Saturday, December 25, 2004


I'm doing Xmas with the family. The girls and I drove 1260 miles to Orlando, where we will be for about 8 days. I would like to be able to tell you that I'm loving it here. I'm not. I'm loving having a "family" Xmas--first one I've had in 8 years--but I'm finding Orlando repulsive.

First off, did all these people really vote for Bush/Cheney? Apparently so, if you go by the bumper stickers. There's no recycling here. They're barfing up houses like frat boys at a kegger and the land around here is a drunken sorority girl. The thing that's been making me crazy is that I can't find a bookstore. I've driven all up and down major strips--I can find 12 million souvenir shops and ticket shops and crap, but I can't find a bookstore. I know there must be one in this city, but Jesus. The Bush/Cheney stuff and the lack of bookstores is adding together, you know? And then, well, there's a sign as you come into Orlando. It's a huge billboard. It's got a picture of the Smiling Chimp and the sign says "Our Leader." Is this Orwell's America?

I don't mean to rank on a city. I'm sure that there are charming parts of Orlando that I have yet to find. I'm sure that when I called all the movie theatres looking for something to go see that it was just an accident that there was not a single independent movie anywhere.

I need some cul-chuh. And I don't mean going to Epcot and pretending to sit in a Moroccan bazaar.


jo said...

If you do find a bookstore, pick up a copy of Carl Hiassen's Team Rodent, to read more about Disney's rape and pillage of what was, when my grandmother grew up there in the early 20th century, a quiet paradise where spanish moss swung gently from a million live oaks.

Sheryl said...

Hold on, I'll find you something. Living in Texas, I'm pretty good at finding out what's going on in a less progressive culture that you are probably used to. You just have to look a bit harder:

How about this for tonight:'s see, today there is also a Community Kwanzaa Celebration at the Heritage Square and Orange County Regional History Center: New Years, there are bird watching event at the Tibet-Butler Preserve:

Also, check out the Orlando Weekly:

1138 said...


I spent Christmas with family just a bit south of Orlando in Melborne.
There are several good bookstores in Melborne but I do get your point about Floridians and reading, they don't seem as inclined to the prospect as the upper right side of the country. I suspect part of the difference is the climate, north eastern winters vs. south eastern winters.
Personally however I find the 'scenery' of most of Florida exrtemely boring and featureless and would expect the inhabitants more inclined to escape through a book - but I guess they all glue themselves to the tube. Did you get a load of what they allow to pass for local programming?
I'm not surprised that a lot of the bumper stickers I observed were of the 'W' variety than the longer Bush/Cheney type - the Floridian attention span just isn't long enough to read two names seperated by a slash.
Does anyone know what the mathematical result is of Bush/Cheney?

Snave said...

Our family took a two-week trip to Florida this last June, that destination chosen by my wife and our two teenage daughters. Being from a mountainous area, I was stunned at how flat the place is. We spent five nights at the Marriott World Center hotel in Orlando, and from our 10th-floor room, the view was nothing but a flat, steaming jungle-like area that seemed to go on forever in every direction, with only an occasional building sticking up through the trees to break the monotony.

The election ads weren't up everywhere at that point, but there were some, and the ones I saw were nearly all for Bush. No matter about that, everyone was very nice to us. Maybe that's due to us not having a Kerry sticker on the rental car? 8-)>

After Orlando, we rented a car and drove to see NASA and the Everglades, and then all the way out to Key West. One of our days there was spent at Dry Tortugas National Park. That was one of the best days I've had anywhere. Key West itself was a fascinating place... cats and chickens are running around all over, and the community seems to take care of them all. There must be a drinking establishment for every ten residents of the town.

Anyway, for deep-sea fishing (snapper, grouper, mahi-mahi), wildlife-viewing and snorkeling, Florida was great. For the heat and humidity, the lack of scenery, the crass commercialism of the Orlando area... it was the pits. Next time I think I'll tell the family "Now it's my turn to decide where we go, and I choose Alaska! Get out the fishing gear!"

Snave said...


Forgot to mention, I found your blog through Sheryl's "A Thought Vacuum" site. Your weblog is good! I'll bookmark it!

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jasmine said...

Found a lot of useful info on your site about snorkeling - thank you. Haven't finished reading it yet but have bookmarked it so I don't lose it. I've just started a snorkeling blog myself if you'd like to stop by

Quit Smoking said...

Hello fellow fisherman,

Did you know that 16% of the U.S. population goes fishing at least 16 days a year?

Did you also know that over 75% of the nations fishermen do not fish during "prime time"; fish feeding hours?

Those precious few moments before twilight can be absolutely magical. Even up until 11pm at night, the largest predators of any species feed ravenously.

Don't believe me? Check out Daniel Eggertsen's story, and a picture of a couple of his catches here : "Evening Secrets plus more"

I want you to do me a favor and try it out so I can see what you think of it, and if it works for you as well as it did for me.

You will be one of the first to try it out.

Gone Fishin',


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