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Welcome to Thinking Out Loud, a blog that contains postings from The Tampa Tribune’s Editorial Board and from various Tribune Community Columnists. Unlike the unsigned editorials that represent the newspaper’s institutional voice, the blog postings offer personal perspectives on the issues, personalities and events of Tampa Bay. We invite you to participate by posting your comments. We’ll do our best to respond.

Joe Guidry

Joe Guidry is the deputy editorial page editor of The Tampa Tribune. He is a Tampa native and a graduate of the University of South Florida. He is married and has an adult son.

Jeff Stidham

Jeff Stidham grew up and lives in Bartow. He has been with the Tribune for nearly 22 years, the last 10 on the editorial board.

William Yelverton

William Yelverton is a Tribune editorial writer who has worked for the paper nearly 22 years. He lives in the Dade City area.

Jim Beamguard

Jim Beamguard is a Tribune editorial writer. He is a native of North Carolina and a graduate of Davidson College. He and his family live in Brandon.

Jackie Papandrew:

Jackie Papandrew is a freelance writer and editor. Her syndicated humor column appears in publications in the United States, Canada and India. She lives in Largo with her husband and children. Visit her website at

Camille Beredjick

Camille Beredjick is a senior at Chamberlain High School, an avid musician and a scribbler with a quirky sense of humor. In the fall, she will be attending Northwestern University to study journalism, political science and music, and she plans to pursue a career in journalism.

Jim Harnish

Jim Harnish is in his 17th year as Senior Pastor at Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa. He and his wife, Marsha, have two daughters and two grandchildren. He is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary and received the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Bethune-Cookman University. He is the author of six books and numerous articles and studies. He enjoys playing with his grandchildren and cheering for the Florida Gators.

Angela Hunt

Angela Hunt is a novelist living in Pinellas County with her husband and two 220-pound mastiffs.

Sheryl Young

Sheryl Young was a Tampa Tribune Community Columnist in 2005-2006. A freelance writer since 1997, including the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Tampa Style Magazines, St. Pete Times and nationally in Better Nutrition, Today’s Christian Woman and more. She’s received a First Place Amy Foundation national "Roaring Lambs" Writing Award, and has lived in Tampa Bay with her family for over 20 years.

Christie Gold

Christie Gold teaches English and journalism at Freedom High School in Tampa where she advises Revolution, the school newspaper. She has been both the Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year and Florida Journalism Teacher of the Year. She lives on a small farm in Wesley Chapel where she trains as a competitive equestrian.

Natalie D. Preston

Natalie D. Preston is a karaoke singing, only-child pouting, Seminole Tomahawk waving, newlywed bride blushing, 50-state traveling, girlie girl who loves to shop, read, run and jump up and down on her soapbox.

Fernando Figueroa

Fernando Figueroa is a researcher, educator and lives in Riverview.

Gary Beemer

Interests include humor, politics, economics, community and world affairs, finance, people, religion, music, sports, current events, the arts and education.

Nicole Yunger Halpern

Nicole Yunger Halpern is an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, where she studies everything she can get her nerdy little hands on. Desired major: life. No, not necessarily biology. Life.

Kris DiGiovanni

Kris DiGiovanni is a Tribune Community Columnist, Huffington Post contributor, Daily Kos diarist, and teacher, who recently moved from NW Hillsborough to another planet - a small beach community in Pinellas County. She also blogs at

H. David Braswell Jr.

H. David Braswell Jr. is an Information Systems Professional. He is a native New Yorker and a lifelong NY Giants fan. He attended college in California (Cal State Northridge) and moved to Tampa in 1998.

Sean Marcus

Sean Marcus teaches creative writing, journalism and reading at Chamberlain High School. He has one son and is expecting a daughter in early March. He can be reached at

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Chemistry for Valentines

Posted Feb 14, 2012 by Nicole Yunger Halpern

Updated Feb 14, 2012 at 04:01 AM

To break up the conversational monotony last week, instead of discussing physics with a colleague, I discussed chemistry. Having just watched “My Week with Marilyn,” Simon Curtis’s 2011 film about a production assistant’s romance with Marilyn Monroe, I admired the actors.

So-and-so and such-and-such, I commented, have good chemistry.

What did I mean? asked my colleague, a non-native English speaker.

Had he encountered the phrase “chemistry between people”? He shook his head. If Michelle Williams, who played Monroe, and Eddie Redmayne, who played the production assistant, share sympathy— convey harmony, demonstrate that they understand each other—they have good chemistry.

Actors can’t have chemistry, my colleague protested, unless they have romantic feelings for each other. When you fall in love, hormones flood your bloodstream. Actors can’t release those chemicals without experiencing romance.

I didn’t mean that the actors opened each other’s endocrine glands like kitchen faucets, I replied. I couldn’t comment on the chemistry in the actors without testing their blood. I saw chemistry between the actors.

My colleague narrowed his eyes. Without having chemicals, people can’t have chemistry.

But English speakers describe relationships in terms of chemistry without considering chemicals.

You must have misheard these English speakers, my colleague said.

I misheard all these uses of “chemistry” throughout 22 years of listening to conversations and reading movie reviews?

You misheard.

Perhaps, I mused later, the phrase “chemistry between people” evolved from recognition of the chemicals released in certain couples who share chemistry. Perhaps the phrase’s source remains as mysterious as the source of chemistry between people.

Perhaps physicists should leave chemistry to chemists.

Physicists have had greater success studying electromagnetism, the sub-field of physics devoted to light.

Anyone smell an application to “flying sparks”?

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