Have you heard? Our tall, thin, impeccably suntanned governor (and U.S. Senate candidate) may be a homo. Yeah, well, of course you've heard that! It was all over the Internet in 2006, when Charlie Crist galloped into the guv's mansion with barely a challenge. Bob Norman, the New Times reporter who outed former Rep. Mark Foley before Foley began page-stalking, talked to some menfolk who claimed they'd romped with His Orangeness, but Charlie denied everything and we all looked the other way. Tolerance!
Well, it's three years later, and ol' Chucky has sky-high approval ratings despite not doing anything. He's Teflon, impervious to the crush of the housing bust, the ensuing unemployment and the sheer idiocy of his fellow Republicans in the state Legislature `see "What reality looks like," page 8`. And because he's bored with his job, Charlie's now running for U.S. Senate, where (if history is a guide) he'll open his presidential exploratory committee 12 seconds after arriving in Washington, D.C.
So why do we care about the old gay rumors? Because now there's a movie, silly. It's called Outrage, a documentary from Kirby Dick that debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival last month and purports to show that Charlie is a ponce. We haven't seen the movie, but the reviews we've read suggest that the parts about Crist are rehashes of what's already out there, and Crist has denied loving man-meat. Also, we should mention that Crist is, as of December, married to a woman.
But if you're Charlie, the timing of the movie couldn't be worse. You're already trying to convince your Republican base that, even though you loved President Obama's stimulus — double entendre! — you're enough of a red-blooded, Jesus-lovin', queer-hatin' conservative to win their primary vote. Perhaps a baby bump is in Mrs. Crist's future.
From the Public Service Announcement Desk: If you're as tired as we are of some of the dim bulbs in the state Legislature getting elected over and over again without breaking a sweat `see "By Republicans, for Republicans," March 23`, here's your chance to do something about it.
On May 16, the good folks from FairDistrictsFlorida.Org, the nonpartisan group that wants to make our legislative and congressional districts a little more equitable, will be hitting the streets to gather the 1.6 million signatures they need to make the 2010 state ballot. If you'd like to pitch in — have you been paying attention to Tallahassee recently? — go plug fairdistrictsflorida.org into your browser and sign up to help.
Well, lookie here: The bonds Orlando took out to build Rich DeVos' Golden Pleasure Dome™ have just been downgraded to a few rungs above "junk" status. But don't worry! Like everything else inside the collapsing house of cards we know as Buddy Dyer's venues paradise, the city says it's just fine.
Fitch Ratings, a national bond-rating service, looked at the hotel tax revenues that are currently falling off a cliff and downgraded two of Orlando's three arena bonds. The first, worth $190 million, went from an "A" to a "BBB+." The second one, worth $33 million, went from a "BBB+" to a "BBB-." What does that mean? To you, nothing. The city's already got its cash, and its interest rates are locked in. But to investors, Fitch is essentially saying that our bonds are riskier because we don't have the revenue coming in to make our payments (and we've already dipped into the reserve funds for $1.2 million).
The city swears that this won't affect the Dr. P. Phillips Orlando Performing Arts Center funding either. And it won't, since DPAC isn't likely to happen at all. But if it does, the city says that because it will be buying bonds based on hotel taxes and downtown property tax revenues, investors will be more than happy. The downtown property market is, after all, going gangbusters … oh, right.
This week in These Hard Economic Times™: The best eliminated job you never had!
You know that point in each theme-park roller-coaster experience where you're being watched by some underpaid mouth-breather with ambitions for a career in photography? Well, for 10 years, Disney parks have employed "censors" to make sure that nothing too "sexy" gets into your souvenir snapshot.
Every time a lady rounded the wet curve on Splash Mountain, or got yanked just past the future on the presently closed Space Mountain, the Mouse had someone watching to make sure that she didn't seize the opportunity to fulfill her Girls Gone Wild fantasies. Flashing isn't the Small World that Disney is after.
But as of May 5, the capitalist rodent reassigned the tit-watchers to other duties, according to the Associated Press. Their reasoning was simple: Nobody's pulling out their boobs anymore. (Nothing to do with company-wide layoffs, we're sure.)
The park will continue to keep an eye on the actual photos that scroll by on the walk away from your communal amusement. Only now, there won't be people standing at the flashbulb site to yell at you when you do it.
Disney media relations manager Zoraya Suarez told the Tampa Tribune that this was basically a non-story because "flashing" is not a common practice. That is, it wasn't until the story broke. Boobs ahoy!
Just when you thought it was safe to rip off your face mask and tuck into a shredded-pork burrito supreme, the Orange County Health Department has come up with something new to be afraid of: a rabies alert from April that has been extended into May. Just last year there were 10 — count them, 10 — confirmed frothy-mouthed animals reported in Orange County: seven raccoons, one bat, one bobcat and one fox.
"We encourage parents to emphasize to their children the importance of not handling wild or stray animals even if they seem friendly," warns Dr. Kevin Sherin, the increasingly TV-friendly director of the health department. "Families should keep their pets vaccinated against rabies."
The health department has bullet-pointed a number of precautions to save you from the giant needle that you read about in grade school. Basically, stay away from toothy, cute things. Most important (at least to us), you should "prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools and other similar areas, where they might come in contact with people and pets." No matter how cute bats might be to you, Morticia, you probably shouldn't give them names and dress them in superhero capes for the stoned enjoyment of your friends.
Think you'll never see $5 million in cash? You're probably right, considering that you make, what, $8.50 an hour?
Or maybe you are wrong. In fact, we know you're wrong. You can see $5 million in cash May 18, starting at precisely 11 a.m., when the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa puts it on display for you to ogle.
That's correct, wage slave: a stack of 20-, 50- and 100-dollar bills piled so high you can see the shores of Patrón-and-Bentley Land from the top of it. Think of it: the bling, the whips, the babes/boyz that you so richly deserve but will never get, except regurgitated to you endlessly via TV, movies and music.
Go ahead, stand next to Mount Cashmore. Get your picture taken. Then make way for the next schlub. And you can forget about getting your hands on any of it: It's encased in a 1,300-pound bulletproof Lexan case and guarded by people with guns. This is, according to the Hard Rock presser, the "largest amount of money ever publicly showcased in a casino," and you won't even get a whiff. Figures. It's back to the buffet and slots for firstname.lastname@example.org