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6/24/2010

Columns > Happytown

Happytown

 

Back in the blustery days of institutionalized meteorological homophobia – say, 1998, when Pat Robertson warned Orlando that God and all of his whirling curses would spin into a hurricane formation and devour any municipality that allowed gay people to go to Disney World – the region’s pink knees buckled at the thought of such a vengeful celestial leader. How would the gays deal with their newfound party-crashing status as end-of-days lightning rods? Moreover, would wearing metallic fabrics only make doomsday that much more likely? 

Well, it turns out those fears were surprisingly unfounded (though 2004’s hurricane parties were a blast!). In fact, it seems that God – or Zeus, or Mohammed, or whatever bearded shirtless entity throws electric bolts from the sky for the benefit of airbrush artists everywhere – might have realigned his malevolent-weather crosshairs. On Tuesday, June 15, while the rest of us were going about our business, grumbling about afternoon storms and hair flattening, a cruel bolt of lightning came down on the unfinished Jesus pyramid (scheme) tribute known as the Amway Center. Amway sells God in drink form, you know, and then makes you sell it to your friends. God then spreads like wildfire. 

“Flames traveled along combustible foam next to corrugated metal and concrete, igniting a 6-foot by 6-foot section,” reported the Orlando Sentinel. Gasp! 

Now, normally this wouldn’t mean that much, especially considering the city’s now-comical grappling with heavenly voltage over at the Lake Eola fountain, but this little moment of spontaneous combustion came just one day after a similar bolt knocked down the 62-foot-tall “Touchdown Jesus” at Ohio’s Solid Rock Church, which is apparently not quite as solid a rock as it thinks it is. A pastor there spun the story, telling the Washington Post that she thought it was a good thing the lightning didn’t accidentally strike the poor at-risk women at a nearby shelter. Duh. 

“I told them, ‘It looks like Jesus took a hit for you last night,’” she said, not at all menacingly. 

Does God really have a sick sense of humor? It’s not the first time his holiness has decided to kill his son in effigy, the Post reports. Jesus lost an arm in Colorado when lightning struck a 33-foot statue, and in 2008 that famous 130-foot Jesus lording over Rio de Janeiro was struck so badly it “singed the fingers and eyebrows of Christ the Redeemer.” 

It’s OK, Jesus. We know how you feel.

Speaking of gay (when aren’t we?), the middling milquetoast obvious came to light on June 10 when gubernatorial fringe-cut Alex Sink, the Democrat who most resembles a softball player, announced to a group in St. Pete that she wasn’t about to go all the way on the issue of gay marriage; she’s a civil unions, short-bus kind of gal. The former Bank of America dominatrix had until then toed the line on the nuanced nuptial issue, throwing around words like “equality” at campaign events where said word would most likely inspire a Pavlovian gay response of check writing. Events like a November 2009 Equality Florida gala at which she was gifted the esteemed “Voice of Equality” award and gaily accepted it by saying, “I know that together, we can make equality for all Floridians a reality. That is – with the right officers in place.” Oh, really.

We actually spoke to Sink ourselves about her equality positions at an event earlier this year held at the target-audience-friendly Hamburger Mary’s. A little tipsy, we told her that we thought it was “refreshing” that she wasn’t riding the big gay horse – she spoke mostly of economic concerns in between making weird Southern noises – while stumping at a big gay event. But our wine-fueled perception of high road was apparently off the mark; Sink, who is not much of a speaker to begin with, was actually avoiding the issue. And she’s a politician! 

You know who’s not standing for that kind of shiz? Wait for it! Menudo! Okay, not really the whole Hispanic hormonal incubation sensation Menudo, but a concert promoter who used to handle Menudo (to the point that he was sued by member; the suit was later retracted) in the ‘80s. Dark-horse gubernatorial candidate Darrin McGillis finally found his press-releasable moment in Sink’s gay stink, reports the Miami Herald. First, he calls Sink a “bigot” because that’s a fun word Menudo would never sing (Intolerante!). Then he opines, “Ask yourself – Is using religious teachings to deny equal rights to gay people any less wrong than using religious teachings to discriminate against people of color or people of different cultures wanting to marry?” What would Ricky Martin do! 

Our hearts leaped into our gizzards about six weeks ago when we learned that Winter Park fresh-veggie dealers Eat More Produce were under threat from the Big Bird of the corporate world, Chick-fil-A. Owners of the Orange Avenue stand, which opened in early 2010 to deal goodies from their Canadian greenhouses, got two feather-ruffling letters from Chick-fil-A’s law firm Adorno & Yoss in Atlanta. To an A&Y attorney, it seems, a specimen of Solanum lycopersicum is too easily confused with Gallus gallus domesticus. (If you flunked Latin and biology, that means they can’t tell a tomato from a chicken.) On behalf of Chick-fil-A, the produce producers were told they’d better change their name to something further from the restaurant’s slogan of “Eat Mor Chikin.” Or else … unspecified bad things. In the days after we reported on this flap, a few other news outlets piled on, but Eat More Produce ignored Chick-fil-A’s squawks.

Until now. Orlando attorney Sam Dunaway of Bobo, Ciotoli, Bocchino, White, Buigas & Corsini finally fired back a letter to Adorno & Yoss on May 26, saying, basically, “Cluck off.”

Yeah, we got your threats, he says in polite legal language, and you don’t scare us. Eat More Produce’s logo isn’t similar (and everything’s spelled right), a produce store is not a restaurant and they don’t even sell any meat. So nobody with any sense could seriously confuse a hothouse kumquat with any part of a deep-fried bird.

This week in dumb oil -sopping ideas: Charlie Crist is bio-curious; specifically, the process of bioremediation in which parasitic microbes are unleashed upon the Gulf oil spill, apparently eat it all up and fart out scant traces of carbon dioxide skid marks. 

On Thursday, June 17, Crist played the role of Sam Neill in Jurassic Park and toured the grounds of Osprey Biotechnics, a Sarasota-based biotechnology company that manufactures a supposedly effective “agent” with the Michael Crichton-ready name “Munox.” According to the Miami Herald, the bacteria are isolated and fermented, then diluted with water and “other natural ingredients” (like, we presume, amphibian DNA and the Andromeda Strain), and finally set loose upon an unsuspecting public soon to be enslaved by oil-rich microbian dictators. (It could happen!)

Crist said he was “impressed,” but Osprey couldn’t quite finish the sale when Crist pulled out his variation of “I need to talk to my wife first”: “I’m not a scientist,” he backed away slowly.

The Herald made it simple for Crist and talked to an actual scientist from Pensacola. “Bullshit,” says science. Also, “There’s already a 6,000-square-mile dead zone in the Gulf off the mouth of the Mississippi River, created years ago by the same fertilizers washing down from upriver farms.” So close, Charlie – but we hear there’s a “sand berm” theory that’s only 95 percent nonsense!

happytown@orlandoweekly.com
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