St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

Before Indy vs. Chicago, it's TV size vs. convenience

Published February 4, 2007


I am not what you'd call a popular guy.

Most of my time is spent looking through that little hole in the back of my camera or looking at my computer screen or looking through the bug-coated windshield of my vehicle, driving the relaxing roads of Tampa Bay.

So I don't really get out much and apparently have acquired a reputation for declining invitations to soirees, fetes, keggers and clambakes alike. Needless to say, after a while the invites stopped coming.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself with five requests to attend separate versions of the annual bacchanal that is the Super Bowl Party. More surprising, I'm considering going. The question: Which one?

Now, there are many variables to be considered. All of the invitations came from male friends, so of course the first qualification listed was the size of their television screen.

It would be simple to make a decision based solely on size. One co-worker says he has a 52-inch screen, while my editor offers a 61-incher. Another friend has two 36-inch TVs. (Does that equal 72 inches?) The clear winner in the size category comes from my sister's fiance, who has a real 72-inch HDTV.

So the age-old question arises once again. Does size matter?

Many of my male friends, after first noting the size of their screen, will insist it is not the size, but the quality, that makes the difference. Their questions come rolling out. Is it true high definition, plasma or projection? Surround sound, DLP mirrors or something called Ambilight? Would you really want the walls in your house to reflect the colors of Rex Grossman's face after he throws that third interception?

All the women immediately advise me to go with the 72-inch screen, no questions asked.

To spend time with my sister, of course.

"Hey," they add defensively. "Family is important."

So is it truly a game of inches, as they say? Or should I be asking intimate questions about their true DPI resolution?

There are other factors. The one with the 61-inch screen is technically my boss, and promises wings, munchies, beer and a jacuzzi. All are good reasons to go. Plus, never miss an opportunity to witness your superiors in embarrassing situations. But it is located south of the Skyway Bridge, which might be a deal-breaker considering I live in New Port Richey.

My sister is a great cook and they have a really nice billiard table, but their dog always stares at me funny. Maybe it is because I smell like my cat, but it does get distracting after a few hours. And visiting them will mean I have, yet again, declined all the other invitations from my friends, a trend I'm trying to reverse. Plus, it's not a flat panel, but a projection TV. That is sooooo 2005.

Now the one with the newest TV and, likely, the highest quality is the fellow photojournalist with the 52-inch plasma flat-panel screen. A respectable size. He is also likely to have the most alcohol and the hottest attendees, but his party is also most likely to devolve into a drunken brawl resulting in the destruction of said TV before the half-time commercials, which I don't want to miss again. (Last year I fell asleep before they aired.) Plus, I'm not good at explaining things to the police.

Which brings me to the friend with the two 36-inch TVs. He swears this will be a "get-together," not a party. And he is not providing any alcohol so the likelihood of any police presence is greatly diminished. Plus many of my close friends will likely be there and he has suggested he might try to cook if he wakes up before 4 p.m. He is famous for bringing delicious food to many a party, but I think it's really his mom who makes it. However, he lives in a very ritzy neighborhood and I just wouldn't feel right parking my rusting 1992 Suzuki Samurai among the Bentleys and Lexus SUVs, if the guard at the gate would even let me in. And, he gives terrible directions, so I probably wouldn't find it anyway.

Unfortunately the only thing that really matters is that my New Orleans Saints didn't make it to the big game. Otherwise I'd be on my way to Miami. I've been a WhoDat since Bobby Hebert was the quarterback and I have an autographed Archie Manning rookie card, which is one of the reasons I hope his son Peyton can help win a ring for Tony Dungy.

And whether that happens or not, by the time they hand out the trophy I'll most likely be snoring on my couch with my cat Hobbes curled up next to me.

Did I mention that I recently bought a plasma, flat-panel HD TV?

It's 42 inches.

Lance Aram Rothstein is a Times photojournalist in Pasco County.

[Last modified February 3, 2007, 20:14:05]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters