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Positive pyramids

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AMY SCHERZER'S DIARY
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By AMY SCHERZER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 10, 2002


SURGEONS AND SPHINX: Physicians and Pharaohs, cardiologists and Cleopatras. Tampa General Hospital Foundation's "Explore Ancient Egypt" gala at Busch Gardens unwrapped like a spinning mummy.

Egyptian garb or casual safari set the style for the $250-a-ticket bash. Former Chief Judge Dennis Alvarez took one look at Mayor Dick Greco's Julius Caesar get-up and said, "That's why I'm not running for mayor."

TGH Foundation chairman Jim "King Tut" Warren emceed dinner in the Tomb of the FestHaus.

Putting an incubator and baby ventilator next to the silent auction display made it clear the night's proceeds, more than $145,000, were for the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.

The live auction of four packages went fast. Sandy and Dottie Berger MacKinnon's $5,000 bid gets them dinner at Chez Straz, home of Catherine and David Straz, cooked by Mayor Dick Greco. When the reverse raffle was drawn -- last name drawn gets first prize -- board member Al Silva won a trip to Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe.

The Mystic Sheiks blasted onto the stage, played five songs, then led the 450 guests in a musical parade to the Nairobi train station. They rolled into the theme park's Egyptian Village for dessert and cordials, carnival games, tattoos, roller coaster rides and dancing to Full Circle. Infectious diseases chief John Sinnott rode the Montu five times; hospital chief executive officer Ron Hytoff braved it just once.

It was close to midnight when honorary chairwoman Linda McClintock Greco joined the band to sing La Bamba in Spanish. The wild ride ended for some, but not the Grecos and the Strazes. The frisky foursome headed to Ybor City, still in Egyptian tunics, where they blended right in with the human party animals.

* * *

DANCING ON THE DRAFTING TABLE: Clients, colleagues, friends and a former college roommate helped Sol Fleischman Jr. celebrate his "first 30 years" as a Tampa architect. Fraternity brother Steve Uhlfelder surprised Fleischman at the May 1 reception at the Fleischman-Garcia office in Hyde Park. Fleischman and Tallahassee attorney Uhlfelder were Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity brothers at the University of Florida in 1965.

* * *

GREEN BASH: Who will inspire next year's Mayor's Beautification Program and its annual fundraiser, SilverSpoons & Sandcastles? Three mayoral candidates at last week's auction party seem more than willing. Mayor Dick Greco's possible successors -- Bob Buckhorn, Charlie Miranda and Frank Sanchez -- grazed buffets with 700 others at the A La Carte Pavilion. As often as they appear together these days, they might consider a car pool.

Auction organizers showed forethought by offering tickets to next year's Florida State Fair and entry into the 2003 Gasparilla Distance Classic. An elm tree up for bid made sense, but that box of romance novels was a novelty.

Some Tampa notables joined professional artists to paint 50 clay pots for auction. Some should keep their day jobs, but Bucs coach Jon Gruden's design of a Bucs logo and diagram of a football play sold for $120.

Funded in 1989 for then-Mayor Sandy Freedman, the Mayor's Beautification Program coordinated more than 10,000 hours of donated labor for landscaping projects last year.

* * *

AHOY SEAFARERS: Lovely, elegant and gracious describes both the Anchor Ball and Shirley McKay Savage Knight, the winner of the first Capt. James McKay Port Achievement Award.

Knight was just starting dinner in the Marriott Waterside ballroom when she realized that Port chief executive officer George Williamson was reading her resume aloud.

"I had no inkling. I started to cry, I was so honored," Knight said. "The port has always been a big part of my life."

Knight ran Savage Shipping from 1982 to 1998. She was consul to Norway and Denmark from 1983 to 1998, and was knighted by royalty of both countries in 1994.

Saturday night's black-tie ball and auction, the port's first fundraiser for construction of a Seafarers' Center, will certainly not be the last. The facility will be built in 2004 so the thousands of crew members passing through the port can send e-mail, get counseling, shop and socialize.

Knight's award is named for her great-grandfather, James McKay, who settled in Tampa in October 1846. He bought a line of schooners and shipped cattle to Cuba for three decades. He was Tampa's third mayor and a founder of the port.

McKay's heirs grew up to be both sea captains and mayors -- and, of course, Shirley.

* * *

WIN, PLACE, SHOW: Easter Seals was the winner. Michael and Joy Murray's Tampa Palms home in the Reserve was the place. The Kentucky Derby was the show. Saturday afternoon's benefit brought 200 patrons to watch War Emblem run for the roses on a 9-foot television screen in the Murrays' media room.

Dixieland jazz came from the Joe Teston Quartet, and the Columbia Restaurant donated the "Old Kentucky Home" buffet. Richard Gonzmart had his Spanish chef prepare all the traditional derby day recipes. Michael's parents, bay area philanthropists Nancy and Ray Murray, ate dinner at the kitchen island. Daughter-in-law Joy has been an Easter Seals volunteer for more than 10 years.

Bets were $20 to win, place or show, and $50 for a trifecta, all going to Easter Seals. Win or lose, everyone left with a small bottle of Maker's Mark whiskey, two cigars and a silver-plated mint julep cup.

* * *

FLOCK OF ANGELS: Red Cross Angels descended on the home of Carl Lindell for the Silver Membership Coffee on April 30. Lindell, who loaned out his home for the event, did pop in to say hello, said president Margaret Ann Koulouris, "and he kept thanking me as I was trying to thank him.

"We picked up a few new Angels, which is the purpose of the Silver Coffee," she said. New officers take over at a May 20 installation luncheon at the Don Vicente de Ybor, home of longtime angel Helen Chavez's restaurant. Nancy Anderson is incoming president.

- To pass along tips to Amy Scherzer, reach her at 226-3332 or scherzer@sptimes.com.

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