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Brian Blair: A legend in his own mind

By DANIEL RUTH

Times Columnist

Perhaps you are looking for that special gift for that special someone for that oh-so-special occasion. What says "I Love You, Sweetums" more for an anniversary or a birthday than a visit to the online Brian Blair store?

While there, you can peruse the vast array of merchandise (all two items) featuring photos of Brian Blair during his halcyon days as a pretend tough guy wrestler (Ooooooh, so scary!) that can be purchased for a mere $25.

All major credit cards accepted, but he would probably take a bus token if it would help unload what you have to suspect is somewhat less in demand inventory that probably looks like the warehouse scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

But wait! There's more! When you order either a photo of the Incredible Lug wearing his championship bling belt, or one of the former one-term Hillsborough County commissioner turned out in his Killer Bee gear along with partner Jim Brunzell, Brian Blair will personally sign your purchase.

It's merely a guess, but one suspects Blair is no threat to get writer's cramp.

Since his defeat for re-election in 2008 at the hands of Kevin Beckner, it seems Blair has attempted to become a sort of Ralph Hughes-lite. The late Hughes was famous in Hillsborough County uber-conservative political circles for periodically sending out missives kvetching about government.

And because Hughes was worth oodles of money, fellow travelers pretended to care about whatever was irritating the mogul at the moment. But Hughes eventually passed on to that "Hey You! Get Off Of My Lawn!" in the sky and now Blair has taken up the mantle of right-wing yelper.

The former commission chaplain has been busy issuing his various manifestos, which are often critical of his successor, so it seemed like a good idea to chat with Blair about his website and his e-mail dispatches to the hinterlands.

But in order to speak to The Great Man of Forest Hills, first one needs to go through Blair's New York-based public relations agency, which, the former commissioner explained through his flack, is necessary because of his interests spread across the globe, presumably advising budding grapplers in Sumatra how to bleed on cue.

Indeed, so busy is Brian Blair that after first agreeing to be interviewed, his public relations apparatchik explained that due to the pressing demands on his time (perhaps moving all those boxes of photos around) the Greta Garbo of the Turnbuckle would, alas, be unavailable for an audience. Questions submitted via e-mail, however, would be acceptable.

Blair, through his interpreter, was asked how one manages to be blessed to be on the receiving end of one of his screeds. I had heard from some folks who had never contributed to his campaigns, or would rather have shards of broken glass shoved up their nose before they would vote for him, had still found themselves on the subscription list for a Blair-Gram.

It seems Blair the Scrivener isn't sure where his mailing list came from, noting throughout his career stomping on necks, or stomping on taxpayers, he had accumulated thousands of names, so if you ever contacted the former commissioner, even to tell him to stop bothering people, you might have made it onto the B-list.

Lastly, Blair was asked what, if any, future political plans he might have.

Apparently there are none at the moment, and if the body politic has anything to say about, there never will be. Still, the Henry David Thoreau of Speedos promised I would be the first to know. Somehow I sensed just a pinch of disingenuousness.

Daniel Ruth can be reached at druth@sptimes.com

Brian Blair: A legend in his own mind 09/03/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 5:11pm]

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