Monday, July 21, 2008

TOTAL SCAM! Somebody Call the Local 6 Problem Solvers NOW!

I realize I run the risk of sounding totally ungrateful for the award just bestowed upon me by the Orlando Weekly for "Best Lifestyle Blog," but today is the day I take them down.

It was less than five days ago, when the Weekly named their "Best of Orlando" for 2008, which included honors in categories like "Best Display of Sexism" and "Best Place to Duck Beer Bottles".

There was also an award given for "Best Mustache." Important - I'll agree - but I was a little surprised to see Tony Ortiz receive top honors. He's the Commissioner of Orlando District 2.

I'm pretty sure he also moonlights as a mime at Disney on the weekends, but that's unconfirmed, at this point.
Yes, Tony's mustache is dead sexy, but I just couldn't shake the thought that there must be an even bigger, better, and waxier one in town. I mean, in a city that boasts "the World's Largest McDonald's Playland" and the "World's Largest Harvest of Tomatoes From a Single Vine," clearly there must be a mustache of enormous proportions tucked away somewhere in Orlando's underbelly. Did anybody from the Orlando Weekly pay a visit to Wally's Pub to research this category?

Immediately, my thoughts went to Tico Perez as a possible contender, but further investigation indicates he is no longer sporting the look made famous in this picture from a few years ago, in his Eagle Scout regalia.

So, I emailed my friend Ian Monroe at the Orlando Weekly to find out a little more about the methodology and research that went into the "Best Mustache" decision. I wanted to know who else had been in the running.

Monroe's response made it clear there was something more going on, but I didn't know what. He gave me a quick brush-off line about Alan Grayson now being clean-shaven, and politely wished me a good day.
Then, I knew it was time to bring in the big guns. I reached out to the American Mustache Institute. By the way, that's a "dot org", meaning they are in it for the love of the mustache, not for commercial purposes or money making. I knew, of course, the Orlando Weekly had, most certainly, contacted their organization before ever making a important decision about "Best Mustache."

I was wrong.

Not only was AMI not involved, but they don't even support the Orlando Weekly's choice! Here's what they had to say:

"Thank you for this missive. Clearly, the results of any vote on a 'best mustache' cannot be certified without the involvement of the American Mustache Institute (AMI), which, behind the U.S. Marine Corps and the Muppets, is the bravest organization in the history of mankind.

In examining Mr. Ortiz's mustache, it is clear that this vote was not about his luxurious labia sebucula (Latin for "lip sweater"), but about his presence, strong bones, well defined jaw line, and unquestioned good looks. In short - they voted for the man, not the mustache."

It was just as I had suspected - something was up. But that's when things took a weird turn. The AMI actually went so far as to throw their support behind Mike Thomas of the Orl
ando Sentinel - who doesn't even have a mustache anymore! Read on...

"We would suggest the best Orlando-area mustache is one that actually perished more than a year ago - the mustache of Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Thomas who we are copying on this note. We revere Mr. Thomas' past mustache, although when he committed the 3rd degree felony by shaving it, he actually caused an angel in heaven to die and fall to earth (as happens when all mustaches are shaved)."
At that point, I fully expected Mike Thomas to do the right thing and bow out gracefully. So, imagine my surprise when I received this response from him, via email dated today (7-21-08 at 10:58am):

"I think my now deceased mustache should be nominated."

His rationale?

"It is not uncommon for dearly departed actors to be nominated for, and even win, Academy Awards."

And then he closed with this little cryptic phrase - obviously attempting to swing things in his favor with a promise he has no intention of keeping:

"A best mustache award would bring the dead back to life, as I surely would revive it if such an honor were bestowed."

Which, using Thomas' own Academy Award analogy, is like saying, "I will agree to star in 'Stop or My Mom Will Shoot 2', as long as you can promise me the Best Actor statuette first." I'm not buying it, Thomas!

I realize I'm venturing into territory that is best left to the experts, but I did point out to Mike Thomas that if the Weekly were to bend the rules for him, they would also have to allow Buddy Ebsen on the ballot - after all, he went to Rollins College, and also sported an uber-stache.

Unafraid, I suggested to Mike Thomas that he was probably in over his head and should, instead, focus his efforts in a forward-thinking manner - dedicating himself to a bigger and bushier mustache that would trounce Ortiz in 2009. But Thomas wasn't going to let it go. His heated response said something about me "lacking vision" - and that I'm too caught up in "mustaches that are" rather than "mustaches that could be".

I guess there's probably a lesson in here about making your vote count, or voting for change, but none of that matters right now. In 20 years, when Orlando children are reading in history books about "The Best Mustache of 2008" - it's Tony Ortiz' picture they'll see, and I don't think there's anything any of us can do about it.

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