Where the streets have no shame

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Never let it be said that Orlando Weekly lets something as petty as marketplace competition get in the way of championing a bright idea. We're absolutely thrilled that a street team has been formed to hawk orlandocitybeat.com, the entertainment-oriented web site the Orlando Sentinel launched a few months ago to intellectually ass-rape -- sorry, "cater to" -- the lucrative youth demographic.

The marketing outreach is a terrific idea, and not just because the team's name -- "The Orlando CityBeat Shock Squad" -- conveys all the neo-Nazi cuddliness we've come to expect from the daily. Charged with distributing CityBeat's "street edition," a four-page, four-color promotional pamphlet, the group is bound to be a revered presence on the downtown club scene ... as soon as they learn that picking up your allotment of printed materials and depositing it in the nearest dumpster is how "street teams" keep their nights open for social drinking. (Don't tell anyone where you got the idea, kids!)

But what really has us salivating is this: If every imbecilic, lowballing, atrociously punctuated lifestyle product in town is now entitled its own sidewalk Gestapo, doesn't that mean by definition that we're due for one, too? You bet it does. Just don't expect Orlando Weekly's version of a street team to restrict itself to self-promotion. We're too big, too magnanimous for that. Here are some public-service concepts this newspaper may be takin' to the streets before you know it:

The Poop Troop —First, Michael Jackson complained that he had been detained in a jail lavatory that was smeared with feces. Then rap manager Tommy "Serious" Phillips told the Sentinel that the Orange County Jail had urine and excrement all over its floor.

Something is seriously wrong with the cleanliness standards of this country's correctional facilities, and the Orlando Weekly Poop Troop is going to get to the bottom of it (so to speak). Once every week, our all-volunteer battalion of laid-off sanitation workers will descend unannounced on an area jail, charter school or related institution of punishment. And that's when the shit is really going to hit the fan.

With a nose for detail only years in the field can provide, the Poop Troopers will scour every inch of bathroom tile for hints of human waste. (The issuance of county sheriffs, though they are not technically human, will also be fair game in the hunt.) Should even a fleck of feces affront an agent's nostrils, the troop leader will approach the warden and favor him with the group's widely feared, proudly plagiaristic decree, "You have a lovely jail ... for me to poop on!" And then our boys will all turn on their heels and exit, leaving said warden just confused enough to break out the Comet in fear of a more official reprimand. (Any inmates who happen to get caught in the crossfire will receive complimentary Orlando Weekly bumper stickers for their trouble.)

The Lard Guard — Frankly, we're unimpressed that the McDonald's chain is phasing out its Super-Size menu to meet the needs of a newly health-conscious America. When you get right down to it, the difference between a Super-Size order of fries and a normal, artery-clogging "large" portion is a measly 0.8 ounces. And given Ouspensky's famous quote that man will give up anything but his suffering, it's easy to see that our community's champion chubmeisters are just going to make up that missing 0.8 ounces somewhere else.

That's where the Orlando Weekly Lard Guard comes in. Stationed inside burger joints from Seminole County to Sand Lake Road, this crack team of crack-watchers will offer immediate relief to cholesterol addicts, topping off their now vaguely unsatisfying meals with instantaneous glucose injections and immersions in troughs of pure fat.

The accelerated heart rates are on Orlando Weekly as grateful wide loads get to maintain their convex proportions and cheerily repugnant personal habits. What's in it for us? A chance to unload all the extra-large "Best of Orlando 2003" T-shirts that have been cluttering up our warehouses. They should fit the targets of this promotion just fine, pending some judicious use of scissors and safety pins.

The Sissy Squadron — Gay marriage? Hell, we think a guy should be able to get hitched to a chicken if he wants to (as long as he doesn't plan on moving in with its parents). The general public, though, harbors an illogical revulsion toward same-sex commitment, and it can't be overcome by education or legislation.

It's going to take the Orlando Weekly Sissy Squadron, a cadre of mail-order ministers assigned to effect social redress at sports bars and other wellsprings of testosterone. Lying in wait outside the main doors, our operatives will watch for the next pair of straight men unlucky enough to leave together, whereupon they will throw rice and cheer, "Congratulations, girls! You're now joined forever in the eyes of your God!" They'll then run like the bejesus, pausing only to snap a lovely Polaroid commemorative that can later be sent to the happy couple's relatives and respective employers.

On nights bereft of a big game, the Sissies will spend their time phoning hetero types who were wed in civil ceremonies and informing them that their legal benefits have been cut off, since they undermined the image of marriage as a religious institution. The Sissies will enjoy wide latitude to reward the "good sports" who react to this news with the least amount of teeth-gnashing and/or recrimination: One lucky winner a month will receive a prized, highly collectible Orlando Weekly can Koozie®.

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