Off Key

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By Bob Frederickson

From A Workout that Rocks to Tom Petty Props…

Think Your Workout Rocks? Don’t Read This!
If you’re thinking you’re all that and more with your totally awesome fitness regimen, consider Herschel Walker’s daily routine. To start the day the Heisman Trophy winning running back and former Dallas Cowboys star completes 1500 push-ups. Then he follows that up with 2000-3000 sit-ups. Every Day. And please note, that’s today, at 56 years of age, 20+ years removed from his prime.

Goodwill Hunting…
Mimi Williams, a Goodwill Manasota employee here in Sarasota, was sorting through donation boxes one recent day when she came across a box containing $12,000 in cash. Living up to the ‘goodwill’ name Williams immediately informed her supervisors who traced the donation back to a law firm representing a deceased client. The money was returned to the law firm, which in turn promptly returned it to the client’s family.

More Goodwill News…
12-year-old little leaguer Christopher Lisi lost his prized baseball glove 40 years ago in Ohio. He took it hard as any 12 year-old would, but his mom had written his name prominently in block letters with a sharpie along the side, so surely it would turn up sooner or later… Well, it did…much later. While shopping at a Goodwill store on Florida’s east coast recently Christopher’s mom saw something that looked familiar. It was the glove! No worse for wear, forty years later, and over a thousand miles down the road from where it had been lost, her son’s name still clearly visible on the side. She paid the $1.98 asking price and took the long lost treasure back home, along with a great story to tell around the Thanksgiving table.

Trump’s 2020 Democratic Dream Ticket?
Cory Booker’s self-absorbed “I Am Spartacus” moment at the Senate confirmation hearing for prospective Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh fell flat when it was revealed the documents he was prepared to release publicly “at great personal risk” to his senate career had…well…already been released.
But here’s the gift Booker’s “Spartacus” moment will keep on giving if he manages to win the Democratic nomination to run as the party’s presidential candidate in 2020: Just consider the fun Trump will have with Booker’s self-aggrandizing comment. And for double the fun, consider the added delight if Booker chooses Senator Elizabeth Warren – whom Trump likes to call Pocahontas – as his running mate. That’s right, a Spartacus/Pocahontas ticket for Trump to lampoon. And believe me, he will…
And beyond the entertainment value for adults, the kids might just learn some history as they ask their parents and teachers just whom the heck the president is talking about.

Paris Urinals have Residents Peeved
Even some of the usually laissez faire French are taken aback by the latest addition to the sidewalks of the City of Light: public, open air urinals. That’s right, the ‘relief stations’ can now be found interspersed among the cafes, bakeries and shops the city is famous for.
Hearing this story reminds me of a Sarasota woman’s utter frustration with the homeless problem downtown as expressed by her comments at a public hearing several years back. She apparently lived in one of the city’s tonier hi-rises, based on her mention of her tax bill. To paraphrase, her words went something like this: “I’m paying almost $20,000 a year in property taxes, and what do I get when I look out my window to the street below? Homeless people peeing on the sidewalk!”

Not a happy camper…
Well, Paris may be showing the way! Perhaps Sarasota’s Sustainability Manager should look into this: public, open air urinals strategically placed on sidewalks throughout the city, starting out near city hall and the Selby Library, which former Herald Tribune art critic Joan Altabe may have once described as a cross between a wedding cake and a toilet seat (not really…). C’est magnifique! Of course this will likely involve several trips to France to research the idea first hand.
Due diligence and all that.

“Doing Unto Others…”
A Siesta property owner who said he is an Airbnb host addressed county commissioners on September 13th, asking the board to relax long standing restrictions on vacation rentals of less than 30 days, even pushing for one week or preferably one day rentals, according to one media report.
Relax? If the county was any more relaxed on that score it would be comatose…with nary a fine assessed in years while the town of Longboat Key has assessed more than 50 since just this past June (see story in last month’s Siesta Sand’.)
One has to wonder just how he would like it if a home next door to his – meaning the one he actually lives in, not the one or ‘ones’ he purchased to generate income – was rented out by the day or week, with the attending issues of noise, traffic and trash left out on the curb day after day.

“Oh, you meant those Records…”
“I do not conduct city business with my personal cell phone, therefore I have no records to produce…”
–City Manager Tom Barwin in an Oct. 31, 2013, email to the city attorney and city clerk.
Well, as it turns out, at least 500 e-mails dealing with city business – with perhaps quite a few more to come – were in fact discovered on Barwin’s personal email account last month in response to a public records request from city hall gadfly and former city commission candidate Martin Hyde.
The upshot?…well yet another needless lawsuit the city will most certainly lose, sticking taxpayers with the bill.

A Hurricane of Misinformation
A question for all the pseudo scientist talking heads out there bleating about the recent spate of hurricanes being proof of manmade climate change: if your theory is valid, why then has the number of hurricanes hitting the U.S. over the past three decades been trending down?
There were 31 such storms impacting the U.S. in the 1990s, 25 in the 2000s and 15 so far in the 2010s with just one year to go.

So what you’re saying is…?
A Little Love from Athens, GA to Gainesville, FL?
No, not on the gridiron, but rather at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre on a recent weekend when the Athens based jam band Widespread Panic performed a spot-on tribute to Tom Petty – born and raised 75 miles or so due west of the venue – with a pitch-perfect cover of the Florida Rocker’s “You Wreck Me.” It was a classy show of respect from a good-hearted bunch of Georgia boys for a homegrown Florida original. If you’re a Petty or Panic fan interested in seeing the clip, it can be seen at

Siesta Sand
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