It’s our last issue of the year and you know what that means: slow news week. Because nothing is happening, we present our annual Year in Review in 286 words. Sorry to say it, but the Year of Our Lord 2007 was kinda lame. Let’s take the requisite trip down memory lane anyway, in no particular order:

Republicans Bob Allen and Larry Craig got busted trying to score man-sex in public bathrooms. Mayor Buddy Dyer scored a few hundred million tax dollars to buy a new stadium for a billionaire. Mercenaries from Blackwater, a company tied to Rich DeVos’ family, took steroids, then shot a bunch of Iraqis and a dog. U.S. Rep. Ric Keller decided he was against the Iraq surge, then decided he was for it. Paultards discovered YouTube. The anti-gay marriage amendment got enough signatures to make the November 2008 ballot. The Florida Legislature moved the presidential primary to Jan. 29, and the Democrats stripped Florida of its delegates. Billy Manes got married, or at least as married as a gay man can get in Florida. Orlando magazine readers showered love upon Jeffrey C. Billman. Clint Curtis refused to go away. UF cops Tased a kid for asking John Kerry too many questions.

Orlando had a bunch more murders. The cops asked God for help, and then hired a female police chief, a first. The city dropped serious coin on putting tour guides on Segways all over downtown. Doug Guetzloe sued the Sentinel for libel. Ken Mulvaney is running for mayor again, and will lose again. The city arrested a guy for feeding too many homeless people, but lost at trial. Winter Park fired its city manager for no good reason. The MBI arrested three of our employees for allegedly selling ads to hookers. Former State Rep. Sheri McInvale got indicted. GOP operative Ralph Gonzalez got murdered. Condos went up. The housing market went down. Charlie Crist was sworn in and still claims he’s straight, though he broke up with his “girlfriend.” City commissioner Daisy Lynum said stupid things.

Did you know that Alan Grayson – who is quickly becoming our favorite congressional candidate of 2008 – is a hero? Here’s the story of his superhero-ness, directly from the e-mail of a Grayson staffer who sent it to us:


On Dec. 19, Uncle Lou’s Entertainment Hall saw the uneven polished debut of Orlando Weekly editor Bob Whitby’s band, It Ain’t My Baby, a show that could charitably sincerely be called a baby step new direction in the annals of guitar-driven psychedelic jazz/rock fusion. Relying on safe variations of standards eclectic mining of rock’s forgotten back catalog, IAMB stumbled through shook the house with a sexually self-conscious panting version of the Violent Femmes’ “Add It Up” that was, perhaps, the crudest strongest rendition of that song played outside a middle schooler’s garage the Hacienda. As the band tripped ripped through “Helter Skelter,” this reviewer, for one, had visions of John Lennon himself rising from the dead to pull the plug flashbacks to the acid-trip madness of Manson’s murderous rampage.

Vocalist Lindsay Tabora relied on the cute factor her breathless sexuality to win the crowd. To hear Tabora mumble emote while singing “Why can’t I get just one screw?” was to relive every fumbling chest-grope of youth adolescence through the lens of nodding maturity.

Ian “I.T. Guy” Monroe hammed it up on hammered the keys relentlessly, while IAMB bassist Greg Clemmons dropped the ball like a junior varsity football team chest-thumping low end into the mix. Drummer John Prinzo seemed to spend the entire set waiting for an epic drum solo that never came he’ll surely deliver later.

Uncle Lou’s is one of the few local spots that allows anyone to make noise knows new talent when it struts onstage. Orlando would be better off if these hacks took their ball and went home has been put on notice that there’s a new sound in town.

Justin Strout

“Yesterday, Alan Grayson saved someone’s life. Alan works with sources who blow the whistle on contractor fraud in Iraq, and then he prosecutes the crooked contractors. Yesterday, when Alan checked his e-mails in the morning, he saw one from a U.S. Army officer in Iraq. It said that if Alan didn’t get one of his sources out of Iraq immediately, that source would be dead.

“Alan tried to call the source in Iraq. He couldn’t get through. Alan sent an e-mail. No response. About an hour later, the source called Alan from Iraq. The source said that he had four minutes left on his prepaid calling card. An Iraqi on the source’s staff had told him about an arms shipment from Iran. The source told the U.S. Army. The U.S. Army then told the Iraqi Army. The Iraqi Army then told the insurgents. And the insurgents were coming for Alan’s source. So the source left his job, his personal possessions – even his clothing – and fled to a U.S. Army base. He knew that if he left the base, he would be killed. He needed to get out of Iraq. So he called Alan, with four minutes left on his calling card.

“Alan wrote down his source’s exact location, and his British passport number. Alan tried to call the British Embassy in Iraq, but he couldn’t get through. Then Alan called the emergency line for the British Embassy in the United States – five times. The first time, Alan got an answering machine. The second time, he got an answering machine in Spanish. The third and fourth times, Alan explained the situation to the embassy receptionist, and she connected him to two more answering machines.

“The fifth time, Alan told the receptionist that if she connected him to another answering machine, Alan would call the newspapers, and the receptionist would become very, very famous. The receptionist then connected Alan directly to the British consul. In the meantime, the source was able to call Alan back. Alan connected the source and the British consul and made sure that the consul had all of the information. Alan then told the consul that he would wait by the phone until the consul called him back and told him that help was on the way.

“Almost an hour later, the consul called Alan and told him that British troops had been dispatched to take Alan’s source out of Iraq. Alan is not a doctor, or a nurse, or a police officer, or a firefighter. But he did save someone’s life yesterday.”

And he’s stealing our hearts.

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

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