Well, now, Florida journalist and humorist par excellence Craig Pittman at the Tampa Bay Times newspaper has a new book out on Juy 4 titled "Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country" See amazon.com for details!
Oh, Florida! That name. That combination of sounds. Three simple syllables, and yet packing so many mixed messages. To some people, it's a paradise. To others, it's a punchline. As Oh, Florida! shows, it's both of these - and, more importantly, it's a Petri dish, producing trends that end up influencing the rest of the country. Without Florida there would be no NASCAR, no Bettie Page pinups, no Glenn Beck radio rants, no USA Today, no "Stand Your Ground," ... you get the idea.
To outsiders, Florida seems baffling. It's a state where the voters went for Barack Obama twice, yet elected a Tea Party candidate as governor. Florida is touted as a care-free paradise, yet it's also known for its perils - alligators, sinkholes, pythons, hurricanes, and sharks, to name a few. It attracts 90 million visitors a year, some drawn by its impressive natural beauty, others bewitched by its man-made fantasies.
Oh, Florida! explores those contradictions and shows how they fit together to make this the most interesting state. It is the first book to explore the reasons why Florida is so wild and weird - and why that's okay. Florida couldn't be Florida without that sense of the unpredictable, unexpected, and unusual lurking behind every palm tree. But there is far more to Florida than its sideshow freakiness. Oh, Florida! explains how Florida secretly, subtly influences all the other states in the Union, both for good and for ill.
About the Author
Born in Pensacola, he graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where his muckraking work for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label him "the most destructive force on campus." Since then he has covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature.
Since 1998 he has reported on environmental issues for Florida's largest newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times), where his coverage has won both state and national awards.
A series he co-wrote with Matthew Waite became their book, "Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss" (2009). Since then Pittman has written "Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida's Most Famous Endangered Species" (2010), which the Florida Humanities Council declared an "essential read" for all Floridians, and "The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchids," which the Atlanta Journal-Constitution declared "irresistible."
He lives in St. Petersburg, Fla., with his wife and two children.
"Craig Pittman is not only a brilliant humorist, he's a terrific historian and arbiter of all things Florida, past and present. Oh, Florida! is everything you hope it will be, yet so much more!"―Gilbert King, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Devil in the Grove
"Craig Pittman's Oh, Florida is the definitive compendium of Sunshine State weirdness, properly placing everything from the method of Ponce de Leon's demise through Linda Lovelace's contribution to film and the National Enquirer's journalistic acumen along the continuum of significant world affairs. What the Periodic Table of Elements is to science and the Junior Woodchuck Manual is to scoutcraft, Pittman's collection is to understanding the hotbed of the goony, the astoundingly tasteless, and the impossibly strange."―Les Standiford, author of Last Train to Paradise and the John Deal mysteries
"Pittman's bone-deep knowledge of Florida helps make the airtight case that weirdness has officially passed citrus as our state’s major export crop -- and why the rest of the country should stop laughing and be very afraid."―Tim Dorsey, author of Coconut Cowboy and Florida Roadkill
"Craig Pittman digs for stories in the shifting sands and shifty characters of Florida and unearths gems and surprises on every page. Oh, Florida! is at once hilarious and full of heart. Masterful storytelling and research, layered with a strong sense of justice and a native Floridian’s born irony, make Oh, Florida! much more than a hashtag. Whether you’re dreaming of a sunny vacation, looking down at us in horror, or lucky enough to live here, Pittman brings perfect clarity to this flawed paradise." – Cynthia Barnett, author of Rain: A Natural and Cultural History.
"Florida, that sandy, sunny, coda hanging off the gothic Deep South, is the strangest of American states, half-land, half-water, all fantasy. Nobody knows the dubious history, fractious present and overall oddity of the place better than Craig Pittman. He writes like a trippy combination of Carl Hiaasen and Gail Collins, sharp as a stingray's tail, deep as a first magnitude spring and seriously funny. Oh, Florida! is a smart, sly wild ride of a book."―Diane Roberts, author of Dream State
"Whether or not you've seen albino scorpions big as lobsters drop from a loft in your mom's garage or waited out a hurricane in the Lightning Capital of the World, you need Craig Pittman's brilliant tribute to the Sunshine State. Rich in detail, from historic and political to criminal, from comic to bizarre, Oh, Florida! is swift, absorbing - and funny. It’s perfect for Floridians, snowbirds, tourists, in fact, for everybody out there. You'll see."― Kit Reed's novels include THINNER THAN THOU and WHERE. Her next, MORMAMA, ends with a sinkhole in Jacksonville
"This book is a fun romp through Florida's weirdness, wackiness, and wonder. This is must-read fare for readers of SCENE who can appreciate more than most what author Roxane Gay once claimed: "Florida is a strange place. I love it here, and I love how nothing makes sense."―Scene magazine
"This entertaining book will amuse and astonish Floridians and anybody interested in the absurdity of the Sunshine State or human nature in general."―Library Journal