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Here's the same old look at what's new

We here at the Times understand that it's hard to keep up with the news sometimes. For the correct spin on current events, today we interview media expert Dr. I.

M. Hackneyed.

Q. Dr. Hackneyed, welcome. What is your summary of the just-concluded Olympics?

A. An otherwise fine Olympics was marred by the Harding-Kerrigan scandal.

Q. The Olympic Games were not besmirched, stained or soiled by the Harding-Kerrigan scandal?

A. No. They were marred.

Q. Please explain the U.S.-Russia spy scandal.

A. All right, one more time. The Russians have "spies." The U.S. has "operatives."

Q. What is the most important question currently in the national news?

Q. Whether the name of Hillary Clinton's previous employer was "The Rose Law Firm" or, in the alternative, "the Rose law firm."

Q. And in business news?

A. Fallout from the TCI-Atlantic Bell merger. A wreck on the information superhighway. Investors are jittery. They are engaging in profit-taking.

Q. What is profit-taking?

A. No one is sure. Something that investors do when they are jittery.

Q. On the state front, what would you say are the major issues in Florida news?

A. The Legislature is in session. Key committees, or "panels," are meeting. They mull.

Q. What do these key panels mull?

A. Getting tough on crime. No new taxes.

Q. Will they succeed?

A. Negotiations will deadlock, threatening to send the Legislature into $30,000-a-day overtime. A last-minute House-Senate compromise will be hammered out after the governor threatens to use his veto pen.

Q. Let's get even closer to home. Who in the Tampa Bay area is beleaguered?

A. No one is currently beleaguered in the Tampa Bay area. The last news figure to be officially beleaguered was former St. Petersburg Police Chief Ernest "Curt" Curtsinger.

Q. Why was his name always written as Ernest "Curt" Curtsinger?

A. Because the media don't like people named "Ernest" The same reason George Bush called Pete DuPont "Pierre."

Q. Hey, watch it. Are you allowed to assume that readers remember news events more than a few days old?

A. Sorry.

Q. Would you not say that Hillsborough State Attorney Harry Lee Coe III is beleaguered?

A. Definitely not. Had Hillsborough State Attorney Harry Lee Coe III lost the Christopher Wilson case he would have been beleaguered. He would have been besieged with calls for his resignation.

Q. Instead?

A. Instead no adjectives attached. He remains simply "Hillsborough State Attorney Harry Lee Coe III."

Q. Despite letting off cops accused of molesting women?

A. He was not beleaguered for that. He simply came under fire.

Q. How can the Tampa City Council get more respect?

A. Do what other councils do to seem more important. Drop the "the" and refer to itself only as "Council."

Q. As in, "Council granted the rezoning petition?"

A. Yes, or, "Council wants its blankee now because it's nap time."

Q. How has this method worked in St. Petersburg?

A. Very well. Council is held in high regard by all who pay attention to it.

Q. What should be said of new Strong Mayor David J. Fischer?

A. It should be said of Strong Mayor David J. Fischer that he works behind the scenes.

Q. He does not work in front of the scenes?

A. No. He lets others take the credit.

Q. Credit for what?

A. You got me. I don't go behind the scenes.

Q. That's all for now. Thank you, Dr. Hackneyed.

A. You're welcome. Stay tuned for details coming up at 11.

Q. Er, wrong medium, doctor.

A. Sorry.

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