Steve Otto Columns
Otto: Baby watch turns into a royal pain
When Queen Elizabeth II showed up in Tampa a number of years ago, the town went bonkers with people trying to get invited to meet the woman at a reception at the University of Tampa. We ran stories on how to curtsy and bow and what to say if spoken to first. She was only here a few hours, and my only impression was watching her walk from the royal yacht with then Mayor Sandy Freedman and noticing the mayor was actually taller than the queen. I wondered at the time if they had a royal box for her to stand on when she spoke, just as the city had a box for the mayor to stand on in front of microphones. But I had to admit this week, whatever was wrong in England or any of her colonies was shoved aside for the baby watch. Even American TV networks all but abandoned the Zimmerman affair to give breathless reports from outside the hospital and speculate on the name of the future king. It made me wonder if this whole royal business might be a good idea after all. I mean, if we had a royal family around to get us through otherwise dreary summers, think how much better our lives would be.Of course the rub would be deciding who gets to be the American royal family. I Googled "most popular Americans" and the answer, based largely on Internet hits, was rap singer Eminem and Lady Gaga. On second thought, maybe we should just stick to watching the British version from over here. v v The Cuban sandwich festival continues this weekend in Ybor with an attempt to set the record for the world's biggest Cuban sandwich. The plan is for several of Tampa's sandwich makers to begin building a 45-foot-long sandwich around 11 a.m., beating out last year's 36-foot sandwich created at the same spot on the Hillsborough Community College campus. The sandwich will be donated to the homeless. v vFinally, from the "I thought all eggs came from Publix" department, is a sampling of about 20,000 of you who wanted to make sure one reader who commented on the city's ruling allowing chickens inside the city limits knew about the chickens and the bees. "Your reader must have been ill-informed about the birds and bees or has led a very sheltered life. During World War II many people in urban areas kept hens to provide fresh eggs. We did not need any roosters. Roosters are necessary only for fertilization of eggs, if you want to make more hens... Your devoted reader, Harry." "Inform you reader it is not necessary to have a rooster to get eggs. We have had 5-6 hens for years and get ample eggs without a noisy rooster. Kathy Flemister, Plant City." "You did your reader a tremendous favor by withholding her name. I asked my chickens how it is that they could keep laying eggs without a male around. 'HELLOOO, we don't need no stinkin' rooster to lay eggs.'... Michael Wrobel."