Off Key

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By Bob Frederickson

From Low Speed Pursuits to Circular Logic


I got a chuckle out of the news report that the Downtown Improvement District has provided the Sarasota Police Department with a $9,000 grant to buy golf carts to help patrol certain areas of the city.

Remember the breathless concern a few years back over police departments becoming overly militarized with Department of Defense hand-me-downs?

Well, it now seems the pendulum has finally swung fully the other way as efforts to neuter the police have reached the point where a perp might now conceivably outrun a police pursuit…on foot!

Florida’s Loss is this Family’s Gain

How often have you returned from a vacation with more cash in your pocket than when you left? Never, right? …unless you happen to be a professional gambler returning from a ‘working’ vacation in Vegas.

But that wasn’t the itinerary for the Bloom family of New York; instead the family of three headed out recently for what they thought would be a quick weekend vacation in the Sunshine State.

But then they got bumped from their Friday morning Delta flight out of LaGuardia Airport in New York. That earned each member of the family $1300, plus $45 for lunch and $50 for taxi fare, for a total of $3995. Then as luck would have it, they were bumped again the following day (Saturday) for another four grand pay off. By Sunday, bad weather across the nation had backed up flights so severely that they were offered $1000 each to give up their seats…adding another three grand to their total.

The Bloom family never did make it to Florida, but on the plus side, they returned home $11,000 to the good.

Bumper Sticker of the Day…

Breaking News: “I Don’t Care…”

Euphemism of the Day…

The Pentagon described a friendly fire incident that struck allied rebel forces near Raqqua, Syria as a “Misdirected Coalition Airstrike,”

Translation: We screwed up…

Quote of the day…

“This is not how poodles behave…”

-Piers Morgan on Donald Trump’s recent dust-up with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

My Personal, Nitpicking Rant of the Day…

Ultima Morgan of the law firm Morgan and Morgan is showcased in a current television ad for the firm in which she speaks the following line:

Talking the talk means walking the walk.”

Okay, here comes the rant…

She – like many others – gets the saying wrong.

As Siesta Key resident and noted language observer (and fellow Syracuse University alum I might add) J. Robert Parkinson notes in a recent Herald Tribune column, the current incorrect phrasing dates back to someone misquoting the 2003 book “Walk the Talk,” a phrase that actually means something, i.e. backing up something that’s been said.

But “walk the walk?”

What ‘walk’ would that be? Ambling along some sidewalk? Purposefully striding like John Travolta in the opening scene of Saturday Night Fever? High stepping through Grosvenor Square like John Cleese in his Ministry of Silly Walks bit for Monty Python’s Flying Circus?

Yes, we all know what Ultima ultimately meant. But there are still a few areas of human endeavor where precision in language is important, and I would suggest that people looking to hire a lawyer might consider the field of law to be one of those.

In Memory of…Peace Love and Understanding?”

It was a curious sight: Donna Betts – wife of renowned Allman Brothers Band co-founder Dickey Betts – smiling and flashing a peace sign for the TV cameras during her first court appearance to face charges of 18 counts of aggravated assault for allegedly brandishing a rifle as Sarasota Crew members gathered for rowing practice on property adjacent to the Betts home on Little Sarasota Bay.

Perhaps the script would have read better had the peace sign been flashed earlier in the narrative, replacing the rifle that was allegedly turned in the direction of team coaches before being tossed into the bay.

If not for his fame with the Brothers, Dickey Betts might have left his mark in Nashville as a singer/songwriter, given his considerable talents in the musical genre that defines that city, as illustrated by his country influenced Allman Brothers hit Ramblin’ Man.

It can only be hoped this episode will be resolved in similar fashion to the formula that drives so many popular and successful country tunes: with a final verse that resolves loss, longing or other human failings with recognition, grace, remedy and in the end redemption.

Daily Affirmation…

A photo and short AP story caught our eye recently. It shows and describes a young girl walking along Clearwater beach hand-in-hand with a police officer. It turns out the girl was lost and had asked another family for help in finding her own. So that family called the police and officer Rich Edmonds responded. After the young girl refused to get into his patrol car to start the search, he took her by the hand and walked with her along Clearwater Beach until she was finally reunited with her family.

With so many stories about bad behavior from officers that get page one treatment under 48 point boldface headlines, it’s worth remembering that the vast majority of officers perform their jobs with the kind of understated professionalism exhibited by officer Edmonson with little need or expectation of recognition.

If You Build it They Will Crash…

Can you imagine a massive multilane roundabout at the intersection of busy US-41 and Fruitville Road as now under consideration by various government and transportation officials? If so, you’re imagination is better than mine.

Siesta Sand
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