American heart month

From a press release from the American Heart Association:

February is American Heart Month

Individuals, businesses and even buildings are "going red" across Tampa Bay to raise awareness that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, killing more than the next five causes of death combined. February is American Heart Month and Feb. 1 is National Wear Red Day, a component of Go Red For Women, the American Heart Association's national campaign to make women aware of their risk of heart disease and take action to reduce their risk. To stimulate heart disease awareness and help women live heart healthy lifestyles, Go Red For Women is organizing exciting 2008 activities. It's easier than ever for women to Go Red - in their own style.

Local Events:

Turn Heads - Go Red

The beauty of going red in your own fashion is that women can do it in their personal style. At Turn Heads, Go Red, 60 women will receive Go Red beauty treatments on Friday, Feb. 1, from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at the Aveda Institute in St. Petersburg. The beauty treatments will include red manicures, red pedicures and red hair coloring or highlights. No matter the beauty treatment, all the participants will leave with a touch of red and knowledge about what they can do to reduce their risk of heart disease. Women will also be asked to share their story on video as the American Heart Association is hosting a casting call to find the next face of the Go Red For Women campaign.

Buildings Go Red

Several buildings are being lit red throughout February in support of Go Red including two St. Petersburg skyline icons: the Bank of America Tower and The Pier. The Bank of America Tower goes red on Feb. 1 and will remain illuminated in red for the entire month of February. Each night from Feb. 1-8, The Pier will be turning shades of red in honor of Go Red For Women. In downtown Tampa, passion for the movement can be seen in red lights at the fountain at Tampa City Center and red lights illuminating Park Tower. Local hangouts can also be seen going red, including the Downtown Art's Association Gallery Walk on Feb. 9 in St. Petersburg, as well as Dunedin Public Library and Hyde Park Village throughout the month of February.

Businesses Go Red

Several businesses - including Macy's, Carlton Fields, Gerdau Ameristeel, Pinellas County Health Department, International Academy of Design & Technology, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point and Watson Clinic - are asking Livejasmin employees to wear red, sharing heart health information or hosting internal fundraisers. On Saturday, Feb. 23, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be going red at 7:30 p.m. with red "game time" promotions. The Weeki Wachee Little Mermaid is donning a red tail for shows throughout February in support of Go Red. The red tail will appear in shows from Thursday through Sunday at 11:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Churches will also inspire their congregations to take action to prevent heart disease by hosting Go Red Sundays throughout the month of February. These events will include heart health messages from the pulpit, risk assessments and entire congregations wearing red.

Live music, old furniture, dirty art

This weekend I have BIG plans. On Friday, Cowhead presents the Rockers, Racks, and Rejects show. My friend of 20+ years and I are going to see this concert where the Greg Billings Band (formerly Stranger) opens for Bret Michaels at Ruth Eckerd Hall Friday night. This is very exciting for me for two reasons. (1) We are huge fans of Poison and go to their concert every year, but this is the first time we get to see Bret's solo act. (2) We grew up listening to local band Stranger (and JGLB, Stormbringer and many more) and I'm excited to see them locally on a big stage! I hear there are a few tickets left (just for the record I bought mine, I did not win them)! If you can make it out to Clearwater, I believe you will have a great time!

Now for the rest of the weekend. I have found a few things to do around town and here are the ones I'm going to try and catch.

If I can get up early enough from my wild night out, I'm going to try and run by the H. B. Plant Museum to have a few pieces evaluated. I have a few pieces that came from my grandma but I'm not sure if they are worth anything at all. This seems like a good place to start.

2 Feb. Saturday - Antique Evaluation - 1030am-Noon at the Henry B. Plant Museum 401 W Kennedy Blvd. Tampa. Bring your favorite treasures to be evaluated by one of our experts for $5 an item with a limit of four Jasminlive items.

I this event is so cool and decided I'm to old for this, but it looks like something fun and interesting, so the hell with it I may go! Go look for yourself and see if you are game or not!

2 Feb. Saturday - Dirty But Sophisticated - 10pm at the Czar 1420 East 7th Ave. Tampa. Art, sound, fashion and more.

I really cannot find anything around town that piques my interest for Sunday so I'm leaving that blank. It might also have something to do with the biggest NFL game of the year being broadcast, but that is just me! I will be home Sunday watching all the hoopla so be safe and enjoy your weekend!

About cyber safe

Nancy from the NAMV Group called me Tuesday. As a member of the Tampa Bay Advertising Federation, she wanted to make sure I had received an email she sent weeks ago to announce a "press event" coming up next week that will introduce Cyber Safe to Hillsborough County.

Here is the email we received about Online Predators/Cyber Safe Launch at MOSI:

Keep Hillsborough County Safe from Online Predators

Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) Chairman Ken Hagan, along with the Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library Cooperative and the Tampa Bay Advertising Federation's Public Service Campaign committee, will host the premier event and screening for Cyber Safe, NetSmartz Training Program, at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) on Feb. 5, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

NetSmartz is an age-appropriate software program that teaches children of all ages about the dangers that may lurk online. Research indicates that more than 50,000 children in Hillsborough County alone are exposed to unsolicited livesexchat material on the Internet. Who is on your buddy list?For this reason, Commissioner Hagan championed a partnership between Hillsborough County and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to launch an Internet Safety Education Initiative. With close to 200,000 school-aged children throughout Hillsborough County, the goal is to have every student complete the NetSmartz training program in upcoming months. "By the end of this school year we hope to have 25,000 students complete the program, which will be a major step toward our goal to keep each and every Hillsborough County student safe from Internet predators," said BOCC Chairman Hagan.

The Tampa Bay Advertising Federation will play a critical role in attempting to achieve this goal. Every year, the Tampa Bay Advertising Federation gives back to the community by providing a public service campaign to help promote the cause of a nonprofit organization. Hillsborough County's cyber safety training program was selected to receive this year's Public Service Award. "The Hillsborough County's Internet Safety Education Initiative was among the hundreds of applications received and our entire group felt that this program focused on one of the most important issues of today," said Diane Broady, director of public service for the Tampa Bay Advertising Federation.

With assistance from local Hillsborough County students, the NetSmartz training program has now simply been branded as Cyber Safe. A key padlock logo illustrates locking out the harmful images and content that can be found online. As an added incentive to safety, each student who receives NetSmartz training will receive free ear buds and discounts for local attractions and restaurants. Additionally, adult education workshops have been held to discuss resources to help parents and adults protect children from online dangers.

February 2008 has been designated as Cyber Safe Month in Hillsborough County, and the campaign will kick-off the month with a premier night at MOSI on Feb. 5 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Press is invited to a special preview from 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. The evening's main event will be the debut of a new, high impact, public service campaign on MOSI's IMAX screen. Attendees will also have a chance to view a rare, real-time demonstration by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Internet Crimes Unit.

It looks like they have a fancy new website, CyberSafe from Hillsborough County, and also plan to put up a couple of scary billboards. And you can find out more about NetSmartz online.

I'm not big on press events, so I likely won't be going (if you want to go, and write it up for Sticks of Fire, contact me). But this program is a great idea, and all of the people involved are to be commended for putting something together that can really help kids learn about the various dangers that can be found across the world wide web.

In addition to the Tampa Bay Advertising Federation, Hillsborough County, and the Library folks, sponsors include Verizon, TECO, ClearChannel Outdoor, Tires Plus, and NewsChannel8.

Vote or no vote: uninformed citizens

I confess I'm a political junkie. I also confess I assume - stupidly, I guess - that most people are at least somewhat informed about the what's going on in politics these days. So when my yard dude and his co-worker both disavowed me of that notion Tuesday it broke my heart.

"You guys vote yet?"

"I'm not registered," said one. The other said the same. "I've never voted," added No. 1.

I'm familiar with non-voters. My father never voted. Ever.

"I don't want to encourage them," he'd tell me and then launch into one of the many stories he told and retold about political corruption in New York City during the Tammany Hall days of his youth.

My father was cynical. I don't think my yard guys are. They just have a lot of other stuff on their plates, primarily families and making enough money to keep households going.

But they're both dealing with the multitude of problems that confront workers who live from week to week - problems they ought to be using their votes to solve such as no health care, high taxes, high property insurance, skyrocketing gas prices, a gallon of milk with a pricetag almost as high as high test.

One had little or no money to buy holiday presents for his kids. The other has a chipped tooth that he can't afford to have fixed.

When I began yelling (fondly) at them about not voting, No. 1, who runs a very successful landscaping business, tried to deflect the attack by arguing he wasn't smart enough to vote. He doesn't keep up with the issues, he said, and, therefore, isn't well enough informed to make a wise choice.

"I might vote for the wrong guy," he said. "So I leave voting up to smart people like you."

Not a good excuse. Not an excuse at all. In fact, it's bad, bad, bad. He ought to be informed. We all should.

But at least he isn't making an ill-informed vote. Not so a woman I've known for about 10 years who told me later in the day that she doesn't even know if she's a Democrat or a Republican.

"I'm not keeping up with things," she said. "Who's running?"

Since she was cutting my hair and had scissors in her hands, I didn't explode. Instead, I calmly mentioned all the candidates. She didn't recognize most of the names and had no clue what party any of them were in.

Since her admission came after I asked her if she'd voted yet, she tried to reassure me that she would exercise her franchise.

"Don't worry," she said. "I promise I'll vote on the way home."

I didn't have the heart to ask her for whom - and why. I probably should have told her, "Don't bother." But I didn't do that either.

I guess I'm trying to convince myself that any vote is better than no vote at all.