Let's see. Where were we? Sadly,it's been all hobo hallucinations and blood mirages here at Happytown™ – the menacing summer sun has been baking images of poverty paddywagons and fancy performance halls and courthouse schadenfreude into our collective third eye. It's as if we've forgotten how to flip over the political soapbox, survey our catastrophic decline and spit overwrought blame into the air. It's just not like us. We've apparently lost our heads.
Or, rather, our bald head. While we've been burning our feet on the tarmac in search of the latest stink, Gov. Rick Scott has been making headlines everywhere for being the worst thing to ever happen to anyone, ever. Sure, we've noticed his powdered dome cropping up in televised peripheral view ("Wildfires are bad!" etc.), but for some reason we've had yet to cotton to the premature revisionism meme that's been occupying cyberspace lately: The whole, "can Rick Scott get a makeover, like, now please! " thinkpieces intended to occupy the time of political blatherers in the dry run-up to next year's election cycle. Somebody grab a wig!
"If you were America's most unpopular governor, posting a voter-approval rating of 29 percent after less than six months in Tallahassee," TIME magazine opined earlier this month, "you'd be willing to go to the North Pole to beg Santa Claus to relocate to Daytona Beach."
Scott didn't go that far, of course, because he never got presents on Public Housing Christmas Day, remember? Instead, Scott took his charisma vacuum on a little jaunt to Canada a couple of weeks back to claim more than 200 private-sector jobs for Florida; jobs, it should be noted, that were already secured by his predecessor Charlie "Jesus" Crist. Also, according to the Palm Beach Post, many of those jobs don't even exist and the 700,000 new jobs he promised during his campaign still seem quite a ways off. In just the one week that Scott was in the Great White North, 636 private sector jobswere eliminated by just five companies in the Sunshine State, the Post points out. Oh, dear.
And that's not even the worst of Rick's woes. Gentlemen, start your abacuses! There was that $2.4 billion in federal money he rejected for high-speed rail and the 30,000 jobs that were supposed to come with it. The sheer teabag-breaking hypocrisy of keeping $370 million in federal money in state's $69 billion budget. The 8 percent cut in education spending, including $169 million for state colleges. The forced retirement plans for state employees effectively garnishing their already-static wages by 3 percent. Oh, and did we mention that the man is worth $218 million in his own right? Rick Scott quite simply does not add up. Except, maybe, for Democrats, if they can (cough) keep it up and hold him accountable for all of the state's woes next year. Please?
As for what keeps such an unappealing presence moving forward even in the face of abject hatred from everyone with a Floridian pulse, apparently it's akin to a political death wish in a vanity blender. "For better or worse, he's a true believer," Aubrey Jewett, a University of Central Florida political scientist, tells TIME. "I really don't think he cares if he gets re-elected." Nope. That would cost him too much.
Time for some sports! It'sofficial, Orlando Magic fans: Duke heartthrob turned NBA cult obsession J.J. Redick will not be releasing a rap album. For those of you who didn't know: In the fall of 2009, word was going 'round the hip hop blogosphere that Redick was working on a single, "Waste Management," as part of a "rap super-group" that would include fellow Magic sharpshooter Ryan Anderson. (The "super" aspect of the group was kept secret, evidently.) In December of that year, Redick told an Orlando Magic reporter that the group had a name – "James Clay," the middle names of Anderson and Redick, respectively. During the interview, Redick talked about another track titled "Zeke's Temple," but teammate Dwight Howard, wearing a blond wig, barged onscreen with an atonal rendition of "Stayin' Alive," a performance that quickly degenerated into wordless humming and self-fondling. (See for yourself: search "J.J. Redick talks about rap group" on YouTube.) After the bizarre cameo was over, Redick resumed the interview. "We've got all our verses done. We're waiting on that hook, that catchy hook," Redick said. "But the beat is sick, man, I'm telling you. It'll get your head noddin'."
Flash forward to June 14, 2011, when Redick is at the Goldenrod Park Orange County Orlando Magic Community Gym fulfilling his team community service hours by telling elementary schoolers about the importance of eating healthy and exercising. (Oddly, retired Magic big man Bo Outlaw advised kids to drink sports drinks, which can contain nearly as much sugar as a can of Coke. Just saying!) Naturally, all the reporters in attendance were interested in everything but the Magic's community service, so we bade our time throughout the sweaty pep rally, smiling tightly. When the event finally ended and the local sports media pinned Redick to a wall, one reporter asked him about a surgery he underwent in May to repair some torn abdominal muscles. "It was a bilateral pubic floor repair lift," Redick corrected (next stop: pubic floor!) adding that another patient at his hospital had recently had the wrong leg amputated. Wait, seriously?
After some discussion of the NBA's labor dispute (and potential lockout), Dirk Nowitzki's playoff prowess (and not LeBron's failure), and Dwight Howard's prickly remarks toward his teammates, we finally fired off our question: Were his smirking music interviews cluing us in on a joke, or amusement at the fact that he was seriously making a rap album? "I don't think I was ever serious about it," Redick said. "We dabbled a little bit, but … I will say … stated emphatically, on the record: I will never have a rap album." That announcement means that Redick will never have the chance to try and surpass teammate Howard's October 2010 Kidz Bop-esque release, Shoot for the Stars, which currently ranks No. 82,633 in album sales on Amazon.com. Stayin' alive!
Or dead. The suspicious messagewe got in our inboxes on June 15 began like any other unwanted advertisement from a corporate photography house: "When's the last time you took a family photo? Well, it's about time to take another one!" But then this interesting nugget caught our eye: "Baldwin-Fairchild invites families to celebrate new funeral home, creamation garden opening: Receive complimentary family photo!"
You heard that right. To celebrate the opening of its "beautiful, state-of-the-art" Oaklawn Funeral Home and its "picturesque and serene" Tranquil Oaks Cremation Garden, the Baldwin-Fairchild company, which operates a "family" of cemeteries and funeral homes in the Greater Orlando area, is offering free family photos on Sunday, June 26, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the said corpse depositories located at 5000 County Road 46A in Lake Mary. Wear skeleton costumes! Bring your own Caylee! Or perhaps a soon-to-expire family member for that first phase of that über-cool holographic before-and-after picture you've got in mind!
OK, creepy jokes aside – why? Mike Holland, general manager of the Oaklawn Funeral Home, affirms our guess that the burial business is a competitive one, and the photo op had some marketing value. "It is, of course, to get our name in the community and show off our new facilities," he said, not at all darkly. Baldwin-Fairchild's vaguely named competition, Service Corporation International, seemed unfazed by the news, however. "What they do and what we do are independent choices, and if Baldwin runs a promotion, we're not just going to do the same thing," says Lisa Coney, quality assurance director. Burn!