Florida of the Day Stranger than Fiction Tampa Bay The Current Situation

Florida of the day: Tampa Bay Times buried the lede on the “Tampa Bay radio DJs are catching COVID-19” (or: They offer COVID-19 tests at strip clubs?!)

In my opinion, the real take-away from this Tampa Bay Times article is that under the right circumstances, you can get a COVID-19 test at a strip club.

It appears in the article titled Mike Calta among staff with coronavirus at 102.5 The Bone. Here’s the relevant part:

The plan for now was for the Calta show to continue broadcasting live with with everyone working remotely from their own homes.

Drew Garabo, an afternoon host on the station who broadcasts from the same studio as Calta, said on his show Monday that he received a call from a supervisor Friday night while en route to a Tampa strip club in a rideshare.

Garabo said that he and a co-host were, coincidentally, offered a COVID-19 test in the back office of that strip club after they arrived. Both came back later showing no signs of the virus. He said he’s unsure if it could have been a false negative, or if he has been exposed since then.

My guess is that the tests at the strip club are for specifically for the employees and that Garabo was on his way to the club to do a DJ gig there. He probably needed the money — if you read the article, you’ll see a reference to co-workers at the radio station being roommates. The moral of the story is to tip well at the strip club; they don’t have the work-from-home options that many of us do, and they could use the cash.

Today’s Tampa Bay Times also has a story about DJs at Orlando’s Wild 94.1 coming down with COVID-19. DJ booths are tiny, high-touch environments; this story seems to be another data point about small, enclosed indoor spaces being a vector for the disease.

Florida of the Day Stranger than Fiction Tampa Bay

Florida of the day: Alligator bites face of man searching lake for free frisbees

“Supposedly he was in the water up to his waist and he was looking for Frisbees when the gator took notice of him,” said Largo police spokesman Lt. Scott Gore in a Tampa Bay Times article titled “Alligator bites man’s face at Largo park”. The person in question is Travis Spitzer, was wading into the lake in middle of Largo’s Taylor Parkat 5 in the morning, looking for lost frisbees.

I should first correct myself. He was looking for discs. If you know anyone who plays disc golf, “Ultimate,” or any form of the game, you know not to use the term “frisbee” in their presence unless you want to set yourself up for a half-hour ultra pedantic lecture on how discs are not frisbees. Take it from me: it’s a half-hour of your life that you’ll never get back.

Taylor Park disc golf course. Photo by Megan Hoffman. Tap to see the source.

Taylor Park has a disc golf course that borders Tylor Lake in the center of the park, which is pictured above. Also pictured above is a sign warning you about alligators in the lake. The sign is actually intended for people new to Florida; if you’ve been here long enough, you’ve probably internalized the assumption that there’s a gator in any body of fresh water, natural or artificial.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

Police did not know how big the alligator was, but Gore said Spitzer used his left hand to pry the animal off. He was transferred to a hospital with injuries to his hand and face.

Police said he is expected to survive the bite.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Tampa office responded to the scene and is investigating.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • The fact that it was 5 in the morning means that he wasn’t playing disc golf, but just prospecting for lost discs.
  • In case you were wondering if they were expensive, you should know that you can get disc golf discs for less than $20 each.
  • Alligators are most active from dusk until dawn, so it was at the tail end of their active period.
  • Alligators are more active than usual during mating season, which runs from April through to the end of June. Spitzer may have butted in on some gator’s sexytime.

In short: Standard Florida Man operating procedure — high risk, low reward, questionable judgement.

To give you some sense of where this all took place relative to Yours Truly, here’s a map:

Tap the map to see it at full size.

Florida of the Day Stranger than Fiction The Current Situation

Florida of the day: Retired Navy captain accidentally broadcasts racist conversation with his wife on Facebook Live

Think of it as the 21st century equivalent of the dreaded “butt dial”. Imagine being at home, having a nice, quiet racist conversation with your wife about how black people get away with everything, the Chinese are intellectual property thieves, and white people can’t do a damn thing about either when you check your phone, look at Facebook, and the comments are telling you that you’ve been broadcasting for the past half hour.

That’s what happened to Jacksonville-based retired Navy Captain Scott Bethmann and his wife Nancy while watching TV and seeing news about the Black Lives Matter movement. Scott comments on how companies have issued statements supporting BLM, at which point he unleashes his Inner Karen:

Screenshot from News4Jax news.

News4Jax (local TV news in Jacksonville) says that the video image is completely dark and only the audio is available, which suggests that Scott may have had the Facebook app active on his phone and accidentally “butt-dialed” a new Facebook Live broadcast.

Scott: I’ve gotten an email about how “We’re supporting…” and “We need to fix this problem.” Fuck you!  “Oh, if you work in my office and you’re silent, we know where you stand.” So all the white people have to say something nice to the black bitch that works in the office. But the black bitch don’t get fired. [sounds of rustling] It’s bullshit.

At any point in the conversation, Nancy refers to the black community and as News4Jax puts it, “makes other racial slurs. The husband and wife talk about women and minority groups who serve in the military…”

Nancy: Fuck Asians from China who love to steal all of our intellectual property.

She then reminds Scott that there is a standard racist modus operandi: to not appear racist…

Nancy: That’s why I’m telling you — you better watch yourself on that board.

Scott: I don’t say anything; that’s my point.

Nancy: The admission board!

Scott: I just said! The white motherfuckers can’t say anything. That’s the point we’re making here, Nancy.

Captain Scott Bethmann used to be on the board of the U.S. Naval Academy’s Alumni Association board and was the Jacksonville chapter’s treasurer and national trustee. That all changed when word about his accidental broadcast and the chapter president posted a notice on the Association’s Facebook page which included this statement:

This morning, the board and I were notified of statements made by our chapter treasurer and national trustee, CAPT Scott Bethmann, SC, USN (Ret.). The nature of those comments are not consistent with our volunteer leadership mission at our Jacksonville Chapter of the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association, the national Alumni Association, and does not represent the leadership values of our Naval Academy or the US Navy.
CAPT Bethmann has resigned from our board and his trustee position. Our board is convening an emergency meeting today to discuss our way forward.
To echo the words of Superintendent, Vice Adm. Sean S Buck, “honor, courage, and commitment, and the mission of the United States Naval Academy. Nowhere is discrimination tolerated in any of those values.”

That post received a lot of comments, including this one, which makes a very important point (the emphasis is mine):

As a retired Marine Corps Senior Enlisted, I can’t help but wonder how many performance evaluations this CAPT wrote over his career that affected the careers of minority service members? It is scary to think of the careers he likely stymied.

To borrow a line from Captain Bethmann: That’s the point I’m making here, Nancy.

Here’s the News4Jax story: