Remember that time when Grandpa, imbued with patriarchal guilt and Old Harper, tried to play with you? You didn't care for his model Edsels and his crayons were blunted, so out of desperation he made believe that he was a Foot Clan underling so he would be included in your fun. Remember how, instead of forging everlasting bonds and memories, you learned the meaning of pity and just wished he would stop?

Well, young people, you did it again. Because you wouldn't humor them and their billboards of barrel-scraping celebrities advocating literacy, the Orange County Library System is now going to ruin video games for you.

Along with programs fostering poetry, art and creative writing, the library now has a division called Gaming at OCLS. They make no attempt at a nebulous connection between literature and video games; the idea is simply to get nerdlingers together (cue heavy breathing) to "play our Xbox 360" and appropriate for the library the joy that's reserved for basements.

"Teens, do you like to play ‘Dance Dance Revolution?' Do you like to … game with others?" their website asks. "Well, why not do both at the Library?"

Many reasons. Foremost, the only thing more contemptible than a fatass whose only defense against complete vascular Armageddon is a frenzied round of DDR at the bowling alley is the fatass who takes it to the library. Also, a congregation of that much human sadness — spinster librarians, virginal Mech Warriors — will probably create a sinkhole or something.

The OCLS has set up about a dozen Teen Gaming Nights for August (find out exactly when on their website, www.ocls.info), as well as an Electronic Arts—sponsored Career Fair in September. A juvenile library card gets access to a respectable catalog of 243 games, from which teens will surely steal.

Travel back with us to the days of yore — March 28, specifically — when Orange-Osceola State Attorney Lawson Lamar was a ballbuster who wasn't about to take shit from anyone, especially nefarious public officials. He would single-handedly crush this "culture of greed and corrupt electioneering," and he wasn't going to let us end up like Miami. And to prove it, Lamar was bringing the long arm of the law down upon PR guy Ron Pecora and scumbag extraordinaire Doug Guetzloe, both of whom were tied to the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority mess (see Happytown™, April 5).

(This was coming from a dude who spent three decades as chief prosecutor and Orange County sheriff before deciding that, gee-whiz, this corruption thing is a real problem. Whatever. We just rolled with it.)

Those heady days are apparently over. First, Guetzloe got off scot-free on perjury charges in July when the chief witness against him dropped dead of a heart attack. Then, on Aug. 2, Pecora held a press conference to announce that he too was off the hook. Thanks to a pretrial diversion program, he'd serve 100 hours of community service, and the bribery charges he faced would vanish into the ether.

Under state sentencing guidelines, Pecora faced more than three years in the clink if convicted, so when Lamar's office made the offer they jumped at it, though Pecora said at his press conference that this wasn't an admission of guilt.

So, to recap: One chest-thumping press conference in March, two high-profile arrests, two cases dropped before trial, no one goes to jail. Oh, and Allan Keen, the guy who Pecora supposedly bribed with theme-park tickets to keep his $1.7 million annual contract at OOCEA hasn't yet faced any charges either.

So much for Lawson the Avenger.

We were probably as excited as most lazy, lottery-lovin' Central Floridians when we pried open the Sentinel's Aug. 3 coverage of the unclaimed treasures piling up in the state's coffers. Not excited enough to stop being lazy and actually head down to the Florida Hotel and Conference Center and the Florida Mall for Saturday's liquidation auction, mind, but giddy enough to stretch our fingers across the keyboard to type www.fltreasure hunt.org and see if by chance we, like tennis star Pete Sampras, were owed $15 by the financially airtight Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority. Or, better, $300,000, like Gov. Charlie Crist, even though we've never even witnessed that kind of cash.

We typed an "H" and then an "a" and then a "p" — not really, as "we" are not really a person. But at least one Happytown™ contributor, Mr. William Manes, is in fact owed a $40 check by the state of Florida (beat that, Sampras). Curious, we trudged along, filling out all of the necessary fields to locate just what corporate injustice had at some point denied us the price of one gram of poorly cut cocaine. And there it was: Horizon Mental Health Management Inc. Ouch! Apparently, we — er, Mr. Manes — overpaid a shrink nearly 10 years ago when we — er, he — went crazy.

And to think, this man was almost your mayor.

From the Happytown™ updates desk: State Rep. Blow Job Bob™ Allen would like you to know that he was not looking for sex in that Titusville bathroom (see Happytown™, July 19). Rather, he had to offer an undercover cop $20 for a hummer — to be clear, that's BJB™ blowing the cop, not vice versa; he's a giver — because, um, there were black people around.

"This was a pretty stocky black guy, and there was nothing but other black guys around in the park," Allen told police after his arrest. The darkies were out to get him, so he was merely doing what he had to do to survive.

A perfectly reasonable explanation, no?

This week's report by Jeffrey C. Billman, Billy Manes and Kent Russell.


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