I’ve had my fun and now it’s time to …

A box of mineolas landed on my doorstep yesterday. When I saw the big white box with the words “Fresh Florida Citrus” touted out in orange and green upon the side my first thought was “fuck.” As in, “what am I going to do with four trays of oranges?”

I’m a Florida farmer’s daughter – I may not be so great with the ‘rithmetic but I can figure up the contents of a “tray” of citrus dependent on size of the fruit contained near instantly. I figure fourteen/fifteen mineolas to a tray. So that’s ………… 4 trays of oranges that I have to figure out how to dispose of.

I opened the box and, man, that fruit looked beautiful. Mineolas are mid-sized, have somewhat loose skin, are seedless and heavy with juice – and if you grew up in a yard with lots of beautiful citrus tress just seeing them laying there gives you the urge to start shredding skin and peeling off slices.

At first I had this backwards urge to grab a knife and take the citrus that was already in a huge box on my counter out into my back yard and start eating them there. It wasn’t the fact that I was barefooted that stopped me (better that way, anyway!) but the fact that I was feeling sick. Such a weird first thought for a girl in a gated community, eh?

Growing up, oranges were food that were to be eaten outside and outside only. My yard had a huge, mature white grapefruit tree, a pink grapefruit tree, a little bitty navel tree, a pretty small tangerine tree, a tall, shady mandarin tree, a thick trunked, regular old sweet Florida Orange tree and to round it out the non-citrus way a big, bushy loquat tree. All of these trees bore messy food – even the loquat since it had a big seed in the middle that necessitated it’s being spit onto the ground.

The proper way, in my humble O, to eat an orange requires you to first properly pull it from the tree. To do this you want to leave a good chunk of the skin with the stem you pulled the hesperidia from. That way you already have a point at which to start peeling. Peeling is kind of a no-brainer. You should take caution, though, not to damage the flesh of the fruit which would just make the whole thing a lot messier than it already is. Once you’re done peeling it’s time to peel some more. Citrus comes pre-sliced by mother nature so there is no need to take a knife to an orange when you’re outdoors. I’m not against gnawing off a hunk like it’s an apple but that just leads to needless stickiness. Peeling the individual carpals from one another and eating them one at a time is the most enjoyable and least messy way to dine on an orange right off of the tree. Trust me, folks. I’m a Floridian.

So, as it turns out, I’m really enjoying this box of fruit. I haven’t taken one outside to eat yet but every time I engage in the ritual of peeling the skin off of one or smell the pungent oil from the rind squeezed onto my fingers I can see my little brother and I playing in front of mom’s greenhouse which was shaded by the the big orange tree. I can see my dad in a flannel shirt and jeans with juice dripping from his beard. I close my eyes and I still have my childhood dog, I still play barefooted in my treehouse, still pull my little brother around in our wagon, still climb the camphor trees, still live on farm land surrounded by orange groves and still haven’t the slightest inkling how much I should cherish this existence.

I had no idea a box of mineolas had such power – but I’m glad they do.

Randoms, 012908

  1. WWE Monday Night Raw – I’m seriously sick of mister-financial-tycoon, fatty JBL. He’s a cheating doo-doo face and someone needs to give him what-for (whatever the hell that means)! I’m also on the “I Despise Randy Orton” bandwagon but even a good lemming like me felt sorry for that schmuck after what JBL pulled last night. He said he’d have his back if Cena showed up to throw his weight around during what was supposed to be a tag-team duel against Jeff Hardy and Chris Jericho which, in wrestling language, of course, meant a) John Cena would be showing up and b) JBL would not be helping out. I almost feel heel myself admitting it – but I’m not a big Cena fan. Just not the style or type of personality I like to watch whereas Orton, in my humble O, is a technical genius. Every move he puts on and every bump, fall and jump look masterful – it is in his blood, after all. Based on skill – the Legend Killer Randy Orton is a superbly impressive wrestler. Based on storyline – I wanted to see Orton’s head ripped off after JBL bailed. Of course, the way he and JBL got together and CHEATED like big, fat (in JBL’s case) CHEATERS while Chris was laying down the Walls of Jericho – not cool. The funniest thing in the world of “Sports Entertainment” might just be the fact that there are “referees” in the ring.
  2. Iggy Pop – I’ve been involved in the entertainment industry a pretty fair amount of time, now, and I’ve read lots of artist riders – both the boring ones (financial, yuck) and the more interesting ones. I wish, though, with all of my heart that I had come across this one in the field. I would have had just as much fun fulfilling it as the author had writing it. Page 13 is my overall favorite but be sure to also read the last page. Comedy gold!
  3. I DYSLEXIA ♥ – I am dyslexic and while I feel I’m dealing rather nicely and would usually rather not discuss what “dealing” entails (imagine these tattoos: one on my right hand that says “RIGHT” ……… ) there is one thing that I am ready to own up to once and for all. I cannot read an analogue watch. OK, if I REALLY concentrate on it I can figure it out but I cannot simply glance down and see what time it is. I just don’t see it the same way you muggles do, I guess. Do I wear a watch, though? Of course! Can I read it – not so much. I’m going to try to get over the digital-watch-phobia that most people (including myself) seem to share and go out and purchase a timepiece that will actually communicate the time to me. Now to find one that doesn’t look like something a ten year old or a gym coach should wear …

Time to go to work.

“… and I’m hoping that they’ll ratify me!”

Florida Property Taxes – Analysis of Amendment #1 – this blog entry by an Orlando area Realtor offers a pretty simple and fair breakdown of Florida Amendment 1 which we in the Sunshine State are going to the polls on today. Unbiased property tax amendment review – and written by a REALTOR?!?! Props to that guy. If you’re already familiar with all this proposed amendment entails you may find this to be a little too simple – but if you just need a little help understanding the language this very easy to understand breakdown is for you.

As for me – my decision was actually not so easy. I had (have) all the same hypothetical concerns that were raised by Mr. Arnold in his entry. If this passes than the legislature – even though these folks know better – can use the excuse that they’ve already fixed the issues home owning Floridians face with this band-aid amendment. I also fear for the rural counties who are dependent on property taxes to maintain their infrastructure. I have always believed, though, that Save-Our-Homes needs to be portable. The people that have lived here long enough to be seeing substantial savings through this program are the people that have been and still are spending money here – contributing year round for a good length of time to the local economy. School taxes collected through property taxes are exempt and will still be paid in full by the property owner and I feel that’s safely covered in the language.

This isn’t something I felt like blabbing about at length – it’s obviously much more complex in it’s depth than it looks to be on the surface and all-in-all, in-the-end, when-it’s-all-said-and-done (and so forth) – this is simply a band-aid and until someone has the balls to truly propose a roll out of major reform we’re only taking baby steps towards fixing our flawed system here in the state where the sawgrass meets the sky.

“… permit us to be pirates.”

It’s no secret that I’m extremely nostalgic. My emotional-mind can bend almost any happening into a feeling of homesickness. So, as I sat on my living room floor making perfectly lovely flower arrangements for a party, I wasn’t at all surprised when tears welled in my eyes and a prickly lump formed in my throat.

It was the day the pirates invaded and I wasn’t in downtown to fight for my fair city.

Pirates invade Tampa every year and I suppose we’re fine with it. It’s been happening for over a hundred years, after all, and we’ve yet to need federal backup. Handling these things locally is much quicker, anyway. Every year these pirates let the Mayor know what’s going to happen if the city isn’t surrendered to them. In front of a crowd made up of both local media and concerned citizens the Mayor and a bunch of pirates hash out the important details in a manner that doesn’t seem at all scripted. They are always the same and run something along the lines of:

  1. We want your city.
  2. If you don’t give us your city we will take it.
  3. While forcefully attaining your city we’ll sway your citizens favor towards our reign by throwing a big party, showering them with cheap trinkets while deviously and manipulatively training your children in the pirate arts.

Pirates are crafty.

Every year, though, our Mayor tells them to shove off and every, single year Tampa is invaded by pirates. Scores of otherwise amateur seamen show up on the day of the invasion to defend the city. I’m not talking 20 or 30 boats – this is something massive that you have to see in person to understand. They crowd around the pirate’s vessel, the Jose Gasparilla, hoping to stop her from taking port behind the … well … the Tampa Convention Center, but never succeeding. When the pirates come ashore they begin a grand parade up Bayshore Boulevard and through downtown Tampa. Somehow, during this whole cluster of events, all the local sports teams, big businesses, civic organizations and high school marching bands have shown up in support of this seemingly horrific event to march with our pirate captors.

This all sounds terribly silly – and it is. It’s also the coolest local tradition this side of the prime meridian – oh, and I know that means either side.

Seriously, friends – I live in a city that is invaded by PIRATES every year.

Frikkin’ PIRATES!

This is our Running of the Bulls. This is our Mardi Gras – and just like all great traditions it’s based on a really good myth.

So, I missed it this year. I was busy with something that was actually much more important – and I wasn’t misty eyed because I was sad. It wasn’t sadness at all. It was part a longing for my own tradition: I’d been on a float in this parade for the last four years and attended pretty much my entire life. It was another part a longing for the past: I grew up in Tampa and when you grow up a pirate it’s a part of you forever – something you can’t wait to exercise. I was a Tampa kid that’s since grown into a Tampa adult – me and those like me get a chance, once a year, to be kids again. I know this event is special for transplants – and I want it to be dear to them as well – but there’s no denying the spell that a local tradition with this much imaginative flair casts on a child. It’s truly lasting. I’m one lucky buccaneer. So, I wasn’t sad. I was just feeling (lots of things) … and I’m a pretty emotional wench with some huge, often surfacing feelings.

Perhaps it’s just the lunacy of scurvy.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

“Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.” – Mark Twain

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

I watched the invasion on television and while it’s not the same (such a small phrase with some big implications) it turned out to be entertaining – and I learned some things, too.

The coverage has been on WFLA-TV for as long as I can remember and for, seemingly, that same length of time, Gayle Guyardo has been the hottest lady in Tampa Bay to spread a rumor about. Anyone remember that fax blast a whole bunch of years ago? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, too bad for you. Anyway – Gayle and Bill Ratliff were providing a play-by-play with commentary as the parade was taking place and while Bill was having a hard time reading his notes (far sightedness, anyone?), Gayle was having a hard time getting through a sentence coherently. It was getting so bad that she was disturbing the presentation, in my humble O. I was laughing to myself and thinking “this loon is drunk!” and, it turns out, a few friends who were watching were thinking the same thing. I don’t feel like hashing through all of the things she was slurring about as I feel it was one of those “you had to be there” events – but I really do love how much controversy this lady can stir and still stay on the air. At one point during the broadcast she disappeared. I was guessing that she was yanked … but, alas, I wasn’t there. I have no idea what truly happened. I’m just glad I wasn’t the only one thinking this way.

As for more wholesome entertainment – I love marching bands. They are one of the main reasons I love parades.

I learned, finally, there is a Krewe based out of the South Shore area. The Krewe of South Shore Marauders even have a good cause to fight for and a Sea Cow for a mascot. When I was a kid growing up in Ruskin (the Big Tomato), we didn’t have a pretty-pretty nickname for the area now known as “South Shore.” People called it “South County,” “South-of-Tampa” or “the sticks” – but we didn’t acknowledge that fact that we had shoreline. We had what seemed like a beautiful secret and didn’t want everyone to come and steal our waterfront property. Now the fact that Ruskin is on the Bay is not hidden – but celebrated – and they’ve even got their own native Krewe of pirates marching during the invasion. I’m so jealous that even my peg-leg is turning green. Just more to be homesick about and it’s not even like I’ve left behind the area! I’ve only moved from the south side up to the north side. When I was a kid I never thought I’d be homesick for Ruskin. Of course, when I was a kid I never thought anyone else would want to be there. Now I feel like those pirates have stolen my home. Boo-hoo for me.

Gasparilla sure brings a lot of things to the surface for a Tampa kid. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Edited to add: I found some online mention, not only of Gayle Guyardo’s 2008 Gasparilla coverage, but also of the infamous fax-blast! Wow! I haven’t heard anyone speak of that in years!

SPAM Subject Line of the Day

“Watch your thing getting bigger day by day!”

Obviously the sender is not talking about my penis because, a) I do not have one and b) no one over the age of 5 refers to a penis as “thing.”

There are a lot of “things” in my life that seem to get bigger day by day. Like when you say to someone that you’ve got “things” to work through or tell a client that a lot of “things” need to happen in order for a project to get off the ground. I’ve actually got a lot of stressful “things” going on in my life right now as well as a bunch of “things” I need to get done around the house. Nope, don’t need any of those “things” growing.

I don’t know which “thing” I’d pick if I could just rub some cream on it and have it get bigger. Perhaps one of my cats. It would be pretty funny to eventually have a giant cat.

If I had a penis, though, it would totally be huge already and there is no way I’d want it getting bigger. I’m awesome.

This Is Me Afraid

I’d been craving that Guinness I had sitting in the fridge all day. As I drove home from my fun-job tonight and saw the lightning crashing around I knew just how I’d enjoy it – sitting on the porch, smoking kreteks and sipping it as my dessert.

I live in the lightning capital of North America and a good storm gives me that comforted, warm and squishy feeling of being at home. Friends from the north have often told me how BFI we all are living here because of the electricity that comes down from the sky and kills golfers – and I’m not a complete idiot. I know that shit kills people, yet, it is not one of my fears. It’s not that I’m not mindful of it or that I don’t respect it – it’s just not something that sends me into my closet cowering. I get it, though, and I would never fault anyone for their fear. Just as I hope you don’t see fault in me for mine:

I am afraid of tornadoes. Anyone with half of their synapses firing is, in my humble O, afraid of these beasts. The way that my friends from the north see me for working in my garage during a lightning storm – that’s how I see anyone that lives in a wood frame home anywhere that there is a history of tornadic activity. I know concrete block construction is not the end-all-be-all when it comes to tornado protection but it sure makes me feel a bit safer. That and strapping myself to the plumbing in my master bathroom with steel chains and then sinking down into my tub clutching onto the Book of Mormon, the Torah, the Qur’an and my copy of The Real Sex Kitten’s Handbook (perhaps I can charm my way out of death by wind). If it’s storming pretty badly and I think I hear that train a’comin’ I round up my cats, stick them in the bathroom with me and start to cry. The other night I had a dream that a tornado was chasing me. It started out as a water spout (a common sight where I grew up) and chased me all through Tampa. I am very, very afraid of tornadoes.

I am afraid of making phone calls – especially to people I do not know. I can accept phone calls from anyone in the universe. If somebody I don’t know is calling me than they obviously either need my services or need some knowledge that I can offer. Either way, I have the upper hand. I don’t actually know if that is the reason I’m so afraid of this but it seems plausible. I hate calling to make appointments, I hate calling for support and I hate calling to order pizza. I’m lucky that this hasn’t hindered my work life but I’ve always had people to make phone calls for me. I will do crazy amounts of research in hopes to avoid a call to a help desk. I will drive to a restaurant to order my carry-out in person and wait instead of calling ahead and making something quick of it. This one must be more common that it seems. I’ve only known one other person with the same fear and we always had perfectly lovely phone conversations.

I am terrified of birds. The fact that they exist is fine with me as most birds are content to just fly about and leave me alone. Pet birds, though, really frighten me. My mother had a cockatiel that she found (no joke, it was in our Pecan tree and it flew down to her and pretty much didn’t leave her side for the rest of it’s life) and I think this animal is the one that cemented this fear on my psyche. Those things bite … HARD! Birds are not friendly little things that wish to be held and petted – NO! They are the terrors of the sky! They peck, chase and nibble and I’m always sure they are going after my eyes. The problem is that birds know no fear themselves, therefore, I must fear them to protect myself. Sea Gulls will walk right up and peck at your hands to get the food from your grip. Chickens are assholes, too. I was chased by a chicken when I was a kid and I had done absolutely nothing to this animal. A Sandhill Crane tried to fight me once a few years ago and that was the scariest dealing I’ve ever had with a bird. He was taller than me and pecked me right in the face – and you know that whole crane deal from the Karate Kid? They are hovering in the air screaming when they put on that pose so it’s much more intimidating than it was on Ralph Macchio.

I fear the dentist so much that I can’t even write about it.

In an effort to save a little face and not look like such a pussy here’s a list of commonly held fears that don’t bother me: bugs, spiders, snakes, heights, public speaking, being on stage, doctors, needles, blood, boats, water, tests, vampires, zombies.

So while I may seem like a superhero when I trap that bleeding snake and take it for a sea-cruise during a lightning storm please, don’t ask me to call an exterminator. I’d only pawn that off onto my secretary.

Randoms, 012108

A few random thoughts that are floating around in my gourd this evening.

  1. Everyone on earth loves Alton Brown, right, or am I just the king of the nerds? Don’t answer that. Perhaps it’s because he’s a drama nerd (educated at the same university my brother attends – UGA) … but I think the reason is less the drama and more the nerd. He puts the same amount of research into the reasoning for seasoning that he puts into the different places one can stick a television camera (you’d just have to watch Good Eats). He’s the one that taught me to keep a pizza stone in my oven and the man I have 12 different vinegars in my pantry for. Don’t think I don’t double check his facts, though. What good follower of AB’s would I be if I wasn’t a research hound myself? He does need to get off of those pesky Apples, though.
  2. Why doesn’t Bright House’s East Pasco lineup have Monday Night RAW anywhere in HD? This is the sports entertainment viewing experience I’ve been dreaming of – but it’s not to be for me tonight. They are debuting a new set tonight and I have to watch it in 4:3. Boo.
  3. Watching Malkin v. Ovechkin in HD on Versus has proven to be pretty fun up to this point.
  4. I’m a hater. I always have been. I love to rant and I think being critical and negative is much more fun (not to mention, usually more entertaining) than being completely in love with everything the world has to offer. Of course, either of the aforementioned over-simplifications are better than hearing how “eh” and “OK” everything is. With all of that said, the Creative Loafing cover story for the Jan 16 – Jan 22 issue seemed to be an exercise in how much prime-time hate two people could pack into one story. The title “The Week In Craptastic Television,” with it’s huge gold font and smirking photo of TVs favorite germaphobe really did it’s job in piquing my interest. That cover was the best part of the story. Creative Loafing is my favorite local newsprint rag, so I’m really always expecting something funnier than this piece – especially when the inspiration is how much network TV sucks lately! So much to work with. That cover sure is pretty, though. Props to whoever did that!

Brain, cleared.

I Know a Thing Or Two About a Thing or Two

I am (oh, so modestly) a jack of all trades – or as it was called in old-school geek code – a geek of all trades. There are a few subjects where I can offer knowledge that should at least (to turn a phrase into something to turn a stomach) be taken under advisement as to whether they should be taken under advisement. As I sit here watching the Packers-Giants game I’m reminded that I know a thing or two about how things go in a sports venue.

  • Friends – if you’re sitting anywhere near a microphone or a guy with a camera and you care whether or not people know you are an idiot, don’t act like an idiot. Don’t yell stupid things, don’t do stupid things. All of us in TV-land are going to know you soon and we’re not going to know about all of that money that you gave to charity and we’re not going to see you perform brain surgery. We’re just going to know that at the beginning of every, single play you scream in the most dead-waking, shrill voice. “AAHHH!” “AAAAAAAHHHH!” “AAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!” Someone is going to know it was you and they are going to have recorded the game and they are going to make fun of you.
  • If it’s -2.8F outside, you have a pretty good body and you can stand to wear a little, yellow bikini top – YOU WILL BE ON TV. You will probably, also, if I know camera-dudes (and I know a few), be on the video boards in the stadium and (as happens in my imagination) people will buy you beer. Sweet, sweet beer.
  • If it’s -2.8F outside and, for some reason, you are out in the elements at an NFL game at which you cannot help but look like it’s -2.8F outside even though those around you look perfectly comfortable – YOU WILL BE ON TV. The director doesn’t care that you’re cold. He doesn’t care that your heart is on the verge of ceasing to beat. He is actually in love with the fact that your cheeks are as red as the Giants socks and that there are mucus-snow flakes coming out of our nose.
  • If you’re the one playing the sport … uh, well … you are on TV. Be careful how long you hold on to your teammates rear-end.

If you didn’t know this stuff, you’ve obviously never worked in a sports venue.

If you didn’t know this stuff (or, in the case of the hot girls in bikini tops, DID know this stuff) – you were on TV. For my entertainment. I hope you can live with that.

Just so you’re aware – I know that you are not daft and you all know these things even without the experience of working for a sports team. You just forget in the heat of the moment, right? That, or you’re way too cold to care.

(Side note: if you are an NFL Official and it’s cold outside so you’ve all decided to wear your long pants, there will be purists who whine about it. Yeah, it’s silly, but they will. They are dorks.)

(012208) Clarification: I know a man who happens to be a knicker-wearing football official – and he’s not a fan of the long pants or my insinuation. Jason Dixon is a very funny, talented human being and is not a dork. He is a geek, though, and that is not at all a bad thing. Sorry for the terrible misunderstanding! Everyone else, though … still dorks.

FOCUS!: A Rant About People Who Want to Hurt My Evo

I recently got my beloved daily driver back from the body shop. Fortunately for my frequent passengers (I like to refer to you as “navigators” as the world is my rally) you’re already used to my parking decisions – because this experience certainly did not render me any less neurotic about where I leave my car. Good thing you’re already used to the walk the store from my parking space being longer than the drive was.

The damage to my car didn’t occur while parked, though. Due, in no small part, I’m sure, to my very protective parking procedures my precious has never possessed a careless shopping cart scratch or a door ding on her Tarmac Black skin. She did, though, receive slight minivan burn when I happened in the way of some guys U-Turn (me = right-of-way, him = blind, perhaps?). I’ve never had to deal with a car insurance company other than signing up and paying the bills – now that I have I certainly don’t recommend the experience. Since the other gentleman was at fault and was cited at the scene and the whole bit it was suggested by my insurance company that I make a claim against his insurance. Since his insurance company wasn’t really there to represent me – the person who had never paid them any money – they weren’t happy and smiley when dealing with me. Recorded statements, adjusters out of town, lack of communication – a whole lot of non-fun was had by yours truly. I have my car back, though, and now it’s time to get protective again.

So, today, I’ve already been cut-off twice. Twice on the same road – but by two different cars with the same name. More on that later.

When dealing with the friendly Florida Highway patrolman on the side of Bruce B Downs that day I said something that, as of today, I’m sure must be wrong. I was angry – sure – but I was calm, not screaming, doing my best not to cause any more of scene. This representative of Florida’s Finest noticed this and I told him, “It’s not like this guy is happy this happened. Nobody wants to get into an accident.”

They do, though, at least today. They want to be slammed into at highway speeds by a black Evolution. I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS! In fact – I’m confused, dismayed and generally ticked off to the point of over-italicizing! What happened to defensive driving? I’m not talking about driving slowly and allowing 20 car lengths – I’m talking about driving as if you don’t want to be turned into a vehicular pancake! Why not wait to enter traffic until there is enough space between cars that no one has to slam on their brakes from 55mph to avoid your rear bumper? Do you really want to take the chance and hope that I’m paying attention and not sending an email on my Blackberry while changing my radio station, putting on eyeliner and lighting a cigar? What if I wasn’t super paranoid about keeping my car beautiful and wanted to slam into you to prove some sort of point? Why not show some love for your own car and your own precious time – after all, that whole FHP, insurance, body shop experience was not fun! On top of that, I now know from experience that YOU would be the one getting cited and YOU would be the one having your insurance rates go up. I don’t drive defensively ‘cause I’m a pussy or because I don’t know what my car is capable of, I pay attention because I care about myself, my time, avoiding hassles and, oh yes, I care about my Evo. Not everyone else is paying as much attention as I am.

Perhaps the name of the car you pick to drive implies something about you? Those two cars that cut me off both had the name “FOCUS” in silver emblems across the back. Good thing I do. Maybe their drivers should, too.


Mayor Dangleschlong

Alright, friends. That’s it! Not only is it time for a new state song but it’s also time for a new state shape joke. We get it, kids, Florida, for some odd reason, reminds you of male genitalia. Perhaps it’s that we are ALSO a one-eyed monster (yes, I’m talking about Lake Okeechobee). Perhaps, even, its because the state seems to be spewing the Keys much in the way one would pump out baby seeds – but I gotta be honest here – I don’t see it. Sure, it’s hanging down – long and strong like all young boys hope to be some day – but I’m thinking they don’t hope to have a panhandle. Or several bays. Or be home to a few endangered species.

I watch Stephen Colbert’s show and like a whole lot of other hip and cool folks I think he’s extremely funny – with or without a writing staff. Tonight he made a joke (a joke I found amusing) about Mitt Romney winning Michigan last night not because of dad’s political history there and his being a home-state boy, but because his name is Mitt and the state is shaped like a mitten. Trust me – it was funny with graphics. He then offered his suggestion for Rudy Giuliani’s campaign in Florida … and the joke involved some phallic allusions.

Growing up I saw the shape of the state of few different ways and that wasn’t one of them. Now, you might be tempted to say, “Denise, you are talking about being a child. Of course you wouldn’t have thought those sort of things then!” Let me, quickly, clear up any misconceptions. I would have. I’m naturally profane. I’m one of those whose mind is always in the gutter and if a phrase can be turned into a joke that’s sexual in nature – by God, it’s my duty to do so. I’ve been this way since I was a young child. In fact, I think I was way worse then. So if I agreed that Florida looked like a giant cock, I’d be the first to pipe up in agreement. I, instead, saw two distinct things. The first was always (yes, this is intricate, but please remember: the mind of a child!) the head of an animal leaning down to graze. A giant, sweet eye glaring blankly like the eye of a cow and a tongue made of islands. Florida was the face of the United States while it was bowing down for a long drink of the Atlantic Ocean. The other thing I saw was a fish. Not quite as imaginative but also (c’mon!) pretty obvious. Panahandle is kind of fin-ish or tail-ish or whatever, eh? Kinda like a big Grouper or something.

I can’t be the only one that saw those things! Other people must have the same great (and somewhat twisted) visions of our glorious state!

I do appreciate, though, that I live in a state that’s has a cool enough geography to have jokes made about it’s shape – am I right? We all know that the easiest states to draw are the hardest to find something to do in.

Right, North Dakota?

At least South Dakota has that little dick thing hanging off the bottom – geez.