Culture

Arts and culture

"Anything your school president can do, mine can do better," brags a new blog on tumblr that pokes gentle fun of  USF President Judy Genshaft.

It all starts with the picture of an excited Genshaft learning that the USF men's basketball team made the NCAA tournament.

My grandma used to say, "up yonder" and "man alive."  She was from Gainesville, Georgia.  My family's roots on my dad's side are steeped in Florida.  My ancestors were here before Florida became a state. 
 
So you'd think I'd be a veritable cornucopia of Florida-based words. Well, not really.  I do know that my dad used the term, "mosquito hawk" for a dragonfly when he was a boy.  And that's the same word my friend's mom used for mosquito.  She grew up in Hillsborough County, as my father did.

But other than that, I can't really say what term my family used for a heavy rain, for instance.  Was it gullywasher?  I only wish I knew. 

Jeff Vinik became the new owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning just over two years ago and quickly won over fans and local officials for what he’s done both on and off the ice.

He bought the team with his own money and privately funded $40 million in renovations to the publicly-owned Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Yet when Vinik first arrived in town, sports writers did not get a good first impression.

Bulls Go Dancing

Mar 11, 2012
USF Athletics

For the first time in 20 years, the USF Bulls' have made the NCAA Basketball Tournament. 

It was a nail-biting wait for the Bulls, who received one of the final four spots given to at-large teams. 

USF (20-13), a 12th seed in the Midwest region, plays fellow 12th seed Cal (24-9) in a "First Four" game at 9:30 Wednesday night in Dayton (broadcast on truTV). The winner will play 5th seed Temple in Nashville at 9:50 Friday night.

Cruise Critic (www.cruisecritic.com)

A pair of cruise ship crime incidents involving ships based out of Tampa made headlines this week: one involving a ship employee facing child pornography charges, and the other involving a passenger who managed to access a restricted area and drop the ship's anchor.

It has the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in one spot anywhere. Now, Florida Southern College has finally been named a National Historic Landmark.

The Lakeland campus has long been famed for its iconic structures like the soaring Annie Pfeiffer Chapel and the only planetarium Frank Lloyd Wright designed that got built. Wright called the campus his "Child of the Sun," and it has been a tourist attraction for decades. But it wasn't until this week that it was named a National Historic Landmark.

Snow in Florida!

Mar 6, 2012
Florida Memory/Florida Department of State

While Florida is the place where many folks come to escape the winter up north, winter occasionally finds its way to Florida.   

That was the case on March 6th, 1954, when Florida received its greatest modern-day snowfall.  Four inches fell -- and stuck on the ground -- at Milton.  Pensacola received two inches of snow.

Meteorologists say snow in Florida is unusual but it does happen.  The earliest record of snow falling in Florida was during the Great Arctic Outbreak of 1774.  

Photo courtesy of iidigital.usembassy.gov

There’s been a rise of “citizen journalists” whether from the bombed out neighborhoods in Syria to the tornado ravaged mid-west towns in the U.S. And today, March 6, 2012, you have an opportunity to hear from “citizen journalist” Sohaib Athar who tweeted live about the raid on the Pakistani compound of Osama bin Laden.

USF Athletics

The USF men's basketball team is getting ready for Saturday's game against West Virginia--a game that some are calling the Bulls' "biggest home game in 20 years." 

With 19 wins, including 12 in the Big East conference and six in its last 7 games, the thought is the Bulls make the NCAA Tournament. However, even coach Stan Heath admits he's heard the doubters, telling the St. Petersburg Times:

NASA Ames Research Center

It was 40 years ago today when NASA launched Pioneer 10 from Cape Canaveral.  

The robotic space probe was launched on March 2, 1972 on a mission to study Jupiter and the asteroid belt.  

Pioneer 10 eventually became the first spacecraft from Earth to leave our solar system and enter deep space.  With that in mind, scientists placed a recorded greeting on board -- along with a plaque that includes a map of Earth's location.

Eventually someone might find that map.  Pioneer 10 is expected to arrive at the constellation Taurus in 2 million years.

The Tampa Bay Lightning won Tuesday night and remains in the playoff hunt – despite a team roster depleted by recent player trades, injuries and most recently the flu.

But, the team’s owner is in good health. We interviewed Jeff Vinik Wednesday for an upcoming episode of Florida Matters.

This Saturday marks the second anniversary of Vinik’s purchase of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Many sports analysts are astounded that in such a short time he’s resurrected the bay area’s National Hockey League franchise.

Courtesy of The Florida Orchestra

The Florida Orchestra is hosting an extended stay by the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.  It's part of the Florida Orchestra's multi-year cultural exchange. 

Late this year, the NSOC will be coming to America for its first U.S. tour.  And while it will perform in many places, the musicians will be in the Tampa Bay area a little longer, for master classes and for a joint Chamber Music Concert at Tampa's Historic Cuban Club.   Read more about it here.

City of St. Petersburg

John Williams arrived from Detroit in 1875.  Peter Demens arrived from St. Petersburg, Russia, 13 years later.  Williams built a grand hotel.  Demens brought in a railroad. 

Legend has it that the city's name was decided by the flip of a coin:  Williams wanted Detroit and Demens wanted St. Petersburg.  Demens won the toss.

The City of St. Petersburg was incorporated on February 29th, 1892.

- Learn more about the history of St. Petersburg

Loly Garriga and her husband were forced to separate for five years during Castro's regime in Cuba.

Now, they've found a home in Lakeland, Florida and Garriga has written about her experiences in a new book, "Strides of Destiny."

WUSF's Robin Sussingham profiled Garriga in this video as part of WUSF's "Not in Out Town" series, funded by NIOT.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF News

It could be the biggest performance ever for USF's "Herd of Thunder," as the band has been invited to march in the New Year's Day Parade in London, England, on January 1, 2013.

This week's University Beat on WUSF 89.7 talks to band members and officials, as well as parade executives and the Former Lord Mayor of Westminster, England (the great-grandson of Sir Winston Churchill).

Play Ball!

Feb 27, 2012
City of St. Petersburg

It was February 27th, 1998, when the brand-new Tampa Bay Devil Rays played their first spring training game.

It took place in St. Pete's Al Lang Stadium (which was officially renamed Florida Power Park on the same day.)  The Rays lost that first game to the Florida Marlins 2-1.

Today, the Tampa Bay Rays train in Port Charlotte.  They'll open up the season this year with an away game against the Minnesota Twins this Sunday in Fort Myers.

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