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Drummer Boy

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Florida: The "Astana" of states.
« on: January 02, 2019, 05:10 »
OK, I've been threatening to start this thread for years. I'm not sure how long I'll be able to stick with it, but others are more than welcome to join the party.

Here's the premise: Of all the 50 states in the U.S.A., Florida stands out as its own special little slice of crazy. It seems that of all the weird, unusual, demented, tragic, horrifying and stupefying stories that hit the news on any given day, a good sixty to seventy percent of them are spawned in Florida. I have no idea why this is, and perhaps that's a topic to be explored all on its own within the pages of this thread. But it happens with such regularity that I've wanted to document some of those stories here.

The idea came to me years ago, likely inspired by this 2014 Tweet from cycling journalist Neil Browne (using a reference that any good American should understand).

https://twitter.com/neilbrownecom/status/541254877293576192


Hence the title of this thread.

I left out the "Team" part, and the reference is obviously a bit dated at this point (newcomers will just have to look up that team's colorful history themselves), and it has nothing specifically to do with the capital of Kazakhstan, which I'm sure is a fine city all its own. But the title stands, damn it!

But a funny thing happened in the intervening years. For reasons I no longer remember, I didn't launch the thread when it first occurred to me, and I just figured that so many crazy stories couldn't possibly sustain themselves, and I had missed the glory years.

I couldn't have been more wrong though. Jeezus. Things just kept getting crazier—month-after-month, year-after-year. At each interval, I kept thinking to myself, Oh man, I've missed the best ones. I don't want to backtrack now and have to post old news articles, and surely this can't continue. But, uh, yeah, Florida just refused to yield the floor to any other state.

So here we are. Not 24 hours in to 2019, and Florida doesn't disappoint. Not to be outdone, they're making the News of the Weird yet again. Now keep in mind, this is an extremely tame story by Florida's bizarro standards, but being only the first day of the New Year, I'm taking it as a sign: START THIS THREAD! GOD-ONLY-KNOWS WHAT LIES AROUND THE CORNER!

So with that in mind, and with Krebs in mind (because I'm certain he would have loved this!) I now present:

Florida: The Astana of States

As I finally light the match on this thread, I feel I have both the obligation and the need to now go back and do exactly what I was hesitant to do in the past. That is, to select and document the key stories from Florida's headlines from at least the previous four years that should prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it truly is a place of wonder, if not horror. Some of them will be ugly and grim, but they made national headlines around the world for a reason.

I'm not yet sure how to arrange everything chronologically, as new stories are likely to develop long before I amass the more significant stories of days gone by, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there (and maybe with the help of some mods, but I'm not sure it's even possible to rearrange the order of posts?).

So without further ado (and keep in mind that this first story is just a primer, as it is not all that sensational, but it just happened to occur on Day One of this new year)...
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  • « Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 05:48 by Drummer Boy »

    Drummer Boy

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    Re: Florida: The "Astana" of states.
    « Reply #1 on: January 02, 2019, 05:38 »
    January 1, 2019

    Toddler rushed to hospital after rhino encounter at Florida zoo



    Quote
    A 2-year-old girl was injured at a Florida zoo during a private rhino encounter experience, zoo officials said.

    The toddler and her family were taking part in a close-up experience with white rhinos at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida, on Tuesday when the girl came into contact with the animals.

    The family of three were given access to feel and brush the rhinos while supervised by two zookeepers in an area of the zoo where they were separated from the animals only by steel posts. At some point during the experience, the toddler wedged through the posts and got into the rhinos' yard, said Andrea Hill, the zoo's marketing and communications director.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: Florida: The "Astana" of states.
    « Reply #2 on: January 02, 2019, 21:08 »
    I've always seen Florida as a state where rich oldies go to to enjoy a "golden retirement". Sure it's cliché but do I have a point or am I way off the mark?

    Then there are all those amusement parks in Orlando which are not really my thing, and the art deco buildings around Miami, which are even less...

    By the way, one question: the Miami Amerindian nation were rather living in the Ohio valley, so how come a Floridian city is named after them?

    Recently I discovered Ave Maria: a town artificially created by the founder of Domino's Pizza, that is meant to be predominantly "Catholic".  ;)



    By the way, I don't like zoos (I don't like the idea of having animals turning around in a cage, even though I enjoyed visits as a kid).
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    Carlo Algatrensig

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    Re: Florida: The "Astana" of states.
    « Reply #3 on: January 02, 2019, 22:09 »
    I've always seen Florida as a state where rich oldies go to to enjoy a "golden retirement". Sure it's cliché but do I have a point or am I way off the mark?

    Then there are all those amusement parks in Orlando which are not really my thing, and the art deco buildings around Miami, which are even less...

    By the way, one question: the Miami Amerindian nation were rather living in the Ohio valley, so how come a Floridian city is named after them?

    Recently I discovered Ave Maria: a town artificially created by the founder of Domino's Pizza, that is meant to be predominantly "Catholic".  ;)



    By the way, I don't like zoos (I don't like the idea of having animals turning around in a cage, even though I enjoyed visits as a kid).

    That place Ave Maria reminds me of Seahaven from the Truman Show for some reason
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: Florida: The "Astana" of states.
    « Reply #4 on: January 03, 2019, 02:03 »
    I've always seen Florida as a state where rich oldies go to to enjoy a "golden retirement". Sure it's cliché but do I have a point or am I way off the mark?

    You're correct. It's not just a cliché. Florida is not only a permanent destination for older people (mostly due to the weather), but it also very a much a winter-time retreat for older people from the North East and other areas. These people will spend their winters in Florida to avoid the cold of their home state, and then escape Florida before the more oppressive heat and humidity of summer sets in. So they get the best of both worlds—if they can afford homes in both places. It is not uncommon, though.


    Quote
    By the way, one question: the Miami Amerindian nation were rather living in the Ohio valley, so how come a Floridian city is named after them?
    It's my understanding that there were two separate and different cultures. The Miami Indians of the Ohio valley were not the same as the Mayaimi people of Florida. The pronunciations are very similar (if not identical) and I suspect that over time the spellings became interchangeable. Beyond that, Wikipedia has some relevant history of both tribes, as well as the pertinent history of both the city of Miami, and the corresponding river of the same name.


    Quote
    Recently I discovered Ave Maria: a town artificially created by the founder of Domino's Pizza.
    Honestly, I've never heard of that place in my entire life.  :S

    It's like a parody of some town that is actively trying to advertise its own lack of diversity. I'm just disappointed that they've deactivated the comments for that YouTube promo, because I can just imagine what some of the feedback would've been.

    But that's one of the strange contradictions that is Florida: It is part wealthy retirement getaway, part magnet for the downtrodden, and part host to its own native collection of questionable characters. Much of which will be on prominent display throughout this thread.
     :D

    I don't claim to be any sort of expert on Florida, and truth be told, I've never even been there. But its reputation is known far and wide. There are exclusive communities for the wealthy and mostly White (as in the above video), along with very poor rural areas that still harken back to the Deep South. In addition, you have cities such as Miami that are well known for their rich cultural diversity, as well as pockets of very ethnic communities made up of largely Cuban and Puerto Rican immigrants. Inevitably, the gamut of human interactions and behavior is there to be found. But why they so often make the news is still a topic to explore.
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  • « Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 02:34 by Drummer Boy »

    Drummer Boy

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    Re: Florida: The "Astana" of states.
    « Reply #5 on: January 03, 2019, 03:36 »
    Before going any further, and in order to demonstrate that my morbid fascination with Florida is hardly unique, I'll drop a few links here (and probably more in the future) that illustrate the far-reaching cultural influence of that peculiar place.

    Simply searching on Google for "Florida headlines" will yield more than you may care to embrace. It was not my intention for this to simply be the "freak show thread" (because there are a lot of serious news stories to be shared as well), but it could easily become that with very little effort. Florida writes its own script most of the time. Since I would quickly grow weary of every other "white trash" or "trailer park" adventure tale, I'll spare you the details but will provide the general description as provided by the outlets that thrive on such things.

    From Mashable:
    Quote
    If you hear a news anchor start a report with the words, "A Florida man..." chances are the next few sentences are going to be good.

    Whether it’s something in the sunshine state’s water, or the fact that year-round access to Disney World is driving locals mad, people from Florida just don't seem to run on the same wavelengths as the rest of the United States.

    From Distractify:
    Quote
    When it comes to weird news, out of all the states in the U-S-of-A, no one comes close to Florida. A lot of it has to do with the Government in the Sunshine Act, which makes all of the government's doings open to the public. This means journalists have plenty source material to pull from whenever they need a story.

    So it's not that Florida has a larger assortment of weirdos than other states, per se, it's just that their weirdos tend to get way more press. That being said, it doesn't change the fact that there was a lot of weird stuff happening in the Sunshine State in the last 12 months.

    From World Wide Interweb:
    Quote
    The state of Florida continues to dominate the national news headlines this week and per usual, it’s for all the wrong reasons. Fresh on the heels of the “Disney Gator Attack,” we decided it was time for us to shine a light on the most insane Florida news headline of all time. And we apologize in advance for the irreparable damage it will do to the common sense portion of your brain.

    Well, you get the general idea. I could go on forever with similar assessments. But what's funny is that right around the time I was contemplating this thread, some creative genius compiled all the Florida craziness under one roof by creating what has come to be known simply as Florida Man. What is Florida Man, you may ask?

    'Florida Man' Is Twitter's Worst Superhero Ever
    Quote
    Feb 11, 2013

    A new Twitter parody account, called @_floridaman, posts real news headlines about bizarre crimes happening in the Sunshine State. The catch? Every headline must begin with the words "Florida Man" — thus creating a hybrid, mayhem-causing superhero who just can't seem to catch a break. The headlines are real, as are the strange crimes they describe.


    49 Crazy Headlines That Could Only Be Created By Florida Man
    Quote
    Dec. 30, 2014

    You'd be hard-pressed to find a more perfect caricature of America's wildest, bawdiest and most unintelligible impulses than Florida Man.

    As the Internet's most notorious citizen, Florida Man isn't a single person, let alone a single resident of Florida. He's an amalgamation of the characters who populate the ridiculous news stories that often trickle out of the Sunshine State. Florida Man is a raunchier version of the Onion's mild-mannered Area Man, a caricature, with a wink and a nod, to our fellow Americans.

    In short, Florida Man is America's id. And although he hails from the nation's wang, Florida Man embodies America's deepest and darkest desires — and does so with reckless abandon. Jalopnik's Patrick George described him best as "America's worst superhero" in 2013: "Whoever this Florida Man is, he's clearly insane and unstoppable. He feels no pain, has no ethics, and is capable of feats far beyond that of normal American man. It almost sounds like Florida Man is a superhero — just a really terrible one."

    The 47 Wildest Florida Man Headlines of 2015
    Quote
    Esquire Dec 30, 2015

    An authentic Florida Man incident should involve some, if not all, of the following: boneheaded criminal schemes, an outrageous disregard for common decency, unconventional encounters with police, nunchucks, public and/or outlandish sex acts, alligators and/or other reptiles, large-scale robberies of undesirable goods, Tasers, bizarre supernatural beliefs, and of course, rampant drug use. Almost any crime committed on the World's Craziest Peninsula™ has at least one of these features, but a true Florida Man combines a number of them to create an act of delinquency that simply could not have occurred anywhere else.

    All of the following should be treated as allegations and reports, not settled fact. We would also be remiss to not extend special thanks to the @_FloridaMan Twitter account, where many of these stories were found and whose owner goes into the trenches day after day to document Floridian crime, probably at the expense of his or her mental health.
    :lol
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  • « Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 04:12 by Drummer Boy »

    Drummer Boy

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    Re: Florida: The "Astana" of states.
    « Reply #6 on: January 03, 2019, 04:38 »
    Although I really, honestly, truly had intended to focus this thread on the more major headlines oozing out of Florida—the ones that make the national and international pages—I'd be remiss if I didn't at least offer a sampling of the aforementioned Florida Man twitter feed.

    https://twitter.com/_FloridaMan/status/1071758553252122625


    https://twitter.com/_FloridaMan/status/1042840972193742848


    https://twitter.com/_FloridaMan/status/1063804066264829953
     :D

    https://twitter.com/_FloridaMan/status/1042205164021506049


    https://twitter.com/_FloridaMan/status/1039895324653891584
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  • « Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 04:58 by Drummer Boy »

    Drummer Boy

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    Re: Florida: The "Astana" of states.
    « Reply #7 on: January 03, 2019, 13:56 »
    It's only January 3rd, and this is already too easy. :fp

    Florida man attacks McDonald's employee

    Quote
    The Florida man had just received his order at a McDonald's in St. Petersburg on Monday evening. He became upset when there weren't any plastic straws out at the condiment station, witness Brenda Biandudi told CNN.
    He walked back to the counter and got in a heated argument with an employee about the straws, Biandudi said. Then, video shows him reaching over the counter and grabbing the employee.

    By the end of the night, Daniel Taylor, a 40-year-old homeless man, would be arrested on two charges of simple battery, according to an arrest affidavit from the St. Petersburg Police Department. A lawyer for Taylor could not be reached Wednesday night.



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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: Florida: The "Astana" of states.
    « Reply #8 on: January 04, 2019, 04:06 »
    Keep in mind, I don't find these stories. These stories find me.

    Real gunfire on one campus, active shooter drill on another cause FIU confusion

    Quote
    January, 3, 2018

    There was real gunfire on one campus while an active shooter drill was held on another campus Thursday, causing a mini panic — and for some, confusion — at Florida International University.

    At around 1:45 p.m., FIU tweeted, “FIU ALERT! BBC Campus: Police activity is occurring on or near campus! Seek shelter NOW. #FIUalert.”

    But the alert confused some who noted that FIU tweeted earlier that an active shooter drill was being conducted at the College of Business Complex on the Modesto A. Maidique Campus, FIU’s main campus near Sweetwiter.
    :S
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: Florida: The "Astana" of states.
    « Reply #9 on: January 04, 2019, 04:13 »
    This thread would be incomplete without acknowledging this tribute, of sorts, to our beloved Florida Man.

    http://floridamanthemovie.com
    (Trailer available at the above link.)

    Quote
    A psychedelic jaunt through the beloved sunshine state celebrating the characters that inhabit it and stories that made them legendary.





    https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/florida-man/

    Quote
    2015

    You can learn a lot about life from the man on the street, especially if that street resides within one of the countless small towns that populate the quirky state of Florida. In his new documentary Florida Man, director Sean Dunne approaches a variety of colorful characters that one might pass on a daily basis without notice. Dunne notices, though, and he forces us to as well. In the process, he uncovers a series of surprising, eccentric and boisterous perspectives on what it means to survive in America today.

    Dunne captures each of his fascinating subjects in the comforts of their natural habitats outside of bars, liquor stores, laundromats, dingy apartments and motel rooms. They're all here; the barroom brawlers, midnight philosophers, rugged retirees living the dream of beach side leisure, homeless vets, and sidewalk drunks. In their own unique ways, they are all preachers of the street gospel.

    Some are residents of the state. Others have migrated there from vastly different regions of the country. We intuit that each of them must have a fascinating story to share about where they came from, and the cards that life dealt them along the way. For the most part, Dunne teases us with only morsels from their life journeys, and invites the viewer to fill in the blanks for themselves.

    After all, the characters that truly stay with you are the ones you're desperate to know more about. What Dunne does provide are the building blocks to an environment which many of us fail to consider while we rest comfortably in our securely defined circles. It's a big world out there, and even the man on the street has much to teach us


    This is not Disney World. That's for sure.

    Curiously, much of this could just as easily have been shot 4,000 kilometers away on the streets of Anaheim, California (a place I've been numerous times), which is also happens to be home to the original Disneyland.  The climate, the palm trees, the look and feel—some of the people in this film remind me exactly of some of the street people of Anaheim.

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  • « Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 05:41 by Drummer Boy »

    Drummer Boy

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    Re: Florida: The "Astana" of states.
    « Reply #10 on: January 04, 2019, 12:59 »
    January 4, 2018

    7 killed, 8 injured in crash, explosion on Florida highway






    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Two big rigs and two passenger vehicles collided and spilled diesel fuel across a Florida highway Thursday, sparking a massive fire that killed seven people and injured at least eight others, authorities said.

    The wreck happened on southbound Interstate 75 about a mile (1.6 kilometers) south of Alachua, near Gainesville. The flames were fed by about 50 gallons (189 liters) of diesel, authorities said.

    Emergency crews extinguished the fire and authorities said they were treating the crash as a homicide investigation, but didn’t say why.
    :S

    [Edit]
    There's still more to this tragedy. One of the vehicles was a van carrying children from a church group on their way to Disney World. Five of the seven people killed were those children. The other two deaths were the drivers of the tractor-trailers. One had collided with a car before careening across the barrier between the northbound and southbound lanes, causing the two big rigs to crash into one another. Just horrible.
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  • « Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 03:00 by Drummer Boy »

    Slow Rider

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    Re: Florida: The "Astana" of states.
    « Reply #11 on: January 04, 2019, 17:17 »
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: Florida: The "Astana" of states.
    « Reply #12 on: January 09, 2019, 22:06 »
     :o

    Wild monkeys infected with herpes virus may double in Florida



    Quote
    ON THE SILVER RIVER, Fla. (AP) — Wild monkeys infected with a virus dangerous to humans are roaming Florida.

    Some of the wild rhesus macaques in Silver Springs State Park not only carry the herpes B virus, but have it in their saliva and other bodily fluids. This poses a potential risk of spreading the disease to any humans who may be bitten or scratched.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Florida: The "Astana" of states.
    « Reply #13 on: January 10, 2019, 10:30 »
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    Drummer Boy

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    Re: Florida: The "Astana" of states.
    « Reply #14 on: January 10, 2019, 14:00 »
    Detectives: Burglar in closed police substation left ID


    Quote
    BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) — To identify the burglary suspect who broke into a closed Florida police substation and ate an officer’s chicken dinner, detectives didn’t need to lift fingerprints or get DNA from the discarded meal.

    The ID cards authorities say the suspect left behind did the trick.

    Boynton Beach police said Wednesday that officers arriving for a morning shift at a department substation last week found a broken window and the remains of a hastily eaten chicken dinner scattered in the kitchen.

    Finding a suspect wasn’t hard. They say 29-year-old Yvelande Jean-Pierre left behind her wallet, which contained her two identification cards.

    Police say security video shows she spent about 45 minutes in the substation before leaving.

    Jean-Pierre is charged with burglary. Court records do not show if she has an attorney.
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  • t-72

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    Re: Florida: The "Astana" of states.
    « Reply #15 on: January 10, 2019, 22:07 »
    I got about halway down the thread before I started to laugh so much I couldn take any more in a continuous reading. Will be back for more tomorrow! :lol :lol  :cool
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