Summer Guide 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A black woman asks: What’s up with white women wanting to get dark?

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 2:31 PM

THE RIGHT IDEA: Think Julianne Moore, not Mickey Rourke. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • THE RIGHT IDEA: Think Julianne Moore, not Mickey Rourke.
Aristotle said, “The body is at its best between the ages of 30 and 35.” I think my body was at its best at 26, but I’ll take it. The writer Edward Moore wrote, “’Tis now the summer of our youth.” Aww yeah. I’m all for that.

So, at age 34, with the semester over and Memorial Day a few days away, I’m declaring this the summer of my youth. And I’m defining youth as that time of your life when you’re plain old ballsy because you just don’t give a damn.

As my first act of ballsiness, I’m telling all you sunbathing white women this: Stop tanning. You’re freaking me the fuck out.

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Joe Maddon Mr. Potato Head, you are mine

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 1:36 PM


Back in the rosy days of early spring, baseball prognosticators saw not just a bright future for the Rays in 2014, but an American League East-winning future.

Then the season happened.

However, it’s still early. Pitchers will return from the disabled list.  Ben Zobrist’s thumb will heal. Someone — please, anyone — will have a hitting streak.

And there’s always the bobbleheads.

Tampa Bay fans may not be filling the Trop, but it’s not for want of effort by the team’s marketing department. They have once again come up with a roster of promotional items and special events that verge on irresistible.

I mean, how can you not want a Joe Maddon Mr. Potato Head? Or a Solar-Powered Waving DJ Kitty followed by a concert with The Wiggles?

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My musket-shooting summer

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 1:19 PM

The view from the fort at Plimoth Plantation today.
  • The view from the fort at Plimoth Plantation today.

It was my last summer job, a break between junior and senior year of college.

It was also the summer I turned 21.

And the first, and last, time I ever shot a gun.

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My (lame) first summer love

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 11:54 AM

In the final few weeks of 7th grade at Ben Franklin Junior High School in Daly City, CA, I remember really getting along with a classmate named Jade. I seemed to make her laugh a bit and she was cute. I liked her.
  • Allison Kerek

I talked to her during recess in the waning days of the school year, gently chiding her for apparently failing to write anything in my yearbook. She told me to look again, so when I got home that afternoon I did.

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Beyond shuffleboard: Alternative outdoor sports for retirees

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 3:19 AM

So you’re retired, and you need some options for filling your days other than the garden and the barstool. You came to Florida for the weather — why not go out into it, and try to get some semblance of exercise while you’re at it?
  • Allison Kerek

Shuffleboard, that’s the ticket. The classic Sunshine State silver-age pastime.

So you throw on your lime shorts, your red-and-yellow checked shirt, and your hat that looks like it came with a free bowl of soup, and you head on down to the shuffleboard courts.

And, horror of horrors, they’re teeming with … with … young people! Young people with beards, in inexplicable clothing, wearing hats worse than yours and sporting insanely cool eyeglasses and listening to abominable music. Young people playing an old person’s game, casually, even ironically, without a care, like heirs to the world itself.

Flaunting their seeming immortality — on turf that should rightly be yours!


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Summer Girl

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 3:01 AM

Bella Robison jams on the drums. - TODD BATES
  • Todd Bates
  • Bella Robison jams on the drums.

Isabella Angelina Robison of St. Pete is just like every other 15-year-old girl in America — she’s a Ukraine-born Romanian-gypsy adopted daughter of two loving moms who plays drums in a rockabilly combo when she isn’t working to graduate high school early.

OK, well, so she isn’t just like every other 15-year-old in America. But she does love summer as much as the next kid.

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Barely legal: The just-turned-21 first-timer’s guide to St. Pete summer pub-hopping.

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 2:40 AM


I've always loved downtown St. Pete, and ever since high school it’s been where I’ve spent most of my Friday nights with friends or family. Whether I go to the movies, eat out on Beach Drive or simply walk around, I always leave appreciating it that much more.

It wasn’t until I turned 21, however, that I realized there was so much more to be done.

I’d never hit up the bar scene or experienced the eccentricity of downtown St. Pete after midnight. To fully appreciate the spectacles that downtown has to offer, I had no other choice than to do a bar crawl. Starting with happy hour and staying ’til last call, I took on downtown St. Pete like a true (read: amateur) 21-year-old.

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Fishing with Pop

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 2:36 AM

When I was 8 years old, my father moved the family from Montgomery, Alabama, where he was stationed at Gunter Air Force Base, to Homestead, where he’d been assigned to the AFB there. (If you’ve heard of Homestead, it’s likely due to its being demolished by Hurricane Andrew in ’92 — it’s now an Air Reserve Base.) During our very first night in our new house in the Miami suburb of Perrine, someone broke into our RV. Welcome to South Florida!

  • Allison Kerek
Not long after that, Pop’s father, Papa Jack, came down to visit the family. Pop had spent much of his young life fishing the freshwater lakes of rural Arkansas with Papa Jack, so he decided that we three generations of Harrell men should spend a day acquainting ourselves with Florida’s famous saltwater angling. He borrowed a little metal flat-bottomed johnboat and electric trolling motor from an Air Force buddy, and that weekend, the three of us headed down to where the mainland ended and the keys began, stopping at the side of the road by a little waterway colloquially known as Jewfish Creek and putting the boat in the water by hand.

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Pimp your pool

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 1:08 AM

What’s the number-one most desired homeowner’s accessory when the sun comes out and the temperatures really start to climb? A pool. And what’s the most risky accessory to add to a property, in terms of cost, value and return?
  • Allison Kerek

Yep — a pool.

For most people, the price of an in-ground pool, along with the patio, pavers, pump, screening and whatever else goes along with it, is prohibitive. On top of that, many homeowners can never hope to recover that investment when and if they decide to move.

In the face of such concerns, folks are considering the tacky, time-honored alternative: the above-ground pool. It’s cheaper by an order of magnitude, and gives homeowners the option to dismantle it if they ever make the decision to sell their property. What’s more, clever designers both professional and amateur are now coming up with novel ways to give the traditionally ugly above-ground pool attractive makeovers, from partial in-ground installations and multi-tiered decks to innovative landscaping and more.

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Escapes for all ages — museums, attractions and beaches

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 1:00 AM

SILVER SPRINGS: One of the oldest theme parks, it still has glass bottom boats gliding across crystal clear water. - DANIEL VEINTIMILLA
  • SILVER SPRINGS: One of the oldest theme parks, it still has glass bottom boats gliding across crystal clear water.

Some local and regional favorites for having fun, learning a little and getting in touch with unpaved Florida.

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