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Metbloggers Out and About

Just a short note to let y’all know that The Masked Blogger and I will be at MegaCon all weekend covering the event. I’m not sure which of us will post first, but I’m looking forward to hanging with MB and getting my geek on.

Anybody else going this weekend? Or do you have alternate plans?

Nowak Charged with Attempted Murder.

A former astronaut, in disguise in a wig and trenchcoat, driving over 1,000 miles in a diaper so she wouldn’t have to stop with intention of hurting a possibly killing U.S. Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman in a bizarre lover’s triangle involving fellow astronaut Bill Oefelein. Really people, you can’t make this stuff up.

I find it intersting that there has been no mention of mental illness or even the suspicion of such. I know NASA has some rigorous admissions standards and surely there must be something in her record that indicated some level of instability. People don’t just flip like that without warning, unless of course this Oefelein fellow is just one heck of a catch. He certainly has some clout with the fellas now.

“Oh yeah, well you’ve never had a woman drive 1,000 miles in a diaper for you OR been to space. Top that!”

Anderson Cooper Covering Tornado Damage

Ladies, not to alarm you but that silver-haired devil Anderson Cooper is in the area covering the storm damage. Things must be pretty bad to entice the Vanderbilts to come out.

Deadly Tornadoes Rip Through Central Florida

February 2007 Central Florida tornado map courtesy of WESH OrlandoI honestly don’t know where to start with this post. I went to bed last night in MetroWest to heavy sheets of rain and strong winds. I woke up late morning to find out that a mere hour north, there was complete devastation as overnight tornadoes tore a path from Wildwood to New Smyrna, cutting through four counties. In addition to the map on the right, you can view an interactive map set up by the Orlando Sentinel to view the areas hit in last night’s storm.

Heaviest hit were the areas around The Villages, Lady Lake and Paisley, in Lake County. At least 19 are dead, but the count may rise as rescue crews comb through the wreckage. Smaller towns like Lake Mack have been completely obliterated. Just east, the city of DeLand has experienced extensive damage, as has Port Orange and New Smyrna. You can view pictures of it at the Orlando Sentinel, as well as local news outlets like WESH and WKMG. Many of these sites also have video coverage, if you can’t make it to a TV set.

Gov. Charlie Crist, accompanied by Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum, toured the storm-ravaged areas this afternoon. Watching them on WESH’s coverage, McCollum was heard to say to Gov. Crist that they needed to put party allegiences aside and do whatever was necessary to help the people. Crist was seen nodding vigourously in agreement.

Several storm shelters have been set up in the counties along the tornado path. This Orlando Sentinel article lists them, as does this WESH article, if you need a place to stay. Locally-based Rosen Hotels has offered a special rate for storm survivors at their Orlando-area hotels. You can view the list and rates here – most are even pet friendly, for an additional fee.

In addition, most communities are increasing local police support to prevent incidents of looting or worse. Sad to think in a time like this, that is necessary, but unfortunately, this is the world we live in.

What can you do to help? Right now, two things:

1] If you don’t have to be in any of the affected areas, don’t be there. The less people in the storm damaged areas the better since officials will be able to do their jobs without having to control a crowd. Besides, your looking isn’t helping anything.

2] Donate to the Red Cross. Most important is monetary donations as it allows them to distribute to the areas most needed the quickest. You can also call them at 1-866-HELP-NOW to make your donation. Reps for the Red Cross say they really need donations above all else, as past storms have left them short and they really want to be able to help the people who most need it.

If you’re reading this, I hope you weren’t one of the many affected by these storms. If you were, please know you’re in our prayers and if you need anything, please post a comment.

The next few weeks will be difficult for thousands of our fellow Central Floridians. Please do what you can to help them.

Ubercool event Saturday!


What’s this town coming to when you can’t even smoke some crack without being attacked by an alligator? First the imported and non-native swans and now the crackheads.

I think it’s high time (pun sadly intended) for a good ol’ fashioned gator lynch mob. Let’s get em!

Or perhaps we should just understand that we parked on their lawn, and every once in a while they are going to remind us of that.

Wow — how generous!

Picture this — your boss calls you into the office. It’s time to discuss your next raise. So your boss asks you… What do you think you should get? Ever had this happen? Actually, in some companies (like the mouse) it’s very much a reality. I think it’s a ploy .. a game to see if you think you’re worth a pay raise. Say too little, the might want to look closer at your performance. Say too much… you might be a liability down the road.

But picture this… you say… hmmmm… how about 18.5%?!?!?

Well that’s just what the Orlando City Commissioners did this week and will get approved at Monday’s meeting; if they’re lucky. Only they didn’t have a boss ask them to come into the office to discuss it, they just decided… and approved it. It’s on Monday’s agenda.

Wow. 18.5%. How generous they are with … errmmm… themselves!

It seems they also decided Mayor will get a pay raise too. A whopping 3% by comparison. Maybe I was hasty in my “generous” adjective a moment ago. Seems they’re only generous when it comes to giving themselves pay raises.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always get a pay raise, and when I do… it more along the lines of the Mayor’s percentage and rarely in double digits.

I hope they don’t strain their shoulders when they give themselves a pat on the back after passing this important piece of legislation.

Last Word

Alright, we’ve obviously hit a nerve or two with our spirited discussions about Orlando’s reaction to New Orleans, and my theories about why we feel that way.

In the interests of fairness, check out these posts over here, here, here, and here on Metroblogging New Orleans. I think they raise some valid points and discuss the subject intelligently, which was the point of my posts, so mission accomplished.

Hey, I’m not pleased with myself for getting irritated with New Orleans. I’m just exploring the reasons why I would feel this way–why, even for a second, would I get mad at a city full of people who face years of cleanup and images they probably see in their nightmares? The one thing I have discovered through these posts is that everyone is myopic in their own pain…sort of like having your thumb slammed in a car door, and even if someone next to you has a broken leg, you can’t think about anything else until you get your thumb out of the freakin’ car door. And that’s probably the major issue here.

My mind has changed about a couple of things after reading the rebuttals on MB New Orleans. First of all, I should not have said that the entire city washed out into the Gulf. Portions, yes, but the Metbloggers aren’t posting from a remote island someplace. :) Second of all, this is less of a hurricane thing and more of a flood thing–which makes an ugly amount of difference to people’s insurance companies, I’m sure. Who was to blame for the flood? Let the debates begin. They’re going to rage on through the ages, so we might as well get started now.

But I’m tired about hearing blame and disaster. That’s the real reason we’re all becoming hardened to this thing. Do you realize how few GOOD things are reported about New Orleans right now? I think America’s perception will change as some major rebuilding projects get underway…we all have a strange intolerance for victims, but an incorrigible love of the underdog. (And yes, I probably just spelled “incorrigible” wrong.)

Hurricane Charlie victims in Port Charlotte lost their FEMA trailers this week. My friends went to volunteer in Mississippi to help with the storm damage, and they told tales of giant casino boats turned sideways and houses they couldn’t even find anymore. Lots of people who got slammed in the car door, don’t you think? Maybe we should have this discussion in five years and see what we have to say about things.

This is a fun post because MB Orlando will be mad at me for “backing down,” and MB New Orleans will probably say I “still don’t get it.” Comments are disabled; take your flame wars outside. And save me a barstool anyplace on the Riverwalk, if you’ll still have me. Just remember I’ve got a seat for you on Duval Street when Florida’s number finally comes up…

The Ever-Expanding Mouse


Because we all know Disney is not big enough…check it out: This little rumor says that Disney could be adding more retail and hotel space to the western end of their property. This was brought on by the recent expansion of 429, which will ostensibly bring in more tourist traffic from a new direction, particularly once it connects with I-4.

I think they mean we’ll see more shops and hotels around the Blizzard Beach/Coronado Springs area, but I could be off with my geography.

I wonder what they might be thinking about for the area? Sea World recently created some kind of complex within their park that feeds the retail beast, but one wonders how much more retail The Mouse can handle with their gargantuan World of Disney store (pictured) already raking in cash at the Disney Marketplace. Pleasure Island is getting a facelift, too, which will turn the whole Downtown Disney/Marketplace area into one big entertainment, shopping, and dining mecca. With no additional parking. Fun times.

So what should they build in the free space? Personally, I’d like to see a real, official answer to Universal’s CityWalk. Disney has some major entertainment connections, and if they really wanted to, they could probably create awesome clubs and restaurants–and maybe even an entertainment center like Hard Rock Live. (The key phrase is, “if they wanted to.”)

And I know everyone feels that the new-park era is over, but I’d kinda like to think they could jam one more little one in there someplace. C’mon, do we need more hotels? Restaurants? Shopping? Let’s theme-park the tourists to death! Then they have to come back and spend money, don’t they? I picture a real AMUSEMENT park, with rollercoasters and a Ferris wheel and one of those puke-inducing tilt-a-whirl rides. Wouldn’t that be cool? Think about it: we have everything else on the planet here in Orlando, park-wise, but we have no answer for the Six Flags crowd. We could stuff a couple of ‘coasters in the dead space back there, couldn’t we?

Anyway, those are my big ideas. What are yours?

Destruction of an Icon


Orlando lost a little piece of its history yesterday when the old entrance to Gatorland (pictured) burned in a fire of still-unknown causes. The owners say they’ll rebuild and the folks in Kissimmee are right behind them.

Do you realize that A.) that place has been open since 1949 and B.) it’s still run by the same family?

I’ve actually heard Gatorland is a lot of fun. I don’t know if it can possibly be the same without this great, vintage entrance, though…I hope they rebuild it exactly the same.

(And no, those aren’t my kids–I found this old shot in the Creative Commons.)

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