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Sean Daly, Times Staff Writer

Sean Daly

Sean Daly is the pop music critic at the Tampa Bay Times. He has also alliterated for the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper and People magazine. An only child growing up outside of Boston, he spent great chunks of his youth sprawled in front of his parents' monolithic hi-fi system/coffee table. (He burned his besotted college years at Syracuse University doing pretty much the same thing.) Is he socially maladjusted? Absolutely. However, his music collection — from Otis Redding to Bob Dylan, Public Enemy to Stan Getz — is much bigger and better than yours. So there.

Phone: (727) 893-8467


Twitter: @SeanDalyPopLife

  1. 'Better Call Saul' Roundtable: Chimp With a Machine Gun


    "Slippin' Jimmy with a law degree is like a chimp with a machine gun." And there we go: When Space Blanket Chuck absolutely nuked his brother with that icy dismissal, it certainly seemed like the final soul-crushing shove for our favorite legal anti-hero, Jimmy McGill, to finally cross-over into shady Saul Goodman territory. Last night's ep of AMC obsession Better Call Saul -- titled "Pimento" -- was a doozy. And to think: There's one more hour left in the debut season. Holy moly. Herewith, our fervent Saulers Sean Daly and Chris Tisch get all heavy & stuff in dissecting the best show on television.

    CHRIS: "Hail, Satan. I submit to the dark side." Oh, Jimmy. How prophetic that statement will come to be. But Jimmy's transition to the dark required a betrayal -- and with last night's episode, Sean, we got it in a big way. Chuck sold his brother out. And Vince Gilligan and crew uraveled that betrayal with heavy foreshadowing and a brooding eventuality....

  2. Tampa Bay lands cover of state's LGBT travel guide


    Two men, hand in hand, walk down a nighttime street, their path illuminated by a bright movie marquee. This glossy shot is the cover of Florida's new LGBT Getaway Guide, which will reach some 225,000 potential tourists across the United States.

    But the romantic picture wasn't snapped in fun and sunny South Beach or Miami, cities that have long held sway as tolerant places for gay vacationers....

    St. Pete Pride and other events helped put the bay area on the cover of the LGBT travel guide.
  3. McDonald's tries menu makeover with 'Create Your Taste' (w/video)


    WESLEY CHAPEL — Who's up for building a sexy new Quarter Pounder, the longtime blue-collar thug on the McDonald's menu? You know, pretty that sucker up a bit. Maybe some guac, garlic sauce, caramelized onions, all on a lettuce wrap and presented to you via perky tableside service.

    After suffering severe revenue losses lately, the Golden Arches needs to make a move, and they think their new "Create Your Taste" reinvention campaign, one aimed at competing with fast-casual DIY restaurants a la Chipotle, could be the ticket. ...

    People at the McDonald’s in Wesley Chapel use a new touch screen kiosk Wednesday to order their drinks and meals.
  4. Vinny Lecavalier selling his Davis Islands house for $4.5M (w/photos)

    Real Estate

    If you're a Tampa Bay Lightning diehard and you're currently house-hunting, here's a deal for you: Vinny Lecavalier's Davis Islands estate went on the market Monday.

    But you might want to check under the sofa cushions twice for this one: You're going to need about $4.5 million to buy it.

    As a bonus, you get to be Derek Jeter's neighbor. The retired Yankee great lives three doors down....

    Vinny Lecavalier's 7,636-square-foot home on Davis Islands is listed at $4.45 million. Built in 2005, it features six bedrooms and seven full bathrooms on a 0.3-acre lot that offers waterfront views. []
  5. 'Better Call Saul' Roundtable: Go Land Crabs!


    With only two episodes left in the debut season of Better Call Saul, University of American Samoa alums Sean Daly and Chris Tisch are in a frenzy. Surely something awful yet awesome (and holy-moly Breaking Bad-ish) will be cliffhung soon, right? Space Blanket Chuck doesn't seem long for this world. Saul loves Kim more than we thought -- but will that end in nookie or tragedy? And as for Mike -- our favorite fixer is about to go dark for the sake of his granddaughter. Herewith, the boys sound off on last night's installment, "Rico."

  6. SeaWorld launches ad campaign after backlash from 'Blackfish' (w/video)


    Despite the relentless protests, the bad press and the plummeting attendance, SeaWorld is staying in the Shamu business.

    On Monday, the theme park company launched the first phase of an aggressive marketing campaign that touts how much it loves and cares for its trademark killer whales — and how much it vigorously disagrees with myriad detractors.

    SeaWorld Entertainment, the parent company of Busch Gardens Tampa, saw attendance decline by 1 million visitors in 2014 in its 11 parks. That's a drop many attribute to the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which focused on disturbing behavioral issues of captive orcas, including Tilikum, the 12,000-pound whale that killed trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010 at SeaWorld Orlando. In the last quarter, the company recorded a $25.4 million loss....

    SeaWorld, the parent company of Busch Gardens in Tampa, is launching an ad campaign to battle the backlash it has received after the documentary Blackfish criticized its treatment of killer whales.

  7. After 1,000 complaints, Kane's sues furnituremaker Southern Motion


    After receiving more than 1,000 customer complaints in 2013 alone, Pinellas Park-based Kane's Furniture has filed a lawsuit against Mississippi furnituremaker Southern Motion for what the local company is calling defective "bonded leather" items.

    Kane's — whose motto is "Quality so good, it's guaranteed for life" — seeks damages for breach of warranty and negligence from Southern Motion, whose motto is "The World's Best Reclining Furniture."...

    Kane's Furniture has sued a Mississippi furniture maker after getting more than 1,000 complaints about peeling and faking leather in 2013 alone. Photo courtesy of Kane's Furniture.
  8. Advice for struggling McDonald's? Be McDonald's


    McDonald's is struggling these days. It's more grimace than Grimace at the Golden Arches, as both revenue and net income have declined in the same year for the first time since 1981. Customer visits are down, too. February was a flat-out nightmare, with sales down 4 percent compared to a year ago.

    New CEO Steve Easterbrook, whom the Wall Street Journal calls a "change agent," has promised a new direction at Mickey D's, even going as far as emulating fast-casual restaurants a la Chipotle. It's already testing a "Create Your Taste" campaign where you build your own sandwich, a move that got major play in the New York Times. ...

    Maybe the solution to McDonald’s struggles is for it to be good old-fashioned McDonald’s.
  9. Verizon FiOS drops the Weather Channel amid dispute


    Chatting about the weather is often the nadir of small talk, a sign that a dullish dialogue is about to fizzle like a hurricane hitting cold ocean. Unless you live in Florida, when the weather is basically all we talk about and obsess over: too hot, too cold, too humid, too perfect.

    That 24-7 fixation on Mother Nature could be hindered for thousands of Tampa Bay Verizon FiOS subscribers, and some 5.6 million subscribers nationwide: The pay-TV provider dropped the 24-7 Weather Channel from its lineup on Monday, citing an expiration of their network carriage contract. (In other words, they fought about money, although streaming content, and the continued dominance of Netflix, has become a major issue between content providers and cable and pay-TV companies.)...

  10. Disney to expand Soarin', Toy Story Midway Mania


    Two of Walt Disney World's most popular rides — read: brutal lines, Fast Passes gone instantly, your kids are sobbing, you need an adult beverage — will get considerable expansions in 2016 to accommodate crowds: Toy Story Midway Mania at Hollywood Studios, and Soarin' at EPCOT.

    Completed sometime in 2016, the expansions will involve a third theater for Soarin' (a ride that combines an IMAX screen with up-and-away ride technology plus funky smells) and another track at Midway Mania (a ride that combines 3D shooting gallery and Woody-centric hijinks)....

  11. Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus to eliminate elephant acts (w/video)


    Power to the pachyderms and the people who love them. • Citing pervasive public outcry against the use of elephants in its shows, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus promised on Thursday that it will stop making its biggest stars — literally and figuratively — tour and perform for the masses. • Dumbo is leaving the Big Top. • "This decision was not easy, but it is in the best interest of our company, our elephants and our customers," said Kenneth Feld, president of the Palmetto-based Feld Entertainment, parent company of Ringling Bros. • Thirteen out of the company's 43 elephants will continue to tour with the 145-year-old "Greatest Show on Earth" until 2018, when those animals, along with most of their performing brethren, will retire to the company's Center for Elephant Conservation, located in Central Florida. • Animal rights activists were mostly elated. They have protested for decades that elephants are emotion-rich roamers not suited for touring and performing. "Wild animals have never signed a contract to perform stupid human tricks in circuses," said the Florida Voices for Animals in a statement. "What can the public learn about elephants that wear a tutu and pivot around a stool on a front leg?"...

    A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus worker, left, uses a bull hook in December 2012 to coax an elephant off the train for the walk down Cass Street in Tampa. Animal rights activists object to the use of the tool, which they say is cruel.
  12. New Adventure Island slide Colossal Curl is a scream (w/video)



    When Adventure Island opens for the soaking season Saturday, the perfectly fine water park will finally have its first perfectly star-making attraction: Colossal Curl, a 622-foot-long thrill slide with a "weightless wave wall" as its looming gut check finale.

    I conquered Colossal Curl twice during media day, but I could have splashed down that beast 10 more times and still wouldn't have been ready for the drop-then-rise of that finish. ...

    Sean Daly rides the wave wall Wednesday on Colossal Curl at Tampa's Adventure Island water park. [Busch Gardens]
  13. 'Better Call Saul' Roundtable: Here Comes Mike


    Sex toilets aside, Episode 5 of Better Call Saul went to a very dark place at the end of its hour on Monday -- and that place is called Mike's House. Ooooh, Breaking Bad chills! Herewith, our resident weekly Saulers (Sean Daly, Michelle Stark, Chris Tisch) gush, debate and predict how the AMC hit show will unfurl as it creeps into the (hopefully twisted) second-half of its debut season...

    SEAN: You guys are gonna eye-roll at me again (or maybe you never stopped), but I realized my affections for Better Call Saul were approaching Breaking Bad-ish intensity last night when I kept peeking at my clock to see how much time was left. I wanted more, to cram two hours into one. But I also felt that giddy-nervous stir when it blinked to 10:50 p.m. That's Vince Gilligan's magic window, always has been. All inventive, never-saw-it-coming hell would break loose on BB in the closing ticks; it does with Saul & Co. too. And Ep 5 finally, thankfully took us into a dark storm cloud, with fixer Mike (who loves his granddaughter -- and considers killing everyone else) finally seeing his story arc creak open. We might be happy about it -- but he sure isn't. Actor Jonathan Banks is the master of the deadpan deathstare; so much going on in that smooth-pated terrifying dome. The ex-cop is casing someone (hey Michelle, is that his daughter?) and the cops don't like it. Presumably, Mike is gonna call on Saul, and that's how America's Bittersweethearts will start doing business together....

    Mike is in a dark place -- and here's hoping 'Better Call Saul' follows him there.
  14. How Tampa Bay became a "foodie" paradise


    Do the words "locally sourced produce" make your pulse quicken? Is your Instagram page chockful of sexy snaps of you shopping for dry-aged beef in the hippest, selfie-coolest new market? Did you fake a sick day at work to celebrate the joyous arrival of a Trader Joe's to your city?

    If you're from the Tampa Bay region, there's a good chance you excitably answered yes, yes and #heckyes to all of the above....

    Fresh Market is one of several upscale grocers that have come to Tampa Bay.
  15. Bloomin' Brands sells Roy's for modest $10 million


    Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands, parent of Outback Steakhouse and more, has sold off its interest in the seafood-based Roy's chain for $10 million. The sale, between Bloomin' and United Ohana, involves 20 restaurants and was agreed upon months ago, although the final tally wasn't revealed until Wednesday.

    The $10 million — or only about $500,000 per restaurant — raised some eyebrows among industry analysts, although it was clear last fall that Bloomin' CEO Liz Smith had grown weary of celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi's namesake restaurants. "Roy's is a terrific founder-inspired brand that is constantly pushing the envelop with innovative Pacific Rim cuisine," Smith told analysts. "The brand, however, is a small part of our portfolio and not a priority for investment, given competing opportunities. Roy's deserves to be in a situation where it can get the time, attention and resources it needs to grow. We are confident that they will thrive under new ownership."...

    Tampa's Bloomin' Brands sold Roy's restaurants for $10 million -- only about $500,000 per location. Stefanie Boyar | Times