19) begins with an asterisk. Two very good ballplayers wore that number and would now be in the Hall of Fame except they weren’t satisfied with very good numbers and chose to use PEDs to make very good numbers even better. We refer to Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds. Another great player put up equally good numbers without PEDs – not to mention being a great ambassador of the game and that was the terrific Jim Thome.

 

Waiting for Godot…no wait, Achmed

 

Our sports prognosticator Achmed Walled (pronounced wall-ED) reportedly has been busy putting down a revolution in some obscure middle European area. He promises to return next week with his NFL picks for 2019 and, of course, at the end of the month with his surefire selections for major league baseball’s post season.

UP NEXT: Are you ready for some football? 26 &27; Aunt Sandy Hall

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WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 1, 2019

 

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.

 

Drejka trial – no winners, only losers

 

The spectacle that was the Michael Drejka trial ended with a trail of losers beginning with four kids who have no father. Their mother whose thoughtless parking in a handicap zone started the tragic chain of events has no boyfriend to help her raise those four kids. Drejka, himself, is a victim but that was self-inflicted. Other folks who came off not so well included our sheriff who went ready, fire, aim in declaring Drejka home free on a stand your ground basis and then had to moonwalk after the state attorney correctly said not so fast. But the state attorney’s boys, particularly Fred Schaub came off as courtroom bullies during the trial while Drejka’s defense team was laughable. Then there’s “Florida’s Best Newspaper” whose inflammatory articles leading up to the trial defied any standard of objective journalism. As a community, it was not one of our proudest times from start to finish.

 

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

 

1. How heartwarming to see the gaggle of power trucks assembling in and around St. Pete College Saturday night along with large buses hauling utility workers to the area to stage for wherever they may be needed. It’s the same feeling we experienced two years ago when we saw so many such trucks headed south on I-75 in the wake of Irma. God speed folks.

2. Several leading conservatives feel that Elizabeth Warren will be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020. We feel that may be wishful thinking from the right.

3. While the proposed land lease to the Belleair Golf Club looks like a win-win, the fact is the property in question was donated by the Hallett family for non-commercial use. We too often forget our history in the quest for current satisfaction.

4. Quote of the week: from some liberal media drivel – “Abortion rights remain at risk”. There’s something at risk in the abortion struggle but it’s not “abortion rights”!

5. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you remember dining in at the Pizza Hut on Missouri Avenue. It’s been shuttered for years. Now comes word that Pizza Hut will be closing another 200 dine-in locations across the country.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. In a bittersweet moment this coming weekend, the University of Florida will pay tribute to George Edmondson – the man who led the “two bits” cheer for the Gators for some six decades. The “two bits” cheer will be led by his family. Edmondson, of Tampa, died earlier this year at age 97.

7. A more recent loss to the bay area occurred last week with the passing of banking executive and community leader Dave Carley who headed both the Bank of Clearwater and Citizens Bank during his illustrious career.

8. We are feeling at home in our new digs now that we found the box with the picture of Jeff Blauser and Mark Lemke posed in front of the famous press box fire at Fulton County Stadium the night Tampa’s Fred McGriff joined the Braves in 1993. It now, again, graces our desk.

9. Number of the Week: 43 – the number of consecutive losses by Dunedin High’s football until their season opening win. This is hard to imagine for the older crowd who remember Dunedin as quite competitive in football and basketball and a sheer terror in baseball.

10. At the MLB 5/6 mark, there are still 2 ½ races left. The Central Divisions will get the most attention with two teams (Cubs and Cards) vying for the NL title and Cleveland and Minnesota dueling in the AL. Atlanta’s 5 ½ game lead (at press time) looks safe, but they have seven left with Washington and their stacked rotation. The Yanks and Astros are battling for the best AL record and the always preferable opportunity to play a wild card team in the first round.

 

Number 24 in a landslide

 

An argument can be made that the Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Duke Snider weren’t even the best centerfielders in their own town in the 1950s. The third name in the Terry Cashman song Willie, Mickey and the Duke lead the trio in homers, RBIs - and stolen bases wasn’t even close. Willie Mays was probably the best fielder of the three in the golden age of baseball in the Big Apple. Some other pretty fair players wore #24 like Hall of Famers Ken Griffey, Jr., Early Wynn and Ricky Henderson, but Mays always ranks among the best 5 to 10 players in the history of the game.

UP NEXT: Good Vibrations; Come As You Are; St. Pete Housing Mess

090119

 

WEEK OF AUGUST 25, 2019

 

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.

 

Are we “over-teched”?

 

 

Coming out of a summertime tragedy on a football field was a renewed effort to make sure parents and kids knew what they were getting into with summer practices. There was much ado about getting all the information and permissions accomplished by computer, laptop and the like. What has happened to good, old fashioned paper? Believe it or not, over ten percent of American homes do not have a computer. And for those that do, a significant percentage of “sign by computer” documents simply do not work. We, as a nation, have gone a little overboard when you have to have some sort of device to sign a contract, reserve a hotel room or even call a cab.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

 

1. Parking lot shooter Michael Drejka found guilty of manslaughter by a jury of his peers. He had been convicted some weeks earlier by the St. Pete Times.

2. More good news on the affordable drug front (see TBRR 8/16/19). Several states are enacting legislation putting caps what an individual has to pay each month for critical drugs.

3. Other good news – this time on the robo call front. While no timetable has been set, major phone companies, cell and landline will have to offer blocking of such calls at no cost to the consumer. It’s a good start, but we’d like assurances that we would still be alive to see that happen.

4. Sign of the week: Observed during the opening week of school on the marquee of a local liquor store – “Welcome Back Teachers”.

5. You’ve lived in the bay area (or anywhere else) a long time if you once owned a Duncan yoyo. Bonus points if you could make it sleep or “walk the dog”.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. Last week, we failed to mention the 50th anniversary of one of the great moments in rock and roll history – Woodstock. But as we mentioned last week (TBBR 8/16/19), your humble blogger and saintly wife were busy beginning their own 50 year journey that weekend.

7. Actor Peter Fonda died last week at age 79. He was best known for the early 70s film Easy Rider. The film was, to some, a counter culture classic – to others one of the most overrated movies of all time.

8. Stop the presses! The Bucs seem to have found a reliable kicker.

9. As the Little League World Series winds down, the people of Williamsport, PA will be able to take a deep breath. They look at the World Series in much of the same light that Clearwater looks at spring break – a very mixed blessing.

10. MLB’s balance of power seems to have shifted from the AL East to the NL East. The AL is fielding two competitive teams while the NL East has four teams that nobody wants to face in the postseason.

 

#23 and a bad trade

 

Years ago, Phillies PR chief Larry Shenk introduced us to a promising minor league shortstop and after the brief exchange, told us “he’s going to be something special”. It’s too bad Larry was the long time media face of the Phils rather than their general manager who traded Ryne Sandberg and Larry Bowa to the Cubs for Ivan de Jesus. The Phils had de Jesus for three unspectacular years while the Cubs moved Sandberg to second base and the start of a 15-year Hall of Fame career while wearing #23. No other player to wear that number comes close to Ryne Sandberg’s accomplishments.

Up Next: #24 – no contest; Two bits; No winners, only losers

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WEEK OF AUGUST 16, 2019

 

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.

 

Efforts to make drugs more affordable

 

There’s a lot going on currently to make the cost of prescription drugs less onerous. Forty four states have joined in a suit against the manufacturers of generic drugs for price fixing – a scheme that has seen the cost of some generics jump from 85 cents a dose to well over $10 a dose. The skullduggery has forced thousands of people to choose between drugs that keep them well or food or gas for their car. The suit, if successful, will cost the offending companies millions of dollars, but with their deep pockets it’s like you and I paying a traffic ticket. What we would hope is that some well-deserved jail time be handed out to the executives behind these crimes. That and only that will get the attention of the big pharmaceutical manufacturers. More on this in weeks to come.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. With the liberal media spewing the “R” (recession) word, a cooler head who we respect greatly points out that last Wednesday was the 307th time in the last century that the market fell three percent in a day – or for the math-challenged slightly more than three times a year.

2. As we pointed out before (TBRR 5/5/19), like it or not, the people have spoken on the matter of felons who have done their time getting their vote back. Governor Ron DeSantis does our state (and himself) a disservice by trying to circumvent the will of the people.

3. Pardon us, Duke Power, TECO and Florida Power and Light, but shouldn’t we be trying to save every kilowatt we can? Florida’s big power companies are pushing for reduced incentives for consumers to cut back.

4. This moving thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be with all the address changing etc. But the folks at Pinellas County’s Elections Office, Property Appraiser and Tax Collector couldn’t have made it easier - hats off folks.

5. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you remember when the unofficial five and a half day work week ended on Noon Saturday with the blowing of a loud whistle downtown. Thanks to our unofficial TBRR historian.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. Dale Earnhardt’s scary crash last week reminds us that we have lost some truly great drivers in air plane crashes – Davey Allison, Alan Kulwicki and the legendary Curtis Turner.

7. Charlie Manuel is back on the field as the Phils hitting coach – probably one of many moves the “stupid money” Phils will make to their coaching staff.

8. It’s just not the Rays playing the stadium game, the Angels are romantically involved with Long Beach some 25 miles away from their current stadium.

9. The Rays 2020 schedule reveals some good NL draws in the Brewers (home and home), the Cards and the Pirates, but, alas no visit from the NL Central’s biggest draw – the Cubbies. The other downer is finishing the season with seven on the road.

10. The last two picks in our series of the best player to wear a certain number (back story TBRR 3/10/19) were tough. Picking the top #22 is a lot easier. He won three Cy Young Awards and pitched his team to three World Series championships. Baltimore’s Jim Palmer notched 268 wins in his Hall of Fame career.

 

 

It was a dark and stormy night

 

Fifty years ago on August 16, 1969, it truly was a dark and stormy night. Hurricane Camille was just about to enter the Gulf of Mexico. The associated bands of rainstorms held off just long enough for the outside wedding pictures to be taken but the newly married couple drove to their simple wedding reception in a downpour. Since that day, they have sworn that rain on a wedding day is a good omen. Now fifty years later, your humble blogger and his best friend look back and smile at the sunshiny days, the stormy days and all the days in between. So much of life ahead … and yes we’ve just begun.

Up Next: Owning a Duncan; Worst Phils trade ever?

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WEEK OF AUGUST 11, 2019

 

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.

 

Districts make as much sense as a strong mayor

 

There has been a call in some quarters for Clearwater to start electing its council members by district. We can’t seem to stop wanting our village of barely 100,000 more like our southern (double our size) and eastern (triple our size) neighbors. Anyone who has a good sense of Clearwater’s history knows there has always been a good geographic mix on its council. There’s been a concern about the lack of representation from the Greenwood area. Boiled down to its essence, that lack of representation lies mostly from the lack of candidates – you have to be in to win. Even without a resident on the council, the Greenwood area has not lacked for services from the city – a trend that started with some progressive council members twenty years ago and has continued. Districts create turf wars – just look at Tampa and Hillsborough County, and to a lesser degree, St. Pete. Like a strong mayor, Clearwater just doesn’t need districts.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Districts or not, it’s good to see a sizable group of candidates lining up for next March’s election – particularly Bud Elias whose activity in Clearwater causes covers a couple decades.

2. Sign of the times – Walgreens is going to shutter some 200 stores. Again, brick and mortar is losing out – this time to the many on line pharmacies that work in conjunction with major health plans.

3. Number of the week – 1800. The number of newspapers that shut down in the last fifteen years – including The Tampa Tribune which brought balance to news reporting in the bay area.

4. It’s been a month since the “extended move” from Clearwater Beach and we are asked daily – “do you miss the beach?” No, been back once for a trimming from Dan, the harbor barber, at the marina. Didn’t realize how noisy the beach had become until moving into our new, sedate neighborhood.

5. The continued escalation of Florida real estate prices reminds us of an old joke told to us about 25 years ago (we have updated the numbers): Potential buyer who wanted to get a slightly larger home asks a Realtor: “What kind of home can I get in the $300,000 dollar range” – the Realtor’s reply – “the one you’re living in.”

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. Her name became a synonym at the legendary Morton Plant Treehouse gathering for a member who came for coffee but didn’t work out. Rosie Ruiz who took a cab to briefly claim the Boston Marathon championship in 1980, died last week at age 66.

7. Sorry, we can’t get worked up about football when the average high each day is 90 degrees. Check with us later.

8. Okay, a couple items – Bucs lose pre-season opener in Pittsburgh and are picked to win six games this year – a number we feel might be low (hopefully).

9. More than one person is advocating for replacing the Rawlings on the MLB ball with Titleist. Exactly one half of major league teams are on a pace to break their all-time seasonal record for home runs.

10. The American League Wild Card race has dwindled down to three teams – the Rays, Indians and Oakland. It’s a much different story in the NL with fully seven teams within three games of a spot in the playoffs. It’s going to be a fun month and a half.

 

Copping out on #21

 

Let’s cut to the chase on this one – there were two major league icons who wore #21 during their careers. The first, Warren Spahn won more games than any other left-hander in history – 363, including a 23-7 season at age 42. He also hit more home runs than any other pitcher in National League history – 35. These are numbers hard to top – unless you happen to be Roberto Clemente, an NL MVP, four-time batting champion and 12-time Gold Glover. So great was Clemente that a special exception was made for him upon his untimely death on New Year’s Eve 1972 and he was voted into the Hall of Fame without the traditional five-year waiting period. Clemente blazed the trail for Latin major league ballplayers. As for Spahn, one other noteworthy accomplishment – he helped break the 0 for 12 streak for a struggling rookie who took him deep on his 13th major league at bat – guy by the name of Mays. Call it a cop out but we rule the contest for the greatest #21 in MLB history a tie.

Up next: Drugs, the helpful kind; paper and pencil; #22

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WEEK OF AUGUST 4, 2019

 

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.

 

A Hall of Famer on and off the field

 

 

It’s difficult to judge how many thousand lives Doug Mason touched over the years – as a teacher or baseball coach for many of us; as a Hall of Fame fast pitch softball player and manager for the renowned Clearwater Bombers and as a stalwart for his church both on a local and statewide level. And he did it with an understated style you could not help but admire – and try to emulate. Doug passed away last week at age 88. Those of us who were touched by him are all the better for the experience.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Number of the Week: 21,000 – the number of insurance claims still outstanding from Hurricane Michael nearly a year later. It’s just another reason Florida needs to completely change its toothless insurance regulation laws.

2. Yawn, excuse us. We somehow slept through the second round of Democratic debates.

3. Cheers to the city of Dunedin for looking into toning down city fireworks displays and perhaps turning to laser or drone displays.

4. Another serious boat accident last weekend reminds us that Florida, with more boats than any other state, needs much stiffer boat operator licensing requirements.

5. You’ve lived in the bay area a long time, if you ever stopped in for the comfort food offered up by the Branch Ranch, off I-4 in Plant City. The Branch Ranch closed in 2006.

 

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Dan Le Batard will apparently keep his job after crossing the line on political comment in a sports environment. We enjoy Dan, but like Keith Olbermann and Jamele Hill who was eased out of ESPN for racist statements, Le Batard cannot decide whether he wants to be a sports or political commentator.

7. Speaking of Olbermann, he did a bang up job as co-host of Pardon the Interruption during Michael Wilbon’s absence due to his mother’s passing. We hope Olbermann will reprise his guest spot in the future.

8. The middle of the year rankings are out and Baseball America rates the Rays’ farm system as the best in baseball.

9. It is great to see former Ray Ben Zobrist beginning workouts towards getting back to the big show after what has been a gut wrenching summer for one of baseball’s truly good guys.

10. Lots and lots of moves at the trading deadline with the Houston Astros the clear winners picking up Zack Greinke – shades of Justin Verlander in 2017 – and we all know what happened that year. In the NL, there were no such headliners. The team that probably improved itself the most was the division-leading Braves picking up three solid relievers to aid their previously shaky bullpen.

 

 

#20 in baseball greatness

 

The number in our series of great players (back story TBRR 3/10/19) is like #3 Ruth a slam dunk. It is, of course, the Atlanta Braves’ Mark Lemke. Well, the “Lemmer” is our all time-favorite player on our favorite team, but he may come up just a little short of two other guys who wore 20 – Frank Robinson and Mike Schmidt. It would be tempting to call this one a draw as it will with 21 next week. But only one guy won the MVP in both leagues – not to mention having his number retired by three teams and that was Frank Robby. Michael Jack (as Harry Kalas was fond of calling him), if only you had stayed with the number 22 you wore in your rookie year with the Phils.

Up Next: Roberto and the guy Willie took deep; Districts; Tech run amuck

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WEEK OF JULY 28, 2019

 

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.

 

The error of bail laws

 

Depending on when you’re reading this, it’s okay to shoot off the skyrockets a few weeks late. The reason – for what is usually a once or twice a year event, this blog and “Florida’s Best Newspaper” agree on something – the futility and downright foolishness of cash bails for minor offenders. We’re not talking about letting the Boston Strangler or Al Capone run loose but saving our counties and state a lot of money by not keeping misdemeanor offenders behind bars for the sake of a $250 or $500 bail. Other states have enacted no bail programs with very promising and cost-saving results. It is high time for Florida to follow suit. But know this: Florida’s bail bond industry is a powerful lobby in Tallahassee and won’t go quietly in the night.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

 

1. He had as much to do with success of NASA’s early astronaut program as guys like Shephard, Armstrong and Glenn. Chris Kraft, NASA’s first flight director passed away last week at age 95.

2. Now St. Petersburg is looking at scooters in their downtown area. Tampa has served as an alpha test which, surprisingly, has not dissuaded St. Pete from moving ahead.

3. The recent article about oddities along the road included the large pink dinosaur that has reared its head over U.S. 19 near Spring Hill for years. What the article did not say is one of the youthful construction crew on the dino would become a respected Circuit Court judge years later. We withhold his name because we want to remain his friend.

4. Quote of the Week: “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” – Winston Churchill. Well said.

5. You’ve lived in the bay area (or anywhere else) a long time if you cooled off in the summer with some Sealtest Ice Cream. Production of Sealtest ended in 1993.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Breaking news about a new political newsletter to be launched this week by “Florida’s Best Newspaper”. We need another liberal media outlet.

7. Happy Birthday to veteran character actor Nehemiah Persoff who turns 100 this week. He played Barbra Streisand’s father in Yentl and was a staple on television series like Hawaii Five Oh, Mission Impossible and The Untouchables.

 

8. Hats off to the Miami Dolphins for paying out the full salary of Kendrick Norton and keeping him on their injured roster so he can collect NFL insurance. Norton lost an arm in a car accident last month.

9. The Rays at the 100-game mark were ranked #7 in the MLB power rankings behind only the Yanks, Astros and Twins in the AL (and the Dodgers, Braves and Cubs in the NL).

10. With all the nonsense surrounding school mascots like the decades-old Chiefs nickname of Chamberlain High, we’re glad our “mascot” was a Tornado which no one has found offensive – yet.

 

Number 19

 

Three names come to mind when you think of great ballplayers to wear #19 – Waite Hoyt who had his greatest years with the powerhouse Yanks of the ‘20s and ‘30s and went on to a distinguished broadcasting career with the Reds (your humble blogger had the privilege of doing some work for Waite when the Reds trained in Tampa). Also Robin Yount – the face of the Brewers franchise for 20 years. Great as these two were, they are somewhat eclipsed by a kid who broke in at age 18 and went on to win 266 games despite losing the ‘42-’44 seasons to Navy service. Bob Feller is the standard to which power pitchers are held.

UP NEXT: Michael Jack and Robby; Branch Ranch; Bye to a Hall of Famer

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WEEK OF JULY 21, 2019

 

 

Man, you miss a couple weeks, look what happens

 

 

As mentioned last week, we were homeless and computer-less leading to our first missed publishing date in our five year history. Boy, a lot happened in that space of time – just in notable people we lost in late June and early July. Let’s lead off (pun intended because he would like it) with Jim Bouton the guy who made his mark on the ballfield and off with his famous Ball Four – one of the four or five best baseball books going. Then there was the man who gave us two icons of the road – Lee Iacocca. At Ford, he jazzed up the frame of the compact Falcon and gave us the Mustang. Later at Chrysler, he fostered the not as jazzy but just as popular mini-van. The classic Laugh In show would not have been the same without Arte Johnson – he of the hilarious skits with Ruth Buzzi. Also passing while we were “away” was Ross Perot, who with his presidential bid in 1992 managed to put the Clintons in the White House. Lastly, there was former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, age 99. To some he was a respected jurist, to others who have fought for rights of the unborn and traditional American values, not so much.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

 

1. The legacy of crooked regulation of for hire vehicles in Hillsborough continues. Cabs were forced to buy medallions for thousands of dollars to operate under the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Council – which for years was nothing but a shakedown operation. Now the county has taken over with a new system (and fee, of course) and they won’t honor the medallions – many of which have years to go. That just isn’t right.

2. The city of Clearwater’s purchase of the Church of Christ property on Hercules Avenue reflects a growing issue. Our churches are increasingly becoming real estate rich but very cash poor. One major house of worship in downtown Clearwater has seen its membership go from 3000 to 300 in just over a decade.

3. Last week was one of those “where were you” days. For us, we were the weekend guest of a cousin and her family in Muncie, Indiana while in training at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis on Sunday, July 20. It was great watching the wonder of her four young boys at the landing – not to mention my cousin, her husband and your HB (Humble Blogger).

4. Utter speculation in “Florida’s Best Newspaper” about Pinellas County’s school chief Michael Grego moving over to Hillsborough County equals slow news day.

5. You’ve lived in the bay area (or anywhere else) for a long time if you remember when the first thing that broke on your or your parent’s new car was the clock.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Katie Couric is going to receive some sort of lifetime achievement award from the Poynter Institute that owns the St. Pete Times. If ever there was a marriage made in, well not heaven, but someplace.

7. Factoid – although it is on everybody’s list of Top 100 or 50 or even 25 best TV shows of all time, The Carol Burnett Show never finished higher than 13th in the ratings in any year – usually it was down in the twenties – hard to believe.

8. The Sports Business Journal reports that advertising patches are not that far in the future for major league uniforms. Let’s see, some teams cite tradition as the reason they don’t put players’ names on the back of uniforms, but apparently it will be okay to have a Nationwide Insurance patch on the sleeve.

9. Quote of the week – “A young player has to be fairly compensated for what he’s doing” – Tony Clark of the MLB Player’s Association. What - $550,000 (the major league minimum) isn’t enough?

10. Now, if the Rays could just keep playing the Orioles every week. Unfortunately, only seven of the remaining 63 games are against the American League’s weakest team.

 

Number 18

 

 

After a couple weeks’ vacation, our countdown of best to wear the uniform returns (see back story TBRR 3/10/19). Two pitchers from back in the day were the best to don number 18. Mel Harder who pitched his entire career with the Indians and Red Faber who likewise toiled only for the Chicago White Sox are both Hall of Famers. Harder won 223 games and Faber 254 with a much better ERA – although a lot of his pitching was in the pre-Babe Ruth era. It’s almost a coin flip but we give the nod to Faber who tossed 16 complete games at age 40!

Up Next: The bail issue; trial by newspaper; Rapid Robert

                       

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WEEK OF JULY 14, 2019

 

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.

 

Special Edition: Why the Rays-Expos pact will fail

 

Sorry about the lack of an updated blog last week. We were temporarily homeless and computer-less. This week, a bit of a departure from our usual format driven by the momentous, some would say ridiculous, events of the past couple weeks involving the Rays. The idea of split cities has more holes than half a dozen golf courses – and below we explore the larger craters:

1. Play-offs? As constituted, this year’s Rays team is headed for the playoffs – most likely a wild card one-game affair. Who gets it -Tampa Bay or Montreal? Do we alternate years? Playoffs don’t happen that often. The Rays haven’t been to the playoffs in five years – that’s a long time between postseasons.

2. What’s magic about Montreal? There is a good reason Montreal lost the Expos. In the last seven years of major league baseball in Montreal, the Expos pulled less than a million fans (a paltry 12,000 a game) six out of seven years. Even the attendance challenged Rays have never been below a million. Montreal is a hockey town period.

3. The players and their union will not buy it. Two cities means two homes – not to mention a third home that most players keep outside the market where they play. Even for major league salaries, that’s tough – not to mention the strain on their families.

4. Tax and currency issues. In Tampa Bay, players pay no state income tax. In Montreal, there is a provincial tax – just another reason the player’s union won’t be buying this. Then there’s Canada’s usually devalued dollar.

5. The Bay area gets hosed on the spring-summer equation. Baseball attendance is always higher in the summer months – schools out, vacations etc. While the team may not care which season makes the money, the local employees and vendors surely will.

6. Will the owners play along? Well to begin with, there’s that pesky tax and currency thing. For the owners, a trip to Montreal will involve devalued dollars for their team’s share plus their players being taxed for the money they make playing there. We’ll rate the travel expense as a push – all the AL East teams are closer to Montreal even though flying a charter there is usually more expensive. Most big leaguers already possess passports, so that won’t be an issue. But if we were betting, we would say owner approval is not a slam dunk.

7. The language barrier. The official language of Quebec is French and they are quite militant about it, thank you. Is it not enough for ballplayers from outside the U.S. to learn the vagaries of English and American customs much less the, shall we say, unique customs of Montreal?

8. Disconnects. Stephen Bronfman, of the same family that lost the Expos to Washington in 2005, is already referring to the proposed hybrid team as the Expos. That should fly well in Tampa Bay!

9. Stadiums. Montreal’s lukewarm response to helping build a stadium seems like a groundswell compared to St. Pete’s reaction to the idea of building a new open air facility to host maybe three dozen games a year. The Montreal media is conjecturing that Montreal builds a modest stadium, the Rays remain in the Trop through 2027 playing to crickets and then Sternberg sells out to the Bronfman syndicate and achieves his real goal in baseball by buying the Mets.

10. So many moving parts. As we sadly learned from our recent real estate misadventure, when there are too many moving parts, the deal is usually doomed to failure. This deal with Montreal makes rocket science seem simplistic.

 

MLB at the halfway mark

 

If you had money on the Dodgers, Astros or the Yanks, you’ve got to like your chances. As a pure baseball fan, you’ve got to love the NL Central where four and a half games separate first from last. Two teams to keep an eye on in the second half, but for different reasons. The Twins are starting to fade, and we’re not sure they have the money or the prospects to cure their ills. On the other hand, over the last month or so, the Nats have been the best team in baseball now that their pen is not blowing leads nightly. And speaking of pens, there are going to be some king’s ransoms paid for quality relievers between now and the end of the one and only trading deadline at month’s end. It is going to be a very interesting second half.

NEXT UP: Back to our usual drivel next week.       

 

WEEK OF JUNE 30, 2019

 

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.

 

This country doesn’t owe us a dime

 

Three things happened last week that lead to this pre-Fourth of July rant. First, presidential hopeful (in some people’s minds) Beto O’Rourke hits town pandering to vets (see below); we got two bucks off a car wash at Pat n’ Polish for being a vet and we took advantage of the veteran’s parking spaces at Lowes in Clearwater Mall – an extremely nice gesture. The last we so appreciate as we walk with a bit of a limp which has nothing at all to do with serving in the military. We are one hundred percent behind any and all efforts to take care of our vets who are in any way incapacitated by incidents occasioned in the military. But for the rest of us, we did our duty; were treated pretty well by Uncle Sam in the way of pay, housing and whatnot. Maybe we got a late start at college or had our careers delayed a bit but it is the price we pay for our and other’s freedoms and we who came home in one piece are not entitled to a handout by our nation, although the carwash discount and parking spot are nice. Thanks, we appreciate it!

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. We begin this week with a confession; our memory is not what it used to be. To compensate, we often send ourselves an email to remind us of something – often of a piece intended for the blog. So, if anyone out there can help us remember what our email marked “53” was all about, please contact us!

2. How nice of Beto O’Rourke to grace our shores last week. And good to know that, as a vet, we would be exempt from his looney tunes “war tax”.

3. In a related note, how many of the 20 participants in the Democratic debate in south Florida can you actually name?

4. Quote of the week: “This is not a staged exit” – Rays’ owner Stuart Steinberg. Those words are almost identical to that of the Dodgers’ owner Walter O’Malley when he started moving Dodger games to Jersey City in the 50s. Let’s see, Brooklyn still has a baseball team, right?

5. You’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you or your kids attended Wilhelm School on Keene Road.

 

Sports, media and other stuff:

 

6. Debuting 60 years ago this year was Studebaker’s answer to the compact car trend, the Lark. The car and the company lasted another eight years.

7. The fact that he never grabbed the gold ring at the College World Series does not diminish the career of perhaps the greatest college baseball coach ever – FSU’s Mike Martin who retires after 39 years and over 2000 wins. Happily, his son, Mike Jr., will carry on the tradition as FSU’s new head coach.

8. Idle thought - three players who belong in the Hall of Fame who are not there – Roger Maris, Dale Murphy (both two time MVPs) and the game’s best left handed reliever Billy Wagner. And ok, since you didn’t ask, three players in the Hall who don’t belong there – Bill Mazeroski, Phil Rizzuto and Hoyt Wilhelm.

9. Break dancing in the Olympics? That surely will cure the games’ sagging TV ratings.

10. On to #17 in our season-long comparison of the best baseball players to wear each number (see back story TBRR 3/10/19). Only one player who wore #17 is in Cooperstown – Dizzy Dean but Diz’s career was truncated by an injury and he pitched only six years of 100 or more innings. He is, frankly, a marginal Hall of Famer. But a guy headed for the Hall as soon as blockheads get over the Coors Field thing is Todd Helton. Helton, also #17, actually has away-from-home numbers almost identical to first balloter Chipper Jones and he’s our pick at number 17.

 

 

Bye, bye Clearwater Beach

 

Twenty five years ago, it seemed like a great idea to move into a brand new town home on Island Estates. There was the beautiful drive across the bridge, a Publix virtually next door and a church of our denomination right around the corner. Twenty five years later, there are overgrown mangroves ruining the view on the causeway; we never really left our “home church” on the mainland and we still find ourselves, more often than not, shopping at the better stocked Publix we used to frequent on the mainland. Plus the traffic has gotten worse and our aging knees and back just don’t like those stairs in the townhouse any more. So this week, it’s back to the mainland. We’ll come back to the beautiful beach now and then - just not during spring break.

UP NEXT: Really not sure

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WEEK OF JUNE 23, 2019

 

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.

 

The Moonraker II – a study in sociology

 

Perhaps you’ve read the story of the Moonraker II. In brief, guy and dad buy a boat as a project. Dad dies, money becomes short for a guy with a large family to support. While taking it to a Tampa boat yard, bad things happened. Bottom line, it is sunk off the Howard Franklin Bridge. The guy who owns it has done everything within his limited means to rectify the problem. Hillsborough County steps in and is slowly moving towards removing the vessel. Meanwhile, the silk stocking crowd that owns homes along the water front is up in arms with one princess whining she can see the half sunk boat from every window in her home. Lady, do you know how many people would like to have a home where they could see the water from every window? Buck up, if the boat is the biggest problem in your life, we’d say life isn’t all that bad – particularly compared to the poor guy who’s facing thousands to get what had been a dream of his and his late dad removed.

 

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. The Hillsborough County School System’s top dog, Jeff Eakins, has announced he will retire next year. One can easily understand why – he is saddled with the most dysfunctional government body in the area – save for a couple small Pinellas beach communities.

2. Speaking of beach communities, Treasure Island functionaries have voted to extend last call in that mighty city to 3 a.m. Can’t see any problems coming out of that!

3. Two recent events have made us temporarily scratch two items off our bucket list – Trump’s Cuba travel ban and the cancellation of Tampa to Iceland flights by Icelandic Airlines.

4. Virtually every poll has virtually every Democrat beating Donald Trump in 2020. Get back to us next November.

5. You’ve lived in Pinellas County a long time if you remember when Edgewater Drive in Dunedin was a brick road.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. Some baseball/local history – 58 years ago this week, Roger Maris moved seven games ahead of Babe Ruth’s pace in the Babe’s 60 home run season when Maris slammed number 25 off Kansas City’s Jim Archer – the same Jim Archer who years later who would serve as a Tarpon Springs city commissioner.

7. Number of the week – 532,000, the Rays’ total attendance for the season as we approach the half way mark – or slightly more than four times what the Phillies and Braves drew in a three game series last weekend.

8. Another cool baseball nickname – this one for veteran relief pitcher Mark Rzepczynski – “Scrabble”.

9. Factoid: with a Stanley Cup appearance by one of the “original six”, you might recall when there were only six NHL teams and each team had exclusive bargaining rights with any player who lived within 50 miles of its home stadium – a definite advantage for the Canadian teams in the early days.

10. This week our best by number feature (see back story in TBRR 3/10/19) comes around to sweet 16 and there was nothing sweeter for a Yankee fan than watching opposing batters baffled by the assortment of speed and location served up by Whitey Ford. Some other pretty fair country pitchers wore the number like Ted Lyons and Hal Newhouser, but the guy who still holds more World Series pitching records than any other pitcher owns the rights to number 16.

 

Rays to Montreal, much, much ado about nothing

 

Do not, repeat do not make travel plans to see your beloved Rays in Montreal any time soon. If ever a baseball event deserved the term red herring, this is it. But this shot across the bow might get people like St. Pete’s Kriseman, Hillsborough’s Hagan and others off their high horses and around the bargaining table working towards a solution involving the region and the Rays. Hint, it starts with realizing that Hillsborough is the only feasible location for a stadium. But forget about Montreal as a shared site for the Rays. The player’s association and, most likely, the owners will swat that one right out of the park.

Next Up: The Lark; Rog, Murph and Billy; Goodbye Clearwater Beach

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WEEK OF JUNE 16, 2019

 

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.

 

Guns: local control vs. uniformity

 

On a subject as controversial as gun control, there has to be some uniformity at least on the state, if not the federal level. Yes and good luck with that – at least the federal piece. But something has to be done in Florida. We can’t have folks cross city boundaries and be subject to another set of rules and regulations regarding guns. But at the same time, we can’t have state officials threatening local policy makers with fines and jail time if they want to consider local initiatives. That is just a bit over the top. What we need is cooler heads to prevail both statewide and locally and come up with realistic gun measures. It isn’t going to be easy, but it must be done.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Another argument for beach consolidation (see TBRR 5/19/19) is Madeira Beach – a city that fires its city managers and clerks as often as you change your oil. Add in a former city commissioner with an ethics charge and a loose cannon of a mayor and you have another compelling reason for consolidation of small beach enclaves.

2. The idea of a bunch of scooters to get around Tampa seemed like a good idea. Now there’s talk of the city hiring folks to just go around and pick up the scooters where careless people just leave them after using them.

3. From the merger of B B & T and Sun Trust comes the dynamic new name Truist Bank! Granted it’s not much more vanilla than Branch Bank and Trust (B B & T) but there had to be something better out there like Acme, Ace or Better Than Average Bank.

4. St. Pete College dumps their longtime head of the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions, David Klement, without consulting the organization’s high powered Board of Directors. This isn’t going to end well.

5. You’ve lived in the bay area a long time if you ever enjoyed a summer weekend at The Bath Club on North Redington Beach.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. Speaking of summer, time to put together your feel good summer playlist. Here are five great ones for starters – Jimmy Buffet’s Duke’s On Sunday; On the Island by Brian Wilson; California Gold by Gidea Park and two great Carolina beach songs – Beach Music by the Embers and the Drifters’ I’ve Got Sand In My Shoes.

7. Factoid – Barbara Millicent Roberts is the full name of the iconic Barbie Doll which turns 60 this year.

8. The St. Louis Blues are no longer the Buffalo Bills of hockey – been there several times but never cashed. Their seven game Stanley Cup victory has turned a traditionally baseball town into one big hockey celebration.

9. A tip of the cap to the Boston Red Sox for their very classy move of sending a plane for their former slugger David Ortiz so he could receive further treatment in Boston from the senseless gunshot wounds he suffered in the Dominican Republic.

10. This week’s analysis of the best players to wear a certain number (see back story TBRR 3/10/19) rolls around to #15. Some good choices here – slugger Dick Allen, Yanks’ backstop Thurman Munson, several time All Star pitcher Tim Hudson. But for the first time (and probably not the last), we go with an active player as the best to wear a certain number. Dustin Pedroia has an MVP, a bunch of gold gloves and has been the catalyst of three World Championship teams – next stop for the Bosox second baseman is the Hall of Fame.

 

The very tarnished “Sport of Kings”

 

The Killing Fields are no longer in Cambodia but in southern California and Santa Anita Race Track where over two dozen thoroughbreds have died this year. Is it time to pull the plug on thoroughbred racing? We hope not because it is one of sport’s greatest spectacles. But unless some strong coast to coast measures are taken to protect these beautiful animals, the sport should be put to rest.

UP NEXT: Scrabble, the original six; Whitey. 

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WEEK OF JUNE 9, 2019

 

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.

 

At last, help for Florida’s panhandle

 

The 2019 hurricane season began last week and finally, our Congress is getting around to providing aid to Florida’s panhandle to deal with last year’s hurricane devastation. That, in and of itself, is unconscionable. Even more incredulous is that two Florida representatives voted against the aid package. Representatives Greg Steube and Francis Rooney cast no votes in a landslide decision to provide the aid. What is even more curiuos is that the congressmen are from Saraosta and affluent Naples – two areas no strangers to storm damage. And just as inexcusable is Governor Ron DeSantis sitting on his hands on the issue for the half a year he’s been in office. All three men need to be held accountable in the next election cycle.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Quiet week on the local political front with a lot of politicians off on cruises or relaxing in the North Carolina mountains where they can’t do anything dumb enough to make our blog.

2. Extremely nice gesture by the major franchisee of McDonald’s in the bay area to take out ads congratulating all their 2019 high school grads.

3. An Island Estates institution, Les Partners is closing its doors after a three and a half decade run.

4. Idle thought: how many more years will it be before there is no newspaper on your front porch in the morning? Our guess is less than a decade.

5. You’ve lived In the bay area (or anywhere else) for a long time if you remember using a flash cube in taking your pictures.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:


6. What a great run by James Holzhauer on Jeopardy which ended last Monday. He ran off 32 straight victories winning just shy of $2.5 million. As crushing as the loss was for Holzhauer, it’s a bigger loss for Jeopardy which had historic ratings during Holzhuaer’s run.

7. The long awaited signings of premium pitchers Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel have taken place with the pitchers going to the Cubs and Braves   respectively. Does either signing guarantee a pennant? Hardly. Most players who have skipped spring training due to qualifying offer issues have struggled mightily once they hit the diamond.

8. A side note to the above free agent note. Apparently, the Rays were a close second in the bidding for Craig Kimbrel according to rumor guru Ken Rosenthal. They offered $39 million as opposed to the Cub’s winning bid of $43 million. Interesting.

9. An inevitable comparison from last week’s Dodgers-Phils series. The opposing right fielders were Bryce Harper, salary $30 million hitting .248 and Clay Bellinger, salary $600,000, hitting a mere 131 points higher.

10.. Hockey traditionalists are all excited about one of the NHL’s “original six” being in the NHL finals for the first time in four years, although it has been a quarter century or more since either the Canadiens, Maple Leafs or Rangers have won the cup.

 

Numbers 13 and 14 in MLB history

 

This week we roll around to the numbers 13 and 14 (see back story TBRR 3/10/19) in the best of MLB to wear the number series. Some asterisks come into play on these two numbers. Two outstanding players get eliminated. #13 ARod for doping and #14 Rose for the unpardonable sin of betting on games in which he was involved. The field is still pretty strong – at 13 you have a best left handed reliever in history in Billy Wagner and one of the two greatest defensive shortstops in the game - Omar Vizquel. It’s a tough call. But Wagner was a dominant reliever until the day he retired and he gets the call. At 14, we have great ones like Ken Boyer, Jim Bunning and Jim Rice, but then you also have “Mr. Cub” – a great player on so many lousy teams, but that never diminished the positive attitude (Let’s play two!) of Erne Banks – a treasure if there ever was one.

UP NEXT: Summer songs; Bath Club; local control vs. uniformity

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WEEK OF JUNE 2, 2019

 

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.

 

Clearwater’s preeminent restauranteur

 

For generations, Siple’s Garden Seat was the place you went on special occasions – birthdays, anniversaries and, in your HB’s (Humble Blogger’s) case, our wedding rehearsal dinner many years ago. Dick Siple and his staff made you feel at home and had the knack of remembering your name even if you hadn’t been by in several months. The restaurant and its gorgeous grounds overlooking Clearwater Bay was sold to Morton Plant Hospital several years ago for, among other reasons, according to Dick Siple, “too many people wanted white linen, china and four courses for $5.95.” The loss of Siple’s was a huge loss to Clearwater and last week the loss became larger with the passing of Dick Siple at age 93 less than a year after the passing of his wife and co-owner of Clearwater’s best restaurant, Laverne.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Kudos to Chairman Rene Flowers and the majority of the Pinellas School Board for standing their ground on the issue of arming Pinellas County school employees despite pressure from our misguided sheriff. Putting that many guns on a school campus only invites bad things.

2. Onions to Texas U.S. Rep Chip Roy and a few other Congressional knuckleheads who are holding up much needed disaster funds from Bay County and other areas while pushing some unrelated political agenda.

3. Among the issues being pushed for the next round of Florida constitutional amendments is legalized recreational marijuana and open primaries. After that, look for legalized heroin and removal of the restrictions of driving on a sidewalk. We joke about the last two – we think.

4. Idle thought: why is it your A/C, water heater or fill in the blank always breaks down right before a holiday weekend?

5. You’ve lived in the bay area a long time if you shopped at Clearwater-based Eckerd Drugs.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. It’s just wrong to still be playing hockey and basketball in June – pretty much like scheduling the World Series on Thanksgiving. But give us the Warriors in six.

7. Speaking of basketball, we kind of like the idea floated by NBA Prez Adam Silver of a “play-in tournament” for the teams tanking in the NBA, thus shortening the regular season by a couple of meaningless weeks.

8. Numbers of the week: $500-$45,000 - the cost of lowest to highest “seat licenses” at Atlanta’s home of the Falcons – before you even pay for the tickets. There’s a reason they call it Mercedes Benz Stadium.

9. Second number of the week: less than 13,000. The combined attendance of home games in Tampa Bay and Miami last Tuesday night. Again, Florida is great for baseball in March but not April through September.

10. In our weekly analysis of the best to wear the number in baseball (back story TBRR 3/10/19), we are up to #12. For such a low number you would think there would be a bunch of Hall of Famers who wore the number. Not so. Wade Boggs wore the number with the Yanks and Rays but his most productive days were with the Red Sox wearing number 26. The guy who stands out wore the number in all but his last year in the bigs and that was Hall Of Famer and, coincidently, 12 time All Star Robbie Alomar.

 

MLB at the 1/3 mark

 

If Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman don’t win Manager and Executive of the Year honors in the American League, there should be an investigation. With lineups of no-names like Estrada, Tuchman and Ursula and castoffs like Voit and Maybin, the Yanks are a force to contend with in the AL. Meanwhile, it looks like the Dodgers are unstoppable in the National League with the Phils and Cubs no surprise. Our crack baseball predictor Achmed Walled (pronounced wall-ED) is gunning foranother .700 to .800 season with the Nats his only swing and miss, although the Cardinals are starting to fade. Surprise early Cy Young candidates are former Ray Jake Odorizza of the Twins and Braves wunderkind Mike Soroka whose ERA last week finally eked above 1.00 to a startling 1.07. At least one manager will be missing when we do our end of June update – quite likely from the National League East.

UP NEXT: 13 and 14; flash cubes and less expensive drugs
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WEEK OF MAY 26, 2019

 

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.

 

Thank you Judy…and Betty

 

Talk about the absolute reversal of the gold watch thing. The parting gift as Judy Genshaft steps away from a lasting legacy at USF is $20 million dollars – from her to the school! It was a huge gesture but not really necessary given the leadership and growth she brought to the school over the last two decades. She had a tough act to follow – Betty Castor and she filled those large shoes admirably. We would be hard pressed to find any school in the country with similar strong leadership over the past quarter century. We only hope that USF’s seventh president, Steve Currall, will meet or exceed the quality of leadership that Presidents Castor and Genshaft brought to USF.

 

Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:

 

1. Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne has expressed his desire to retire next year. Here’s hoping he delays his retirement until after the March city elections so his successor can be chosen by leaders going forward rather than a lame duck majority of the city council.

2. Clearwater’s municipal marina is scheduled for a much needed makeover across the next 4-5 years. The city facility has suffered from neglect and weak management for more than a decade.

3. Quote of the Week: The coldest winter I ever spent was one summer in San Francisco - unknown.

4. Winds of War and War and Remembrance were two of the most riveting books and later films we ever encountered. The man responsible for those great works along with The Caine Mutiny, Herman Wouk, died last week at 103.

5. You’ve lived in Pinellas County a long time if you shopped at a Rutland’s Department Store.

 

Sports, the media and other stuff:

 

6. Cool ending to the season finale last week of Young Sheldon with its tribute to its mother show – The Big Bang Theory. It’s worth a watch on Primetime on Demand.

7. Interesting poll among major league players recently; they were asked to name the best looking uniforms among their rivals. Traditional looks won out with the Yanks, Dodgers, Braves and Cards making up four of the top five. Surprisingly, the fifth choice was the Mariners – as opposed to other traditional looks like the Cubs and Tigers to name two.

8. Atlanta’s fans are all gaga about the Braves latest quality rookie Austin Riley who flirted with .400 during his first ten days in the majors including two game winning hits. The conversation now is who will be the greater Brave AR (Austin Riley) or RA (Ronald Acuna). The answer is neither. It is Freddie Freeman who is at least two thirds of the way to Cooperstown.

9. Fifty years ago this week, riding at the top of the record charts in the middle of a six week run at number one was 1969’s biggest song – The 5th Dimension’s Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In.

10. This week our season-long feature on the greatest players to wear each number (back story TBRR 3/10/19) comes around to 11. A couple asterisks are needed here. The greatest player to ever wear #11 was Rogers Hornsby – but he only wore it for part of one season. Also Edgar Martinez is in the Hall of Fame and wore the number but you know our bias towards half a player as in designated hitters. The most complete player to wear the number throughout his career was the Red’s incomparable shortstop Barry Larkin.

 

Shutdown time for 40 TV shows

 

We recently read a piece in a media-related publication about the cessation of 40 television (or streaming) series. To show how completely out of touch we are, we had viewed only three of the forty – Big Bang Theory, Suits and VEEP. Granted, we had at least heard of some of the others – notably Game of Thrones which is going to have a prequel. We think your HB (Humble Blogger) and SW (Saintly Wife) are the only two people in the universe who not have viewed Game of Thrones. Not all is lost – Suits is going to have a spinoff and the seven main characters on the BBT were each making one million or more per episode, so their financial future is secure for a bit. Soon we’ll all be hearing about next season’s new shows – of which each of us will also view about ten percent or less.

UP NEXT: Clearwater’s drug store; MLB at the 1/3 pole

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