Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Twist On Crop Circles Comes To Longboat Key

A homeowner on Longboat Key has a mystery on his hands and the town fathers want answers. And an eraser.

The image was first noticed by an airplane flying overhead last Thursday. On a subsequent flight two days later, the pilot noted that the object had increased in size to cover about half the roof. By Monday, the illustration had grown to its current size, covering most of the rooftop area.

The unidentified resident claims he knows nothing of how the mysterious drawing came to appear on his bayfront mansion. "All I know is that it wasn't there last week and nobody's been up on that roof for the three months that I've been back in town," he claims. "I don't get it. I'm a good Catholic; why couldn't it have been an image of some saint or something?"

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Space Shuttle Lands In North Port, Sparks Forest Fire

North Port officials didn't get quite the "bang for the buck" they had hoped for when the space shuttle Discovery touched down on Chancellor Boulevard in a sparsely-settled area of the city and ignited a brush fire that quickly got out of control.

North Port City Commissioners had entered into an agreement with NASA to have the shuttle land in the city, rather than its home base of Cape Kennedy, to help celebrate North Port's 50th anniversary. NASA officials had kept the landing secret, in order to maintain security for the touch down on Saturday afternoon.

Sarasota County fire officials said that, as the shuttle hit the pavement, it struck a pothole, causing a spark that apparently ignited an overgrown lawn in front of an abandoned home.

"Wouldn't you think that North Port could have at least patched the potholes in the road that they wanted us to use as a landing strip?" asked one NASA administrator on hand for the landing. "I mean, would that really be too much to ask?"

Instead of a public-relations coup, North Port now appears to be on the hook for any repairs necessary to the space craft caused by the rough landing, as well as the tab to extinguish the 20-acre blaze.

North Port Commissioners immediately authorized code enforcement to identify the owners of the abandoned home where the unmowed and unwatered lawn burst into flames and cite them for failure to maintain their property according to community standards. Said one commissioner, "You can bet your ass that this is one code violation that won't get a fine reduction deal from us."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Arrest is made in 1978 Sarasota killing

Police blame the delay in solving the crime solely on the deliveryman who found the body of John Allaman, Jr. When he called 911 on his cell phone, he apparently told the dispatcher he was at Mourning Dove Road, instead of Mourning Dove Drive in nearby Bird Key.

The only Mourning Dove Road dispatchers found on an old 1965 Texaco map of Florida that one of them had in their station wagon was in East Palatka and sent emergency personnel there. It was only after several years that they realized their error.

It was not until about two years ago that interest in the death was revived, when Allaman's son, John Allaman, came into the Sarasota police station demanding to know what the agency was doing to solve the killing.

Oh, and that last paragraph is true, by the way.....

Bad, Bad Dog

Woman had sex with dogs, police say

Published: Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 10:41 a.m.

SARASOTA COUNTY — A woman videotaped herself having sex with two dogs and watching child pornography with a friend, authorities say.

Caroline Willette, 53, gave a CD with the images to an acquaintance, who turned it over to police. Willette has been charged with three counts of possessing child porn and remained Wednesday in the Sarasota County Jail.

Willette admitted to detectives that she had sex with the animals in her home and watched young girls perform sex acts on the Internet, an arrest report says.

Why, for the love of God, would you videotape yourself in the middle of a menage-a-dogs? Worse still, why would you think for one second that anybody else would want to see it?

According to Ms. Willette, she's had this canine fantasy ever since she was a teenager, when a Doberman Pinscher. She found it erotically stimulating, but repressed those dark desires, choosing instead to travel the world.

In Europe, she fell in love with a German shepherd. Unfortunately, he was a sheep dog and had no interest in women.

In Denmark, she met a Dane, but soon discovered that he wasn't so great.

She spent time with an Italian Greyhound, but he preferred spending all his time at the track.

Same with the St. Bernard, who would spend his days on the ski slopes and his nights drinking the contents of the little barrel that hung around his neck.

Oh, to be sure, there were spaniels and setters, collies and chow-chows, even a hot-blooded chihuahua, although being such little guy, he didn't have much of a schnauzer on him.

She spent a few months with a short-haired pointer, but left him after she could no longer put up with his constant pointing at other dogs.

The whippet was interesting, but she quickly tired of his sado-masochist fetishes.

She lived for a time with a Siberian, but he ended up having a weight problem--too husky.

Poor Connie was about to resign herself to a life of loneliness, when, there at the mall, she saw him, staring dolefully at her from the window of the pet store. There was magic when their eyes met and electricity when she first took him from his cage and held him close, close enough to smell his puppy breath.

They sniffed each others butts and they both knew it was love. They lived together happily for several years, frolicking in the yard, burying bones, digging up the neighbor's pansies. She had found her true love at last. She even took his last name--Russell.

But, then, a fateful pawing at the door one evening changed all that. It was an old friend of Jack's, someone from the pound where they had shared a pen for a couple nights. He looked dangerous and she begged Jack to turn down his request to stay with them for the night, but he was a pit bull and insisted.

Soon, Connie was his bitch and the three of them spiraled into a life of debauchery. No more walks in the park, no more drives with their heads hanging out the car windows. Every belly rub turned into wild sex.

No longer content with a middle-aged woman, the two dogs began watching puppy porn to satisfy their twisted desires.

And, so, it has come to this.......

"He looked so.....innocent when I first met him. Who knew he would turn out to be such a cur?"

Captain's Orders


Captain's tip of the day: DON'T take your computer to a reputable repair shop to get your hard drive copied when you know it contains 70 or so images of child pornography that you downloaded on it.

Remember all the trouble you got into in the eighth grade when you snapped those photos of your big sister in the shower, then took them to the drug store to get developed when you were a kid? Same idea here, bub.

Only worse. A whole lot worse.

Captain Obvious

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Beach Access Confrontation Escalates On Siesta Key

"Let those pasty-faced tourists from Indiana show themselves now." Marianne Page

Marianne Page, angered by tourists walking on "her" beach has taken her battle to the next level by erecting a concrete pillbox in her back yard, complete with a 50 mm cannon. When contacted, Sarasota County Code Enforcement said that all permits were filed and approved, as the structure will not be used as a residence and occupied only during weekend 'invasions.'

Said Mrs. Page, "Apparently swinging my cane at them wasn't enough. They called me 'crazy' and a 'crotchety old woman'. They want a war? I'll give them a war they won't believe...."

With that, she tied a black bandanna around her forehead and disappeared into the concrete gun emplacement.

Sarasota Realtors Introduce New Marketing Test For Homebuyers

house_ocean.jpg (230588 bytes)

Is now the time to buy that little oceanfront bungalow you've been dreaming about?

The Sarasota/Manatee Board of Realtors has just released a comprehensive test for potential buyers to determine whether or not NOW would be the right time for them to buy a new home in the area.

The quiz was developed by Zgoda Marketing from Detroit, MI and has been used extensively in that area to spark home buying, which is up 14% since the test was introduced several months ago.

The questions focus on income, education, home requirements, desired options and a myriad of other queries that have been scientifically formulated to select the optimum time to buy a home.

A very abbreviated overview quiz can give you an idea if now is the time for YOU:
  1. Are you now breathing?
  2. Are you now or have you ever in the past received payment for something you've done?
  3. Can you read and/or write?
  4. Can you sign your name or make your mark?
  5. Do you have credit?
  6. Do you have relatives with credit?
  7. Do you know anybody with credit?
Upon answering these questions, you will be directed to this website to evaluate your score as to whether or not TODAY is the right time to purchase YOUR new dream home here on the Suncoast.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

IT Experts Extract Surprising Secrets From Balkwill's Computer

Computer forensics experts shed new light on just what might have been erased from former Sarasota County Sheriff Bill Balkwill's county-owned computer, following his decision to turn over the machine in question to authorities.

When deputies arrived at the home of Sarasota County's former top cop, the computer, shown above, was sitting on Balkwill's front porch. Attached was a yellow Post-It note reading: "Here's your damn computer. I hope you're happy now, you bastards."

Following a cursory examination at FDLE labs, computer experts believe much of the estimated 11,000 missing files were actually illegally-downloaded songs, mostly by the Village People, Barry Manilow, Cher and George Michael.

Sheriff's Dept. Hopes This Picture Will Help To Nab Slippery Suspect in Recent Home Invasions

Police release photo of alleged robber waiting for victim to answer doorbell.

Following a recent series of violent home invasions in Sarasota, the Sheriff's Dept. has just released this security camera image of the alleged invader just before his latest attack.

Police reports indicate that the robber targets middle-aged women who live alone, rings their doorbells and tells the victims that he has a pizza delivery, stripper-gram or Publisher's Clearing House check to entice the normally-guarded women into opening their doors. Once he gained entry, he would bash them in the head, tie them up and steal cash, credit cards, jewelry, TVs and any rancid chicken found in the house.

Early in the investigation, detectives did not link all of the robberies because of sketchy and varying descriptions of the suspect -- one woman, for instance, thought the robber was a black man but later said she did not see him and that he "sounded black," according to a police official.

Police say the suspect is, in fact, 6'8, 212 lbs, leathery skin, misshapen teeth, large mouth, protruding eyes and has a severe case of fish breath. They believe the one witness who thought he "sounded black" did so because of the robber's thick Southern accent. The photo reveals that he is actually more green than black.

If you believe you have seen this person, please contact the Sarasota County Sheriff's Dept. at once.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Wildfires On Course To Ravage Much of Southwest Florida, Hillsborough Will Not Rescind Sprinkler Ban

Out of control wildfires of biblical proportions encircle Sarasota Bay, consuming everything in their path, while 15-year old Mindy Barnes, here with her parents, watches disaster unfold and declares this "worst vacation ever."

As Southwest Florida witnesses cataclysmic wildfires, emergency officials pressed Tallahassee and Washington for more resources, including the National Guard.

Sarasota County Emergency Management says this unprecedented catastrophe could kill thousands and virtually wipe Sarasota off the map. leaving in its wake a charred, barren wasteland for years to come, sterile and lifeless.

"Fine with me," says says 72-year old William "Crusty" Mihalco of Siesta Key. "I'm six months behind and upside down already in my condo payments, so this will really help me get out of a jam. Plus, I was getting sick and damn tired of all that noise coming from Gilligan's Bar after 9:30 at night."

Officials stressed the need for state and federal assistance after the fires cut off major escape routes like I-75 in their inexorable march to the sea, trapping tens of thousands of residents and visitors. The only way out now appears to be through Longboat Key to Bradenton, which became a virtual parking lot when Longboat Key, sensing an opportunity, set up speed traps and DUI checkpoints near the south end of the island.

"Fleeing for your life from a fiery hell does not excuse you from following the motor vehicle regulations of Longboat Key," said one unnamed police official, "and if you fail to provide registration and proof of insurance when requested, then you are in violation of those regulations."

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan reported that he approached Pres. Obama directly about federal assistance and was told that "money's a little tight right now, but I can assure you that change will be coming to Sarasota and all of Florida."

Meanwhile, Suncoast representative to the Florida legislature, Kathy Detert, was told to come back tomorrow by security guards at the state capitol in Tallahassee, as all state government offices were closed in the wake of the Florida State University loss in the NCAA basketball playoffs. Rep. Detert is hopeful that she can meet with Florida Emergency Management officials tomorrow.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sarasota Visitors Board Denies Eruption of Undersea Volcano

The Sarasota Convention and Visitors Board is busy trying to quash reports of a massive undersea volcano eruption in the Gulf. The blast, which rattled condo windows up and down the coast, awakened visitors and residents alike shortly after daybreak. While beachgoers viewed the mountainous plume of ash and smoke, lifeguards were instructed to answer inquiries by saying: "This is a perfectly normal phenomenon and poses no threat to the public. In fact, we expect the water temps to rise by 5-10 degrees to make your beach-going experience even more pleasant."

Sarasota officials scoffed at the widely-held belief by geologists and marine scientists that a deadly tsunami was imminent and the Gulf waters would soon turn scalding on area beaches, followed by a choking ash cloud moving ashore around evening.

Said one anonymous authority, "This could not have come at a worse time for Sarasota and we are not about to let some egg-headed, junk-science alarmists ruin high season for us."

Meanwhile, news of dead fish raining from the sky have been reported from Clearwater to North Fort Myers and as far inland as Arcadia.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Florida Senator Moooves To Say Neigh To A Panhandle Tradition. Oh, It's Baaaaaaad.

Apparently, the Sunshine State is awash in, ummm, those who would use animals in a decidedly non-traditional manner or non-traditional, at least, for most of the civilized world, which we have to realize that the Panhandle ain't. Non-traditional like, let's say, for sex.

Yes, we Floridians have a penchant for porking pigs, hosing horses, mounting moo-ers, screwing sheep and, especially, gang-banging goats. You boys in Mossy Head know what I'm talking about.....

State Senator Nan Rich is shepherding a bill through the legislature that would ban bestiality in our state. The good senator maintains a "thick folder containing news clippings of cases around the state concerning people having sex with animals." That would explain all those sideways looks she gets from airport screeners when she goes out of town.

Her research indicates that "that people who molest animals are likely to rape or molest people." Yes, Senator, I believe they would be inclined to do so, as well.

Her bill would make bestiality a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. No word on whether it would make a difference if the sex was consensual, but I guess we'll just have to let them big-city lawyers figure that out when the time comes.

I'm just not sure that the threat of being arrested for boinking Bossie would be much of a deterrent to this type of behavior. Then again, going to prison for five years might be a step up for some of these characters, kinda like going to one of those Hedonism Swinger Clubs in the Caribbean for them.

In the Walton County hamlet of Mossy Head in 2006, for example, there were at least four goat rapes reported, with one rape resulting in the tragic death of one of the violated victims. The report, thankfully, did not give the cause of death.

Because until Sen. Rich brought it up, Florida had sort of a 'don't ask, don't tell' attitude about such things, the suspected serial goat boner was charged only with stealing goats. I guess he had too much respect to do his own goats. Either that, or they turned him down. Or maybe those neighbor goats were just asking for it, sashaying through the meadow like that, braying at him behind his back.

I don't know exactly where Mossy Head is and I don't want to know, but I'm crossing off that whole damn county off my vacation list. In fact, that entire Panhandle can be divvied up between Alabama and Georgia for all I care.

I think I'm pretty much done with goat cheese, too.

Actual pin-up photo confiscated in Mossy Head raid.
bootsy by Domain Barnyard.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Manatee Sheriff Charges 1-Year Old With Complicity In Robbery

Man holding baby grappled with Beall's officer, police say

Halle Stockton

Published: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 11:38 a.m.

MANATEE COUNTY – With his 1-year-old baby in his arms, a Bradenton man suspected of stealing two pairs of shoes from a store Tuesday fought with a loss prevention officer in a parking lot, the Bradenton Police Department said.

Adrian C. Conde, 25, of the 1900 block of Fifth Street West, was arrested on charges of felony child neglect, assault and retail theft.

According to a police report, Conde took his toddler with him to a Bealls clothing store, at 6355 Manatee Ave. W., around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and left without paying for two pairs of shoes.

When a loss prevention officer confronted Conde, police say Conde picked up his son and began wrestling and throwing punches at the officer.

It is unknown if the toddler was injured because Conde’s friend took him home during the altercation, the report said.

Conde reportedly told officers he picked up his child because the boy was crying and that he stole the shoes so he could earn money by selling them on the street.

Conde is in the Manatee County jail on $240 bail.

Sheriff's deputies later charged the toddler with conspiracy, retail theft and assault and have booked him into the Manatee County Jail. "At first we thought he was just an innocent bystander, being only one-year old and all," said a department spokesman. "But after talking to the arresting officers and witnesses at the scene, we determined that he was in on the whole scheme."

Arrest reports state the child "flailed his arms and legs while screaming and crying in an effort to distract deputies and, at some point during the altercation, plaintiff did willfully and deliberately urinate on two deputies."

Police have set the boy's bail at $5,000, considerably higher than his father's. "We deem the child a flight risk, because he's just so darn cute at that age. Everybody wants to take him home."

"I can't believe my loser old man gets me busted trying to cop a couple pairs of shoes. That assclown better hope we get different cells in the joint."

9-1-1. What's Your.....Please Hold.

Just so we Sarasotans don't start thinking we have a corner on the "stupid" market, it's somewhat comforting to see stories from other places like this every once in a while.

These 911 stories are pretty funny, as long as you're not looking at them from the perspective of the caller. Rude dispatchers, sleeping dispatchers--yep, all pretty funny 'cause apparently nobody got killed as a result of the ensuing hijinks.

Here on the Suncoast, though, people die. And that is decidedly NOT funny.

It wasn't funny when Melissa Booth's 3-month old baby died because she told 911 she needed an ambulance on Highland Ave. instead of Highland St. She was roundly chastised for giving the dispatcher the wrong address by those who are quite sure they would always think clearly when a child of theirs would stop breathing.

It wasn't funny when everyone was scrambling to locate Denise Lee after she was kidnapped. Everyone except the 911 dispatchers whose shifts were over and neglected to pass along information received from a caller who just described a green Camaro with a screaming blonde woman in the back seat that she was following in North Port. That caller, as it turned out, was the last person to see Denise Lee alive.

In both cases--in all cases--the critics of the 911 system were blasted, just as I'm sure the critics of these other 911 stories were.

In reading the "so, what happened" epilogues at the end of the stories, only two dispatchers were recommended for termination, while the others received suspensions of varying lengths or, in the case of the dispatcher who offered to shoot the woman's daughter, two letters of reprimand.

Compare that with the Denise Lee debacle where, of the three dispatchers and one supervisor involved, one was suspended for 36 hours and one for 60 hours.

And that, my friends, is what we call "justice" here in paradise.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Florida Legislator Calls For Drug Testing The Unemployed--Is He On Crack?

What do you call someone who thinks nursing homes have too many regulations and the unemployed should pay for their own drug tests before collecting their benefits? Well, here in Florida, we call them "Senator," as in, state Sen. Mike Bennett. As in state Sen. Mike Bennett, who proposes almost three times as much legislation as most other senators.

I think that falls under the heading of "let's throw it all against the wall and see what sticks."

Methinks, the good senator likes to hear himself legislate.

I'm not sure why he thinks this would be such a good idea, other than because he proposed it, he likes seeing his name in print or because he's just the kind of guy who likes seeing the little people squirm. After all, he's got a pretty good gig going on himself, being a politician and all. And he's a big-shot real estate developer, which, I'm sure, was not helped at all by him being a state Senator. So there's that, too.

Let's assume that most employers require a drug test these days. Let's assume that since, to collect unemployment benefits, you had to be employed. Ergo, your employer required you to pee in a cup before you were hired.

Now, if you did not lose your job because you were smoking crack or swilling cough syrup, let's assume you were laid off for something much more mundane, like the piss-poor economy. Why should you, the unemployed schlub, have to pay for a drug test to collect a benefit that you have paid into over the years via unemployment taxes? Because the Senator says so?

I say we should drug test anybody that goes into politics. That's where the real crazy people are......

Know what I mean?

I Love Lawyers or Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another

This article in today's SH-T reminds me of why I love lawyers. Apparently, Nadel's Tampa attorneys are getting anxious for a paycheck and will be asking a judge to unfreeze some of Nadel's frozen assets so they can get theirs. Before anybody else gets theirs, of course. They're lawyers, after all.

If not, "it will force a re-evaluation of our position here," says one of his legal team. That means, "no dough, no go" in layman's terms. What the attorneys are asking for, essentially, is to be paid with some of the money that Art Nadel stole from his investors so they can:
  1. get him off,
  2. get him a reduced sentence, or, in the best case scenario,
  3. get him out on bail to live comfortably while they draw out the court hearings until he dies of natural causes, all the while raking in exorbitant fees for this legal filibustering, paid for by, yes, other people's money. Talk about a win-win situation for Esquires Foster & Cohen....
I have to laugh at some of the reaction in the reader commentary section of the SH-T. Everybody, of course, wants to hang the guy and are adamantly opposed to freeing up any assets to pay these lawyers. Some suggest that Nadel be forced to use a public defender. Which means Nadel's defense would still be paid by other people's money--us taxpayers.

The good folks at Cohen, Jayson and Foster--solely in the interest of justice, I'm sure--have graciously offered to work at the 'deeply discounted' hourly rate of $300/hour. Why, you can hardly find high school kids willing to cut your lawn for that kind of piddling money these days.

The attorneys also note that their travel, legal research and copying expenses have, so far, reached $10,000. Who do they have running the Xerox machine--Manny Ramirez??

Peg Nadel, Art Nadel's wife, did assign to the law firm a note and mortgage with $124,637 balance for a Sarasota condo. Of course, she didn't say who the condo belonged to, but assured the attorneys that it was a nice place and the owners, whoever they were, have done a lot of work on it recently.

While arguing before a US District Judge in New York about how utterly preposterous it is to consider Nadel a flight risk and should be released on bail, the defense team took the bold move to pinky swear that Nadel would "irrevocable consent to extradition."

Which means in American that Nadel, who is definitely not a flight risk, mind you, but if he gets out on bail and would decide to, let's say, take a vacation like he did when his scam first came to light, that he would not oppose extradition back to the states. Not that he would try anything like that....

I can't believe the judge said 'no.' Communist.

"Peg, please send some more of those travel brochures to me here in the joint. I think I'll be out on bail soon."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Obama White House in Disarray; Even The Furniture Is Disappearing

Another indication of just how bad the economy has become, White House sources anonymously report that furnishings and fixtures are being stolen from the Presidential residence.

"This is shameful and an embarrassment to the people of America," said one staffer. "We have no idea who is removing the items, including items from the Oval Office itself, but a secretly installed security camera caught two of the alleged thieves in the act on Sunday evening. We intend to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law."

If you think you recognize either person in this photo, the Secret Service wants to talk to you."


Friday, March 13, 2009

Manatee County May Turn To Inmate To Hold Down Workman's Comp Costs

This from the SHT:

Man impersonates doctor, touches woman, police say

Published: Friday, March 13, 2009 at 3:02 p.m.

MANATEE COUNTY - Authorities say a Bradenton man was pretending to be a doctor when he stopped a woman in the hospital parking lot and rubbed her stomach and thighs on March 10.

Howard L. Lawrence, 30, of the 600 block of 11th Avenue East, was arrested around 9 a.m. March 10 for trespassing on Manatee Memorial Hospital grounds soon after the incident.

The woman -- who was going to the emergency room for leg pain -- reported the incident to Bradenton police officers two days later and picked Lawrence out of a photo line-up.

Lawrence is charged with the unlicensed practice of a health care professional and battery. He is in Manatee County Jail on $2,370 bond.

What the story doesn't say is that the woman's leg pain was cured after Lawrence treated her. The woman claimed that over the last few years she has been to a neurologist, a chiropractor, an orthopedic surgeon, a holistic practitioner and a Haitian voodoo high priestess to evaluate and cure her chronic leg pain.

"This man saw me hobbling through the parking lot at the hospital and told me that he thought he could help me," the woman said. "Now, I've been to all kinds of doctors who said the same thing and none of them did a thing for me."

When asked what the 'miracle cure' was, she said, "It was so simple, I feel a little foolish. When he lifted my skirt to examine my leg, he rolled down my thigh-high nylons and the pain was gone."

"Believe me, when Dr.--I mean, Mr.--Lawrence gets out of jail, I'm going to recommend all my friends go to him for medical care."

As he was being transported to the Manatee County jail, he reportedly checked the sore elbow of a deputy and issued a prescription for oxycodone for the officer. It was not immediately known if Mr. Lawrence would be prosecuted on this charge, as well. Said a Sheriff's Department spokesman, "It probably depends on whether or not the deputy finds some relief from his elbow pain."

Undated photo of (left to right) Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard and Dr. Howard (Lawrence)

funny on the inside too!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Prison Ships: An Idea Whose Time Has Come. Again.

An article in today's SHT outlines the struggle involved in finding a suitable location for a new lockup. It seems as though every citizen of Sarasota County has an idea of where it should be built. And that would be anywhere that doesn't affect them.

That being said, the answer is clear: prison ships. Used by civilizations for centuries, they are still in use today. In 1997, Britain launched the prison ship, HMP Weare, to ease overcrowding. New York City's Riker Island Prison is supplemented by a prison barge called the Vernon Bain Correctional Center. So, see, it's not like we would be doing anything new or innovative, as those two concepts are an anathema to Sarasota government.

Now that cruise ships are getting larger, I just bet Sarasota County could pick up an older, retired one for cheap, tow it to the bay, load that baby up with convicts and push out to sea. Once they're a couple miles out so the tourists can't tell what it is, drop anchor and you're done.

Already outfitted with all the amenities--living quarters about the size of the average cell (just replace the doors with iron bars), commercial kitchens, large dining rooms, medical facilities--they have been described as "floating cities." This application would take that concept one step further to "floating cities, only with convicts on board."

No complaints from citizens that they have a jail in their backyard, no exorbitant construction costs, virtually escape proof and we could probably cut the wages of the correction facilities staff. Who wouldn't want to spend their workday lazing about the promenade deck, gazing upon the blue Gulf waters while listening to contented felons sing songs of the sea? Idyllic, no?

Of course, the county would have to buy a used launch to act as a tender, ferrying supplies, staff and visitors. Maintenance costs of the ship itself, though, would be minimal, as the prisoners could do the scraping and painting required to keep everything ship shape, as it were.

We could promote the new sailing slammer as a 'green' alternative to standard land-locked prisons, with its reduced carbon footprint, low overhead and humane environment for our incarcerated unfortunates. An upscale pokey for a decidedly upscale community.

Hurricane in the Gulf? No problem, hoist anchor and shove off to safe harborage. Need a dozen prisoners on shore to cut roadside weeds? Send out the tender.

What could possibly go wrong?

And the land where a new prison would have been built can be used for something really useful. Like a new parking garage.

Oh, not your great-great-great Grandad's prison ship:

but, this:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Woman considered turning in found wallet, but got manicure instead

Here's a story about a woman who found a wallet in the parking lot of a Manatee County Wal-Mart, thought (for a nanosecond) about turning it in, but then happened to glance at her nails and figured, "Girl, you need a manicure!"

The owner of the wallet learned that his credit card had been used at the Wal-Mart, returned to the store, found out that the perp was wearing a bright green shirt and pants and had on an auburn wig, JUST LIKE THE WOMAN HE SAW WALKING ACROSS RT. 70 TO SAM'S CLUB!!!

A deputy stopped the nattily-attired female and found the auburn wig stuffed in her pants. I don't even want to know.......

Nichole Denise Simmons admitted she found the wallet and used one of the credit cards inside to get videos. When she realized that the credit card work, "....I went and got my nails done."

Well, hell yeah, she got her nails done. Take a look at these babies and tell me it wasn't worth every dime of that guy's money. Too bad she didn't have time for a pedicure, too.

One Man's Earmarks Are Another Man's Earwax

Earmarks are a lot like earwax; while some claim they're useful, they are both, in fact:
  • repulsive,
  • can prevent proper functionality,
  • can lead to complications,
  • very difficult to remove.
Sarasota's Vern Buchanan railed against the Obama stimulus package in general and earmarks in particular, but, nontheless, when the bill passed, he made sure he tacked on some good old pork for his constituents back home on the Suncoast, ie, dredging at Port Manatee, equipping Bradenton police cruisers with cameras (oh, that will get the area some air time on "America's Funniest Home Videos"), an emergency-notification system at Manatee Community College to replace the can-and-string system they have been using, almost a half-million taxpayer dollars for closed-circuit video cameras and sensors on area roads (what?? that sure doesn't sound like a red-blooded, individual American right-to-privacy Republican idea, that sounds like more of some Commie, soul-stealing, Big Brother Socialist-Democratic plot) and a full half-million dollars for Mote Marine's ocean fisheries recovery program.

I just don't know about any of these things. I think the whole concept of earmarks reeks of one thing and one thing only: GETTING RE-ELECTED. Because being a Congressman is a pretty cushy gig and, if you're in long enough, when you get out, you can be a lobbyist, which is an even cushier gig, right, Tom Daschle?

And I'm just not sure about giving money to promote the strange goings-on over at Mote. I know we've entered a bold new enlightened era, with stem-cell research and all, but some of the things they do over there on City Island just ain't natural, I tell ya.

Although, I do see some merit in their latest experiment.....

Thanks, Barb.

Monday, March 9, 2009

SHT Headline Says It All: "Deputies Shoot Man Believed To Be Suicidal"

How do you improve on a headline as classic as that?

But, wait; there's more..........

According to the news account, the victim was injured and suicidal, as reported by his girlfriend, so she called Sarasota County 911. That alone tells you that the story will end badly.

While deputies were blanketing Siesta Key looking for the guy, he decides that the best place to lay low is to walk down Siesta Key public beach. Who'd think to look for him there?

He approached a group of teens and pre-teens celebrating a girl's 13th birthday party and asked them for a cigarette. The girl indignantly said they didn't have any cigarettes, saying, "No, we're only 13." Now, if the guy was looking for crack or crystal meth, sure.....

The teenagers said that the guy seemed normal enough and was just looking for a smoke. Well, except for having a bloody arm and shoulder. But, other than that, the kids thought he was just your average schmoe looking to bum a smoke. Makes you wonder what kind of neighborhood these kids live in where guys walk around at night with bloody shirts and ask a bunch of 13-year olds for a cigarette and it doesn't seem suspicious to them.

According to witnesses on the scene, several police cars, a helicopter and a police dog swarmed the beach area, but they didn't deem it necessary to tell inquiring beachgoers who they were looking for or why. No sense alarming the tourists by telling them that you're looking for an injured, suicidal man who may be armed and dangerous. "Just routine, folks. Nothing to see here."

Fortunately for the Sheriff's department, the guy ended up calling 911 himself to report his location, almost two miles away from the beach on Stickney Point Rd. or they would still be looking for him on the beach.

When deputies arrived on the scene, the distraught man appeared to reach for something in his waistband so the deputies, already steamed from missing their 9:00 PM doughnut break, plugged him.

Although they didn't immediately find any weapons on the guy, a later search by Sheriff's deputies found a bazooka and over twenty rounds of ammunition that they say the victim had concealed in his pants, pretty much justifying the shooting.

The victim was transported back to Siesta Key public beach so they could land a Medevac helicopter. And also because that's where the rest of the police department was chillin,' eating birthday cake that they had impounded for evidence.

The party for the 13-year old girl had to wait until after 10:00 PM to leave the beach because of the medical evacuation. Deputies then cited the party goers for breaking curfew.

One of the deputies involved in the shooting is the son of former Sheriff Bill Balkwill's brother-in-law, who, despite failing a field training course, was allowed to stay on the job by Uncle Bill. The course he failed was titled, "How To Cover Your Ass After Shooting An Unarmed Taxpayer." I'm sure there will be a make-up test now.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ontario Couple Late For Early-Bird Special

Jim and Bernadette--the Bigleys--were running a tad late for their usual Thursday dinner out at their favorite dining spot. The retired snowbirds hurried to get there before the 6:00 PM cutoff and made it just in the nick of time to the downtown Englewood eatery.

Guy Hits Parked Car and Smashes Storefront - Watch more Funny Videos

"Yes, my insurance rates will probably go up, but we saved 10% on our meatloaf dinners," said Jim.

"Jim said that he saw Channel 7's Bob Harrigan talking about Daylight Savings Time and thought it was already in effect," commented Bernadette. "I told him it always happens on Saturday nights when decent folk are in bed, but, after 42 years, I've learned that you just can't tell that old bastard anything."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Suicide May Be Painless, But It's Getting More Expensive

Reports are that the price of cigarettes is going up again.

They already cost you your life, how much more do they want than that?

Crist's Controversial Stimulus for Florida Revealed

Governor Charlie Crist announced a bold new plan to get cash into the hands of Floridians.

"With our natural abundance of senior citizens, the institution of this new program is a real "no-brainer," he crowed. "By severely reducing the number of elderly Floridians, we ease the drain on already over-burdened government services, the cost savings to our citizens who have an elderly family member to care for is immediate and ordinary Floridians will finally be able to get into the early-bird specials at restaurants--and have the money to pay for it."

"If Florida is to be part of the New World Order as envisioned by Pres. Obama, Rahm Emanuel and other forward thinking visionaries, then we must embrace it fully," the Governor continued, his eyes glazing over and drool spilling from the right side of his quivering lips.

White House sources indicate that Pres. Obama has, in fact, already 'redeemed' his live-in mother-in-law, Marian Robinson. Said one anonymous staffer, "The President didn't mind having the old battle-axe around to watch the girls while he and Michelle were out on the campaign trail, but now that they're settled into the White House and the girls are in school, her role become superfluous. Mrs. Obama resisted the idea at first, but when the President told her that she could use the money for new shoes, she jumped at the chance."

Junior members of Congress are said to be looking at some older members of the Senate, like Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd, to determine their value in this program. With Kennedy's recent knighthood, experts predict that his redemption price on the open market should skyrocket, albeit briefly, as his death would cause his value to plummet.

Human rights advocates here in Florida appear resigned to the new plan. Said one, "Economic downturns always generate these kinds of propositions, even as far back as the early 1700s, when the Irish sold their children for food. It's a sign of the times, I'm afraid. I just hope we don't run out of old people before the economy turns around."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another Tourist Attraction Proposed for Downtown

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported today that the $1 billion, 18-story Proscenium project in downtown has encountered yet another hurdle. While some believe this is just a temporary setback, others feel this could be the death knell for the project.

Upon hearing the news that this latest obstacle may signal the end of the project, Sarasota City Commissioner Kelly Kirschner was ecstatic. "That's great news for downtown Sarasota. Do you know how cool of a parking garage we can build there?"

Yes, Commissioner, we do. "World class."

Once Upon A Win

Meg Lowman Out, Successor Asks, "Reptile? You Call That A Reptile?"

After the lack of success at a recent expedition to herd the rampant iguana, monitor lizard and python populations of Red Bug Slough, Meg Lowman, director of environmental initiatives at New College, has been unexpectedly replaced.

Sarasota County Commissioners are alarmed over the recent disappearances of several visitors to the natural area just off Beneva Road. "We weren't too concerned when the occasional dog or cat went missing, but we need every single one of our snowbirds and our tourists in this economy," declared one commissioner.

The county Sheriff's Office acknowledged the problem, but said it did not have the expertise needed to fight this menace. Florida Fish and Wildlife authorities declined to get involved, stating that they have their hands full with the illegal poaching of crappies from Lake Manatee and prefer to concentrate their efforts there. Said one official, "Besides, did you ever see the size of some of those big-ass snakes?"

Meanwhile, the neighborhoods around the slough are on heightened alert. Children are being kept home from school, the streets are deserted and armed citizens patrol, ever vigilant for the voracious reptiles looking to wreak mayhem on their communities. Unconfirmed reports indicate that women and small children have been dragged from their very homes by 6-ft. long iguanas, that were then eaten by 12-ft. long monitor lizards, which were then devoured by 24-ft. long Burmese pythons.

The day-long sweep of Red Bug Slough netted the searchers but one 4-ft. black snake. The New College team, frustrated by their lack of results, vented their fury on the snake by attacking it with shovels, rakes and pitchforks. The snake escaped.

In announcing the firing of Meg Lowman, a Sarasota County official said, "While we appreciate the efforts of Ms. Lowman, it was quite apparent that she was not the right person for the job. Perhaps if our problem was with butterflies....."

"What we need is someone who has the skill, the experience, the gritty temperament and the tools to rid our county of these loathsome invaders."

"G'day, Sarasota...."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Mission Accomplished"? Yep, That Was Easy.....

I see several people, including our own uber-American, Wild Thing from Theodore's World, has taken issue with her President's penchant for affixing his "stupid seals, logos and emblems" to his new national projects, ie, these:


Tell me, does this one still make you swoon?

Face It, North Port; Island Walk Just Isn't That Into You

"If this sign makes your blood run cold, you might be an Island Walk resident." Jeff Foxworthy

Revolution is afoot in South Sarasota County. Again. First, Casey Key wants to be its own kingdom, now Island Walk residents want to distance themselves from the grand city of North Port and glom onto Venice. Like Venice would want them!

As is always the case here in Sarasota, the issue at stake here is the privilege of wealth. More precisely, those who reside behind the gates and walls of the upscale DiVosta Homes development don't want to be associated with anything that smacks of North Port. A proposed sign outside their front gate on Rt. 41 would share their dirty little secret of being residents of that fair city. Oh, the indignity of it all.

"We would not have bought there if it said, 'North Port,' " says Rachel Gregitis. I wonder if they would have bought there if they knew their property values were going to sink like a rock, North Port or no. Lady, you can call it 'Naples,' 'Boca Raton' or 'Hooterville,' it still won't make a difference if you want to sell your house in this market.

Why don't the good people of Island Walk contact Casey Key to see if they can throw in with them. Casey Key doesn't want to be part of Sarasota County anymore--too much riff raff. Then again, it's people like the Island Walkers that Casey Key wants to get away from.

"One West Villages homeowner even said that if the sign says North Port, he is going to let his house go into foreclosure." Ahhhh, spoken like a true North Porter!

Those people in Island Walk better not piss off North Port too much. The city commission is considering ending the ban on ATV riding within the city limits. How'd ya like North Port to declare Island Walk the designated off-road area?

A word of advice for all you wannabes in Island Walk: Groucho Marx, when told he couldn't join an exclusive Beverly Hills country club because he was Jewish, said, "I wouldn't want to belong to any organization that would have me as a member."

"Helloooooo, neighbor......"

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rush Limbaugh, The Grand Poobah of Pomposity

Soon to be ex-RNC chairman Michael Steele, in a heartwarming display of fealty to the King of the Republican Party, genuflected, knelt and solemnly kissed the large gold ring of His Majesty, Rush Limbaugh. The royal sniffed at this gesture, looking bored, while Steele continued groveling in his prostate position.

"Lord, forgive my transgressions," wailed Steele, using the same tried and true Biblical apology that has worked so many times for television evangelists, once they have been caught with their hand in the till or their wee willie winkie in whomever it shouldn't have been in.

I'm sure it is now painfully apparent to even Mr. Steele that Lord Limbaugh is not an entertainer. The truth is, he's not even that entertaining anymore.

Limbaugh is not only King of the Republican Party, he is the Republican Party. He has no political aspirations, since he wouldn't want to take a pay cut if he was elected President. Instead, he is the man who would be King. Of the world.

In a rush to go one Steele one better, Limbaugh loyalists are lining up to kiss his rather generous behind. The Sarasota chapter of Red County, ashamed that Florida's governor, Charlie Crist, has allowed himself to be photographed with Pres. Barack Obama, is pushing for legislation to rename the state 'Limbaughiana.'

Limbaugh's likeness has been proposed for inclusion on all currency, as well as replacing the iconic statue of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial.

His hometown of Cape Girardeau, MO, has become the destination of pilgrims nationwide, as have the sites of many of his early miracles, including West Palm Beach, where he turned fake prescriptions into Oxycontin, yet the Philistines did not smite him for his sin. Alleluia!

"And it came to pass that in those days, he was known by the name of Jeff Christie. For he was an abomination unto the ears."

Public Invited ToTommy Bahama's New 'Beer Goggles' Promotion

In an effort to entice customers to buy new swimsuits, Tommy Bahama's in St. Armand's Circle is kicking off it's new 'Sip and Swim' promotion on March 12th. Ladies trying on the latest in swimsuits will be treated to a cocktail party and fawning salespeople who will encourage the women to stuff 200 lbs. of human sausage into what is, essentially, a handkerchief with strings.

In some circles, this well-known marketing technique is known as "plying them with liquor."

The idea is to get their customers buzzed so that they don't realize what they really look like in those bathing suits. They're also bringing in those fun-house mirrors that make everyone look skinny.

The store also plans to have experts on hand to assist their customers with choosing the proper style and fit in their new swimsuit, which will consist, primarily, of telling the women that they look much, much better in the more expensive lines.

"My God, you look fabulous in that suit. Another mojito, darling."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Coast Guard On High Alert Following Rescue Of Missing Man

Reports from the scene of a dramatic rescue at sea indicate that one of the four missing men lost in the Gulf since Sat. night has been safely transported to a Tampa hospital. Initial interviews with the man are sketchy at best, but interviewers are troubled by his story that they were boarded by armed men, who demanded all their valuables and any "wenches" on board.

When the intruders found little of value on the boat, they became incensed and were calmed only when the men introduced themselves as professional football players. The survivor, Nick Schuyler, claimed that the raiders took the other three men and left him to collect ransom money for their safe return.

To bolster his claim, Schuyler had in his possession a handwritten note on what appeared to be a piece of parchment paper that read:


The note was signed simply, "Jack."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hordes of Humanity Overwhelm North Port Parade Route

The Story From SH-T:

"Large crowds lined both sides of the sun-splashed parade route Saturday as North Port residents celebrated the city's 50th anniversary."

The Reality:

Three people under an umbrella, a guy in a wheelchair, another guy leaning on his golf cart and two kids on a bike, who were there only because they heard somebody say 'cheerleader.'

The Story:

"Music blared from the bands, smiling people in the crowds shouted to people they knew in the parade and sirens whooped from the North Port police and fire personnel controlling traffic and guiding float drivers. The parade route closed major traffic arteries for three hours."

The Reality:

North Port Commissioner Vanessa Carusone carried a cardboard cutout of a car while she walked the two blocks that made up the parade route.

The Story:

"Mike Jennings, 28, has lived in North Port since 2001. The produce delivery truck driver said conditions in the city are 'pretty good.'"

The Reality:

"Pretty good" to a produce delivery truck driver means "no traffic."

The Story:

"Bob Allen said, '....
over the past 30 years there has been remarkable progress.'"

The Reality:

The new City Hall could still use a little work.

Abandoned Building by NatalieMaynor.