LETTERS  PCR #298     (December 5--11, 2005)

  • Reader remembers early Publix stores in Tampa (Will and Nolan respond)
  • Reader on "Bodies: The Exibition" (and Deadguy's response)
  • Nolan, with Will's help, recalls Sam Bahr
  • Ricky Sousa also recalls Sam Bahr

    Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.


    You may just be the person that I am looking for to help me. I am trying to find the years that Publix was located at Britton Plaza [in South Tampa]. My memory is that Publix and Food World, owned by Publix was located at Britton Plaza in the 70's and maybe into the 80's. Also, I would like to know when the Publix on Gandy Blvd. actually opened. Was it another grocery before Publix? I remember the Eckerd Drug Store located where Target is now.

    Please help me if you can.

    Thank you,
    Becky Woodworth


    Dear Ms. Woodworth:
    Thank you for reading our on-line publication and writing us the email re: Publix, which has been formatted for this week's letter column. PCR publisher Nolan Canova came through on this one with flying colors on this one and his response is below. I remember my mother telling me about her going to the Publix on Gandy in the '50s. I don't remember any Publix at Britton Plaza tho.

    Here's wishing you and yours a Safe and Blessed Holiday Season.

    William Moriaty, La Floridiana


    WOW, Trip down memory lane! The Publix on Gandy Blvd was always Publix, but I don't know the exact year it was built--I presume in the late '50s to 1960 or so. I remember the Eckerd's too. All built at the same time.

    There was a Publix at Britton Plaza when the mall was built in either 1955 or 1956. But because of the proximity to the Gandy Publix, the Britton Plaza location was renamed Food World around 1970 or so. It is now an Albertsons.

    Sorry I can't pinpoint the exact years any better, this is all from memory.

    Hope it helps!



    Just read your review of The Bodies. Very interesting. I believe it came through San Francisco, but I missed it. I will be in NYC soon for the holidays and am planning to visit the exhibit. I have a 5 year old son who is very interested in the body (puzzles of bones, of veins and arteries, etc.). My father in law is a physician. I had planned on taking my son to see it. Do you remember the reactions of kids at the exhibit, or did you note their ages? You mentioned in your review that there were a number of kids. Any thoughts would help a lot-is it appropriate, scary, tough to stomach, etc. Thanks for your time, and for your excellent review.

    Paul Nagle


    Hi Paul,
    Always great to hear that someone actually reads my stuff now and then. I appreciate the kind words. Ready for an eyeful though? I took time and consideration in responding to this because I know what it's like trying to figure-out what's good for my son to participate in at his age. Hopefully, it's not too long-winded.. and helps you in your decision.

    5 years old? Hmm.. I'd be hard-pressed to suggest that it's great for someone that young. It all depends on the way he's been raised I guess. There were certainly kids his age taking in the sights, and I noted a book at the end of the tour that had been filled-out by some of the kids that came. (obviously the writers were more like 8 to 12, rather than 5 years old, but it might give you the idea..)

    I read through a bunch of the kids entries, and noted that the general concensus was, in their words ".. gross, but really cool and I learned a lot, except where the one guy was chopped-up into thin pieces, that was just really REALLY gross..."

    Oddly enough, I think the exhibit they were referring to was right next to a female whose skin had been cut up into strips, where there was only skin in stripes about 3 inches wide across various parts of her body. That was one of two that had a fully visible intact vagina complete with stubbly shaven pubic hair. There didn't seem to be any mention of her in the children's accounts, which surprised me a bit... The sliced guy they were referring to was essentially shaved into thin slices and displayed like a plate collection arranged in an elongated human form... I didn't think that looked too bad in comparison to the lady, but maybe that's just me.

    My own impression of the exhibit was definately influenced by my interest in horror props and suchlike, and therefore probably not worth much as an impartial observer. I was thinking more in terms of how to recreate the bodies and body parts, and marveling that although the exhibit, by definition is gory (artistically mutilated bodies) they didn't strike me as being gory at all. That's likely due to the lack of blood, and the serene faces, I guess.

    Anyways, I DO remember thinking that there was an awful lot of genitals on display, inciting quite a few kids to nervously giggle and point. That's normal behavior though, despite how mortified the parents seemed to be. I DID hear a few unfortunate parents having to answer the questions about why the lady's penis was gone when everyone else still had one.

    One observer in particular, a little girl, perhaps 2 years old, suddenly noticed the penis hanging from one of the bodies and decided to let her mom know about it, very loudly, as her mom tried to shush her in embarrassment. Of course everyone within earshot got a chuckle out of it. "Mommy! Mommy!! LOOOK! LOOK MOMMY!" (I think I may have related this event in my article already, but I'm not sure.)

    Anyways, if you think you and your son are ready for discussion on the topic of physical differences between men and women, and he's patient, then I'd say yes.. take him, he'll be awestruck. The circulatory exhibits especially, are incredible to look at, and definately inspiring for young minds.

    However, MY son isn't ready for that yet. It's a whole lot of people moving slowly and quietly, and he'd be far too fidgety for that. Unfortunately, everything had to be read too, so it seemed that many kids weren't really doing much besides darting around to peer and giggle at stuff by themselves, instead of waiting for their parents to read through stuff. There was the occassional exception, where they were being guided closely through each exhibit by their parents. Unfortunately, it seemed like you couldn't just read every sign verbatim to a kid and have them understand it. Each one would have to be summarized to the child, and paraphrased into terms they'd understand. Not a bad deal, but difficult for a kid that might be fidgeting after a few minutes of waiting for their parent to finish reading it.

    There was an audio tour that I missed out on, where you get headphones and a tape recorder telling you about each exhibit. Judging by the lack of signage in areas like the circulatory room, I missed quite a bit of information by not getting the headset. I don't know for sure, but I suspect the headset tour would be difficult for a small child to grasp, assuming that the dialogue would be similar to the signage. Still, for an adult, I highly recommend it if you want the full experience.

    The only thing in the exhibit that might be considered "bad" would be a side room that dealt with babies and fetuses. There were deformities, and some fairly horrific stuff in that room. It's a little strange to look at human fetuses floating in formalydehyde (or water?) especially those in later stages of development, or the conjoined ones, etc. I realize that the fetuses had to be treated this way because they'd fall apart under their own weight, but it also seemed a bit extreme to see some of the very small ones stabbed onto a thin rod like an insect for display.

    Even some of the folks that decided to "brave" the room were leaving before reaching the end of it, looking vaguely unsettled. I didn't see any kids looking around in there for more than a second or two, before parents decided it was time to move on.

    I seem to recall (though I might be mistaken) that there was even what's called a "harlequin baby" in there. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it's a terminal condition where the skin is dry enough to crack, at every wrinkle there's blood and a bit of pus coming to the surface through the cracks. It's horrific to look at. Babies born with that affliction simply don't survive long. If you think you have the stomach for viewing that kind of thing, you can do a google image search on "harlequin baby" (be sure to hit the image button, right over the search bar before hitting "go"). It's unsettling to say the least.

    Anyways...to sum it up: If you have a patient, non-fidgety 5-year-old with an interest in museums, human physiology, and why/how to stay healthy (the focus of the tour, it would seem), AND you're prepared for awkward questions in front of a snickering audience, and likely, disapproving glances from senior citizens, then by all means, get him there. It doesn't emanate horror, and if anything, I noted that some of the children where speaking in terms of thinking they were looking at representations of bodies rather than the real thing. .. so were some of the adults. For them, I suspect, it was just like any other trip to the museum but with more realistic models.

    Personally? I can't fortell the future or anything, but I suspect my son wouldn't be prepared for that kind of thing until he was a minimum of 8 years old. That's despite the fact that he's been raised with anatomically correct plastic skeletons hanging around the house every so often... Predominantly because I figure he'd go stir crazy and start acting up, but also because he's currently having trouble understanding the concept of what happens when people die in real life, (due to a grandparent passing away recently). The exhibit doesn't seem to promote discussions about death, but it would just be a matter of time before I had to explain that they were actual corpses standing there and why they weren't in heaven.

    Also, the level of dialogue would be MUCH easier when he's older, and he'd even be able to read the signs on his own, rather than have me explain everything to him in small child terms, and bore him to death when he's simply not interested in some of the information I was relating.

    Anyways, be sure to go, at least by yourself, and when you do, please let me know what YOU thought of the exhibit. I'd love to hear about it.

    Thanks again for reading my article at "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" at www.crazedfanboy.com hope to hear from you again! Did you check out Nolan's review, too? Personally I thought his was more informative than mine... I got carried away with the "death thing" and where did these bodies come from, rather than the meat of what you're looking for.

    --Mike "Deadguy" Scott


    To PCR Readers,
    In last week's Lettercol a reader had written in recalling a TV personality named Sam Bahr. Off cold, the name didn't ring a bell. Later in the week, PCR staff writer William Moriaty reminded me he wrote a feature on tacky TV commercials years ago mentioning a "man named Bahr", but didn't recall his first name (explaining why searches proved fruitless). Now it can be told: Sam Bahr (pronounced: bear), was the loud, colorful spokesman for Allied Discount Tires in the '70s (heavy redneck accent: "Al-aaaad, Discount....Taaaaaaaars!"). Many PCR readers might remember him best from his commericals during shows like Creature Feature.



    Yeah, your memo above jarred my memory. He was the "Taaares ain't pretty!" guy.

    Hope you are OK after your bike spill. We full-time bikers have to stick together.

    All the best,
    Richard Sousa

    To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com.  Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan

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