The press release came, as so many do, in a stack of flotsam from inventors, nutritional-aid makers, screeds from the radical right about the gays marrying and so on. Usually we throw them all out. And we almost threw out the envelope from The Waverly, too. Until we spotted the key words: mermaids, mojitos, buffet.
Ah yes, The Waverly; vertical upscale living. We've been living downscale and horizontally for so long that a change sounded nice. And maybe the owner of that tawny female tummy we've all seen on the billboards -- the one with her thumbs hooked provocatively in her well-worn jeans, the top button of which had fiendishly come undone, revealing a sliver of her cottony unmentionables -- would be there.
Had we tossed the press release we would have missed out on an "EXCLUSIVE MEDIA INVITATION" [capitalization theirs] to "one of the most extraordinarily lavish parties ever to occur in downtown Orlando." The party would, we were told, "set a new standard for the new urban resident ... chic, young and wealthy."
Upon arrival at we were immediately handed a mojito and ushered up to the fifth-floor pool deck. The mermaids were there, but they weren't actually in the pool; too cold for that. For the most part they looked bored sitting on the side, flippers in the water. The food was excellent and the drinks were free and flowing, but we have to say it: O-Town is at its worst when it tries to be chic, young and wealthy. Sorry folks, but this is a beer-and-Bibles city, and no amount of black leather, wraparound sunglasses or cell-phone chatting is going to change that. Besides, rednecks are hot.
Favorite overheard quote: "The guy who did my makeup was so fucked up on alcohol and Xanax that I was late."
Pat Greene really doesn't want to talk about it, "it" being his unqualified, dark-horse campaign for mayor of Orlando. He did send us a press release lacking any mention of sexy mermaids, which we read anyway because Greene was featured last week in the Weekly's Big Freakin' Election Issue! trading cards, Series 1. (Reportedly the Michael Hart card is skyrocketing in value because it incorrectly put his age at 68, when in fact he's only 30. Sorry 'bout that.)
Greene's website, www.idontwanttotalkaboutit.com, lists the five planks in his mayoral platform: parking, crime, maps, homeless and traffic. Clicking on any of the accompanying photos brings up a "file-not-found" message. Pat, Pat, Pat. If you really want to be to the 2004 Orlando mayor's race what Jello Biafra was to the 1979 San Francisco mayor's race (the press release makes the comparison, not us), you're gonna need some talking points. Or you're going to need to vacuum leaves off Buddy Dyer's lawn, or something. Biafra got 4 percent of the vote and came in fourth. Even our own lovable oddball Tom Levine did better than that in 2000, netting 10 percent of the vote on promises of making cops pull rickshaws and installing crank-open windows in City Hall.
Who says DJing is a thankless slog? Flights around the world, nubile and glassy-eyed groupies and piles of drugs certainly do get old, but then there's the occasional celebrity fondue to keep it interesting. Winter Park resident Justin Pacheco got just that after winning a contest sponsored by Ninja Tune records. After filling out an entry and dropping it into a box at his local record shop, Pacheco was delighted to later find out that he won the grand prize: an evening of bingo and dinner with Kid Koala. Yes, a couple of games of bingo and a feast of pizza and chocolate fondue, brought to him by the nimble-fingered Canadian DJ. Koala also played a private DJ set on a batch of brand new equipment (turntables, mixer, EQ, monitor) that Pacheco also claimed as part of his prize.
Mathematical fact: The Orlando Sentinel has published the longest (per-capita) correction in the history of journalism! The monstrous mea culpa, printed Feb. 22, set the record straight on the paper's botched OxyContin series. It started on the front page with a heartfelt signed apology from publisher Kathleen Waltz, continued in Section G with a below-the-fold analysis of what went wrong, and finished with an ironclad list of reasons why the Sentinel will never botch a big story again, inked by public editor Manning Pynn. Word count: 3,026.
Many think the mother of all corrections ran May 11, 2003, in The New York Times, deconstructing the entire career of reporter Jayson Blair. Word count: 14,420. But those are raw figures. The only real way to assess the damage of inaccurate reporting is to measure the length of the correction against the population the paper serves; i.e., correction words per capita. By that yardstick the Sentinel's boo-boo is almost 10 times more grievous than the Times'! (Sentinel math: 3,026 correction words divided by 2000 U.S. Census population of 185,951 = .016 correction words per resident; Times math: 14,420 correction words divided by a population of 8,008,278 = .0018.).
Figures don't lie. Can Orlando ever trust the Sentinel again?
Jason Ferguson contributed to this week's report.