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Tired of fishing shows based on the well-worn premise of some fat Southern bubba in a bass boat tossing lures into the water and reeling in lunker after lunker? Seriously, who isn’t?

Orlando paramedic Chris Cole sure was, which is why about three years ago he came up with a new premise for a fishing show: to get a bunch of buddies together and secretly send them on the fishing trip of a lifetime. It’s called Hooked on Adventure, and Cole describes it as a blend of reality TV (without the bitchiness) and adventure programming.

It works like this: Five guys each find a letter in the mail one presumably sunny day. The letter instructs them that they have 24 hours to get their affairs in order, kiss the wife goodbye and beg off work because they are going away for five days.

“We put them on a yacht and they have a great time,” he says.

The Orlando team that produces the show has six episodes in the can and is looking to shoot more. Cole says the show has built up quite a following. If that sounds like your kind of programming, you can find Hooked on Adventure on Bright House cable channel 118 or DirecTV channel 605.

You know how, when somebody in a suit (and maybe heels) slams a door in your face, you walk away, your mind cools off a little bit, and that consternating “what I should have said” speech enters your mind, only to fizzle off into your next conflict? Well, that natural process of acrimony doesn’t always hold true in local politics, especially when your name is Vibert White.

We told you about UCF professor White last month (a couple of times, actually) and his (futile?) attempt to unseat Daisy Lynum in Orlando’s District 5, how – like ol’ E-Z Harris before him – the crushing blow of vice had crept in to topple him. In White’s case, the back story involved a late-night girlfriend skirmish and not the popping of pills. The Sentinel pulled the seedy forensics on White’s history with the ladies; a judge issued an injunction keeping White from his paramour, Loletta Simms; and on Jan. 15, White was told by Orlando city clerk Alana Brenner that he was not qualified to face Lynum on the March city ballot. Of course, this had nothing to do with any of his alleged character flaws, but rather the fact that the city doesn’t think he’s lived in the district long enough.

Brenner said that White’s residence, rented from the mother of his campaign manager, Lawanna Gelzer, was not yet a full year old, and also his utility bills didn’t show enough kilowatts to support a breathing human being. But he’s not stepping aside.

Last week, we got an e-mail from the campaign that screamed, “It was a set up!!!,” referring to the most recent of White’s purported dust-ups with the fairer sex. It included a slightly redacted incident report from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office that the bad blood flowed both ways and that White’s girlfriend got physical with him, probably more than vice-versa. They both pressed charges.

The White campaign hired wingnut attorney Fred O’Neal and filed a federal suit against Brenner, Orange County election supervisor Bill Cowles and Daisy Lynum. The suit is kind of funny if you’re into crazy people. Mostly, it challenges the text of the city’s candidate eligibility requirements – one year living somewhere in the district, a utility bill, a driver’s license – and gives it all a racist, anti-handicapped-people spin. Whatever.

It’s the press release accompanying the announcement of the lawsuit that truly shines. “It is crystal clear that the city of Orlando intends to apply a different standard to African-American candidates, like Dr. White,” it reads, referring to a similar residency issue with a certain Tony Ortiz in 2007 that ended with him becoming District 2 commissioner. “Apparently, the City leaders learned nothing from the victories won through the blood of martyrs spilled in the bombed-out churches and on the blood-stained streets of Birmingham, Selma, Montgomery and Meridian.”

Hyperbole! It might not get you anywhere, but it will get you noticed.

Speaking of overstatement, we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least mention last week’s entry into the Congressional District 8 sweepstakes of failed Republican attempts on Democrat Alan Grayson’s head: Bruce O’Donoghue. On Feb. 8, O’Donoghue – a Winter Park businessman – stood between the dated-and-dwindling edifices of former Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings and former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez to announce that he would be the answer to the conservative question, “Are you there, God? It’s us, the Republicans.”

O’Donoghue repeated the word “values” over and over until his face turned into a tithing tray with which to knock out that carpetbagger atheist Grayson and his highfalutin worldview. Turns out that O’Donoghue knows a few things about the Central Florida “values” he so readily espouses: Not only does he sit on the board of the Florida Family Policy CouncilJohn Stemberger’s anti-gay org – but he also has a history of Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations at his traffic light contracting business. Democrats, naturally, saw red and called him on his $3,375 fines, while O’Donoghue’s camp casually brushed off the criticism, telling the Sentinel, “We must be doing something right” for Grayson’s folks to even notice.

Shouldn’t all activism be this easy? The Nature Conservancy and other members of the Florida Forever Coalition are calling for people to support the venerable program by taking a pleasant stroll on Saturday, Feb. 20.

How does that help? Well, in the past 47 years, land preservation efforts have gotten about $7.5 billion to protect 3.8 million acres. That’s less than 1 percent of Florida’s total land area.

In last year’s strained budget, however, Florida Forever didn’t get a penny. This year Gov. Charlie Crist wants to pump about $50 million into it – about 2.4 percent of his $2.1 billion budget proposal.

Fearing that the Legislature might cut that out, environmental activists want a show of strength. Hence the public hikes being organized in verdant spots statewide.

Sure, money’s tight this year too – but that just makes it a great time to buy threatened lands while prices are lower, the Nature Conservancy says.

Locally, there’s a walk planned to start at 10 a.m. Saturday from the Flagler Trailhead in the Little Big Econ State Forest, 3290 Snowhill Road, Chuluota, just 22 miles from downtown Orlando. Info on that hike, or on organizing more, can be had at
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