Island Issues

What Celebrity Would Have Travelers Hip Hopping Down The Florida Tourist Trail?


Young Beautiful Woman with Money Dreaming About how to Spend. Pop Art Vector illustration

I’d never heard of Pitbull until Governor Rick Scott sacked the state tourism chief and a pair of his executives resigned after it was discovered they signed the Miami rapper to a secretive state-funded million dollar contract to promote Florida.

After checking out the hip hop entertainer I’ve concluded that Governor Scott made a very prudent decision, but not because the terms of Mr. Bull’s contract weren’t made public. Nope, the judgment these guys exercised ranks right up there with “Hold my beer and watch this.”

What the heck were the former tourism honcho and his staff thinking with their selection, and what demographic were they were targeting?

For example, Here’s a sampling of the lyrics from one of Pitbull’s most popular recordings, “Rain Over Me”:

Ay ay ay Ay ay ay

Let it rain over me

Ay ay ay Ay ay ay

Let it rain over me:

Freak me baby, yes, yes I’m freaky baby,

I’mma make sure that your peach feels peachy baby

No (expletive) broads, I like my women sexy, classy, sassy

Powerful yes, they love to get a little nasty, ow

After listening to that catchy tune I’m sure folks in Michigan probably can’t pack fast enough, and that in Bemidji, Minnesota Astrid probably turned to Sven, and said, “Honey, Pitbull just put me in the mood to either go to Florida this winter or run naked through the Minnesota Vikings’ locker room.”

I checked out the lyrics of several of Pitbull’s other tunes and they’re no better, in fact they are even more incoherent and depraved. Ballads, love songs and beach music they are not. I don’t get it. Google this guy and tell me where I’m going wrong. Can people dance to this crap? Hiring Pitbull to publicize our state is like advertising “Come to Florida, we have it all — hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tornadoes, sharks, poisonous snakes, the Zika virus, and more” or asking Keith Richards for advice on abstinence.

Rapper Pitbull at the Virgin Megastore in Miami. (Photo by: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)

Native Floridian and Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, author and humorist, Dave Berry has a new book out about Florida titled “Best State Ever” and it may have been Berry who alerted the governor to Pitbull’s “secret” contract as he said in the book that “Pitbull has authored numerous tunes about sex, doing drugs, shooting people, selling drugs, having sex on drugs, shooting people over drugs, etc.”

I wouldn’t want my mother, granny, wife or daughter in a restaurant, bar, on the beach, or in a hotel lobby sitting next to somebody that was inclined to visit our state because they admire Pitbull’s “music” much less expose them to it.

Controversial celebrity spokespeople are nothing new to Florida. Beauty queen and singer Anita Bryant was hired to promote Florida orange juice from 1969-1979 but lost her contract due to her anti-gay ministry. However, her activities pale in comparison to Pitbull’s misogynistic and profane lyrics.

So, who, might be a better choice to encourage a more refined audience to spend their time and money in our state?

What about Frankie (“Beach Blanket Bingo”) Avalon? He’s still performing at 76 but not many folks younger than me would be attracted by the former teen idol. For a current fresh-faced talent that appeals to all ages how about Taylor Swift? There’s probably not a performer around today who competes with her for all around wholesomeness. But a million bucks to her is probably chump change. Are the Beach Boys still standing?

Even though I don’t hip and I don’t hop and can’t stand rap, kids and young adults are buying and listening to it. But it’s hard to sift through the rap crap and find something you wouldn’t mind your kids or grandkids listening to. However, there is actually a rapper out there named Flo Rida (really, and he was born in Opa-Locka) and he’s produced a “clean” rap tune called “Good Feeling” about being strong and following your dreams, a positive message if you can handle that horrible music genre. But a one-rap rapper isn’t worth a million bucks.

Pink Important Message pad with the words You're Fired! written on itBased on their lousy judgement it shouldn’t be very difficult to find people brighter or more creative than those the governor canned to head up the Visiting Florida organization, and whoever they are they shouldn’t have a problem finding talent that could persuade folks to head in our direction. All they have to do is look over their shoulders at the multitude of celebrities that were born or raised here, many who still call the state home.

If singers are the key to enticing visitors, the Sunshine State is over flowing with home-grown talent to appeal to all age groups including Pat Boone (Jacksonville),Tom Petty (Gainesville), Gloria Estefan and Enrique Iglesias (both Miami), or my high school classmate Stephen Stills (Tampa, Plant High). Or how about actors? There’s Johnny Depp (Miami), Megan Fox (St. Petersburg), Cheryl Hines (Miami) or Faye Dunaway (Two Egg, really)? For the sports crowd the state’s talent is unlimited boasting baseball All Stars Wade Boggs (Tampa), Chipper Jones (Pierson), Steve Carlton (Miami) or footballers Michael Irvin (Ft. Lauderdale), Emmitt Smith (Pensacola) Steve Spurrier (Miami Beach) and Tim Tebow (Jacksonville). Or how about tennis legend Chris Evert (Ft. Lauderdale)? Hey, we even have President-elect Donald Trump, who is a part-time resident at his Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago Country Club. But he doesn’t need the cash and he’s booked solid for the next four to eight years anyway.

c1357b2b13d87af46d83363059f8678aA natural in my opinion would be Jimmy Buffett. Try to find someone — anyone — who hasn’t heard of him, or doesn’t know at least one of his songs, many which are about the ocean, boats and beaches. He’d attract mature moneyed folks, not those who’ve already spent most of their cash on tattoos, piercings and pot.

In 2015 Buffett was invited to speak at the University of Miami’s graduation ceremony and received an honorary doctorate in music while wearing flip flops and aviator sunglasses. He told graduates, “It’s time to see the world, time to kiss a girl, and time to cross that wide meridian,” a line from his song “The Pascagoula Run.” He’d be perfect.

So despite the fact that rapper Pitbull is a Miami native, I think that Jimmy Buffett would be a far better choice as he’d have folks saying “Hey, listen to this” rather than scrambling to cover their kid’s ears.

And in the Just Wondering Department, if Pitbull’s girlfriend decides to dump him does she just drop him off at the pound?


A Christmas Surprise: When island resident and advocate for U.S. troops serving overseas Janet Wolff answered her door Christmas Eve a stranger handed her a $500 check to help pay for the goody boxes Ms. Wolfe sends to U.S. troops serving in combat zones.

The generous benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he read about Janet’s efforts in this blog (November 25, 2016) as have several others who also sent her checks to help her fill the boxes and pay for postage.

lwt-team-page-bottom-pic-1The Christmas cash infusions enabled Janet to ship 12 additional boxes to soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan  and Kuwait (shipping alone was $201). She stretched the funds by purchasing after Christmas deals at Wal-Mart & Target where men’s toiletry kits were marked down by one-half. She also purchased one-half price chocolates, a current favorite for troops now that the weather has cooled and chocolate doesn’t survive shipping in the summer months. The frugal Ms. Wolff also bought several sale-priced throw blankets and clipped coupons for additional savings.

Janet reports that during the next few weeks she will be focusing on a 26-person all male Army unit that recently arrived in Afghanistan and is posted in a remote area where troops don’t have easy access to many things they need. She is posting updates on her Facebook page and it includes a detailed list of their requests.

Folks interested in participating by donating funds or items can contact her through her Facebook page or at her email,

All items musts fit into a large flat rate priority mail boxes measuring 12″×12″×6″ and no aerosol, glass, alcohol or pork products are allowed. Items the troops request most often are: coffee (ground), hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, baby wipes (unscented), Gold Bond powder/lotion (non medicated), room air fresheners (solid or plug–in),vitamins, anti-perspirant (non aerosol), chapstick (Burt’s Bees is a favorite), sunscreen (cream or stick, no spray), Q-tips, duct tape, Papermate quick dry gel pens (black only), notepads, hats – beanies or baseball cap style– (they wear them indoors due to the cold), black athletic socks – any brand, above the ankle without logos, magnets, wall hooks (preferably the magnetic kind),  items to hang on the wall (flags of sports teams, etc.), protein shake powder, AAA batteries, disposable bowls, spoons, forks, knife sharpener stones, ibuprofen, battery alarm clocks, jerky (no pork), nuts, trail mix, chex mix, granola, power bars, blankets (“throws” fit shipping boxes best).


Liberal Anti-Semitism: The Obama Administration’s “abstention endorsement” of the United Nations Security Council’s resolution condemning Israel’s West Bank settlements and Secretary of State John Kerry’s lengthy Fidel Castro-like speech praising the Obama administration’s and the UN’s misguided action were roundly condemned by President-elect Trump and has the Jewish state thinking that January 20 can’t get here fast enough. Next thing you know the Laurel and Hardy team of Obama and Kerry will recommend in the 12 days it has left that the UN create a world-wide soccer team comprised of the globe’s best players. Who would it play? Israel, of course.


Remember When? Does anybody besides me remember when “home invasions” were called “burglaries” or “break-ins,” “extreme violence” was called terrorism, and “fake news” items were called “lies?”


Things I Wish I’d Said: “Democrats haven’t been this upset after an election since the Republicans took their slaves away.” — anonymous.


College Dropouts: Disgruntled Democrats were unpleasantly surprised when their calls for Trump to be voted down by members of the Electoral College were roundly ignored on December 19 – with only two “faithless” Republican electors rejecting the president-elect and five deserting Hillary Clinton. Something about karma, etc.


What’s My Line? Years ago there was a television show called “What’s My Line” (1950-1967) where celebrity panelists tried to guess the occupation of featured guests, who were at times seated behind a screen and had their voices disguised depending on their degree of celebrity. The panelists were given a few hints and then asked the guest questions until they eventually guessed or were stumped as to the person’s identity or occupation. Sequels to the show ran on and off until 1999.

549c122956397_-_6a00d834527a7669e2012876a75362970c-800wiI came across a historical character recently that would have made an ideal guest on the show providing that this guest was hidden from the panel and the voice disguised. Based on the following hints from a recent biography of this person see if you can guess who it might be:

“….once drafted a proclamation forbidding ordinary folk from coming near them under pain of imprisonment…had little or no interest in subjects’ welfare…showed no gratitude for the ordinary soldiers and sailors who had suffered so much…loathed the elected legislative body and summoned them only when desperate for new taxation, saying they had no right telling them what to do, let alone criticize…promised reform but had no intention of carrying it through, and carried on as before. This person is also described as being vindictive, almost always ungrateful, often spiteful and disloyal with a ferocious temper and had a huge appetite for flattery.

The biography goes on to explain that in modern parlance this person was also a “badly messed-up kid…had a ghastly father who effectively ignored them and had never known a mother’s love.”

It’s a fascinating book titled “Elizabeth, The Forgotten Years” by Cambridge historian John Guy that details the life of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) who shares many of the same unfortunate traits as the outgoing occupant of the White House. While Elizabeth acted in her role as an absolute monarch, an arrogant Obama overreached his authority with executive orders and acted as though the Constitution was an impediment to his position. Read it and tell me where I’m going wrong with my comparison.


More Things I Wish I’d Said: “If Eskimos adopted socialism they’d soon be importing ice cubes.” — anonymous.


Things I Don’t Understand: I know many people living on Amelia Island who would not for an instant tolerate a terrible meal at a restaurant, a filthy room in a hotel, or a movie theater with inaudible sound and a fuzzy picture. Yet these same people buy outrageously expensive season tickets to watch the wretched Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13) and pay outlandish prices for parking, food and drinks at Jacksonville’s EverBank Stadium to watch one of the of most inept sports franchises in America. What’s the point of supporting this hapless organization when all they get in return is failure? Just asking.


More Things I Don’t Understand: I realize that San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has a right to express his opinions by not standing for the National Anthem and the flag and saying publically how “good” the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro was for the people of that island prison while wearing a t-shirt with the late dictator’s picture. But what I don’t understand is how he expects his unpatriotic stance and loony comments to change anything. What’s his objective?


An Obervation: Of the three major U.S. team sports — football, basketball and baseball — the only one that is played by normal sized humans is baseball.



John batchelor - 16. Jan, 2017 -

Dave – I’ve just managed to finish reading this particular blog. Excellent as ever.
HOWEVER – just imagine the high standing our wonderful nation would have in the world today, had our departing leader and his seemingly inept/out of touch advisors, theorisers and “Ministers” acted and responded to aggression, invasion and externally driven religious oppression as did Elizabeth I and hers.
I suppose my point is : these two “leaders” had but a limited number of common characteristics. Those not shared made all the difference between what is known (not just to English historians) as the Golden Elizabethan Age and, an as yet to be adjectivised, Obama Age.

JANET WOLFF - 06. Jan, 2017 -

Dave, THANK YOU for your support and exposure! Our troops really appreciate being remembered by those of us “back home.”
Here’s a copy of an e-mail I received from Kuwait this afternoon! Timely, huh?

Thank you for the 3 care packages received today.  For all the snacks and coffee and hygiene items, especially the face cleanser for me….THANK YOU TEAM WOLFFPAK!
You went above and beyond.    You have spoiled my Soldiers.  Now they are going to expect the top of the line candy bars.  Ha!  Thank you.  I had to monitor the distribution since some wanted to take 4-5 bars and not share.  It was like dropping food in a lake of piranha.  It all went fast.  The body washes were a huge hit.  Thank you so much for the coffee.  Soldiers come into our office all the time for it.  We operate out of a huge hanger divided into open ceiling sections with one main hallway right up the middle.  Our office is in that hallway.  Everyone must pass our office and tables of care package items.  I’d show you pictures, but we’re not allowed to bring cameras or take pictures where we are located.  Know that all your goodies sent are gone, like rain falling on this dry desert.  Ha.  You brought many a smiles today. CH. SHANNON, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

Don McCarron - 06. Jan, 2017 -

Dave – folks watch the hapless Jags for the same reason some follow the “Dan Snyder Sadness Machine”. (credit to Jason Gay of the WSJ)

David Scott - 06. Jan, 2017 -

I must have missed that Jason Guy column Don. At least the Redskins give their fans an ounce of optimism whereas for loyal Jaguar followers, all they have are giant TV screens and swimming pools. Going to a Jaguar game is a day at the beach without the beach.

Coleman LANGSHAW - 06. Jan, 2017 -

I rarely agree with you Dave, or with Gov. Scott…but I am right with you with the Pitbull fiasco. Jeez, really? My vote is for Jimmy Buffett…as I imagine any sane Floridian would agree.

I’m scared Dave, you and I agreeing…publicly. What is the world coming to??? In the words of Bill Murray as Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters:

“Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!”

Tom Yankus - 06. Jan, 2017 -

Buffett’s “Floidays” would be the perfect song for tourism as he sings about the benefits of a Florida lifestyle. YouTube it. Been to some 20 of his concerts (mostly in Atlanta when living in Georgia) Every concert is an event and a one night getaway to Florida or somewhere south.

Micah Ward - 06. Jan, 2017 -

Not many people laugh out loud in a waiting room at the Mayo Clinic, but I did while reading Dave Barry’s “Best. State. Ever.” I highly recommend it; especially by a pool or at the beach while sipping a frosty libation. The best celebrity to attract visitors to Florida? Jimmy Buffett hands down. No one even comes close!

Richard Troxel - 06. Jan, 2017 -

Well done Dave,great way to start the new year. Governor Scott is a fine man who doesn’t get the respect he deserves,What were those idiots thinking to hire that scum bag.Your comments about our leader were right on target,he is arrogantly spiteful,and very immature.The 20th.can’t get here fast enough.His legacy will shrink to nothing by the summer.What did he accomplish? It is good to have the grown ups back in charge.Happy new year,