A conservative billionaire who opposes government meddling in business has bought a rare commodity: the right to interfere in faculty hiring at a publicly funded university. [more inside]
Conceptual art collective, and part-time unemployment agency, Workforce Central Florida recently began the "Cape-a-bility Challenge" that has been taking some flack for spending $73,000 giving 6000 red capes (costing $14,000 for the capes alone) to the unemployed in their battle against the verbosely named existential super-villian Dr. Evil Unemployment. [more inside]
"We dream that one day Walt Bogdanich will have to say: 'I can’t believe the Sarasota Whatever-Tribune cost me my 20th Pulitzer.'"
Sarasota Herald-Tribune Reporter Matt Doig is looking for investigative journalists....
Gulf Coast Dolphin Death Toll Rising. Scientists clamor to figure out why 12 times the normal rate of dolphin deaths are being observed along the Gulf States. Results from an examination of 89 dead dolphins that washed up immediately after the Gulf oil spill have not been publicly released, but scientists concluded those dolphins "died from something environmental during the last year." Despite a steady drumbeat of stories in the media claiming that the Gulf has already been mostly cleaned up thanks to "teeny little janitors," getting far less media and public traction are more recent reports finding that the Gulf's sea floor is in fact still very much oily and dead. [more inside]
When her son refused to do his school work, his mom had him stand out on a busy street corner with a sandwich board trumpeting his 1.22 GPA. [more inside]
Patsy Campbell has been fighting her foreclosure in Florida courts for the past 25 years. She has not made a mortgage payment since 1985 while foiling the efforts of several banks to evict her from her home in Okeechobee, Florida.
Earlier this week, Toxie, NPR's cutest toxic asset died. One of the mortgages bundled into this asset was an investment property in Bradenton, Florida, which, like many Florida homes, has never been occupied or served as anything other than a financial instrument. Boston.com's Big Picture recently took a look from above at the effects that this (and previous) housing bubbles have had on the development of Florida's cities and landscapes. How do you design a city that nobody plans to live in? (Previously)
Adam Higginbotham wrote an interesting article in 2007 about Chuckie Taylor's reign of terror in Liberia. (Note: PDF link) [more inside]
Skunk-apes are more than just Bigfoot's stinky southern cousins. They have their own Research Headquarters, beach movie, and "investment-quality" commemorative coins. Oh, and Skunktoberfest. (Sadly, Mefi's own Skunkape remains a mysterious mystery.)
Before David Koresh, there was simply "Koresh." Cyrus Reed Teed was an eclectic physician from New York who experienced a "divine illumination" (Google Books) in 1869. He recruited over 200 followers to settle a utopian commune in Estero, Florida based on his revelation of a unique hollow-earth theory called the Cellular Cosomogony. Elaborate experiments showed conclusive "proof" that the world's surface was a concave sphere. Despite this, his movement failed to gain traction; relations grew increasingly strained between the Koreshans and the Lee County locals. In 1906, the aging Dr. Teed was severely beaten in a Ft. Myers street brawl (PDF, see pp. 12-14) and died from his injuries on December 22, 1908. His martyrdom sealed, the Koreshans refused to bury the remains (PDF) in the belief that their messiah would be resurrected on Christmas Day. The commune has been preserved as a state historic site where Floridians can learn more about the cult leader in their backyard. [more inside]
C.W. Roberts Contracting in Florida has come up with a simple and inexpensive method to remove crude oil from the Gulf of Mexico. [more inside]
Scott Stapp sings "Marlins Will Soar."
There is a rhesus macaque monkey on the loose in Saint Petersburg, Florida. It seems to get around. It has been shot with tranquilizer darts a number of times, but always gets away. It has been roaming the Tampa Bay area for at least a year. It has fans on facebook.
Rising up from deep within the aquifer, cool clear water flows from hundreds of springs that dot the Florida landscape. Florida springs are natural wonders that are threatened constantly. [more inside]
The season now approaches for snowbirds to make their way to warmer climes for the season. Among them will be members of Amish and Menonnite orders. In the 1920s, farmers were persuaded to come to Sarasota, Florida and begin using the land for agricultural purposes. Among the items surmised best to grow in the soil was celery, produce already commonplace in Amish farms in the northern bands of the US. And so, some made the trip to begin farming, only to later learn it was a scam, but the weather and surroundings enticed them to stay or visit on a regular basis. Pinecraft, Florida is the winter home for many of these people. [more inside]
Sassy lesbian couple in Florida celebrates 70 years together after having to keep their relationship secret for decades. You go, girls!
For generations, anglers have performed worm grunting (a.k.a. charming, fiddling, snoring, rubbing, or calling) to entice worms out of the ground. Worm grunting even has its very own annual festival. After accompanying Grunting King Gary Revell Vanderbilt neurobiologist Kenneth Catania has explained why scraping a "stob" or twanging a pitchfork brings the worms a-callin'. [more inside]
"Jesus is to be mass-produced, imprinted on metal, given a reflective coat and sold for money." The Florida Senate is considering a bill to put Jesus Christ on a license plate. Governor Charlie ("No H.") Crist has come out in support of the bill (or at least in support of not vetoing it). [video]
A little over two weeks into the season, Major League Baseball has already seen four near no-hitters. Meanwhile, Mitchell High School senior Patrick Schuster has thrown four in a row.
For Their Own Good. "They were screwed-up kids, sent to the reform school in Marianna for smoking, fighting, stealing cars or worse. The Florida School for Boys -- that'd straighten them out." A well-written and heartbreaking feature from the St Pete Times. Includes an extensive list of supporting news links (going back to 1932) and a gallery of portraits by Edmund D. Fountain.
The mission of The Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum is to preserve the history of the cultural contributions of Burt Reynolds. (previously) [more inside]
Student artwork from the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL. Departments include computer animation, photography and digital imaging, interior design, and others. [more inside]
The Great Schlep. Sarah Silverman explains why you should get your fat Jewish ass on a plane to Florida to convince your grandparents to vote for Obama.
As simple as a typo. Your vote in the 2008 U.S. election won't [2:00-9:00] count if voter caging parties can help it. Vote caging works basically like this - (1) Send do-not-forward mail to the address listed on your registration. (2) If it comes back return to sender, your registration is challenged and can be thrown out without notice. "A challenged voter will likely cast a provisional ballot....Nearly a third of all 1.6 million provisional ballots cast in 2004 were thrown out." Previously (somewhat). [more inside]
In 2002, Miles White died in a car crash. The car was being driven by his friend Adam Jacoby, and the accident occurred after they were chased by Deputy Scott Lawson of the Polk County, Florida Sheriff’s Office. The St. Pete Times now claims that “sexual pervert” Lawson hit them, causing the accident. [more inside]
Who can forget when Harmony and Grits played at Nero's Nook? This is a big stack of pics that I scanned as a single collection. Most are 8"x10", but a few are snapshots. They represent something of a snapshot of the bar and entertainment scene in the Gulf Coast resort town of Fort Walton Bch, FL, circa 1970s. Most are of bands, entertainers and a few strippers. If you are from this area, you may well recognize some of the faces. They are in no order. (Via.)
"Some Florida teens believe drinking Mountain Dew or smoking marijuana will prevent pregnancy and that swallowing a capful of bleach will prevent HIV/AIDS."* As a result, lawmakers are pushing "for an overhaul of sex education in the state. State lawmakers said the myths are spreading because of Florida's abstinence-only sex education"* "On Tuesday, a bill that would 'require a more comprehensive approach' to sex education narrowly won approval from a state Senate committee."*
A church in Tampa, FL has issued a 30-day sex challenge: If you're married, have sex every day (PDF of daily workbook). If you're not married, don't have sex at all (PDF of daily workbook). There's a blog, there's a billboard, there's a lot of press. [more inside]
The coddled "terrorists" of South Florida. Examining our governments double standard with regard to providing a safe haven for terrorists. Alpha 66 continues to carry out attacks.
I watched man burn to death, heard others screaming in the fog. A massive, 50-car pileup, the result of three or more crashes on I-4, has led to at least 3 fatalities and 82 injuries in central Florida near Orlando. The smoke and fog were so bad that rescue efforts were hindered. Drivers with no visibility did not know whether to stay in their burning cars or risk running out onto the highway for help.
Four out of Five People Wash Their Hands. Don't be that Fifth Guy. While you're at it, cover your mouth when you cough and stay home when you're sick. Really, how many times do we have to tell you? Wash. Your. Hands. Seriously. [more inside]
"I've got a shotgun. Do you want me to stop 'em?" On November 14, 61-year old Joe Horn saw two men breaking into his neighbor's home. He called 911, told the operator what he could see through his window. As Horn watched the men, he grew more and more agitated, saying he was going to go outside and shoot them. When the men left the neighbor's home, Horn went outside and did just that. Now, Texas gets to argue over the hero or villain status of Joe Horn in the public square (a debate made more volatile by concerns that race was been a factor), while weighing the merits of that state's recent adoption of Castle Doctrine (aka "Stand Your Ground" Law). First adopted by Florida in 2005, Castle Doctrine is now law in 19 of 50 states. So what does this mean for Joe Horn? Public accusations of vigilantism aside, what Horn did is arguably legal under Texas law ... or, at least, it would be had he shot the two men after dark.
With few cows, no ice, and lacking refrigeration the only dairy product reliably available to the Florida Keys in the late 18th century was condensed milk. Add a local plantation abundance of small, sour key limes (known to most as West Indian limes; not the more common Persian/Tahiti lime), and inevitably someone -- perhaps Aunt Sally -- put them together to create the quintessential Florida Keys confection known as key lime pie. [more inside]
A gay Republican news story that you probably didn't read about in the paper: In late August, Ralph Gonzalez--Republican strategist, former Georgia GOP executive director, and "political powerhouse"--was murdered (along with his roommate, David Abrami, another Republican political consultant) by Gonzalez' "friend" and former Marine Jason Robert Drake. Characterized as the result of a "lovers' quarrel," it's a bizarre crime story that should've made at least a ripple in the national news, given some other recent incidents. But it never did. [more inside]
Today the DNC voted "to strip Florida of all its presidential convention delegates, threatening to leave the state without a vote for the party's 2008 nominee unless it delays the date of its presidential primary election." [More Inside]
Floridian, Republican, Representative Bob Allen the latest hypocrite to be arrested for sexual acts that his political persona derided. The difference? This one blames black people for his being caught soliciting a blowjob from an undercover cop.
The Florida Memory Project has a great audio section. In addition to podcasts and lots of individual files, they've compiled three mix cds of their offerings (Music from the Florida Folklife Collection, More Music, and Shall We Gather at the River). The real gem of the collection, though, may be the WPA recordings Zora Neale Hurston made while she was collecting folk tales in Florida. (Previous y2karl omnibus folklife post)
They say what boys do in these fields makes them fast. Is it a coincidence that there are so many of them in the NFL?
"I'm not from here, so when I was told that what these boys do in the fields makes 'em fast, I didn't believe it." Welcome to Muck City.
Florida's Barefoot Mailmen traveled 68-mile routes between Palm Beach and Miami in the late 1800s. Walking 40 miles (barefoot) and rowing 28 miles over the course of three days each way, these letter carriers brought efficiency to a postal route that previously required that "a letter from Palm Beach to Miami begin its trip at the lighthouse community of Jupiter, 22 miles north, then by an Indian River steamboat to the rail head at Titusville. By train it continued to New York's port and from there by steamer to Havana. From Cuba, a trading schooner took the letter to Miami. It took a voyage of 3,000 miles and a period of six weeks to two months for a letter to arrive in Miami." Ed Hamilton, who disappeared in the course of duty (and whose mysterious death may have been engineered by moving his rowboat out of reach in alligator-infested waters), is honored with a bronze statue in Hillsboro Beach.
"SeaWorld bespeaks the essence of Orlando, a place whose specialty is detaching experience from context, extracting form from substance, and then selling tickets to it."
"All over Orlando you see forces at work that are changing America from Fairbanks to Little Rock. This, truly, is a 21st-century paradigm: It is growth built on consumption, not production; a society founded not on natural resources, but upon the dissipation of capital accumulated elsewhere; a place of infinite possibilities, somehow held together, to the extent it is held together at all, by a shared recognition of highway signs, brand names, TV shows, and personalities, rather than any shared history. Nowhere else is the juxtaposition of what America actually is and the conventional idea of what America should be more vivid and revealing."
"Welcome to the theme-park nation." [more inside]
"Welcome to the theme-park nation." [more inside]
The Reedy Creek Improvement District's goal "is to provide effective and efficient services to the public and our taxpayers." The taxpayer is Disney, and the taxes are used to provide services for Disney by contracting the services to Disney. The RCID is a county-like entity in Florida, composed of the cities of Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake, which are also controlled by Disney. The government of the RCID is elected by the landowners - Disney executives who own five-acre plots, the only non-corporate and non-government landowners. The governments of the cities are elected by the residents - about 40 Disney employees split between Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista. The Rotten Library (SFW article on a NSFW site) discusses the district, which is administered from a SimCity 2000 construction site.
Hoohaw? Florida comedy club changes marquee advertising a performance of "The Vagina Monologues" after a resident complains. The local news video (embedded windows media) had me laughing out loud. What's your favorite euphamism? And don't forget Woody's list.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida was one of the few tribes never to sign a peace treaty or surrender to the U.S. government, hiding out in Florida's swamps and living in poverty. In 1979, they pioneered Indian Gaming, fighting in the courts and Congress for tribal sovereignty to allow gambling in their bingo halls. And now? They bought Hard Rock Cafe on December 7, for $965 million.
An official reviewing absentee ballots in Florida (where else?) noticed that it looked like someone had raided an old stamp collection for the postage on one envelope. One stamp was from 1936 and another stamp had an inverted biplane. An authentic "Inverted Jenny" could be worth $150,000, but the ballot and envelope are sealed in a ballot box, which by law, can not be opened for 22 months and then must be destroyed.