Monday, December 31, 2007

Lights out and nightie night for the Knights...

Mike emailed to ask why I didn't mention anything about the Knights. I guess, like everybody else here, I'm trying to forget about Saturday's game against Mississippi.

I have to admit, I did contract Knight fever this year. I know, I know...I'm a fair-weather fan, jumping on board in a season when UCF had a record 11 wins (7 consecutive!) with games held in a plush new stadium.

I went to the Ragin Cajun game with my neighbors, Jeff and Mary who are the biggest UCF fans ever - in fact, they are still in Memphis at this very moment, recovering from the Liberty Bowl. Jeff and Mary haven't' taken a break from tailgating since graduating in the late 80's. They hit it hard with their fellow alums in the parking lot of Brighthouse Stadium - section F7. This group is all about EXTREME tailgating...even the food is themed around that day's match-up (it was a seafood boil for the game against Louisiana and I really enjoyed the "Ain't Nothing but a Hound Dog Bites" for the Mempis game). Their group doesn't do paper plates, aluminum foil or ziploc bags. They drink a lot of Michelob (Light!). On the day I tagged along, we got there at 9am and left at 10pm. By the way, did I mention Tom and Stacey McNamara and their 43 foot Black & Gold RV? No joke.
Photo courtesy of this.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

STD pride in O-town.

Don't worry - it's all cool - nothing to be ashamed of. Some of my very best friends have crabs too! Although they don't work in restaurants.

I don't just preach the tacky fab lifestyle - I live it.

this photo from the Orlando Sentinel

If Austin Powers ever takes an Orlando vacation, he'll certainly agree the Red Fox Lounge is radioactive, baby. Take my word for it – The Fox is the grooviest place in Central Florida and the most fun you can have in a motel bar.

I went again to see Mark & Lorna last night. They've been performing at the Red Fox Lounge every Tuesday through Saturday for the past 16 years; they’ve been married for thirty-five. The lounge is a small room in the Best Western Mount Vernon on 17-92 in Winter Park. Lorna sings and Mark plays a mean synthesizer. The audience is encouraged to join in (but let’s face it, when Mark belts out “Sweet Caroline,” who needs an invitation?)

The crowd is random and on any given night you might find yourself next to college students or veterans of the Korean War. Sometimes the place is packed, and other times you might be the only one there. The vibe is reminiscent of a Vegas Lounge act. The drink of choice is the grasshopper – dirt cheap. There’s a whole lotta taxidermy going on. One thing's for sure - the scene is always cookin’ at the Red Fox and it'll get you so randy that you and your date will want to go out to your hot rod to play a little backseat bingo.

If you ask enough people about Mark and Lorna, the subject of the Culp’s is bound to come up. That’s because Orlando’s musical duo has many striking similarities to the couple from the Saturday Night Live skit starring Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer.

Online rumors pinpoint the Culp’s as the creation of Paula Pell, an SNL writer and former Orlando resident who may have seen Mark and Lorna’s act while living here as an actress.

Whether or not they are the inspiration for a legendary TV comedy skit is irrelevant - what matters is that Mark and Lorna have ultra-hip friends like Wayne Newton and Reuben Kincaid from the Partridge Family.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

I think this might be a publicity stunt for a new Orlando attraction

If this news story from Local 6 is to be believed, the guy below convinced a woman in Ohio that he was an employee of the Department of Homeland Security.

Lured in by his power, the two started dating. Two months after that, she started having trouble with her baby daddy, and the agent informed her she would have to be relocated to Orlando, per Witness Protection Program rules. So, of course, she packed up the kids and moved to Kissimmee where they all hid out, happily, until the special agent cut all the lights and tried to stab the woman.

I'm suspicious - after all, the top-secret government agent thing really is the only untapped concept left in Orlando. It would make a great thrill ride, with theme park employees dressed in black suits and dark glasses. Or maybe a hotel? How about a restaurant where Race Rock used to be?

World's Record for the Word "World"

Thanks to Tom Scherberger at the St. Pete Times who wrote up Tacky Fabulous in his “Bizarre Florida” blog, and also emailed to ask about the status of Hubcap World. Sadly, it has gone the way of Xanadu: Home of the Future, but it got me thinking about the one thing Orlando does better than any other city: putting the word “world” in business names.

Here’s your chance to join in the fun with the “It’s a World of World’s After All” Game. You can play this as a drinking game, or sober - just be on the lookout for businesses that have the word “World” in their names, and then send your photos here to be part of the World’s Largest Word “World” Photo Collection. Here are some places to watch for (and yes, they are all real):

Clock World, Air Conditioning World, Flea World, World Class Hammocks, Gibson Truck World, Give Kids the World, Disney’s Wide World of Sports, Shell World, World Quest Resort, World of Denim, Bargain World, Big Bargain World, Big Bargain World Inc #3, Christmas World, World of Dry Cleaners, World Bowling Center, World of Orchids, Sheraton World Center, World-o-Suds, Flag World, Rental World, Spice World, Costume World, Battery World, Bingo World, Buckle World, Best of British Soccer World (it’s a restaurant, of course), Cellular World, Fantasy World, Cost Plus World Market, Chevrolet World, Church World, World of Alterations, World of Coffee, Sign World, Camping World, Cap World, Alaska Yukon World Showcase of Orlando, Nurse World, A Tot’s World, Mailbox World, Luggage World, Magnet World, Wayne’s World of Antiques, Ski World, Mello’s World of Beauty, Tilly’s World of Jeans, Madge Elaine’s World of Entertainment.

If this goes well, we’ll play again with the word dollar.

first photo courtesy of

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Orlando is the Epicenter for "Wrap Rage"

Hooray - the Associated Press used Orlando experts for a big post-Christmas story, which means we are super-smart, compared with the rest of the country, about some important topic!

The topic is "wrap rage."

You know - that overwhelming sense of anger you feel when you have to poke and tear through 6 layers of packaging before you get to the gift. Some of our locals have had to deal with broken teeth, bloodied hands and an increase in blood pressure just trying to get Barbie out of her cardboard/plastic prison.

One Orlando resident is quoted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article about her use of tools (like wire-cutters) to unwrap holiday gifts....Next, a Deltona Grandmother discusses some of the psychological ramifications that go along with not being able to get a package open for an eager child....An Oviedo man talks about a Christmas Day "knife as a box-opener" incident gone bad... Another Orlando woman chimes in about her willingness to pay more for unpackaged items...and then, out come the big guns: the medical director for Florida Hospital CentraCare offers up advice about using scissors instead of cutlery or weapons to open gifts.

photo courtesy of

I Think We Hold the World's Record for World's Records

Central Florida is home to the “biggest, fastest, longest, loudest, heaviest, and tallest” of just about everything. In a somewhat ironic twist, the Guinness World Records Experience attraction only had a 2 year-run in Orlando, but on the bright side, we’ll forever be known for these accomplishments:

The World’s first Olive Garden restaurant, the largest photo album, and the person who has juggled the most objects at once. We are home to the record for fastest drumming, furthest distance thrown in a car accident (118 feet – he lived!), the fastest time for carving a face into a pumpkin, the largest numismatic auction, (over 77 million dollars in coins – silly me, I thought numismatists were people with bad allergies!), most tater tots consumed in 5 minutes (250) and the world’s largest stormwater pollution prevention convention (mark your calendars - that rowdy crowd will be in Orlando in August 2008).

On a sad note, we cannot boast the world’s largest kazoo band, however, we can proudly say we are home to the man who discovered the largest known prime number (It’s 895,932 digits long – perhaps you want to double check his work for accuracy).

Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The real meaning of Christmas

Every year, the town of Christmas, Florida is bombarded with people who want to have their holiday cards stamped with the "Christmas Florida" postmark. Since that order of business is now wrapped up for another year, the locals can focus on the REALLY important stuff - namely, playing host to the World's Largest Fake Alligator.

Here's Swampy - the star attraction at Jungle Adventures. He's 200 feet long plus one inch (I've always been told a guy should get credit for every inch). In addition to being the World's Largest Gator, Swampy is Florida's Longest Roadside attraction. He's pretty special.

But, that's not Jungle Adventures, you can ride the Jungle Swamp Queen River Boat, watch Jungle Jim's Gator Wranglin', and see the Jumpin' Gator Jamboree. I'm sure it wouldn't surprise you to know there are gator feedings, but let's be honest - those are about as common as parades in Orlando.

Here's another nice touch - at Jungle Adventures, they don't just put the gators on display throughout the park - they also sell them in the gift shop as belts, money clips and suspenders.

If you can't visit in person, please promise me you'll visit their website, which has the most tacky fabulous greeting you'll ever hear from a computer-generated gator. Quite high-tech!

photos courtesy of and Jungle Adventures

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I must have been a very good girl this year!

Just look at what Santa brought me...

...and I don't even smoke! (I am thinking of taking up the habit now that I have this fantastic ashtray)

Bonus "tacky fabulous" points for leaving the price tags on.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas...and don't forget to bundle up tonight!

Even though it's Florida, it sure can get cold. Luckily, Bealls saves the day with festive holiday sweaters! The vest is a nice daytime option.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I'm dreaming of a Cold War Christmas...

So, you've done Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, "The Makaliki Christmas Luau" at Sea World, and the Orlando Gay Men's Choir "Don We Now Our Gay Apparel" show, and you're thinking there's nothing left in town for holiday fun. Well, guess again! Might I suggest the following lesser known Central Florida events of the season:

The Cold War: Bomb Shelter Boutique at the Maitland Historical & Telephone Museum (Bomb shelters, crafts, and other relics of the 1950s and 1960s)...The Holiday Hypnosis Show at CityJazz...Gong Show Karaoke at Adobe Gila's...A Pirate's Christmas Dinner Adventure....and the Tools as Art Exhibit at The Terrace Gallery/Orlando City Hall.

"Tools as Art" photo courtesy of

Low Unemployment Rate in Orlando, Courtesy of Dr. Seuss

A reminder to holiday travelers:

This is a Universal Orlando theme park employee.

This is an employee of the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

This dog makes more money, seasonally, than you.

Happy holidays!

photos courtesy of Local 6 WKMG, Orlando Sentinel and

Saturday, December 22, 2007

2 Shopping Days Left Until Christmas...

...but still plenty of great items available in Orlando - home of "World Class Shopping."

Friday, December 21, 2007

This is not NASA's newest astronaut...

This is Central Florida resident Walter Barrett. He's dedicated to finding new and creative ways to avoid facing the judge. This morning, Volusia County corrections officers went to take him from his cell to bring him into the courtroom for sentencing related to a violent home invasion conviction. Whereas Ghandi chose to protest via a hunger strike and John Lennon was known to speak his mind through lyrics and music, Walter Barrett is a bit more unconventional.

He covers himself in feces. Oh, and he throws it at people too.

(Insert your own "Gag Order" joke here)

So, what you see above is the Central Florida gear specifically designed to help law enforcement combat that sort of thing. It's much more intriciately engineered than it looks, but to the untrained observer, it appears to be a washcloth stuffed in Barrett's mouth with a plastic bag over his head.

photos courtesy of WFTV

Ho Ho Ho - Take Your McNuggets "To-Go"

Ever wonder how Men's Health Magazine came to the conclusion that Orlando is the angriest city in the nation?

Exhibit 142a:

Somebody is not in the happy holiday spirit at the McDonald's on Silver Star Road. According to a story from WFTV, that "somebody" hung a sign on the door informing anyone who attends Evans High School, "You will not be allowed to stay in the restaurant. Thank you for your cooperation!"

Passive Aggressive Translator: Our most sincere gratitude for your purchase, now kindly GET THE HELL OUT. Enjoy your day (elsewhere)!

After being confronted by the WFTV Investigative Team (it's a slow news week), the McDonald's manager responded with, "Wha? Wasn't me."

Student Laverne Higgins gave us all something to think about, though, with her quote to the press: "I ain't one of those kids. Everybody ain't the same, so yeah, I be kinda mad, too."

Tru Dat, girl!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Would you like some fries with that gator?

Do you have about an hour? That's how long it could take me to list all the reasons I love the Black Hammock Restaurant. If you've got out-of-town guests, this is an Orlando "must-see."

For time's sake, here's an abbreviated list of everything tacky fab at the Black Hammock:

*The menu: It's hard enough to pick between the Frog's Legs and the Catfish Nuggets, but when you factor in the "Gator Corner" section of the menu with the Aligator Bites (blackened or Cajun), things really spin out of control. Don't rule out the Swamp and Turf with grits on the side.

*Dining with Entertainment: Sure, they offer live music, but I am much more excited by the fact that our waitress brought a real, live baby gator to our table. It's a step above those high end steakhouses, where they would never take the time to parade a cow through the dining room.

*Post-Dining Options: Take an airboat ride on Lake Jessup or go out back to visit Hammy, the resident 35-year old, 12-foot, 650-pound gator. Get your pic with him ($3 if you have your own camera, or $5 if you want them to give you the fancy paper-framed keepsake). For a real treat, watch Hammy get fed on Sunday afternoons. The young-in's will love it.

*Sleep-over: All the hotels booked up? Concerned about Florida's strict DUI laws? If you've had a few too many, you can always take advantage of the camping facilities at the Black Hammock. Go for dinner, but stay for the weekend!

*Special Events: They can even pretty-it-up for weddings, bar mitzvahs and anniversary parties.

(photos courtesy of Black Hammock)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Smells Like BenGay

Thanks to Jason for tipping me off to this tacky fabulous Orlando event. How is it that I had never before heard of (or got an invite to) Grandma Party?

The Grandma Party Bazaar is a semi annual gala that takes place in the parking lot of Stardust Coffee and Video. The last one happened on December 14th.

At this shindig, everybody is a vendor for the day! Whether you’ve got a knack for creating decorative vinyl donuts, edible magnets, or even pipe cleaner art, you can set up a card table and sell your wares at the Grandma Party. According to their event listing, they’ve got musicians, videographers, art installationists, farmers, hair stylists, and lots of other "ists" who hang out eating soy dogs and drinking lemonade. True to the event’s name, there are real live Grandmas there, along with a special section for rocking chairs, and a 3-foot Grandma pinata.

photos courtesy of

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Orlando is the only city where people pay to see ice!

Ice storms in Boston...FREE

Icicles in Kissimmee...$20
On the positive side, there is no window scraping involved at the ICE attraction in the Gaylord Palms Resort. Plus, you don't have to bring a parka - they'll let you use one of theirs - and since it's only 9 degrees inside, it's not likely the fat guy ahead of you sweat it up too much.

If you don't feel like forking over $60 for the whole family to experience this little Winter Wonderland, it's simple enough to re-create on your own. Just round-up 40 guys from Harbin, China, to hand carve the ice. Oh, and speaking of ice, make sure to order enough because Publix tends to run out. Gaylord Palms gets theirs from a factory in Cairo, Georgia that ships to Kissimmee in a refrigerated semi. You'll need roughly 5 million pounds.

On the downside, the official ICE website does address the "can I lick the ice?" question. The answer is no. Side note: Would you really want to?

photo courtesy WHDH Boston & Orlando Sentinel

Eat your heart out Clark W. Griswold...30 miles of extension cords!

There is nothing more tacky fabulous during the holiday season than the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney/MGM studios.

The whole thing started in Arkansas in 1996, when businessman Jennings Osborne strung up 1000 lights for his 6 year-old daughter. By the time he was up to 3 million, his neighbors took legal action, calling it "a public nuisance." A series of appeals brought the whole thing to the Supreme Court where the display was ultimately shut down for good. At that point, Jennings agreed to relocate everything to a place where the residents have an appreciation for fine art (and lots of electrical outlets available). Helloooo Orlando!

The display grows every year, and now it's up to 10 miles of rope lighting. Thirty miles of extension cords are held together by two million ties. The lights "dance" to snappy tunes like Feliz Navidad. And of course, it's not a Florida Christmas without the fake snow made from soap bubbles.

(photo courtesy of Disney/Gene Duncan)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Where were these when I was underage?

Finally, a solution to the problem of overpriced drinks in Orlando's hotel bars! I stumbled upon this wonderful sight at The Key Motel on Highway 192 in Kissimmee. Neveryoumind why I was at the Key - we'll just chalk it up as research.

Right there at the front entrance is a BEER VENDING MACHINE. I had never even heard of such a thing.

It raises so many questions: for starters, you've got to wonder about the legality of it. Apparently they don't subscribe to the "We ID anyone under 35" theory. Does this mean a 12 year-old with a fist full of quarters can now get his drink on?

Next, I want to know what's up with the "For Sale" sign. Is that to imply you can purchase a single beer, or if you're on a hard core bender, you may opt instead to buy up the machine and all its contents?

Last but not least, what do they stock? I have a funny feeling it's something along the lines of Milwaukee's Best. ICK!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bedbugs and free internet!

There's a new trend in Orlando Resort Marketing. It used to be that you could lure-in the tourists in droves with "FREE HBO," but now it's all about that world wide web. When planning an Orlando vacation, some people look for poolview rooms, others want on-site spa/exercise facilities, but for some, it's all about free internet. Or FRE internet.

Friday, December 14, 2007

NASA: It's not just about space travel anymore...

...Hallelujah for that.

Sure, I enjoy watching a rocket launch just as much as the next person...but not nearly as much as I love reading those top-secret-astronaut love-triangle emails.
THANK YOU NASA for releasing them to the public.

I've spent more time on their website than I ever have before, just trying to track down every detail on Commander William A. Oefelein. Because of him, I'm a serious astronaut groupie now, no less enthusiastic than I was about Bon Jovi, circa 1990. I'm thinking of starting a scrapbook.

Bill is my imaginary boyfriend and I love picturing how I'd show him off to all my friends. First, I'd dress him up in T-shirts that say, "Yes, I am a rocket scientist," and then for special occasions I'd have him wear his astronaut uniform. I'd remind the girls that Bill was awarded a medal for strike fighting (I have no idea what that is, but it's incredibly hot-sounding).

And to answer your next (obvious) question, No...I have no plans (yet) to put on a diaper and make a trek to the beach to pepper spray his astronaut girlfriend Colleen Shipman. I can wait my turn.

Back to Bill - these emails show he is a hopeless romantic, and if you didn't get a chance to read them yourself, here's the Cliff Note version: Bill invites Colleen on a trip to Alaska with his shuttle crew and asks Colleen what size artic gear she needs (NOTE: yet another reminder of how lame my past boyfriends were, who would ask such things as "Hey, can you buy me a Biketoberfest T-shirt? I'll pay ya back when we get home!")

Before Colleen can answer Bill about her preferences for sizing in artic gear, he follows-up with, "I think I can figure that out. Sized sexy and athletic.”

Is that not the most tacky fabulous sexy thing you've ever heard?

In Orlando, we have a sincere appreciation for ass humor...

We can't get enough of butt jokes and butt pictures and we raise our children, from a very young age, to have an appreciation for gluteal comedy. Some of our greatest works of art are exhibited through the visual medium of postcarding. Here are just a few of the more popular displays:
(Pay no attention to the lack of punctuation and sunscreen on that one)

I'll let you in on a well-kept Orlando secret. Most of our success with ass witticism stems from the fact that we replace the word "butt" wherever the word "but" is normally used. Shhhh!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Take that, South Beach!

We are among the first in the nation to have a "retro-styled" McDonald's, which is a two-fer when you consider we are also home to the World's Largest McDonald's.

Obviously, the bigwigs at Mickey D's recognize that we, in Orlando, have an appreciation for the finer things when it comes to architecture.

The McDonald's is being built on East Colonial...and there's even talk of serving lattes there. (P.S. That's a fancy coffee drink, y'all!)

photo courtesy of Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

At least it will keep them off the roads for the day...

Our roads will be a little safer on Sunday, as the residents of The Villages will be gathering en masse for a kazoo event. Not just any kazoo event, mind you, but the biggest kazoo event of its kind.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, "hordes of fun-loving retirees" will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest kazoo band. The current record is 2,679 kazooists.

The Villages is really kicking ass when it comes to World's Records. Last year they had the world's largest golf-cart parade (very prestigious). Now in the works - "The World's Largest Shuffleboard Competition" and "Most People Simultaneously Watching Wheel of Fortune". Go Villages!

P.S. In this article, the event organizer talks about the proper kazoo technique and mentions "not to blow". Similar advice was given to the residents of the Villages last year, after an outbreak of STDs in the retirement community.

(photo courtesy of Orlando Sentinel)

12 Shopping Days Left Until Christmas...

Some say the hot gift this year is the Wii. I say it's the "Bite Me" shark shotglass.

Our lawmakers have been very busy!

How embarrassing that the State Song of Florida is "Old Folks at Home." Thank goodness Charlie Crist has made it a priority to change that QUICKLY! Some see the song as racist...I see it as just incredibly LAME. Here's the contest for the next state song, and it's down to 3 politically correct finalists.

Last week, our local officials tackled the equally important task of maintaining Orlando's status as "The City Beautiful" after getting into a fight with Coral Gables about who's prettier.

Next up, a lesser known movement by a small but powerful group from Boca looking to change the state shell from Horse Conch to Lightning Whelk.
Thankfully, this is still the official state postcard, but with so many great contenders, that could change too.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Is there anything more tacky fabulous than a parade of fruit?'s just about time for the Citrus Bowl Parade! Almost as exciting as the event itself (which takes place downtown on December 29) is the opportunity for you to attach 100,000 oranges, tangerines and grapefruits to the chicken wire on the floats ahead of time.

Don't be intimidated if you haven't got any experience in this sort of thing - there are online tutorials-a-plenty. Like this one. Please trust me when I tell you, it is a must-see, with groovy background music and lines like, "Once you attach 'an citrus frooots' makes you want to do it over and over again."

There's also a lesser-known advanced tutorial, which covers all the extra special things sponsors can do to kick things up a notch on parade day. As an example, you can have people on-board your float waving, smiling, and tossing out miniature nerf footballs with corporate logos emblazoned on the side. The Orange County Expressway Authority, however, decided to scrap all the bells and whistles last year and take a more minimalist approach. Wonder how they'll top it this year?
Side note: The Grand Marshall hasn't been announced yet, so that can only mean one thing - it's going to be a former reality show contestant from 4 seasons ago.

(photo courtesy of Scott Maxwell/Orlando Sentinel)

Monday, December 10, 2007

In Orlando, even our drunks stick with the touristy theme...

From today's Orlando Sentinel...

A former Volusia County council member was arrested for DUI. Not remarkable, but follow me on this:

"(Bill) Long was speeding on Interstate 4 when he struck a sedan from behind, hitting it so hard that the impact threw the vehicle 300 feet and totaled the car. Long, who was seen drinking suntan lotion at the scene, was taken to the hospital by paramedics..."

DRINKING SUNTAN LOTION AT THE SCENE? I love that there is no further explanation.

Equally as disturbing is the fact that nobody stopped him. He didn't "attempt to drink suntan lotion at the scene" nor did officers "prevent him from drinking suntan lotion at the scene."

This is Bill following his arrest for domestic violence against his former partner Patrick Fulton. Rumor is, he was drinking Pantene Conditioner that day.

Behold...the future of Orlando

I've passed "Xanadu Home of the Future" plenty of times, but finally I stopped in to take a look-see. Either this place is closed or the future looks pretty bleak, my fellow Floridians. Here's what you have to look forward to...

In the future, we won't have paved roads or lawnmowers. We'll sun ourselves on plastic chairs in front of 50s inspired homes...

and forget about those flying cars like the Jetson's have, because apparently, we'll all be tooling around Highway 192 in broken down limos.