Know what the world needs? More places for the kids to hang out naked. That's been the Happytown™ philosophy for years, and finally someone else agrees.
Cypress Cove Nudist Resort and Spa sent us an eye-opening press release headlined "See More of Your Friends at Cypress Cove Resort." Yeah. It's for "Club Night," which will take place the first Friday of each month, beginning May 5, at the Kissimmee nudist resort. What is Club Night? It's "an evening featuring the latest music and dancing aimed at attracting younger audiences to the clothes-free destination."
Sounds kinda like those midnight basketball programs to keep kids out of trouble at the Y, except everybody's naked! And they're dancing! Why wasn't that an option when Happytown™ was just a spry little burg?
Cypress Cove has been around since 1964, and we'd guess that the average age of its patrons is somewhere between wrinkly and ossified, so it makes good business sense to attract younger, smoother, firmer, more supple, juicier … sorry … clientele. It'll make for a better photo gallery on their website, too (www.cypresscoveresort.com).
You'll have to be 18 or over to get in, of course, but if you can clear that hurdle (and have a spot to stash your ID), you now have someplace to really shake your booty.
We're No. 6! Dan Kieran, a limey of apparently some repute (he edits Idler magazine, whatever the hell that is) has just put out The Idler Book of Crap Vacations: 50 Tales of Hell on Earth, a book of awful spots to go on holiday. And right there, sandwiched between Barbados (No. 7) and San Salvador (No. 5) is our own happy town!
Here's what scribe John-Paul Cardoso had to say about Snorlando: "Picture the pointless blight that is Las Vegas, subtract the vice, add lots of humidity and flies, and then place the whole mess in a Wal-Mart parking lot … and apparently what you are left with is the place where people from American crap towns vacation. I dare anyone to locate a business that is not a chain, or a structure that is original, or a natural landmark of any kind. Life here takes place behind one enormous façade. The local population sequesters itself into a mundane patchwork of gated communities. There is actually a significant young population here, but they seem contented to live life in what are really glorified retirement communities."
The book rates crap vacation spots — a score of five being the worst — on stress, sickness, boredom, danger and exploitation. We got a four in boredom and a five in danger. (Putting that in perspective, San Salvador also got a five in danger because the author was accosted by both a transvestite drug dealer and a bald hooker. Damn, we be dangerous!)
Yo, Cardoso: Come back and we'll show you around, and if you happen to be here on the first Friday of the month, we may end up at Cypress Cove Resort. Then let's talk ratings.
On Oct. 31, 2005, failed mayoral candidate Sam Ings announced that he was going to recall Mayor Buddy Dyer for violating election law. On Nov. 10, 2005, this column described how Ings' recall campaign was itself violating election law. (A few days later, the Sentinel wrote pretty much the same story, those boogers.) Ings got pissed. He and sycophant Doug Guetzloe protested their innocence, saying that Ings, a retired police captain and an evangelical minister, would never break the law. They threatened to sue us. We told them to get bent.
Not long after, Ings announced that he was suspending his recall campaign until the state's Division of Elections ruled on whether or not he was indeed violating the law. On April 14, the verdict came in, and at first blush, it looks like a win for Ings, who is now campaigning against Mable Butler to replace the suspended Ernest Page on the Orlando City Council.
The dispute centered on three questions: whether Ings legally obtained the voter records he used to send out mailers advertising his recall campaign; whether Ings failed to register his political committee as required by state law; and when and if Ings had to report the money he raised and spent to further this effort.
The Division of Elections report dodged the first one because the law that Ings broke no longer exists. Before Jan. 1, 2006, the state restricted access to voter records to just candidates, officeholders, political parties and registered political action committees. Ings never bothered to register his committee, and he didn't get the records from the Supervisor of Elections office, so that meant he either used voter records from his previous mayoral campaign or used Guetzloe's Ax the Tax records.
But as of 2006, anybody and everybody can get those records.
On the other two questions, the state kinda sides with Ings, but there's still some legal fuzziness. The state ruled that Ings didn't have to register his committee or report its finances until a recall election was scheduled, and that Ings could spend money to circulate the petitions he'd need to get a recall on the ballot without telling anyone who was giving him the money or how he was spending it. Accountability? No, sir.
But — and here's a tightrope — Ings could not raise or spend money to advocate getting rid of Dyer until the election date was set. Ings told the state he hadn't spent any money that way. But he did send out mailers and establish a website, www.recalldyer.com, to boost his campaign. How exactly do you spend money to advertise a petition drive without implicitly advertising for the recall?
That headache-inducing question, plus last year's fiasco with Buddy's alleged election law violations, leads us to make this humble plea to our public servants: Straighten this mess out. Thank you.
More proof that Orlando is waking up from a long night of political apathy: The Global Night Commute, April 29 at Trotter's Park (by the old Ben White Raceway, 2701 Lee Road). Bring a flashlight, a sleeping bag and some art supplies, and take your place among several hundred protesters already signed up for this collaborative art project, the result of which will be forwarded to the brutalized youths of northern Uganda. They are the ones at the heart of the show, and also the subject of a documentary titled Invisible Children.
The children of this war-torn region are called "night commuters" because at dusk, they leave their families and hide in the countryside to avoid capture by the Lord's Resistance Army. If caught, they are forced into soldiering.
Sultana Ali, a local board member of the United Nations Association and an acquaintance of the documentary filmmakers, organized the Orlando event. (It's also going on in 130 other cities; check www.invisiblechildren.com.)
You can check out the film April 27 at the SGI-USA Community Center, 452 N. Semoran Blvd., No. 1, (407) 482-3939, or you can just show up with your flashlight and sleeping bag and make some art for little Ugandans.
PRESS RELEASE OF THE WEEK!
The American Red Cross may have taken a few lumps for how they spent the millions of dollars in donations that flowed into their coffers in response to Hurricane Katrina, but they damn sure still know how to put out a press release! We got three (!) cans of Spam, relabeled as media invitations to their hurricane season kickoff May 2 and 3. The kids are going to eat tonight!