Did you notice that the large, freaky-ass rabbit sculpture in the courtyard of the Bank of America building — the one that always reminded you of Donnie Darko — is gone? Neither did we, until our astute copy editor pointed it out. Then we wondered: Was that thing just a bad acid trip, or did it actually exist?

The latter. And with a little sleuthing, we've figured out where it went. Kind of. The statue, actually called "Nijinsky's Hare," was the inspiration for the name of the restaurant in the lobby of Bank of America building, Harvey's Bistro. That's a reference to the 1950 film Harvey, in which James Stewart befriends an imaginary rabbit, see.

The sculpture was created by artist Barry Flanagan from North Wales. Harvey's did not own their namesake; it was originally purchased by William duPont III, the first owner of what is now the Bank of America building. The sort-of-skyscraper has since been through multiple owners, but the most recent seller chose to vend both "Nijinsky's Hare" and the Renoir sculpture in the lobby, "Washer Woman," for $2 million and $1 million respectively.

Yes, the rabbit sold for more than a Renoir. No, we don't know who bought them. But we hear tell that as the movers were lifting Nijinsky/Harvey off the pedestal with a forklift, they broke one of his legs.

Magic item No. 1: Think the Magic deal sucks? You've got company. Last week, newbie state Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, introduced a bill that would require local governments who want to subsidize professional sports team to hold referenda before doling out the cash.

It's not going to pass, as Randolph readily admits. Not only is he a junior legislator in a minority party, but the Republican House Speaker, Marco Rubio, very much wants to build the Florida Marlins a new stadium. So the idea of actually voting on subsidies for gajillionaire sports-team owners is already dead in the water. And even if it weren't, the earliest it could take effect would be July 1, which will be long after the Magic and the city of Orlando have inked their agreement.

Orlando officials very much hate the idea of putting sports subsidies to a vote. Mayor Buddy Dyer's spokeswoman, Heather Allebaugh, calls Randolph's bill "stupid." Could it be that if they put this deal to a vote, it would go down in flames? We wonder.

Magic item No. 2: Here's a little fun fact: The Magic will control the construction of the new arena. This will enable them to cut corners so as to avoid any cost overruns for which they would be responsible.

Under the city's contract, however, the Magic have to follow the city's anti-discrimination ordinance. Which means Magic owner/fundie weirdo Rich DeVos can't refuse to hire gays to build his new pleasure palace! (He also can't refuse to hire blacks, Hispanics, midgets, Wiccans, atheists or disgruntled Amway customers.)

But while DeVos has to follow the city's anti-discrimination laws, he doesn't have to follow the city's living-wage ordinance. Richy-Rich can build this thing on the cheap, even though it's a city-owned building paid for, for the most part, with tax dollars.


"I don't know," says city spokeswoman Heather Allebaugh.

Sometimes we wonder what it would be like to be on the flip side; to be, say, Tyler Gray.

The former Sentinel "Single Guy" hightailed it to the Big Apple a few years ago, and has been hovering around in freelance and on-again, off-again Radar magazine editor status ever since (the magazine, set to relaunch in print this month, has already folded twice).

On Feb. 7, we finally got a glimpse of what being Tyler Gray might be like. While the world was being forced into gracious mourning for the passing of tragic trash-icon, Anna Nicole Smith, Gray himself was being prodded for his Anna Nicole expertise on an endless MSNBC special report loop. Looking positively foppish (still), Gray explained with his most serious face that perhaps we should have seen it coming (duh), soothing the nation with each movement of his flawless jawbone. It was hard not to both feel sorry for him and laugh directly at him.

We don't want to be Tyler Gray anymore.

The bus is already scary enough. The anxiety rush resulting from odors, unwanted conversations, general meanness and that dude in the back mumbling about Jesus makes us want to phone mom and make her come pick us up.

Well, on Feb. 7, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the Orange County Health Department unveiled its latest assault on apathy with the scariest LYNX bus we've ever seen.

"Silence Is Death," it reads on the side. "1 in 67 Blacks in Florida Are Living With HIV/AIDS … Are You That One?"


"We wondered if that was too in-your-face. But in the end we thought you need to do that," says Debbie Tucci, the Health Department's HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator.

The Health Department received $40,000 from the state to spend as they see fit to get the message out. Because buses actually stop, whereas you breeze past billboards, Tucci says they opted for the buses. Two of them, actually, for three months (although fact cards will be placed in each bus in the LYNX fleet): routes 17 and 39 going through Washington Shores and to Sanford respectively. She remains disappointed by the response to the Silence Is Death outreach since its inception last fall, but hopes this will make some difference.

"I'm not gonna lie, it's challenging. It's frustrating," she says. "I don't know what the answer is. I'm not sure what it is that's going to set the fire and get that ground surge going to get people to talk about it."

Or it may just scare the shit out of bus riders, who knows?

Speaking of shit, we got a small white package wrapped in a frilly green ribbon in our mailbox last week, and it turned out to be the single coolest press release in the history of press releases: a piece of dog shit!

Not real dog shit from a reader, though that would have been even cooler. This was rubber dog shit from our friends at the Orlando Science Center, announcing their latest endeavor, "Animal Grossology." It seems that displaying sliced and diced Chinese dudes — aka the "Our Body" show — was only the beginning. Drop by this new exhibit and learn all about animal ickiness: dookie-lovers, blood-slurpers, vomit-munchers and slime-makers. It runs through April 29.

If the science center's next exhibit is "The History of Boobs" or something like it, our suspicion that the place has been taken over by teenage boys will be confirmed.

This week's report by Jeffrey C. Billman, Amber Foster, Billy Manes and Susie Orr. happytown@orlandoweekly.com

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