Archive for June, 2006

Breaking News

Another death at Disney, this time on the Aerosmith ‘coaster at MGM Studios. Channel 9 is reporting that Disney released a statement and there is an “ongoing investigation,” and they also managed to mention a zillion times in a row that the whole Mission:Space incident (the first one) is still under scrutiny.

What are they DOING down there?? Maybe they’re suffering from NASA Syndrome: too few employees, stretched too thin, who start to cut corners on safety out of necessity. Or maybe people are getting dumber and getting on rides where they have no business. Who knows? Disney has the best lawyers in the world, I’m sure; we may never get the real answer.

I always loved the Rock’n’Rollercoaster. Before I got really sick (AND I’VE GOT ENOUGH SENSE NOT TO RIDE IT NOW!!), it was one of my favorite park attractions, especially the unintentionally hilarious pre-show featuring Aerosmith. I still have Steven Tyler’s witless, “Wait…I love that idea!” echoing in my head. One of my favorite rides…one of my favorite bands…I can see why it appealed to a kid, with the combination of both music and speed. (I can do the same thing in a car on the Beeline, but unfortunately I had to stop because I had 6 points on my license.)

Doesn’t this stuff just break your heart? I want people to come to Orlando and have a GOOD TIME, like when I entertain in my home and I want people to have fun. That 12-year-old probably got a FastPass and waited all day to ride that rollercoaster. This is how it ends for that family. I know this could easily be guests’ fault, but people have been dumb for years and they’ve only recently started dying from it. What are they all suddenly dropping like flies? What the heck is Disney DOING??

And to think, it wasn’t very long ago that letting them run their own safety inspections seemed like such a good idea…

Scam Alert!

Reported to me by security at the bank I work for.

For those living in the Metro West area, or anyone that has filled up their tank in that area, be warned that skimmers were discovered on the pumps at the EXXON near the corner of Kirkman & LB McLeod. They have since been removed but they were in place for an indeterminite amount of time. That’s yet another reason not to buy gas at EXXON.

If you’ve filled up there, or even at any other gas stations in the area, keep an eye on your account for any fraudulent or unauthorized charges.

You have been warned, don’t get screwed at the pump twice.

He Returns

superman_returns.jpgI might add that there was one other theatre showing Superman Returns last night…. Premiere Cinema in the Fashion Square Mall. And I was there. Along with several hundred other movie goers. We knew it was going to be packed and we were right. We got to the theatre around 7pm in order to buy tickets and just hung around the mall until about 8:30pm, when we got in line. We were not the first. The line had started about 30 minutes before that and we were about 15 people back.

Once we were let into the theatre, we had a bit of Superman Trivia with Coliseum of Comics playing host to some pretty tough questions! I’ve long been a fan of Superman, but wow… I had no idea what a neophyte I was in comparison with my fellow movie goers. First there were questions like “What were Superman’s Kryptonian parents name?”. Ok, that one wasn’t so bad. Or “What was Superman’s name on Krypton“? Or even “What year did Superman hit movie theatres?”. But very quickly we went onto to “Who killed Superman, name the book and issue number and month and year it came out“. Holy Crap! I just sat there with my jaw hanging open most of the time … because … frankly… I had no clue! These people obviously eat, breathe and sleep Superman… they knew everything there was to know backwards and forwards.

But on to the movie. The reviews are already flowing in, as I guess this is a much anticipated movie. As a non-Superman junkie, just an average fan — I liked it. But I don’t have this huge threshold of criteria for me to like a movie. Is it entertaining? Yes! Is it relatively believable (does it stay fairly true to the story and avoid big gaps in the “why” and “how come” department)? Yes! Do the characters have any chemistry? Uh…. kinda.

tn_0907superman05.jpgListen, as soon as you see Brandon Routh, you get the immediate feeling that he was chosen BECAUSE he favors the late Christopher Reeve. And that’s where the similarities end. Christopher Reeve had a twinkle in his eye, a sparkle that the camera caught, the hint at something more beneath. In some ways it was perposterous for the folks of Metropolis and Daily Planet NOT to see Superman in Reeve. I’ll give it to Routh, he does a better job at making Kent look more like a dope than Reeve ever did. But Routh, to me, was missing that little something special. He was GOOD… he just wasn’t fantastic.

However, having said that… I really did like the movie. It picks up after number two and in a way that the first Spiderman did, gives you a glimpse of life as a superhero and gives them a delimma that cannot be fixed with sheer braun. The story line was excellent, the special effects were over the top (as you would expect) and the return to the cinema for Superman was long overdue.

Premiere Cinemas was a great host, Coliseum of Comics did a great job of challenging our Superman knowledge and we had a great time watching this iconic franchise being brought back to life. I think anyone, regardless of their fondness for Superman past or present, will enjoy this movie. I took my 7 year old son and he loved it. Although I must warn some parents that they aren’t kidding about the PG13 rating – there were a few gross moments along with the violence that’s only natural when Lex Luthor is fighting the Man of Steel!

Update – I almost forget to mention that we got to see the trailer for Spiderman 3. It looks FANTASTIC… however, May 4, 2007!?!?!?! You’re giving us a trailer for May of 2007 in June of 2006!!! Ah well… it looks worth the wait! Very intriguing to be sure. Think black!

Superman Returns Premiere

Superman Returns premieres tonight. Here’s a list of theaters doing the premiere at 10PM instead of the usual midnight:

Will it fly or will it flop?

It’s not just about the F’s….

ocpsmainlogo.gifIf your a parent in Orange county… heck Central Florida right now, you’ve probably been reading the latest “grade” results on our illustrious schools. There’s a big stink right now because Jones High School, bless their hearts, got an “F” for the 5th year in a row. Evans and Oakridge are faring only marginally better. And there’s a great article in the Sentinel about the failure of the Superintendent (and others) to get these schools back up to par. You’d think that in the 9 years since FCAT was started, this wouldn’t still be an issue. Sadly, for these students, for our community and future… it is.

But… here’s where the article trails off and my question begins. If you look comprehensively at the grades of each and every segment of schools (elementary, middle, high) throughout ALL of Central Florida… one noticeable fact sticks out. Despite a very high percentage of Elementary, Middle (and combination schools) who have an “A” grade… there isn’t a SINGLE Central Florida High School (and I’m counting Brevard and Seminole update: I was mistaken, it’s Brevard and Lake county schools) that has an “A”.

Now one has to wonder how that can be. If you have perhaps 50% or better of the feeder schools that channel students to the high school with “A” ratings… why is it that NOT ONE of our local high schools has an “A” grade??? Is it just that these “A” students from other schools are diluted by the “B’s” and “C’s”?

I know it’s a big scandel that Winter Park High didn’t get their “A” this year (thereby creating this void in the “A” category for high schools) but even if they had, should we only have ONE “A” school in ALL of Central Florida?!?

I don’t mind telling you that my daughter will be attending Boone High School in another year and while it has a “B” grade (which is better than the “C” that West Orange has and where she would have gone until our recent move), she is coming from an “A” school (Blankner). I know… we should be focusing on the “F’s” and “D’s” and even the “C” schools. But somehow the lack of “A” schools at the high school level is disconcerting to me as well!

I have to wonder, as a state, how do other high schools fare? Are Central Florida schools in the minority here? Are we the only community without an “A” high school? Frankly I would have thought Titusville would have had an “A” high school as much as I’ve heard in the past about some of the best and brightest kids are in the space coast area.

blocker-profile.jpgWhy isn’t the State Dept of Education camped out on Mr. Blocker’s doorstep (and why was he allowed to skip a Board of Education Meeting and send his underlings instead) demanding answers, demanding an immediate action plan … demanding a resignation for heavens sake!

I think three strikes and you’re out seems like a fair enough measuring stick for Mr. Blocker … and he’s on his fifth strike. Yes yes yes… the majority of Central Florida schools are doing very well, and a majority are improving – not going the wrong direction. But is it really fair to say that because MOST children are getting educated properly (as deemed by the FCAT — which is another arguement for another time), that this is a GOOD JOB?!?! I mean if Progress Energy was able to provide power to MOST homes, or the water department was able to properly treat MOST water… would we stand for that very long?!? I think not.

Hitt Has Heart Attack.

UCF President John Hitt suffered a heart attack Saturday night, as you may have already heard. The 65 year-old Tulane University alumuni is expected to make a full recovery and be back at work in no time.

What stood out in this little news story to me was this:

Hitt, a prodigious fundraiser, launched the university’s first-ever capital campaign. In October, UCF’s board of trustees was so pleased with the president’s performance that it voted to give him a $50,000 bonus on top of his $361,000 salary.

A) Is it really necessary to tell us how much money he makes when the story is about his heart attack (that’s my journalism education talking).

B) Holy crap he makes a lot of money!

I knew University presidents did well enough but I had no idea he did that well. That’s more than the actual president makes (I think). Not only that, he gets a free pad near campus. Sweet gig man.

I mean really, how hard can it really be to be a University president? Oh I’m sure it takes a lot to get your foot in the door, but once you’re in I imagine your underlings take care of most of the dirty work and all you have to do is be the public face of the University at academic dinners and meetings, sign stuff, and hand out diplomas.

Get well soon Hitt, and don’t spend it all in one place.

Still Missing.

Whatever happened to the search for Jennifer Keese. It seems like the case disappeared from the news yet no resolution was ever met. Did they find that ‘person if interest’? They keep on and on about that Natalee Holloway girl, but people seemed to have lost interest in this local case. If this girl is still missing and local detectives can’t seem to come to any conclusions, shouldn’t they call in the Feds like they do in the movies?

Roundabout Russian Roulette!

I live downtown and just off of some roads with roundabouts. Lots of roundabouts to be precise. I know in Windermere and in College Park there are roundabouts there. I think more and more communities are turning to roundabouts to solve some traffic issues where stop signs or traffic lights might have been used in the past.

Problem is… we need to have a refresher course in how to use roundabouts. I know I’m not alone in this observation — but people do NOT know how to drive through a roundabout. And I don’t mean that they get stuck in a continuous circle like a hamster wheel.. I mean they don’t know how to yield, how to approach it and in general just pay attention to others entering the roundabout.

Honestly I think the smaller roundabouts are worse than the bigger ones. I know I was in Windermere recently (wow, what beautiful traffic options there are!) and negotiating that roundabout was MUCH easier than the smaller ones downtown. I think that in general, these are more favorable solutions than stop signs or traffic lights.

Downtown however, andDelaney Ave in particular, has a bunch of tiny ones that people treat like thoroughfares instead of roads with roundabouts. If you approach Delaney from a side street.. WATCH OUT! I have have near collisions with several cars who were traveling on Delaney and even though I had the right of way (I entered the roundabout first and from their left) they just barrelled through the intersection blarring their horn at me as if I was running a stop sign or something.

In the interest of refreshing our memories from Driving school days in our teens… here’s a recap…

How to Drive a Roundabout

As you approach a roundabout there will be a YIELD sign and dashed yield limit line. Slow down, watch for pedestrians and bicyclists, and be prepared to stop if necessary.

When you enter, yield to circulating traffic on the left, but do not stop if the way is clear.

A conventional roundabout will have ONE-WAY signs mounted in the center island. They help guide traffic and indicate that you must drive to the right of the center island.

Upon passing the street prior to your exit, turn on your right turn signal and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists as you exit.

Left turns are completed by traveling around the central island.

Happy Driving Orlando!

Help Enlighten Our Local Leaders

tailight.jpgIn all the hubbub over the local black leadership and their apparent problems with law enforcement and traffic stops, one thing seems to be consistent to me in the issues. The majority of these stops in which the local Black Caucus feels they are being profiled occurs as a result of a broken tail light or other vehicle malfunction.

I think we need to be compassionate and help find a real and viable solution to the problem, that will please both the offended, and the offenders. In the name of fairness and solution-seeking, I propose we take the time to help these local leaders of ours. Please take all your coupons and sunday ads for local auto parts stores and repair shops that we receive in the mail and newspaper nearly daily, and let’s give back to these leaders who have given us so much already, by mailing them to their offices. To do my part I provide the following link to local auto parts stores in an effort to ensure they find a nearby location where they can get what they need to make their driving experience safe and free of those rude and intrusive stops by the local law enforcement, who so viciously have been targeting them in their misguided efforts to make sure the driving public is safe.

Rodney King!


(BOBBY COKER/ORLANDO SENTINEL)

Black leaders want police chief to resign

Oh shit. Does anyone else feel like this might end up being the start of some serious racial tensions here in Orlando? Then again, I wouldn’t mind if a few McDonalds and other terrible corporate entities were to get burned down in some healthy rioting. You know, it’d be sort of like clear-cutting for businesses. It would clear the way for new businesses to emerge and grow*.

*I’m totally kidding so please don’t start a “how dare you condone rioting and violence?” thread. This could actually end up taking a turn for the worst. Lighten up people, literally and figuratively.

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