Category Archives: Florida

Fort Lauderdale

The hits keep coming for Florida! In this most recent unwarranted attack, The Onion – America’s ‘finest news source’ – has gone out of its way to heckle the Venice of America, the Bellwether of Broward County, La Suprema Albondiga del sur de la Florida, and the hometown of TMF Founder/Overlord Francis Falkendoodle: Fort Lauderdale.

If you didn’t see the article, don’t worry about it. The premise was that Ft. Lauderdale (FTL) is a soulless, uninspiring place with no redeeming characteristics.

Of course this is a ridiculous accusation. But it does sting to see so many of the inferior 65,000-ish lesser cities in the United States passed over for this ridicule. And it does chafe to see the many wonderful things of FTL ignored.

The Onion does understandably hit some of our soft targets: the yachts, the depravity, the crabby old folks, the vanity, the iguanas, the general lack of civic pride… We are not without blemish. Continue reading

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Florida PR Email Leak

I can only imagine that whoever has the task of doing Public Relations for the state of Florida has, shall we say, a challenging job. Here is a fake “leaked email” that I could see coming from that beleaguered PR office.

Greetings everyone.

Guys, I’m disappointed. This was supposed to be a huge year for us, what with the 500th anniversary of Florida’s discovery, the “Viva Florida” campaign and all the other great initiatives we’ve been working so hard on.

The attention seems to be backfiring. Have you seen all this stuff about Ponce de Leon being a fraud and calling our whole history into question? They’re just using this as one more way to shame us and frame us as “the crazy state.” We need to figure out how to deal with this.

The big question remains of how to engage this attention and unflattering press. Do we embrace the bad boy persona? Do we resist it? Do we ignore it and just keep pounding out uplifting press releases?

Either way we need to get a handle on this. Being a laughingstock is bad for business. We’re about one more idiot trying to ride a manatee away from losing all the progress we’ve made since the Bath Salts Zombie fiasco. Continue reading

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Florida Manatee Fights Forced Ridings

An open letter from a manatee upset with the recent trend of people trying to ride manatees. 

Greetings humans and other land-based creatures. I come to you today with a heavy, four-chamber heart. I want to address a delicate issue that demands the immediate attention of the international community – including those above the water and those under it as well.

We manatees unequivocally condemn and formally denounce all attempts to ride on us, and demand you stop this degrading practice at once.

Is it not enough to mercilessly run us over with your massive boats, hunt us for our precious body parts, or throw tantalizing non-food items at us that look just enough like lettuce to be confusing? Must you humiliate us further with this abhorrent behavior of trying to ride us? We will tolerate this no longer.

Perhaps you are thinking, “What are you gonna do about it manatees? You’re so big and slow we can do whatever we want to you.”

Yes, we are generally speaking a lumbering, peaceable species. But we should not be provoked. We are far more patient than your hot-tempered, destructive race, but we can only be pushed so far.

How will the manatee community respond if this shameful practice continues, you ask? While nature has neglected to give us a substantive means of self-defense in terms of brute force or physical combat, we do have options available to us that we will not hesitate to mobilize, should our hand (we say “flippers” but I’m using your language here for clarity) be forced.

Our serene countenance and adorable looks have endeared us to many of our aquatic brethren; some of whom are quite protective, vengeful and ill-tempered. We have friends who are highly venomous or pointy-billed, and some who have large, sharp teeth. We have developed excellent relations with the infamous candirus of South America, who delight in swimming into human bodies and exiting in shall we say, the most sensitive, painful way you can imagine.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

These are not threats. We manatees have been backed into a corner and pushed to the brink by your hurtful, gross conduct; much of which seems to take place in the region you call “Florida,” but we call “Warm Grass Munch World.” If the attempts to ride or mount us in any unauthorized manner continue, we will respond with swift, immediate action. We will respond with “ocean justice,” which is like your “street justice” or “prison rules,” but much more brutal. Do not be surprised when shark attacks increase, sailfish impalings become more commonplace, or your hospitals begin to fill with wailing, crotch-bandaged candiru victims.

You have been warned.

We are a simple species. We basically just float around and eat vegetation. We’re not hurting anyone. It is true that we produce a shocking amount of horrific gas — but does that make us unworthy of basic respect or decency?

I end with saying we are not so different. I have learned much about your ways. We both wean our young on milk, breathe air and struggle with body image issues, we both enjoy swimming and munching on lettuce – and dare I say we both want generally the same things for our young. Mammal to mammal, I ask for an immediate end to this undignified, uncalled for practice of trying to ride the noble manatee. I assure you we will afford the same respect in return.

 — Grassman the Manatee

Sad manatee photo via manatee.net

Sad manatee photo via manatee.net

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Fantastic Floridians

The assault on Florida continues. This is really getting out of hand, guys. It is Threat Level Midnight* in the battle to protect the reputation of our colorful and delightful state. While we wait for the political will and/or bold legislation needed to enact some sort of aptitude test requirement to live here (and/or wait for Georgia to be caught unawares so we can start spiriting weirdos across the border), I think the best thing to do is to continue highlighting Florida’s finer features. With that in mind, TMF presents this list of just a few of Florida’s fantastic folks.

Ron Magill – The mustachioed communications director of Zoo Miami is a genuine national treasure. His weekly appearances on the Dan LeBatard radio show here in South Florida are the stuff of legend. He responds to rapid-fire animal-related phone calls with remarkable patience (Yo Ron, who wins in a gorilla-grizzly bear fight? Etc.), good humor, enlightening insight, and an absolutely encyclopedic knowledge of just about every species known to man.  While some animal advocates come off as annoying, pompous or exceedingly awkward, Ron just seems like a cool guy who wants everyone to learn about and appreciate the world’s fascinating critters. His animal calls are also uncanny.

Zora Neale Hurston – She was a brilliant author and anthropologist who wrote, most notably, Their Eyes Were Watching God. A festival is held in her honor every year in her hometown of Eatonville.

Tom Petty – Originally from Gainesville, TP is rock royalty. The dude’s done it all: He’s written a song that will be played on skydiving videos forevermore, and a track that every stadium in the world plays whenever there’s a stoppage in play… He’s toured the world, formed a supergroup, smashed his hand in a fit of rock rage, lost a band mate to drugs, done a major movie soundtrack (She’s The One kinda sucked, but hey…) and acted in a major movie (The Postman kinda sucked, but hey…).

What else can we say about Tom Petty? It’s good to be king.

Dave Barry – One of the best and most influential humor writers of all time. In addition to his hilarious nationally syndicated Miami Herald column, which led to a Pulitzer Prize in 1988, who could forget such classic works as Boogers are my Beat, or Stay Fit and Healthy Until You’re Dead. He’s also not a bad musician apparently.

Andy Garcia – This son of Cuban immigrants attended high school in Miami, and went on have the best role in the worst Godfather movie, and the worst role in the best Bernie Mac movie.

Osceola – An iconic Native American warrior. He fought to keep his homeland, and for the freedom of all people. He was captured in a cowardly manner and died of malaria in 1836, but his intrepid legacy lives on.

Henry Flagler – Flagler was the visionary who laid the groundwork for making our state the powerhouse it is today. After making boatloads of cash along with John D. Rockefeller at Standard Oil, Flagler started building the infrastructure needed to make Florida the accessible tropical paradise he envisioned. To accommodate and bolster his many acquisitions in the state (hotels, land and such), the Florida East Coast Railway was methodically built; along with accompanying roads and canals which complemented his support for local farms, schools and hospitals. This engineering marvel would stretch all the way to Key West by the early 1900s. Oh yeah he managed to found West Palm Beach and Miami along the way.

He was laid to rest in St. Augustine.

Don Shula – “Here’s what I’m going to do for you, city of Miami. I’m going to raise up your team and your city out of sports obscurity.  With an iron will and fierce determination, I will turn a group of relative unknowns into the greatest football team of all time, win the Super Bowl, then win another one the year after. I’m not done. After I retire as the NFL’s all-time winningest coach, I’m going to make a place where you can enjoy reasonably priced, large hunks of choice, juicy meats.”

– Don Shula (unauthorized paraphrase of life accomplishments)

Thanks coach, we love you always. You will always be “unforgotten” in our eyes.

*Excellent “The Office” reference

**Bonus Fantastic Floridian — Mark Twain, who was born in Florida (Missouri). I feel like he would get a chuckle out of that pun.

*** Apologies to Ernest Hemingway, Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Stetson Kennedy – we ran out of room but you will most definitely be featured in the next round of Fantastic Floridians

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Freebird

You’ve probably heard the song. You most likely know at least some of the words, have cranked it on the radio, and dare I guess, you’ve fervently air guitar’d along with it at some point.  But for those of you in far-flung places like Australia, Belgium, or Ohio, you may not fully appreciate the true meaning – the profound cultural weight – of Freebird.

Before we dive in to this very important topic, a brief geographical/cultural explanation of the Southern U.S. for our wonderfully diverse audience…

Like yours truly, Lynyrd Skynyrd (the creators of Freebird, and most other awesome rock ballads) originated in the great state of Florida. While I come from the southern quadrant of Florida, which is decidedly ‘Northern’ in culture, the boys from ‘Skynyrd hailed from the northern part of the state; which is undoubtedly ‘Southern.’ For the sake of time, in this case let’s just use ‘Southern’ to represent manners, rockin’ but stayin’ humble, a slow pace of life, and respecting mama, and ‘Northern’ to mean honking at everything and being rude to waitresses.

Humble Beginnings, Melting Faces, Uniting Generations, Changing the World Continue reading

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Fantastic Florida: Flickers of Hope

Dear Friends, Fellow Floridians, and Future Floridians (looking at you, every curmudgeon from the northeast who inevitably will end up down here; most probably in my neighborhood; or at least with my exact commute),

It has come to our attention that the fair state of Florida has gained a reputation for being somewhat of a, shall we say; horrifying embarrassment/kinda’ concerning* mega whirlwind of sharp, pointy garbage/shockingly dreadful malaise magnet/mushroom cloud of negativity/nationwide laughingstock.

Now, I understand the concerns. No doubt we’ve had our struggles. Generally speaking, we have our bizarre hunting accidents up north; our aberrant and illicit manatee-riding behavior in the middle; and of course our wanton killing, face eating, and cockfighting-related issues that affect our southern regions.

I get it.

Haha! Look at that state! It has so many problems! Look how dysfunctional they are!

With all due respect (if Ricky Bobby taught us anything, it’s that you can say anything so long as you preface it with an ‘all due respect), get out of our face, Ohio. Take a step back Kansas, Vermont, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Oregon, or North Dakota; no one can ever remember your capital city.** Don’t even start.

Ricky Bobby wisdom: You can say anything so long as you say "with all due respect."

Ricky Bobby wisdom: You can say anything to anyone, so long as you say “with all due respect.”

Just because we lead the nation in foreclosures, animal bites, retaliatory human-on-animal bites, most types of fraud, tacky things, staged accidents, bizarre news, and voting difficulties, you think you’re better than us? Continue reading

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Fall Favorites: The 5 F’s of Fall

Apparently it is now Fall. Whatever that means; it was like 93 degrees here yesterday. Every year in Florida we rely on other people to tell us when seasons are allegedly changing elsewhere in the world, so I have to assume you guys are telling us the truth.

Despite not having much in the way of changing seasons, I do look forward to this time of year – if only to live vicariously through the quaint things you upper 47’ers do with all your pumpkins, snow and leaves. Here are the five things that to me, encapsulate all that is wonderful about this time of year. Continue reading

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