The week started with the Internet abuzz about a tragic fire in Tampa — tragic not because of injuries or deaths, but because of the potential loss of beer. The damage was thought to top $1 million when Tampa's Yuengling brewery caught fire, but fortunately no beer was harmed.
David Brownell, 48, was scheduled to stand trial on insurance fraud, accused of faking a respiratory illness and bilking the state of $2.7 million. That's "was" instead of "is," because he died this week at Florida Hospital — of lung failure. He's survived by his wife, who thinks she's got some pretty good evidence he wasn't making the whole thing up.
AMC's Freakshow program finds fertile ground this weekend in the bay area's community of sideshow performers. A free live show being taped for television will feature 10 acts, including the Rubber Girl (think contortionist) and sword swallowers, fire-eaters and the Electric Lady, the Human Blockhead (pretty sure this is the guy who drills into his own face) and the Indestructible Woman (could be ANYTHING). Want to watch? Swing by the American Carnival Museum, 6992 Riverview Drive in Riverview, at 6 p.m. Saturday.
If you're going to rob a bank, you're going to need some sort of mask, right? And where are you going to find one of those. Fortunately for the two guys who ripped off a HomeBanc branch in Kenneth City on Thursday, it was Halloween. One wore a devil mask; the other, wearing a ghost mask, carried a gun. No word on whether they trick-or-treated afterward.
Spelling matters, schools teach our kids. Poor spelling makes you seem uneducated and uncultured. It can make it harder for you to find a job. It can even delay the mailing of your report cards. Time needed to correct a misspelling of the word satifsac— … er, satsifacto— … satisfactory pushed back distribution of grades to Hillsborough County elementary students from Friday to Monday. School district spokesman and former Times staffer Stephen Hegarty said anyone writing an article about the mishap "should have somebody proofread it, several times." Always good advice.