Tampa Bay

I’ll be at the Glazer Children’s Museum’s Birthday Bash this Saturday!

I’ll be at the Glazer Children’s Museum’s Birthday Bash this Saturday, September 25th! (There may even be an accordion performance or two.)

What’s the Glazer Children’s Museum?

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The Glazer Children’s Museum is Tampa’s children’s museum, located in downtown Tampa. It’s the home of a lot of interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and space to run around, climb, read, and make friends.

Children’s museums are important. They provide a place to learn and explore interests through hands-on experiences and activities. When you’re young, nothing expands your mind like interactivity that engages all the senses, and that’s something that children’s museums do very, very well.

The Glazer Children’s Museum’s mission is to serve the children of Tampa Bay by providing a clean, safe, and fun outlet for imagination and discovery.

What’s the Glazer Children’s Museum’s Birthday Bash?

In September 2010, the Glazer Children’s Museum first opened its doors to children and their families, and it’s time to celebrate the Museum’s 11th birthday!

The birthday bash will take place in Curtis Hixon Park, which is right in front of the Museum this Saturday, September 25th, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.. There will be fun, play, surprises and special guests, including:

  • 501st Legion (Yes, there will be Stormtroopers!)
  • Arts4All
  • Barrington Bolts Middle School Jazz Band
  • Be the Hamster
  • Bill Edwards Foundation
  • Brandon Academy Rock Band
  • Bucs Cheerleaders + Captain Fear
  • CARD
  • CBHC
  • Cinco Soccer
  • Clearwater Jazz Holiday Youth Band
  • Coda Sounds
  • Costumers With a Cause
  • Crisis Center of Tampa Bay
  • The Dalí Museum
  • Dialed in Golf Solutions
  • Ilene Lieber + Zooey
  • Florida Department of Transportation
  • The Gay Men’s Chorus of Tampa Bay
  • Glazer Vision Foundation
  • Learn & Play Tampa Bay
  • Paws for Friendship
  • Rooted in Play
  • Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine
  • Tampa Downtown Partnership
  • Tampa Hackerspace
  • Tampa Bay Water
  • Teens in Action
  • UnMonsters™
  • WMNF
  • Zubrick Magic Theater

There will also be a sensory-friendly birthday bash on Sunday, September 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.!

How can you make a reservation?

Reservations are FREE, but if you can do so, you can make a donation to help support the work that the Glazer Children’s Museum does.

Want to know more about the birthday bash? Here’s the Glazer Children’s Museum’s page for the event.

Follow these links to make reservations:

The Current Situation

Did you know that there’s a general election in Canada today?

In case you didn’t know, let me say it right now: There’s a general election in Canada today.

Do you know who the current leaders of Canada and Mexico are?

Here’s what might be a trick question for Americans — but shouldn’t be, given the fact that the U.S. and Canada share the world’s longest undefended border, and the fact that the U.S. and Canada are each other’s largest trading partners:

Who is the prime minister of Canada?

While we’re at it, since we’re asking about neighboring countries:

Who is the president of Mexico? (Bonus points if you know that president’s nickname.)

How do general elections work in Canada?

Elections are managed by the federal government, and no matter where you vote, there is just one type of ballot: A paper ballot, with the names of the candidates and a circle in which to put your mark beside each name. A Canadian federal election ballot is pictured above.

Canada’s government follows the Westminster parliamentary system. You don’t directly vote for prime minister. You vote for a local MP (Member of Parliament), who belongs to one of the federal parties and represents your riding (electoral district) in the House of Commons (think of it as the parliamentary equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives). There are 338 seats in the House of Commons.

The prime minister is the leader of the party with the most elected MPs and therefore has the most seats in the House of Commons. You could say that there’s not one — but 338 — elections happening in Canada today.

If a party wins the election with 170 or more seats out of the total 338, they have a majority government, which means that they can singlehandedly pass laws without a single vote from any of the other parties.

If a party with less than 170 seats, they have a minority government, which means they now need cooperation from other parties to pass laws. A minority government can also be unseated by failing a confidence vote, which dissolves Parliament and starts an election.

Who are the candidates and how young are they?

Here in the U.S., we had an election last November, where the two big candidates were 75 (Donald Trump) and 78 (Joe Biden). Keep in mind that the average life span of American males is 78.5 years.

The Canadian candidates are whippersnappers by comparison and considerably not as uniformly White…

Justin Trudeau is the current prime minister and the leader of the Liberal Party, which occupies 155 out of 338 seats in the House of Commons. He is 49 years old.

Erin O’Toole is the official leader of the opposition and the leader of the Conservative Party, which occupies 119 out of 338 seats in the House of Commons. He is actually one year younger than Justin Trudeau — 48.

Yves-François Blanchet is the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, which occupies 32 out of 338 seats in the House of Commons.. He’s 56.

Jagmeet Singh is the leader of the New Democratic Party, which occupies 24 out of 338 seats in the House of Commons. He’s 42.

Annamie Paul is the leader of the Green Party, which occupies 2 out of 338 seats in the House of Commons. She is 48 years old, and is the first Black Canadian and Jewish woman to lead a federal party in Canada.

Maxime Bernier is the leader of the People’s Party of Canada, which is a new group that broke away from the Conservative Party in the same manner as the People’s Front of Judea from Life of Brian. He’s the oldest of the candidates at age 58.

Where can you find out more?

It Happened to Me Tampa Bay

We enjoyed Hasan Minhaj’s new comedy show, The King’s Jester

Anitra and I caught Hasan Minhaj’s new show, The King’s Jester, last night at the Straz Center. Long story short: He’s still on top of his funny story-telling game, and still able to weave the hilarious, harrowing, and heartbreaking into a single, beautiful thread.

There were two shows in Tampa last night: one at 7:00 (the one we caught) and a second at 10:00. These were the second and third shows of the tour — the first one was on Friday in Miami — and it had all the energy of a brand new venture. There are still tickets for this afternoon’s show in Orlando at 5:30.

It may help if you know a little bit about the story  where he spoke at the Time 100 gala in 2019 about how he called out Jared Kushner to speak to his buddy Prince Mohammed bin Salman “MBS” Al Saud (the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, with whom Kushner chats via WhatsApp) to free Loujain al-Hathloul, an activist imprison for championing women’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia:

If you want to find out how one joke got him into comedy — and how another almost got him out of it — you should catch this show. I don’t want to give away too much, but if you’re a fan of his Netflix show, Patriot Act, you’ll learn its secret origin in its show.

If you’re concerned about these shows being possible superspreader events, you may be pleased to know that:

  • You need proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to be admitted.
  • You need to wear a mask to attend the show (and no food or drink is allowed inside the auditorium.
It Happened to Me

Current situation (Saturday, 4:00 p.m.)

My office. Tap to view at full size.

Well, that’s enough coding for now. Got to go get ready to go out for dinner and see Hasan Minhaj’s show at the Straz.

funny Music

Hurt (or: “Blue’s boo-boos”)

Thanks to John Poulos for the find!
Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay deal of the day: “Limited edition” life-size Spider-Man statue ($1,500)

To help promote the DVD release of the 2002 Spider-Man film (the one with Tobey Maguire as the titular character), Blockbuster commissioned a few thousand “limited edition” life-size statues for their stores. You can find a number of these status on eBay and various online reseller forums, and one’s just popped up in the Tampa Bay Facebook Marketplace — it’s selling for $1,500.

Here’s the copy from the posting on Facebook Marketplace:

Life-size Spiderman statue, Blockbuster Limited addition with base. Only 3200 made!
Has some damage to one foot and a few scrapes but other wise good condition.

Here’s a close-up of that foot damage:

Aside from that, it’s got the wear and tear you’d expect from a display at a once-busy store and twenty years’ passage of time.

As with any “collectible”, it has “certificates of authenticity” — they’re on the statue’s base:

Interested? Contact the seller on their Facebook Marketplace listing!

Music Stranger than Fiction

It’s official: Rick Astley is cooler than Morrissey

If you’d asked me back in 1991, when I was an alt-rock DJ — who was cooler: Morrissey or Rick Astley? — I would’ve been dead wrong. But now I know better.

Once upon a time, there was a brilliant English alt-rock band called The Smiths, who were fronted by one Steven Patrick Morrissey, better known as just Morrissey. They occupied an elevated place in my music collection, and you’d often hear them playing during my DJ gigs at Crazy Go Nuts University’s engineering pub.

As a (relatively) openly gay man — a tricky thing during the band’s time, which was from 1982 to 1986 — the child of Irish Catholics during the era of the IRA, a vegetarian, and lyricist for the excluded, he became a hero of sorts for people who didn’t quite fit in.

But from the 1990s on, he’s been showing his less savory side: the one that sides with the British far right, happily spouts white supremacist rhetoric, and has been all too willing to embrace fascism.

As one of his contemporaries, the great Billy Bragg, said in an interview with The Guardian:

“It stinks,” says Billy Bragg, who worked with, and loved, the Smiths during the 80s. “They were the greatest band of my generation, with the greatest guitar player and the greatest lyricist. I think Johnny [Marr] was a constraint on him … back then he had to fit into the idea of the Smiths. But now he’s betraying those fans, betraying his legacy and empowering the very people Smiths fans were brought into being to oppose. He’s become the Oswald Mosley of pop.”

For more:

To put a twist on a song title from The Smiths: There was a light, but it’s gone out.

Enter this guy:

Rick Astley’s image has changed over the years. Pop star in the late ’80s and early ’90s, forgotten in the late ’90s and most of the 2000s, and then came Rickrolling in 2008.

Since then, he’s had a slow but steady upward trajectory, having Rickrolled the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade…

…to performing with the Foo Fighters…

…to joining Choir! Choir! Choir! at a small live venue in Toronto (thanks to Eldon Brown for letting me know about this one!)…

…to making a great cover of Foo Fighter’s Everlong

…and finally, performing Smiths numbers with English indie pop band Blossoms…

…including This Charming Man:

You can read more about his performance here:

While I still appreciate the beautiful work that Morrissey did back then — after all, there wouldn’t be a Smiths without him — it’s great to see Rick Astley taking up the mantle. It’s all the Mozzer goodness, and none of the fascism or white supremacy. It’s win-win!