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A riff with real reverberations

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By ERNEST HOOPER, Times Columnist

© St. Petersburg Times
published March 7, 2003


I laughed, I cried and I cheered at the Hillsborough County Bar Association's 17th annual Law Follies Thursday night.

Okay, I didn't cry, but I did find the skits and songs presented by this band of attorneys and judges awfully entertaining, and only a few were awful.

In a 75-minute performance at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, the cast skewered an array of newsmakers that included Strom Thurmond, Trent Lott, land speculator Don Connolly, former Hillsborough Judge Cynthia Holloway's rock-climbing wall and the law firm Morgan, Colling & Gilbert.

As I walked up to the the performing arts center, someone said I must be pretty desperate for column items. But the talent, particularly the singing, was impressive. The show has grown from a small production performed with pre-recorded music to a full production with an all-lawyer band.

They seldom missed a beat on the musical numbers, but in my mind, four people deserve special recognition.

Nancy Silva, a city attorney, led the cast in a send-up of mayoral candidate Pam Iorio, sung to the tune of Joan Jett's I Love Rock and Roll. Mark Payne paid homage to Bucs coach Jon Gruden with Oh Chucky Boy. Benjamin Older provided much laughter with his Jeb Bush spoof: I've Got A Devious Plan (to the tune of An American Band).

But the show-stoppers were Dyann Beatty of the state attorney general's office and workers' compensation judge Doris Jenkins. Their medley of Send In The Clones and The Tears Of A Clone featured genius lyrics and terrific singing.

The Raelians would have been proud.

* * *

Let's see: repeal the class size and light rail amendments or accept a bare-minimum budget. That sounds a lot like extortion to me, but it's not the only option for the governor and the Legislature.

Here's another idea: Find additional sources of revenue. In good times, when the state had a budget surplus, Bush gave away dollar bills like they were campaign bumper stickers.

Now that we've hit rock bottom, isn't it time to take away some tax exemptions and get some of that money back?

Even some members of the Republican Party would like to talk about the possibility of raising taxes. Staunch conservatives say Floridians don't want more taxes, but last year, there were nine local tax initiatives on the ballot around the state, and eight of them passed.

Citizens are willing to give a little more as long as they trust elected officials to do right with the money.

And don't you trust Jeb?

* * *

Florida A&M alumni living in Tampa have not had a lot to celebrate in recent years. The Florida Classic football game and the FAMU Law School both opted for Orlando over Tampa, even though our city is chock full of Rattler graduates.

Now the Tampa chapter of the school's alumni association is looking to "re-establish a FAMU presence" in Hillsborough County with a March 16 reception for president Fred Gainous at the Doubletree Westshore (4500 W Cypress). Call 620-0490 for more information.

* * *

Unique business names always catch my eye. In the spirit of Red Neck Trailer Supplies and Fat Boy's Beauty Supply featured in previous columns, we now have a residential cleaning service that merits attention: Two Chicks & A Bucket.

"My girlfriend and I were just sitting on our patio and bouncing names back and forth," said Christy Mikolajewski. "She said, "Two Chicks & A Bucket,' and I said, "Yes! That's it.' "

That was almost three years ago. Since then, customers have fallen in love with the name. Now Mikolajewski is planning on incorporating and significantly increasing business for her cleaning service, which services Brandon as well as Tampa.

Although her plans call for adding a number of employees, not to mention buckets, the name will stay the same. Ten Chicks & Eight Buckets just doesn't have the same ring.

That's all I'm saying.

-- Ernest Hooper can be reached at (813) 226-3406 or hooper@sptimes.com .

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