Friday, February 26, 2010

Alleged Murderer, Prof. Amy Bishop, Makes Calls On Behalf Of Sarasota County's Proposed 1-Mill School Tax

Sarasota County residents are receiving unsolicited recorded telephone messages from accused murderer, Amy Bishop, urging support of the School Board’s extension of the 1-mill tax to benefit public education in the county. While some residents have expressed outrage and disbelief at having a woman charged with killing three colleagues and wounding three more acting as a spokesperson for the school district, School Superintendent Lori White replied that Dr. Bishop is an appropriate choice.

“First of all,” said Ms. White, “she’s a doctor, OK? I mean, like, how many of you are doctors? She went to Harvard. So, how many of you brainstorms ever went to Harvard? Like, you probably don’t even know where Harvard is. Secondly, she is a educator, respected by her peers for her commitment to higher learning, as well as for her marksmanship. Lastly, she is the mother of four children, so she knows what’s best for kids. And, fifthly, she was the biggest celebrity we could get for the piddling amount of money left in our advertising budget after we made all those political contributions. Paris Hilton, our first choice, wanted triple what we had to pay Dr. Bishop.”

Residents complain that they have received the ‘robocall’ up to 10 or 11 times a day for the past week. One anonymous county resident reported, “It’s one thing to get this call day in and day out several times a day, but when your phone rings at 2:30 in the morning and you hear this deranged woman’s voice telling you to vote for the tax or you’ll be sorry, it’s a little disconcerting, to say the least.”

The text of the call is another point of contention for some:

“Hello, this is Dr. Amy Bishop, formerly of the University of Alabama at Huntsville biology department and now Inmate #5595136 of the Huntsville Correctional Facility, awaiting trial on a trumped-up, completely erroneous charge of multiple homicides, of which I am completely confident of being exonerated.”

“As a Harvard-educated neurobiologist, I am living proof of how far you can go in life with the proper education and friends in the local police department. My late brother didn’t think school was important, but I showed him that he was wrong. Dead wrong.”

“As a dedicated professional educator, I can’t stress enough how much your vote on the upcoming 1-mill tax extension means to the young impressionable children of Sarasota County. Your tax money will fund pizza parties, giveaways and limo rides for so many deserving children. Smart children, who deserve to be rewarded, not like the little slugs who just go along, coasting through school. They deserve NOTHING! YOU HEAR ME, NOTHING! They will never go to Harvard. They will never be neurobiologists. They will never be doctors. They'll just grow up to be naysayers and backstabbers who would deny their brilliant colleague tenure because they're jealous of how smart she is. So, she'll just have to show them, that's all. She'll have to show them how evil they were to deny her tenure, to deny her the career she so richly deserves. She'll have to show those catty bitches once and for all.........”

"But, I digress."

“I urge you to please vote ‘yes’ on the school tax extension. No, in fact, I demand that you vote ‘yes.’ Don’t make me come to Sarasota to make you pay for not voting ‘yes.’ I know where you live…..”

"It's for the children, dammit."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Accused Killer Whale Under Suicide Watch In SeaWorld Lockdown

Just a day after going on a murderous rampage, popular SeaWorld entertainer, Tillikum, the Killer Whale, remains in police custody, refusing to talk to authorities about the incident. Orange County authorities report that the attack on a trainer appears to be a isolated assault and not part of a larger plot of imprisoned ocean-going mammals revolting against their human captors, as claimed earlier by Fox News.

Marine experts remain baffled by the sudden and unprovoked assault on the trainer. Detectives, however, are piecing together the killer's sordid past and are shocked to discover his extensive rap sheet:

  • April, 1985: A young orca whale sticks up a bait shop on a dare near Seattle, WA, tail-whipping the owner and two employees, one critically, in the process. He was later arrested in Puget Sound after being identified by distinctive gang tattoos on his dorsal fin. He is charged with assault, robbery and attempted manslaughter. Mother claimed that he'd been swimming with the wrong pod lately, that he's really just a nice, quiet killer whale. Sentenced to 8-10 years, lawyer pleads term down to 2 1/2 years since he is a first-time juvenile offender.

  • October, 1990: The orca's probation officer helps him secure a job with Sealand of the Pacific, where he takes on the stage name of "Orville, the Orca" and begins his show business career. He seems to be a natural and is soon the headliner at the now defunct marine park.

  • June, 1991: In a fit of rage, Orville drags trainer Keltie Byrne underwater to her death in front of a crowd of spectators. The two were said to have been inseparable since Orville's earliest days at the park and their friendship had blossomed into romance. In recent days, however, Orville had become increasingly agitated, accusing Byrne of seeing other mammals, sparking the attack. Awaiting trial, Orville jumps bail and flees the country.

  • December, 1995: While living off the coast of Florida under an assumed name, Orville, now broke, homeless and surviving off the handouts from local fishing charters for turning a few tricks, wangled an interview with SeaWorld in Orlando under the alias of "Raoul." He is hired for a supporting role in the show, but quickly rises, once again, to the role of headliner. He is known throughout the SeaWorld Park system as a lothario and goes on to father 13 offspring. Renamed "Tilikum" by a SeaWorld publicist.

  • May, 1999: After a night of drinking and inhaling sardines, park workers the next morning find the lifeless, naked body of one Daniel Dukes sprawled across the back of Tilikum. Rumors of homosexuality send the orca into despair and deep depression, which he combats with excessive amounts of prescription drugs, eventually becoming addicted to the medications. He would spend the next two years trying to shake the demon of drugs, suffering frequent relapses along the way, eventually becoming clean and sober with the help of the park's medical staff.

  • The 2000s: Tilikum enjoys several years of relative peace and prosperity at the Orlando theme park, relishing his role as stunt double for various Shamu whales at the park and continuing to sire calves with prodigious regularity in his role as the "Stud of SeaWorld." "Having a whale of a time--ha ha," he would write to his mother.

  • February, 2010: Tilikum now swims accused in the drowning death of trainer, Dawn Brancheau.
Characterized as a 'loner' by dolphins in a neighboring tank at SeaWorld, most were baffled by Tilikum's sudden violent outburst. "He seemed quiet," said one anonymous dolphin, "except during mating season. Then he'd swim around like he was God's gift to whales. Thought he was a regular sperm whale. There were nights when none of us got any sleep for all the carrying on next door, but we dolphins were always up for the next day's shows, you know. We're professionals, not like those publicity-grabbing whales. If one of us was charged with a crime like this, we'd end up in somebody's cat food bowl, but not those big-shot orcas. Probably just get another slap on the fin. How many people does he have to kill before you humans get it? He's a thug and needs to be put away for everyone's safety. That dude is 12,000 pounds of bad-ass blubber."

PETA and the Humane Society will be handling Tilikum's defense, citing mitigating circumstances for his recent behavior, including harrassment by the trained seals and longer working hours. Legal experts agree that the defense will have its work cut out for them, as the witnesses and accompanying amateur video all seem to point to an unprovoked attack by the whale, although PETA does have a history of getting perpetrators of animal against human attackers reduced charges and lesser sentences.

PETA has long claimed that orcas and other marine mammals should never be subjected to the grueling performance schedules and confined living conditions that are prevalent in today's marine amusement parks. "It was only a matter of time before one of them snapped," said a PETA spokesperson. "Why do you think they call them "killer whales?" Everything seems to be fine, then one day one of these creatures gets a bug in his blowhole and all hell breaks loose. He was a loaded spear gun just waiting to go off. So, whose fault is it, really?"

Tilikum, a.k.a "Tilly", a.k.a "Orville, the Orca," a.k.a "Raoul," a.k.a "Tillah, The Killah," a.k.a "T-Doggy-Dogg."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sarasota Journalist, David Grimes, Target of Canadian Hit Squad

The Suncoast was in shock today following the revelation that noted Herald-Tribune humor columnist, local raconteur and man-about-town, David Grimes, was assassinated by a crack Canadian hit squad following his Sunday column concerning that country's hosting of the Winter Olympics. Mr. Grimes article was unexpectedly met with incendiary vitriol from the usually docile local Canadian snowbird population, as witnessed by this 'Letter to the Editor' published in the Weds, Feb. 24th, edition of the local newspaper. Some experts now believe that this letter was actually written by the leader of the elite killing team, known only as "Kevin," and served as the triggering mechanism to put the plot into motion.

The highly-secretive intelligence agency of Canada, headed by former Royal Canadian Mounted Police hero, Inspector Dudley DoRight, has long disavowed even the existence of a sinister arm of the agency known as the 'Moose-ad.' Privately, however, counterterrorism organizations worldwide agree that this action has all the hoof marks of a Moose-ad killing.

Mr. Grimes had been lured to the Sarasota Ritz-Carlton with the promise of free food and cocktails from an unknown source. Never one to pass up either, Mr. Grimes went to Room 230, as instructed. Hotel surveillance footage, below, shows the macabre dance of death carried out by the 11-member Canadian hit squad, with members serving as look outs, diversions and spotters. One of the last persons to leave the ill-fated Grimes in Room 230 was the icy-cold female assassin, known to authorities only as 'Gail,' who seemed to take a measure of personal delight in carrying out the grisly torture and murder of the local celebrity. Security experts do not believe at this time that 'Gail' was a true member of the Moose-ad and could possibly have been a freelance contract killer of some sort.

The end of the video shows the 'Kevin' and 'Gail' boarding a SCAT bus for the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport, where their trail disappears. The video is narrated with commentary by Sarasota PD in an unknown language described by police only as "cop talk," which is believed to have come into use on all surveillance tapes reviewed by the department following several embarrassing videos recently leaked to the media, in which cartoonish sound effects and ethnically-derogatory comments were inserted into the now-infamous Juan Perez tape of him crawling headfirst out of a patrol car while handcuffed, faceplanting, then being kicked by an officer.

Sarasota P.D. has released the surveillance video to various media outlets for public viewing in the unlikely hope that someone will come forward with information. Typically, however, in cases like this, public help is virtually non-existent, due to intimidation from the large influx of Canadian visitors who flock to the Suncoast every winter. The Herald-Tribune has, apparently, succumbed to pressure to not cover the murder after an alleged visit from Canadian goon squads bearing hockey sticks and curling brooms and has agreed to print only Canadian news, notably hockey scores, until April, when the majority of the Canadian snowbirds will begin to make their way back north.

Mr. Grimes was only 32 at the time of his death, although he had the appearance of a much older man, undoubtedly due to his years spent as a hard-living journalist. He leaves behind a widow, Gail (!), and two elated pugs.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Don't Call Me The Lady Who Hates Baseball," Demands The Lady Who Hates Baseball

And, so, the fight over baseball's future goes on. And on. And on.

Even though pitchers and catchers reported yesterday afternoon and the remainder of the team to be in camp next week, the Committee Against Everything is working feverishly to send the Baltimore Orioles packing back to Ft. Lauderdale. Or Lee County. Or Baltimore. Any place but Sarasota. In fact, they would prefer it if the team just would go straight to hell. But if they did, the O's would be sure to enjoy a much more friendly reception from its denizens and deal with a much higher level of professionalism from its leaders than here in Sarasota.

The Committee Against Everything/Sarasota Citizens For Responsible Government Chapter just wants one thing: their way. And they intend to do everything in their power to get it, no matter how much taxpayer money it costs to paralyze county government with filibustering lawsuits, self-righteous lawyers (as if there were another kind!) and banging the drum of Jeffersonian ideals to attract the Tea Party hangers-on and assorted other obstructionists. God bless America!

"I think this is legalized stealing," pontificated Cathy Antunes, who organized a grass roots campaign to stop taxpayer resources from being used to help keep pro baseball here for spring training in Sarasota, as it has been since 1924. And she's prepared to spend every last dollar of Sarasota's taxpayer money to stop it.

Antunes claims to "know baseball." She also claims to be a devout Yankee fan. That explains a lot. It also discounts her claim to know baseball. Perhaps she knows Yankee baseball, with their self-centered sense of entitlement, boorish manners and haughty, indignant attitude, but she doesn't know real baseball.

Her husband is reportedly a Boston Red Sox fan. That explains even more......

She complains to the Herald-Tribune that she doesn't like being known as The Lady Who Hates Baseball. We suspect that she would just as soon be known as The Lady Who Hates Everything and Everybody.

The Herald Tribune also reports that Antunes is a drug rep, er, 'pharmaceutical salewoman.' You know, someone who goes around glad-handing doctors by buying lunches and passing out pens and notepads festooned with the company logo, trying to get the doctors to prescribe even more of whatever pills, equipment or procedures are churned out by the the company she represents. Not that there's anything wrong with that. After all, it is universally accepted that the drug companies only have our best interests at heart, is it not? Shouldn't Antunes be lobbying against health care reform, protecting the profits of Big Pharma, Big Insurance, Big Hospitals and Big Medicine, instead of railing against Big Baseball?

Ahhh, but it's NOT about baseball, Antunes insists. It's about--what else--truth, justice and the American way of life. Which, of course, necessitates the involvement of attorneys. Who knew?

The Committee Against Everything/Sarasota Citizens For Responsible Government Chapter has judicial bulldog, Andrea Mogensen, as their champion, she of the recent $750,000 judgment against the City of Venice over a Sunshine Law violation, paid out by the good taxpayers of that community. Mogensen has made a career out of litigating these busybody lawsuits that benefit..............Mogensen's bottom line.

In these current halcyon days of unprecedented cooperation in efficiently accomplishing the people's business in government, when anything an elected official says on the record or off is sure to become fodder for the opposition, when those veteran elected officials are dropping out of politics because its become too much of a blood sport (except for Sarah Palin, of course, who quit as governor of Alaska so she could concentrate on engaging in even more political bloodshed as just a 'concerned private citizen.'), how can anything get accomplished legislatively in the glare of the spotlight? As a republic, America takes great pride in our cherished ability to vote freely for representatives to conduct our affairs in the seats of government, but we take even more delight in shouting them down and calling them out, before we re-elect them all over again and again.

At a time when governments all over the globe are lobbying and strategizing and pressuring and cajoling and leveraging and promising and brainstorming and planning and campaigning and promoting and generally fighting tooth-and-nail for every single job that they can possibly bring into their particular area, they are sure to be taking a long, hard look at Sarasota and how its civic and governmental leaders are attempting to attract new businesses to the Suncoast.

And laughing.

Sarasota's new slogan: "Yep, we got a suit for that......"

Monday, February 15, 2010

Local Author, MC Coolidge, Gives Up Quest For '365 Days Of Fun,' Will Join Convent Instead

Noted Sarasota diarist, journalist and all-around bon vivant, MC Coolidge, has abandoned her self-imposed year-long journey to have fun every day of 2010. What began with such promise in that seminal essay that she penned for the New Year's Day edition of the Herald-Tribune, where she vowed "I'm not going to let another 365 days go by existing solely in survival mode. In 2010, baby, I'm going to have me some fun.....I am going to write that novel, buy a sexy suit for swimming, rip the plastic off my shrink-wrapped life and open my heart to sheer fun."

Author M. C. Coolidge, prior to her descent into hell.

Tragically, those expectations of joy, of higher aspirations have come crashing ashore, dashed on the unforgiving shoals of real life. As do so many at the turn of the calendar year, Ms. Coolidge succumbed to the exuberance that is a new beginning, a new chapter; like a brand new Etch-A-Sketch that your little brother hasn't played with yet, still devoid of his indelible mark of greasy fingerprints. Now she sits alone in a darkened room somewhere, her dream of fun shattered into a million tiny shards that, even though she'll sweep them up as best her Hoover canister will allow, there will always be just a few pieces that will remain to lodge in the sole of her foot, as well as in the very soul of her spirit, a constant and painful reminder of her failure and disillusionment.

To her faithful cadre of readers, the train wreck to come became more evident with each installment of her plaintive missives:

  • Jan. 2: "Which, brings me to yesterday …. supposedly my first day of a fun-filled year. Okay, um, not so much. Fun, that is."

  • Jan. 4: **LANGUAGE WARNING** "Jiminy Cricket! Day four of my FANY (Fun Ambitions for New Year) resolution and I’m in loser-ville!"

  • Jan. 6: "...writing like I did yesterday is actually fun. A perverse, brain-wracking, mentally exhausting, kind of fun...."

  • Jan. 8: "Eek! Yesterday I fell off the fun wagon....I had read about a lecture I wanted to go to —a lecture about.....the Holocaust...but didn't go." (We see here that, even by day 8, her mind, ill-accustomed as it was to distinquish pleasureable experiences, ie, 'fun' from distasteful experiences, ie, 'real life,' is now beginning to equate experiences such as a lecture about one of history's most abhorrent episodes of depravity and human suffering with 'fun')

  • Jan. 11: "....the place was so jam-packed you got to second base — with just about everybody — just by trying to make it to the bathroom and back." (Now we see that Coolidge's concept of 'fun' has degenerated further into tawdry snippets of perversion. Yet she seems, somehow, to realize the downward spiral in which she is ensnared.) "So, was it fun? It was a decent enough time … but still not the kind of fun I’m trying to have in 2010."

  • Jan. 12: (By the very next day, however, her idea of 'fun' has devolved into outright pandering to her horrified, yet riveted, readers.) "If you’d like to help me have some fun....just vote for MC as “best blogger” in the (Sarasota M)agazine’s online poll."

  • Jan. 16: "Geez. I’m more than a little disappointed in myself. I’m sorry to be such a drag."

  • Jan. 18: "After a dismal last week through Friday, then, came Saturday.....a rainstorm."

  • Feb. 4: "I don’t know. But I cried. And weirdly. Very weirdly … I was having fun at the same time." (Here, it is evident that Coolidge has lost all concept of her elusive 'fun,' as she now considers weeping to be "fun." Thankfully, the end of all this suffering is at hand.)

  • Feb. 11: "It’s nearly 930 on a Thursday night and I just finished re-hanging the shower door...and I’m thinking … really … where the hell is my MC Mojo? If anybody finds it, will you send it back?" (Having lost all sense of 'fun,' Coolidge puts on a brave face for her readers while making what is an obvious cry for help.)

  • Feb. 12: "Sheesh. Last night after I posted my “woe is me, I don’t got no fun” blog, I realized what a whiner I’ve turned into about this whole “365 days of fun” thing I got myself into for my New Year’s Resolution.....I’m not going to write again — about fun...."

Thus, on Feb. 12th, 2010, a scant 43 days into her pursuit of fun, it is over. Mercifully.

It was reported that Ms. Coolidge, emotionally spent and mentally exhausted, has entered a convent and will begin the process of becoming a cloistered nun when her physical and psychological health allows, much to the chagrin of her adoring male fans, which were legion.

When she completes her studies and recites her vows, she will take on the name of "Sister Mary-Katen Ashley" of the Little Sisters of the Condominium on the Beach, where she will join in their ministry to the dissolute and downtrodden former property owners of Siesta Key, who bought at the height of the real estate boom and are now living on the streets, albeit the tony, paved-with-gold streets, of Siesta Key.

The soon-to-be Sister Mary-Katen Ashley, on Siesta Key beach, hawking the famous "Fly-Or-Die" insect and unwanted beach lothario repellant device, for which the Little Sisters craft by hand and sell to tourists, as their main source of funding their unique mission. Observe the physical change in appearance wrought by her ill-fated quixotic quest for 'fun.'

May you find, if not the fun you so hoped to discover, the peace you so richly deserve, dear Little Sister......

I'm Andre Watkins and I Am The N.R.A.

"My name is Andre Watkins. I've been accused of shooting to death a 19-year old girl and critically wounding two other apparently random victims, committing an armed carjacking and trying to shoot another man who, unfortunately, escaped. Now, I am incarcerated in the Hillsborough County Jail where I am being mistreated, subjected to police brutality, made to wear a hood at my arraignment so I couldn't spit on the guards, attempted to prevent me from screaming profanities at the judge and, worst of all, won't return my pistol to my possession in direct violation of my Constitutionally-protected Second Amendment rights."

"I am the N.R.A..........

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Judicial Mixup Gives Oil-Drilling Opponents More Than They Bargained For In Siesta Key Beach Protest

Hundreds of well-intentioned citizens who showed up on Siesta Key public beach to participate in the "Hands Across The Sands" demonstration on Sat., Feb 13th, to voice their opposition to the proposed off-shore drilling for oil. Now, all those civic-minded people have become mired in a legal entanglement that threatens to uproot their lives in a way in which they never could have imagined.

The dilemma stems from what appears to be an honest mistake by Sarasota County judge, Becky Titus who, for some years now, has conducted a marriage vow renewal ceremony every Valentine's Day on Siesta Key beach, known as "Say I Do Again."

"I was driving past Siesta Key beach on Saturday afternoon and saw all these people streaming toward the beach," said Judge Titus later that day. "All of a sudden I just thought 'Oh, my gosh, they must be here for my wedding ceremony!', not realizing that it was Sat., the 13th, and not Sunday, the 14th. In my defense, I've been fighting the flu and have been consuming copious amounts of cold medication. You can ask anyone who's appeared in my courtroom lately--I've just been out of it for a couple of months now."

"So I parked my car, jumped into my robes and ran to the beach and found everyone holding hands, stretched out as far as I could see. I thought it was so romantic and just got caught up in the scene. I spoke to the crowd and when I asked them if they wished to renew their marriage vows, they all shouted "I do." It was only later that I learned that, because of the windy conditions that afternoon, everyone thought I asked "Do you solemnly oppose this drilling with all your natural life?" I then pronounced them husband and wife. All of them."

"Only when everyone started chanting "Don't Drill On Our Beach" did I start to think that something was wrong. Although, I must admit that for a second, I thought, perhaps, that some amorous couple may have gotten swept up in the moment and began to, well, you know, right there on the beach. After all, I am known for conducting a very moving ceremony."

Legal experts agree that it was, in fact, a lawfully-binding marriage ceremony and that with the pronouncement of the participants saying aloud "I do", in the eyes of the law they are now officially wed to whomever they were holding hands with at the time they spoke those words. Now the question becomes what to do, as most of the participants are legally wed more than one person, since they had formed a human chain and were holding hands with two people, making them guilty of bigamy. Then there is the dilemma of gay marriage, since many of the people were holding hands with someone of the same sex. By Florida law, these persons are now considered criminals.

Florida's Attorney General, Bill McCollum, who is coincidentally running for governor, has released a statement that his office has "no choice but to prosecute those person or persons who were legally married on Siesta Key beach in an offically-recognized legal proceeding to the fullest extent of the law, in accordance with state and federal statutes and the Bill McCollum Campaign for Governor, 2010, 'Get Tough On Crime' platform."

Religious leaders also point to the various violations of canon and ethical law resulting from the misguided beach ceremony. Various mainstream Protestant, Catholic and Jewish clergy affirmed that those people who are entered into an illicit marriage with another are "condemned to an eternity in the fiery depths of hell, and that without remedy," although several women who were recently ordained as Roman Catholic priests in a Sarasota ceremony have offered special discounts on annulments and planned to place ads to that effect in local newspapers. A spokes-saint for the Diocese of Venice has already made it clear that "the women priests and anyone who supported them were no longer members of the Church of Rome." They also said to "be aware of cheap imitations" and that discount-pricing on any church-related service would not be offered unless authorized by the home office in Vatican City.

The Sarasota Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), however, indicated that all those who are now married to more than one spouse are welcome to worship and tithe at their church, whose motto is: "Two spouses, no problem. Bad credit, now that's a problem."

Farley "The Drum Dude" Monach, a regular participant in the popular Siesta Key drum circle on Sunday evenings, declared dreamily, "Far out, man," when informed of the matrimonial mixup.

Meanwhile, a spokesflak for the Exxon Mobil, Shell, British Petroleum, Chevron and 3-in-1 Oil Consortium expressed little sympathy for the plight of the Siesta Key beach protesters. "Maybe they should just stay at home and leave the fate of the beach in the hands of us professionals," she said.

*Full Disclosure Notice: Author has been to Siesta Key Public Beach, is married and uses petroleum products.

The Right Honorable Judge Becky Titus: "And that's my rulin'........."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rays Look For New Sponsor To Name Field After Offer From Ecological Despoiler and Environmental Rapist, Mosaic, Is Withdrawn

The Tampa Bay Rays are shopping for a new sponsor to buy the naming rights to its spring training facility in Charlotte County. The tentative deal by pollution giant, Mosaic Phosphate Mining and Planet Killer, was withdrawn by the Rays after a public outcry, especially from the citizens of Charlotte County and a few sanctimonious politicians, like Commissioner Adam Cummings, who vowed, "I will not take their 30 pieces of silver or step foot in any stadium under the name Mosaic." No word on whether 31 pieces of silver would have swayed the commissioner.

The newly-refurbished Charlotte County Stadium was the site of a very successful spring training for the baseball club last year and officials hope that the money secured from the sale of the naming rights to the stadium will pay for some much-needed upgrades to the facility.

"As this is Southwest Florida," said one Rays official, "we know that it's all about the show. We had to hit a home run with the customer amenities right out of the box to make this work. Maybe that whole 'if you build it, they will come' thing works on those corn-fed rubes in Iowa, but, here, it's more like 'if you build it outrageously swanky, they will come--maybe.' I mean, fans really love our Boardwalk, our Tiki Bar, our topless vendors. We wanted to give our fans a true laid-back Florida experience."

One thing the club would like is to upgrade the playing surface by replacing the all-dirt field with a more traditional grass outfield, at the very least. Mosaic Phosphate was considered a natural fit as a business partner for the stadium, as they are the state's largest producer of fertilizer. Next to Tallahassee.
It was also hoped that after the new sod, there would be enough money left over to buy the old Johnston place which is inconveniently located in short left-center field. While the Rays are accustomed to playing with quirky ground rules in their home dome of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, club officials are irate that during the 14 home games at the Charlotte County facility last March, 186 baseballs were lost to Old Man Johnston, who has steadfastly refused to return them.

The Rays and Charlotte County have announced that they are currently entertaining bids from several other entities for naming rights to the stadium. They include:

  • the newly-formed Tea Party Political Party, who want to name it "Palin Park", but would require teams to field only players who can document that they are English-speaking, white Anglo-Saxon Americans.

  • disgraced Ponzi schemers, Art Nadel and Neil Moody, who would name it "Scoop Stadium" after their now defunct sham investment firm, Scoop Management. They would also require that the games played there be broadcast on closed-circuit TV to all federal prisons.

  • the Southwest Florida Association of Mortgage Appraisers, who want to re-name the facility "Drive-By Stadium" in recognition of how they conduct residential appraisals.

  • the Miccosukee Indian tribe, who would call the stadium complex "The Lucky Lady" and install slot machines at all entrances and have twice-an-inning raffles. They would also prohibit any games involving the Cleveland Indians or the Atlanta Braves.

  • the Charlotte County Board of Realtors, who wish to name the field "Buy Now Ballpark" and require everyone in attendance to fill out an information card, including their most recent credit score.

  • the Southwest Florida Banking Federation, who would choose to christen the park, "Bailout Ballpark" and plan on removing all the existing seating and replace them with prohibitively-expensive luxury boxes to "discourage the riff-raff from coming."

  • the Sarasota Citizens for Responsible Government, who would simply close the stadium because "if Sarasota County isn't playing baseball, then neither is Charlotte County. We know we can sue them for something."

  • and, finally, it has been learned that the Toyota Motor Company has recalled their bid. So has Honda.

Meanwhile, the City of North Port is anxiously awaiting spring training for the Rays to begin in late February, as they welcome fans driving through their community to attend the games.

The management of the Rays strongly suggest that out-of-towners do NOT call any local 911s for directions to the ball park. It is illegal. And Sarasota County 911 will send you to the wrong address, North Port's system "unfortunately, doesn't work that way" and Charlotte County 911 will refuse to give you an answer if it overlaps a shift change.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Haiti Courts Demand Repatriation of All Orphans Adopted By Foreigners Since 1985

Fresh on the heels of the arrest of ten Americans from the Central Valley Baptist Church in Meridian, Idaho for trying to spirit 33 Haitian children, ranging in age from 2 through 12, into the Dominican Republic claiming that they were orphans when, in reality, some were clearly not, the Haitian government has declared null and void all adoptions of Haitian children by foreign families after 1985. While this ruling would dictate that the oldest of the group is now approaching 25 years of age, the administration in Haiti has determined that they must return to their homeland or face legal action by the Haitian authorities.

Exact numbers will be hard to come by since any records that might have been saved from these adoptions were probably destroyed in the recent earthquake. Haitian officials are hoping that the adoptees will return "on the honor system."

Said one high-ranking government official from his tent just outside Port-au-Prince, "Haiti needs her children to come home. While we were happy to be rid of the extra mouths to feed when you were babies and that you were adopted by loving, nurturing families who saw to your every need, fed you, clothed you, educated you, treated you as they would have treated their own children and helped you to assimilate into their own societies. And that is precisely why we are requiring that you come back to Haiti."

"We have lost almost 175,000 of our population in Haiti, so we now have room for you to come back. You little ones can come back and people from all over the world will donate money to build more schools and to hire many, many Haitian teachers who will form a union and become tenured, so that they cannot be fired for any reason, just like in America."

"Those of you who are older and have completed your education paid for by your adoptive parents in other countries can come back and build lucrative businesses like off-shore banking here in Haiti funded with donations from foreign interests. Haiti will become the Switzerland of the Caribbean. In a few years after your greed demolishes our fragile economy again, we will solicit foreign donations for a bailout for you, so that you can be paid your bonuses."

"And those of you who were adopted by more wealthy parents who sent you to medical school and have become physicians can come home and run hospitals here that will be subsidized by other nations, allowing you to become very rich. You can become even more rich by helping to shape our healthcare system into an out-of-control bureaucracy manipulated by our own profiteering health insurance industry. Does not Haiti have a long history of piracy? "

"That will leave the rest of us who never had the good fortune to be adopted to enter politics here in Haiti. As we re-build our beloved island nation together, then we will have our rightful opportunity to profit obscenely from the billions of dollars in donations that will flow like a mighty river into our country, so that we, too, may share in the abundance of riches that God has provided us from the earthquake."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Forget The iPad; Now The Really Big News: iPacket!

A large mushroom cloud was spotted over northern California today as Steve Jobs exploded in a fit of rage after his latest 15 minutes basking in the limelight reflected off the shiny foreheads of GeekNation over Apple's long-awaited and longer-hyped release of the IPad was upstaged by none other than stodgy old food giant, HJ Heinz, and the considerably less publicized, but significantly more earth-shattering public unveiling of the most revolutionary product from that elder statesman of pickle-packers since they peddled their first gherkin.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you....................The iPacket.

Sure to be at the top of everyone's list of the 22nd century's most incredible innovations when 2099 rolls around, people, their clones and the robots who rule them will all be dipping their Pluto fries in the ubiquitous ketchup-dispensing device and wonder just how civilization did not implode upon itself until the new iPacket was put into use, way back in 2010.

The traditional ketchup packet, sure to be lauded by conservative Tea Baggers as a vital part of the fundamental American fabric and not something to be tampered with, will become a touchstone for everything that was once right with the U S of A, but is now on the brink of destruction. The state of Florida will place a referendum on their mid-term ballot to save the current packet, with right-wing Senate candidate, Marco Rubio claiming: "If it was good enough for Thomas Jefferson to use, then I, too, choose the the good old American ketchup packaging preferred by our Founding Fathers."

Gov. Charlie Crist, feeling the pressure to be even more conservative than his opponent Rubio, will declare that "I don't think handing out condiments to school children will replace the purity of abstinence as a method of preventing teen pregnancies and, as your senator in Washington, I will fight to rescind Democratic funding for such an evil practice. Amen."

Pat Robertson has already said on his nationally-televised 700 Club that the new ketchup packaging appears to be "the handiwork of the devil," citing a little-known pact between Satan and HJ Heinz shortly after Heinz sold his soul for a product that would give him world domination. "That product, my friends, in ketchup, " Robertson intoned gravely. "Up until 1876 when this deal was consummated with the devil, it was spelled 'catsup.' That's how it's spelled in the King James version of the Bible; you can look it up. Well, the old devil didn't like that, so he told Henry J. to change it to 'ketchup' and, as you know, the rest is history. True story."

Government officials, however, are issuing strong warnings regarding the inherent health dangers of the new packaging, as it is purported to contain approximately three times the amount of tomatoey goodness as its predecessor. Said Regina Benjamin, Surgeon General of the United States, "We are concerned that young children especially will be subjected to these new higher amounts of ketchup and be prone to accidental overdosing scenarios. Parents need to monitor their children's intake of ketchup and watch for warning signs of abuse, such as overeating of foods typically associated with the condiment, such as French fries, onion rings, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc."

"There used to be an old wive's tale intimating that ketchup counteracted the high calorie and high fat content of these foods, but extensive federally-funded testing conducted in the early 1990s dispelled that myth. This office intends to press for legislation to place warning labels on these packages similar to those labels already in place on cigarette packaging. Personally, I don't see any difference between these new ketchup packets and heroin," she concluded.

Timothy Geithner, Pres. Obama's Secretary of the Treasury, is concerned that the new packaging will plunge the world into an even greater financial quagmire. "Consider this," he recently told Congressional leaders in a closed-door session. "More ketchup in the package, condiment producers charge more for it, restaurants and other prepared-food outlets subsequently raise their prices, setting off another round of wholesale inflation, leading to economic chaos and the eventual rise of zombies."

Banks and other financial institutions, however, welcomed the introduction of the new larger ketchup delivery system and vowed to spend "every bit of TARP money we can squeeze out of the government to fight the government on this issue. We view this extra ketchup as a bonus and we have yet to meet a bonus we didn't like."

Meanwhile, the rest of the world rejoices. There is hope for the survival of humanity yet.

Apple's iPad.................meh.

The new Dip & Squeeze ketchup packet.................WOW!!!!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Waterfront Homeowner Fires Opening Salvo In Fight To Save His View

Taking his cue from the success of the elite waterfront homeowners who have brought the restoration of the many spoil islands to a complete standstill because they fear removing the existing non-native plant life and replacing it with slower-growing native species that would be beneficial to, not only the quality of Sarasota's onshore Gulf waters, but the overall health of our entire bayfront ecosystem as well, Poshol Nahuj of Siesta Key has escalated his viewfront vendetta to a new level.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Nahuj fired a short-range missile from his front yard into the We're Only Here For A Short Time Nursing Home and Glue Factory located just off Main Street near downtown Sarasota. The missile, equipped with a non-nuclear warhead, blasted a cavernous opening in the structure, decimating floors 4 through 11 and leaving the 12th floor virtually inhabitable due to the danger of imminent collapse.

Rescue crews have pulled dozens of bodies from the rubble and the injured are being treated in rudimentary makeshift facilities, owing to the fact that most Florida hospital rooms are already occupied by Haitian refugees. Nearby states have refused to accept those wounded in Tuesday's blast, citing Charlie Crist's attempt to paint himself as a fiscally-badass Republican by effectively shutting down the federal airlift by refusing to accept anymore injured Haitians until Crist was assured of payment by the Obama administration.

Now other states' leaders are jumping on that bandwagon and refusing to treat injured Floridians. Said one unidentfied politico from South Carolina, "We understand Gov. Crist is in a fight for his political life down there, trying to one-up his opponent in the race for senator, Marco Rubio, by taking this hardline approach, but, hey, if Charlie wants to be a dick, he has to accept the crabs that come with that role from time to time."

When reached at his palatial north Siesta Key mansion, Mr. Nahuj explained his actions as follows: "When I buy house, real estate lady say I have view of downtown, that is why house cost so much. I look, I look, I don't see downtown for nothing. She say I have to climb on roof and stand on tiptoes to see downtown, but it still counts for premium charge for view."

"I say 'OK' because I have lied to get my way plenty of times in my country so this is OK with me. Brother Yuri brings me missile from Afghanistan Surplus Store in Moscow--he tells man at airport screening in New York that it is firework for agricultural use only and is legal in Florida, man says "I know, I get cherry bombs from grandparents in Florida every 4th of July, so is OK" and lets him through."

"So yesterday, Yuri and I shoot missile to make view for downtown. Whole building was supposed to fall down, but you know how undependable and cheap Russian missiles are. Hole in building is nice, but now I demand city take down rest of building so I have better view or I don't donate to nobody's re-election. I tell them, 'Maybe Poshol Nahuj run for city commissioner....' I get my way, you wait and see. They no want Poshol to be in their club, is for sure."

"I am sorry for all people who die and get hurt, but in my country, you take what is yours. Real estate lady tell me I pay for view, then I get view. Now I can see from water on one side of house and downtown on other side of house. Now, you people here: GET THE HELL OFF MY LAWN OR I KILL YOU ALL! Time for Poshol to go swim in his ocean he buy."

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pandemonium in Punxsutawney: Scores Dead, More Injured In Rodent Rampage

Emergency officials are at a loss today to explain the orgy of death and destruction that took place earlier today in this sleepy hamlet where thousands had gathered in anticipation of a groundhog's annual rite of weather prognostication via his shadow. Police have confirmed over 40 deaths and an, as yet, undetermined number of injured, most centered around Gobbler's Knob.

The groundhog's chief handler, Kinka Wena, places the blame squarely at the feet of PETA. Speaking from his hospital bed in Pittsburgh, PA, Mr. Wena explained, "For the last couple years, those self-righteous bastards at PETA pressured us relentlessly to replace our groundhog, Phil, with an animatronic groundhog saying that it was the humane thing to do. So, last May we did and now look what happened."

"I don't know, maybe it was our fault, too. We had a bid for a robotic groundhog from Disney, but we thought the price was too high. The barber here in town told a nephew who goes to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, so he and his buddies brought us a prototype robot that looked and acted pretty good for a fraction of Disney's bid. We should have known--that kid was always a rotten little creep."

"Everything seemed to be going just fine this morning. I reached in the burrow and pulled out the robot, pressed his activation switch and turned him to face the crowd. It started to wiggle around in my arms as programmed, then, all of a sudden, started to thrash around violently until it slipped from my grasp and all I had left in my arms was the furry outer shell. That's when I saw...... IT!"

"Dear God, the thing's eyes started to glow red and it just took off into the crowd, slashing it's way through, flinging body parts into the air. The people began screaming and started to stampede off Gobbler's Knob and back toward town. I can't imagine how many innocent people were trampled to death there on the Knob."

Civil authorities still have no clue as to the whereabouts of the maniacal marmot, which managed to melt away in the melee. Several witnesses, though, have contacted the Pennsylvania State Police to report a small metallic-like figure wearing a black leather jacket and sunglasses riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in an erratic fashion, carrying some sort of firearm. Reports indicate the suspect was headed westbound on Rt. 422.

Today's calamity was but the latest tragic consequence of PETA's misguided attempt to replace Phil, believing that it was better for him to return to the wild and to live out his days as a creature of the forest.

When the decision was made by the esteemed Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, a secretive organization of local businessmen who conduct the annual Feb. 2nd festivities, to swap the live rodent for a robot at the behest of the animal rights group, it fell to Chairman Wena to break the news to Phil that he was being furloughed.

The winsome woodchuck did not take the news well, although the Borough of Punxsutawney gave Phil a, by all accounts, generous severance package, even allowing him to remain in his old, familiar burrow atop Gobbler's Knob until the first of the year when the new "Phil" was to be installed and activated.

Phil tried to get in the swing of life in the wild, but had few practical skills to survive on his own, after years of having his every whim catered to by his caretakers. He told friends that he never cared for the taste of roots and berries, preferring a large mushroom and green pepper from his favorite pizza joint.

Local townsfolk would see Phil, more often than not, just sitting outside his Gobbler's Knob burrow, reminiscing about his former celebrity, posing for pictures snapped by tourists and fans. He would narrate his encounters with the rich and famous who flocked to see him every February to anybody who would listen.

Before long, Phil was frequenting the bars that line Main St. in Punxy and, as so often happens to the unintiated and naive, fell in with the wrong crowd. In August, Phil and his newfound cronies were busted for operating a meth lab in a ramshackle house on the outskirts of town.

Phil was sentenced to probation, partly because it was his first offense and partly, townsfolk admit quietly, because of Phil's reputation and in appreciation of his many years of service to the borough. Phil and his weather forecasts were the driving economic engine for the 6,300 inhabitants of this sleepy village for over 120 years. There were some attempts to help Phil overcome his demons by concerned citizens, but he began to increasingly become a nuisance and an embarrassment to the town.

An effort by the town council to ban Phil from frequenting downtown Punxsutawney businesses failed by a narrow margin. By now, Phil's antics had progressed from being the loveable drunken groundhog weaving up and down the sidewalks to more hostile behavior, including public urination, destruction of property, verbal harrassment and even physical attacks on townspeople.

The sad story of the outsourced groundhog reached it's inevitable conclusion on a snowy December night when Phil, despondent over mounting debts, increasing alienation from the townsfolk and his imminent eviction from the only burrow he had ever known atop Gobbler's Knob, left Calypso Ray's Island Lagoon Bar & Grill around 1:30 AM and was struck and killed by an unknown hit-and-run driver as he stepped off the curb while making his way home.

No one has ever been arrested nor charged in the case and some locals believe the town council may have had it's shadowy hand in Phil's death. The accident was given a cursory investigation, then hushed up by local authorities, fearing a public outcry over such an ignominious end for such a cherished icon.

Phil was quietly laid to rest, without ceremony or note, in a small plot of woods overlooking his beloved Gobbler's Knob this past Christmas Day, one week before his PETA-approved replacement arrived.

*No members of PETA were harmed in the writing of this post.