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Ernest Page

It's the middle of the night. Your phone rings. On the other end is Ernest Page mumbling about how you WILL cut him into some nebulous deal if you know what's good for you. You open your mouth to scream, but can't. You can't move. You can't breathe. You're drenched in cold sweat until finally … you wake up. It was only a nightmare; a terrible, terrible nightmare.

Or was it?

In 1983, three years after he was first elected to the city commission, Orlando cops busted Page for purchasing stolen property. He was convicted, booted from office and sent to jail. In 1996 he returned, rising like the undead, to the city council, running and winning his seat back. In the subsequent eight years he became known as a moderate centrist on the council who brokered compromises.

Or was he?

In September Page was convicted of corruption charges for trying to strong-arm his way into an affordable housing development. Page, who runs a nonprofit development company, told a rival that unless his company was cut in a project, it was dead; and he said it on a recorded voice mail.

Page is scheduled to be sentenced in November. And Orlando is still trying to shake off the night sweats he brought on.

The rodent from hell

You've already forgotten about the vicious squirrel that terrorized Winter Park in August, haven't you? The story of a bushy-tailed rodent with a taste for human flesh gave you a titter and something to talk about over the water cooler for a couple of languid summer days, then you got embroiled in Dancing With the Stars and thoughts of that bloodthirsty sciurus ran from your mind like storm water down a drain, didn't they?

Consider yourself lucky, friend. Because the victims of this satanic rodent that attacked, bit and chewed its way into Winter Park's subconscious have no such luxury. Every day for the rest of their lives these people will wonder: Will that fluffy squirrel up in the tree, the one contentedly munching on an acorn it's rolling in its agile little front paws, drop on my head like a bird of prey and start gnawing through my skull?

Imagine having to go through life like that.

Imagine having to go through life like that.

Homeless person

We're not afraid of homeless people. We don't go out of our way to get involved in their intricate fantasies, but we certainly aren't scared of them the way, say, the Orlando city council is scared of them.

Yes, there are denizens of downtown with dirty clothes, bad teeth and an unwillingness to discuss the beauty of adjustable rate mortgages, all of which makes them poor prospects as condo buyers. The same characteristics make them frightening to the bankers and condo-buyers who are just dying for the urban experience, sans people unlike themselves, of course. And then there are the anarchists hell-bent on feeding the homeless, of all things. Terrifying. The city has, of course, responded with the silver bullet of a city ordinance to prevent feeding the homeless in city parks; whether this response will be as effective as the garlic crucifix of "blue boxes" is yet to be seen.

Yes, there are denizens of downtown with dirty clothes, bad teeth and an unwillingness to discuss the beauty of adjustable rate mortgages, all of which makes them poor prospects as condo buyers. The same characteristics make them frightening to the bankers and condo-buyers who are just dying for the urban experience, sans people unlike themselves, of course. And then there are the anarchists hell-bent on feeding the homeless, of all things. Terrifying. The city has, of course, responded with the silver bullet of a city ordinance to prevent feeding the homeless in city parks; whether this response will be as effective as the garlic crucifix of "blue boxes" is yet to be seen.

Condozilla

CONDOZILLA! Like a colossus bestriding the earth! All tremble before Condozilla and fall to the ground, weeping and consulting their credit reports!

The fair megalopolis of Orlando has been terrorized by Condozilla for almost five years, with more than 1,000 new condo units breaking ground and still more planned! Condozilla, not to be confused with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, does in fact share some of that other Condi's traits: a steely-eyed gaze; a will of iron, brooking no silly "logical" argument ("Do we really need another condo building downtown? Are there enough buyers in all of Central Florida to purchase these cracker-box monstrosities?"); and a laser-like intensity of purpose, locking on to the target while destroying all that stands in its path.

Out of the way, historical buildings and homeless shelters! Make tracks, artists priced out of the district you helped create! Anyone foolish enough to try to get in the way of "progress," RUN BEFORE YOU'RE CRUSHED!

Tended by its lickspittle lackeys, Cameron Kuhn and Buddy Dyer, Condozilla is striding your way. Will your building be the next to go?

Tended by its lickspittle lackeys, Cameron Kuhn and Buddy Dyer, Condozilla is striding your way. Will your building be the next to go?

Katherine Harris

First let's put the rumor to rest: There is absolutely no truth to the notion that Universal Orlando's original theme for this year's Halloween Horror Nights was Katherine Harris in a PVC bodysuit with a chainsaw in one hand and a Bible in the other. That's false; hot, but completely false.

But there is something chilling, terrifying and utterly bloodcurdling about Ol' Runny Face, and it's this: She thinks she's going to be your next U.S. Senator! In a press release on her website, Harris says she soundly whumped Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson 54 percent to 45 percent in a straw poll, so her ascension to the U.S. Senate — and from there, heaven — is all but assured.

It's not going to happen, of course. The straw poll was taken at a chamber of commerce event in Lakeland; you couldn't even participate unless you paid $25 to vote. Fact is, the Lakeland poll Harris was crowing about is as accurate as her prediction that holy water would cure citrus canker. She's going to lose by double-digits. But even that wide a margin is scary. What if time somehow contorts itself, it's suddenly 2000 again and Harris is the Secretary of State, she stops the election before all the votes get counted and … OK, we've got to stop. It's just too frightening.

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