Life As We Blow It

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hyde Park was home

Posted by on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 8:37 PM

SoHOMES: The new Post SoHo condo complex is another sign of a changing Hyde Park. - TODD BATES
  • Todd Bates
  • SoHOMES: The new Post SoHo condo complex is another sign of a changing Hyde Park.

Driving down South Howard on an early weekday afternoon, really taking in the area for the first time in maybe a decade and a half — the proliferation of hip restaurants, shiny condos and chic office buildings that, for me, might as well have occurred the night before — I was struck by two thoughts.

The first was about the sheer, staggering amount of change that has taken place.

And the second was about how little that change impacted me on a personal level.

Hyde Park is looking good, in the way that historically funky, quasi-urban neighborhoods always do after the money and the development roll in. Generally speaking, when that happens, a lot of folks who remember the good, gritty old days tend to get more than a little bitter about it. They’re more interested in remembering the way things used to be, and how much that affected who they became, than in waxing orgasmic about the new holistic spa and vegan laundromat.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Life As We Blow It: Dream a little dream

Posted by on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 9:50 AM

On Friday, the New York Times Magazine published an excellent piece by writer Eve Fairbanks called, “How Did Sleep Become So Nightmarish?” (It’s available online; go ahead, I’ll wait.) In it, she articulates many of the loose and often vaguely worrying notions about sleep that have been skittering around my own brain for a while now — often, ironically enough, when I’m trying to get some rest.
PLUGGING IN TO DISCONNECT: A number of smartphone apps are available for optimizing your sleep habits.
  • PLUGGING IN TO DISCONNECT: A number of smartphone apps are available for optimizing your sleep habits.

In her piece, Fairbanks considers how a “capitalization” of sleep has emerged from our work-culture’s obsession with productivity. She points out how, just a decade or so ago, we never would have thought to worry about how to set ourselves up to get the best sleep possible, in order to optimize our brains (and, by extension, ourselves) to wring the maximum productivity out of them the following day.

We slept because we were fucking tired.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

The curse of crowdfunding

It would work if it weren’t for the crowd.

Posted by on Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Kickstarter! Indiegogo! Gofundme!

The future is now! The millennials did it! They found a way to saw through the Achilles tendon of big business, like undead Gage Creed sawed through the Achilles tendon of Jud Crandall in the film adaptation of Pet Sematary! Patronage is the way to go! Capitalism, your days are numbered!

Except not really.

Because people ruin everything.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

When bad guys do good things

He’s probably a bastard, but can’t I still love his art?

Posted by on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 4:30 PM

LIFER: Woody Allen in Take the Money and Run.
  • LIFER: Woody Allen in Take the Money and Run.
At last Sunday’s Golden Globes, filmmaker Woody Allen was given the Cecil B. DeMille Award — the Globes’ version of a lifetime achievement honor. Allen was not present to accept his award. In the ceremony’s “comparatively edgy alternative to the Oscars” tradition, several folks who should know took the opportunity to publicly reference, you know, the whole affair-with-his-19-year-old-not-really-stepdaughter thing that arose during the auteur’s very public split from Mia Farrow.

In its own “we simply must have an opinion on absolutely everything” tradition, the Internet immediately erupted, bringing into play the allegations of child molestation that came out at the same time. And since then, lots of people have been asking if it should be acceptable to like Woody Allen.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Gallinippers & The Scare Machine

They’ve tasted the salty nectar of amateur python-hunter blood, and they’re hungry for more!

Posted by on Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 10:21 AM





If you had time between dragging your unmotivated ass into and out of work yesterday to check the news online, chances are you were deluged by semi-hysterical notices regarding Florida’s latest imminent environmental cataclysm. Mutant mosquitoes the size of a ninth grader’s fist are, even as we speak, staging en masse amid the swampy hidey-holes of the Everglades, just waiting for the weather to turn warm enough to inspire a statewide assault.

They’ve tasted the salty nectar of amateur python-hunter blood, and they’re hungry for more!

OK, so, gallinippers are not really the size of a ninth grader’s fist. They’re more the size of a quarter. But still — that’s like 20 times the size of a regular mosquito. A mosquito 20 times the size of a regular mosquito is, by all accounts, a Giant Monster Mosquito.

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Monday, January 7, 2013

LAWBI: Woke Up In Ybor City

Posted by on Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 12:49 PM

The Hold Steady
  • The Hold Steady
Singer-songwriter Craig Finn said once that he never really woke up in Ybor City before he nurtured that memorable lyric from the richly imagined soil of The Hold Steady’s youthful-loser landscape.

Well, I sure have.

In my Jeep, in the HCC parking garage. On the sofa in the old Creative Loafing offices above Cafe Creole. In a “loft” on the other side of the railroad tracks that was more of a hostel-slash-squat, spooning a pretty girl I sort of knew on top of somebody’s loft-in-a-box-in-a-loft and surrounded by people who were still partying.

And other times—the last one at the REAX Magazine office, to the sound of a cop on horseback galloping up onto the porch in pursuit of an assault suspect running from Club Empire. (We found unexploded pellets of pepper spray—the kind they fire from paintball-type guns—all around the place the next morning.)

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Israel/Hamas opinionating: Knowing when to know you don’t know

Posted by on Wed, Nov 21, 2012 at 4:00 AM

No one should opinionate on Middle East turmoil without, say, being able to locate the region on an unlabeled map.
  • No one should opinionate on Middle East turmoil without, say, being able to locate the region on an unlabeled map.

Do you consider yourself to be an adequately informed member of your community?

Do you, perhaps, suspect you are much more well-informed than the average American?

It’s OK — I like to think I know more than everybody else, too. And you’re reading … well, something, hell, whatever this is. But you’re reading! That’s a good indicator you probably know several things that others do not. Many, many Americans don’t ever read at all. Or, worse, only read magazines, which is like not reading, but with pictures.

So. We have established that we are better informed than a lot of folks. Good for us. And it is good for us. It comforts us, gives us confidence, buoys our self-esteem. You know what’s even better, though, than knowing how well-informed we are?

That’s right: Showing other people how well-informed we are. Oh, man. Sometimes, nothing feels better than showing other people how well-informed we are. I mean, it’s not just good for us — it’s good for the people we’re showing! We impart knowledge; they receive knowledge. It’s a win-win, really.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why Rombama & Company spent all that money

Posted by on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 6:09 PM


By this time tomorrow, America (we hope) will have elected a new president.

And the two main candidates (and their most dedicated boosters, the super PACs) will have spent well over a billion and a half dollars in their efforts to sway the 19 people in the country who hadn’t made up their minds who they were going to vote for while sitting at the family dinner table when they were 8.

A billion and a half dollars. It’s a conservative estimate.

It’s also 24,000 times the nation’s average annual household income. It’s five of the world’s most expensive private jets, the $300 million Airbus 380. It’s 100,000 new Volkswagen Jettas. Eight million train trips from Tampa to Chicago and back. Eighteen million tickets to see Aerosmith at the St. Pete Times Forum next month. One and a half billion bags of freakin’ ramen.

Spent by two men. Each of whom was trying to tell the world he would be better at balancing the country’s budget than the other. On a popularity contest.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

LAWBI: In Defense of Columbus Day

Posted by on Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Colombo, the man (not the yogurt).
  • Colombo, the man (not the yogurt).

Yesterday was Columbus Day. As you know, Columbus Day is an arbitrarily assigned national holiday which serves as a tribute to a guy — who wasn’t American, or named Columbus in his native tongue — who accidentally “discovered” a land mass 32 times the size of his homeland while in search of enough not-land to get him to a bunch of tiny islands that would’ve been closer had he turned left instead of right when he first got started. A land mass that had already been populated for who knows how many hundreds or thousands of years when he got there.

As most even casually curious historians above the age of 12 or so are aware, Christoforo Colombo’s mistake became the catalyst for several centuries’ worth of exploitation, enslavement and genocide.

That we choose to honor that particular historical milestone is as darkly absurd, and as perfectly American, as it gets. That we couldn’t commit to giving it a specific day, year in and year out, might say something about the collective American conscience. But still it persists, respun into a powerful symbol of the indomitability of the human spirit by the pervasive and persuasive forces of arrogance, cognitive dissonance and historical revisionism.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The new Myspace: Would you kiss a corpse if Justin Timberlake told you to?

Posted by on Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 2:52 PM



I still have a MySpace profile. (Or, oh, sorry, according to the last “redesign,” I have a My[_______] profile, or whatever.)

Officially, I sign in once every six months or so, looking for a snippet of music by some band or other that for whatever reason refuses to post its artistry somewhere more contemporary. (These acts are always either death metal bands or gospel/bluegrass/folk performers that did a featured spot at the Grand Ole Opry in, like, ’87.)

Unofficially, I still have a MySpace profile because my MySpace profile is tied to an email address that has been defunct for about six years now. And I can’t delete my MySpace profile without accessing the email address that no longer exists to open the email they can’t send there and click the nonexistent link allowing MySpace to delete my profile.

Which is exactly the sort of shortsighted mismanagement and lack of attention to detail that led to the pioneering social network’s demise. Well, that and, you know, the fickle passing of more than a couple of years, which might as well be an epoch in Internet Time.

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