Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pray This Day Never Comes

And you thought Sarasota's real estate crash was bad....

Mmmmm, Bacon-Wrapped Sea Kittens

I don't know who was responsible for this ad placement, but I'll bet he's got some 'splaining to do.

In The News....

"Sansom calls for a timeout as speaker"
  • Destin Republican flagged for illegal procedure for funneling over $25 million to Northwest Fla. State when they only requested $1 million in state aid, illegal receiver down field (Jay Odom) for a $3 million for a private airplane hanger and too many men on the field when he became Florida's Speaker of the House and Vice-President of Northwest Fla. State (to the tune of $110,000/yr.) on the same day. Sansom is hoping the timeout will give officials time to review the play on the field and rule that he took the position at the college "with pure intentions and for good reasons."
"Art Nadel is denied release"
  • Federal judge rejects attorney's heartfelt plea ( he's "just a pathetic soul'), citing flight risk, even though Nadel explained to FBI agents that he had simply "been on vacation" when he left a suicide note and went missing for the week following the discovery that Scoop Mgmt. was bust, leaving subsequent messages for wife Peg on how to access emergency cash, which could include some of the $95 million of management and profit-incentive fees collected since 2003 that Nadel shared in. Authorities believe he was "vacationing" in Louisiana and North Carolina, flying on one of his five personal planes. He also owns the Venice Jet Center and an airport and several hundred acres of property in NC, along with several houses to support his "moderate" lifestyle. Oh, and a secret Swiss bank account.
"Peer pressure to conserve comes with the electric bill"
  • A California utility company has begun issuing 'smiley faces' and 'frowney faces' with customers' electric bills to encourage conservation. Disgruntled attorney, Greg Dyer, got one and complained that he has four daughters and none of his neighbors have that many children. He wrote back to the utility and issued his own rating of four frowney faces. As a lawyer, he probably enclosed a "cease-and-desist" letter, as well.
"Mother of six, plus eight, is sparking intense debate"
  • Medical ethicists are concerned about giving fertility treatments to a 33-year old woman who already has six children. The 'feel good' story of the octuplets' birth is now becoming a "what-the-hell-were-you-thinking' story, from not only the mother's standpoint, but from her fertility doctor. Typically, only two embryos are implanted, with the hope that one will take. So, was their a volume discount sale somewhere that she received 8?
"Security clampdown around Iraq before elections"
  • Kathy Dent is denied entrance into war-torn country; said she wanted to 'supervise' the election process for the Iraqis but was rebuffed by coalition forces. "We have had four candidates assassinated already, must you add to our misery?" said one Iraqi official.

"Letters From Our Readers"
  • Letters reflected SHT-readers concern for the threatened State Farm pull out, Obama's critics, the fleeting success of the stimulus plan and, of course, the obligatory request for Cy Bispham's Swamp Cabbage Bisque, that has made him the darling of local foodie circles.
"Veteran Looks At Senate Seat"
  • Former New Hampshire Senator, Bob Smith, wants to fill the post of retiring Mel Martinez. Smith seems to have all the credentials to be a Florida lawmaker: he moved to Palmer Ranch in 2002 and has been working as a realtor. He ran for the seat in 2004, but dropped out after two months due to the lack of funds and name recognition. To counteract those concerns, Smith admits that he has not been involved in state or local politics since. However, "About 10 days ago he sent an email to friends and in Fla. and New Hampshire asking for their opinions on whether he should run. Of the 100-some responses, most have been positive, Smith said." Those who did not think it was a good idea are no longer on his email list. To seal the deal, Smith stated, "I don't know a lot of political players in this state, and frankly I don't care." Yep, that attitude will get you far in the world of politics.
"The Parade of Homes will go on"
  • Kinda. This year will feature 56 new houses and 4 remodels, down from a high of 157 entries in 2001 and 106 just a year ago. Hardly worth getting out the lawn chairs for this parade.
"Dogs kind of have a sixth sense about these things."
US Airways Plans More Flight Cuts

The airline confirmed yesterday that it would end non-stop service to Newark after March 7, as well as discontinuing its popular LaGuardia to Hudson River flight. Officials with the air carrier cited the high cost of fishing the aircraft out of the river, paying passengers $5,000 each and cleaning the seats after each flight.

Flight 1549 crash flight path by i'mjustsayin.

"Even though Flight 1549 was popular with the thrill-seekers and the suicidal, we felt we could no longer offer the level of service and professionalism to our customers when Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger abruptly resigned from US Airways, opting to become the new pilot of Air Force One", said an unnamed airline spokesman. "We wish him well in his future endeavors."

President Obama, meanwhile, announced the appointment of Capt. Sullenberger as chief pilot of Air Force One this afternoon, saying only, "It was time for a change. Plus, when I fly to Hawaii, there's a lot of Pacific Ocean out there for Sully to put 'er down."

Friday, January 30, 2009

It's All Fun And Games Until Somebody Gets Hurt

Teen admits firecracker caused him to lose hand, leg

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 The Associated Press

"Police say a Westmoreland County boy who lost his right hand and leg in an explosion has acknowledged playing with a powerful firework and was not targeted or threatened as he first told police.

Latrobe police say the 17-year-old boy was playing with a large firecracker like an M-80 in his grandmother's house Jan. 10.

The boy kept lighting and extinguishing the fuse and, when it wouldn't go out, he put the firework between his thighs and covered it with his right hand in hopes of muffling the explosion, police said.

The boy remains in a Pittsburgh hospital with severe injuries to his left leg.

Police say the boy first told them the explosive blew up in a backpack after he was the target of threats from unknown people.

"I remember that one...."

Looney Tunes Image : Wile Coyote

Art Of The Bag

So is this is why parents spend all that money to send their kids to someplace like Ringling?

Seems like a lot of work for a baloney sandwich. Ahhh, what was I thinking--I'm sure it's not baloney in those bags, it's gotta be more like tofu and sprouts on toast points, with a side of organic cranberry relish.

American Idle?

Jobseekers asked to sing the blues
Published: Friday, January 30, 2009 at 7:34 a.m.

ORLANDO, Fla. - Jobseekers in central Florida are being asked to put their unemployment blues to music.

A talent show called "Careereoki" is asking entrants to submit videos in which they sing about their desired career.

The winner of the contest - which is run by Workforce Central Florida, Orange County Public Schools and an advertising agency - will receive a scholarship for career training and get to shadow someone who works in their chosen career path. He or she will also win a gas card, a resume makeover and a gift card for a personal makeover.

Videos will be accepted until Sunday.

Dance, Little Monkey, Dance
Dancing Monkey

Thursday, January 29, 2009

This Is NOT A Test

Use this link only in an emergency.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Story of Carmen--And Not The One By Bizet

So, then there's this fine citizen. He's dead and we don't care.

How do you premeditatively (no, I don't know if that's a word) bash a guy's skull in with a pipe, then hold him down so your accomplice can strangle the him to finish him off and only get convicted of second-degree murder? And then, serve only 10 years of a 30-year sentence for the murder?

My guess would be because the murder victim wasn't a white guy.

Five years after he gets sprung by the Supreme Court (who later had the omniscience to recognize that the 'early-release' program wasn't exactly working out they way they had planned--good job, fellas), he gets picked up for indecent exposure for waggin' his weenie at a group of teenage boys. What, being in the joint for all those years doesn't teach you to keep it in your pants?

He is released from prison on those charges in June of 2008. Talk about bad luck--the guy couldn't keep from being dead for 7 months. You hear all the time about how dangerous prison is; being out on the street was worse for this dumb sonofabitch. His mother reported that he said he was on his way to the library--what ex-con doesn't know enough to stay away from libraries?

Now he may have been a changed man on his way to becoming a pillar of the community, joining the Kiwanis Club and all, but somebody sure didn't like him.

Maybe it was karma. I wonder if police noticed the odor of curry at the crime scene?

"Your time is up, Dude"

Meanwhile, on the Other Coast.....

Man assaulted over calzone complaint

Published: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 8:00 a.m.

PALM COAST, Fla. - Flagler County authorities say a restaurant owner pistol-whipped and beat a customer who complained that his takeout order was incorrect.

Joseph Milano, the owner of Goomba's Pizzeria, has been charged with aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon and released on bail.

According to a police report, security footage from the pizzeria shows that Milano struck Richard Phinney with a gun. He then jumped over a counter and started to assault Phinney and his roommate.

Phinney was at the pizzeria to collect a refund for a calzone, which he said was prepared incorrectly. He was taken to a hospital after the incident with a bloodied head.

First of all, how stupid do you have to be to go back to a place called "Goomba's" looking for a refund? And, he went back unarmed, to boot! Hasn't this guy ever seen 'Goodfellas?'

Obviously, pizza maestro, Joseph "The Big Calzone" Milano, never got into that whole 'the customer is always right' thing. And to bitch about a calzone he made is like making fun of his name, his reputation, his heritage.

The article says the disgruntled diner went to the hospital with a "bloodied head."

You mean, like this:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

School Daze

I'm sure that this story will be used the next time that the Sarasota School Board wants the county residents to support a referendum to raise the salaries of its educators.

Clearly, if this teacher would have been paid more, he would not have had to stoop to purchase his drugs in a Jobs, Etc., parking lot in Newtown. Had he had the means, I'm sure he would have opted to buy his weed and cocaine from a more reputable source than an unemployment office. The taxpayers of this county should be ashamed of how they treat those who teach our children.

He seems like a nice enough guy, though. I mean, he did say, "Sure, go ahead," when deputies asked to search his car.

And I sure wouldn't want to be him, having to go through the whole 'ringer' process before they let him back in the classroom. I think it has something to do with learning how to use handbells.

If Sarasota authorities want to keep tabs on Wyszomirski, maybe they can import the "Watchdog" from Manatee County.

"Mr. Chairman, I believe I have the floor....."

Can't Tell The Players Without a Scorecard

What's going on here??

Granted, Bernie Madoff was first, but Sarasota's own Art Nadel came in a solid second.

Now, THIS!

But, wait, there's MORE!

And on the very day, Nadel turns himself in to the Feds in Tampa!! It's bad enough that Nadel chose to surrender in Tampa instead of here in Sarasota, but the Chamber of Commerce isn't going to like sharing the spotlight with these other two stories. We'll probably be lucky to get even a mention on the national news tonight, dammit. And it was such a nice sunny day today, too; perfect for a live shot from Main Street.

Apparently Nadel. always the thoughtful husband, left a note for the missus that was found by Nadel employees shredded at the Scoop Mgmt. office. Yeah, those guys won't be getting the "Employee of the Month" award any time soon.

Pieced together, the note read:

“If you want to survive this mess, what follows is for your eyes only. I strongly suggest that you destroy it after reading. The avenues to money for you will likely be blocked soon. You must use the trust (yours) to your benefit as much and as soon as possible. Please look for the bank credit card account and you will see a large credit balance that can be used in the usual way or to withdraw cash. Withdraw as much cash as you can, as this account might also become blocked."

Forensics experts would not confirm that the last part of the note read: "And don't forget to get my blue suit from the cleaners."

Ever the dutiful wife, Mrs. Nadel said, “if it was used, it was by him and not by me or anybody else.” So much for being the 'dutiful wife.'

Well, Madoff was remanded to the custody of his multi-million dollar apartment in NYC until his trial, I wonder where they'll send Nadoff? Sounds like going home to the little woman might be a little chilly.

I wonder why he came back? You mean to tell me that with all that loot, he couldn't have hidden out in New Orleans for 4 weeks until Mardi Gras? Instead of fleeing to Louisiana, he should have made a run for the soon-to-be sovereign nation of Casey Key--I don't think they have an extradition treaty with the U.S. yet.

"Your room is ready, Mr. Nadel. Shall I draw your bath, sir?"

Monday, January 26, 2009

God Speaks

Manatee man: God told him to kill his mother

Published: Monday, January 26, 2009 at 11:25 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 26, 2009 at 11:28 a.m.

MANATEE COUNTY – A 43-year-old man told authorities that God told him to kill his mother, and he was arrested after threatening her and three deputies Sunday evening.
Bruce Treani, 43, woke his mother Saturday and told her she works for the devil and “I know what God wants me to do now,” according to a Manatee Sheriff’s report.
His 75-year-old mother became fearful of her son, so she gave him $1,000 on Sunday to leave their shared residence in the 300 block 47th Street West in Palmetto.

But around 6 p.m. Sunday, Treani returned to the home and threatened to kill his mother, the report said.
When deputies arrived, Treani was standing on the porch with his hands in his pockets, gripping a 12-inch wooden stick.
He threatened to kill the deputies, and they used a Taser to control Treani.
Treani was charged with domestic assault on a person older than 65, three counts of assault on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest without violence.

OK, now just a minute. The article says that the guy had his "hands in his pockets, gripping a 12-inch wooden stick." How do you hold a stick with your hands in your pocket? Unless, that 12" he was holding wasn't a stick.......


"Yo, Bruce. Hey, about that "your mother works for the devil" thing; I was just playin' with ya, man. Hope you didn't take me seriously."

A Teachable Moment

"How many times have I told you NOT to play with your food? Now, shut the hell up or I'll give you something to cry about, Fork-Nose."

It seems weve reached a fork in the nose. ouch, fork

Speechless. Almost.

This letter to the editor was in the SHT over the weekend. At first read, I was flabbergasted, but then I remembered where I lived--the land of the loonies.

"As we vigil for peace Fridays along the bayfront, we gaze toward a huge statue of a sailor forcing a kiss on a nurse. The unwilling recipient belongs to the profession well informed about the diseases the military transmit. Yet people seem to enjoy the image."

I mean, really......

Maybe we should all go 'vigil for peace' on Fridays with these people. Sounds like they know how to party.

My guess is that the letter writer is a former nun or a wannabe nun. Gotta be. I wonder if she carries around a wooden ruler, just in case.

Obviously not a 'touchy-feely' persona, more of an "everybody-is-going-to-Hell, except-me" kind of person. If she's right and she is the only one going, Heaven should be a real fun place.

I'll bet she closes her drapes and cowers when it's Veteran's Day. She used to hide on Memorial Day, but then she realized that the holiday was to remember the dead. Not much chance of being forcibly kissed and catching something from those guys.

Now, I read that this statue of the devil defiling Clara Barton will be the site of a marriage renewal ceremony on Valentine's Day. Couples are invited to exchange vows, toast with champagne and eat wedding cake. Then, they will all dance naked around the statue, playing hide the pickle with each other until the Sailor/Satan comes to life and sneezes on the helpless heroine, thereby communicating some insidious disease.

Should be great fun.

The event's rain date is Feb. 15. If this letter writer has her way, it will most assuredly rain on the 14th. The National Weather Service is already predicting a 100% chance of fire and brimstone, with a good chance of disease and pestilence to follow in the afternoon.

"Don't bother bringing the umbrella, Edna."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Secessionists In Our Midst

I see that the fine residents (actually, they're probably rich enough to be called 'ultra-fine') of Casey Key are fomenting revolution on their island fiefdom.


No longer content to be part of the hoi polloi that is Sarasota County, Casey Key wants to be its own city. I'm sure they would like to be their own country, too, but they're gonna start with being their own city. For now.

All 563 registered voters, living in 411 houses. Ah, but houses that average 2.5 million per.

Back in the 1980s, the residents wanted to charge a $2 toll to get on to the key, but Sarasota County told them no. Politely, I'm sure.

Local landmark, the Casey Key Fish House, recently re-opened after a fire, much to the chagrin of its moneyed neighbors, but only after jumping through numerous legal hoops regarding rules of operation.

Prior to the fire, some guy built a McMansion adjacent to the tiki bar, which had been in operation in that spot for many years. Apparently, the new neighbor had enough money to get the county to limit the bar's hours of operation, live music, etc. I'm sure Mr. McMansion never noticed the Fish House sitting there when he built his place.

Alan Redmon, owner of a small motel on the south end of the island for 30 years, is another sand flea the rest of Casey Key would like to swat. Redmond says that what these residents really want is a moat. And to dump him in it, I would bet.

Casey Key already has its own private security service, which will stop walkers to inquire if they live on the key. Please have your papers in order before entering the key. What if you don't--do they make you leave or just shoot you on the spot? Or worse? After all, Stephen King lives on the island.

I heard a story from a long-time resident who, as a young girl, saw armed gunsels patrolling the mansions of the mobsters, racketeers and bootleggers who used to live on the key back in the day. I guess some things never change.

Already, local politicians are lining up--right behind the money, saying things like " he wants to pass the legislation and allow the people on the key to have their say" and "he is not going to stand in the way of residents if they want to incorporate. He said it is up to the people on the key to decide." What politician in his right mind would want to alienate all those political contributions?

The article states: pective "Longtime Casey Key real estate agent Alfred Ayers said he is not picking sides in the battle over incorporation, but understands the perspective of the wealthier land owners." Which means that this guy sees potential customers on both sides of the Intracoastal.

One of the things the Key residents are upset with is being jerked around by the county when they want to, say, add a wing to their already obscenely-large mansions. Permits, building codes, environmental restrictions, etc., are for the little people.

Walter Beacham, who lives on the key and designs 'Tuscan-inspired' (ooooooohh) homes on the key, feels their pain. He's seen "people spend $100,000 on legal fees just to get through bureaucratic process to add onto their homes. There is an awful lot of red tape."

Yeah, well, Walter, there's a lot of red tape everywhere. Ask anybody that's ever tried to build a shed or a carport on their property.

Oh, I forgot, you and the rest of your chums probably don't even know anybody that has a shed or carport.

"And when we make Casey Key a city, we'll build our own mountains."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Land of Confusion

Ah, Sarasota; the city of contradictions. Self-proclaimed 'Cultural Capital of Florida's West Coast," home to the wealthy, the powerful, the famous. Opera, ballet, theater, orchestras, world-class dining; the joint just oozes class, know what I mean?

Then, there's the rest of us..........

And, as much as the Chamber of Commerce, realtors and developers would like to deny it, this is one helluva town when it comes to loonies. LA and NYC ain't got nuthin' on us.

Today's Sarasota Herald-Tribune (known 'affectionately' as SHT--please be sure to note the absence of an 'i', thank you) has stories that pretty much run the gamut of our craziness.

To wit:
  1. Famed financier and philanthopist, Art Nadel, is still on the lam. The latest twist is that his accountant (maybe that should be "accountant" in quotation marks) is not much of an accountant. Of course, after what went on at Nadel's financial house of cards (without his knowledge, naturally), that would be an understatement, wouldn't it?
  2. The alleged accountant, Michael (rhymes with "sucker") Zucker, hasn't been licensed in the state of FLA since 1990 and was once busted for claiming to be a CPA. True, he was billed as a CPA in a 2003 prospectus for Nadel's company, but, considering that Nadel was a disbarred attorney in his previous life, we'll call that a wash.
  3. Zucker's wife is chairwoman of the Sarasota County School Board. This is a small town, after all, run by a chosen few and they tend to glom together. There was a story a while back about the million-dollar remodel of the auditorium where the School Board holds its meetings, but, this was Sarasota, after all, and excess is pretty much the norm, so it wasn't much of a story.
  4. Darrell Stinger, head of the Sarasota County lock-up, has resigned (read: "left before they made him a resident in his own establishment." Seems he was less than diligent about when his 'guests' departed the premises--some were let out early, some were let out late. Hey, it should all work out in the end, right; you get out earlier than your sentence calls for, BONUS!--you get out later, you still get your three hots and a cot, so what's the bitch?
  5. A Manatee County judge threw out a handful of DUI arrests made at a checkpoint in Palmetto. Seems that the deputies manning the checkpoint allowed about 20 cars to go through the stop when traffic backed up. "Selective enforcement" cried the defense attornies, since the plan filed by the Sheriff's Dept. said they would stop all cars. Attornies for 14 defendants in Sarasota DUI checkpoint stops are licking their chops in anticipation of their turn up to bat.
  6. North Port school bus driver, 40-year old Charles Billa, was arrested on charges that he molested a 10-year old girl on his bus. A fellow driver said, "she felt uncomfortable working with Billa, saying he would tickle the children and carry them from their seats to the door, more often the little girls." Yeah, that might be a red flag for me, too. This was not his first go around with trouble--a 5-year old girl wouldn't board his bus in January, 2008, telling a teacher that Billa touched her inappropriately. North Port police investigated, but the state declined to prosecute because "no one else corroborated the girl's story." Billa was once again in the driver's seat because, as one official said, "Since he was cleared, our position is always innocent until proven guilty." I think I would err on the side of caution when it comes to situations like this, but, then again, what do I know?
  7. Another North Port resident was arrested following a run-in with minors. Kind of. 32-year old, 6'5, 280-lbs, Scott Chapman, drove to a street corner and confronted a group of teenagers who were hanging out. Said Chapman, "I run this neighborhood. I'm the baddest redneck you have ever seen," then punched one of the teenagers in the face and threw the teenager's bicycle for good measure. At last report, he was still in the Sarasota County jail on charges of aggravated assault, child abuse and disorderly intoxication. "Intoxication?" I can hardly believe it!
  8. And, finally, to end on an upnote, SunTrust bank's, Gregory Miller, has divined that the local economy has hit bottom and should recover by April. Of all the crazy stories in today's news, THIS HAS TO BE THE CRAZIEST!! Granted, I'm no economist, but when the lead story today is that unemployment for our three-county area is 8.9%, while Florida's is 8.1% and nationally, it's only 7.2, it would seem to me that that predicting an April recovery is just a tad bit optimistic. Just a tad.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Vince Lombardi Is Rolling In His Grave

A private Christian high school girls basketball team from Dallas, TX, won their recent game with feared crosstown rivals, the dreaded Dallas Academy by 100 points.

Except now that the story is out, the Covenant School wants to forfeit their hard-fought win because the margin of victory was "unchristian." Not to mention an embarrassing.

It seems that the Dallas Academy fields a team of 8 girls, out of a student body with only 20 girls in its high school; Covenant, according to their website, has 134 pupils in grades 7-12.

You would think that someone--anyone--would have thought of the "unchristian", even the more pedestrian "unsportsmanlike" angle at half time, when the scored was a mere 59-0.

As one parent so astutely noticed, ""I think the bad judgment was in the full-court press and the 3-point shots. At some point, they should have backed off." Ya think??

Then, again, reports were that "spectators and an assistant coach were cheering wildly as their team edged closer to 100 points." Damn that 6th man!

Since the story broke, the girls from the Dallas Academy have been invited by Mark Cuban to watch a Mavericks game in his luxury suite. Yep, there's a role model for those girls.

Apparently, the girls are not dwelling on the loss and have moved on. That reflects great character and a positive attitude.

Or, it could be that the Dallas Academy, as the article states, " specializes in teaching students struggling with "learning differences," such as short attention spans or dyslexia."

Maybe the dyslexic ones thought the score was 0-100 and they won.

"In your face, bitch!"

Unemployment For Former Hero

Obama orders CIA prisons, Guantanamo shut

President also orders that all interrogations must follow Army manual

Image: Obama, Biden and retired military officers
Charles Dharapak / AP

Reports from Washington indicate that, in addition to the recently publicized closure of Guantanamo and the renouncing of torture, President Obama has also secretly decided to immediately dismantle the shadowy Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU).

When questioned whether recent Nielsen ratings were behind the move, the President denied the rumor, adding that security will now be outsourced to British Intelligence, MI-5.

"Unlike our CTU which failed to prevent the assassination of former President David Palmer and the detonation of an atomic device, British Intelligence and it's famed 'Double-O" agents have never lost a Queen. And they look good doing it."

The following day, former CTU operative, Jack Bauer was seen entering a Los Angeles unemployment office.

Tough Town

This was the header on an MSN news story today:

Reality TV winner to get shot with Cowboys

Now I realize that the Cowboys didn't live up to the expectations of owner Jerry Jones, but to execute the whole team???

And what did that poor schlub from the reality show do to be included?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

You Is or You Ain't

How many other newspapers give online readers the chance to comment on every story they offer? And, believe me, this being Sarasota, everybody has an opinion (just like everybody here has a story.) I like to lurk around on the comment boards and read what people are thinking. Sometimes informative, sometimes funny, sometimes thought-provoking, sometimes downright scary --they are always, always entertaining.

There was an incident yesterday here in town that got a ton of reaction in the Herald-Tribune comment section. According to the article, "police were responding to a domestic dispute around 3 am at her boyfriend's house in the 2500 block of South Milmar Drive, where a window had been broken. Mogensen fit the description of the woman involved in the dispute, police said. When an officer approached her, she stated she was a lawyer and did not have to stop, a police report says."

Now, I'm no legal scholar (unlike many of those posting in the comment section obviously consider themselves to be), but it would seem eminently prudent to this unsophisticated observer that if a uniformed police officer asks you for your name while you're out walking around at 3 o'clock in the morning, you should probably just tell them your name.

Nope, too easy.

The officer then 'took her to the ground,' as they like to euphemistically say here in town. It's so much more politically correct than "we knocked her on her ass and cuffed the bitch." It means the same thing, though.

Although, not all 'take to the grounds' are equal. After her arrest, she looked like this:

Last weekend, a Tampa newsman was 'taken to the ground' in Hillsborough County on suspicion of DUI and he looked like this:

Yowch, Russell.

Many of the comments centered on the opinion that this was newsworthy only because she was an attorney. People get arrested every night in Sarasota, so why do they have to put her story and her picture in the newspaper?

Because she is an attorney.

Because attornies, doctors, clergy, teachers, judges, politicians, police, etc., are constantly bombarding us with the fact that they are better than us. They get the perks, they get the limelight, they are professionals and deserve the kid-glove treatment.

Teachers say wistfully, "We touch the future." Doctors say they are "healers." Clergy say they are "men (and women) of God." Politicians say they are "servants of the people." Lawyers--well, lawyers will say anything......

Or, in this particular case, they won't say anything.

So, if these self-righteous types claim to be on a higher plane than us mere mortals, they should be judged accordingly.

There should be a whole sub-division of schadenfreude devoted to the missteps of big shots.

It's like celebrities who crave the spotlight, yearn for recognition and when they finally get their big break, they snub their fans and hide from the paparazzi. Unless, of course, they're promoting their new movie, new book or just looking for a raise.

Welcome to 'You Can't Have It Both Ways.'

Who Says People Aren't Coming to FLA??

First, there was the story of this visitor who dropped into (HA!) to our fair state a couple weeks ago.

Nice plan, D. B. Next time, fly commercially.

Now, this couple.

"Gift from God?" Well, it says that they did give away thousands to churches, so at least they had the tithing thing going for them.

Since they were contemplating the purchase of a new home in the Orlando area, I wonder if the local realtors will get together and start a defense fund. Hey, a customer is a customer.

The article also mentions that the guy who received the, uh, "gift from God," says he tried to contact the bank to question the windfall, but was ignored. The bank probably thought it was another one of those pesky people trying to re-negotiate their mortgage to avoid foreclosure.

In the old cowboy movies, the bandits used to head to Mexico. Now they just head to Florida.

'Welcome to Florida'

Good News. Or Not. Maybe.

Florida economic prognosticator, Hank Fishkind, has reported to the local real estate community that " ....the nation is in the midst of its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression

I'm sure the crowd gasped at that news flash.

I'll bet this guy gets paid LOTS to figure this stuff out.

This is the same revered economist who determined that the real estate market here in the Sunshine State had hit bottom in 2007. Then, 2008. Now, 2009.

The article mentioned that he joked about being so wrong with his recent predictions and that the audience "didn't seem to mind."

Does it bother anybody else that these are the guys we look to forecast what is coming down the pike so we can react? Are these the same kind of people we are counting on to know how to fix the economy? Would we be just as well off a spinning a giant Chuck-A-Luck wheel with various economic scenarios attached to it? February 2nd is coming--can we ask "Phil" what he thinks about the economy, in addition to the weather?


Who Would You Trust???

Hank could learn a thing or two from that old groundhog--he works one day a year, gets worldwide coverage, makes only one prediction a year and is treated like a rock star. Phil should get the hell out of Punxsutawney and move to Sarasota--he'd fit right in with our work ethic here.

So, given Fishkind's past track record, should we believe him this time when he says that 2009 will be a "tough year" or should we plug in the "Fishkind Factor" and think that just the opposite will be true?

Then, again, he predicted (with great certainty, I'm sure) that "the proposed $775 billion stimulus plan will be more than enough to pull us out by November."

So, to wrap up Happy Hank's view of our economic future, he says it will either get better or it won't.

I wonder if anybody asked him about that '6 more weeks of winter' thing.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Where's Nadel?

So, now the game is afoot to "Find the Felonious Financier." Kinda like 'Where's Waldo?' except that Nadel isn't wearing stripes. Yet.

Now that the SEC has filed charges, the Feds are looking for him. You know, the same people that have been looking for that Saudi guy with the funny hat who's still wandering around Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myakka City or wherever, who may or may not be with Jim Morrison; they're not sure.

Lucky for Nadel, the Sarasota Sheriff's Department has closed their investigation and determined that no local laws were broken. Whew, that's a relief. Wouldn't want those guys on my trail.

Slidell, Louisiana?? He's there early enough, he should be able to get a good spot for Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Authorities tracked him there from phone records. He made some phone calls to his wife. How'd ya like to be a fly on the wall for that conversation? "Hi, honey, it's Art. How are the kids.........."

Police reports indicate that he was going to fly a plane to Baton Rouge and just parachute out over Slidell, but that guy from Indiana beat him to it by bailing out around Destin a couple weeks ago and letting his plane crash into the swamp. Hey, it's been done. Say what you will about Nadel, he's no copycat.

Except for the Madoff thing. So there's that.....

The 'Method' Method

Looks like a local stage production company took the 'method acting' a bit too seriously. Actually, WAY too seriously.

The print version of this story in today's edition had a great line:

"Despite a close encounter with a true tragic ending, and pure luck that his fellow actor was a poor shot, Kellerman plans on being back on stage...."

Yes, and it was also 'lucky' that they didn't update Steinbeck's story to make the gun a Glock with a full magazine or an Uzi.

And since this is the Senior Theater, I'm sure the gun's owner, Natalie Gundrum, is a nice old lady who has a pillow on her couch, embroidered with "Kill 'Em All, Let God Sort 'Em Out."

Just another reason we should all support the 2nd Amendment....

"I have just five words for you. From my cold, dead hands." Natalie Gundrum

Charlton Heston

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Could the New York Water Taxi Idea Work in Sarasota?

"The Restorer"

Just finished watching Barack Obama take the oath of office for President. Not to be picky, but for such an excellent orator, he stumbled through the beginning of the oath, unless the Chief Justice read it to him wrong and he was unsure to recite it correctly or as it was just spoken.

The excitement of the occasion is contagious, as it should be. If a part of the world's economic woe is a crisis of confidence, Obama seems to be the guy destined to become "The Restorer," now that we are done with "The Decider." He exudes confidence like Franklin Roosevelt did when he was elected in the '30s.

I truly hope he can restore us to a modicum of normalcy, of fiscal sanity, of personal responsibility, of new opportunities. Talk about 'Great Expectations'.........

Living here in Sarasota, I've come to understand that it's all about the show, not the reality. Presentation is everything. Perception is the new reality. If Obama can project that air of confidence and get everyone excited, maybe something good will happen. He's already pretty much of a rock star throughout the world--I hope he gets the chance to deliver some of the change he has promised.

It's his game to lose. Democrats control Congress, so it's their show all the way, as well. He's in a position to make a difference existentially, if not substantively. And since perception is king, that could translate into a real difference.

I know he'll get the benefit of the doubt from people like Jon Stewart, Saturday Night Live, etc. I know he won't get any slack from Rush Limbaugh, et al. I don't mind honest criticism, but I don't think "honest" ever works its way into Limbaugh's routine, does it?

And has anyone ever seen Limbaugh and Karl Rove in the same room together?? You don't think..........

Obama Heals Crack in Liberty Bell By Laying On Of Hands


Monday, January 19, 2009

911 Dispatchers vs. Teachers

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune ran a series of articles about the inadequacies of the 911 system, particularly here in FLA.

It came on the one-year anniversary of the murder of Denise Amber Lee, which highlighted a failure of the various emergency systems to effectively communicate with one another. It also highlighted how one or more of the dispatchers in Charlotte County dropped the ball when they were given first-hand, real-time information regarding her kidnapper prior to her murder. Apparently, it was at the end of a shift and, since it wasn't anybody they knew personally, the two women just forgot about it and went home instead of taking care of business. You know, the business of saving lives......

Never fear, though, the Charlotte County Sheriff suspended them for a couple days and pronounced everything OK, so it's all good now. Except for that pesky lawsuit that the victim's husband is working on. And except for the two young kids of this murdered woman. And except for her husband. And except for the rest of her friends and family. But, other than that, I mean, everything's OK.

I always like reading the comments about various articles in the Trib. (How many other newspapers give you a chance to comment on every article posted in the online edition?) Well, as expected, the 911 dispatchers were up in arms about someone--probably anyone--questioning how they do their jobs, to wit:

Posted Jan 19 2009 08:18 AM
Really?!? Seriously?!? This was your ending?? You bash the hell out of us and this is all you could come up with to end your full of crap story??? WOW!! You know working for the 911 center isn't an easy job and yes some people aren't cut out for it. Dispatchers are human and humans make mistakes. These people were disciplined. Hence the way you got your information. Had they not been, and the information put in their files you wouldn't have been able to bash these people. I feel for the Lee family. I hope they do get whatever they are lobbying for passed. Did you bother to stop and ask someone about the scared, elderly woman/man home alone they sat and talked to, kept calm and reassured help was on the way until help arrived?? You did SOME research but only the research that bashed us and made us look like morons that can't do our jobs and made the public hesitant to call 911 in a real emergency for fear they won't get the help. Thanks for that by the way. We owe you one!!
Sit in our seat for a few hours and see if you can do this job. Oh might have to come out from behind your cushy desk job and actually do some real work. I hope no one in your family ever needs to call 911, because according to your article(s) they won't get it.

Posted Jan 19 2009 10:56 AM
I totally get it now.... we spent two days waiting to see who would be thrown under the bus next not realizing that it was all so that on the final day your could praise Sarasota as if they lead the way in 9-1-1 technology and training. Again, we have the SAME standards in Manatee that Sarasota has.

In this six months of research did you pull Sarasota's employees files all the way back to the 80's?? If you say you didn't find anything in their files that you could have printed you are absolutely full of crap.

These articles could have really been productive. They could have brought about change. You've just incited fear with your biased reporting.

I vote next time Mrs. Lee and her son write these articles. They really have the best interest of the community in mind and want to help people. At least they won't be worried about how many damn newspapers they sell.

SHT should be ASHAMED they ran this.


Who knew the 911 dispatchers would get as pissed off as teachers do when somebody questions their effectiveness??

From the Sarasota Songbook?

Not to be outdone by Guns N' Roses latest less-than-stellar album, Chinese Democracy, Sarasota is getting set to release its version: Chinese Drywall.

Apparently, some homebuilders bought and installed drywall imported from China. Knowingly or not, legally or not, who can say. Just as no one can say who will be left holding the bag on this one, other than the affected homeowners, being the low man on the totem pole and all, just like it always is.

And I guarantee you that there are hundreds of homeowners facing foreclosure that are trying to figure out how to get Chinese drywall installed in their place!

This will be a boon to the local home inspection business, as homeowners look for a loophole to get them out from under.

I see there's already a website up and running to recruit homeowners for a class-action suit, so the ambulance-chasers will make out, not to mention lawyers for the builders, supply houses, etc. Then, again, they always do make out OK, don't they?

Who knows, this might begin a new cottage industry here in town. Spray a little sulfur solution on the walls, pull some baseboard and stencil "CHINA" on the drywall, even get a corroded AC coil and say it came from the house and call your lawyer.

Don't miss out on your chance to jump on this bandwagon.

"Ooooh-Ooooh, that smell.........."

Dogs Make Kids Sick

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Now, That's What I'm Talkin' About!

I was worried about Sarasota.

I was concerned that we were losing our luster.

I thought the Bernie Madoff scandal was going to pass us by, without so much as a footnote in history.

This is, after all, Sarasota, FLA., the self-proclaimed "culture capital of the west coast." We are famous for being shallow and superficial. We worship wealth and all its trappings, we are in awe of rock star wheeler-dealers and we just adore the idea of 'something for nothing.'

We were primed and ready.

Then, just in the nick of time, along comes this guy to save our reputation.

The article even calls it a "mini-Madoff." Cute touch.

The update is that Nadel's car has been located at the Sarasota airport. So, did he have to leave town to commit suicide, as his note apparently suggested? Surely, he wouldn't have intimated such a thing just to throw off people looking for him, would he? Maybe he didn't even leave town and just left his car at the airport to give the impression that he did?

We had another famous con man a couple years ago who scammed some banks on some loans (no, really!) and fled the country and couldn't be located by the authorities. Except some reporter who called a relative in Jordan and ended up talking to the guy (who, of course, said he didn't do anything wrong--he just wanted to hang out in Jordan for a while.)

Maybe Nadel and Husani are chillin' together in Jordan. With Elvis.

So, stay tuned as our little (by Madoff standards) scandal unfolds.

Is this a great place or what?