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Sunshine State stumpers

By CRAIG PITTMAN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 13, 2002

The race for governor is down to the wire, so it's time for the candidates to face their toughest test.

The race for governor is down to the wire, so it's time for the candidates to face their toughest test.

No, not the FCAT. It's our second annual quiz about this quirky place we call the Sunshine State. Putting a stoplight in Macclenny is nice, but can the candidates explain the Stingray Shuffle?

If Gov. Jeb Bush and challenger Bill McBride took this test, we would know whether they really care about Florida or if they'd be just as happy as governor of someplace like, oh, Minnesota.

* * *

1. Which city was the first to be settled by the Spanish?
A) St. Augustine
B) Pensacola
C) Ponce De Leon
D) Ybor City

2. True or false: Florida is the southernmost state in the union.

3. Once, Floridians sometimes spoke in hushed tones of a relative who had “gone to Chattahoochee.” This meant the relative had been:
A) Hired to work at some rich Yankee’s estate.
B) Locked up in the state’s toughest prison.
C) Confined to the state mental institution.
D) Elected to the Legislature.

4. In 1980, an all-white Tampa jury acquitted four former Miami police officers of manslaughter charges in the fatal beating of a black insurance executive they had stopped for speeding. The acquittals touched off three days of riots in Miami’s Liberty City. More than a dozen people were killed. Name the insurance executive.

5. Three of the following are Florida place names. Which one is fake?
A) Chokoloskee
B) Panasoffkee
C) Okahumpka
D) Wundalawtto

6. What Florida institution do these people have in common: Fashion magnate Aldo Gucci, Maryland Gov. Marvin Mandel, Cy Young Award-winning baseball pitcher LaMarr Hoyt, television evangelist Richard Dortch, U.S. Rep. Richard Kelly and Florida House Speaker Bolley “Bo” Johnson.

7. In a case that went to the Florida Supreme Court, a famous Florida author was sued by a neighbor offended by being mentioned in one of the author’s best-known books. The author was:
A) Carl Hiaasen
B) Ernest Hemingway
C) Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
D) Zora Neale Hurston

8.Small-town Florida has lots of quirky special events to draw in tourists. Match the festival with the community where it takes place:
1) Interstate Mullet Toss a) Umatilla
2) Swamp Cabbage Festival b) Lakeport
3) Sour Orange Festival c) LaBelle
4) Florida Black Bear Festival d) Perdido Key

9. In 1972, three retirees from a federal agency started a weekly newspaper in the island community of Sanibel. With the newspaper as a springboard, one of the retirees, Porter Goss, later became Sanibel’s first mayor, then a Lee County commissioner and eventually a prominent member of Congress. Name the federal agency from which Goss and his partners retired.

10. Jacksonville native James Weldon Johnson — author, poet, diplomat, civil rights leader and the first black man to pass the Florida Bar — wrote a song that has come to be known as the “Negro National Anthem.” What is its title?
A) We Shall Overcome
B) Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing
C) Fight the Power
D) Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud)

11. The animals that Florida health officials rely on to guard the state against encephalitis and other mosquito-borne diseases are called sentinel ______ .

12. True or false: Florida is the lightning capital of the world.

13. Advocates of capital punishment frequently cite the case of cross-country serial killer Ted Bundy as justification for continuing executions. Who signed Bundy’s death warrant?

14. Every fall, thousands of ——— —————stop at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge just south of Tallahassee to take a breather before continuing their long journey to Mexico.

15. Name two Jim Carrey movies filmed in Florida.

16. Before Disney came along, Florida’s top tourist attraction was an aquatic park that incorporated as a town on A1A, halfway between Daytona Beach and St. Augustine. Scenes from several Tarzan movies, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and some episodes of the TV show Sea Hunt were filmed there. Name it.

17. One of the first to promote Florida to Northern tourists was a woman famous for writing about a single-family dwelling. Name this 19th century novelist who was among the first to urge Northern tourists to visit her “tropical paradise.”

18. In 1963, two black men were convicted of killing a pair of white gas station attendants in Port St. Joe, even though no physical evidence linked them to the crime. They spent 12 years in prison, nine on death row. Even after another man confessed to the crime and passed a polygraph test, they were convicted again by a second all-white jury. A Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of the case by the Miami Herald led to Gov. Reubin Askew pardoning them. In 1998 the state paid the men $500,000 each by way of apology. Name them.

19. One of the following statements about Florida’s manatees is not true. Pick the falsehood.
A) They travel in packs of up to a dozen.
B) They have toenails.
C) They sometimes engage in homosexual behavior.
D) They were once used to keep aquatic weeds from clogging South Florida canals.

20. Long before Carl Hiaasen, et al., made Florida a hip setting for fictional thrillers, Sarasota author John D. MacDonald virtually created the form with a boat bum gumshoe named Travis McGee. Through 21 novels with color-coded titles, McGee solved murders, rescued fair damsels and ranted about corrupt developers and politicians. Name his houseboat, usually anchored at Slip F-18 at the Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale.

BONUS QUESTION: What kind of car did McGee drive and what did he call it?

* * *

-- Times researcher John Martin contributed to this story.


1) B. The Spanish settled Pensacola in 1559, but a hurricane virtually wiped them out, and the survivors left in 1561. St. Augustine was founded four years later.

2) False. Hawaii is farther south.

3) C. Opened in 1876, Florida State Hospital was the focal point in 1975 of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that said the hospital was wrong to lock up a patient against his will for 15 years with no treatment. “May the State fence in the harmless mentally ill solely to save its citizens from exposure to those whose ways are different?” Justice Potter Stewart wrote. “One might as well ask if the State, to avoid public unease, could incarcerate all who are physically unattractive or socially eccentric.”

4) Arthur McDuffie

5) D. (Say it slowly.)

6) All have been prison inmates at Eglin Air Force Base near Fort Walton Beach, at a minimum security facility derided by critics as “Club Fed.”

7) C. In 1947 the Florida Supreme Court ruled against Rawlings, deciding that her depiction in Cross Creek of a bossy, foul-mouthed neighbor invaded the woman’s privacy. However, the court said the invasion caused little harm and awarded damages of $1. The lawsuit proved such a distraction to Rawlings that she wrote only one more novel before her death.

8) 1-D, 2-C, 3-B, 4-A

9) The Central Intelligence Agency.

10) B.

11) Chickens.

12) False. Florida is merely the lightning capital of the Western Hemisphere. The African country of Rwanda is the lightning capital of the world.

13) Gov. Bob Martinez

14) Monarch butterflies

15) Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, filmed in South Florida, and The Truman Show, filmed in the retro Panhandle community of Seaside.

16) Marineland.

17) Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. While living on a bluff overlooking the St. Johns River in Reconstruction-era Florida, she wrote a series of sketches advertising the glories of her adopted state that were collected and published in 1873 as Palmetto Leaves.

18) Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee.

19) A. Except when they’re breeding or avoiding the cold, manatees tend to be solitary creatures.

20) The Busted Flush, so named because he won it in a poker game.

BONUS: His Rolls-Royce pickup truck was named “Miss Agnes.”


Give yourself one point for every correct answer. (Two points if you got both answers to No. 20).

21 correct: Congratulations! You qualify for a trip to the governor’s mansion . . . or to Chattahoochee.

15-20 correct: Very impressive, Ms. Reno.

10-14 correct: Nice try, but you ought to get out of the mall occasionally and check out a state park.

0-9 correct: You are not qualified to be governor of Florida. However, if you have a background in wrestling, you could have a future in Minnesota politics.

— Times researcher John Martin contributed to this story.

Makeup test: Did you miss our first Florida quiz, published in June 2001? Take it at

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