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On the outside, looking in

LAST FRIDAY evening.

Happy hour.

Hunger gremlins growled, insisting on food.

In the lounge at Profusion, an open display of sushi beckoned, inspiring fond memories of the 1980s, when one could feed a family of 10 on happy hour buffets.

Times have changed. It's a wasabi-eat-wasabi world.

We had stumbled upon a Maker's Mark bourbon promotion. To get the sushi, you had to buy bourbon and agree to convert friends to Maker's Mark.

THERE I SAT, moping with a mere margarita, feeling less equal than others, like a character in a mood-enhanced version of Animal Farm. My friend Janet drank inexpensive club soda. Her club soda entitled her to the same amount of sushi as my pricey tequila did me _ zero.

Meanwhile, others ate. Where was the justice?

The world had suddenly sorted itself into Maker's Mark haves and have-nots.

"I can't imagine liking a drink that much," Janet said.

"Or wanting free food that bad."

WORD GAMES: All this got me thinking. What other kinds of local ambassadors might be tapped, in the spirit of Maker's Mark spirits?

A couple of examples:

Make His Mark Ambassador: Mayor Dick Greco, whose final months in office have seen warp-speed launches of city projects, including the trolley and museum.

Lake His Mark Ambassador: Land speculator Don Connolly, who bought submerged land and put up a pink fence to extract money from waterfront homeowners.

Perhaps you have others.

Feel free to e-mail me.

CORRECTION: I should have spelled Carl Jung with a C last week. No longer will I use my sister as my dictionary, never mind that she has taken Jung courses steadily for the past three years. (Deep, cleansing breath.)

AMERICAN FLAGS went up everywhere last fall, but perhaps nowhere as thickly as on Sterling Avenue near Plant High School.

Even now, in the block south of Neptune Drive, 19 of 28 homes fly them.

Is it because U.S. Congressman Sam Gibbons has a Sterling address?


CREDIT MARGE Schumacher, 79, retired blood bank secretary. Her husband, George, is a Navy veteran of World War II. The Schumachers have flown a flag on Sterling since 1954.

Marge Schumacher's favorite song: God Bless America.

After Sept. 11, she knocked on doors from San Miguel Street to Morrison Avenue, encouraging neighbors to put up flags. They complied.

"It's a beautiful sight to ride down the street and see so many homes flying an American flag," she says.

That it is.

A MORSEL for my comrades at the scale.

Calories in a Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich: 410. Fat grams: 16. Fiber grams: 1.

Calories in a Chick-fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich: 280. Fat grams: 7. Fiber grams: 1.

Calories in a small order of Chick-fil-A waffle fries: 280. Fat grams: 14. Fiber grams: 5.

_ Tampa's Kennedy Boulevard was once called Grand Central. Now Grand Central is a weekly City Times column. Writer Patty Ryan can be reached at 226-3382 or