In the spirit of a new year, some random wishes for 2010:
• Let former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Derrick Brooks make good on the rumor he could run for state Senate against Hillsborough Commissioner Jim Norman. (Kevin Ambler also is running, but Norman is the more delicious opponent when it comes to this bit of speculation.)
Imagine Norman, Mr. Sports Authority, Mr. Let's-Build-Us-A-Big-Ol'-Sports-Complex-Even-If-The-Economy-Bites, taking on the formidable competition of a man our then-running-for-governor named as the Buc he would pick as running mate. Poetry.
• Speaking of aspirations, let Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio continue to keep hers close to the vest, leaving lots of room for speculation on what's next. County mayor, if Hillsborough gets one? Oooh, how about USF president? (Not that we have any hint the current one is going anywhere, but why let facts get in the way of gossip?) Iorio's foray into teaching a USF honors class about mass transit is an interesting move. Just sayin'.
• Please let politicians continue to surprise us by making the occasional good decision, like City Council member Linda Saul-Sena deciding to run for the County Commission instead of a long-rumored bid for Tampa mayor. Despite her occasional ditzinesss on the dais, Saul-Sena has proved to be capable and forward-thinking and functions well as one member of a larger board. Watch out, Commissioner Ken Hagan.
• Here's a pop culture wish: Please keep proving we're not completely lost in the world according to TMZ, not living for the next detail of Tiger Woods' bad behavior, not bereft of values, by taking seriously a stunt like Balloon Boy.
Those publicity hound parents (nicest term I can use in a family newspaper) hoaxed the world into thinking their mischievous 6-year-old was in terrible danger, costing big in rescue efforts and endangering lives. America got punk'd — hilarious!
But the system fired back with jail sentences for the parents, and extra points for forbidding them from profiting from their celebrity for four years, when we'll be lost in a zillion other scandals.
• Back to politics: Please, please let state Sen. Ronda Storms keep making news for silliness like objecting to the Glazer Children's Museum being allowed to serve alcohol at special events.
Storms was the lone vote against backing a bill to allow it ("From my own planet, no," she said, and no comment on where that planet might be), as if the museum planned to sell frosty brews in sippy cups rather than make the place an attractive venue for off-hours weddings and fundraising events. How we missed Ronda, the sock puppet, the library ban. Keep 'em coming, lest we forget!
• Finally, a wish for more stories like one I heard this week from a bearded, bundled-up homeless man named Brian Gifford ("Like Kathie Lee," he said.)
On Christmas Day, he sat on a bus bench on Howard Avenue, broke, hungry, out of sorts, unable to e-mail family back home, libraries being closed. Up came a stranger who shook his hand and chatted, a big guy who said his name was Dan or Dave.
He handed Gifford a Christmas card and left. Inside were two 20s and a 10.
Merry Christmas, sir, it said, sir being a nice touch.
And a happy 2010 to you.