As much as we love broad strokes and low-hanging fruit around here – along with expletives in lieu of real words – even we weren’t sure what to make of the thick packet we were issued by Come Out With Pride 2008 in advance of this past weekend’s queer festivities.

There among the bloated biographies of some gay people scheduled to talk at the Vote with Pride rally was a “lesbian/gay/bisexual glossary of terms,” courtesy of the folks at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. We were ready to bump up our lexicon with some new word for poppers or something, so we all huddled around our Cher shrine and waited for something magical to happen. Turns out nothing did.

Short of “biphobia” (“fear of bisexuals, often based on inaccurate stereotypes, including associations with infidelity, promiscuity and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases”) and “heterosexism” (“the attitude that heterosexuality is the only valid sexual orientation,”) there was little contained in the packet we didn’t already know. But!

There was an awesome list of “offensive terminology to avoid.” Giving this list to us is like teasing a dog through a fence. We are, of course, required to print every offensive term, though they aren’t that offensive. For example, “homosexual” is off the table because of its “clinical” history, as is any permutation of the words “homosexual” and “couple,” “relations,” “sex,” etc. “Sexual preference” is a no-no because it implies choice. “Gay lifestyle” is banned because the gays have all kinds of lifestyles -– some even water-ski! The term “admitted homosexual” should never pass your lips as it implies shame or secrecy, plus the whole “clinical” thing comes into play so this one is really, really bad. And if you tossed off the terms “gay agenda” or “special rights” last weekend, you are a wingnut.

Fine, faggots. We’ll stick to our slang.

Speaking of fags, which we do a lot around here, a certain Mary from Hamburger Mary’s on Church Street called in to complain about the new pay-and-display parking meters under I-4.

The new meters – which the city says were part of a mass meter buy back in November 2005 at about $9,500 apiece – print out yellow tags that you’re supposed to put on your dashboard in clear sight, unlike the old meters that just remembered your info. The problem is, if your yellow tag slips under the tinted part of your windshield and can’t be seen – or if you ride a motorcycle and somebody takes your printed stub – you get a parking ticket.

Of course, if you still have your yellow tag – or even the rip-off receipt portion of your yellow tag – you can show it to parking services and get the fine reduced. Why not a full refund? Because $7 is mandated to go to a fund for crossing guards, and you can’t have that back even if you shouldn’t have been ticketed in the first place.

If that pisses you off sufficiently, you can contest it in traffic court, but you’ll probably have to wait a few months for your case to be heard – there’s a backlog, don’t you know. Face it, hon, you’re out of luck.

So guess who totally loved our story on the minor-party presidential candidates (see “Meet the also-rans,” Oct. 9): Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles. He called us to say so. (He also wanted to know who ate his head on the Young Democrats’ cake; see photo.)

Cowles is kind of annoyed with having to deal with all the voters who call in wondering what in the hell the BTP is – that’s the Boston Tea Party – and a little frustrated by the fact that getting on Florida’s presidential ballot is so easy anyone can do it.

Next year, Cowles says, he’s going to push the Florida Legislature to change the rules. If a candidate isn’t on enough state ballots to make it theoretically possible for him or her to reach the 270 electoral votes you need to win, Cowles asks, “Why the heck are they even on Florida’s ballot?”

That’s good governance and all, but we’re totally planning on getting the Happytown™ Party’s nomination in 2012. And we’re gonna win, too.

Got some time to kill while the economy tanks? Well, since the city is in the business of rubbing salt in your wounds these days, while your mortgage forecloses you can stare at your computer screen and watch the city’s dreams erect themselves!

Last month they launched a 24-hour webcam that updates every 15 minutes as it stares blankly at the events center building site. You can get to it by going to the city’s website, www.cityoforlando.net, clicking on the “community venues” link and following to the “events center webcam” link. Or you can just put a pot of water on the stove and stare at it boiling.

When we last checked Oct. 10, there was a lot of dirt with one yellow crane in the middle. Watch as each scoop of the crane digs the city deeper into a financial hole!

Party with us!

Tired of spending Election Day evening alone screaming at your TV and scaring your dog? Us, too. We’d rather watch history unfold in a communal setting, maybe a bar. Yeah, a bar. That’d be nice.

On Nov. 4, we’ll be hosting Cry in Our Beer ’08, the Election Night party of the … umm … week. We’re still working out the details, but rest assured there will be beer and other intoxicating beverages to throw down your maw. There will be games (pundit bingo, anyone?). There will be stratospheric highs and geologic lows. There will be an election. There will be camaraderie and there will be sympathy, unless you are a Ron Paul supporter, in which case there will be no sympathy, only scorn. But come anyway, it’ll be fun! Chris Matthews won’t even miss you.

Watch this space for details.



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