Arts and culture

Florida doesn’t do anything by the book -- that includes celebrating the holidays. So this season, WUSF is extolling all the ways to enjoy the holidays with a Florida twist... and we want your input.

Tell us about your Florida holiday tradition. Does your family take part in a lighted boat parade, lace up for a jingle bell run or spend New Year’s Eve making sand sculptures?

Then there are the decorations. Show us your seashell ornaments, palm trees wrapped in lights and flamingoes in Santa hats.

We want your recipes, too. Do you dress your gingerbread men in Bermuda shorts or dip your latkes in Key lime jelly?

And how to do show out-of-town guests a good time in the warm weather? Do you take them caroling down the beach or spend all eight nights of Hanukkah at Disney?

The online magazine Longform has gathered some awesome stories about our area -- including lap dancer pioneer Joe Redner; carnival workers in Gibsonton, and Calvin Trillin's take on a newly-opened Disney World.


Florida State University head football coach Jimbo Fisher recently penned a letter in praise of Tallahassee. The note was originally written for The Huffington Post as part of that site's Love Letters series, which features appreciations of American places by luminaries such as chef Mario Batali, reality TV star Bill Rancic and writer Ann Patchett.

With HuffPo's permission, we're reposting Fisher's letter here:

USF's Student Government and the company that runs the USF Sun Dome have a message for English indie rockers Mumford and Sons: We want you.

Specifically, they want the band to perform at USF on its worldwide tour promoting the new album, Babel.

"We have a lot of dedicated fans of Mumford & Sons; many of which even drove to see them perform at the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee," said USF Student Body President, Brian Goff.

"The students here are passionate about the band and would love to have such great performers come on campus and showcase their talent.”

"Thank You Cards ... personally signed by George," are now going to be sent to those who donate money to the man facing second-degree murder charges for the Feb. 26 shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

We know there's only a 1 in 175 million chance of winning. Even then, you might have to share the prize.

But with Wednesday's Powerball jackpot now estimated to be $500 million (a record for that lottery), we wonder: Are Two-Way readers playing?

Yes, it is kind of silly to think that just because the jackpot has hit half a billion dollars it makes a lot more sense to buy a chance now than it did when you would "only" win $40 million.

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Football players are used to being showered with cheers from fans, and winning coaches relish a Gatorade shower. But an actual shower during the game? Not so much.

That's what happened Sunday during the Miami Dolphins-Seattle Seahawks game in South Florida. With under two minutes left in the third quarter, Sun Life Stadium's sprinklers went off, soaking the field and interrupting a Dolphins drive.

Here's the video:

An Entrepreneur Expands The Lego Universe

Nov 26, 2012

Lots of good business ideas have emerged from kids' play. Seattle-area resident Will Chapman could thank his youngest son. At the age of 9, he wanted to know all he could about World War II and was using Lego toys to act out history. But his son was stymied — he couldn't find all the pieces he wanted.

Each year Lego turns out 19 billion plastic bricks, figures and gears for building things. But sometimes, it seems, even 19 billion isn't enough.

Ok, so we may be the butt of jokes nationwide, what with the five days it took to count all the votes down to the Jill Kelley-General Petraeus sitcom. But when it comes to savviness on the shopping front, we're all aces.

Tampa Bay is ahead of Phoenix, but slightly behind Detroit.

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We knew it was only a matter of time before the David Petraeus scandal got the Saturday Night Live treatment. Over the weekend, the controversy gave SNL enough fodder for two sketches -- one of which centered around Jill Kelley, the Tampa socialite who brought the Petraeus affair to light.

Emails from the Tampa woman - who prompted the investigation of Marine Gen. John Allen because of their voluminous messages - are being released as part of the public record. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn released Friday all the emails Jill Kelley has sent him since in office.

Diana Lucas Leavengood

Ask Dennis Lehane about storytelling and he will tell you that he grew up in Boston surrounded by Irish aunts and uncles who constantly revised their stories to make them better.

He says he also grew up in a bar culture, where if "you didn't tell a good story in the bar, they didn't give you a polite clap and listen till you got to the end, they just shouted you down."

Many of his books are dark and some have been translated to the movie screen in the films Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone.  Lehane says he's learned "what seems to be without a doubt, the sweet spot in my wheelhouse is tragedy.  So, when I write books of epic tragedy, that seems to be the books that stick the most in the consciousness of the people that read them."

Amy Scherzer / Tampa Bay Times

Most of us have seen it – the photo of Tampa socialite Jill Kelley and former CIA Director David Petraeus on the Kelley’s South Tampa lawn.

She’s wearing a low-cut, high-hemmed black dress and party beads (it was taken during Gasparilla, Tampa’s version of Mardi Gras.)

It’s become the iconic photo of the scandal. But is it a fair portrayal of Kelley?

That’s the question on the mind of Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute’s Sense-making Project.

Just when you think it couldn't get any weirder...The Telegraph is reporting that former Gov. Charlie Crist once dated the twin sister of the Tampa woman at the heart of the Petraeus scandal.

Sunde Farquhar / Palm Harbor Patch

Should newspapers be in the business of endorsing candidates? And is there really an editorial firewall between the reporters and the editorial page of newspapers?

Yes, and yes, says Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute’s Sense-making Project. Case in point: the recent coverage and editorial campaign about fluoride in the Tampa Bay Times.

It started when a majority of Pinellas County commissioners – “the Fluoride Four” – voted to stop paying to put fluoride in water supplies.

10 Tips for Covering the Big Event

Nov 10, 2012

WUSF News Director Scott Finn and WFAE News Director Greg Collard reflect on their coverage of the national conventions. This is republished from

Saturday Morning Market Facebook page

When Gail Eggeman organized the first Saturday Morning Market on Nov. 7, 2002, she scoped out downtown St. Petersburg for a spot that was just big enough to accommodate the modest event.

"I think the first Saturday we had 20 vendors," said Eggeman, the market's co-founder and manager. They settled on Second Street. "It's small enough to not make us look silly," Eggeman thought.

Alex Cook / WUSF News

The "Memphis Belle," a replica World War II B-17 bomber flew over Tampa Bay today, carrying a bombardier who served aboard a similar craft for 28 missions over war-torn Germany.  

"I couldn't control myself.  I was on the plane and tears came to my eyes.  I was thinking of all the men we lost," said William Yepes, after a ride in his familiar station in the nose of the plane.

The non-profit group The Liberty Foundation ran the flight.  Pilot John Shuttleworth said that over 23,000 airmen were killed aboard the iconic "Flying Fortress" bombers.

In his new book, Race-Baiter, media critic Eric Deggans says modern media outlets trade in bigotry and bias to build audience and sell advertising.

Deggans dissects media coverage of events such as Hurricane Katrina, the Trayvon Martin case and the 2012 presidential election to build an argument that Americans lack the right vocabulary for having important conversations about race, and that the echo chambers of our fractured media landscape aren't helping. The fix, he says, is a more savvy audience that demands better conversations.

Karin Markert

As Hurricane Sandy began to hit Washington D.C., a photo went viral: three soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in a driving rain. called it, “one of the more stunning pictures we've come across today.”