Off Key

| June 1, 2018

By Bob Frederickson

From Modern Quests to Support Animal Pets

Tales of Brave Ulysses?

I-4 was recently listed as the number one, single most dangerous highway in the nation, which comes as no surprise to anyone who has traveled along it in recent years. The roadway was of course built to quickly funnel as many vacationing families as possible to the Enchanted Realm of the Mouse that Consumed Central Florida. But no one envisioned the highway itself would turn into the real-life thrill ride it has become.

It kinda makes sense though, in an admittedly twisted ‘only-in-Florida’ sort of way. All those wildly enthused families hurtling through I-4’s gauntlet of mayhem and terror to reach the object of their obsessive desire:  three or four days of frenzied fun and fascination in the land of the Giant Mouse King.

The real-life danger only adds to the adventure…

It may not rank up there with the Odyssey or the Iliad, but by modern standards, an epic pilgrimage just the same.

Mis-opportunity Zones?

Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn wants the state to designate the proposed site for a new Tampa Bay Rays stadium in Ybor City as an ‘economic opportunity zone.’ Well, of course he does. Because that way, state, local and federal tax dollars can be used to help build the team a shiny new pleasure palace on the dime of citizens, most of whom will never set foot in the place. (Though in the interest of full disclosure I should add that as a lifelong baseball fan, that doesn’t include me. Still, why should non-fans subsidize folks like me who are)?

We’ve seen this movie before, no?

Just what sort of ‘opportunities’ are promoted in these ‘zones’? All sorts, for sports franchise ownership groups, restauranteurs and sports bar owners. But beyond that? Well, plenty of low paying jobs for waiters and waitresses, parking lot attendants and hot dog, beer and program vendors in the new stadium; but what about real long-term opportunities with the higher wage positions our politicians are forever proposing our tax dollars should be used to attract?

(Crickets…)

Sticking with the Sports Theme…

Way back in their inaugural season of 1962, the New York Mets managed to lose 120 of 160 games. During one particularly dismal on-field performance that season, legendary manager Casey Stengel, then 72, looked up and down his dugout, shook his head and posed a question to no one in particular “does anyone here know how to play this game…?”

Well, fast-forward 54 years and the 2018 Mets squad has managed to pull off an ignominious feat that eluded even that hapless 1962 team. During a recent game against Cincinnati, the Mets actually batted out of order, snuffing out a rally that just might have won them the game, given that the score was tied after nine innings.

Fittingly, the Mets went on to lose…in extra innings.

As Yogi Berra would say,

“Deja Vu all over again…”

What Are the Odds?

Kateri Schwandt and her husband Jay already have 13 children romping around their Rockford Michigan homestead, and get this…all of them are boys. Can you imagine?

So when Kateri gave birth to her 14th child last month, it was no surprise…yup, another boy.

What are the chances? Well, someone at NBC news did the math: less than 0.02 percent.

If this family is ever blessed with a daughter, what a princess she will be…imagine having 14 brothers to look after you!

The Unseen Perils of Social Media….

Most of us are aware of the well-documented dangers lurking online…from all manner of scams, fake news, identity fraud, even getting reeled in as a cat-fishing victim.

But we tend to discount our own role in the perils we face. Oftentimes, it’s not so much what we hear or see from others that gets us into trouble. Rather, it’s what we say or do in response.

How many of us have casually clicked the ‘like’ icon under a message without fully reading or absorbing a friend or coworker’s post, just to be supportive?  We all want to stay in the good graces of those in our online circle, right?

But therein lies an under appreciated peril.

Just ask former Venice High School football Coach John Peacock. He led the Indians to a state championship last season but stumbled into a racial controversy he says he never saw coming. It happened after he ‘liked’ a tweet posted by a VHS student commenting on the complexion of a rival coach, Curt Bradley of Braden River High.

That controversy was at least partially responsible for Peacock getting fired from his head coaching position last month.

The original tweet Peacock ‘liked’ showed a photo of a bottle of Nivea Sun Touch tanning spray. Below it was a rhetorical jab aimed by the student sender at Braden River’s Coach Bradley. It read: ”Is this what you use?”

Bradley took offense to Peacock’s ‘like’ of the post and in a letter later released to the public, called him out on his behavior.

“I had no clue he was multi racial” was Peacock’s response on WWSB’s web site.

Who knows how much thought went into that ‘click’ but the loss of one’s coaching position seems like an oversized price to pay if you believe Peacock’s pledge of ignorance.

Giving someone the ‘benefit of the doubt’ seems to have become a quaint concept these days, one fully purged from what passes for modern civility.

Then again, coaches are often frustrated by unforced errors on the field of play; it must sting all the more when that error is of one’s own making.

In another case, was it again an ‘unforced error’ that led to the dismissal of former New Orleans Saints cheerleader and Sarasota resident Bailey Davis, 22, from the NFL team’s squad after she posted a picture of herself on her instagram account dressed in what the Saints described as lingerie, something prohibited under team rules?

Posting on instagram is almost reflexive behavior for millennials like Bailey. But for the folks running the NFL? Well, not so much.

Davis told the Herald Tribune the outfit in question was not lingerie at all, but rather a one piece dance costume that covered more of her skin than the cheer leading uniforms she performed in on game days for the Saints.

That this controversy involves the NFL’s New Orleans franchise is mildly amusing, given the lack of modesty regularly displayed along the city’s most renowned thoroughfare, Bourbon Street, on any given day or night, or – as Bailey points out – by the cheerleaders’ own team sanctioned attire.

For her part, Bailey has filed a gender discrimination suit with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging discrimination on the part of the Saints for having different rules for male and female employees.

In any case, it can be a hard lesson to learn, but get used to it: the line between private and professional life online is about as ‘virtual’ as it gets.

But your transgressions? They will be all too real.

Presidential Faux Pas

No, not Trump this time, but rather French President Emmanuel Macron. At the end of his recent state visit to Australia, he turned to his host, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and thanked him and his ‘Delicious’ wife for their hospitality.

Sounds like he really did have a good time.

But in all seriousness, it’s a good thing it wasn’t Trump, otherwise we’d probably have to suffer through a second special counsel investigation.

Bad News for Climate Change Evangelists

I had to chuckle over the headline in the Herald Trib last week that read: “Next Hurricane Season a Puzzler.”

Yes, but predicting what the climate will be like 50 years from next Tuesday, well, that’s no mystery at all.

That’s because the models used to create these long-term forecasts are – we’re told – based on ‘settled’ science.

But as it turns out, sometimes ‘settled’ science turns out to be wrong.

The journal ‘Science,’ reports CO2 is much less impactful than anyone knew in terms of climate warming because there’s much more nitrogen than anyone knew, soaking it up, mitigating its impact. So the long term impact of global warming will be “much, much less.”

This of course will be dismissed by the global warming crowd as blasphemy despite its coming in a peer-reviewed article in a respected scientific publication.

Emotional Support Animal Blowback…

Ok, American Airlines has had enough. Service ‘goats’ will no longer be allowed on their planes. Or Peacocks. Or miniature horses. Or mongooses.

Good News?

But seriously, where does the line get drawn? As commentator Kat Timpf said on the Greg Gutfeld show recently, all pets are emotional support animals…otherwise why would we have them? It’s not like they help out with the housework.

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