With Thanksgiving comes a cheap out for columnists everywhere -- the what-I'm-thankful-for column. You don't have to actually talk to anyone, you don't have to get up off your butt and get out of the office, you don't have to do anything except offer your witty, informed punditry.
So the first thing in my what-I'm-thankful-for column is what-I'm-thankful-for columns.
What else am I thankful for? Lots of things. In no particular order:
I'm thankful that the Orlando Sentinel promoted columnist Myriam Marquez to a high-profile spot on the editorial page. Marquez is a gale-force breath of fresh air on the otherwise predictably right Sentinel opinion page. Why, just the other day she had the temerity to suggest that gay marriage wouldn't be the end of the world as we know it. Stop the presses!
I'm thankful for Orlando's small but persistent core of activists who refuse to sit down and shut up. No matter how much abuse they took at the corner of Orange Avenue and Colonial Boulevard before the Iraq war, they showed up week after week to let motorists know that not everybody in O-Town believed in this ill-advised, imperialistic adventure. Their concerns proved prophetic, now didn't they? I'm also thankful for the people speaking up against the USA PATRIOT Act, though there isn't a chance in hell the spineless Orlando city council will get behind them.
I'm thankful for the conservative nature of Orlando. The more oppressive it gets, the more people there are who decide they can't breathe in that kind of atmosphere. As director John Waters once said, it's better to stay at home and raise hell among the conservatives than to move away to some place where everybody thinks just like you do.
I'm thankful Buddy Dyer won the mayor's race, but I'm still waiting for him to provide the "progressive" leadership we were promised. Isn't the honeymoon about over?
I'm thankful Nov. 28 is Buy Nothing Day so that I now have a cause upon which to hang my shopping antipathy. Shopping is destroying the world; yeah, that's it.
I'm thankful for Lou Pearlman and Robert Kling, who provide endless column fodder (and prove endlessly entertaining) in their ham-handed attempts revitalize Church Street. Just when are those 500 employees of yours taking residence down there, Lou?
I'm thankful for billionaire George Soros, who has made defeating George W. Bush the central focus of his life. "America under Bush is a danger to the world," Soros told the Washington Post. "And I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is." So far Soros, who grew up in occupied Hungary and says Bush's "supremacist ideology" is dangerously reminiscent of that used by the Nazis, has given $15.5 million to the cause of dumping Junior, including a $5 million donation to Moveon.org. (I'm also thankful for the comic relief offered by Republicans who actually say, with a straight face, that Soros is trying to buy the election with soft-money contributions.)
Speaking of contributions, I'm thankful to George W. Bush for his contributions to liberal causes, via me. Bush gave me an $800 tax refund a while back, and I applied some of the money to causes he would find particularly distasteful: $100 to Americans United for Separation of Church and State (love that Rev. Barry Lynn), $100 to the ACLU, $100 to Moveon.org, and a two-year subscription to The Nation. Shrub and I are still pondering other causes we would like to support; I'm thinking about a fat contribution to Howard Dean.
I'm thankful to the Problem Solvers at Local 6, WKGM, who paid this paper the ultimate compliment by completely ripping off our investigative cover story on Orkin `"The Orkin scam," Sept. 25`. I'm a little less thankful that they've called their televised series, which aired the week of Nov. 24, an "exclusive," but what can you expect from a station that spends its days hanging out at parks filming middle-aged men exposing themselves?
I'm thankful for beer.
I'm thankful I live close to downtown and don't have to drive on I-4. Everybody who does have to drive on I-4 should be thankful for any opportunity that comes along to pelt Doug Guetzloe with rotten tomatoes.
I'm thankful for WPRK-FM (91.5). In this watered-down, test-marketed, Clear-Channeled world, you can still tune in to WPRK (if you don't live too far from Winter Park) and hear great, eclectic music you didn't even know you liked. It's also the only place in Florida you can hear the "Commonwealth Club," a progressive show broadcast weekly from California. The Kindergarten show with DJ Sleepy Hippie is a personal favorite, but it's all good, really. (Is it just me or does everybody think college girls sound gorgeous on the radio?)
I'm thankful (in spirit) for the return of Light Up Orlando. The rowdy party that Glenda killed, however, is going to have to get a lot better (.38 Special?) before $10 will be leaving my pocket to walk through the gates.