It's safe to say we take the complex, mysterious unicorn of air conditioning for granted.
In Florida, most public places are set to a crisp subzero year round, and we know we can duck into a store or a Starbucks to get a little relief at almost any time. My office is pretty much an arctic tundra. I have a Snuggie on hand at all times. Going outside into the heat is so shocking sometimes, it feels like that scene in Fantasia where the dinosaurs all die out to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring....
Who remembers being kind of bored as a kid?
You went with your parents to the hardware store, to the DMV. You went to Kmart and put back to school clothes on layaway. You went to Blockbuster and fought with your brother about who could pick the new release. Then you went home and ran around with your neighbor, the one who always dared you to eat things from the questionable grain field out back of the house....
07/12/17 Food & Dining
One of our editors came dashing over to Features the other day. I feared some major news had broken, a celebrity had shuffled off this mortal coil or a Kardashian had married a QR code while I'd glanced away.
But, no. It was National Fried Chicken Day.
Of course, it was imperative that we inform readers of places to get the best crispy bird, and STAT. Another editor turned around in her chair and reminded us that, when she'd told us National Piña Colada Day was coming, we had ignored her....
You might be surprised to learn that, even on its worst day, the Sharknado franchise brings in nearly 3 million viewers. That's "million." Not a typo.
Learn that and more fun facts in this week's story from movie critic Steve Persall, who interviewed Sharknado director Anthony C. Ferrante. The purveyor of Syfy's staple series is appearing at Tampa Theatre, along with a screening of his original finned film. It's all tied to Shark-Con at the Florida State Fairgrounds....
The most colorful parade in Florida is this weekend, and it's a fun time, to be sure.
St. Pete Pride is back with a new location along St. Petersburg's waterfront. June is Pride month around the country, a time for the LGBTQ community and allies to come together, have a good time and show love. Check our report for details about this year's parade, events and trends to look out for. (Did you know horror icon the Babadook is making the rounds at Pride festivities?)...
Cue the loving groans.
Our star this week is Tig Notaro, the comedian known for her "bone-dry, low-key observations," as Christopher Spata writes. She performs at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts on Friday. In a different Straz theater on the same night, Jim Jefferies cracks his brand of controversial funnies.
If Pops can take a joke, either event would be a lovely date this Father's Day weekend. We have some other ideas to mark the occasion, from museums offering free admission to dining ideas that step outside the box at tampabay.com/holiday....
06/02/17 The Feed
It's officially TV catch-up season.
As Chelsea Tatham writes in this week's Couch Planner, Fear the Walking Dead is back for a third season, so brush up on the first two. And, before the TV reboot starts in June, she suggests watching the movie adaptation of Stephen King's The Mist, an endeavor that left me horrified. I can still hear Thomas Jane's tortured screams.
But these dark shadows are not why I called you here today. I am here to advocate that you play catch-up on a series with much lower stakes, and a much happier disposition. A series that will caress your head gently and calm you like a red wine....
There are times in life that call for caution, for using that chunk of money in savings to renovate the bathroom because the bathroom is from 1974, and not in a cool way.
But then, there are times Groupon comes along.
A few years back, it happened to me most notably right after a bad breakup. A trip to Paris and Rome, including hotel and airfare, breakfasts and rides to the airport, appeared in my in-box. It was $1,500 for all. A stock photo of the Eiffel Tower danced off the screen. Buy it now, a voice said, a voice wearing a beret. Ask questions later. I enlisted a friend and we clicked oui, oui....
05/18/17 Human Interest
There are some things to get out of the way. Before you finish the wine, you have to do dealbreakers. I killed a man in Cincy. I collect clown socks. I have a lower back Gwar tattoo.
For this conversation, here's what needs getting out of the way:
Commuting is mostly terrible.
I drive 25 miles each way, five days a week, from home in Dunedin to work in downtown St. Petersburg. There are many reasons, but it boils down to this: I love my home and my job. There is road between us. ...
Did you know we're already having unheard of heat?
Forecasters predicted highs would reach record levels all week. Thursday, the temperature is expected to crawl past the previous record and hit at least 94.
So, just for you, food critic Laura Reiley has rounded up some delicious yet adventurous ways to cool off. For this guide to chillaxing, she looked outside the cone and into Tampa Bay's alterna-treats, from Thai rolled ice cream to Hawaiian shave ice....
For many people, Mother's Day brings out the very best. Families pig out at brunch, enjoy breakfast in bed, post some lovely new springtime Facebook pictures.
For others, those who don't have traditional mothers around, or those without children, the holiday experience can range from awkward to painful. In this issue, you'll find suggestions for ways to take all kinds of moms on the town, whether to a local attraction offering free admission or ....
You're going to want to know what a "frork" is.
As with its distant inexplicable cousin, the Unicorn Frappuccino, you'll need information for discussions over margaritas on Cinco de Mayo this weekend. (Click here for events!) You'll need it when you're waiting for curtain up at the theater, making small talk with your date. You'll need it when you run out of things to critique after you see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2....
The scene made much more sense when I finally saw Alien.
I'm talking about Spaceballs, the part in which a small space creature rips through John Hurt's chest and starts singing, "Hello, my baby, hello, my honey, hello, my ragtime gal."
I've since seen Alien and just about every movie referenced in Mel Brooks' epic parody of Star Wars, but even without that helpful context, Spaceballs stands on its own. A good parody can do that....
The joy and the plight of any audiobook lies in the narrator.
I commute and listen to many audiobooks on Amazon's Audible app. Most books are pretty digestible, but the complexity of written dialogue can trip up a single reader, causing all nature of vocal sins. Too forceful. Too cutesy. Too many clumsy, clunky caricatures. A lack of synergy with the material you can't really define.
And then, there's the rare audiobook that achieves total tonal pow. I felt those vibes for The Handmaid's Tale audiobook, first released in 2012, given the Audie Award for fiction in 2013. Claire Danes is our narrator, Offred, the Handmaid imprisoned as an incubator in a misogynistic dystopia. There's no mistaking Danes' throaty, movie star voice, but you forget you're listening to the star of Homeland....
What's that smell?
That's the smell of big hair, baby. Slightly tinny, slightly chemical, somehow soothing to the soul. That's hairspray for you. And that's Hairspray for you.
American Stage in the Park is back for another year of picnic entertainment at Demen's Landing Park in St. Petersburg, this time welcoming us to 1960s Baltimore. Our photographer Eve Edelheit had a great time on set snapping shots of the cast in giant bouffant and beehive wigs, a signature of the show. Peep the pics....