On our redesigned website and ever-evolving blogs, a range of topics triggered responses from readers, some of whom weren't above slinging some mud. Alex Pickett's column (and blurbex.com post) about the rift in Bartlett Park led to back-and-forth accusations that seemed to mirror the community's mood. It wasn't mud so much as marinara that continued to be flung in Brian Ries' direction re his review of Da Sesto in Pinellas Park. Two "think pieces" — Wayne Garcia's essay on Tampa Bay's top 10 civic problems and Kathleen Ochshorn's lament about iPod obsession — drew replies that were thoughtful in their own right. And can anyone help KJD in her quest to volunteer for an environmentally minded nonprofit? Leave her a comment on "Tampa Bay's Green Report Card" in the Dec. 12 issue (in "Archives" at tampa.creativeloafing.com).

Re "Fix It Now," by Wayne Garcia, Dec. 26: Based on your recent (admittedly brilliant, insightful and revolutionary) "to-do list" for the Tampa area, "The Guardians of the Status Quo (TGotSQ)" have unanimously voted to ask you to immediately relocate out of our area.
Your independent thought scares us.
TGotSQ, which is closely allied with the Good 'ol Boys lodge local 33606, do not wish to have you or your radical new-fangled (high falutin' even) ideas changing things from the way they are and the way they have always been.
My rustic pals and I traditionally have made very good money from what some see as our area's dysfunction, and though not all see it as we do, we don't want it to change, ever.
In confidence, we fear change. Who knows if we'll remain top dogs if our region ever became a true meritocracy?
Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
N. Nuccio, TGotSQ

Bravo! I couldn't agree more with this list. It is time for us to look to the future (i.e., transportation and planning), spend tax money on the average person's needs rather than skyboxes for the elite and start acting like a real city and celebrate our diverse population. This article should go to every public official in the Bay Area.

Correct on all counts, Senor PoHo! If you love Tampa and don't want to leave, then print or clip this article, keep it somewhere you can see it every day and let's get busy. And if you're sick of hearing how much better St. Pete is, just remember back to when they used to say that about Tampa.
The Carl

Re "The Pod World Invasion," by Kathleen Ochshorn, Dec. 26: Reminds me that I was on the treadmill at the gym, watching CNN on my personal TV, listening through my earbuds, when Bhutto was assassinated. All around me people were also watching their TVs, one a cooking show, one MTV, another a "reality" show, no one talking. We were all in our own worlds — once again Kathleen Ochshorn drives the point home. Thought-provoking article.
Jean P. Moore

It's funny, I recall late '80s, early '90s, I was in my 20s living in Portland, Maine. Occasionally I would go to the local University and also go to the 'Computer' room. (At the time, just could walk in and sit at a machine).
I'll always remember looking around, how here was this crowd of people together — but alone. No interaction, just with the machine.
And upon the computer revolution in the late '80s, early '90s, I thought it was sad too, that we care little about each other, but are greatly concerned with the machine.

Re blog posts on blurbex.com re "A Neighborhood Fractures," by Alex Pickett, Jan. 2: Mud throwing like this is one of the main reasons why the majority of members left the [Bartlett Park Neighborhood Association]. The Buena Vista Neighborhood Association has a different approach to resolving differences of opinion and felt it better for the neighborhood to start a new, active organization. However, we respect the BPNA and support their right to continue their mission following the style they believe in. Thanks for your feedback. It's inspiring!!!

Re "Flour Power," by Brian Ries, Dec. 12: I too am stumped at the mediocre review of this FABULOUS restaurant. I am not Italian, nor do I have a refined palate, but even I can recognize greatness! Both the pasta AND the meats are great! Our favorite is their homemade Caesar salad dressing. We loved it so much, we bought two containers of it — one for us and one for our family, so Caesar salad is a must for any fans of it. EVERYONE — get to Da Sesto now!

Re "Tampa Bay's Green Report Card," by Wayne Garcia, Dec. 12: I want to do something to help Hillsborough County up its grade on its green report card. (Not too impressed by the F+.) Does anyone know of any good nonprofit organizations I could contribute to on weekends that are environmentally oriented?

Correction: The description of the Buena Vista Neighborhood Association meeting in the print edition of "A Neighborhood Fractures" (Jan. 2) said that the eight members at the meeting included two black and six white residents. One of the "white" attendees was in fact Latino. Also, the group's vice president, Scott Swift, did not resign his post, as reported, but withdrew his name from re-election.