Is this a great town or what?

Things I noticed while waiting for the election results.
Florida historian Gary Mormino speaking at the Matheson on Sunday. With Eric Burden and Richie Havens as his backups.

Took myself to the Matheson on Sunday to hear Gary Mormino, author of “Dreams In The New Century: Instant Cities, Shattered Dreams and Florida’s Turning Point.”

Mormino’s book is about Florida in the first two decades of this new century. A century, he noted, that started out with Floridians filled with confidence and optimism, but which has deteriorated into a state of anger, dissatisfaction and polarized politics.

“This is seriously troubling in a state whose currency was optimism,” He said. “Florida is a place of second chances and second starts. We need to have a serious discussion about the Florida dream…about the future of Florida.”

What are the chances of that happening? Don’t ask.

Speaking of our current fearless leader, Mormino said: “He’s a bully and he’s going to win. If the governor were in the room does anybody actually think we could have a civil conversation?”

On the plus side, the Anti-Ron was personally selected by God to fight for all that’s righteous in the “freest state in America.”

I saw that in a DeSantis campaign ad so it’s gotta be true.

But moving on.

After leaving the Matheson I rode my bike to Depot Park, where the Bash was, um, booming.

That’s so GNV…..thirty bands.

Three stages.

Eighty vendors.

And people soaking in the sun and music.

Plus awesome cloudscapes. (Photographer Clyde Butcher says that Florida’s clouds are its “mountains.” And I’m not gonna argue with him.

Fast forward.

Riding downtown on Election Day I saw the stunning new Bo Diddley-themed mural on the wall of the Bosshardt Realty building on South Main.

It’s the work of the Greensboro, N.C. muralist known as JEKS. And it’s visually arresting as well as a huge improvement on what was there before.

You may remember that the previous owner of that building started to construct an outdoor beer garden on that side of the building. But he died before it could be finished, and the bones of the uncompleted BG sat there for years.

So, yeah, this is much better. It’s all Bo all the time.

Moving on….

So I saw this ASO cruiser parked across the street from the county administration building. How GNV is this! Certainly not your average law enforcement ride.

Oh yeah, and I also noticed that, finally, a new restaurant has moved into the old building that Emilianos occupied for years and years and years.

About time, too.

Emilianos, a “downtown landmark since 1984” closed three years ago, and the building has been sitting empty and derelict every since. Now it’s hopping again. Plus, who doesn’t like noodles?

What else….?

Oh yeah, the newly opened downtown Hyatt Place has officially become my favorite blogging location. It’s got great art, a wonderful location, a terrific outdoor terrace from which to observe downtown street life…and a pretty decent bar.

I’ve done my last three blogs here and so far nobody’s asked me to leave. So I’ve got that going for me.

Which is nice.

Anything else?

Oh yeah. I notice that they’re starting to deck out downtown for the holiday season. Pretty soon the whole town will be bursting out in goodwill toward all and hope for the coming year.

Of course, I’m saying this before we even know the election results. So I could be entirely wrong about that.

But hope springs eternal in this university city.

For now, so long from the “I’m not the anti-“ Ron.

BTW: As of this posting there’s still a couple of hours before the polls close.

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