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  1. 8 totally '80s splurges to celebrate Powerball windfall

    Stuck in the '80s

    I don’t expect one of my five tickets to win tonight’s $1.5 billion Powerball drawing, but if one does, here’s how I’d spend the loot.First, according to The Daily Beast, figure on the actual amount being close to $600 million after taxes. No problem. I have simple tastes. And every single one of them is based on the ‘80s.1. BUY CAMERON’S HOUSE: Cameron Frye’s “house” from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is actually in Highland Park, Ill. And yes, it was sold a couple years back for a thrifty $1.06 million. But I figure the owners probably will take a cool $3 million for it today. I’ll even cover the closing costs. What would I put in the garage? A Ferrari GT California. It is my life. It is my love. It is your fault you didn’t win the lottery instead of me.2. REUNITE JOURNEY … ALMOST: All those Steve Perry fans out there, you’re about to get your wish. I will reunite Steve, Ross, Jonathan and Steve Smith for one night only. What about guitarist Neal Schon? He can buy a ticket and watch from the cheap seats. I figure we place in the concert at the Giants stadium in San Francisco. Set list to be determined by Mr. Perry himself. (Please, though, no Who’s Cryin’ Now.)3. REFURBISH THE ORIGINAL GHOSTBUSTERS CAR: Rumor has it the original transportation of the Ghostbusters is in sad shape now. Let’s see what a little Powerball cash can do to help. 4. START A STUCK IN THE ‘80s CHANNEL ON TV AND SATELLITE RADIO: Oh, ‘80s on 8 is totally like tripendicular, you know. And if the original Tron movie shows one more time on HBO this week, the Feds will accuse me of hacking the cable network. But in a very rare moment of self promotion, I think I can make a case for Stuck in the ‘80s to get headliner treatment on both mediums. Plus, I’ll need someone to pay my health insurance in the post-lottery world.5. BUILD A BASEBALL DIAMOND IN MY CORNFIELD: I don’t have a cornfield. But I’m assuming I can go the distance and buy one. And then maybe I’ll just hire Kevin Costner to do the heavy lifting. To ease his pain, I’ll spring for a bottle of Advil. Maybe James Earl Jones can throw out the first pitch. 6. HIRE VAN HALEN TO PLAY MY BIRTHDAY PARTY: Well, Spicoli was onto something there in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. But I want the original lineup. Wolfie will have to take a seat for this show.7. HAVE EXTRA SPRINGBOARDS INSTALLED AT POOL: I’ll need those correctly perform the Triple Lindy. Someone has to pull Grand Lakes University’s diving team out of their losing streak.8. BECOME A U-BOAT COMMANDER: Drive my Porsche into Lake Michigan, fall in love with Rebecca De Mornay (not a problem) and then open a brothel in my parent’s house. “We don’t remember giving you permission for a PARTY, Spearsy…” Sometimes you gotta say, well you know, and make your move.Good luck to everyone tonight.

  2. Frantic Powerball ticket buyers crash Florida Lottery website

    The Buzz

    Dreams of getting rich overnight crashed the Florida Lottery website late Wednesday and into the morning Thursday. With a $500 million jackpot on the line in Wednesday’s Powerball drawing, an unusually large number of people came to the site, according to department spokeswoman Shelly Gerteisen. …

  3. Here's what people in Tampa, and across the U.S., Googled the most in 2016


    Have you been looking for a Chinese buffet in Tampa? You're not alone, according to data collected by Google. …

    "Chinese buffet near me" was one of the most-searched terms by Google users in Tampa in 2016, the tech company said. [Times files]
  4. Charlie Crist, how would you spend that Powerball money?

    The Buzz

    We had to get our Powerball tickets before tonight's drawing, and guess who we ran into at the Publix in downtown St. Petersburg? Former Gov. Charlie Crist. He asked, "Is it a dollar?" We said, "Two dollars, governor" and he said, "I'll have to get change." …

  5. The most-read stories on in 2016


    As the year comes to a close, we're looking back on the top trending stories and blog posts from our website. Here are the 10 most-read items from 2016 on  …

    Marco Rubio and  Donald Trump argue during a Republican presidential primary debate. A post about Rubio warming to Trump was the most-read story of the year on [Associated Press]
  6. Florida Lottery plans major expansion

    The Buzz

    From our friends at the Associated Press: TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Lottery — which just registered more than $6 billion in annual sales — is in line for a large expansion due to a massive new contract that state officials signed this month. …

  7. Warning: Those lottery dreams may endanger your future


    If you've noticed that colossal lottery winnings are becoming almost common this year, it's no accident. Four of the 10 biggest jackpots in U.S. history have already occurred in 2016, an engineered outcome intended to generate mind-bogglingly big winners. …

    Instead of playing Powerball like these gamblers, if you were to invest ticket money in a mutual fund, you might accumulate a nest egg of $150,000.
  8. Bradenton couple wins $61.5 million Powerball jackpot


    A Bradenton couple laid claim to a $61.5 million Powerball jackpot from the Oct. 6 drawing, the Florida Lottery announced Tuesday. Steve Ziegler, 46, and Cheri Ziegler, 44, of Bradenton created the Ziegler Family Revocable Trust and will take a lump-sum payment of $34,553,793.03. …

  9. Powerball jackpot hits $250 million


    By 11 p.m. Wednesday night, some lucky Floridian could be a $250 million winner. …

  10. Powerball turns 1, overall lottery sales down

    The Buzz

    Lottery sales, which are usually immune from recessions, have taken a hit during the downturn. Sales have plummeted nearly $300 million since the lottery's high-water mark in 2008. It's the first significant drop since 1995.  …

  11. Orlando doctor is state's 1st Powerball winner


    TALLAHASSEE — Orlando dermatologist William Steele, Florida's first Powerball jackpot winner, took home $101 million Thursday. "I had one of those, 'Oh my gosh' moments,' " Steele said. He chose a lump sum payment instead of a $189 million jackpot spread over 20 years. …

    Frankie Summers-Steele thought her husband, Dr. William Steele, was pulling her leg when he told her he had won.
  12. Powerball coming to Florida in January


    TALLAHASSEE — Powerball and its eye-popping jackpots are coming to Florida in January. The decision, announced Wednesday by Florida Lottery officials, reverses years of opposition to joining the multistate lottery. The reason? The economy.  …

  13. Powerball off to a quick start in Florida


    If the first day is any indication, Powerball is going to be a hit among Florida lottery players. …

  14. Powerball: Florida's newest sucker bet


    He that hastens to be rich hath an evil eye, and considers not that poverty shall come upon him. — Proverbs 28:22 Hey, make no mistake — I am firmly on the side of vice. I am all in favor of gamblin' and drinkin'. …

  15. Powerball is a hit, but overall lottery sales down $300 million


    TALLAHASSEE — Since the multistate lottery game Powerball arrived in Florida a year ago, people have bought more than $430 million in tickets. But even that couldn't stop overall lottery revenue in 2009 from dropping 3 percent compared with the year before. …

  16. Bulls women get their own big Monday


    This is a case of the Mondays that Jose Fernandez probably wouldn't mind becoming contagious.USF's veteran women's basketball coach began another work week learning senior All-America candidate Courtney Williams had been named American Athletic Conference Player of the Week after posting double-doubles (52 total points, 24 total rebounds) in wins against Tulane and East Carolina.Around the same time, highly regarded NCAA women's tournament bracketologist Charlie Creme revealed he currently has the Bulls as a four-seed -- and host school -- in the Lexington, Ky., region.Then, shortly after lunch, the Associated Press issued its latest women's poll, where USF (12-4, 5-1 AAC) moved up four spots to 15th. It's the highest ranking in program history.No confirmation to reports that Fernandez was spotted purchasing Powerball tickets Monday evening.

    USF coach Jose Fernandez's team is 15th in the latest Associated Press poll, the highest AP ranking in program history.
  17. Crist further embraces gambling with Powerball

    The Buzz

    Turning aside Jeb Bush's reservations, the Charlie Crist administration has joined Powerball. Florida will become the 30th state to join the multi-state lottery game, which is currently offered in 29 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (press release on the jump) …

  18. Fla. readers: $260M Powerball winner unlikely to be you


    COLUMBIA, S.C. — The economic crunch has drastically improved for one lucky Powerball player who bought a ticket in South Carolina. …

  19. Can TV match 'the time of our lives' from 1987 with remake of Dirty Dancing?

    Stuck in the '80s

    Forgive me for this, but nobody puts Jennifer Grey in a corner. But for the upcoming TV remake of Dirty Dancing, it appears Abigail Breslin will do just that. The Scream Queens actress has been tapped for the role of Baby, and now Debra Messing (The Mysteries of Laura) will play her mom Marjorie Houseman. Entertainment Weekly confirmed the latest casting news this week. Of course, I have a winning Powerball ticket to anyone who can name the actress who originally played Baby’s mom. (Kelly Bishop.) The original 1987 movie, as we all know from repeating viewings on cable, starred the late Patrick Swayze as a dance instructor at a summer vacation resort who falls in love with Grey, there with her privileged family. ABC is planning a three-hour musical version of the movie. The executive producers will include Allison Shearmur (The Hunger Games) and Eleanor Bergstein, who also wrote the original screenplay, so maybe this is worth seeing. …

  20. Column: The lottery has been good, so Powerball must be better


    To raise money, the state ought to start sending out its own "Nigerian prince" e-mails to potential suckers. You've heard of that scam, right? The e-mail claims to be from some guy in Nigeria who is trying to smuggle millions of dollars into the U.S. …

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