Radio host Jim Philips and I were talking this week about all the serious issues facing Florida — and how Gov. Charlie Crist seems to be MIA for many of them.
That's when Jim said our governor reminded him of Casper the Friendly Ghost.
And the more I thought about that, the more I think that works.
Just like Casper, Charlie is always smiling, always friendly — and yet never really completely there.
Both are incurably optimistic.
Neither one ever wants to make any enemies.
And both are quite transparent.
Heck, even when our governor decided to up and marry someone just in time to raise his national profile, he was basically taking a page from Casper — Volume 20, when the ghost spiced up his story line by introducing a gal pal, Wendy the Good Little Witch.
The only thing unsettling about this analogy is that Casper did have one pseudo-nemesis — which leads us to the visually disturbing image of the diaper-clad devil baby ... Marco "Hot Stuff" Rubio.
Random bits of tid•Radio-active power couple: That'd be 107.7 FM's Leslye Gale and Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson. Gale recently began talking about the relationship more publicly. "We've been dating for about a year and a half and are incredibly happy," she said Thursday. "The serious nature of his career and the lightheartedness of mine balance out into what I consider to be the perfect partnership ... even though it drives him crazy when I talk about our personal life on the show."
•Quite a coup: Did you see where Dolly Parton's old Dixie Stampede finally found a tenant — a massive indoor flea market and the "world's largest pizza parlor"? Perhaps Orlando has decided just to drop those dreams of becoming the South's next big city, ala Atlanta, and is instead aspiring to be the next big rest stop ... ala Yeehaw Junction.
•Local movie trivia: Did you know Orlando has a namesake connection to Matt Damon's The Informant!? Yes, the movie about price-fixing at Archer Daniels Midland Co. casts comedian Tom Smothers in the role of CEO Dwayne Andreas — a name you may have also seen on Barry University's Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law.
•Let the light in: For quite a while, this column has called for more transparency in the Legislature. Finally, state Sen. Dan Gelber is among those pushing to open more meetings and declassify more documents. Perhaps more interesting, though, will be to see which lawmakers push against it.
The readers writeMany of you share former U.S. Sen. Paula Hawkins' disgust with the cozy relationships between the Public Service Commission and the power companies they supposedly regulate. In fact, reaction to Wednesday's column was a pretty universal call for this agency to clean up its act.
Occasionally you say something that I agree with, and today was an example.—Tom
Stop it, Tom. You're making me blush.
They need to hire normal people who aren't political suck-ups. — Ransom
Ransom, whenever you have political appointees, sucking up usually outranks experience as far as qualifications go.
Maybe the governor should seriously think about firing someone on the commission — and replacing them with Sen. Hawkins.— Former state Rep. David Simmons
I like the sentiment, David. But Hawkins says she's ready for someone else to pick up the torch.
I have contacted the PSC ... but I would never be elected or selected to a commission. I have a business degree, honesty, integrity and believe working for the good of all people. — Dave
Come on, Dave. They're not all bad. It's just the 90 percent that give the other 10 percent a bad name.
I agree with your column but have one question for you: Since the commission is obviously in cahoots with the utilities, what good will result from sending complaints to the chairman as you suggest in your column?" — John
Two reasons, John. 1) Silence is consent. 2) Like children, public officials are less likely to act up when they know you're watching.
And actually, there are a few crusaders up there. Among others, commissioner Nancy Argenziano isn't afraid to bust some chops. So, if you want to weigh in, consider e-mailing PSC chairman Matthew Carter at the following address (which, ahem, was missing the last two letters in Wednesday's column): Chairman@psc.state.fl.us.
The last word ... ... forwarded by Sentinel colleague Bill Buchalter: "We must limit politicians to two terms — one in office and one in jail."
Scott Maxwell can be reached at 407-420-6141Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun