Bagels and guns, Hagel and Sugg, Meinke and The Lens — plus an alarming restaurant critique — all lit up our comments sections in recent weeks at cltampa.com.
Several readers agreed with Jon Palmer Claridge’s assessment of Clearwater Bagels as the area’s best (“The great Tampa Bay bagel search,” Jan. 3). “As good as [I] got back in Brookline,” wrote Michael Hoag. But others complained of omissions. Skye Powell asked why there was no mention of New York Bagel Shop on 34th St. South. GJones sang the praises of Brandon Bagels. And Peter emailed us a bullet-pointed list explaining why NY Gourmet Bagels in Spring Hill is “the BEST,” citing such evidence as “Owner from Brooklyn” and “Old men sitting on Sunday morning reading the paper and arguing about the Yankees.”
We figured Martin Dyckman’s essay on the NRA (“Old-fashioned anarchists,” Jan. 3) would raise some hackles, and it did. Most strikingly, it provoked a passionate debate in the comments section between two men who were high school classmates circa 1957 in Missouri and who now occupy opposite ends of the spectrum on the subject of gun control. One of the two writes in measured sentences; the other is fond of expressing himself IN CAPITAL LETTERS, like so: “I WANT YOU TO BE THE ONE OUT FRONT THROWING ROCKS AT NORTH KOREA AND IRAN WHEN THEY ARE COMING AT THE US TAKING US OVER WITH OUR OWN GUNS TAKEN FROM US RIDING IN OUR TANKS AND OUR HEAVY ARTILLERY WEAPONS.”
Responding to “Conservative world seems determined to vote down Chuck Hagel” (Daily Loaf, Jan. 6), the anti-Hagel contingent flung invective with style. “You need to choke on your tiny meat loaf,” commented the mellifluously monikered Les Legato. “Hagel, who is doing business with Deutsche Bank & doing business with Iran, is a disaster as secdef FOR THE U.S. If you disagree with that you obviously have your head up the iranian koranus. Did Hagel’s Iranian pals tell you they will give you a heads up when they deliver some nukes to the U.S.”
Mitch Perry’s report on the memorial service for Bill McBride (Daily Loaf, Dec. 28) and Peter Meinke’s column on the death of an old friend (Dec. 20) prompted some thoughtful comments. Former CL Editor John Sugg wrote, “It’s worth remembering that Creative Loafing (then styled Weekly Planet) gave key support to Bill when he made a great impact on civic leadership via ‘Hillsborough Tomorrow’ in the late 1990s. There have been few people as dedicated to bettering a community as was Bill.” And Eckerd grad, after reading Peter’s column, commented: “I keep the phone number and last email sent to me by a friend who died suddenly of a brain aneurysm last Christmas… I certainly don’t feel the loss as acutely as his wife and small children do. But I miss him, and when I do, I talk to him — mainly about art, our mutual friends, our home town. People with strong spirits live on.”
The disagreements about St. Petersburg’s proposed Pier replacement, The Lens, show no signs of abating. But few critics have expressed their concerns more simply and directly than Don Chapman, in his comment on our Dec. 13 story (“The Lens: A bridge too far?” by Mitch Perry). “The Lens design is absolutely beautiful and is appropriate for a waterside environment,” wrote Chapman. “I studied the model at the History Museum, but felt like I was missing something. I watched the video, and still feel like I am missing something. Please direct me to where somebody has addressed the question, ‘What is the draw?’ What is going to be so popular that so many people will be wandering about, as shown on the video??? What I currently see is a very beautiful, very expensive sculpture/jogging trail that would be admired by many from a distance, but utilized by a very few. On the re-design, they are talking about two restaurants? Good. We have that now, and more with the current design, and everyone says that it is under-utilized. Besides being beautiful, what does the new design give us that we don’t already have?”
Back on the culinary front: A series of comments about Seabreeze Devil Crabs, the late, lamented institution praised in stories by Brian Ries and Andy Huse, prompted this welcome dispatch from Ed Edmiston on Dec. 20: “We have opened a new Seabreeze on wheels on the corner of 301 and Causeway Blvd. in Brandon… All the great food you love still made fresh daily.”
And finally there’s this cautionary tale, from a reader commenting on a local Thai restaurant: “I ordered spicey noodles on my anniversity and found a human in the food.”
Don’t you hate when that happens?