What are you doing Saturday? Nothing? Then why not get naked with hundreds of your friends and neighbors?
No, it's not the world's biggest key party. It's an attempt at the world skinny-dipping record, which, conveniently, is a brand-new category for the folks at the Guinness Book of World Records and therefore wide open. Theoretically, you and a couple of friends could rip off your clothes, jump in a stagnant pond and end up record-holders.
Better that you join the fleshy party at Cypress Cove Nudist Resort & Spa in Kissimmee. They've got it all figured out, right down to lining up someone to witness the event so you won't be dangling around for no good reason at all.
The record attempt, set for 3 p.m., is part of an open house at Cypress Cove that begins at 10 a.m., so if you find that you quite enjoy the cool breezes tickling your nethers, you can do a whole bunch of other stuff naked, too, like have a bite to eat at Cheeks Bar & Grill, where we imagine that the seats are not covered in vinyl.
The ax has fallen. On July 2, Republican Party of Florida chairman Jim Greer officially removed Deon Long from his precinct committeeman post with the Orange County Republican Executive Committee as punishment for Long's attempted takeover of OCREC `see "Coup d'état," April 9`.
Back in December, longtime OCREC chairman Lew Oliver was re-elected by one vote over the insurgent Long, a Winter Park lawyer, but only after rejecting more than a dozen or so potential Long votes because they didn't turn in paperwork on time. Long and his allies sued, but a court dismissed his claims.
Calling that election invalid — two OCREC members abstained, which in Long's view means that Oliver didn't get the majority he needed — Long held a sort of shadow meeting in February, at which he was elected OCREC chairman. Except he wasn't, because the state party didn't recognize his "victory." Greer summoned Long to a grievance hearing in March, where Oliver presented his case that Long should be ejected from the local GOP. Long didn't show.
Finally, last week Long received the not-unexpected decision in a terse, one-page letter: "I accept and adopt the `grievance committee's` unanimous recommendation that you should be removed from the position of Orange County Republican Precinct Committeeman effective immediately," Greer wrote. "Please govern yourself accordingly."
Greer's decision "doesn't have any consequences," Long says dismissively. He recently re-filed his lawsuit against OCREC. He's all but announced his campaign for Congress against Suzanne Kosmas, and tosses off some quote from the rapper Drake about "my haters give me promo."
We also found this line from Drake's repertoire that might not prove so appealing to (white) Seminole County Republicans: "Just know my condo is the crack spot … Get it from the back and make your fuckin' bra strap pop/All up in your slot till a nigga hit the jackpot."
When's campaign season again?
Have we told you lately how awesome we are? No? Well, now is as good a time as any.
On June 26, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies held its award ceremonies and your favorite local weekly newspaper earned recognition in five categories.
We took first place in the big kahuna of journalistic excellence, investigative reporting: Jeffrey C. Billman's "Might makes right" `July 10, 2008`, which looked at the Orlando Police Department's internal affairs division's lackluster record in punishing cops who abuse their badges. Billman's cop-themed column, Police Beat, received an honorable mention (see page 6).
We took third place in media reporting for a staff-crafted analysis of the Orlando Sentinel's problems, "The incredible shrinking newspaper" `Aug. 7`. Justin Strout logged a third-placer for his music criticism, and he and designer Shan Stumpf took another honorable mention in the format-buster category for the paper's Anti-Pop coverage `Nov. 13`.
Another month, another report on the county's tourist tax collections, that pot of dough that's building Rich DeVos' Golden Pleasure Dome™. And hey, what do you know? That revenue stream is once again circling the bowl.
According to Orange County comptroller Martha Haynie, tourist taxes were down 18 percent in May 2009 compared to May 2008, bringing in just over $11 million ($2 million less than the county predicted in its budget).
In her release, Haynie says that the county has enough cash to cover its TDT debt obligations, most of which are sucked up by the Orange County Convention Center. Still, "It will be good news when the month-to-month comparisons turn positive again," she adds.
So far this year, the TDT has produced $100 million, nearly $12 million less than the county expected and nearly $20 million less than last year. This is bad both for the TDT and for the performing arts center, which is supposed to be paid for by whatever's left over after the county pays off its convention center debt. Since the county is dipping into cash reserves for the convention center, the performing arts center is getting zilch.
Of more immediate concern to the city, however, is this: It is supposed to make its first payment on the $380 million arena debt in November 2010. On average, it will pay about $20 million a year for 30 years. But of the total TDT money, only about 8 percent is dedicated to RDGPD™; at the current rate that money is coming in, that equals about $15 million per year.
You know how President Obama keeps leveling his wise baritone in our direction with words like "patience" and "process" on gay rights, while allowing grievous injustices for didn't-ask-did-tell Lt. Dan Choi and signing off on Department of Justice documents that compare gays to child molesters? Here is why inaction matters.
On June 27, a few hours after thousands gathered in Tampa to celebrate diversity in that city's pride celebration, Tampa's NBC affiliate, WFLA-TV Channel 8, decided to air a certain infomercial-disguised-as-news-feature from our friends at the American Family Association called Speechless: Silencing the Christians. All well and good, right? They paid their $35,000, so what's to keep the station from spreading the good word of the Sunday-go-to-meeting set?
Though the station's general manager, Mike Pumo, says the content didn't "raise a red flag," according to the St. Petersburg Times, we watched the hour-long bit of nose-pinched prognosticating and were, frankly, offended. Most of the pontificating by wingnut host Janet Parshall claimed to be based on a certain book -— After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the '90s, a book published nearly 20 years ago — but its underlying message was one of intolerance and bigotry in the name of Jeebus. "The gay community wants tolerance," whimpers one recently "saved" lesbian, "but they can't tolerate a story like mine."
Some of it would be funny — see the part about "jamming" as a big gay tactic similar to shoving a tire iron into a machine — if this state hadn't already proven that it believes this tail-chasing logic in last November's election. Substitute the word "black," "Muslim" or "Asian" in any of their arguments and see how far that flies.
Equality Florida, upon hearing of the potential airing, pulled together 1,000 e-mails of protest and hundreds of phone calls, but to no avail. Now they're calling for an apology. The group's director of communications, Brian Winfield, put it best when he told the Times, "At what point do we as Americans believe in fairness? When do we say that's true for everybody?"
Maybe Obama will tell us someday.[email protected]