For eight years, the Independent News has given holiday “gifts” to area elected officials, leaders and newsmakers. For days, we slave over catalogs and online websites to find the perfect unique, quirky gifts that will have special meanings for both the recipients and our readers.
For the 2011 gift recipients, please enjoy your gifts and remember that it’s the thought that counts, even when the thought may be a little obtuse. If you already have the gift we’ve given you, sorry, you’re stuck with it. We didn’t save any of the receipts.
Bill Reynolds, City Administrator
Darth Vader Mask
What better way to put fear into the hearts of Occupiers, panhandlers and little girls in uniforms selling boxes of cookies? Next year, we can give him a few Star Wars stormtroopers.
Judy Bense, University of West Florida President
The one she has been using may need a replacement as she pushes for the university to get a football team.
Sam Hall, Pensacola City Council President
Song “Mama Told Me Not to Come”
The song by Randy Newman was written for The Animals’ Eric Burdon’s first solo album in 1966. Three Dog Night’s 1970 cover of the song topped the U.S. pop-singles charts. The Occupy Pensacola squatters think Hall should have listened to Mama.
Gov. Rick Scott
“Harry Potter” Legos
A Lego version of Lord Voldemort is not quite as creepy as the movie version. Maybe the Florida Chamber can spend the bucks to have a Lego version of the Dark Lord as the Florida governor’s body double.
Jim Messer, Pensacola City Attorney
“Once upon a time, not so long ago in a far off place,
somewhere high in the sky riding on an ‘a-loh may-lah’
that floats near a ‘dah a-loh’ lived the Furbys, each and every one.”
The more Messer plays with him, the more amazing things the Furby will do…maybe even attend city council meetings. We will only give Messer a Furby if he absolutely promises not to let it roam the beach without a license. Sheesh! We don’t want to go through that again!
Randy Oliver, Escambia County Administrator
Video game “Left 4 Dead”
Everywhere Oliver looks another deadbeat employee pops up. Get rid of one and a commissioner will have another “zombie” friend, relative or campaign supporter to fill the spot. “Left 4 Dead” will give him plenty of practice taking them out. Remember to aim for the head.
Trent Richardson, University of Alabama football star
A good financial planner
The South is littered with college stars that signed big contracts, only to squander their money on a posse of followers and distant relatives. Missing the awards ceremony for the inner-city youth teams last weekend could be the sign of bad things in the future. Follow the example of Emmitt Smith, not JaMarcus Russell.
Bob Cole, Santa Rosa County Commissioner
The book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”
What is it about county commissioners with auto repair shops? First, we had Terry Smith and the W.D. Childers Axis of Evil. Now it’s Bob Cole being raided by the feds. A little more Zen and less auto maintenance may be required.
TEAM Santa Rosa
Ray Ban Sunglasses and Sunblock
The Santa Rosa County economic development agency needs to learn how to operate in the sunshine, at least until the feds shut them down.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Republican presidential candidate
Recording of Will Ferrell’s years on “Saturday Night Live”
Perry is doing a great impression of the comedian/actor playing George W. Bush, who was a Yale graduate pretending to be a Texas cowboy that was a replica of Ronald Reagan, an actor who played a cowboy in the movies. A copy of a copy of a copy of copy of a copy is never as good as the original.
Megan Pratt, Pensacola City Council
Bah Humbug Santa Hat
What better way to get across her feelings about the city employee’s Christmas bonuses? Sized to fit most grouchy heads and flatter disgruntled faces with utmost holiday charm.
Herman Cain, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and Republican presidential candidate
Revision of GOP primary handbook
For every six women who say they were sexually harassed by Herman Cain, there are thousands that he hasn’t met yet. Cain badly needs a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for his suspended presidential campaign to ever be revived.
Greg Evers, State Senator
Red Ryder BB gun
With its solid wood stock and lariat ring with a leather thong, the Daisy Red Ryder is the spitting image of the one he must have cherished growing up—the 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass and that thing which tells time built right in to the stock. Just please don’t shoot your eye out.
Jim Hizer, Pensacola Chamber CEO/President
There is talent in the Pensacola area, educated but underemployed. Filling openings with out-of-towners pushes that talent further away. The same goes for advertising agencies.
Barack Obama, President of the United States
Tim Tebow biography
It’s the fourth quarter and two minutes left in his first term. Can Obama pull it out? We think so, thanks to the fumbles by the Republican opposition.
Clay Ingram, State Representative
The king of manure legislation needs to stay close to the source. Let’s hope he doesn’t trade it during the 2012 legislative session for some magic beans.
Malcolm Thomas, Escambia County Superintendent of Schools
“Daily Affirmation with Stuart Smalley” DVD
Repeat after Stuart: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”
Marie Young, Escambia County Commissioner
Earl Morrall football card
Morrall played most of his career backing up stars like Y.A. Tittle, Johnny Unitas and Bob Griese, but he helped his teams to two Super Bowls when the stars got injured. Young filled in for Commissioner Willie Junior when the veteran politician was removed from office and she will retire next year with 10 years in office and no touchdowns.
Bruce Baldwin, Blue Wahoos President
Start writing down all the people who supported the team and the ballpark. After the park opens, the list will triple, especially if the team starts strong. Remember who were friends in the dark days.
Ginny Graybiel, Pensacola News Journal Managing Editor
Eddie Bauer Harness Buddy–Monkey
You let Mark O’Brien and Reggie Dogan get away. This will keep the cub reporters from wandering off too far.
Jim Boeheim, Syracuse University head basketball coach
New assistant coach
One who can help the team come from behind.
Collier Merrill, developer and co-owner of Great Southern Restaurant Group
Kris Humphries’ agent
The NBA star got to marry a Kardashian. Merrill’s reality show career only lasted one episode and all he has to show for it now is a toy boat.
Ron Paul, Congressman and Republican presidential candidate
A real last name
Americans aren’t going to elect someone with two first names, though adding an initial might help. It may be too late, because the media would refer to him as “the candidate formerly known as Ron Paul.”
Hugh King, candidate for county commission
Before you stab your competitors in the back again, take a long look. Is it too much to ask for a former minister to run a positive campaign rather than trash his opponents? One can’t sling mud without getting some on himself too.
Lewis Bear, Jr.
A case of Magic 8 Balls
Most people only need one Magic 8 Ball, but we know these balls will only last as long as they agree with Mr. Bear. On second thought, we might save money giving him a bobblehead doll that nods “yes.”
Buck Lee, SRIA Manager
Brooks Brother suit
Now that he is running for the Santa Rosa County Supervisor of Elections spot, he will need to put away the Reel Legends shirts and Ole Miss straw hat and wear big boy clothes.
Wilson Robertson, Escambia County Commissioner
Touch Screen Solitaire Game
From a distance, it will look like he’s working on his iPad. He can place this portable solitaire game before him in council chambers and have fun for hours while Grover and Gene fight. It looks like a computer, but slide the large 9 by 6 screen open, activate the touch screen and this electronic solitaire game is ready to play draw one or draw three solitaire.
Jeff Miller, U.S. Congressman
What can you give the politician that has everything—a beautiful wife, important chairmanship in the House of Representatives and a Congressional District that will never mount any serious opposition? A fruitcake.
Rev. LuTimothy May
A name tag
This is the nice May son. It’s time the people quit confusing him with his older brother Lumon.
Ashton Hayward, Mayor of Pensacola
The mayor has a core team of lawyers in the office. Now he needs workers that understand the old ways didn’t work and still won’t. Oompa Loompas are the perfect fit as Hayward begins Year 2.
Past Naughty or Nice Gifts
KEVIN WHITE, Escambia County Commissioner: Santa Rosa County Commissioner Bob Cole’s new book “Commissioning for Dummies,” the comic book edition. There is a special forward written by fellow commissioner Tom Banjanin.
KEN FORD, Institute for Human and Machine Cognition director: Rock’em Sock’em Robots. He can pretend the blue one is the University of West Florida administration and the red one is the Pensacola City Council.
JANET LANDER, Escambia County attorney:
An “s” for the end of her name, so newspapers will stop misspelling it; and a free subscription to the Independent News.
JOHN FOGG Pensacola mayor: Triumph the Insult Comic Dog doll.
Forget about coming up with snappy comebacks for those long city council meetings. Sit Triumph next to the microphone and pull the string. Hear such favorites as “Seriously, I like you but then again, I eat my own poop,” and “No, no this is great. I haven’t had this much fun since the doctor chopped my nuts off.” People might actually sit through an entire meeting.
DON GAETZ Okaloosa County School Superintendent and District 4 Florida Senate candidate: Superman cape.
Behind those Clark Kent glasses beats the heart of a champion. He turned around the Okaloosa public school system. Now, watch and see what he does in Tallahassee.
DENNIS WILLIAMS Escambia County Jail director: Manual to the Emergency Restraint Chair. The key word is “emergency,” not “restraint.” Per the website (www.restraintchair.com): “Detainees should not be left in the Emergency Restraint Chair for more than two hours. The Emergency Restraint Chair should NEVER be used as a means of punishment.”
JEFF MILLER, U.S. Congressman: “Napoleon Dynamite” DVD.
Joe Roberts may not have scared you this time around, but there is a “Pedro for Congress”-type candidate out there. And, he has skills. We all know voters dig candidates with skills.
KEN PERKINS, Escambia County Fire Chief: “X-Men” comics.
You can learn a lot from Professor Charles Xavier as he tries to keep the peace between the mutants and the humans. Remember this Xavier quote, “Mankind isn’t evil, just uninformed.”
KIM KIMBROUGH, Downtown Improvement Board Executive Director: Jenga.
In this game, you take a wooden block from the tower and place it “very gently” on top. Hold your breath and wait to see if the tower falls. It’s sort of like presenting any proposal to expand the DIB to the Pensacola City Council.
KATHERINE HARRIS, Former Congresswoman and former U.S. Senate Candidate: Spot on American Express commercial.
“Remember me? I used to be liked by the Bush family….”
JIM PAUL, Escambia County School District Superintendent: “Saved By the Bell” DVD.
Wouldn’t it be great to have schools that only have to worry about whether Screech will get a date to homecoming? Or stopping Zack from playing subliminal messages over the school’s public address system? But you cannot pretend you’re Slater.
PETER PAULDING, Gulf Breeze Police Chief: Life-size Lego Batman.
Gulf Breeze has tried everything to stem traffic problems, such as placing empty patrol cars on U.S. Highway 98, letting citizens drive around in old police cars and putting video cameras at traffic lights. It may be time to call in the Dark Knight. This Caped Crusader can guard street corners. The statue is 6 foot 6 inches and is made of Lego bricks, with a yellow utility belt and heavy cape fabric. It only cost $27,000.
KEVIN DOYLE, Pensacola News Journal Publisher: Laser.
Any more cuts on Romana Street will need to be precise or you could hit the bone. All Gannett publishers have had to perform bariatric surgery this year. Less is more in the world of the country’s largest newspaper chain.
JAMES OWENS, Public Defender-elect: “The Invisible Man.”
Read this novella by H.G. Wells and you may learn how your predecessor, Jack Behr, stayed below the radar for 32 years.
SAM HALL, Pensacola City Council: Balance Beam. You walk on an edge and somehow balance McGuire’s Irish Politician’s Club, Save Our City, Movement of Change and the Pensacola City Council. You may be the best at it since Huey P. Long.
REX BLACKBURN, displaced McNesby supporter: A rock.
Something for you to climb back under once Morgan takes office.
JUANITA SCOTT, Team Obama campaign organizer: Tiara.
You have proved once again that nobody can organize a grassroots campaign better than you. You did it for the Community Maritime Park. You did it for Barack Obama. You deserve a crown.
MIKE WIGGINS, Pensacola mayor: WABAC Machine.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman used the WABAC (pronounced “wayback”) machine on “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” to transport back in time to right the wrongs of the past and help Sherman with his school reports. You might want to set the dial for October 2009 and rethink your opposition to the new city charter.
JUDY BENSE, University of West Florida President: New-car air freshener.
You’ve held the UWF presidency for over 18 months and the honeymoon is nearing an end as teachers want pay raises, the tuition climbs and your budget shrinks. We suggest using this can of air freshener in your office as much as possible to rekindle those early days when everything was so new.
CHARLIE FAIRCHILD, No Boss Mayor Leader: Black-and-white TV.
It will remind you of a simpler time—when the Pensacola phonebook was only 12 pages, when there were only AM radio stations and when white bread was good for you.
MARTY DONOVAN & JACK NOBLES, leaders of the Tick Tock Gang that is still trying to deliver its petition signatures: Backwards Clock.
The Bobbsey twins of political intrigue need this clock that really does go back to the future. It looks like a classic-style clock, but it is arranged back to front, making telling the time at a glance much trickier than it has any right to be. A must-have for the next petition drive.
JIM REEVES, CMPA board member and attorney: Tab.
Single-handedly, Jim has kept the Tab brand alive in Northwest Florida. The man deserves a lifetime supply of his favorite beverage.
LARRY B. JOHNSON, JR., Pensacola City Councilman
“Official Tiger Beat 2011 Ashton Hayward Calendar” (Gannett Press, $19.95).
2011 is almost here and we wouldn’t want our Larry to miss a single day of Ashton Hayward’s first year in office. Comes with a colorful set of Ashton Silly Bandz.