Off Key

| September 1, 2017

By Bob Frederickson

A Day of Celebration for Snooty!

September 10th will be a day long celebration of all things Snooty as the South Florida Museum in Bradenton remembers the life and times of its number one Cash-Cow...err, make that Sea-Cow, Snooty the manatee who died shortly after celebrating his 69th birthday last month. Depending on your point of view, that death was either the result of a terrible accident or a heinous conspiracy worthy of a full-fledged FBI investigation.

Who’d-a-thunk it? The gentle giant Snooty at the center of a controversy sparking worldwide media attention, with front page headlines locally and protests by the group Florida Justice for Animals outside the museum where one of the organizers, Denise Anderson, told a local reporter “We want justice for Snooty and we want it now!”

One tongue-in-cheek theory bandied about a local media outlet’s water cooler holds that the two younger manatees that shared the spotlight with Snooty finally got fed up with all the attention lavished on the ‘Star’ attraction; so they exacted their revenge in the dead of night after yet another over-the-top birthday celebration for the ‘anointed one’ by goading the big oaf (their words, not ours) into the narrow tunnel that proved his undoing.

Famous Last Words…

Former Herald Tribune reporter Craig Pittman, now a columnist for the Tampa Bay Times, was at the Gulf Gate Library recently signing copies of his latest book, “Oh Florida,” a collection of essays and stories highlighting…how shall we say this…the uniqueness of our beloved state. One of his anecdotes recounts the story of Giuseppe Zangara who was convicted of murder and attempted murder in the aftermath of his failed attempt to assassinate Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Miami Beach in 1933. (His shot missed the mark, killing the mayor of Chicago instead).

Zangara’s last words while strapped to the electric chair?

Push the button.”

Low-Tech Child Safety Reminder

After another summer of tragic deaths involving children left in the back seats of cars baking under blazing summer skies, NBC news ran a segment recently on a company that thinks it has the perfect high-tech solution. David Bink of IEE Sensing described the company’s new VitaSense technology, saying: “It uses a very sophisticated electronic sensor on the ceiling of a vehicle that detects a sleeping child anywhere in the back seat.”

(Kind of the way parents used to before their attention came to be pulled in a million different direction by all the ‘smart-technology’ devices designed to ‘simplify’ their hectic lives…).

Flashers are activated and the horn sounds if the VitaSense system senses a child within the car after a short interval with the car off and in park. A push notification is also sent to the driver's cell phone.

Pretty ginchy, no?

But we kind of like the low-tech solution long-time WWSB weather caster Wendy Ross suggested on-air recently. She said her daughter and son-in-law simply take off their left shoe and place it in the back seat whenever they buckle their little one in.

Makes sense to me. And it would seem to be a virtually fail-safe solution except perhaps for the most absent-minded among us; and even those misguided ‘souls’ (pun intended, of course) would likely be rescued by a curious bystander or co-worker upon seeing them trudging along equipped with but one shoe.

Too bad you can’t patent common sense…

Coming Soon to a Hospital Near You?

In what CNN calls a worldwide first, a Canadian newborn was assigned a sex not of ‘M’ or ‘F’ but ‘U’ for ‘Unspecified’ on the requisite birth certificate.

The child was born to a transgender parent who reportedly explained: “I am not going to foreclose (choices) based on an arbitrary assignment of gender at birth based on an inspection of genitals…”

Arbitrary?

All I can say is…good luck kid.

Punta Gorda Airport Soars while SRQ…Rolls out New Ad Campaign?

Punta Gorda Airport’s air traffic continues to climb, having now risen for 45 consecutive months. In July 116,000 passengers used the facility. Meanwhile, SRQ barely topped the 80,000 mark for June, the last month for which passenger counts were available when we went to press.

Which might explain the new ad campaign SRQ launched recently, featuring the tag line, “You’ll Fly Through Here…”

Well, apparently not.

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Category: Columns

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