So last week, while perusing Newsmax (www.newsmax.com), which we do every once in a while for the entertainment value, we saw a headline that could not be ignored: "Mel Martinez for Supreme Court?" Pure speculation, of course, but as the folks at Newsmax proudly boast, they identified John Roberts as a probable nominee last year.

The theory goes like this: Mel Martinez is a Cuban with a touching life story, so he could help the Republicans pick up a few Hispanic votes. And unlike the oft-mentioned Alberto Gonzales, Martinez would be a Hispanic the fundies won't gang up on, because he's adequately anti-gay and anti-abortion. The fact that he's currently a senator might grease the wheels on the confirmation process (it's not like he's actually doing anything as a senator anyway). He's also a lawyer, which makes a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court not that far-fetched.

Granted, Newsmax is a site run by a guy who made a name for himself pushing the Vince Foster murder conspiracy theories, but right-wingers tend to flap in the same circles, so who knows? If they're right, remember you read it here second.

We've never thought of rock-paper-scissors as a sport – or, in fact, thought of it at all since the third grade – but apparently, some people do and have.

Our streak came to an end last week when we got an e-mail ("Attention Sports Reporters") promoting the "First Annual Asian World Rock, Paper, Scissors Championship." (Note to the promoters: There is no "first-annual" anything; it has to have happened at least once to qualify as "annual.")

Anyway, this is no ordinary rock-paper-scissors showdown – oh, no. This is Asian rock-paper-scissors, and it's not for pussies. It's part of the Moon Festival, which will take place Sept. 17 at a shopping center just west of Pine Hills Road on State Road 50. It's an effort to "acquaint people in Orlando with Asian culture," says Mike Scott, the promoter who sent out the e-mail. (Note to the promoters No. 2: If you want people to show up, you should be a little more specific about the address. Note to rock-paper-scissors fans: Call Scott at 407-880-7919 for directions.)

Scott says the game started in Japan, circa 200 B.C.E., but Europeans claim to have invented it anyway. There are even rules: You pump your fist three times, not two, before "throwing"; paper must be shown horizontally and scissors must be vertical. Players often give "tells" – kinda like in poker; also like poker, the better players try to psych out their competitors. If you lose two out of three games, your competitor has the right to cut your finger off.

(OK, we fabricated that last part to make the game sound more exciting. Sorry.)

This week's installment of Reasons Orlando Does Not Suck as Bad as the Rest of the World Thinks We Do is brought to you by the city of Ocoee. Nothing against that lovely burg, honest. It's just that your mayor, Scott Vandergrift, is a goober.

We spotted Vandergrift at that hive of Ocoee nightlife, the Perkins Restaurant & Bakery at 10945 W. Colonial Drive. We knew it was him because Vandergrift makes a point of announcing his station in life, such as it is, to everyone everywhere.

On our way inside, we saw a sedan parked in front of the glass doors. It was evidently the mayor's car because it had a sign plastered on the door proclaiming "Mayor of Ocoee" in big honkin' letters. On our way to our table, we saw a gathering inside the Perkins "conference room," essentially a smattering of tables behind glass doors so the outside world couldn't hear. The mayor was dining there; or at least a dude with a bright white baseball hat that screamed "MAYOR" was dining there. (Hope those weren't other members of city council dining with him, as that would be against state Sunshine laws.)

Wait until Vandergrift runs for governor.

That's it, we've had it. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is cut off. They may be talking, but we're no longer listening. What's that? Can't hear you. Nah nah nah nah nah ….

We got this press release detailing "monkeys with chronic rectal prolapses, the result of constant stress and diarrhea" (we sympathize, obviously). So we headed way out to the Marriott World Center Sept. 12 for a PETA protest rally, high on the promise of "giant photos and portable video monitors showing monkeys being battered." PETA has a long history of entertaining press events: Once they even chained a topless woman to a cage downtown to make a point about (topless?) elephants or something.

But this "protest" was a giant waste of time. For that, PETA must be punished. PETA was out to get Covance, sponsor of a biomedical conference at the Marriott and in PETA's opinion a doer of bad things to simians. We finally figured out that the protest wasn't actually at the conference but on the street corner at the entrance. (But not before strolling through what must have been the happiest town ever – a catered hobnob sponsored by Ambien.)

Carla Wilson, representing local animal lovers ARFF, stood alone but for one other enthusiast. There were no television screens, no photos. Just the tired expressions of two people standing in the sun holding signs about spanked monkeys. Sorry, PETA, back in your cage.


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

Real e-mail from the mayor's in-box!

Dear Mayor Buddy Dyer:

click to enlarge buddy-headjpg
I am sending this e-mail in hopes that you will be able to assist in a problem that has been a bugger for over two months. This problem is with LYNX bus station in which I can't seem to get anyone to give me a proper answer to a question I have asked the customer assistance attendants or the supervisors.

For over two months going on three that I can clearly remember, the men's restroom has been without a private stall in which to use. Someone tore down the wall in between both stalls. There is a sign on what use to be the handicap stall door stating it's out of order. The other door doesn't even lock when you shut it.

Now all we have is one big stall with two toilets. This is not safe, private, nor right for us to be forced to use if we need to use a toilet. As well as the handicapped do not have a stall to use. If I am correct this is against the law.

I work a full time job, pay my taxes, and I know that some of my tax money is used to fund the LYNX operations. With this I expect to be able to go into the downtown bus station and use the restroom toilet if need to. I do not like using the urinals because often the bathroom gets crowded with a line, and people often stare which will make anyone feel uncomfortable.

Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy day to read my e-mail. Please, if at all in your power, get this situation corrected.

John Rhodes



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