Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dark & sinful: An open letter to myself

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 1:05 AM

CABLE CATHARSIS: MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry runs it down.
  • CABLE CATHARSIS: MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry runs it down.

After the FL jury declared George Zimmerman not guilty of Trayvon Martin’s death, I wrote an open letter, as part of a CL column, to his brother, Robert, asking him to shut up about the case, his feelings about it, what we should do about it — and on and on. As I’ve witnessed the continued horrors of Michael Brown’s death and the situation in Ferguson, I’ve refused to talk about it, or, really, even think about it.

Who cares if no one’s listening?

Stop telling August it messed with your head.

Quit acting numb in reaction to said mess.

Find something to say and something more than facts: unarmed teen shot; protestors gassed; curfew imposed.

Stop with the cop-outs: I’m not Al Sharpton. I’m not Jesse Jackson.

Pessimism is not an excuse.

No, you’re not depressed.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Buccaneers Preseason Football Finale

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Raymond James Stadium - DEVON CRUMPACKER
  • devon crumpacker
  • Raymond James Stadium

The atmosphere at Raymond James Stadium tonight, when the Bucs take on the Redskins, will be nothing like a regular season game. The stands will feel less like a viewing section for a professional football game and more like a parent-organized dance, with a spiked punch bowl, for all the kids who didn't get asked to prom.

Kosher wine indorsers, Chad and Travis Hire
  • Kosher wine indorsers, Chad and Travis Hire
The play on the field should be intense though. These guys (on both teams) are competing for their lives out there. By Saturday, of the current 75 man rosters around the league, only 53 will make their respective teams. That makes this, the Bucs’ last preseason game of 2014, the finishing chance for many of the fringe players suiting up on this given Thursday night to turn their NFL dreams into a reality. 

The atmosphere in the stands won’t quite reflect this drama though. And that’s OK.

I was at the Bucs’ last home preseason game — the game against the Dolphins two weeks ago, the 16-20 loss. It was a docile show, from the play on the field to the attitude in the stands — but I loved it. I didn't miss the drunken, screaming fan in the Sherbert-orange Derrick Brooks jersey whose entire existence depends upon each successful passage of sewn pigskin from beneath the ass of one man into the awaiting hands of another. Hanging out at a roomy Raymond James Stadium with a few lackadaisical fans — people who worked all week and just want (need) to get out of the house; fathers with kids too young to know the difference between preseason and regular season football; tail-gate go-hards; and people who won free tickets as part of a work promotion — was a nice way to take in a game.

There were no
Stoney Jones - Ultimate Bucs Fan
  • Stoney Jones - Ultimate Bucs Fan
 lines for beers or bathrooms. No one was belligerent or too serious. You could sit wherever you wanted by halftime, check out a few big-name rookies, like Mike Evans (who fumbled near the end zone during a pretty crucial possession) and actually hear what the person next to you was saying. It was easy to sit back and just take it all in — the crowd, the stadium view, the game, the summer air. I have to say — I'd recommend the experience. I just wonder whether I'll remember any of the jersey numbers of any of the players whose dreams will be dashed come 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, when final cuts are made. I felt no drama on the field while they were playing, so I doubt I'll feel any of it when I read the cuts. Maybe later on though, down the road, at the end of the season, I'll take a look at a few of the players who weren't supposed to have made the team and marvel at how close they were to defeat, playing for their professional livelihood in the final preseason game of the year, only to be born into the role of budding-superstar. I guarantee there will be a few come season's end.

The Bucs final preseason game is Thursday, Aug 28, at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and information visit       

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Reasons why the Rowdies are a must-see event

Posted By on Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 3:58 PM

So, I typically write a preview on the Tampa Bay Rowdies home matches with the generic need-to-know gibberish. On this day, I choose differently, because attending a Rowdies game is more than just showing up to watch what happens on the field and relating it to standings.

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A different type of thunder strikes the Times Forum tonight

Posted By on Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 9:07 AM

With the Tampa Bay Rays fading fast and the Buccaneers still trying to find some punch to their offense, the Tampa Bay Times Forum will offer a boxing event that will have plenty of action on Friday night. Teaming up with Panda 5 Star Productions, the Forum presents Thunder at the Forum: Round 2 presented by Corona Extra starting at 7:45 p.m.


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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Poet's notebook: On foreign shores

Posted By on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 2:46 PM

  • Jeanne Meinke
Deutschland, Deutschland, über alles,
Über alles in der Welt…
(Germany, Germany, over all,
Above all in the world…)

—from Das Deutschlandlied, German national anthem, music by Franz Joseph Haydn, lyrics by August Heinrich Hoffman von Fallersleben (1841)

When I heard this stirring music, written by the great composer Haydn, played over and over as the German team marched through the World Cup, two thoughts repeated in my mind. One, the American team did pretty well, losing to the Germans by the same score as Argentina in the championship match (1-0).

The second was a memory from 1956, when I was a soldier stationed in Germany. One afternoon after we got off duty, two friends and I drove over the old bridge crossing the Main River up to a 13th-century castle, Fortress Marienberg, just outside Würzburg. We’d done this before, sitting at a table by the ancient walls, drinking beer, watching the sun set over the town’s lovely old turrets, domes and spires. But this time — we got off late, and didn’t have time to change — we were still wearing our uniforms. Below us a barge floated by, carrying a huge red sign: Trink Coca-Cola.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Stolen motorcycle restored, returned to veteran

Posted By on Sun, Aug 17, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Paul Badillo poses in front of his "new" bike with members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office who helped get his bike back, as well as Ryan McDonaugh and Travis Wright — Nam Knights members who aided in the restoration. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • Nicole Abbett
  • Paul Badillo poses in front of his "new" bike with members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office who helped get his bike back, as well as Ryan McDonaugh and Travis Wright — Nam Knights members who aided in the restoration.

This past June, local Iraq war Veteran Paul Badillo’s motorcycle was stolen from in front of his Tampa apartment. He said he thought he was being followed that day and it turned out he was. As a Black Hawk crew member when he served in the Army, tinkering with his bike was not only therapeutic for him, but also helped him push through some thoughts about his time in Iraq. 

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Florida championship mixed martial arts events in Brandon

Posted By on Sat, Aug 16, 2014 at 11:04 AM

This weekend features a plethora of sports options for Tampa Bay fans, including the Tampa Bay Rays three-game series against the New York Yankees and the historic rivalry match between the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the New York Cosmos. For those looking for something outside the box, the Florida Championship Fighting organization will hold a mixed martial arts super show on Saturday Aug. 16, 2014 at The Regent, an elegant facility in Brandon that is typically the site to a wide range of artistic, cultural, educational, philanthropic, social events, weddings and meetings year round.

The Regent in Brandon serves as the host site for the Florida Championship Fighting mixed martial arts event this Saturday, Aug. 16 with a 10-plus bout.
  • The Regent in Brandon serves as the host site for the Florida Championship Fighting mixed martial arts event this Saturday, Aug. 16 with a 10-plus bout.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Tampa Bay Rowdies meet historic rival New York Cosmos

Posted By on Fri, Aug 15, 2014 at 5:32 PM

After a 1-1 road trip that extended over two weeks, the Tampa Bay Rowdies begin a two-game home stand when they host the New York Cosmos in a 7:30 p.m. match on Saturday, Aug. 16 at Al Lang Field. The Rowdies sit alone in third with nine points, one ahead of the Cosmos, six behind first-place San Antonio Scorpions and four behind the Minnesota United FC.

The Rowdies and the Cosmos renew their historic rivalry when the two teams square off in a 7:30 p.m. match on Saturday at Al Lang Field.
  • The Rowdies and the Cosmos renew their historic rivalry when the two teams square off in a 7:30 p.m. match on Saturday at Al Lang Field.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

High on style: Goodwill toward kids

Posted By on Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 12:31 PM


Thrifting: When one visits several different thrift shops, second-hand shops, and vintage clothing stores in the hopes of buying several items of cheap and unusual clothing and other items. One usually does this with friends. —Urban Dictionary

Sounds like the ideal option for back-to-school shopping, right? Styling on a budget can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to look like you or your child forayed into dumpster diving over the weekend. A little eye for detail and a bit of creativity can go a long way. And while you may not find everything on your list, one staple that’s almost always covered is jeans.

For the record, thrifting for girls can be far easier than for guys. But undeterred, I unearthed all the clothing found on this page from one source — Goodwill on Tampa Road in Oldsmar — for under $10.

One faux fur vest plus one geometric Guess dress equals a fabulous look for school and extra-curricular activities. 

Like fall foliage (a girl can dream), colored jeans are in the forecast and showed up in a variety of hues. 
Brand name button-downs and graphic tees are often found at Goodwill, but only choose those pieces that look current. In their absence, it’s best to lean toward simpler items to avoid looking out of date. 

A frayed or faded collar is a dead giveaway that you’re wearing something aged (not in a good way). Be mindful of this when shopping for second-hand shirts. The purple, black and white houndstooth dress with faux fur collared crop jacket (right) is for the girl who wants to stand out. It’s worth noting that this dress was $2.17.

Not a fan of The Gap. I repeat, not a fan of The Gap. But if I were in grade school, I’d totally be rocking this little corduroy jacket with the pleated denim skirt.  

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Dark & Sinful: Viva Europa!

Posted By on Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 11:58 AM

  • via
I got lucky last winter. A good friend of mine asked me to teach a poetry class at a two-week literary program in Lisbon: my first trip overseas.

The complimentary, Solo cup-sized glass of wine, and some more-than-the-doctor-prescribed Xanax, made the flight fly by. I fell in love with my hotel’s breakfast buffet, where a big basket of Nata — a traditional Portuguese custard pastry — waited for me every morning. I couldn’t get enough vinho verde, nor enough sangria, in a pitcher so huge the wooden spoon was more like an oar. I mastered the point-smile-shrug in restaurants where I was too embarrassed to butcher the name of the entrée I wanted. I essentially ate out a bowl of prawns in saffron oil. It was amazing.

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