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Junction 54

Usually, I'm a pretty optimistic guy. I try to look on the bright side. When I turned 25 a few years ago, I didn't think about it as being a quarter-century old _ I thought about cheaper insurance rates.

Lately, though, some things besides the sweltering summer heat have left me steamed, so I must vent.

Why do some people insist on leaving shopping carts in parking spaces at the grocery store? Stick them in their cart corrals, or on the grass or, hey, maybe even the sidewalk outside the grocery store.

Even worse: Some people park carts in reserved handicapped spaces. Don't those folks have a tough enough time without someone else adding a new obstacle?

Of course, the upside of this annoying practice is that it keeps lazy non-handicapped people from selfishly hogging the space so they can save themselves a few extra steps to the door.

Why do people inline skate in Lake Padgett Estates?

It's annoying, but the fact is, they have just as much right to skate as I do to walk, ride a bike or drive through the neighborhood.

Recently, I nearly crashed head-on with a cement truck coming around a curve in Lake Padgett because I had to swerve around a skater.

The problem isn't just the skaters, though. The roads in Lake Padgett hardly are wide enough for most cars to pass each other safely, let alone support virtually three lanes of traffic for cars and skaters, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Why is it I can go to my usual Land O'Lakes video store and find copies of many movies I would never watch, but few of the ones I would?

I can't find Scarface (either version) or Gone With the Wind. The store has Die Hard, but apparently it's on permanent loan, because the tape never seems to be available.

However, the store has oodles of Forrest Gump. It also has Smokey and the Bandit III, but not I or II, and Relentless and Relentless III, but not II.

So I find myself driving to the new Blockbuster Video store at N Dale Mabry Highway and Van Dyke Road in north Tampa for a better selection.

Looking at the bright side, though, our Land O'Lakes video stores don't charge as much as Blockbuster. I can rent Robert Altman's MASH for $1.50 right here in town.

Why do some people take their kids to see a movie like Die Hard With a Vengeance, knowing the nature of the film, and then cover the kids' eyes whenever something violent happens?

I actually saw a woman do this. I noted, however, that she didn't cover the kids' ears when someone onscreen uttered profanity. What's the point? Take the kids to see Fluke or Pocahontas, or rent The Lion King again.

Why do some people chatter incessantly through movies?

It's especially annoying when viewers give away plot twists to show off the fact that they've already seen the movie, or note the blatantly obvious: "Oohh . . . cut in half by a steel cable. That's got to hurt!"

Do us all a favor. Shut up. Watch the movie.

If you have a story tip, Wes Platt can be reached at 996-1534, or on Internet, user ID wjplattix.netcom.com. Send letters c/o Central Times, P.O. Box 1439, Land O'Lakes, FL 34639. Send faxes to 226-3352.

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