© St. Petersburg Times, published June 28, 2002
ANN LANDERS has left us.
MARTHA STEWART falters.
Woe are we, the advice-challenged of South Tampa.
But here on the pages of City Times, one can at least pretend.
DEAR ANN AND MARTHA: Whenever it rains, the little fish in South Tampa's Lake Kipling die. I've asked the mayor to help but he won't. What should I do? -- Exasperated Ellie, Sunset Park.
Dear Exasperated: Bravo, Ellie, for your civic conscience. But something smells fishy to me. Until you show City Hall that little fish matter as much as big ones, you'll never get anywhere. -- Ann
P.S. from Martha: Ellie, why not collect those dead fish? String them together with dried pine needles. They'll make a delightful centerpiece for a special seafood supper.
DEAR ANN AND MARTHA: I'm desperately trying to find a new store for our shopping center. Any suggestions? -- Persistent Pat, Old Hyde Park Village
Dear Persistent: These are tough times, Pat. Hang in there. If there's a will, there's a way. -- Ann
P.S. from Martha: A large Kmart could be just the solution for this unexpected summertime worry.
DEAR ANN AND MARTHA: We'd like to build a pool behind our waterfront mansion so that our sons do not grow up deprived. A nasty neighbor stands in the way. Is it wrong to throw water balloons? -- Bone Dry, Sunset Park
Dear Bone: Every week, I read letters from parents of unfortunate young children whose lives were full of hope and promise until an accidental fall into a swimming pool. Count your blessings. -- Ann
P.S. from Martha: You won't need a pool with my new sunless tanning cream. A tan without a burn: That's a good thing.
DEAR ANN AND MARTHA: I live in a senior citizens mobile home park. The state wants to put a 17-foot-high overpass right next to us, ruining the pool area. The whole place has gone to heck in a handbasket. What do we do? -- Stunned at Regency Cove
Dear Stunned: You're a gem, Stunned. Thank you for the lovely crocheted Elvis. If you stand your ground, no one can build on it. -- Ann
P.S. from Martha: Why not make the most of that concrete overpass? You could delight grandchildren by attaching a homemade basketball hoop fashioned from Popsicle sticks stained orange with carrot juice. And remember the sunless tanning cream.
DEAR ANN AND MARTHA: I've noticed that people in Hyde Park don't seem to cover their windows at night. I find myself standing in the bushes sometimes, watching. Sometimes I don't change position for weeks at a time. Is this normal behavior? -- Name Withheld, Bayshore Boulevard
Dear Bayshore: I'm greatly concerned about you, N.W. Cases of skin cancer have soared in the United States. Please be sure to wear sun block. -- Ann
P.S. from Martha: I'm often lost in the garden myself. Aren't leaves lovely?
DEAR ANN AND MARTHA: I seem to run out of gas nearly every day. I'm forced to carry an empty antifreeze jug, just in case it happens again. And I don't even have a car! What's up with this side of town? -- Out-of-gas man, at large
Dear Out: I smell a problem, Mr. Gas. Get counseling. You won't regret it. -- Ann
P.S. from Martha: Turn that empty antifreeze jug into a patriotic iced tea pitcher with an old pair of blue jeans and a couple of Target bags.
DEAR READERS: That's all for this week. With July 4 so near, I can't help but say, "Cheers." Have a safe holiday. -- Ann
P.S from Martha: Don't forget to save those used sparklers. With a little cotton, they become handy Q-tips for every occasion.
-- Tampa's Kennedy Boulevard was once called Grand Central. Now Grand Central is a weekly City Times column. Writer Patty Ryan can be reached at 226-3382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.