I have bidness in Ybor City at least a couple times a week.
On my way back downtown, I usually take the back roads. You can see some crazy stuff on the streets surrounding Seventh Avenue.
Nice houses. Pretty standard stuff for Ybor.
Wait, what's in the window next to the door?
Words. There are none.
Salad Boy went back to school today. It's 10th grade, which is not so nerve-wracking as 9th grade, but enough to make you anxious and unable to catch a full breath.
When we went to orientation last week, it was apparent how much the summer had changed him. Friends and classmates gawked at his height. Girls squealed and pointed and giggled. Teachers marveled at the growth spurt. It was good to see the surprise we experienced at home all summer manifest in other people's expressions.
Last night, I asked if he had everything ready to go. He insisted that he did.
"I packed my gum and my earbuds..."
Not exactly what I was hoping my young student would say.
Which brings us to this morning.
There he is with his friends Domenick and Shaun. They're about to head to the bus stop down the street.
Would you believe the kid on the left got up at 4:45 a.m.?
Would you believe he ran a mile on the treadmill before breakfast?
Yeah. Summer changed the boy alright.
I insist on taking these photos every year. Mostly because I cannot believe how fast they fly by. And, on cue, he insists every year that he's barely tolerating our tradition.
This was last year's:
That was his friend, Gabe.
That was the first year of the Dark Walk To The Bus Stop.
It was less hospitable for photo taking, but I managed.
Improvise, adapt, overcome.
He wanted that photo shot before his friends Ketchie and Derek walked up.
That year, he walked with Robbie to the bus stop.
And so on.
Next year? He'll probably be driving then.
And I'll be fainting on the front lawn.
When I agreed to judge a beer pouring contest the other night, this wasn't exactly what I expected.
Ow. I think I bent my wookie.
The new promo for the second season of HBO's "Eastbound & Down" is out.
I loved that show to begin with. Now it just went into overdrive.
Could. Not. Get. The. Song. Outta my head.
Then I saw a rebroadcast of Letterman a few days ago.
Now I can't get this song out of my head.
Clearly I'm dealing with some latent hip-hop issues.
Four years ago, colleague Walt Belcher decided to make peanut butter and banana waffles to celebrate the birthday of Elvis Presley.
On Monday, the 33rd anniversary of The King's passing, he decided it was time to mark the man's day of passing.
Only the wafflemaker didn't cooperate.
Then it didn't cooperate on Tuesday.
The King would have been proud.
Here's a gallery of photos from our delayed celebration:
The King Project (Flickr)
Chocolate Elvis cupcakes at The Cupcake Spot (Photo)
25 slave princesses and The King (Photo)
Celebrating Elvis Week with Gary Elvis. (Link)
Went to see the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Texas Rangers on Monday night.
Pretty exciting game. The Rays' ace David Price dueled well against the Rangers' Cliff Lee. An explosive 8th inning by the Rays won the contest for them.
Not all of the 18,000+ on hand to watch the game were so enthralled.
Dude, you're reading a magazine at a ballgame? Rilly?
Oh. The Mel Gibson story. That explains everything.
Because, you know, a night at the ballpark watching two of the best teams in the game, one of which is playing with a tie for first place on the line, is nothing compared to the excitement of reading about a celebrity lunatic.
We don't need another Q-tip.
How did Brad hook up with Angelina?
BY NOT BEING A GUY WHO READS "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE AT BALLGAMES!
Saw this on Gandy Boulevard on the way to the Tampa Bay Rays game last night.
They're on safari to stay.
You can pick your license plates...
Motorcycle blogging. At 80 mph.
Now with no Satan!
Graaaaaaaasssssss roof. Rusted!
Gather ye rosebud tattoos while ye may.
Eye Would Drive 4 U
Asphincter says what?
Brush it off.
Get me a truck and make it snappy.
Color me bemused.
Custom mods are cool.
It's great to be a Florida Gator. We think.
The ball cops are here. They have a warrant.
We've got wood.
Timing is everything.
Haten and hogs.
Jimi Hendrix Edition.
Sit on it and rotate.
I'm your private antenna dancer.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Welcome to Springfield.
Orange you glad you're not this guy?
Everything's better when it sits on a Ritz.
Porn as a windowshade.
Jonathan Livingston Redneck.
Buc off, pal.
Such a dirty mess.
How cheep can you be?
I'm super! Thanks for asking.
Would you like an apple pie with that?
Hearse so good.
Drive fast, take chances.
Riding with Fab the deejay.
Beware of the Death Explorer.
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right.
My other car is a rocket-propelled grenade.
Live long and prosper. In an Altima.
Just two good ol' boys.
Nicotine is my crash helmet.
Jazz hands moms.
Ugly lug nuts.
My honor student can kick your ass.
Horse and buddy.
Following last week's S'moregasm, I had leftover Publix-brand marshmallows on my desk.
Something about the marshmallow man on the cover caught the eye of my co-worker Ryan.
He noticed a slight similarity to a Batman villain.
Well, hello, beautiful.
We have a give-away table at the office where we put swag that is sent to us in promotional packages. Books, CDs, DVDs. Outdated stuff no one will ever use again. Absorbant towels that will never be used to absorb. That sort of thing. I put a lot of cookbooks and other food items I receive. We get so much that we either sell the items a couple times a year in a giant charity silent auction or just give them away.
Occasionally someone will bring in things from home that they don't want and give folks at work a chance to take them if they want. The other day, someone brought in a giant pile of comic books.
Journalists who love comic books.
It's like the Giza pyramid of geek.
In that pile was a batch of DC Comics' Who's Who issues. I had never seen them before - I was a comic geek as a kid, but nothing of this magnitude. The Who's Who books were like a high school yearbook for the various stars in the DC galaxy. Batman. Superman. The Green Lantern. That sort of thing.
But to fill that galaxy out a bit, the company included some, how shall we say, lesser stars. Ones that come across either as inside jokes or characters drawn because they couldn't think of anything else.
Looks like Danny DeVito on 'roids.
Who exactly is Little Cheese - The Micro-Mouse?
Follywood? FOLLYWOOD???? Is that the best they could do?
His back story is even more convoluted.
Ah, the dreaded green moon cheese.
I love the idea of The Inferior Five.
Wikipedia explains them thusly:
The Inferior Five (or I5) are a parody superhero team that premiered in the DC Comics title Showcase #62 (1966). Created by E. Nelson Bridwell (writer) and Joe Orlando and Mike Esposito (artists), the group was intended as a parody not only of the Fantastic Four, but of all the superhero teams whose members had such great powers that they could have solved any of the crimes put before them singlehandedly. The Five had to work as a team; none of them could have fought crime on their own.
My favorite character from I5? No contest really.
Comic Vine fills in his gaps [all spelling is theirs] :
Awkwardman is super strong, but he is so clumbsy ha almost never has time to use that strength.
Awkwardman is the son of Mister Might and Mermaid. He inherited his dad's strength and his mother's sea powers, including the necessity of getting wet from time to time. He ia also incredibly clumsy, hence the name Awkwardman. He is a reluctant member of the team known as the Inferior Five. He would far rather be on a beach somewhere as opposed to acting like a super hero.
Awkwardman is super strong and can live underwater.
Lord only knows why I identify with him.
Good thing this is a pinata.
I've never wanted to hit something so much in my life.
When you write about food, you sometimes have to bring the mountain to mohammad. So when events like National Pancake Day happen, it is incumbent upon me to bring the party to my desk at work by making pancakes and bacon for co-workers.
Which explains the photo of my colleague Pete above.
Pete is a kind, gentle, soft-spoken man. Very easy to work with. A pleasure to consider a co-worker. Over the years, we have broken bread over conversations about football and NASCAR and offspring.
But you assemble the makings for some indoor s'mores (as I did on Monday on the file cabinets next to my desk) and hidden personality traits begin to emerge from people like Pete. Sometimes it's an inner child. Sometimes it's an inner pyro. For Pete, there was a death metal headbanger eager to emerge.
Unlike previous deskside celebrations, there was no newsroom-wide come-and-get-it invitation.
I merely assembled the ingredients and let nature take its course.
The results, I must say, were predictably spectacular.
Instead of a great tidal wave of humanity descending like locusts or sharks or overused metaphors on the foodstuffs, there was a much more casual partaking of the gooey treats.
I tried not to read anything into what each creation looked like. I avoided the temptation of turning s'mores into rorschach tests. But it was inevitable.
Luckily, they indicated no irreversable mental illness.
Other than my own, of course.
I felt the need to pimp my s'more, with the help of a few Nutty Bars.
Seeking cover from peer scorn, I solicited help from Mary, our health reporter.
She proved to be a talented s'more pimper.
I mean, you can't just melt one at a time. Not when big plans are afoot.
One layer became two. Two became three. Before we knew it...
...a Frankens'more had been born.
Hell yes, I took a bite.
One bite seemed like a guy who sticks a toe into the water on the day everyone does the Polar Bear Plunge into the Arctic Ocean. Two bites was more of a swan dive.
One word: S'moregasm.
"That," I proudly declared, "is the opposite of dignity."
"Unfortunately," my colleague Curtis said, "it's not the opposite of angioplasty."
For an entire gallery of National S'more Day photos, check out this gallery:
Word is that Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks will announce his retirement.
Which, of course, reminds me of my favorite United Way commercial of all time:
Man, this makes me miss our old Fourth of July celebrations in the neighborhood.
That being said... NEW YEARS 2011, BABY!
If I had to come back as a digitally created rodent belonging to the subfamily Cricetinae, I think I'd choose to be a laid-back, doped-up, pea coat-wearing drummer pimping box-shaped motorized transportation through a cunning use of old-school hip-hop rap.
Not that I've given it all that much thought, really.