Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NFL Thanksgiving Day TV turkeys

Tradition, my eye.

Count me among the number of NFL fans who are beyond tired of the annual turkeys the league gives us to watch every Thanksgiving.

Green Bay at Detroit?


The last time that game meant something, Vince Lombardi was alive.

The Lions are a bad football team and have been since the 1990s.

As for Oakland at Dallas?

Since I'm an Eagles fan, I don't like the Cowboys from the jump.

Regardless, you'd think the NFL would at least give them an opponent we can take seriously.

Not the dysfunctional Raiders.

Then there's the Giants at Broncos at night on the NFL Network.

Another game that does nothing for me.

By the time it comes on, I'll probably be having my post-Thanksgiving feast nap.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Single mom puts face on troubled times

The first time I met Melissa McPherson was last year at the St. Joseph Catholic Church food pantry.

The second time I met her was at the same place Monday.

If you want to put a face on the struggles our economy has put people through, it's this woman, a college-educated mother of two who's been out of work for 1.5 years.

But Melissa did land a gig as a telemarketer one week ago.

"It's something for now," she said.

Meantime, she's doing whatever she can to feed her two children.

Which meant a trip to the church food pantry.

Melissa is proud woman, but she can't eat pride.

Nor can her two children.

Not at Thanksgiving.

"For a single mom on a fixed income and food stamps, this helps a lot," Melissa said.

So does knowing she's got a place to go to tide her and her family through these times.

"It makes you think, people actually care," Melissa said.

Here's hoping she's got it better next Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 20, 2009

DeLazzer's spirit alive at Thanksgiving

Penny Goethe was almost done with preparing the Thanksgiving meal.

Twenty turkeys for 300 at Our Daily Bread soup kitchen. Cranberry sauce, green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes and yams.

A lot of cooking for the first-year kitchen manager, her assistant and four volunteers.

Goethe had a little help from above, too.

She could hear Mary DeLazzer say, "It needs a little more garlic."

Goethe chuckled.

"Mary liked garlic on everything," she said, thinking of her late predecessor.

It’s something Goethe does daily.

Mary DeLazzer’s been gone almost a year, killed on her way to work at Our Daily Bread by a drunk driver early the morning of Nov. 28.

The day after Thanksgiving.

What a bittersweet anniversary.

Read more in Sunday's Mannix About Manatee

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Florida's No. 1 and that's strange

Florida, the strangest state in America?

Yeah, so.

Tell us something new., an e-mail marketing firm in Madison, Wis., analyzed 2,000 Associated Press “strange news” stories this year and 169 originated in the Sunshine State.

That’s all?!

Bradenton just got three mentions.

Imagine that.

Man lets boy drive for a ‘bonding moment.’

Man tries to steal laptop to check Facebook.

Cremated remains stolen during burglary.

Manatee County received our only other mention.

It’s not trapper Justin Matthews’ python capture hoax, either.

Detective duped by fake police lights, arrests driver.

Maybe our strangeness isn’t strange enough compared to the other doozies that made Florida No. 1.

To wit:

Lotto winner seeks to open nude dude ranch in Brooksville.

Man using sleeping bag as cape attempts heist in Gainesville.

Man allegedly flings jellyfish at teens at Madeira Beach.

Bank’s thumbprint rule irks Tampa man born with no arms.

Pair charged with stealing skunk from Sarasota pet store.

Then there are several lulu stories involving 911 calls.

Sarasota man tries to fool cops by calling 911 during stop.

Boynton Beach man calls 911 after eatery runs out of lemonade.

Men call 911 after bad drug deal in Daytona.

Man allegedly calls 911 to say he’s hungry in Delray Beach. Twice.

Fort Pierce woman calls 911 three times over McNuggets.

Man calls 911 after Zephyrhills clerk refuses to sell beer.

Only in Florida.

Yeah, we’re No. 1, all right.

What’s also amusing is who is ranked below us — or is that above us? — in this “Strange Top 10.”

In order, it includes New Hampshire, Alaska, Wyoming, Maine, Wisconsin, Vermont, Pennsylvania, North Dakota and Ohio.

No California?

Now that’s strange. ranked the nation’s strange cities, too.

New York City is No. 1.


Right behind it are Lincoln, Neb.; Madison, Wis.; Philadelphia; Chicago; Cincinnati; Boston; Detroit; Dallas; Pittsburgh; Columbus, Ohio; Salt Lake City; Des Moines, Iowa; Portland, Ore.; San Antonio; Cleveland; Sheboygan, Wis.; Fairbanks, Alaska; and Denver.

Tampa is No. 20.


How can Lincoln, Neb., beat Tampa for strangeness. said they throw animals at police.

We’d never, ever do that.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hitchhiking past big game 40 years ago

That Ohio State visits Michigan in their annual Big Ten grudge match, brings back fond memories.

One in particular.

It was 1971, yours truly was a few months out of college at Bowling Green State University, working construction and feeling fancy free.

So that Saturday morning, I got on nearby I-75 and began hitchhiking north to see a buddy in Pontiac, Mich.

Hitchhiking then wasn't as dangerous as it is now.

Time was I thumbed rides across New Jersey, where I grew up, from Jersey to Florida and from Jersey to Ohio when I missed my ride back to school.

Bumming a ride that Saturday morning almost 40 years ago was easy.

It was only a 90-mile jaunt and it seemed like half the Buckeye state was heading to Ann Arbor.

This was the fourth game in the "Ten-Year War" between Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler, a series during which Ohio State and Michigan were both ranked in the AP's top five before their matchup between 1970 and 1975.

Anyway, I got close enough to Ann Arbor before I was dropped off.

But there were so much traffic heading into Ann Arbor, I l had to stand literally in the middle of I-75 to thumb my next ride because the two right hand lanes of the interstate were backed up as far as the eye could see.

But I made it to my pal's place in time to watch the rest of the game.

Michigan won, 10-7.

But the game is probably best remembered for Woody ripping apart a downmarker after Wolverine All-America running back Billy Taylor scored the winning TD in the final two minutes.

Oh, yeah, those were the days.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Images linger from Veteran's Day

The showers had moved up the Manatee River and Monument Park was almost empty, save for the cleanup detail.

Wednesday morning’s Veterans Day Parade and ceremony were over.

Yet the images linger.

Hundreds of uniformed JROTC members marching in cadence.

Girl Scouts in light green uniforms clutching little American flags.

The Monument Park audience giving Holly and Trina Rizzo a long, appreciative standing ovation for their stirring a cappella, “God Bless America.”

What a celebration.

What a day to be a veteran.

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Navy son never far from Mom's heart

Adam Brewer was a world away aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault ship, but he was well represented Wednesday at Manatee County's annual Veteran's Day Parade.

His mom Amy was at Monument Park, carrying a homemade poster that showed a photo of the two of them at the South Florida Museum.

"MY SON, MY SAILOR, MY HERO. WE LOVE VETS," the poster read.

His wife, Karen, a former Lakewood Ranch Silver Star, was also there.

Brewer's tour of duty is seven to nine months. He's a Petty Officer 3rd Class, an aeronautical mechanic and a search-and-rescue swimmer.

Mom beamed while talking about her son, a Bayshore High grad, and about her nephew also in the military.

"We have so much pride they chose to serve our country," she said. "It's hard that we go a long time without seeing him.

"Thank God for e-mail ."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hurricane season ain't over yet

Just when we thought it was safe to lock up the storm shutters after another uneventful hurricane season, ta-dah!

Hellooooo, Ida!

Or is it, g'bye, Ida!

That's the latest picture we get from the weather experts, who plot a weakened Tropica Storm Ida hitting the upper Gulf coast then heading east toward the Atlantic.

Of course, there are some computer "spaghetti" models that have Ida coming across state just north of us.

If so, fine.

We can use the rain.

It's almost as if, with three weeks left, Mother Nature is reminding us hurricane season isn't over just yet.

Point taken.

Friday, November 6, 2009

What's with Palmetto CRA giveaway?

I am not a Palmetto taxpayer, but if I was I know what I’d be asking myself:

What is the deal with the old CBI Building at 924 Fifth St.?

Three years ago the Palmetto Community Redevelopment Agency purchased the property with $764,500 of taxpayers’ money.

Said it was blighted and the CRA hoped a buyer would turn it into a boon for the Main Street business corridor.

Then the economy tanked and nothing came of it.

So Thursday the CRA approved its proposed sale to a developer for $100,000.

Say what?

Read more in Mannix About Manatee on Sunday.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

World Series: The 'November Classic?'

So the World Series is over.

Thank goodness.

As a longtime Phillies fan, I tip my ballcap to the Yankees.

Best team won.

That my ballclub lost is not why I'm glad it's over.

That it took until Nov. 4 is why.

If the outcome had been the same a week ago, OK.

It was still October.

Didn't they used to call the World Series the "October Classic"?

Think Tommy Lasorda coined the phrase.

It's not "November Classic."

Yet TV's gazillions call the shots, major league baseball dances to their tune, and this is where we are.

Later games and longer seasons --- with or without the forgettable World Baseball Classic.

Even one of my colleagues confessed, "I just want to go back to watching regular TV again."

Of course, he said it with a big smile.

His team won.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

'One Mississippi, two Mississippi ...'

Saw one of those newfangled red light cameras at an intersection I use with some regularity.

Won't have to worry about my picture being taken.

Not that I'm a red-light runner, either.

A creature of habit, I have a good idea which lights around town stay green longer than others when I'm headed toward a particular intersection.

When that caution light blinking from a distance, it's time to slow down.

But I'm a slowpoke anyway.

That also goes for when I'm stopped at an intersection and the light turns green.

I count something like, "One Mississippi. Two Mississippi," as we used to do in touch football.

Then I go.

It may sound odd, but it's saved my bacon a couple of times.

Had I proceeded through the intersection at the instant the light turned green, I'd have been T-boned by a red-light runner.

Hurrying to work is not worth that.