"It all comes down to this roll. Roy Munson, a man-child with a dream to topple bowling giant Ernie McCracken. If he strikes, he's the 1979 Odor-Eaters Champion. He's got one foot in the frying pan and one in the pressure cooker. Believe me, as a bowler, I know that right about now, your bladder feels like an overstuffed vacuum cleaner bag and your butt is kinda like an about-to- explode bratwurst."

Yep, all it takes is the hilarious Farrelly brothers trip to Kingpin to remind us that sparkly balls and eggplant-shaped pins can maybe save the economy.

Or at least Steve Hartman of Heart Real Estate Investment Group in St. Cloud supposes so. On May 17, Hartman is hosting the "Property Bowl" out at Boardwalk Bowl Entertainment on East Colonial Drive. Win the tournament and you win an apartment complex. Sounds a little like Bowling for Dollars, only without the swishy music.

But, because this is both real estate and PR, there is a catch, or rather, several. First of all, there have to be a minimum of 1,000 entrants for the contest to go on as scheduled, and each of those 1,000 pinheads will be required to pay $1,000 for the first game they play ($800 for the second, $700 for the third and so on. The 10th game is free!). And it gets more complex from there: There will be no headpin, making strikes nearly impossible; strikes will be scored as spares; and each player gets one "mulligan," or do-over. Also, no personal balls are allowed.

The rest is even more confusing, so we'll let you read up on it at www.propertybowl.net and set your own financial handicap. The grand prize is a group of 100 percent—occupied rental properties in lovely St. Cloud valued at $850,000! Should you choose not to become a landlord in the boondocks, you can settle out for a cash prize that will be worth between $350,000 to $500,000, depending on how many people enter. Also, there are smaller cash prizes for some of the bigger losers.

We're not sure whether this is awesome or horrible, frankly, but we just thought you might want to know that this is what the world has come to. Dude.

Despite our overwhelmingly gay-and-tax—hating GOP legislature, which opted last month to hack almost $500 million out of the state's education budget rather than hike cigarette taxes $1 per pack — which would net about $700 million a year while discouraging people from smoking, a habit said to be bad for you — and which has consistently refused to let gay people adopt children even as thousands of kids languish in our under-funded bureaucratic nightmare of a foster-care system, it turns out that Floridians are, by and large, not all wingnuts. Yay, us!

A pair of polls out last week from Quinnipiac University demonstrates the dichotomy between you and the people who represent you. In poll No. 1, 55 percent of Floridians say gay adoption is fine & dandy, while just 39 percent think that it's a bad thing. Bad news: A lot of those in the "no" column seem to have finagled their way into the Legislature. Good news: That ban has recently been ruled unconstitutional, though Bill McCollum, our queer-hating zealot of an attorney general — who just might be running for U.S. Senate! — will appeal, presumably because he'd rather see young children shuffled from home to home than stay with loving same-sex parents `see "Florida's case against gay adoption," Dec. 18`.

That same poll offers a mixed bag on gay marriage. While only 27 percent favor gay marriage, 62 percent favor some form of legal recognition, be it marriage or civil unions. Only 31 percent of the state's population, then, are too hung up on "Adam and Steve" to support basic civil rights. Progress!

Poll No. 2: Despite our Legislature's budgetary idiocy, 71 percent of voters favor raising taxes on smokes, though (shocking!) smokers were against it 2-1. Three-quarters also opposed cuts to Bright Futures scholarships.

Looking at those numbers, you'd assess us a fairly progressive, if centrist, state. And yet our state Legislature is packed to the rafters with fundie ideologues who don't care what you think. Imagine that.

The continuing saga of the ACLU versus George Crossley, the guy who used to run the local chapter of the ACLU, is … continuing. This week's update: The ACLU is pissed that after they disbanded the local chapter to rid themselves of Crossley, he started his own group with a name that kinda sorta sounds like theirs. How dare he!

Crossley faxed us a copy of a letter he received from the New York law firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler stating, basically, that he'd better change the name of his new group — which he dubbed the Florida Civil Liberties Union — or else. "Because any use of ‘Florida Civil Liberties Union' as a trade name, trademark, service mark, domain name or related purpose would be likely to confuse the public into believing your activities are affiliated with or sponsored or endorsed by the ACLU or its Florida state affiliate or local chapters," lawyer Karen Berry wrote, "your use of this name is unlawful and violates the ACLU's rights."

Crossley reports that he has indeed changed the name of his new organization. It's now called Government Watch. No word if the federal government intends to threaten him with trademark infringement.



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