When you are taking a dead woman into a foreign country, you might expect a certain amount of scrutiny at the border. But then again, this was Greece, where a tourist is a tourist regardless of the pulse rate. And so we breezed through customs at the Thessaloniki airport with less curiosity over the contents of our luggage than if it contained a bootlegged copy of Yanni's greatest hits.
We had come to this northern port city to fulfill a promise made by the Bombshell of the Balkans to her late aunt, who died at 100 some months ago, to spread her cremated ashes over Mount Olympus, which Hellenic mythology holds is the home of the Greek gods. Now it is also Aunt Mary's final resting place....
You would probably be forgiven if you mistook the race for governor for something akin to an Our Gang comedy, with a couple of little boys fussing and fuming in a competition to paint the other as more ethically compromised than the cast of Reservoir Dogs.
For my selfish scribbling interests, one can only hope.
Still, the 2014 gubernatorial campaign has been somewhat of a disappointment when it comes to salacious scandal, nefarious wrongdoing and Shakespeare-quality duplicity. Considering the money involved, Republican Gov. Rick Scott and his likely Democratic challenger, former Gov. Charlie Crist, should be capable of committing a better quality of sin to outrage the other side....
We turn now to that noted constitutional scholar, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who evidently can see The Federalist Papers from her back porch.
Over the past few days Palin has made the rounds of the right-wing media geek show circuit to argue President Barack Obama ought to be impeached because … well, just because. There ought to be enough fundraising red meat here to keep Momma Dizzy's SarahPAC in aluminum foil for the foreseeable future....
Can we once and for all put this lazy journalistic contrivance to rest? Please?
It has become something of reporting template in attempting to define Cleveland to remind everyone that the Cuyahoga River running through the city once caught fire largely because there were more combustible pollutants in the water than there was, well, actual water.
Reporters also love to point out then Mayor Ralph Perk accidentally set his own hair on fire during a public appearance. ...
It was that noted postmodernist philosopher George Burns who once observed: "Happiness? A good cigar, a good meal, a good cigar and a good woman — or a bad woman; it depends on how much happiness you can handle."
These days, at least, there is precious little joy, or happiness, in Cigar City, as those namby-pambies at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ponder implementing rules that could well doom what's left of the very industry most closely associated with Tampa, if you don't count the floozie cartel. In its heyday, Tampa was home to 150 companies rolling out some of the world's finest guilty pleasures....
Ah, there is nothing quite like taking in the many charms of nature while on a refreshing and exhilarating bike ride — the birds, the wildlife, the glorious bloom of Florida flora, the blue skies embracing the beauty of our beloved community.
And let us not forget the occasional mugging, just to make sure the consumers of the Pinellas Trail get the full measure of the urban zeitgeist....
Sure, at first blush it might appear that Rick Scott is the all-powerful grand and glorious governor of Florida. But as it turns out, the Caesar of Tallahassee is little more than the Wizard of Facade.
The real power behind the throne, the chap who seems to be in control of things, is the governor's unelected fixer, chief of staff Adam Hollingsworth, who makes Machiavelli look like the palace court jester....
Furious with President Barack Obama's declaration that he will rely on executive orders to advance his policies because the Maynard G. Krebs Congress refuses to show up on the job, the House of Representatives has lashed back by announcing it plans to do even less work on those rare occasions when the body isn't otherwise engaged in recesses, vacations and traveling on freeloading political junkets....
On this much we can all probably agree. Rudy Ciccarello appears to be a man willing to put his money where his museum is — or will be.
In St. Petersburg's cultural life this could be as big as big can get. Perhaps even bigger.
Ciccarello, a little-known but very affluent entrepreneur who lives in Tarpon Springs, has announced plans to develop a new museum to honor the American Arts and Crafts movement. This is not going to be some quaint little boutique on Central Avenue. Rather, the new museum, scheduled to open around 2017, will be a 110,000-square-foot, $35 million structure on 3.5 acres near the Synovus Bank site between Third and Fourth streets N....
It is good to be king. It is also a very bad idea to annoy the king.
He may not quite realize it at the moment, but Tampa City Council Chairman Mike Suarez ought not to be too surprised if he suddenly discovers one day that his City Hall parking space has been moved to — Two Egg.
And that may be only the beginning of the price Suarez could pay for going so far off script with his recent ad-libbed mutterings about the future of Hillsborough County transportation needs....
Apparently we're all just bozos on the Facebook bus.
You might think of the social networking website as the ideal forum to announce to the world that you've just prepared a swell Apple Brown Betty for dessert, or to debut the latest video of your cat tangled up in a ball of yarn (so cute), or to air your thoughts on the latest episode of Orange Is the New Black.
You breathlessly post this gibberish because you think people actually care about the most mundane navel lint that is your life. Nobody cares, including yourself. You are the one who rolls your eyes every time you are exposed to a "friend's" detailed account of their vacation to Pedro's South of the Border. ...
In the highbrow, hoity-toity book-scribbling racket, unlike the ink-stained wretched world of newspapering, capturing the Man Booker Prize is widely regarded as the Holy Grail and cat's pajamas for writers of thoughtful fiction.
The Man Booker also turned out to provide rich fodder for Edward St. Aubyn in Lost for Words, a scathing, funny roman a clef exploring the behind-the-scenes feuds, the wheeling and dealing, and the bumptious personalities who come together to award Great Britain's most prestigious literary prize, which may not be so coveted after the author's lampooning....
Sometimes a political masterstroke proves to be the love child born of desperation.
A few days ago longtime U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi was widely viewed as the old man and the tea, a veteran Republican about to be defeated in the primary runoff by state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who was so far to the ideological right he made Augusto Pinochet look like Barney Frank.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the tea party. Cochran dispatched McDaniel, all but assuring him a seventh term in the Senate. How was this possible, when the ultraconservative radio blah-blah-o-sphere had predicted McDaniel would cruise to victory? Even Sarah Palin, the Madame Defarge of the tea party, had endorsed McDaniel. What could possibly go wrong?...
For an institution held in lower esteem than elephant poachers, you would think anyone serving in the Florida Legislature would be anxious about getting tossed out of office by the voters.
After all, when you are correctly perceived to be little more than monkeys dancing to the organ grinder beat of Tallahassee's lobbyists, there should be a long line of opponents.
But no. There seems to be precious little interest in challenging the status quo. There are probably a host of technical explanations for the resounding indifference to the democratic process. But the most obvious reason can be found in the fact there isn't much of a real democratic process when it comes to serving in the Florida Legislature, or as it is otherwise known, a Confederacy of Chumps....
Far, far, far be it from me to get all curmudgeonly about this, but the recent spate of mystery fairies hiding various sums of money all over St. Petersburg was —- how to put this as gently as possible — a supremely stupid idea.
Furtive benefactors hiding envelopes of cash around cities and then posting Twitter feed clues about where to find the moola has been all the rage in recent months. Think of this as sort of a poor man's 21st century version of the old 1950s television show The Millionaire, in which tycoon John Beresford Tipton secretly wrote seven-figure checks to unsuspecting recipients....