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Tuesday, November 18
I recently telephoned a local cable television company to have my home service reconnected after a trip out west.

The Interactive Voice Response System or IVRS answered. Modern corporations seem to think they are the wave of the future. But the systems are major annoyances right up there with hidden credit card fees, unreliable cell phone service and passwords and PIN numbers. These systems essentially automate telephone contact between humans and machines. They typically are intended to service high call volumes, reduce corporate costs and improve customer service.

The latter is open to debate.
 ... Read More 
As the political pundits and other members of the chattering classes continue to analyze the Nov. 4 mid-term election results, the following thoughts cross my mind.

THE JUDAS OR (DROWNING RAT) PRIZE. I wish a group of independent, non-aligned experts would create a prize to go to the Democratic candidate for re-election who most effectively distanced himself/herself from President Obama during the weeks preceding the Nov. 4 balloting.

Like Judas in the New Testament, or like rats from a sinking ship, dozens of Democrats tried to out-do each other in disclaiming any affiliation or loyalty to the president. Their favorite expressions on the campaign trail were “I never knew him!” and “Obama? Who’s he?”
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, November 11
When I started working for Tampa Bay Newspapers 10 years ago, I didn’t know whether the Belleair Bee was an insect native to Pinellas County, a restaurant or the winner of a pageant.

It took me a couple of days to get the names of our papers down pat as well as warm up to some of them.

Got turned around on the roads a few times, too, leading me to the hasty conclusion that Pinellas County has too many drawbridges.
 ... Read More 
“The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”

Who first said that? Robert Louis Stevenson, of course. What he neglected to say was that in anyone’s lifetime it’s unlikely any of us will experience more than a small percentage of the delightful (or, at least, interesting) things that life makes available to us. While most persons - during our dwelling on our lonely planet - will watch a sunset or eat pancakes, thousands of other activities and adventures will remain untouched by the average human.

Cricket, for example. How many of us have ever played cricket? Or even watched a match? If you’re a Brit or live in India, odds are higher that you’re familiar with cricket, whose origin, history and rules are complex. Some cricket matches can last a couple of days. A related custom for cricket-watchers is to enjoy cucumber sandwiches. Don’t hold your breath until cricket catches on in the USA.
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, November 4
Gone are the days when a backyard mechanic could maintain the family buggy.

My first car was a decade-old 1950 Ford coupe. It had a stick shift, an AM radio and absolutely zilch in the way of technology. I changed the oil, did my own tune ups on the very basic V8 engine, and performed a litany of other repairs that kept it running for the three years I owned it.

That same used car that I paid $150 for back in 1960 is now considered to be an antique with price tags up to $75,000 and more.
 ... Read More 
I had planned to devote this week’s column to Ebola or the Mideast wars, because of the public’s outrage at how little attention our nation’s news media is giving to those two topics. Instead, I will write about booyah.

You say you’ve never heard of booyah? Well, neither had I until a week ago, when I was watching a TV commercial showing a woman serving french fries. As she placed the fries on the table, she pointed at them and exclaimed “Booyah!”

I didn’t know if the expression was a blessing, a curse or a restaurant password to the waiter, meaning, “Henry, these delicacies are ready for that bald guy at Table 7.”
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, October 28
Because nothing important is going on in the world right now, America is engaged in a fevered debate about airplane seats.

Is there a God-given right to recline, even if it impinges on the kneecaps of the person seated behind you?

Three recent in-air disputes have resulted in commercial flights being rerouted for unscheduled landings, and feuding passengers booted off. This trend, if it continues, can only add more thrills to the already-hectic air travel experience.
 ... Read More 
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• Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014
American Legion cookout
SEMINOLE – American Legion Post 252, 11433 Park Blvd., holds a cookout every Saturday and Sunday at the Tiki Bar from 1 to 5 p.m.

Breakfast is held the first Sunday of every month from 8 to 11 a.m. and the monthly spaghetti dinner is held the first Tuesday of each month from 5 to 7 p.m.  

The dining room is open to the public. Legion membership is required to purchase alcohol.  

For more information, call 391-6324.
 ... Read More 
Sandings Ovations
TREASURE ISLAND – The sixth annual Sanding Ovations Masters Cup Sand Sculpture Competition and Music Festival is Nov. 20-23 on the beach behind the Bilmar Beach Resort.

The top four sculptures and a people’s choice sculpture will be awarded $12,000 in cash prizes. Admission is free.

The exhibition of sand sculpting talent at the world-class level is the big appeal. The event also includes a beach food court, an arts and crafts marketplace and three days of live music.
 ... Read More 
Spanish music concert
LARGO – The Spanish music of Cuban composer Ernesto LeCuona’s will be presented Sunday, Nov. 23, 3 p.m., at Christ Presbyterian Church, 3115 Dryer Ave.

Debbie Rivera, music director at the church, will perform LeCuona’s Suite Andalucía for piano. For information, call 584-8695 or visit largocpc.com.
 ... Read More 
Sunsation Show Chorus concert
PINELLAS PARK – The Sunsation Show Chorus presents its “Celebrate America” showcase on Sunday, Nov. 23, 3 p.m., at the Performing Arts Center, 4951 78th Ave. N.

This performance will include music that reflects America’s patriotism, culture, diversity and history.

General admission tickets are $15. Tickets for groups of 10 or more are $12 each. Season tickets are $30.  

For more information, call 530-7190.
 ... Read More 
Thanksgiving Sunday worship
CLEARWATER – Chapel-By-The-Sea will celebrate Thanksgiving Sunday, Nov. 23, at the 10 a.m. worship service. Chapel-By-The-Sea Community Church is at 54 Bay Esplanade.

The Rev. Herb Freitag’s sermon is titled “In Place of Larger Barns” with the scripture from Luke 12:16-21. The special music will include Marilyn Michael and Nicole Cavalani singing a duet, “Bless This House,” and Dennis Saloky on saxophone with medley of “We Gather Together” and “Count Your Blessings.”

Attendees are encouraged to bring gifts of nonperishable food and turkeys (fresh or frozen) for the food bank at RCS. After church, attendees will have an opportunity to help decorate the church for Christmas. Church and youth Sunday school begin at 10 a.m. Adult Sunday school begins at 9 a.m.

For the coach pick-up schedule and route, call 446-0430. Visit www.chapelbythesea.net.  
 ... Read More 
• Monday, Nov. 24, 2014
Speak Easy Toastmasters Club meeting
PINELLAS PARK – The Speak Easy Toastmasters Club meets Mondays at 6 p.m. at Lin’s K Hibachi Buffet, 7610 49th St. N.   Guests are welcome.  

The Toastmasters program helps members become better speakers for their jobs, presentations and meetings.   Call Jim Martin at 536-3392 or email jmartin2040@tampabay.rr.com.
 ... Read More 
• Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014
Kiwanis Breakfast Club meeting
SEMINOLE – The Kiwanis Breakfast Club of Seminole meets Tuesdays at 7:15 a.m. in the third floor card room at Lake Seminole Square, 8333 Seminole Blvd. 

On the second, third and fourth Tuesdays of the month, the group features speakers from different organizations. 

Visit kiwanisseminolebreakfast.com or call 319-8343 for more information.
 ... Read More 
MLK Neighborhood Center Coalition planning sessions
CLEARWATER – The Clearwater Martin Luther King Jr. Neighborhood Center Coalition hosts weekly planning sessions every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at 1201 Douglas Ave. It also hosts a neighborhood community market each fourth Saturday, with the June market set for the 28th.  

The Community Outreach Team invites people to join them in making phone calls or writing letters to the residents in the neighborhood surrounding the center to inspire neighbors with the progress that is being made.

To help, contact Karena Morrison at 518-4659.
 ... Read More 
Seminole-SPC Toastmasters meeting
SEMINOLE – Seminole-SPC Toastmasters meets at 6:15 p.m. Tuesdays at the Seminole Community Library, 9200 113th St.

This personal development program is ideal for supervisors and other leaders, or those aspiring to learn vital leadership and communication skills.

Contact Dennis Hamel at 374-2612 or visit seminolespc.toastmastersclubs.org for more information.
 ... Read More 
• Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014
City Power Toastmasters Club meeting
ST. PETERSBURG – The City Power Toastmasters Club, a nonprofit communication and leadership club, meets Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. at the Municipal Services Building, One Fourth St. N., Sixth Floor, Room 600.  

The club teaches self-confidence and skills to help listen, think, speak and gain leadership qualities. Participants gain poise, positive body language and speak more easily.  

Guests are welcome to visit for free with no pressure to join.  

For more details, call 893-7918.
 ... Read More 
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Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
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