Wednesday
Jun062012

A little R.W. Apple from 1999

Today's instance of Nexis serendipity:

St. Petersburg flourished, once its railroad came, by luring white-collar refugees from the cruel winters and high taxes in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. It is one of those cities, like Des Moines, that were shaped by newspaper editors with a determination to lead. They, too, came from the Midwest: W. L. Straub, who stopped the industrialization of the waterfront, preserving it for tourism, and his successor at The St. Petersburg Times, Nelson Poynter, who campaigned hard for good government and civil rights.

The search by the way was "tampa bay" AND "final four." More R.W. Apple.

Wednesday
Jun062012

Difference between Tampa and St. Pete

"I think Tampa does have a we-gotta-have-it syndrome," Ed Turanchik told me this morning when we met for breakfast at the First Watch on Henderson. "And St. Pete's got a we-want-it-too."

Wednesday
Jun062012

Just one question for Chris Jones

I just loved his column in the current mag:

Some secrets are really hard to keep. I asked the National Hockey League if I could have the Stanley Cup for a day; the league said yes, so long as I didn't tell anybody. You have to understand: I live in a small Canadian town called Port Hope ...

So I asked him. Where'd you get the idea to ask the NHL if you could spend a day with the Stanley Cup? And he said:

Back when I worked at the National Post in Toronto, the NHL gave one of our writers the Stanley Cup for a day. This was in 1998, 1999, somewhere around there. The writer was a friend of mine, Dave Feschuk, and he did a great job with the story. I can remember it very clearly. Because I'm a small man, I can also remember how jealous I was that he got to do it. So, now that I'm writing the back page for ESPN The Magazine, I thought, What the hell? I got in touch with Nirva Milord at the NHL, mentioned the old National Post story (helpful precedent!), and asked whether we might do the same thing. She called me up, we talked about the Cup and the idea, and she agreed that I could do it, so long as it remained a surprise—I couldn't tell people the Cup was coming. So that's what we ended up doing, just going around town and surprising people with the Cup. It was just an awesome day, a purely joyous day.

Anyway, I guess that column was 13 or 14 years in the making. It had always just stuck in my head as something I'd like to do sometime. And honestly, it just kind of affirmed my belief in asking the question, however ridiculous it might be. You might look like an idiot—and I prefaced my opening email to Nirva with something like, "This might make me sound like an idiot..."—but you never know when someone might say yes. When I was sitting there with the Cup on my step, I felt like the geek who'd asked the hottest girl in school to the prom, and suddenly there she was, right there in front of me. For the rest of my life, I'll be able to say that there was a moment when I was the happiest man in the world.

Wednesday
Jun062012

Three things I learned today

1. Dan Ruth used to be the editor of a Tampa Tribune-produced "alternate lifestyle magazine" called the Big Guava.

2. When he was 16, former Tampa mayor Dick Greco shot skeet at MacDill with Paul Tibbets, who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Greco told me this today while eating fried oysters at the Colonnade on Bayshore.

3. ExxonMobil makes $966 a second.

Tuesday
Jun052012

May #GrantlandStats

Including what each student at Rutgers ends up having to pay per year on average to support sports and the number of full professors that could be hired with that pool of money. Also, Yu Darvish, Charlie Weis and a 223-foot yacht called Kismet. Click.

Tuesday
Jun052012

'Accounted for'

Monday in the Tampa Bay Times:

TAMPA

The other day in a classroom at Pepin Academies, a charter school on Hillsborough Avenue for students with learning-related disabilities, senior Adam Riddley of Brandon stared at a form on his desk called the Transition Information Survey. What were his plans after graduation? What were his career goals? Where did he hope to be living in a year? In five years? In 10? Riddley, 18, who has Asperger's syndrome, which is a form of autism, picked up his pencil.

This might seem like a perfunctory exercise. It's not.

Tuesday in my inbox: It has been a long process that I am still fighting. Do you have any other suggestions to help my son? His maturity level is about 11 or 12 and he is almost 20 years old.

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