Off Key! – November, 2020

By Bob Frederickson

From cell phone blues to coming attractions…

Student’s Day Goes Down the Drain…

Losing your cell phone is high on any list of things guaranteed to ruin your day. But however bad it is for you as an adult, it’s at least ten times worse for a teenager…the social equivalent of being sent to Siberia without a sweater. So, when a Pasco County teen dropped his phone through a storm drain grate a few days ago on his way home from school, he of course did what any not-so-clear thinking teen would: he lifted up a nearby manhole cover and started to climb down into the drain to retrieve the mystical, magical device, prized as highly by today’s youth as the Golden Fleece was by Jason and the Argonauts. 

But then the young man’s day proceeded to get exponentially worse. 

As luck would have it, he got stuck. And with his phone – tantalizingly close, yet just out of reach – he was unable to call for help by his generation’s preferred mode of communication: text messaging. He did however eventually revert back to the traditional form of human communication that has served us well as a species since the dawn of time: screaming. And whadya know? It worked! Eventually someone heard his cries for help. The fire department was dispatched, and the boy was promptly extricated from his predicament after less than an hour spent ‘down the drain.’ 

Oh, and his rescuers were able to rescue his phone as well, so in short order the entire epic was likely posted on Facebook or Instagram.

Can this Day Get Any Better?

I’m sure you’ve heard or seen one of the many anxiety relief ads that have been popping up lately. One particularly entertaining appeal from a local hypnotist I heard on the radio the other morning started my day off with a welcome chuckle. 

It began with this probing question: “Do you have unwanted anxiety?”  

Which made me think: wouldn’t it pretty much follow that if I were suffering from anxiety, it would be unwanted? I mean, who wakes up and thinks ‘Gee, what a beautiful day. I wish I had a little anxiety to go with it…

Manatee Man’s Ballot ‘Initiative’ Backfires 

Larry Wiggins, 62, had concerns about voter fraud impacting the upcoming general election; he was especially concerned about duplicate or invalid mail-in ballots being filled out and skewing results. So, when he received an application for a mail-in ballot from a third party group addressed to his deceased wife, he allegedly decided to fill it out, sign it and send it in to the Manatee County Election Supervisor’s office…just to ‘test’ the system. 

Well guess what? The system passed the test! So well in fact that instead of receiving an illegitimate ballot by return mail; he got a knock on the door from a couple of Manatee County Sheriff deputies who arrested him for voter fraud, a third-degree felony.

The final irony here? If convicted on that charge, Wiggins won’t have to worry about voting for a while, at least not until he completes the terms of whatever sentence is imposed.  

Remember the NBA?

Me neither.

Somebody mentioned they think they moved to China.

Measure Twice, Build Once? 

We told you back in May how homeowners Kirk and April Tcherneshoff were shocked when they took possession of their new home in the Rosedale subdivision only to find that another even newer home had gone up on an adjoining lot, and it was startling close to their own.

Instead of the required 12-feet separating the two homes, the builder, Ashton Woods, had substantially completed the newer home just 7-1/2 feet from their own.

Ashton Woods had requested a hearing with Manatee County to ask for a variance, but we are pleased to report the builder has decided to forego that plan and simply tear the non-complying home down and start over, which of course is the neighborly thing to do, and a big relief for the Tcherneshoffs.

Hats off to Ashton Woods.

A Preview of Coming Attractions?

The Vice Presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris was shown throughout the world, including China. Well, not all of the debate was shown in China. Right before Mike Pence said China was responsible for the Covid-19 virus that has killed 220,000 Americans, a splash screen appeared saying “we are experiencing technical issues.”

Those technical issues were remarkably resolved at the precise moment Pence completed his thought and Harris began speaking.