Off Key! From missing the turn to investment returns

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By Robert Frederickson

Roundabout Blues

Detours come with the territory in these parts. But the latest local example spawned by the construction of an $8.6 million roundabout project at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue in downtown Sarasota has challenged the patience of even the most battle-hardened local road warriors. Looking more like a Rube Goldberg cartoon than a serious exercise in sound traffic management, the detour takes southbound U.S. 41 traffic on an island-hopping adventure across the John Ringling Bridge to Bird Key and – initially at least – all the way to St. Armands Circle and Lido Key.

Thankfully, in a rare burst of common sense, FDOT modified the traffic flow to allow a U-turn at Bird Key to re-route southbound traffic back to the mainland.

 So, a two-minute left-turn signal has grown faster than the Federal budget into delays of anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour or more depending on the time of day.

But not to worry. The roundabout project is scheduled to wrap up in the fall of 2022, a mere 12 months down the road.

Unsolicited advice of the day

If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is probably not for you.

Truth in advertising?

We’ve all seen those tongue-in-cheek signs in bars and certain casual chain restaurants that bear a message along the lines of “Warm Beer. Lousy Service.”

Now, in something of a twist, the U.S. Postal Service has seemingly adopted a similar credo, but without the tongue-in-cheek part.

The price of a first class “forever” stamp recently increased 6.8 percent to 58 cents. In return, it announced it will take longer – up to a day or more – for your first-class letter or package to be delivered.

And therein lies a cautionary tale as to the downside of permanent bureaucracies.

Of course, the USPS doesn’t need to advertise, but you can guess what its message would be if they did: “Pay More! Get Less!”

Finished? Coach Jon Gruden now officially a ‘non-person’

A fair portion of you dear readers are – like me – Tampa Bay Bucs fans. So, like you I was dismayed by the details of former Bucs’ coach Jon Gruden’s recent fall from grace for what most if not all observers agree were racist comments made in emails he assumed would remain private.

That was of course not the case once a defamation lawsuit got underway between Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder and former Bucs’ GM (and later Washington GM) Bruce Allen; all correspondence between the principals involved and those they communicated with were then instantly subject to the lawsuit’s discovery process.

Someone involved in those legal proceedings was likely the source of the leaks that led to the New York Times report that in turn led to Gruden’s forced resignation as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Less than a day after that resignation/termination, the Tampa Bay Bucs announced they would be removing Gruden’s name from the Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium, the Bucs’ home field.

But as sports commentator and OutKick founder Clay Travis pointed out recently, the name of standout Tampa Bay Defensive lineman Warren Sapp remains on the ring, despite that star on-field performer having faced multiple domestic violence charges over the years.

Also, Travis continued, at least two starters on the Bucs’ current squad have recently or are currently facing their own domestic violence charges.

Which begs the question: Why is it those charged with thought crimes like Gruden can lose the opportunity to earn a living in their chosen profession … effectively facing total banishment, forever, while those who commit actual physical crimes against others often get off with a slap on the wrist in the form of a fine or a three- or four-game suspension after which they head straight back to work … or into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Just asking.

Notre Dame coach flagged for ‘offensive’ foul

Back in the earliest days of the Tampa Bay Bucs, as the NFL team plumbed the depths of athletic incompetence going 0-26 before winning its first game, the team’s coach, John McKay was asked after one particularly innovative losing performance what he thought of his team’s on-field execution.

 He replied: “I’m in favor of it.”

Everyone at the press conference that afternoon was amused. No one was offended. Nary a penalty flag in sight.

Well, fast forward to the here-and-now. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly recycled McKay’s “execution” comment recently as he described his heavily favored team’s lackluster performance as they squeaked out a victory against underdog Florida State in the season opener for both schools. Kelly made his comment after being asked – like McKay before him – about his team’s execution.

“I’m in favor of execution. Maybe our entire team needs to be executed after tonight,” was Kelly’s exact quote.

But nowadays of course we have Twitter. And right on cue it blew up in instant outrage over Kelly’s comments. So much so that the coach had to actually come out and publicly explain that he didn’t really want to “kill” each and every member of his team.

Yet another example of the thoroughly humorless world we’ve come to live.

Depressed? Try turning off your phone

New iPhone software from Apple could help diagnose such mental health issues as depression, reports say, which is altogether appropriate, since many mental health professionals maintain that smart-phone obsession is often a key contributor to depression.

Remembering 9/11

Recent reminders of the sacrifices by New York City police and firefighters on 9/11 (343 firefighters, 92 police lost) got me thinking about these words from author G. Michael Hopf:

Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times.

Good times create weak men. Weak men create hard times.

Any doubt as to where we currently fit in terms of that progression?

Quote of the day

America doesn’t have to be perfect to be good

– Victor Davis Hanson

Pretty good return for a 10-cent investment

A 1962 Marvel comic book featuring the debut of your friendly neighborhood Spider Man recently fetched a record $3.6 million at auction.

 So how are your investments doing?

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