I was saddened when I first heard the news. Yes, a boor had been brutally killed Feb. 27 in the Gandy Boulevard parking lot of WXTB-97.9 FM, a.k.a. 98Rock. Apparently it was an on-air publicity stunt to grab a few more of the semiliterates who suck the swill the station dispenses.
I assumed that the station's owner, Clear Channel Communications, had had an epiphany and realized that it should no longer befoul the publicly owned airwaves with Bubba the Used Adult Diaper.
But slaughtering him? That seemed rather extreme. And possibly illegal. Although Bubba can hardly be described as an example of humanity — having evolved from sewage-eating dung beetles, and originally classified as part of the genus Todd Phlegm — he bears resemblance to a rudimentary primate, and thus, offing him probably would violate some law against cruelty to critters.
I then became confused. Because the next message I received about the boor being wasted was that he had been castrated first. That couldn't be Bubba. At an intellectual and moral level, he has no balls to lose.
Aha! I next discovered that it wasn't the "boor," Bubba the Filth-Soaked Rag Used to Wipe Up a Third World Latrine, who had been murdered, but a "boar." That's an oinker of an entirely different color. Ironically, that news disturbed me even more. After all, a boar is a pig, a creature that has problems with various religions but one that is without dispute highly evolved and intelligent.
Then, much to my dismay, I violated my own rule about listening to Bubba's show, which is roughly akin to soaking your brain cells in the diseased vomit of Ebola plague victims. And I was shocked, shocked, I tell you, to find Bubba speaking favorably of me ... sort of. He was braying insults at St. Petersburg Times columnist Mary Jo Melone, who has picked up on the incredibly vicious pig killing and is making it into a crusade against Clear Channel, a company that repeatedly proved itself utterly unworthy to occupy the airwaves you and I own.
Bubba was calling Melone a coward and saying that I at least had had the courage to once appear on his show.
Bubba, I hope your handlers are reading this to you, and I'm sorry if I'm using too many big words, but try to understand this message: Do me no favors. You are disgusting filth.
First, let me say this about Melone. On occasion, I've differed with her. But she is one of this community's most valuable media assets — and that's primarily because of her intelligence, courage and honesty, characteristics you, Bubba, wouldn't know anything about. She has more guts in a fingernail than you have in your whole bloated carcass.
What do I remember about my visit to Bubba's lair? Mostly this. He smelled. Literally and very noticeably. His big hulk looked as if it had been lowered by a crane into the space behind his studio console. It's easy to be macho when you can cut off your opponents with the twist of a dial — as Bubba did with me and as he does with any call-in critic.
Occasionally, when I'd hear he was doing something more egregiously stupid than usual, I'd tune in for a few minutes on my way to work. But, basically, the Bubba show is endlessly repetitious jock-sniffing, snickering gay jokes (we're talking about a creature with serious juvenile problems with his own sexuality), a lot of "get that black bitch in here" and "I banged the bitch to a nub" lines, and pretty bad taste in rock music.
From time to time, he attacks me, accusing me of being gay (which would surprise my wife, but in any event I'd rather be homosexual a million times over than reside for a second in the festering intellectual abattoir of Bubba's brain) and apparently offended that I wear glasses (near-sighted workers of the world, unite against this moron!). It's not worth responding because what Bubba craves most is attention — the validation that his imbecility and coarseness are worthy of note.
Which they aren't.
Until he commits what may be a crime — the inhumane and grisly slaughter of an animal in the Clear Channel parking lot. The authorities are investigating, and if there's any justice, Bubba and his accomplices will be charged with animal cruelty. Clear Channel has suspended Bubba — not out of any social consciousness (the company has none), but just to let stench blow away. Clear Channel — with the legal maximum of eight stations in the Tampa Bay area — replicates noxious clones of Bubba throughout its empire.
Melone and others have called for action by the Federal Communications Commission against Clear Channel, a number of advertisers have pulled spots from 98Rock, the U.S. Humane Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are in an uproar, and I'll add my voice to the protest.
Write the FCC at 445 12th St. S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554. Tell them it's time to break up the media conglomerates such as Clear Channel and return the airwaves to communities and local ownership.
Fear of Ford An interesting question was asked of St. Petersburg's mayoral hopefuls — Rick Baker (R-ChamCom, St. Pete Times) and Kathleen Ford (D-I'm Mad as Hell) — at last week's Suncoast Tiger Bay Club. The candidates were asked if they'd support taxpayers anteing up more gazillions to refurbish the Dome. Baker, probably having not been programmed on that question by the Times, equivocated. Ford said the only sensible thing — let there be a referendum.
Then Ford, referring to recent report in the Weekly Planet, raised the issue of possible "consolidation" or "contraction" of Major League Baseball — a move that might mean the end of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
As I recently reported, during the last year hundreds of stories in U.S. and Canadian newspapers revealed, analyzed and speculated on consolidation. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has repeatedly said it was conceivable.
Yet, until the Planet's report, there was literally only one sentence in one story in the Times — and it didn't mention that the Rays are thought by many to already be history. That the Times has a secret contract with the team isn't a secret; what's undisclosed is what the newspaper has given away in exchange for being Rays owner Vince Naimoli's water boy.
Following our story, the St. Petersburg City Attorney's office is at least considering what type of legal action could be taken against the Rays should the team be folded, go bankrupt or be moved.
At the Times, the only comeback to its year-old mendacity-by-omission has been a March 9 column by sports writer Gary Shelton that frantically tried to dismiss the talk about consolidation as "malarkey."
Unfortunately, for the voters in St. Petersburg, the Times will do its damnedest to ensure that the Rays, and the millions in corporate welfare for the team, don't become campaign issues. The newspaper is a major culprit in the no-referendum taxpayer rip-off that built the Dome, and the Times knows that only more chicanery will fund future sports misadventures.
The one benefit of this is that it draws a distinction between Ford and Baker. The Times loathes Ford, but the arguments seem thin: She's outspoken and she tries to navigate tangled civic problems. In reality, the animus is because she won't kowtow to the publication.
Baker would be another David Fischer: compliant on the St. Pete establishment's foolish crusade of using tax dollars to thwart the natural market forces that have led to one embarrassment after another for the city.
And nothing has been more embarrassing than the Rays: wrong team, wrong stadium, wrong stadium location, wrong city, wrong owner.
Ford will challenge the entrenched and self-enriching powers that dominate St. Petersburg. One only has to consider the downtown real estate investments of the Times and its parent, the Poynter Institute, to understand why it wants to keep throwing your money at the city's center.
For my money, vote for Ford.
Correction: In my Tampa Bay Notebook, March 15-21, I incorrectly named the initial winner of city bid process to build a convention center hotel. It was a Sheraton group that was at first selected by the city of Tampa to build the hotel. That group couldn't obtain financing prior to a May 27, 1997, deadline. Some of the Sheraton group partners, along with members of the Marriott bid, which had placed third in the city's selection process, reconstituted themselves under the Marriott flag and eventually built the hotel.
Editor John Sugg, who never in his life has been referred to as a "Bubba," can be reached at 813-248-8888, extension 109, or at [email protected].