Orlando’s Gesture

In 1958, the University of Buffalo football team was invited to the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando.  It was their first ever bowl invitation, but the team players voted and declined the invitation.   They declined because the invitation game with racist strings attached: the two black members of the team would not be allowed to participate.  The story has been featured on ESPN.

Next month, the UB Bulls are facing off against UCF in our own Bright House Stadium, and Orlando  Mayor Crotty has spearheaded an initiative to apologize and honor those 1958 team members for the stand they took.   The team members are invited to the September 19th UCF game.  Crotty has rounded up donated airfare and lodging for the players, and UCF will honor their attendance at halftime.   This story should not be buried in the sports pages.   Orlando Sentinel details. UCF News story.

Sicko

We watched the Michael Moore documentary the other night, and it is sticking with me.   I’m not a Moore fan, and I have all sorts of advice for him to improve his films (like, don’t appear on camera!), but this 2007 release is perhaps his most subdued and effective yet.

Its strong and memorable aspect is how it lays out the big picture arguments against our current health care system, and highlights the absurdity of perpetuating it.    Just about everyone agrees that it is a flawed system that is failing to provide minimal, not even adequate, health care for Americans.   But it is not being changed and the prognosis for change is poor indeed.   My take from the films POV is that the big giant reasons our system persists is  1) the entrenched financial interests that benefit from the system have way too much control over our political leadership, and 2) there is lingering national paranoia about the spectre of “socialized medicine”.

Neither I nor Michael Moore can offer any solutions to number 1 other than to somehow find the political will.  But Moore easily refutes obstacle number 2 by pointing out that Americans already benefit from a lot of socialized services.  Like for example, libraries, and schools, and firefighting and rescue, and postal service.  Why the f*ck not Health Care?    It is clearly working better than our system in the other countries profiled by Moore in the film.

To find the origin or our current mess, Moore singles out Nixon for endorsing the prototypical HMO in private and in public back in the 60’s, but I blame the red scare and the subsequent cold war as more culpable.

new building in research park

groundbreaking Last Friday local and state dignitaries descended onto our property in UCF’s research park to break ground on a new $20M building entirely funded by the state of Florida, and intended for military research, and UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training. This is the third ‘partnership’ building, but the previous ones were built with both federal and state money. Curious. Is that why so many dignitaries showed up for the groundbreaking?

Here’s an article in the Central Florida Future, with a great photo by Caitlin Bush. Another curiosity: not a single mention of this event in the Orlando Sentinel.

border patrol

Went fishing yesterday with a new acquaintance from Sebastian, FL.  He’s got a go-fast off shore boat, and we went about 25 miles out looking for dolphin and kingfish.   Didn’t find any, and while hightailing it back to the inlet, we were pulled over, boarded and searched by federal agents with the Dept. of Homeland Security.   I was totally on edge because I forgot to bring my fishing license, but these guys didn’t care.  They were looking for drugs or weapons.    After calling in our ID’s and finding smelly bait on board, they gave us a cursory lookover and bid us on our way.  We saw them later in the day checking other boats, so it wasn’t just us.

Their vessel was an incredibly hot chase boat with 4 large mercury outboards mounted on the stern.   I asked permission to take pictures, and they said ok to take photos of the boat, but not of the agents.

Border Patrol

Here’s the agent who asked not to take photos of his face:
Border Patrol 2

Here’s a photo-worthy shark we caught later in the inlet:
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airfare$

I totally get “non-refundable” airfares. A boon for consumers. But when it comes to the “change fees” and post-911 non-transferable rules, the airlines are heartless pirate bastards.  Here’s some of the bullshit I got when trying over the weekend to change our vacation plans.

“No sir, you don’t have to use your credits within 12 months, you only have to BOOK your future travel within 12 months, the travel itself can be for several months later”.

“Sir, it is impossible for us to waive the change fees. Since you booked your travel through an agent (expedia.com), I suggest you appeal to them. …. yes sir, we will charge the change fees to expedia.”

“No sir, you are not left with only $70 for future travel. The entire amount of $220 is credited to your name and can be booked within 12 months. The $150 change fee that is assessed at the time of rebooking is completely separate”.

“Sir, all my calls are recorded, and I have advised you what we can do, and there is no one else you can talk to. I am now advising you that I will disconnect this call”. [click]

winter storm

The current winter storm has hit florida with strong winds and plummeting temperatures.  Four football players are lost at sea out in the Gulf.   On Sunday, I was out singing at a birthday party in Brevard County at a home on the Indian River Lagoon, and this sailboat broke lose from mooring across the lagoon and washed up on the shore.  Three men chased it down and were trying to secure it.
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