Pulse Survivors Give Warm Send-Off to Florida Students Headed For Capital


Students who survived the shooting in Parkland, Florida boarded buses as they prepared to head for the state capital yesterday to push for gun control reform. They were sent off with encouragement and solidarity by survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting from June 2016, another of the deadliest in US history.

“Y’all got this. Y’all strong. Make sure your voices are heard,” said a Pulse survivor in CBS Miami‘s report.

The Parkland shooting, which took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, killed 17 students and teachers, and has prompted a #MarchForOurLives movement among high schoolers across the country. Students from the school created the movement, which will include a march on Washington on March 24.

About 100 students from the school left on a bus last night for Tallahassee, where they stayed overnight in the Leon County Civic Center, before presenting remarks to top Florida legislators, including Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

The kids are asking for several protective measures to prevent further shootings, including: a “Ban on military weapons, universal background checks including info on mental health, past history and prison time, and a raise for the age of ownership for a gun,” according to Anthony Lopez, one of the students in the capital today, to CBS Miami. 

Here are pictures of the students and Pulse survivors as they prepared to head for the capital.


Welcome To Facebook Town!

Let’s face it, Facebook pretty much owns us. In a cunning scheme – and the greatest market research project ever – that crafty Mark Zuckerberg has amassed all our personal information (we gave it up voluntarily) and has enough blackmail photos of all us to guarantee that any attempt at running for public office would be immediately squashed. The best way for Big Brother to keep tabs on us is to have each one of become Big Brother.

Facebook announced this week that it is working with a local developer to build a $120 million, 394-unit housing community within walking distance of their Menlo Park campus. Welcome to Facebook town! The 630,000 square-foot rental complex will include everything from a sports bar to a doggy day care. (But will WiFi be free?) When I lived in San Francisco, the Facebook bus would pick up FB employees right down the street – to cart them off to Silicon Valley for the day like little tech-geek school kids; a genius move by Zuckerberg because it squeezes an extra two work hours out of his staff.

Here’s the company Kool Aid press statement: 

"We’re certainly excited to have more housing options closer to campus, but we believe that people work at Facebook because what they do is rewarding and they believe in our mission."  

The real estate move is a cross between a turn-of-the-century company town and backwoods, incestious inbreeding – where employees are forced to mingle, socialize, and live amongst each other in a 24/7 Facebook wonderland. (Will Zuckerberg’s employees "like" living there?)  


Some info on company towns:

-Celebration, Florida is a simulated small town USA built by The Walt Disney corporation near Disneyland. All hail Mickey Mouse! 

-There was once more than 2,500 company towns, housing 3% of the US population.

-Traditional settings for company towns were for the coal, metal mines, and lumber industries. 

-The Ron Howard movie, Gung Ho, is about a company town. A Japanese car company buys an American plant. Hilarity ensues. 

-My Space is considering building a company town, but much like its site the establishment would be inhabited by no one.



Florida’s Biggest Problem Is That It Doesn’t Have A Poet Laureate, Suggests Humorous Fellow

Florida, the sinkhole-thriving wasteland which has spawned its very own Twitter handle "Florida Man" could really just use a state poet laureate, a painfully earnest op-ed columnist has suggested.

David Axelrod — no, not that David Alexrod, this David Axelrod — penned a piece in the Daytona Beach News-Journal about a bill working its way through the Florida state legislature to appoint a statewide poet laureate in April, National Poetry Month, to begin a four-year term on June 1, 2013. Poet Laureate is an unpaid position which is fully funded by private donors. 

And then he gets funny:

"[A]s one who served as a county poet laureate (Suffolk, Long Island, New York, 2007-2009), I was a bit stunned that people actually would oppose such a post. Poetry and the arts have been my faithful companions throughout my life. I had forgotten that some people might say they were opposed to having a poet laureate. … I’ve heard folks ask, "Why would we spend any time passing laws to promote poetry? We need more jobs!" (Or, more cops; or more scientists; or pick a "more" you think we need.)"


Really, my good sir? You’re a bit stunned that Florida might be opposed to the arts? The state the brought us gator-wrestling and sinkholes and  Police Women Of Broward County and that terrible couple in The Queen Of Versailles? Really?!

Shockingly (to me, at least), Florida did have a poet laureate once. For 32 years! His name was Ed Skelllings and passed away last year. 

Good luck with this endeavor, David Alexrod. If only  "Florida Man High On Cocaine, Synthetic Drugs And Four Loko" and "Florida Man Who Assaulted Teen Relative With Taco Bell Burrito" were just exposed to the works of Sharon Olds and Maya Angelou … 

Email me at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

Rick Ross in Shooting-Related Rolls Royce Crash

Around 5 a.m. this morning, when everyone out and about is getting an early start or finally winding down a night of absurd revelry, a Rolls Royce that seems to have been carrying Rick Ross crashed into a building in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Police reported shots in the vicinity at that time; apparently another vehicle “opened fire.”

Ross, a veteran rapper who last year scored a hit with his much-delayed fifth studio album, God Forgives, I Don’t, may be seeking forgiveness himself, as the gunman or gunmen who orchestrated this botched drive-by are still at large. He and the Rolls’ other passenger had asked for their personal information to be withheld from the public, but witnesses were not so cooperative.

The man has no shortage of industry beefs and odd legal troubles, from a running feud with 50 Cent to the discovery in 2009 of a dead body on his property. As recently as this past December, Ross was said to “shrug off” a video of death threats from a Chicago crew called the “Gangster Disciples”—even as he canceled tour dates. Looks like he’ll be laying low awhile longer. 

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter

Human Meme That Can Swim Gets E! Reality Show

Professional swimmer and full-time Floridian Ryan Lochte nestled his way into our hearts and our GIFs this summer with his stunning athletic prowess 4 America, his bizarre sense of personal branding (complete with trademark catchphrase) and his general status as human meme. Also, the whole American flag grill thing, which got about as much coverage as his actual swimming did. Anyway, the initial Lochte-mania may have died down, following his appearances on 90210 and 30 Rock (as a "sex idiot") and his trademarking of "Jeah!" but as our Jessica Wakeman forewarned a few months ago, Lochte wanted his own show. About his one-night stands.

Well, it looks like that first thing is going to happen, although maybe not exclusively about that second thing. E! announced yesterday that Lochte’s reality show, the aptly-titled six-part documentary series What Would Ryan Lochte Do?, will air this April. The show will follow the Lochte’s adventures in further Olympic ambitions, footwear design, meeting women and partying, and other such shenanigans. 

As Suzanne Kolb, president of E! Entertainment, said in a statement, praising Lochte’s "utterly unique and unaffected approach to life:" "He is an incredibly endearing personality who is sexy, entertaining and fun. Watching this show, I believe people will fall into three categories: they want to be him, sleep with him or mother him." Yep, you read that last thing right. Mother him. I’m not really in a place to judge because I don’t have kids, but, is that a big thing reality showrunners work to? Watching celebrities on reality shows and thinking, "Damn, I wish that celebrity with the weird catchphrase on the television were my kid!" 

No word yet on whether or not his swimming buddy Prince Harry (who would probably actually make for amazing TV, when you think about it) or his sister Megan, who said some terrible, racist things in front of a rolling camera after returning from the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, will also appear. But even when not being racist on cable access television, the Lochte siblings’ unscripted on-camera aptitude (or lack thereof) leaves something to be desired. Lest we forget:

Today’s Florida Woman News: Butthole Tats

Oh, brother. I might have to close my "Florida Woman" Google Alert because this is the woman is the greatest human to come out of the Sunshine state since, oh, ever, because and there’s nothing that any other person from Florida can do to take the prize away from this Floridian princess who, I’m not even joking, got a tattoo on her asshole. 

What the hell is in the water down there, you guys? I know there’s sharks, but are all of the sharks shitting, like, SO MUCH that it’s making everyone so damn crazy? Like, I don’t even have one tattoo on a normal place like my arm or my chest or, hell, my face, because the space between my eyebrows and my hairline is now, relatively, a normal place on which to get a tattoo.

Anyway, good morning! This video is slightly NSFW, depending on where you work. And also Not Safe For Life if you’d like to keep your eyeballs inside of your head.

“Florida Woman” News: The Floridian Sea Hag of Our Dreams

If there’s one thing that’s keeping me sane this summer, it’s my Google Alert for "Florida woman." I don’t think I need to get into details about how Florida is empirically the worst (well, any further detail, that is). So let’s get down to it: this week’s big news coming out of that southern state involves a woman affectionately known as "the sea hag."

Yes, that’s what the locals of Conch Key, Florida call 64-year-old Carolyn Dukeshire, who was arrested on Sunday night on a murder charge. Apparently, she killed a guy because he wouldn’t give her beer. I mean, can you blame her? Sea hags need beer, y’all. 

In other Floridian female-perpetrated crime news, Miami New Times delivers a story that includes the most clever and honest lede I’ve ever read in my entire life:

Like no good love stories before it, this one started at a West Florida gas station. An unidentified man met Rebecca Rodriguez there, and they exchanged numbers. After a bit of sexting, they agreed to meet at Rodriguez’s home for a bit of a fill-up earlier this week. Rodriguez, however, had conspired with her cousins to beat and rob the man. The cousins also ended up stealing the man’s car.

Was it love at first sight? Well, first sight of a sexy upper chest tattoo:

God bless and keep you, Rebecca Rodriguez. 

Your “Florida Woman” News: Role-Playing Gone Wrong

Ah, the Sunshine State. So sunny! So terrible! Look, I have no qualms about being honest about how much I hate Florida. But my hatred for the state is only parallelled by my love for its insane residents and the interesting ways they find to break the law, which is why, as a reminder, I set up a Google Alert for the phrase "Florida woman," because it’s a fact that women be crazy, especially when in close proximity to coral reefs and swamps, I guess. Or maybe it’s something to do with the moon? I dunno. But here’s the latest news about the sisters who are doin’ it for themselves (by breaking all of the laws). 

First of all, I’d like to congratulate myself (again) for my tremendous restraint on Friday, when I did not write a post about how a woman was arrested in Florida for manslaughter for her DIY plastic surgery practice. You see, the lady went to some other woman’s house, gave her butt injections, and then left her to watch her stories and have a nice ass. But, unfortunately, the injected woman died. See, that’s not funny! I don’t want the women in Florida to die, I just want them to continue making horrible mistakes like that made by Dorys Leidy Quintana. The unfortunately named Naples resident was arrested for assault after taking a brief break from her hair appointment to smack a stranger in the face

Dorys Leidys Quintana, 26, walked up to the woman, who was sitting in a car parked at a service station, and struck her in the face three times, the Naples Daily News reports. Quintana then returned to a Naples beauty parlor to get her hair done on Wednesday evening.

The victim and Quintana don’t know each other, according to the Naples Daily News, but an attendant at the Jiffy Lube service station identified Quintana as his ex-girlfriend.

Police arrested Quintana while she was still at the salon and charged her with battery, according to the Naples Daily News. While in custody, Quintana told police she "was not thinking and that it was the dumbest thing that she has ever done."

Good for Quintana for realizing her own stupidity. Bummer she didn’t get to finish getting her highlights, though. What do you think happened? Was the hair dye seeping through her surely damaged hair folicles right into her brain? One thing is for certain: the chances of being slapped by a stranger at a Florida Jiffy Lube are notoriously high, and the victim should have known better.

Speaking of knowing better, here’s the sad tale of Michael Garay, a Daytona-area police officer and victim of a role-playing exercise gone wrong:

Port Orange officer Michael Garay responded to a domestic dispute between Claudia Ambroziak, 58, and her husband on Wednesday morning.

He asked Ambroziak to demonstrate how she was attacked by her husband, and when she touched the officer’s neck and pressed on it, he arrested her.

‘I asked Claudia to show me how Joe [Ambroziak] choked her,’ Garay wrote in his report cited by the Daytona Beach News Journal. ‘Claudia was able to place approximately two fingers and her thumb around the front of my neck…was able to apply pressure to the front of my neck.’

Garay said he then grabbed Mrs Ambroziak’s hand ‘before she was able to apply any more pressure to my neck,’ and charged her with battery on a law enforcement officer.

Now, you’re probably thinking, "Hey now, wasn’t Garay probably asking for that?" It does seem a little harsh, doesn’t it? But hey, don’t rush to the Florida woman’s side quite yet:

According to the police report cited by Click Orlando, the 58-year-old woman started the fight with her husband after she became mad at him for not saying good morning to her.

And you thought you were having a bad morning? 

Today in “Florida Woman” News: Stolen Parrots and Legos

Earlier this week, I shared that my new preferred method of self-actualization and anti-anxiety was to create a Google Alert for the phrase "Florida woman," because, as we all know, Florida women be crazy. It must be the humidity and the close proximity to gators, right? And the isolation that comes with living in the worst state in the country? (As a friend pointed out earlier this week: "There’s a reason why Wild Things took place in Miami.") I can’t pinpoint it, exactly, but I do know that my "Florida woman" Google Alert continues to bring me complete and utter joy.

This biggest story this week is about 45-year-old Kathryn Cohen Allen, who was arrested on Tuesday for sending fake Anthrax to Floridian senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson. I mean, when you live in Jasper, Florida, a town smack-dab in the middle of North Florida (or, my Hell), the only thing to do for funzies would be to crush up over-the-counter medicine and mail the dust to your government representatives. 

But that’s just obvious. What I do love about Florida and its denizens is that they seem to find the most inventive crimes to commit. Take, for example, Barbara Aqueveque, who was caught "switching labels for pricey Lego toys that retail for more than $100 with ones for cheap $7 items like baking pans." Surprisingly, the woman kept the police at bay for months, because, you know, Florida:

"At first I thought, ‘This is crazy. How can it be this easy to steal this much?’" Lauderhill Police Detective Alex Iwaskewycz, who led the investigation, told CBS 4. "There were months she was making over $30,000."

Det. Iwaskewycz spent months tracking Aqueveque, pilfering through her store receipts, bank records, and even her trash. At the time she was arrested, Aqueveque had $36,000 in her bank account.

This would definitely be the pilot for my new hour-long drama series, Law & Order: Jacksonville. Ripped from the headlines! 

And then there’s Martha Herbentha and Stephanie Edgell, bless their hearts. The 66-year-old Herbentha was being carted off to jail and naturally asked her 32-year-old friend to take care of her parrot, Buddy. When Herbentha returned the next day, Edgell claimed that poor Buddy "flew out the window." Those parrots are so hard to tame! Of course, Herbentha smelled Edgell’s bullshit. 

Herbenthal didn’t believe her, sent friends scouring pet shops and finally found Buddy, who, authorities said, had been sold to Shady Hills Pet Shop for $225. The owner had a note where Edgell wrote her name, address and phone number prior to the sale, the report states.

Luckily Buddy is back with his owner, but the most interesting part of the story is this unexplained bit:

Herbenthal, of 15345 Dennis Drive in Hudson, was originally arrested on charges of obstructing an officer. She is accused of driving her son away from the scene of a battery, which happened at Edgell’s house. Herbenthal’s son is accused of beating Edgell and Edgell’s boyfriend, who told investigators the fight might have been "drug related," the report states.

Emotions do run high down south, and the ties that bind us all are very thin. But here’s something we can all agree on, despite the dramatic situations in which we find outselves entagled: Buddy the Parrot is probably the most normal being in Hudson, Florida.