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(Orlando Sentinel)   "Florida has long eclipsed California as the place where the bizarre, unusual and outlandish have become commonplace"   (articles.orlandosentinel.com) divider line 6
    More: Florida  
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6466 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 Jun 2013 at 11:14 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-14 12:03:33 PM  
2 votes:
To be fair high taxes and high unemployment have made the bizarre, unusual and outlandish too expensive for most Californians.
2013-06-14 11:50:06 AM  
2 votes:
i563.photobucket.com tag is apparently vacationing in Florida.
2013-06-14 11:46:41 AM  
2 votes:
Whether he's writing fiction or journalism, Carl Hiaasen's main character is always Florida, that axis of weirdness that gave us the sagas of Elian Gonzales, and dimpled "chads." It's also where developers build homes around gravel pits advertised as "lakefront property," and where marijuana falls out of the sky.

This is how Hiaasen describes Florida: "The Sunshine State is a paradise of scandals teeming with drifters, deadbeats, and misfits drawn here by some dark primordial calling like demented trout. And you'd be surprised how many of them decide to run for public office."
2013-06-14 11:17:14 AM  
2 votes:
I like to think that we here at Fark were in the vanguard when it came to identifying Florida as the retarded stepson of the states.
2013-06-14 11:41:53 PM  
1 votes:
My family moved to Florida in 1953, from New Jersey, on the recommendation of a physician because my older brother was actually allergic to snow. Every winter, he'd get pneumonia-like chest colds.

I was one year old. We moved into a town that was not even on the map -- Vero Beach. A small, quaint, peaceful place on the east coast, with part of it on a barrier island along the Indian River Lagoon. My grandparents came along and they all bought a small roadside motel consisting of several cabins along US1. Jewel Court.

I have dim memories of sleeping out on the screened in porch in the hot summer nights, waist high wild grasses in the back among a small neglected orange grove. There was, to me, a huge brick circular base out front, with a huge, brilliant neon sign advertising the place at night. Beyond the glow of the sign was the main highway and -- darkness.

Remember, at that age I was about three feet tall.

I-95 dead ended just beyond the county line. Leaving the city limits meant driving into miles of rural roads, citrus groves, wild woods, huge, deep freshwater drainage ditches usually crossed via rickety wooden bridges. Most folks had water wells that pumped up iron water and stained the white walls of stucco homes a rich brown. No water softeners. Many homes had deep sulfur water artesian wells, that fed into aerators to get most of the (reeking) sulfur gasses and minerals out by oxidation before piping it into the homes. It leaves a ton of slimy, bearded looking stuff behind.

I think the local population was about 10,000. We had one classic air conditioned theater in town (the size of the compressor was like a VW Bug) and one outdoor theater. We had a roller skating rink, which was heavily used, kept cool by a huge exhaust fan in the back of the building that drew air in from the front. It was fun to stand in front of the massive thing and enjoy the breeze, the funny way it made your voice sound and all of the scents of popcorn, skate wax, skate oil, soap, shampoo, hotdogs, bubble gum and hamburgers.

The entire city closed down by 9:00 at night. Nearly every store was closed on Sunday. There were no convenience stores. We knew all of the physicians by name and had a small hospital, with a cafeteria open to the general public.

You could go fishing in the lagoon and in a few hours bring home enough fish and crabs to last you and your family a week. Every winter, we went shrimping off an old wooden bridge with a turnstile in the center.

When cars passed, we all climbed the rails since they rattled the boards. Two cars could not cross the bridge going in opposite directions unless they were darn good drivers.

People were friendly, open and honest. The air was clean and clear. The schools good. Ralph Sexton was the local millionaire and eccentric. (Google him.) A new thing came when I was a kid of about 5: the housing development. A planned community of homes all built of basically the same style.

We moved into one. It cost, brand new, $5000.

The insanity started in Florida when one governor initiated his 'Be A Friendly Floridian' campaign, apparently deciding that the state needed not only more tourists but residents, which would generate jobs and income.

I think we should have shot him before too many people heard about that slogan.

Miami had not yet become 'Little Cuba' but a magnet for retiring people of the Jewish faith. Palm Beach had already been discovered by the wealthy, who were doing their best to increase property values and build luxury homes all over the place. Orlando had not yet been discovered by Disney. Though in the 60's, with the government crackdown on pot, Florida, with it's many beaches and thousands of acres of undeveloped forests and swamps, promptly became the State which basically supplied the rest of the US.

For a time in the 70's, lovers taking romantic strolls along the lonely beaches at night were apt to stumble upon smugglers unloading bails of weed -- which usually proved fatal. After enough folks had been gunned down, the Coast Guard increased their patrols -- and smugglers started dumping bails over the side.

So, bails of pot started becoming nearly as common as seashells along the beaches, which naturally drew the interest of the locals and around half the state was stoned for a time.

Castro locked down Cuba and suddenly half of the island nation was cobbling together anything that might float, including pickup trucks and heading for the US. They mainly settled in Miami and annexed it as an extension of Cuba. You eventually needed to speak Spanish if you wished to live and work there.

Cold winters drove a lot of folks from the Northern states down here and they liked the tropical atmosphere, the easy availability of cheap land and after several vacations, decided not to go home anymore.

Most chose to live along the magnificent beaches -- promptly developing them into places that no longer resembled the tropical isles of the Pacific but rather, expensive slums. Along with them came the service oriented businesses to supply their every needs. Soon, the infrastructure of the state had to be reworked to accommodate the mass exodus from the north to the south.

Realtors not only went deliriously insane, but developers fought each other to grab up as much property as possible. Land went from $1000 an undeveloped acre to $5000 and eventually wound up anywhere between $80,000 and a million.

Commercial fishermen discovered the Indian River Lagoon and promptly set about relieving us of the huge amount of delicious fish that lived there. They did such a fine job of it that the State had to ban commercial fishing by the 80's because even bait fish were becoming scarce.

Folks discovered the vast Oyster and Clam beds. As a kid, I went with my family and harvested buckets of the critters and my Mom made huge pots of stew from what we gathered in one day. Now, we'd have to scour the area for a week to find enough.

Florida is a low lying state, meaning the water table is usually high. Now, tear down the wild woods and pave everything over and sink several hundred thousand new freshwater wells, along with installing septic systems.

The heavy yearly rainfall soon no longer filters into the soil, but washes along paved streets, off new lawns and into canals which channel it right into the Lagoon and the sea -- taking every bit of garbage along with it.

You wind up with major pollution. The water table drops. You get water shortages and sinkholes. Fecal bacteria starts showing up in wells, lagoons, lakes, streams and the ocean. Folks scratch their heads and wonder why.

Yearly hurricanes now come ashore to find thousands of new homes in their paths instead of wild woods which acted like barriers. So, the hurricanes simply flatten everything in their way, even more so because the forests that used to absorb the force are now gone. So are the many acres of wild lands that used to absorb the torrential rains -- which now turn into floods.

Homes that survived hurricanes for generations now find themselves being blown apart since there's no trees to absorb the winds and development changed the lay of the land so masses of runoff now gushes through their properties instead of dispersing as it used to.

Yeah, the State is full of Derp, but it all came from elsewhere and they're still coming.
2013-06-14 11:24:28 AM  
1 votes:
We still have our reputation as a major bastion of flakes and nuts, though

/they can't take that away from us
 
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