Monday, April 6, 2015

The Problems with ALMA (The Big Banjo)

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb, PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want to Blog

While the Pier Selection Committee gathers "more information" the pot boils and the plot thickens.

First, with ALMA the thing out at the end is a concrete rectangular box. That's it - a box. No matter how you look at it, it is a box. Not much imagination, even if you turn it upside down its still a rectangular box. You don't have to wonder about what the designer was thinking or what motivated him - it's a box.

Looking at the inverted pyramid you also have to wonder what was the designer thinking? Why a Pyramid, why upside down, why not right side up or on its side? You actually have to think and stretch your mind.

When you look at ALMA from above it looks like a big Banjo. Since the push here seems to be to the millennials and as far as I can tell other than Deliverance they're not than fond of banjo music. It seems to me that promotional material for something that looks like a big Banjo may not bring the millennials in the droves anticipated by the ALMA supporters.

And there is that Box thing. It's kind of like the LENS who would wear a T-shirt with that thing on it?

When you look at Destination St. Pete Pier from above there is an interesting approach and at the end this structure that kind of boggles the mind. What is it? I really need to see this for myself. And when you do your imagination can run wild.

It will also make one really neat T-shirt.

Finally I think some of the members of the Kriseman Dream Team and City staff, along with a few of the Selection Committee members have convinced themselves that the citizens of St. Pete are neither hip enough, or intelligent enough to know what works on the Pier. I believe you hold that view at your own peril. 

Last time around the issue of ignoring the public was almost as big as the total dislike of the LENS design.

You all probably already know the definition of insanity.

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Inside the Tomb

The moon had passed its zenith and it was just past half way between darkness and light on morning of the third day following Christ's crucifixion.  God summoned five angels including Michael the Archangel. He dispatched them to the tomb of his Son with these instructions: "Minister to Him as he rises".

Shortly the angels arrived at the tomb. Two were left outside to guard the entrance. Michael said, "I will call to you when it is time to roll away the stone"."

Michael, the Archangel and the two remaining angles passed through the granite walls and into the tomb. As they entered their radiance illuminated the tomb's chamber. The air in the chamber was sweet with the aroma of the embalming spices. Christ lay serenely as Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus had paced him.

The angels each took a position, one at the feet of Jesus and one near his head. Michael the Archangel sat at the Lord's side.

A time passed and then Jesus stirred and the angels kneeled and removed the linen burial cloths.  Michael touched his arm and Jesus removed the face cloth and looked into his eyes. "Michael," Jesus said, "You have come". "Yes," Michael replied, "Your Father sent us to minister to you and be with you until you come home to be with him".

Even Michael the Archangel was taken aback by the scene: the wounds, the cuts from the thorns. Tears streamed from his eyes for he loved his Lord.

Jesus sat up took the face cloth, folded it, and placed it on the ledge of the tomb.

Michael the Archangel touched the Lord's feet and the wounds were sealed, he touched to Lord's side and hands and the wounds were sealed. He wiped the Lord's brow with a warm damp cloth and the scars of the thorns were healed.

Then one of the angels provided drink and sustenance and garments for Jesus to wear.

"The time is near", Jesus said, "Soon she will come". "They all are frightened and alone," Jesus continued.  "I will provide them with comfort and assurance."

Michael, the Archangel, called to those angels guarding the tomb, "Rollaway the stone, for Jesus Christ the Lord is risen." And the enormous stone sealing the entrance was rolled away as the break of dawn illuminated the earth.

Jesus arose and walked to the tomb's entrance. He stopped and turning to the angels. Nodding to them he said, "You two shall remain here for a while and announce to the woman I have risen."

"Praise God unto the highest," the angels replied.

Jesus's disciples arrived at the tomb but only one entered.

 After the disciples departed, Mary, weeping, entered the tomb, the two angles greeted her and asked, "Why are you weeping?"

"They have taken my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him," Mary replied.

A voice from behind asked, "Woman why are you weeping?" "Whom are you seeking"?

Mary turned and the man standing just outside the tomb said, "Mary."  Mary recognizing Jesus said, "Teacher."

And Jesus said, "go and tell my disciples I have risen."

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Charlie Gerdes makes the right call on baseball deal

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb, PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want to Blog

St. Pete City Council Chairman, Charlie Gerdes made the right call by delaying a City Council discussion of the Rays stadium search deal. Why put City Council, the Rays and the Mayor through another embarrassing discussion of the Rays trying to weasel on their deal with the City.

This time around they proposed give up the development rights only if they cut a deal for a new stadium, in the mean time he City sits and waits for the Rays to determine the redevelopment future of 87 prime acres.

With all the talk about downtown development and the need to move quickly to capture the millennial movement, it seems a bit odd to let major league baseball hold the Trop site development rights hostage until they get a new stadium deal most likely not in St. Pete.

How about the Rays give up all of the development rights now in return for the ability to look anywhere they like with a stipulation that any City development on the site will leave at least 40 acres including the current stadium and parking until the Rays actually leave the Trop.

With a deal like this the City can begin the long and arduous task of planning the redevelopment of the stadium site and maybe even start some construction while the Rays continue to play baseball.

Or another option:

The Rays have indicated it will take about 2 years to negotiate a stadium deal and 5 years to build a new stadium. Why not kick this can down the road until 2019, and then turn the Rays loose to look anywhere for a new stadium. When the deal is all done it will be 2027 and the Rays can leave. Thus saving this annual misery and distraction for a few years.

In any scenario the early departure compensation needs to increase significantly.

Baseball is all about money, that's why there are no games on over the air TV this year. Baseball used to be for the common man; now it's for those who can afford over priced tickets, have cable, satellite or Internet sports packages.

As part of Council Chair Gerdes economic fact finding it would be interesting to take a survey of St. Pete citizens and see just how concerned they really are about the Rays leaving. It might also be interesting to see if there is a single company employing more than 5 people who moved to St. Pete just because we have a baseball team.

For now we have the rest of the year to work on the Rays issue. The Mayor, his dream team and City Council can spend some time focusing on what really matters: St. Petersburg.

E-mail Doc at: or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook and Twitter. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos