Daniel Ruth, Times Columnist

Daniel Ruth

Daniel Ruth has been scribbling away for four decades as a reporter, film critic, television critic and columnist for the Tampa Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Tampa Bay Times. He also has worked as a radio talk show host as well as an adjunct professor for the University of South Florida, the University of Tampa and Columbia College in Chicago. Daniel is a Peter Lisagor Award recipient for his columns in Chicago and has been honored by the Pinellas County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union with the Irene Miller Vigilance In Journalism Award.

Email: druth@tampabay.com

  1. Ruth: Fan dance in Broward


    If Rick Scott goes down in defeat two weeks from now, he might well attribute his electoral misfortune to a bizarre night in Davie when the Florida governor had his very own "He-Buffoon" moment.

    The late Gov. Lawton Chiles set the gold standard for dramatic, debate-turning points 20 years ago when he uttered the most famous line of his political career, "The old he-coon walks just before the light of day." His flummoxed challenger, Jeb Bush, looked as if he had found himself dropped into the middle of an episode of Hee Haw....

    Charlie Crist, and his fan, had the stage to himself for a bit.
  2. Ruth: Of gridirons and gray bars


    At this rate of cavalier indifference to irritating stuff like, oh, evidence, you have to wonder if the Tallahassee Police Department could figure out who shot Lee Harvey Oswald.

    Oh, sure, Jack Ruby was seen on national television pumping several shots into Oswald as the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy was surrounded by cops in the parking garage of the Dallas Police Department. But if this crime had been committed in Tallahassee, Ruby just might have walked free if the local gendarmes concluded the killer "showed no obvious signs of guilt."...

  3. A successful round of golf, with a view of the Aegean


    During our trip to Greece this year, the Bombshell of the Balkans was insistent that I find time to take to the Hellenic links, thus affording me the opportunity to take my meager duffing lack of talents to an international level.

    It is estimated that there are fewer than 10 courses in the entire country, suggesting that Greeks are not gluttons for the frustration, failure and abject misery that golf provides for masochistic Americans. Or perhaps when it comes to conquering a piece of land, Greeks rely on the fond, ancient memories of vanquishing the Romans, the Venetians, the Germans and, of course, the sweetest of all, the Turks. Good times, good times....

    Natural beauty makes up for the greens’ lack of, well, greenness, at the Porto Carras Resort.
  4. Ruth: Far right froths as rest of nation yawns


    From all the huffing and puffing suggesting we are all doomed into the embrace of Satan's breast should Biff and Todd and/or Blanche and Mildred get married, you would have thought the U.S. Supreme Court was populated by the Village People, Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres.

    In the aftermath of the court's decision not to consider a host of appeals related to the lifting of bans on same-sex marriage around the country, gay unions were effectively legalized in 30 states, with several more soon to likely follow....

  5. Ruth: As Greenlight vote nears, opponents accelerate the lunacy


    We have now deftly transitioned from the ditzy phase of the Greenlight Pinellas campaign to the certifiably nuts home stretch.

    There is still time for a last gasp of full blown bonkers before all the votes are counted on the effort to ask Pinellas County voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax to dramatically improve bus service and begin construction of a light rail system.

    First, opponents of the transit referendum compared the supporters of Greenlight Pinellas to Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. ...

  6. Ruth: Rick Scott's web of financial wizardry


    It seems Gov. Rick Scott is not just a man of considerable affluence. He also is blessed with a wealth of obfuscation.

    This should not have been all that hard. But this is Florida, the land of the la-dee-dah! So it was that Scott, as the opaqueness in chief, managed to turn what ought to have been a simple, transparent disclosure of all his financial assets upon assuming public office into a Rube Goldbergesque maze of eye-glazing accounting....

  7. Ruth: All this outrage has tuckered me out (w/video)


    It's not easy being suitably outraged. More pointedly, I'm tuckered out from all this indignation.

    Over the past few days I had worked up a fairly rolling boil after discovering the U.S. Secret Service had turned into the "Stay here and guard the prince" scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Sure, protecting the president and the White House is not without its challenges.

    But the most intensely guarded building in the world — with attack dogs, rooftop snipers, scores of heavily armed officers and a huge fence around it — could not prevent an intruder making it all the way to the East Room of the White House? You know there is a problem when it's harder to get past security at Helloooo Sucker Stadium for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game than into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue....

  8. Ruth: 'Get Smart' act not working for St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman


    Do you have the impression that gaining access to the inner sanctum of St. Petersburg Rick "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Mayor" Kriseman's office looks like the opening sequences of Get Smart meets Raiders of the Lost Ark, with all manner of clanking doors, gates, poison darts, trap doors and a massive rolling boulder?

    Sigh. Once again we have a hizzoner with a le Carré complex.

    A few days ago, the mayor who came in from the cold asked the St. Petersburg City Council to table a discussion on arts funding because, fresh from fending off an attempt by SPECTRE to take over the Pier, he had a secret plan up his tux to solve the problem that he suggested could raise as much as $200,000 annually....

  9. Ruth: The iPhone 6 crisis


    Is it too late to bring back the hand-crank phone?

    Apple spends an estimated $2.1 billion a year on the research and development of its products. No doubt a sizable portion of that budget was dedicated to the company's recent rollout of the much-frothed-over iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus gizmos, giving its customers even greater critical access to nude selfies, texts reminding people where one is currently consuming moo goo gai pan and interminable, inconsequential telephonic babble....

  10. Ruth: For whom the roads toll


    In the early 19th century the Transcendentalist poet-philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, sadly finding himself in Tallahassee, observed the city was "a grotesque place, rapidly settled by public officers, land speculators and desperados" before quickly getting out of the den of mendacity while he still had a few pennies left in his pocket.

    That is not exactly a carefully crafted lyrical couplet from such a gifted wordsmith, but accurate nonetheless. About the only thing that has changed since Emerson's time in Tallahassee is that the checks have gotten bigger....

  11. Dan Ruth: Kemple may be right, but wrong


    Over the course of his third effort to join the Hillsborough County School Board, local political gadfly Terry Kemple has assailed Common Core standards as an "evil" scheme by the federal government to supplant local control of public education and has assailed the Hillsborough County Commission for approving a domestic partner registry.

    Not a fun guy, Mr. Kemple.

    There's a temptation to think that Kemple, the Mr. Dithers of the classroom, winning a seat on the School Board would be like handing over the cafeteria contract to a Borgia. On the other hand, as a scribbler, Kemple on the Hillsborough County School Board would be at least a four-year fodder annuity. These wouldn't be School Board meetings at all. This would be Elmer Gantry meets the three R's: revival, repentance and the route to salvation. You might say I'd be blessed....

  12. Dan Ruth: A rush to clip Albert Whitted's wings


    At the age of 15, Charles Lindbergh the Elder started taking flying lessons at Tampa's Peter O. Knight Airport on Davis Islands. He finished his training at the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, where he took off for his first solo flight at 16 to earn his initial visual flight rules certification. Now, as a corporate jet pilot, he flies a Gulfstream IV all over Asia and beyond.

    My eldest son has flown into Albert Whitted Airport, nestled on the shoreline of St. Petersburg, on numerous occasions without event — just like the 97,000 takeoffs and landings that occurred at the facility over the past year....

  13. Ruth: Fire sale at Duke Energy


    'Welcome to the Home Shopping Network. I'm your host Wink Winkleman, and we have a very thrilling show for you as we say hello to Duke Energy president and chief executive officer Lynn Good, who will introduce some lovely items the utility company is putting up for auction today. Let's get started, Lynn, since we have quite an inventory to snooker the public with."

    "Absolutely, Wink. As you know, we inherited from Progress Energy a really botched major repair job at our Crystal River nuke plant. But we want our self-inflicted calamity, or perhaps, better put, our customers' misfortune, to be the mother of our viewers' opportunity."...

  14. Captain Citrus, all juiced up and nowhere to go


    How to put this as gently as possible? Apparently the Florida Department of Citrus wants to rid itself of its current mascot, a cutesy-wootsy, pudgy, smiling orange, on the theory the image suggests obesity.

    Replacing Ollie the Orange will be a musclebound superhero dubbed Captain Citrus, leaving the impression that if you drink enough OJ you will be turned into an over-ripe freak of nature....

    Marvel Comics custom solutions creative director Bill Rosemann talks introduces Captain Citrus as The Florida Department of Citrus, together with Marvel Custom Solutions, unveiled the redesigned Captain Citrus at Heroes' Haven Comics, 4339 Gunn Highway, Tampa, FL Tuesday, 9/16/2014  as they spotlighted the hero‚€™s role as an ambassador of health and smart choices for children. Captain Citrus debuts in a free comic book distributed to one million children this fall alongside Marvel‚€™s popular Avengers Assemble characters to help convey the values of the Florida citrus industry and making smart choices about nutrition. Through a partnership with Marvel Custom Solutions, the Florida Department of Citrus transformed Captain Citrus from life-sized orange into a fit and muscular hero. Classrooms across the country will receive free printed comic books and teacher‚€™s guides. Two additional digital chapters are to follow. More information on Captain Citrus will be available at CaptainCitrus.com  CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times
  15. Ruth: Punishments mired in the Middle Ages


    Among the three great lies certainly must be the youth baseball coach insisting, "We're all here to just have fun," the response to "Does this dress make me look fat?" and the claim from a parent about to whip a child: "This is going to hurt me more than it's going to hurt you." Piffle.

    In theory we should be considered an advanced society. Technology abounds. Medicine makes great strides. We've sent humans to the moon....