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And now it's time for the inaugural edition of What's Up With Alan?, our attempt to keep you up to date on the comings and goings of Orlando's new favorite congressman, Alan Grayson!

This week's installment finds Alan going to Washington, D.C., Jimmy Stewart—style, ready to take on those moneyed interests and idiot Republicans who have been screwing us all these years. On Jan. 6, Grayson was one of 65 new arrivals sworn into the 111th Congress of the United States, where his abrasive manner and superiority complex will go over well. Hellllllloooo, Barney Frank!

Speaking of Frank — the more-than-outspoken Massachusetts Democrat who's up to his ears in this whole economic mess — our own Grayson will be joining his Financial Services Committee. It's no House Appropriations Committee — the assignment every newbie wants so he can pump vote-getting pork back home — or Armed Services Committee (gotta build up that national-security cred, y'all), but Financial Services isn't too shabby. Especially considering that it gets to oversee whatever's left of the $700 billion bailout Congress approved last year, as well as real estate and banking, two subjects that have made the news once or twice lately.

As of Jan. 9, Grayson has issued five press releases — three about Congress convening, one about his committee assignment and one voicing unequivocal support for Israel bombing the shit out of Gaza — and co-sponsored two bills, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and a proposal to allow mortgage modifications.

And what do we say? Thanks, Alan, for making it up there in one piece.

Speaking of Floridians in Congress, have we mentioned that U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is the most boring human being on earth? Probably. Trust us, the man is dull as dirt, except when he's talking about NASA. Nelson hitched a ride on a space shuttle a few decades ago and hasn't shut up about it since; in fact, he's quite fond of gently stroking his miniature shuttles in front of reporters, which is really unnerving.

But we digress. Last week, Nelson made a gentlemen's bet with Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn on the outcome of the Jan. 8 national championship football game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Florida Gators (a game which, based on the Sentinel's next-day coverage, might have been the Most Important Thing Ever): If the Sooners won, Nelson would sing "Oklahoma" in front of some of Coburn's constituents. If the Gators won — which they did — Coburn would sing Elton John's "Rocket Man" in front of some Florida folks.

"Rocket Man," because of, you know, space. From his press release: "‘Rocket Man' is a fitting song for Florida's senior senator, who traveled into space in 1986 aboard the shuttle Columbia and is recognized as a leading congressional expert on NASA."

The do-gooders at the Florida Family Association would like you to know that they have battled evil cable purveyors of tits and ass and won! Go, Jesus!

As relayed in an article on the amusingly crazy WorldNetDaily website, the FFA started an e-mail campaign to Microsoft, which was advertising its Xbox on the E! Channel's wonderfully trashy Girls Next Door program. As you're already aware — admit it, you watch — that show chronicles the adventures of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and his young, nubile live-in girlfriends, occasionally showing blurry images of Playboy photo shoots, which will make your children sex addicts.

Recently, it seems, Microsoft told FFA that it had indeed been besieged by letters from various Church Ladies, and that "we had previously made the decision to discontinue advertising from the programming in question."

And of course FFA claimed credit — and then said it had caused 340 advertisers to bail on the show. Which is strange, seeing as how it's still on the air and all.

From the Feigned Surprise Desk comes word that Orange County commissioner Bill Segal is running for county mayor in 2010. He's making the announcement Jan. 14 at Leu Gardens, which means it's already happened by the time you read this. Go, Bill!

Segal, who is fond of Maker's Mark, is the first to make a formal announcement, though others, including commissioner Linda Stewart — who is expected to make a formal announcement in February — and former commissioner Teresa Jacobs, probably won't be far behind. We think he's got a decent shot at this thing, if for no other reason than he'll raise a ton of money. And isn't that what politics is all about?

Whether it was political
performance art or just a loosely orchestrated gathering of angry poor people, the Jobs and Economic Recovery Now campaign rally on Jan. 6 did serve the purpose of answering the question, "What's ACORN going to do now that they're not busy undermining
our democracy?"

In the wake of last week's congressional foot-dragging on President-elect Barack Obama's golden ticket for economic recovery, Orlando ACORN joined forces with Central Florida Jobs With Justice, Democracia USA, Cornerstone Baptist Church, George Crossley and a filmmaker without a camera to march around downtown and chant scripted things like "Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Corporate greed has got to go!" and "I don't know but I've been told, boss's pockets are lined with gold!"

Of course, even with a bullhorn, the whole thing blurred into a mess of indistinguishable barks, but the signs carried the message just fine. Pleas to drivers-by to honk were tepidly answered with some hesitant half-beeps, as the rowdy crew of about 50 made its way around the perimeter of the Orlando Sentinel compound. The Sentinel wasn't there to cover the uprising — only Happytown™ and Telemundo brought our walking shoes — but one reveler did attempt to get a rise out of them by screaming "Venues! Venues!" just to see who would come running out. Nobody did.

The whole thing wrapped up outside the Philly Style Hoagies and Deli on Magnolia Avenue, where a mock-breadline was staged — depression theater! — and people scattered loaves of bread in doomsday solidarity.

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