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Good reads

  1. The Art of Politics: How colors, film, comedy, fashion influence our views

    Human Interest

    Pablo Picasso said, "Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth."

    The Art of Politics. Image by Cameron Cottrill, Times.
  2. She's not at the Olympics — yet — but this 6-year-old swimmer is learning what excellence takes (w/video)

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — She's sitting on the pool deck, chin between her knees, gazing at her feet. She peeks at the swim heats written on her arm in black Sharpie. Time for her favorite, the butterfly.

    Brinkleigh Hansen, 6, is breaking decades old records at Northshore Pool. She is pictured practicing butterfly, her favorite stroke in July at North Shore Pool. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   Times]
  3. Pain of communist Cuba still vivid for Tampa woman

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Isela Perez sleeps in on most days, when her only tasks are to clean the house, watch Fox News and keep up with her telenovelas.

    On Saturdays, Isela Perez, 85, of Tampa meets with others who lived through Fidel Castro’s takeover — and share her anger.
  4. On 'Deepwater Horizon' movie set, survivors meet a Hollywood portrayal

    Human Interest

    NEW ORLEANS — On a balmy night on dry land, hell breaks out again on the Deepwater Horizon.

    A Deepwater Horizon replica was constructed in New Orleans. The film focuses on the crew, not the ecological disaster.
  5. Hey, Florida, show us your guns!

    Human Interest

    Over the years, a lot of people have suggested that Florida's shape resembles various objects: a frying pan, a chin, a uvula (look it up.) A handgun has become the most common comparison, which is apt because we have so many guns that some people call us "The Gunshine State."

  6. Mutant mosquitoes could fight Zika in Florida, but misinformation spreads

    Human Interest

    KEY WEST — There are many scary stories that start with a dark and stormy night, but this isn't one of them. It is the third day of summer in this island city, with its feral chickens and lemon-hued houses and women woohoo-ing by on rented motorcycles. Every bicycle has a basket, every mailbox is a manatee.

    Key West is a perfect breeding ground for the Zika virus because of its tropical climate, its huge number of international visitors and the travel associated with its naval base. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  7. Penny Vinik dreams up an Amalie Arena full of 'Beach' balls

    Human Interest

    It was a summer day in Washington, D.C., and Penny Vinik had time to kill before meeting her son.

    Penny Vinik, wife of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, made it her mission to bring the simulated ocean of translucent bubbles to Tampa after it was the hit of the summer last year at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The Beach Tampa exhibit is coming to Amalie Arena Aug. 5-25, and it will be free thanks to the Vinik Family Foundation. Photo courtesy Amalie Arena.
  8. At almost 300 pounds, a Lealman woman battles food addiction

    Human Interest

    LEALMAN — From a faded green recliner in her tiny mobile home, Cheryl Dixon punched a number into her phone. Behind her, kitchen cabinets burst with Hamburger Helper and ramen noodles, bags of doughnuts and Cocoa Diamonds cereal.

    As Cheryl Dixon neared 300 pounds, her doctor warned that she would likely die if she didn’t change her eating habits.
  9. All Eyes sneak peek: Tampa Bay Watch presents 'Watermarks: A Nature Photography Exhibition'

    Human Interest

    Rachel Arndt of Tampa Bay Watch was kind enough to offer us an advance look at some of the images that will be featured in an upcoming exhibit of nature photography. We think you'll like them as much as we do. (See below for details on the exhibit.)

    Midnight @ the Oasis by Steve Nesius
  10. Dream of seeing last original 'Hamilton' cast performance becomes reality

    Human Interest

    NEW YORK

    Our heels click through Times Square, brushing against floor-length gowns as we anxiously make our way toward the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The marquee is out of sight until we're right up on it, black letters and a familiar image set against a gold background: HAMILTON: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL.

    Lin-Manuel Miranda appears on a balcony outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre after his final performance in Hamilton.