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St. Petersburg Times; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Jan 18, 2001; BABITA PERSAUD; CHRIS GOFFARD; JEFF HARRINGTON;

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Copyright Times Publishing Co. Jan 18, 2001

So, there was Regis Philbin on his morning show, talking about Tampa and the Super Bowl to his national audience and what does he mention? The gorgeous sunsets? The fabulous weather?

No, lap dancing.

The one thing you won't be able to get is a lap dance, Regis said. No one can get closer to naked dancers than 6 feet.

Laughter filled the audience.

What makes Regis an expert on Tampa's most notorious industry? The New York Post. "Lap Dances Outta Bounds" read the Page 5 headline.

The Post quotes Mons Venus owner Joe Redner: "I want everybody to come in and enjoy themselves . . . and walk away with a smile on their face."

NAUGHTY DOLLS: It's not just lap dancers the city's going after. On Wednesday, police arrested two dancers at Thee Doll House on Westshore Boulevard for exposing their breasts in an establishment where alcohol was being served. One of the dancers had just arrived from New York City in time for the Super Bowl, police said.

Her first performance was a bust.

TWO BITS-LESS: What do the Baltimore Ravens have that the New York Giants don't?


You won't see them on the Giants sideline at Raymond James Stadium Jan. 28. "We are a very traditional, conservative organization," said Giants spokesman Pat Hanion. "As such we believe what is happening game day on the field is what's important."

CURMUDGEON ALERT: The Giants do have some high-powered fans, including Andy Rooney, 60 minutes commentator, who will be sitting in the stadium, said his publicist, Gene Taft.

He's going to fit in a little business while in town. He flies in on Thursday and and will sign his latest book, a World War II memoir called My War, at Inkwood Books, 216 S. Armenia Ave., at 6 p.m. Friday.

Rooney loves football and has attended 27 Super Bowls. He wrote a column about his Super Bowl trip to Atlanta last year, complaining - can you imagine Rooney complaining about anything? - that as soon as he got off the plane five people asked him, "Are you here for the Super Bowl?"

"No," he replied. "I'm here to visit my aunt."

BABIES ON THE FIELD: You've heard of the Super Bowl. Now Payless ShoeSource brings you "Baby Bowl II," infants battling out on a mini- football field, racing toward a finish line. Baby Bowl I was in Atlanta. This year, it will be held Jan. 24 at the Wyndham Harbour Island Hotel. The event isn't open to the public, but it will be broadcast on the Internet at http://www.payless.com. Monday Night Football sideline reporter Melissa Stark will provide the play by play. The babies are from Tampa's Junior League.

POLITICAL BUZZ: A Pittsburgh group called Citizens for Legitimate Government plans to rent a plane to fly over Raymond James Stadium to protest the outcome of the presidential election. Group chairman Michael Rectenwald said the plane won't reveal what the banner will say.

"It has a football metaphor, and it'll tell the political score," he said.

He also won't say who is renting his group the plane for $1,300 to $1,400, for fear that political enemies will "try to shut it down."

Rectenwald described his group as a grass-roots, non-partisan group of about 300 members that began on the Internet after the election.

PARTY SECRETS: Hush is the word on the Commish party.

Organizers of the NFL's pre-Super Bowl party on Friday night are going to extremes to keep the theme under wraps for the Commissioner's Party, billed as the biggest Super Bowl party of the year.

Vendors report that they had to sign confidentiality agreements about what kind of walk-around entertainers they are supplying at the Tampa Convention Center fete.

The event is informally known as the Commissioner's Party from the days when it was a smallish gathering hosted by former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle. All NFL spokesman Pete Abitante will divulge about this year's much larger soiree is the title: Star Gazers. "We want people to be surprised when they get there," he said.

With 5,000 invitees, though, it'll be hard to remain hush-hush for long.

THRILLS AT MACDILL: The most hopping venue in town may be Ybor City Super Bowl week. But MacDill Air Force Base is running a close second. Golf tournaments with Rush Limbaugh. Private parties with Ricky Martin. For the lowdown, call (813) 828-4163. Not everything is open to the public.

- Complied by Babita Persaud, Chris Goffard and Jeff Harrington. Babita Persaud can be reached at (813) 226-3322 or persaud@sptimes.com.

[Illustration] Caption: Andy Rooney; Rush Limbaugh; Photo: BLACK AND WHITE PHOTO, (2) Sic:711211Sic:813990Sic:8611Sic:7941 Sub Title: [LATE TAMPA Edition] Start Page: 1B Companies: National Football LeagueSic:711211Sic:813990Sic:8611Sic:7941 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.