From the Weak Attempts at Sarcasm Desk comes a Republican Party of Florida press release cleverly titled "The Sex, Drugs and School of Rock Act," because, you know, there was that Jack Black movie once. "This bill should be referred to as the ‘Sex, Drugs and School of Rock Act,' not the ‘Florida Healthy Teens Act,'" party chairman Jim Greer declared, because their press office thought this line was funny enough to use twice.
The bill the RPOF is sniping at (lamely) is HB 265, a Democratic offering that requires — hold onto your jockstraps, kids! — schools to teach accurate sex information to students, so they don't all get knocked up when their purity rings let them down. According to Greer, such edumacation will make the kids gay, drug-addicted prostitutes, for real!
"What the House Democrats … have tried to do here is slip into Florida law a provision that actually promotes a casual acceptance of adolescent drug use, sexual promiscuity and experimentation, and homosexuality," Greer press-released.
In reality, the bill would ensure students are taught about contraception and abstinence and about how drugs and alcohol may affect their decision-making, with an acknowledgement that some middle-schoolers may already have had sex and some kids might be gay. Scandalous, indeed: After all, years of teaching hormone-raging teenagers to keep it in their pants because it's the Lord's will has worked so well. It's not like Florida has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the nation.
Oh, wait. We do — sixth, actually. Plus one of the highest teenage abortion rates, too, according to a 2006 Guttmacher Institute report: In fact, 40 percent of all pregnancies from girls 15 to 19 years old that don't miscarry end in abortion. You'd think Tallahassee Republicans would be more worried about that than some teacher putting a condom on a banana.
"What's disgusting? Union-busting!" That rhyming rallying cry from 20 Central Florida Jobs With Justice activists visibly shook the unsuspecting MBA types exiting the University of Central Florida's downtown Executive Development Center the afternoon of March 26.
They'd been attending a seminar called "Employee Free Choice Act: Are You Ready?," which as the name suggests was basically a course in how unions are bad, so legislation that promotes unions will hurt businesses, thereby hurting workers. It's the same sort of scattered logic conservatives employ to justify tax cuts for the rich: trickle-down, y'all. The seminar, sponsored by the law firm Ford & Harrison, the Employers Association of Florida and UCF, was designed to teach the suits inside how to circumvent the new worker protections coming down the pike.
To the protesters outside the seminar, that's not the sort of thing a taxpayer-funded university should be involved with. A good point, that. Still, we'd wandered down here to see the 20-foot-tall inflatable rat the activists had promised in their press release — rats equal union-busters, see — only to find ourselves terribly disappointed.
Despite the missing blow-up rodent, the protesters carried on: "I smell a rat!" they screamed in the faces of people with adhesive name tags. "What's wrong, rat? You can't find your cheese?"
The cheese would be … money?
Because public relations messes don't clean up themselves — not even with wet rags made from German "good stuff" — we thought it our duty to hop aboard the bandwagon and direct your attention to ShamWow mouthpiece Vince Shlomi (known professionally as Vince Offer) and his terrible, horrible, no-good Florida prostitution mishap back in February. A hooker named Sasha Harris allegedly offered "straight sex" to Shlomi at a Miami nightclub for $1,000!
She took his ShamWow money, then clamped her teeth down on his tongue, so he Slap-Chopped her face and ran to the hotel lobby looking for police sympathy. Instead, he got a mug shot. The world laughed and laughed. Shlomi's rival (and our hero), Billy Mays `see "Mad man," Oct. 16` no doubt darkened his beard for the inevitable pitchman ascension. And recovering Scientologist Shlomi was left to wither away with only the negligible royalties from his failed 1999 theatrical debut The Underground Comedy Movie, which even Anna Nicole Smith pulled out of on account of it possibly ruining her career. Linguini, martini, bikini … you're fini.
This week's news of the blatant plagiarism executed over a four-year period by Ocala Magazine editor Heather Lee sent us into flight of wishful journalistic fancy. Our collective mind cast a hazy situational montage involving the commiserations of lifestyle magazine pantsuits from Orlando Magazine and Ocala Magazine at a charming advertiser's Best Liposuction Bar somewhere between those cultural meccas. You know, Clermont.
Oh, how they would laugh, and cry, and talk about bottom lines and manicure trade-offs, while sloshing drinks around that they didn't even make themselves. So wonderful would it be that they were able to get away with their advertorial hubris for yet another month!
Then Heather Lee's cocktail — "I call it a Cosmo" — would crash to the floor.
You see, Lee — who was fired after the P-word spread like Internet wildfire — wasn't just adapting turns of phrase to craft her worldly take on Ocala's upper crust — she was "Ctrl C-Ctrl V-ing" giant chunks from widely read sources like O, The Oprah Magazine, Entertainment Weekly and even Vanity Fair. In 2008 she cribbed a column ostensibly about her own upcoming wedding from a 2003 column on an online bridal site, according to the Ocala Star-Banner. Hello, sanctity of marriage!
Anyway, we were hoping to do what the Houston Press did in running database searches on Lee's work to see what, if anything, she culled from Texas. They found a word-for-word lift about "hot, dripping, bloody beefsteak" from their own story on a Houston churrascaria. Our efforts were foiled by the foreseeable "closed for maintenance" message at www.ocalamagazine.com. Oh, well.
A couple of weeks ago, this esteemed publication posed a very important question: "Who's the douchiest band in all the land?" `"The Great North American Douche-Rock Tournament," March 12`. You questioned our sanity and the copious amount of time on our hands (valid points). But more importantly, you voted in the hundreds for the musical tyrants that you believe are doing the most damage to the nation's ears.
The first round of voting closed March 26, and what did we learn? You hate Kid Rock more than anyone else. The Detroit D-bag earned more votes than any other contender, besting Limp Bizkit (a close second), Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and even Nickelback, who staved off wild-card newcomers Metro Station.
The biggest upset came from the East, where the barely relevant Staind conjured enough enmity to lay the smackdown on alt-country songsmith Ryan Adams, who probably cried in Mandy Moore's bosom (not a bad consolation prize). In the South, Lil' Jon spilled Crunk Juice all over the favored Michael Stipe.
Now we're on to the round of 32! Is your (least) favorite rocker sweet enough for the Sweet 16? Vote at www.orlandoweekly.com now. But hurry! Voting ends April firstname.lastname@example.org