(cut along dotted line ... yes, we know that means ruining your monitor)
Hurricane season officially starts June 1, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted that two to three hurricanes could hit the United States this year. Happytown's™ official prognostication is that every single hurricane spawned by the turbulent waters of the Atlantic will end up on our doorstep. The time to panic is right now.
The good news is that you hold in your hands the single most useful hurricane survival tool known to humankind: a copy of the Orlando Weekly. (If you are reading this on the Internet, get out and get yourself a hard copy now, before it's too late.)
Tape the Weekly to your windows to improve impact resistance. A thick layer applied with generous amounts of tape may reduce shattering in case of breakage. We recommend putting the logo side out so that your neighbors know you are cool.
In case of a prolonged power outage, the Weekly can be burned for heat, light and cooking fuel.
Use single pages as a water filter.
The Weekly can double as a diaper for infants (or the elderly) in case gasoline shortages prevent you from reaching the store.
The Weekly can also double as an absorbent undergarment for all ages.
Line your shoes with the Weekly to keep your feet smelling fresh.
Multiple pages, rolled tightly into a point, can be employed as a weapon should food shortages result in roaming bands of hungry thugs.
The same arrangement makes a convenient bug swatter.
Use the Weekly to daub your tears.
The Weekly makes a convenient mechanism for avoiding the shrill chatter of local weather forecasters. Simply open your copy, direct your eyeballs to the upper left portion of any page, and read the words you find there.
Smokers will appreciate the fact that the Weekly can be used as a very large rolling paper. This is not recommended from a health standpoint; however, if you smoke, you obviously don't care about your health anyway.
Once the wind and rain abates, the Weekly can be used as a temporary shelter. Lie in a prone position and place a sheet or two over your face.
Make festive hats out of the Weekly for hours of TV-less family fun.
The Weekly contains coded messages that accurately predict hurricane tracks; all you have to do is find them.
Doubles as toilet paper. (Warning: This use may clog sewer lines, damage septic systems and leave unsightly ink smears on your ass.)
It's back. At its May 25 meeting, the Downtown Development Board started talks yet again on the Federal-Livingston-Otey project or FLOP, if you want to be derisive.
Happytown™'s faithful may remember FLOP as Pepperhill Park, a boneheaded, Daisy Lynum-affiliated deal we skewered last year. For the unfaithful, a brief refresher: The city-run Community Redevelopment Agency spent the last decade systematically acquiring 3.5 acres of land just west of the TD Waterhouse Centre, and now wants to turn it into a single-family housing community, as part of the city's ongoing effort to clean up Parramore. Of course, the wisdom of building a handful of homes between a ghetto and a large swath of industrial-zoned property is debatable, and if it had actually happened, you could probably count the hours before this new highlight of urban redevelopment turned into a slum.
But it didn't happen, because no reputable builder would sign on. There was one taker: Urban Renaissance Development LLC, a company not far removed from Lynum herself. But URD made such a ridiculous offer it wanted the land for free and a $2.5 million upfront cash handout that even the city selection committee, whom Lynum helped appoint, batted it down without blinking.
This time around, DDB chairman Bob McClelland pledged to be more cautious. The city's request for proposals, he said at the May 25 meeting, was "too bureaucratic," meaning that the city wanted to shove its vision for this chunk of land down developers' throats, rather than seeing what the market had to offer. Maybe the DDB shouldn't assume that this is a good residential spot at all, he added, especially considering that there's so much uncertainty over the future of the Centroplex.
That train of thought didn't go over well with Joyce Sellen, the CRA staffer who's headed up FLOP and is a big fan of putting single-family housing there. That's what the city's 2000 Downtown Outlook Plan called for, she pointed out, though the city has deviated from that plan in other places, so it's not like it's a sacred document or something.
After speeches by Parramore real-estate guru Phil Cowherd and property owner/gadfly David van Gelder, the DDB decided to table FLOP until its June meeting, to give its members more time to review the project. It's unlikely that the city will do nothing even though that's what the Mayor's Parramore Task Force's crime committee recommended last year, saying no new housing developments should go up until the neighborhood's crime problem improves.
We poured out a 40 at Happytown™ HQ last week in honor of our fallen brother, www.orlandoweekly.com. After being online since 1998 and winning multiple awards for design, the site was replaced by a newer, slicker, sicker version. Check it out at the same address. Of particular note: the interactive film, dining and music guides (which may or may not be working at the moment, but we're working the kinks out, honest). And soon to come will be the universe's finest guide to drinking in and around Orlando. So take some time to meet the new site, way better than the old site.