When I was a very little boy, probably in the second grade if memory serves, Father Gannon made his weekly visit to my classroom. On one occasion I asked him what heaven was like.
"Anything you want it to be," he responded.
I liked that response. I like it even more at this moment.
If I get to the Pearly Gates, I certainly hope to be reunited with my father, my grandmother and so many other family and friends who have passed on. So much to talk about. But heaven wouldn't be heaven without our dogs and especially our Lizzie, who went over what has become known as the Rainbow Bridge early Monday morning. ...
There probably will come a moment years from now when the family of Harold Shaw will be sitting around the dinner table reminiscing, and they will laugh about that time a young, promising student ran afoul of the pinched, paper-pushing police. Good times.
It is June, a time when the community is awash in high school graduation ceremonies. It is supposed to be a moment to revel in accomplishment, to remember the good times and most of all to look forward to the future....
It was always the 800-pound piece of balderdash in the room.
When Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Charles Swindle cut a lead-footed state legislator a break in November by issuing a minor $10 citation for not having proof of insurance rather than a more expensive speeding ticket, the officer thought he was toeing the agency's unspoken long brown line that it is a really good idea not to irritate elected officials who vote on the FHP's budget....
Expecting a filibuster of politicians to explain something in 15 words or less is a bit like asking Mr. T to get by with just one gold chain.
So it is understandable how the St. Petersburg City Council has tied itself up in knots writing a 15-word title for an Aug. 27 ballot measure asking the public to weigh in on the fate of the $50 million Lens project.
Really now, council member Wengay Newton can't tell you what time it is without delivering a James Joyce-esque monologue rivaling Ulysses....
It is certainly true none of us would be particularly thrilled to wake up one morning and find NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, NPR, PBS, TMZ, plus all the local news media along with Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, USA Today, (takeabreath), Popular Mechanics, Women's Wear Daily, the National Enquirer, Seventeen, the New York Post, Geraldo Rivera, MAD magazine and (takeanotherbreath) every fruitcake radio shock jock in the land — all encamped in front of your house. ...
There was a time not long ago when the mere mention of anything — pause here for a hearty harrumph — involving gay residents caused the Hillsborough County Commission to go into a full DEFCON 1 spasm of the vapors, great wailing and no small amount of Good Book thumping.
But what a difference an absence of Ronda Storms makes, as the commission voted unanimously this week to overturn its ban on recognizing gay pride events....
These are the dog days of politics. So many candidates. So many offices. So much idle speculation. And, alas, so much time to ponder the fire hydrant of the hustings.
We're still over a year away until the 2014 election cycle. Still, what's a political junkie to do but ponder and muse and chin-rub over who will run for what?
Unleash the pols!
The main rumination concerns who will challenge Gov. Rick Scott, the Deputy Dawg of Tallahassee, an awkward candidate who appears to be more uncomfortable in his own skin than one of those roadside folks in a chicken costume trying to induce you into buying a bucket of wings....
By the time the sun sets over a yardarm somewhere today, St. Petersburg's Pier will finally, blessedly, be kaputski.
Oh, I know. There's all sorts of hand- wringing and nostalgic odes to the Pier's iconic status as a city landmark. Just between us? It's overdue for its date with the wrecking ball.
By sunrise Saturday, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster ought to pull a Richie Daley. Then-Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley hated Meigs Field, a small airport jutting into Lake Michigan across the street from Soldier Field. ...
Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to believe we might get lucky.
This might well qualify as a new rule of saloon life: When you are a 65-year-old man sitting in a bar and you find yourself being plied with cocktails by a strange, comely young woman, while hope may spring eternal, nothing much good will come of this.
And that ought to be the lesson learned by Tampa attorney C. Philip Campbell, who walked into Malio's for a pop and wound up getting popped. And thus began Tampa's B-movie version of The Verdict, back in January....
You could be forgiven if you thought there was an epidemic crime wave in Tallahassee with elected officials engaged in malicious, premeditated efforts to drive around without their proof of auto insurance.
At least that's the conclusion reached by Sidney Matthew, Tallahassee's Matlock, as he prepares a vigorous defense of recently de-badged Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Charles Swindle. That's the guy who found himself drummed out of the corps in a "Branded"-esque fashion after he cut a member of the Florida Legislature a break — wink — for a speeding ticket — wink — that never — nod — happened — nod....
He might have been among the last of the great two-digit typists. But Leland Hawes' index fingers could crank out copy faster than an old Associated Press teletype machine.
Leland Hawes was that sort of journalist — quick, concise, efficient. A pro's pro.
Since Leland's death May 18 at age 83, the tributes to his life and character have come in a cascade of love and admiration from his too-many-to-count friends and colleagues, of whom I am proud and honored to be one of them. ...
Maybe you are one of those 1 million low-income Floridians who are uninsured and were just informed by the Florida Legislature that if you get sick in this state, buster, you're pretty much on your own.
And that's why House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Simon Legree, stuck to his guns in rejecting $51 billion in federal Medicaid funding over the next 10 years, which would have covered those medical moochers....
Introducing Bruce Hicks, a solid sovereign citizen of the People's Republic of Stupidstan.
Of course, Mr. Hicks is abroad at the moment, spending his time as a guest of Hillsborough County's elegant accommodations for tourists arriving from the Grand Duchy of Moronovia, otherwise known as a jail.
Hicks' difficulties in having his visa from Delusiontina validated began last week when Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy Patrick Diaz, a resource officer at Turkey Creek Middle School in Plant City, spotted the 46-year-old pushing a toy car on a dolly down the road....
Commissioner Choo-Choo has just morphed into Commissioner Anchors Aweigh!
You do have to hand it to former Hillsborough County Commissioner Ed Turanchik — at least he thinks big. There's something to be said for that, even if some of what Turanchik's critics might say is unprintable.
It was Turanchik who led the effort to bring the Olympic Games to Tampa Bay. Yes, those Olympics, even though the probability of landing the Games was about the same as Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods double-dating....
You're the president of the United States sitting there in the Oval Office reveling in the power of it all, including access to Vladimir Putin's code name (Mr. Snagglepuss, by the way). While watching the Daily Show, you're informed that Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Inspector Javert, is trying to turn the botched reaction to the Benghazi attacks into Teapot Dome, the Dreyfus Affair and Mel Gibson getting stopped for speeding....