Friday, January 29, 2010

A brief survey

Good day, gentlemen. This is a picture of a lingerie modeling studio named "Allure", located on Armenia Avenue, just north of Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa, Florida. The word allure means to attract or tempt by something flattering or desirable. So I'd just like to take a couple of minutes to find out exactly what aspects of this establishment you might find alluring to you. Please select any and all that apply. Thank you.
  • The meticulous landscaping.
  • The privacy fence that discreetly hides your vehicle from any passers by that don't look slightly to their left.
  • The architecture of the building itself that says "Now THAT is a what a whorehouse looks like!"
  • The neon sign in the window that says "OPEN".

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Things are tough all over

My friend Jessie and I came up with a brilliant concept for a restaurant. It will be called "Place" and will serve "Food". The menu will be one page, with the name of the restaurant ("Place") on the front and what we serve ("Food") on the back. "Food" will be whatever we feel like serving that day. One day it might be a delicious lobster bisque, the next it might be scrambled eggs with little pieces of hot dog. Some days it might just be a slice of pie or maybe some ketchup packets. You'll never know. You just tell your server, "The lady would like an order of Food and I'll have the Food also please" and wait and see what comes out of the kitchen. Reservations required (we'll only have about four tables and we'll only be open two nights a week) but no calling ahead to find out what's being served. Pay in advance (the price is $20 each, no matter what), no refunds. Welcome to "Place" and enjoy your "Food". No frills so it will be easy to run and so snotty and contemptuous as to be irresistible to the wealthy trend-chasing asshole crowd. I don't see how it can possibly fail.

I'm kind of living out that dream on a smaller scale with a game on Facebook called Café World. Like FarmVille (to which I am also addicted), it's a game that lets you set up and run a business (in this case, a café), advancing through levels while earning points in the form of coins that you can use to buy accessories and trinkets. The name of my restaurant is Food Place For Eat (it's like "Place", but it sounds more exotic, doesn't it?) and I serve whatever I want to virtual customers who line up to wolf it down. Today, I gave them turkey and stuffing, grilled halibut, and buttermilk pancakes. Tomorrow, they're getting pot roast, spaghetti & meatballs and pumpkin pie. One of the most fun features in Café World is that you can "hire" your friends to work for you; little avatars with their names on them, running around serving customers and cleaning tables. Until they come out with a game called Ho World, making your friends toil for you as serving wenches is about as satisfying an online gaming experience as there is.

My friend K recently started playing and the other night, she asked me for some assistance.

K: "How do I hire a new waiter? I just fired one and need a replacement."
ME: "Oh cool! Hire me!"
K: "The one I just fired was you."
ME: "What? Why?"
K: "It just wasn't working out."
ME: "That's bullshit!"
K: "I wasn't going to tell you. I knew you'd be upset."
ME: "I can't believe you would fire me!"
K: "Don't take it personally. It's just pretend business."
ME: "I am taking it personally because I have pretend bills to pay and I needed that pretend job!"
K: "Hey, these things happen. You'll land on your pretend feet."
ME: "I'll land on your pretend feet. I'll land all over them."
K: "That's not very nice and doesn't make any sense."
ME: "You are. And you don't."
K: " ... "
ME: "You know what? You're right. I will land on my feet. I have my own café already. And you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to hire you, fire everybody else and make you do all their work. Then when you can't handle it, I'm going to fire you! What do you think about that?"
K: "That sounds great. Good luck. But what's going to happen when you lose points because the quality of your service is so poor?"
ME: "It will be well worth it to pretend to teach you a lesson."

As I write this, an avatar with K's name on it is frantically trying...and failing keep up with hordes of hungry customers. My ranking is down about 60% and I couldn't be happier. That'll show her.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reaction > Situation

"This job would be great if it weren't for the...customers" - Randal Graves

That is a slightly edited quote from the Kevin Smith movie "Clerks" and while it's not 100% accurate (no, my job would still be a damn sight short of 'great' by anybody's definition), it's pretty damn close sometimes.
Like last night, for instance, when a customer used the word "unconscionable" to describe what most people would consider a relatively minor annoyance (a magnetic key card was somehow voided and had to be re-programmed, which, seriously, takes less than 15 seconds). The Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines that word as follows:
Pronunciation: \-ˈkän(t)-sh(ə-)nə-bəl\
Function: adjective
Date: 1565
1 : not guided or controlled by conscience :
2 a : excessive, unreasonable b : shockingly unfair or unjust

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention he punctuated his tirade by throwing the stupid key at me. Now, I have a short temper, very little patience and an excessively low level of tolerance for things that don't go right (ie: my way). In all likelihood, I would have been highly irritated if the roles were reversed. But "unconscionable"? And throwing things? At someone??
If you're using words that most people would use to describe something like the holocaust to express how you feel about an inconvenience that would be filed under "S" for "Shit Happens", you probably need to settle down a little. And if you're throwing things at people, you'd better be either under the age of five or a chimpanzee, lest you run into someone with even lower tolerance levels than me (like, say, someone like you, because they/you are out there) and they stomp a mudhole in your dumb ass.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I wonder if this is Randy White's new enterprise?

I found myself behind this vehicle yesterday:

At first glance, I thought I was behind a real estate agent with major delusions of grandeur ("Hi, Rich Jesus. Nice to meet you. My Father builds 'em, I sell 'em.") but then I read the tagline: "Christianity is not a call to poverty". I agree with that. While I don't like seeing televangelists living like rock stars, I don't think it's necessary for people who proclaim to follow the tenets of Christianity to sleep on a straw mat and eat out of a clay bowl either. I think it's okay to do nice things and have nice things.
So I went to the web site to check it out and I found a bizarre video that asks if it's okay for sleazy fictional characters Tony Montana, Gordon Gekko and Paris Hilton* to seek wealth, then why shouldn't Christians? The video is set to some cheesy song about pushing it to the limit that might have come from the training montage of some Karate Kid rip-off in the '80s. There was also a form to fill out to get more info, but I passed on that, figuring that only a truly special breed of idiot would say to themselves, "Hmm, even though none of those people are real*, they lived great lives and their stories all had happy endings. Why not me?" and I don't want to give my name, email address and phone number to anybody who would think that about me.

* = Don't even try to tell me Paris Hilton is a real person.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday morning: the late night aftermath

"Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. For the record, it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen." ---Conan O'Brien

Still, Dick Ebersol, Jeff Zucker and Jay Leno's mothers are dirty, dirty transvestites. Not the nice, harmless kind. The creepy, ugly kind.

Friday, January 22, 2010

So long, Coco

"The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" comes to an end tonight with the last show. It didn't last long enough to be considered an era, maybe just an er, which is short for error, which is what this whole mess was from start to finish.
By now everyone knows all the details and has decided whose side they're (or were) on, if any. Humor is subjective. If Conan O'Brien's humor doesn't make you laugh, nothing I say here is going to change your mind. And that's okay. Different strokes, etc. Just keep in mind that the NBC network didn't just take a dump on one guy, it took a dump on all the people that worked for him on his show as well as the people who enjoyed the show, most of whom are just entering their late 20s and early 30s, which is the demographic they were hoping to reach when they made the decision to replace Leno four years ago. And they did this with arguably their most treasured franchise of a show. Remember that little tidbit if there are other programs on that network you enjoy.
Anyway, it's all over now, even the shouting. Which is a shame, because much of the shouting was a whole lot of fun. Here are some highlights from the last couple of weeks. Enjoy!

Viva Conan!

NBC's Twitterrific new logo, The Failcock. Image by: Mitch Canter (@studionashvegas)

Today's special at The Bunker (Ybor City)

Lastly, if you're not a Conan O'Brien fan (and again, that's okay) and you just don't get the sense of outrage that some people (myself included, admittedly) feel about the situation, here's an excellent essay that explains why some people feel the way they do.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Survey says...

I participated in another one of those consumer surveys yesterday. I love earning easy money and it doesn't get much easier than sitting around in some hotel banquet room, drinking Diet Coke and giving your opinion. I haven't done one in a long time but I've done enough of them to recognize certain archetypes among the people who participate in these things.

  • The I've-Got-A-Better-Idea Guy: "This is fine...I guess somebody will buy it, I don't know...but it's crap. You know what you should do? You should come up with a portable radio that has AM, FM and ham capacity. Ham radio is going to be huge, once the novelty wears off and people finally realize the inherent limitations of the internet. You got your AM. You got your FM. And you got your ham. All on one handy portable device. Boom! Now you got something." Well, that's great, but today we're talking about chewable antacids. "Hey, I'm just offering my opinion. That's why I'm here."

  • Shy Ronnie: Your participation is crucial. We really want to hear what you have to say about this product. We need as much feedback as possible so try to give detailed responses to questions. Open up, discuss, and share your opinions. Now, we are taping this, so we can go back and study this session. So please, speak clearly and above all, please give us as much information as you possibly can. Does everyone understand? "Uh-huh."

  • The Life of the Party: "An antacid that's also a breath mint? Is somebody trying to tell me something? Hiyo!! This guy knows what I'm talking about! Am I right or am I right?"

  • Mr. Malleable: Of the two logos shown here, which do you like better? "Oh, definitely B" Why? "Huh?" Why do you prefer B to A? " Uhh..I...uhh...I like it...better." But why? "Uhh..'cause i like it more." But what is your reason? "Uhh...B has two stars on it and A has three stars" Yes. And? "That's too many...uhh..stars. Too many stars on the logo. I like two stars. Not three stars. I don't like to look at too many stars. I mean, three stars are okay. That's not all that many. It's not like having ten stars. Three stars are good. I like it. I like them both. I like A better."

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

I've mentioned this before, but one of the people I follow on Twitter is Andy Gray. He maintains the photo archive at Sports Illustrated and uses Twitter to post some amazing pictures. Today he posted this:

"I don't really know the context of this pic, but this is one scary jacked 10-year-old bodybuilder" -- Andy Gray

Every thought racing through your head right now, while possibly being factually correct, is wrong. In fact, this is like one of those puzzle pages in the Sunday paper where the idea is to find as many things wrong in the picture as possible. I'll start:

  • The size of that melon. If this were a normal 10-year-old's body, that kid would look like a Tootsie Pop. In spite of all the muscles, his head is still too big.
  • Acid washed jorts. That should count as two things.
  • The jorts are cut off, way too short. Make it three things. No, four.
  • The human anatomy poster on the wall would be a little creepy in any kid's room, but lots of kids are creepy at that age. The fact that this one is his own science experiment amps the creepiness up a few unnecessary notches.
  • The other poster, Schwarzenegger in Conan The Barbarian, is displayed without intentional irony.
  • You gotta believe the chess program on the computer is not there by accident. After all, we wouldn't want anybody getting the idea that this kid has any kind of unhealthy, age-inappropriate obsessions and that he's not like every other well-rounded 10-year-old with a wide variety of interests. Suuuuuure.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Money for nothing

Last week on one of my days off, I was sitting around bored. So I called a friend in the hopes that she would provide some sort of entertainment for me. "Well, I'm going to a workshop downtown. You can come along if you want", she said. "Sounds awesome. I'm in. What is it? Working? Shopping? I don't get it", I said. She told me it was a workshop put on by the Children's Board of Hillsborough County regarding the application process for Technical Assistance and Match Funds for not-for-profit organizations. Perfect! I own a business that's never come close to generating a profit. Sign me up!
It seems the Children's Board has a pool of about $350,000 that's intended to assist organizations build their capacity through strategic activities to strengthen their ability to operate effectively over the long term. There's plenty of info about it right here and if you're affiliated with a non-profit service provider, community based organization or governmental entity serving children (pre-natal to 18) and their families in Hillsborough County, you should definitely check into it. As far as the workshop I went to, I'm not real good at paying attention. So I didn't. And I guess I missed a couple of key points. Which is why when it was over and they asked if there were any questions, I raised my hand.
"So, when do we get our free money? Do we just line up or do you come around with it?"
"You said there's a pot of $350,000 and there's about 30 of us here. By my calculations, that's about $10,000 each with a little left over. I'm willing to take that just to make it a clean sweep."
"That is not how it works..."
"Okay, so we get it in the mail? That's disappointing but if that's how it works, I guess I'll have to wait."
"Sir, there's guidelines and an application process..."
"Right, right, right. Listen, I'm a results guy. Not really into the...process...thing, okay? That sounds like a whole deal and I'm not into it. So I'm going home, okay?"
"I think that would be best."
So I'm sitting here waiting for my money to show up. I don't know how that works since I didn't give them my name or address but they're affiliated with the government so they have that info somewhere on file and will figure it out. Once it gets here, that whole not-for-profit status will be a thing of the past.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I love a parade!

It seems like notable achievements in the advancement of civil rights have been kind of few and far between lately.
So I went to the annual Martin Luther King Day parade yesterday for some perspective and to celebrate the life and accomplishments of one America's greatest heroes. I took some pictures and here they are...

Every good parade is required to have certain key elements. A color guard...

Cops on motorcycles doing that synchronized, serpentine thing (I think motorcycle cops should ride that way all the time; it would make the apprehension of speeders much more entertaining)...

Floats (I think this one is sponsored by the Baby Crib Manufacturers Union)...

Royalty in convertibles...

And marching bands.

But it's not really a good parade until somebody has blue teeth.

Everybody knows the wings are the best part of the trout!

You know, if you're a white person, you really don't think about how many white people are around...until there aren't that many white people around.

Among the dignitaries present were Hillsborough County Commissioner (and my Facebook buddy) Kevin Beckner...

Tampa mayor (and my IKEA buddy who was featured in a certain documentary film) Pam Iorio...

Tampa Chief of Police Jane Castor...

County Commissioner Kevin White (booooo)...

And candidate for White's District 3 spot on the county commission Valerie Goddard (YAY!!)

Also, State representative candidate Janet Cruz's team of volunteers helped a lady who had apparently gotten lost on her way to the airport.

Best. Beads. EVER! EVER!!

I have no idea what Chris Chambers was doing there, but it was nice that he came by.

I have never caught anything in a crowd. Beads at parades, foul balls at baseball games, t-shirts, whatever...until yesterday. Somebody on a float threw these and I caught one. That's right: It's the world's smallest Tootsie Pop. Jealous?

Some sweet rides were on display.

Here's proof that all cultures appreciate the contributions made to our society by Dr. Martin Luther King. Even fish.

Seriously, great occasion, great celebration.

Monday, January 18, 2010

You have to read the WHOLE sign

All right! I'm starving! Yay! I'll take two slices, with sausage, mushrooms and green peppers. A Coke, plenty of ice please. And do you have garlic knots?

Oh. Darn.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What is the point of this gizmo?

I don't know why, but I just noticed the "OUTS TEMP" button on Jeeves' dashboard:
Pushing it tells me what the temperature is outside. That means that in my car somewhere, hidden within the springs and belts and pistons and pipes and oil and fluid, somebody stuck a thermometer and wired it to my dashboard. But why a thermometer? Why not a police whistle or a golf ball washer or a yo yo? Actually, I don't have the owner's manual, so those things might be in there too.
Anyway, I guess I'm glad I have it. I just don't know what purpose it really serves. Temperature doesn't really affect driving conditions, so it's not really a safety device. And unless it's either extremely hot or extremely cold out, it doesn't affect the car's performance, although it seems like you'd know that before you even get in. It seems like yet another unnecessary accessory. Maybe a conversation starter?

"How warm do you think it is outside?"
"No idea. 70°? 75°?"
"*BEEP!* Nope. Exactly 69°"
" amazing. Pull over. I want to get in the back seat with you and make out right now, right here on the side of the road."

Okay, I can see that. Never mind.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cut the crap, 2010!

I think it's safe to say that most people were really glad when 2009 ended. It was a long year (seemed like 300 something days) filled with calamity after tragedy after fucked-up situation. When it was finally over, people were more thankful than any time they had been since Thanksgiving, about six weeks prior. As a result, you, 2010, were given a very warm welcome. Everyone was very happy to see you show up. We toasted your arrival with champagne and wishes for nothing but success, certain that you would improve upon the multiple messes we were dealt by 2009. We were ready to love you before we even met you.
Well, so far, you're blowing it.
The cold weather everywhere had some novelty appeal for a while here in Florida, giving everyone something to talk about besides what our college football coaches are or aren't doing but now we're kind of tired of it. Tourists who come down here from Chicago and find out the climate is similar to that of Indianapolis are even less amused than the locals.
The earthquake in Haiti? H-U-U-U-GE mistake on your part. This is going to be a PR nightmare for you. While your assumption that you could sneak this in without anyone really noticing because nobody really cares about poor people is fundamentally correct in theory, you didn't take into account two very important factors:
  1. These poor people weren't Americans. While we don't always step up and actually do anything about poor people in foreign lands, we do notice them enough to shake our heads sadly at their plight and send our prettiest celebrities over for a chat.
  2. You basically killed almost all of them. This is already going to be easily one of the top five stories of the year and we're still in January. Too much, too soon.

And now today I wake up to discover Teddy Pendergrass died? Listen, celebrity deaths was 2009's little novelty act that wore out it's welcome. Between Ricardo Montalban, through Farrah Fawcett, Micheal Jackson, Walter Cronkite and Patrick Swayze to Brittany Murphy, we went from amused to amazed to kind of creeped out to tired of it. I really don't think you want to mine that territory any more.

So you're three weeks in and not off to a stellar start. That's the bad news. The good news is there's still plenty of time to rally. We're not ready to write you off...yet. But the honeymoon is most definitely over and you're going to have to come across with some make-up gifts. Here's a few suggestions:

  • A really good Super Bowl is a must. What used to be professional sports most boring championship game (in spite of being the biggest spectacle) has actually given us two really exciting games in a row. Typically, the Super Bowl used to be a huge blowout decided by halftime but after the Giants in 2008 and the Steelers in 2009 won exciting games that came down to the last few seconds the bar has been raised. You're going to have to give us a good game just to keep from going further into the red. Sorry. However, you can start earning plus points by giving us a really good World Series. It would be nice if you could give it to us before the month of November and the players have to wear those stupid hats with earflaps but we understand that's not your call (thanks a lot, television and greedy owners). So we'd appreciate a good World Series this year, preferably won by a team whose entire payroll is less than the salary of some team's lying, cheating, douchebag third baseman. There happens to be just such a team here in the Tampa Bay area. Just sayin'.
  • A win for Obama. In a way, you and Obama have a lot in common (see remarks regarding your arrival above). There are still quite a few people who don't regret voting for Barack Obama and haven't pitched everything they own that has the artwork of Shepard Fairey on it, but they've definitely taken some lumps lately. For their sake and Obama himself (and ultimately for the whole country, whether they want to admit it or not), you need to let the president have something go his way. Pass a bill. Appoint someone to something or other. Kick a terrorist off of Air Force One at 36,000 feet, snarling "get off my plane!". I don't know. Something.
  • Don't you think this whole cancer thing is kind of played out? I know I do. I'm sick and tired of hearing people I know having to use the word "biopsy". This might sound selfish, but at least on this one I'm trying to do my part to chip in and help.

So there's three pretty solid suggestions. Actually, if you just pull off that last one, you will be ranked among the greatest years of all time, just like 1927 (invention of the television!), 1962 (invention of Beatles!) and 1982 (invention of me not being a virgin!).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

America, I have your next superstar!

It's American Idol season again, a topic that has been covered here before and which I don't care to open for discussion again...ever.
But if you don't watch the show or you're just too impatient to wait and see who wins, take a minute to introduce yourself to the greatest entertainment sensation you've never heard of: MANNY!
Manny is a co-worker of mine and he is a veratile all-around showman. Manny sings (not in this video), does impressions (not in this video) and dances (in this video!). He also has a gift for spontaneously generating hilarious one-liners, some of which are featured in this video.
Enjoy this video of manny performing his brand new dance "The Manny" which all the cool kids at your local nightclub will be doing soon!

Also available on YouTube

Monday, January 11, 2010

So long, me beloved Aunty

My Aunt Joan (pictured here with my Uncle Bob) passed away Saturday night after being really, really sick for some time.
I don't specifically remember the last time we spoke, but odds are we were poking fun at something, and with a high likelihood that it was something stupid one of us had done or at least observed.
As far as a lasting last memory goes, I know that's awfully vague but it's good enough for me.

Aunt Joan wasn't keen on the idea of funerals so there isn't going to be one. However, if you like feel like making a donation to the COPD Foundation, an organization that develops and supports programs which improve the quality of life through research, education, early diagnosis, and enhanced therapy for persons whose lives are impacted by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, you can do so here.

As for me, I don't really feel up to being Funny Boy right now and I'm fully aware of what little value everyone finds in that notion, so I'm going to go off somewhere and submerge for a little while until I feel like putting on a silly hat again.

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Leavitt situation

The story about University of South Florida head football coach Jim Leavitt striking one of his players, Joel Miller, in the face has been out for about three weeks, and now it's starting to boil...everywhere except for USF.
The coach says one thing ("No I didn't") and the author of the story (Brett McMurphy) says another ("Oh yes you did"). I know both guys from having dealt with them in a professional capacity when I worked for the Sun Dome at USF and it's disappointing that their versions of what did or didn't happen are so diametrically opposite, leaving no gray area between. Because with nowhere in the middle for the truth to land, one of them is flat-out lying. And it makes me really sad to say that I think it's Leavitt. Right now, aside from the people who were there, nobody can say they know what happened, including me. But here are three things I do know:
  • Leavitt is extremely emotional. It's very easy to picture him losing control. People who attempt to defend his behavior in general and this incident in particular will try to compare it to the way drill instructors toughen up young Marine recruits, makin' men out of 'em or some such nonsense. Comparisons of sports to war grind my nerves anyway, but this comparison is especially galling. These people were either never in the military or were the worst Marines or soldiers ever and didn't last very long. Because otherwise they'd know that what drill instructors try to instill in their recruits above anything else is discipline, to not lose their cool under pressure. A football coach flipping out and smacking one of his players out of either frustration or an effort to motivate or a combination thereof is the exact opposite of that.
  • It's common knowledge that Leavitt and McMurphy are not each others biggest fans. When McMurphy covered USF for the Tampa Tribune, their relationship was prickly at best and usually downright contentious. If McMurphy saw this story as a chance to stick it to Leavitt, it's not unreasonable to believe he would enjoy doing just that. Although I highly doubt he'd ever be stupid enough to risk his career and reputation on either completely making up a story like this or relying on the accounts of less than reliable sources, which is what would have had to happen to vindicate Leavitt's version.
  • And then there's this quote (from the original story): "Before you say anything," said Leavitt, according to what Miller told others in USF's program and his father, "just know I am the most powerful man in this building." I can TOTALLY picture Leavitt saying that. Mostly because it's TOTALLY true. Yeah, he may report to athletic director Doug Woolard on paper, but Woolard is a paper-pushing figurehead, a suit sitting behind a desk in the building Leavitt's referring to in that quote, which wouldn't exist if not for Leavitt's success building the football program. To say he's Leavitt's boss is an unfunny joke. Put it this way: If Leavitt calls Woolard at 2AM, Woolard knows he'd better pick up. If Woolard calls Leavitt at 2AM, Woolard knows he'd better have a damn good reason.

So, based on the accusations and what little I know about the people involved, I believe coach Leavitt crossed an uncrossable line, for which he needs to be fired. No contract buyout, no leave of absence to undergo counselling, nothing like that. Fired. I might be wrong, and I kind of hope I am, but I don't think so. Coaches can't hit players. Professors can't hit students. People in positions of authority can't hit those under their supervision. Period. I know I'm not wrong about that.

At any rate, Woolard and university president Judy Genshaft need to deviate from the standard USF playbook of dragging their feet, keeping quiet and waiting around long enough for people to forget about it because that isn't going to happen. Instead, they should devote serious effort to resolving this quickly, cleanly and decisively. For a change. Because this is beyond a sports issue now; nothing less than the integrity and principles of the University of South Florida is at stake.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Walkin' in a winter wonderland

When it comes to people who don't live in Florida, there are two types: Those who don't believe it ever gets cold in Florida and Those who are willing to admit it might get chilly once in a while but don't come bitchin' to me about it until you're shovelling your way through an ass-high snow drift to find your mailbox, and in the meantime, good! Serves you right! Normally, I agree with both groups, at least to an extent. I've been here for over 20 years and my blood has yet to thin out. The handful of days when it's not like the bottom shelf of Satan's junior high gym locker outside keep me from going on murderous shooting sprees the 355 days a year when it is. When most of my neighbors say it's cold, I'm opening the windows in my apartment and lovin' life.
But right now, folks, it's cold. As I type this, my computer says it's 37 degrees outside. And I don't care where you live, when the temperature is two digits and the first one is a 3, that means you're within a stiff breeze of liquids turning solid which allows you to say It Is Cold. It's been this way for about four days and is supposed to continue for another week or so. This is the coldest, longest streak of such weather that I can remember since I've been here. So to document the occasion, I went out and took pictures of people in Tampa in their winter's finest (which
I've mentioned before that I don't know where people get, or keep, this stuff). Some, maybe even many, of you will laugh. That's okay. At any rate, here they are...

In poker, they say "Go big or go home". In parkas, they say "Go big and go home".

"Bah! I'm in Florida, I'm wearing shorts. This isn't cold! You want to see cold? Why, in Bloomington we had to blah blah blah yak yak yak (Sweet Mary Mother of God, get me indoors before my legs snap off at the ankles!)"

" ear! What happened to my ear? I had one, right here, on this side of my head! Jason, where's my ear?"
"Neither me nor my sweater vest are listening to you, Melissa!"

This has nothing to do with cold weather in Tampa; I just want to go on record as saying that I like how you ladies are rockin' the knee-high boots these days. Very, very nice!

When your hood is bigger than the rest of the jacket, you don't even notice how cold it is.

In August, everybody in the office laughed at Margaret for ordering a cold-weather Buccaneers jacket. Now they just laugh at her because it's a Buccaneers jacket.

Layers. Dressing for the cold is all about the layers. This is actually an 8-year-old child effectively utilizing layers, including facial hair, to stay warm.

If that ponytail were eight inches longer, she wouldn't even need the scarf.

Winter clothing doesn't have to cramp your sense of style. Isn't that right, star spangled, goofy lookin' socks wearin' jackass?

If you've bundled up so much that it's impossible for a stranger to determine your gender from a short distance away, you've done it right, ma'am...or sir.

Not all the Unabomber's ideas were crazy. Exhibit A: The Hoodie.

The other day a guy at work wanted to talk about the weather and football and said "You know who I feel sorry for? The football players who have to go out and play in these conditions. Oh man! That has got to be just brutal!". I said, "You know who I feel sorry for? The homeless." After he said, "Well, yeah", the conversation was over. I wasn't really trying to make any kind of profound statement; I just didn't want to talk to him about the weather or football. But still. That is brutal.

The ham-and-eggers who work outdoors can't let the weather keep them from doing what they do. Good old reliable denim ensemble for cutting cinder blocks...

...or good ol' reliable leather fetishwear for protesting the circus.