Tuesday, February 16, 2021

TOUCHDOWN!

 

We did it. WE WON! 45 Seasons.17 Years between Super Bowl wins.  WE MADE HISTORY as the first team to win on tour home field!

My wife and I love football and we were Miami Dolphins fans until the Bucs came to Tampa and now we are die-hard Tampa Bay Bucs fans…through the good, the bad and the ugly, this Super Bowl was worth the very long wait between Super Bowl wins! Even though we didn’t get to celebrate with all our friends this time due to the pandemic, we ate just as much junk food and consumed as much wine as always. Did you know that the Super Bowl is the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day? In addition, the Super Bowl has frequently been the most-watched American television broadcast of the year. 

If you are a football fan...read on! Here’s a bit about the history of our favorite sports day of the year and about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

According to Wikipedia, the NFL officially formed in 1920, but the Super Bowl didn’t happen until more than 40 years later. In 1960, a group of businessmen who wanted to own football franchises—but were denied by the NFL—decided to launch an alternative league, known as the American Football League (AFL). For several years, the NFL and AFL were gridiron rivals, competing for fans, players and support. Then, in 1966, owners negotiated an agreement to merge the leagues by 1970.

The first Super Bowl took place on January 15, 1967, and included the NFL’s Green Bay Packers against the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. The game was held at the Los Angeles Coliseum, and even though ticket prices averaged just $12, it was the only Super Bowl that didn’t sell out. (We were offered tickets to this 2021 game for only $10,000 each!) That first Super Bowl game aired on two different networks and drew in an audience of more than 61,000 fans. The Packers outperformed the Chiefs, winning 35-10. The next year, the Packers decisively won again in Super Bowl II, defeating the Oakland Raiders 33-14. Many began to question whether the AFL teams could hold their own in the NFL. But the next year, the AFL’s New York Jets, led by quarterback Joe Namath, defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Super Bowl IV was the last game played between the two leagues, and the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings, 23-7. The popularity of the event continued to grow after the leagues integrated. With the rise of cable TV, the Internet, and other entertainment options, the country rarely pauses to watch or follow the same event, except in cases of national tragedy. But the Super Bowl is an exception.

According to Britannica, The Buccaneers were established in 1976, and they posted a lousy 0–14 record in their initial season in the NFL. After playing their first season in the American Football Conference (AFC), the Bucs moved to their current conference in 1977. The team’s losing ways continued in the NFC, as Tampa Bay did not record the first win in franchise history until December 1977, and its 26-game losing streak remains an NFL record. These early Buccaneer teams were notable for the presence of future Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon and for their charismatic head coach John McKay, whose many quips about the team’s failures endeared him to football fans nationwide.

Led by quarterback Doug Williams, in 1979 the Bucs, to the surprise of most of us, won 10 games and qualified for the postseason, where they advanced to the conference championship game but lost to the Los Angeles Rams. Tampa Bay went on to playoff berths in both 1981 and 1982, before falling back to the bottom of the conference standings with a 2–14 record in 1983. The 1983 campaign began a dubious streak of 12 consecutive seasons that saw the Buccaneers post double-digit loss totals. 

We began to turn it around in the late 1990's as head coach Tony Dungy built one of the best defenses in the NFL, featuring tackle Warren Sapp, linebacker Derrick Brooks, and defensive backs John Lynch and Ronde Barber. The Bucs made four postseason appearances in the five seasons between 1997 and 2001, but the offensively limited team scored fewer than 10 points in each of its four playoff losses in that span, and Dungy was fired in early 2002 despite his regular-season success

Then the Buccaneers hired head coach Jon Gruden to improve the team’s offense, but it was our top-ranked defense in the league that helped the team post a 12–4 record in 2002 and upset the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC championship game the following January. At Super Bowl XXXVII the Bucs soundly defeated the Oakland Raiders 48–21 to capture their first championship. 

The Bucs missed out on the postseason the following two years but returned to the playoffs after the 2005 and 2007 seasons, both of which ended in opening-round losses at home. A late-season collapse by the team in 2008—the Bucs lost four consecutive games to close out the season which led to the firing of Gruden and a massive coaching, management, and roster turnover in an attempt to rebuild the franchise from the ground up.

Although the Bucs won 10 games in 2010 (but missed out on the playoffs), that rebuilding effort ultimately proved unsuccessful. The team followed this with a surprise hire of college coach Greg Schiano, who was fired at the end of the 2013 season. The Buccaneers rebuilt around young quarterback Jameis Winston, and the team posted its first winning record in six seasons in 2016 (9–7). However, that revival was short-lived, and the team posted consecutive 5–11 records in 2017 and 2018.

The Buccaneers shocked the football world in the 2020 off-season when the team signed old man quarterback Tom Brady in free agency, ending his 20-year career with the New England Patriots. Brady immediately showed that the Bucs’ talented roster was simply missing solid quarterback play, as Tampa Bay won 11 games to earn a playoff berth. In the postseason the team ran off three straight road victories to advance to the second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. The Bucs SOUNDLY defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl to win their second championship!

We hope next season brings back our tailgate parties and many more wins...and who knows? Maybe another Super Bowl win! GO BUCS!

Monday, January 18, 2021

I Surrender!

 


  • "Unconditional Surrender”
  • Artist: Seward Johnson
  • Aluminum, 26 feet tall
  • Originally displayed in Sarasota in 2005 as a temporary exhibit
  • Purchased by late World War II veteran and Sarasota resident Jack Curran from the Sculpture Foundation (now Seward Johnson Atelier) and loaned to the city for 10 years
  • Formally became part of the city’s public art collection in 2020
  • ‘Surrendered’ (relocated) in January 2021 to an area of Bayfront Park between O’Leary’s Tiki Bar and Grill and Marina Jack to make way for the construction of the roundabout at Gulfstream Ave. and US 41.

I recently sold a condo on Palm Avenue and spent a lot of time around the Sarasota Bayfront leading up to this sale. One day I witnessed a 'strange' sight! As most of you recently read in the local news, the iconic Unconditional Surrender statue located at US 41 and Gulfstream Avenue was just moved in anticipation of the construction of a roundabout, set to begin this February. That was the sight I witnessed!

Each time I drive by the Sarasota Bayfront, it reminds me of how much the area has changed throughout my lifetime in Sarasota. My wife Liz’s family goes back almost four generations in Sarasota and Manatee County and she remembers old family stories of a yellow house which belonged to her Uncle Zeke, just south of Church of the Redeemer. This was long before that WWII sailor kissed the dental assistant (no, she was not a nurse!) on V-J Day in 1945. Of course Uncle Zeke’s Florida cracker house has long since been replaced by a high-rise condominium…across the street from Unconditional Surrender!

J. Steward Johnson’s giant kissing statue parked alongside U.S. 41 has been beloved and despised in Sarasota since it first appeared in that spot for a temporary visit in 2005. The 26-foot-high statue depicting George Mendossa, a World War II sailor kissing a woman, Greta Zimmer Friedman, on V-J Day in 1945 and inspired by an iconic photograph, has had its detractors but it’s undeniably popular. 

Sarasota's Bayfront Park has had the "kissing sailor" statue has surrendered their spot several times. In 2012, a car struck it, knocking a hole about the size of a microwave oven out of the sailor’s foot. The anti-statue folks got a few months’ reprieve before the repaired smooching duo were returned to their prominent pedestal. Tourists and locals alike flock to it, passing their cameras off to someone who can capture their efforts to replicate the giant figures’ pose. The statue has also been the backdrop of many protests and marches, including the 2016 Women’s March, which saw thousands gather at the Sarasota Bayfront park. The “Unconditional Surrender” statue has also attracted the attention of vandals. On April Fools Day in 2015, someone added a pink substance, made to resemble chewing gum, to the heel of the woman. 

In 2019, the statue made national headlines when someone spray painted ”#MeToo” across the man’s legs the day after George Mendosa, the sailor depicted in the photograph that inspired the statue, died. Although the original image of Mendosa kissing Greta Zimmer Friedman has long been heralded for epitomizing the joy shared throughout the world upon the ending of hostilities in 1945, it has come under scrutiny, with many accusing Mendosa of assault. But in a 2005 interview, Friedman’s son said the kiss was nonconsensual, but that his mother understood it was a “jubilant act,” telling the New York Times that she did not view the kiss as an assault at all. On that day, they threw anything and kissed anybody in Times Square!

So whether or not you think our kissing statue is art, it is certainly popular…maybe more so than the road construction of new roundabout which caused its latest move! And if you would like a bird's eye view of Unconditional Surrender, I can help you find a great condo on the Sarasota Bayfront!

Here is a great video about the kissing couple and how they ended up on the cover of Life Magazine!



Sunday, December 20, 2020

12 Days of Christmas Humor


With all the craziness of this past year, I thought that it would be a good time to revisit this hilarious holiday post. I don't know who the author is, but it brings a smile year after year...and we sure do need that smile about now! 



12 Days of Christmas Correspondence

Dearest John:

I went to the door today and the postman delivered a partridge in a pear tree. What a delightful gift. I couldn't have been more surprised.

With dearest love and affection, Agnes

***

December 15th

Dearest John:

Today the postman brought your very sweet gift. Just imagine, two turtle doves.... I'm just delighted at your very thoughtful gift. They are just adorable.

All my love, Agnes

***

December 16th

Dear John:

Oh, aren't you the extravagant one! Now I must protest. I don't deserve such generosity. Three french hens. They are just darling but I must insist.... you're just too kind.

Love Agnes

***

December 17th

Today the postman delivered four calling birds. Now really! They are beautiful, but don't you think enough is enough? You're being too romantic.

Affectionately, Agnes

***

December 18th

Dearest John:

What a surprise! Today the postman delivered five golden rings. One for each finger. You're just impossible, but I love it. Frankly, John, all those squawking birds were beginning to get on my nerves.

All my love, Agnes

***

December 19th

Dear John:

When I opened the door there were actually six geese-a-laying on my front steps. So you're back to the birds again, huh? Those geese are huge. Where will I ever keep them? The neighbors are complaining and I can't sleep through the racket. PLEASE STOP!

Cordially, Agnes

***

December 20th

John:

What's with you and those birds???? Seven swans-a-swimming. What kind of joke is this? There's bird do-do all over the house and they never stop the racket. I'm a nervous wreck and I can't sleep all night. IT'S NOT FUNNY.......So stop with those birds.

Sincerely, Agnes

***

December 21st

OK Buster:

I think I prefer the birds. What am I going to do with eight maids-a-milking? It's not enough with all those birds and eight maids-a-milking, but they had to bring their own cows. There is poop all over the lawn and I can't move into my own house. Just lay off me. .

Ag

***

December 22nd

Hey:

What are you? Some kind of sadist? Now there's nine pipers playing. And do they play! They never stopped chasing those maids since they got here yesterday morning. The cows are upset and are stepping all over those screeching birds. No wonder they screech. What am I going to do? The neighbors have started a petition to evict me. You'll get yours.

From Ag

***

December 23rd

You Creep!

Now there's ten ladies dancing - I don't know why I call them ladies. Now the cows can't sleep and they've got diarrhea. My living room is a river of poop. The commissioner of buildings has subpoenaed me to give cause why the building shouldn't be condemned. I'm sicking the police on you.

One who means it, Ag

***

December 24th

Listen Idiot:

What's with the eleven lords a-leaping? All 234 of the birds are dead. I hope you're satisfied, you rotten swine.

Your sworn enemy, Miss Agnes McCallister

***

December 25th (From the law offices Taeker, Spedar, and Baegar)

Dear Sir:

This is to acknowledge your latest gift of twelve fiddlers fiddling, which you have seen fit to inflict on our client, Miss Agnes McCallister. The destruction, of course, was total. All correspondence should come to our attention. If you should attempt to reach Miss McCallister at Happy Dale Sanitarium, the attendants have instructions to call the police on sight. With this letter, please find attached a warrant for your arrest.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Thanks & Gratitude...Every Day!

 

I don’t believe in setting aside one day a year as Thanksgiving Day, especially in the ‘age of COVID-19’. Liz and I will be celebrating separate from our families this year, but that's OK. I have always thought that we should be thankful more often than once a year, on the fourth Thursday of November. We should take the time during this week and the next and the next to show gratitude to everyone who has made a difference in our lives.

When life is going well, gratitude allows us to celebrate and magnify the goodness. But what about when life goes badly, like these past nine months? In the midst of the pandemic and the economic maelstrom that has gripped our country, should we feel grateful under such awful circumstances? Yes. It is essential. In fact, it is precisely under crisis conditions when we have the most to gain by a grateful perspective on life. 

Trials and suffering can actually refine and deepen gratefulness if we allow them to show us not to take things for granted. Thanksgiving, was born and grew out of hard times. The first Thanksgiving took place after nearly half the pilgrims died from a rough winter and year. It became a national holiday in 1863 in the middle of the Civil War and was moved to its current date in the 1930s following the Depression. 

According to Robert Emmons at Berkley, when times are good, people take prosperity for granted and begin to believe that they are invulnerable. In times of uncertainty, though, people realize how powerless they are to control their own destiny. If you begin to see that everything you have, everything you have counted on, may be taken away, it becomes much harder to take it for granted. But gratitude does not come easily or naturally in a crisis. It’s easy to feel grateful for the good things. In the face of demoralization, gratitude has the power to energize. In the face of brokenness, gratitude has the power to heal. In the face of despair, gratitude has the power to bring hope. In other words, gratitude can help us cope with hard times. I agree!

So if you are distant from family and friends on Thanksgiving this year because of the pandemic, it really is OK. Hopefully by next year, we will be back to what is more normal. Hopefully, we will be grateful that we all got through this awful time together and will be sitting at the Thanksgiving table together, intact. And in the meantime, just be grateful every single day for what we DO have!

My success as a Realtor in Sarasota, Florida relies on the recommendations and support of those close to me, and I want to take a moment and say a heartfelt thank you to my wife, Liz, who is the wind beneath my wings, to my family and friends, to Re/Max Alliance Group and to all of the loyal people in my life who continuously support me. I am very, very grateful. 


I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving...stay safe and be well!

 

 

 


Friday, October 16, 2020

Orange Juice – Florida’s Liquid Gold

I bet most of you have a container of orange juice in your refrigerator. I do. I drink it every morning and add it to margaritas on the weekends. Those of us who grew up in Florida like I did probably take OJ for granted. My wife grew up in Southgate, which was an orange grove before homes were built there. Her home, as did all the homes on her street, had a row of orange trees in the backyard. As kids, we always had numerous mason jars of fresh squeezed OJ in our freezer…we rarely had to buy it! But when we did buy it, Tropicana was one of the only choices. I recently had to be in Bradenton and drove past their huge plant and waited at the railroad tracks for a train carrying tons of oranges. The “juice trains,” as they are now known, used to be white but now are all orange and serve as a powerful form of advertising, running 10 trips each week to Jersey City and Cincinnati. Additional shipments trek 3,000 miles to California in specially-equipped refrigerated cars.

At one point, Tropicana`s machines in the plant processed 700 oranges a minute, automatically extracting all the juice at a rate of up to 1.3 million gallons a day, while oils are removed from the peels and the peels are processed into cattle feed high in protein and carbohydrates.

So here’s little history of OJ! Anthony T. Rossi, was an Italian immigrant who arrived in the U.S. with just $25. Florida orange juice proved to be liquid gold. Rossi founded Tropicana in Bradenton in 1947, delivering fresh-squeezed juice to local residents. In 1954, he found a way to pasteurize the juice and was soon shipping millions of gallons around the country.

By 1970, Tropicana shipped bulk orange juice via insulated boxcars in a weekly round-trip from Florida to Kearny, New Jersey. By the following year, the company ran two 60-car trains a week, each carrying approximately 1 million gallons of juice. That was the year the “Great White Juice Train” (the first unit train in the food industry, consisting of 150 100-ton insulated boxcars) began service over the 1,250-mile route. An additional 100 cars were soon added to the fleet with small mechanical refrigeration units installed to control temperature. Tropicana saved $40 million in fuel costs alone during the first 10 years in operation. Rossi’s immense success in the fresh orange juice market earned him the title: “The Father of Chilled Juice in Florida.” In 1978, Rossi retired and sold Tropicana for nearly $500 million!

Today Tropicana, now a division of PepsiCo, is the world’s largest producer of branded juice. And although citrus greening and changing tastes have reduced consumption in recent years, the average American still drinks more than three gallons of the sweet, sunny-hued beverage a year. Their juice is 100 percent oranges. A 59-ounce container contains juice from 16 fresh oranges and a tiny amount of natural oils from the peel. Juice extractors squeeze 34,000 oranges per minute and the plant processes 48 million oranges and fills 2.5 million containers in one day, for a total of 900 million containers per year. 

The processing plant operates 24 hours, seven days a week, employing employs 900 workers. There are 2,000 to 2,500 workers who pick oranges. About 95% of Florida’s orange crop goes to juice. Sadly, citrus greening disease has dropped Florida orange production from 244 million boxes in 1998 to 70 million this season. Florida produces 49 percent of U.S. oranges, just behind California, where greening hasn’t hit commercial groves.

So enjoy a glass of Liquid Gold OJ…made in America, made in Florida, made right here at Tropicana! Cheers!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Cabin Fever? Park It!


When I was a kid in Sarasota, I spent many hours outside, climbing the banyan trees in my neighborhood, riding my bike, running on the beach and many other outdoor activities that most kids do. I was a Boy Scout and spent those days camping and roaming the woods and enjoying nature at Camp Flying Eagle. Then we grow up and get too busy for our own good. We think we have to 'go on vacation' to spend time playing outside as adults. And now that we have a really good reason to spend time in the fresh air, we just don't do it enough.

The COVID-19 pandemic has tended to keep most us close to home and thankfully, we can work from home most of the time. But sometimes, we want to get away! We are being very careful so we don’t go out to dinner or to concerts and plays and the like. But this can lead to ‘cabin fever’. Knowing that spending time outside in the fresh air is fairly safe if social distanced, we plan to ‘park it' more often, especially now that Fall is right around the corner and we have a ton of places in Sarasota to choose from.

Beyond Sarasota County's beautiful beaches, shopping, dining and cultural amenities, there really is something else to make you feel better…get a glimpse of Sarasota’s "natural" side and its authentic beauty in our area parks! Sarasota county is home to many local parks and some of Florida's beautiful state parks as well, including Myakka River State Park, Spanish Point, Oscar Scherer State Park and Myakka State Forest. All are unique and feature a special, pristine Florida.

Everybody benefits from the offerings our parks provide. Direct exposure to nature has its own benefits on mental health, reducing stress and increasing happiness. In our increasingly digital world, unplugging is more important than ever. Being outdoors makes you healthier and happier. Fortunately, you don’t need to drive for days to a remote national park or drop a grand on fancy gear to enjoy the life-improving power of the outdoors. The nature fix you crave is closer than you think. There are so many reasons to head to one of Sarasota’s parks and take a refreshing break. Even walking for 25 minutes through a greenspace has positive benefits for your brain.

We have easy access to park and recreation amenities. You should just go. Put your cellphone down. Turn off the dang news. We all need  peace and tranquility in this crazy world. Go sit on a bench and catch up with nature. People watch. Bring a picnic lunch. Take in the sunset. That's the best thing about most parks! You don't really need to have a plan or have to “do” anything to enjoy—and benefit from—them. Simply going for walk by yourself is reason enough. Be a kid again!

Here is a link to help you find an area park that’s just right for you…you won’t believe how many there are to choose from!

Click here to find a park in Sarasota!

One of our favorite parks is Historic Spanish Point...take a look at this video and if you haven't been and would love a quiet walk through Florida history, GO!




Friday, August 21, 2020

Reinventing Myself...My Road to Becoming a Realtor in Sarasota!


When I was a teenager, my first job experience was working with my dad. He was a builder in Sarasota who bought empty lots, built spec houses one at a time and sold them. I was exposed to every aspect of building a home and after I put in my time in the Air Force, I had a few other professions, including…building houses again. Everything back then was by the book…literally. There were no computers to design houses, order materials for houses or MLS software to sell houses. But then it happened. The thing that tied everything together for me later in life. Computers.

My first computer did not have a hard drive or a mouse and had to be booted with a 5 ¼ floppy disk which loaded the operating system. Then another floppy had to be loaded with whichever program I wanted to run, such as a spreadsheet or a word processing program. The year was about 1988 and I had been bitten by the computer bug. I found it fascinating, logical and I began learning on my own.

Fast forward to 1998. In what seems like a decade that flew by, computers had exploded into our everyday world. At that time, I was a computer programmer and trainer. I taught DOS, accounting and programming classes at what was then known as Sarasota VoTech, and became SCTI, Suncoast Technical Institute. I was also a private computer consultant to small local businesses and I built and sold computers on the side. I finally decided I needed to reinvent myself using what I know and love, so in 1998, I began my career as the IT (Information Technology) Director at Re/Max Properties, now known as Re/Max Alliance Group. Back then, pretty much everything concerning buying and selling homes was still on paper; only the business systems and accounting were managed on computers.

These were the early days of transitioning to MLS software on the computer and more importantly in today’s world, moving from paper to paperless Real Estate transactions. At that time, not many of the Agents had personal computers, but that changed quickly and my Re/Max office grew and built a much larger building. It was my job to set up the entire network of hundreds of computers and related equipment in this new office to take us forward into the 21st century. I have memories of my wife Liz crawling around on the floor, hooking up the network drops for all the new computer workstations & printers for the agents. For the next 10 years, I held their hands when they were frustrated with all the new technology; I trained them on all the various software programs needed to do transactions…and we spewed out a LOT of paper! Our Re/Max office and the department I managed was one of the first Real Estate offices in Florida where transactions became paperless! We had entered the world of online forms that could be filled out and signed virtually.

After 10 years of serving the staff and agents and Re/Max…and learning from them, I decided it was time to use everything I had learned, reinvent myself again and become a Realtor. Fast forward again to today. Now I fly through home searches on MLS, sign offers and contracts online, manage my client contacts from special software programs (as opposed to a Roladex!), create timelines for all of our sales, set up property showings online, open locks with my cellphones to show homes…it’s a completely different world. And in such a short amount of time! Magic! Had it not been for the ability to conduct business online virtually, this ‘age of COVID19’ would have been devastating to our business.

The introduction and adoption of technology by Real Estate agents has clearly provided access to information such as listings, mortgage rates, fees and neighborhood demographics--previously unavailable to consumers. That increase in the quantity of available information has led to better quality information which, in turn, has led to better-informed consumers. Armed with more information, clients have demanded more specialized services as well as better service from Real Estate agents such as myself. 

As it turned out, I was was heavily involved in every aspect of the housing industry, from building the product to helping design some of the original Real Estate contract online systems, to getting the property information from multiple brokerages online, and finally helping the public find the ideal home for themselves.  I was literally on the ground floor of all of this…building homes, the computer revolution and selling homes. I am grateful that for the past 12 years, I have been able to pass on my expertise as a Realtor to assist my clients and help them find just the right home in my hometown…Sarasota!