Category Archives: Just Plain Weird

Festivus Orlando 2010! (Just For the Rest of Us!)

It’s December 23, and as Seinfeld fans everywhere know, today is Festivus!  That means airing of grievances, feats of strength, setting up a metal pole, and even Festivus miracles…Festivus is all too real!

For the uninitiated, here’s a short summary of the holiday:

Yes, people everywhere pour into the streets and bars to perform heroic acts of strength, to loudly complain, and to jubilantly celebrate the day!  Even Orlando-based AirTran got into the mood by offering their “Don’t be distracted by Tinsel, Celebrate Festivus with AirTran.”  (Unfortunately, their celebration ran from December 1-12, missing the actual holiday by quite a bit, but they still get kudos for effort.)

Fortunately for the rest of us, Festivus is alive and well in the rest of Orlando with a few observances around town (Or you can have your own!):

  • Head to the Festivus for the Rest of Us festival at Orlando Tastings Wine Bar
  • Try the Festivus Holiday Party at Graffiti Junktion, Thornton Park
  • Demand that Ben & Jerry bring back their Festivus flavored ice cream (an ice cream for the rest of us) at your favorite stores around town
  • Order this special Festivus pin
  • Perform a feat of strength (don’t get hurt, though)
  • Gripe and complain to air your grievances
  • Dance around a metal pole (Hmmm… that sounds a bit risqué!)
  • Hope for a Festivus miracle

So, friends, happy Festivus for the Rest of Us! Enjoy the day!

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Filed under Fun, Just Plain Weird, Seasonal

You are Welcome, Jim Morrison.

Today Governor Charlie Crist led a successful effort to clear legendary frontman Jim Morrison (of The Doors) of indecent exposure here in Florida, posthumously, of course.  Morrison was born in Melbourne, FL and briefly attended Florida State University in Tallahassee, Crist’s alma mater. Gov. Crist – who took the unusual step of speaking on Morrison’s behalf during the hearing – said there remained doubts as to whether the singer exposed himself or not at a Miami concert back in 1969.

 

 

 

While the board’s vote to clear Morrison was unanimous, Attorney General Bill McCollum said he was “disturbed” by all the attention paid to a dead celebrity… we tend to agree.  It seems like there are better ways to be spending the government’s time! I mean, this guy died nearly 40 years ago!

While we love The Doors music, we’re NOT listing this as a Top 5 event.

On a side note, there was an avid Doors fan named Michael Zidanic in attendance for the hearing. “It’s a real relief for Doors fan all over the world,’’ said Zidanic. He later called the granting of the pardon a “historic moment” and a “moving experience.”  (Well, it’s still not going down as a Top 5 event!)

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Filed under Celebrity, Just Plain Weird, Music, Politics, Uniquely Florida

Twilight Stars Invade Orlando – Watch Your Necks!

If you are a Twilight fan–and, yes, there are millions out there!–some of the stars of the movies will be featured at the Official Twilight Convention right here in Orlando, December 10-12 at the Disney Hilton.

Here’s some of the stars you can see (photos from the official website):

Peter Facinelli - Dr. Carlisle Cullen

Chaske Spencer - Sam, the Werewolf

Charlie Bewley - The Volturi Tracker Demetri

So, be sure to check out the convention and all the fun happenings including:

  • The Saturday Night Volturi Vampire Ball
  • Vampire makeovers
  • Sunday brunch and charity auction
  • Fantasy faces and body art

Sounds like a blast to us…just watch your neck with all these vampires in town!

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Filed under Fun, General Info, Just Plain Weird, Literary

How Cold Is It in Central Florida?

Yep, it's real snow!

Snowman cold!  This was taken in Winter Park at 4 pm today… tell me it isn’t cold outside!

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Filed under Fun, Just Plain Weird, Seasonal, Uniquely Florida

Bikinis in 9-Degree Weather? Oh My!

The Orlando Polar Bear Club (Yes, there is such a group!) braved the 9 degree weather inside the Gaylord Palms.  Sans parkas and opting for bikinis and swim trunks instead, the group of slightly extreme thrill-seekers made their way through the ICE! exhibit.

 

Photo from the Gaylord Palms.

So, why did these polar bears take a “plunge” down ice slides today? A portion of the ticket sales benefits the Children’s Miracle Network, so we think this is pretty cool! <— Yeah, you know you liked our pun!

 

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Filed under Charity, Fun, Just Plain Weird, Seasonal

Top 5 Weekly Video Round Up

Okay, so Thanksgiving break has me running a day late, but here’s this week’s round up of videos from Central Florida:

Old Town Classic Car Parade in Kissimmee:

Native American Gathering, Central Florida Fairgrounds:

Central Florida Sasquatch Search… does anybody know if this is for real?:

Golden Dragon Awards 2010:

Old Spice Classic college basketball tournament… a dance off!

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Filed under Just Plain Weird, Top 5 Video Round Up

Movember – How Cool is Your ‘Stache?

Did you know 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with Prostate Cancer? That number is alarming, but fortunately this cancer can usually be detected and treated early.  However, I love the idea of an awesome annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer: Movember! (Changing the Face of Those with Prostate Cancer…literally!)

The idea? Grow a mustache – don’t shave for the month of November.  Don’t laugh, it is a major world-wide fundraiser and partners with the LIVESTRONG foundation.

So, why am I posting this? (Besides it being just a totally awesome fundraiser!) Because I am supporting a Central Florida native Mikhael Ser in his last few days of mustachedom:

 

Day 1

 

 

 

Day 26

Mikhael is part of the Military Mo’s Network, which supports military men who have been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. They have raised $29,185 to date, and I’d love to boost them to $30,000 before Movember is over. Might you be a part of this awesomeness? And perhaps next year, other Central Floridians may be sporting a mustache of their own for a great cause!

 

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Filed under Charity, Fun, Just Plain Weird, Out of Orlando, Resident done good

The Search for the Mount Dora Catacombs

For those who asked questions about our first post on the Mount Dora Catacombs, here’s what else we dug up. It’s an excerpt from an Orlando Sentinel Article by Ramsey Campbell, December 22, 1991:

“It is a monument to horror, madness and the will to survive.

And it is a secret this small Lake County community has kept buried for 30 years.

It is an elaborate subterranean bomb shelter, designed as an end-of-the-world hideaway to protect a select group of 100 Mount Dora residents during a nuclear war.

‘About all it’s good for now is growing mushrooms,’ said Dr. James Basil Hall, the 86-year-old former Lake County health director who helped plan the shelter. ‘But for a long time, it provided us with a lot of peace of mind. We knew where we would go if the bombs dropped.’

The fortress has 5,000 square feet of living space, not including storage areas. It was built to house 25 families. Each was assigned a private room large enough to accommodate four people. There was enough food and fuel to allow 100 people to live for more than half a year without ever having to poke their heads out of the ground.

The families – including those of the town’s mayor, the superintendent of schools, a local bank president, several doctors and a minister – planned to hunker down in relative comfort while a nuclear firestorm consumed those left above.

Then, when the smoke from World War III cleared and the radiation levels fell, they planned to emerge from their cocoon and start rebuilding civilization…

It took six months, a crew of 15 workers and a lot of heavy equipment to build the Catacombs. Keeping a lid on the project was difficult.

‘People would come up to me and ask to get in on the shelter,’ said J.G. Ray, 82, a Mount Dora contractor who built and designed it. ‘But I’d say I didn’t know what they were talking about.’

Ray told everyone who asked that he was using all that heavy machinery and all those truckloads of cement to build a croquet court. To keep up the facade, he did build a grass croquet court on top of the shelter.”

 

And here are photos that are claimed to be from inside the Catacombs, with full photo credits going to Last Leaf Productions, a company which we could find no information about:

We’d still love to go an fact-finding expedition to see it for ourselves… creepy yet fascinating at the same time!

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Filed under History, Just Plain Weird, Literary, Mount Dora

A 16th Century iPod? Say what?!

Have you listened to your iPod lately?  If so, you can thank craftsmen from centuries ago for first coming up with the idea of mechanical, portable music.  Yes, I’m talking about a music box, the earliest of which date back to the 16th century. And, for those who love the charm of a music box, the Orlando Science Center has a special exhibition just for you.

The World of Mechanical Music is presented by the Southeast Chapter of the Musical Box Society International (who knew there was such a society!?) and guests will discover the fine art of mechanical music through displays of antique and ornate music boxes.

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The exhibit opens this Saturday, November 13, and lasts through January 9.

However, on opening day only, MBSI member Bill Hall will be showcasing his massive European street organ, entitled “De Drie Kransen.” This mechanical musical instrument is so large, it can only be displayed outside the Science Center! We’ve got to see this!

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Filed under History, Just Plain Weird, Museum, Music

The Legendary Mount Dora Catacombs…Seriously!

In keeping with the NaNoWriMo theme I started earlier this month, Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank was unknowingly left off my list of Florida books.  Had I known then what I know now, this best seller would be right at the top!

During my recent foray to Mount Dora, I had the pleasure of sitting in the Mount Dora Coffee House reading a quarterly magazine called Pulse, which covers local events in Lake County. In an interesting article entitled “After the Apocalypse” by Mari Henninger, I read author Pat Frank was living in nearby Tangerine, Florida when he penned the classic novel in 1959. Apparently Alas, Babylon‘s quaint town of Fort Repose was actually based on Mount Dora.

Now, for those of you who haven’t read Alas, Babylon, this was the first important novel written in the nuclear age, speculating on a post-apocalyptic world.  FYI–author Pat Frank depicted the town leaders as bumbling fools, so the Mount Dora leaders, who knew full well the town was based on them, weren’t too pleased!

However, the novel’s effect was legendary, spawning a whole legion of post-apocalytpic books and shaping a generation of writers. It had quite an effect in town as well, and during this time of bomb-shelter building, Mount Dora was no exception. In fact, several families got together and built a huge underground fallout shelter called The Catacombs.

Here’s more from the Orlando Sentinel article on Mount Dora’s Catacombs:

“It is a 5,000-square-foot underground fortress complete with a kitchen, a recreation room, a medical facility, a sewage system and an air-conditioning and filtering system.

Dubbed ‘The Catacombs’ by the select group of families who had the secret shelter built, it was designed to allow as many as 100 people to dwell underground for more than half a year.

The families — including the city’s mayor, county superintendent of schools, a local bank president, a farmer, several doctors and a minister — planned to hunker down while a nuclear firestorm consumed those left outside.

Twenty-five families had private rooms in the complex, each large enough to shelter four people.

Each family paid about $2,000 — a sizable sum at the time — for the chance to survive.

The underground complex even included its own weapons arsenal to ward off jealous neighbors who might want to enter, as well as a huge collection of seeds to provide a food supply afterward.

When the threat of fallout was over and it was safe to come out, they would emerge from the underground cocoon and try to start civilization over.”

The owner of the land under which the Catacombs were built had claimed he was simply putting in a tennis court…yeah, keep that in mind next time your neighbors are doing some construction!

And apparently the location of the Catacombs is still kept secret… hmmm…. guess what I want to look for on the Top 5’s next visit to Mount Dora! Anybody wanna come?

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Filed under History, Just Plain Weird, Literary, Mount Dora, Uniquely Florida