Florida The Current Situation

Happy National Florida Day!

“Florida Man” comic book cover featuring the titular character riding an alligator as it jumps over a convertible.
There’s plenty more of this at Florida Man Comics’ site!

As far as I’m concerned, every day is National Florida Day, but in the official sense, that day happens today and every January 25th.

Joey deVilla and Anitra Pavka smiling in front of the Henry B. Plant Museum building and its silver minarets and palm trees.
Me and Anitra last Sunday.

For the past nine years — yes, it’s been that long since I moved here — the Sunshine State has also been the Accordion Guy State. I’ve made a home and found my place here, and I’ve somehow managed to not become a “Florida Man” news story (I still have time…).

“This is Florida” promotional map graphic.

Florida became a state on March 3, 1845, but “for reasons” — a perfectly legal defense in Florida — National Florida Day is celebrated on January 25 each year.

I am now legally required to present a list of Florida facts, so here you go:

  • Wherever you are in Florida, you are never more than 60 miles (100 km) away from the ocean.
  • The average Florida temperature ranges from 65° to 70° F (18° to 21° C) in the northern region and 74° to 77° F (23° to 25° C) degrees in the southern region.
  • No dinosaur fossils have ever been found in Florida. [Joey’s note: Clearly whoever wrote this fact has never been to The Villages.]
  • The only place on the planet where crocodiles and alligators live together is in the Florida Everglades.
  • Every public building in Florida has an outward opening door due to strong winds during hurricane season.
  • Florida is the flattest state in the United States of America. Florida is so flat in fact that its highest point is the lowest high point of any state in the USA. At just 345 feet (105 meters), Britton Hill, Florida’s highest peak, is lower than many of Miami’s skyscrapers.
  • Florida got its name from Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, who named it ‘La Florida’, meaning “land of flowers”.
  • Florida has the longest coastline in the continental US.
  • Florida is the only state that borders the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Florida is the southernmost point in the USA. Technically Hawaii is the southernmost state in the country, but geographically, Florida is the southernmost point.
  • Greater Miami is the only metropolitan area in the country with two national parks. Miami is home to Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park.
Joey deVilla in a lei and aloha shirt holding an oversized beer stein.
Livin’ it up Florida style.

How do I plan on celebrating National Florida Day? The Florida Way, of course: golf and drinks! Anitra and I both won a raffle that gets us a free session at Top Golf this evening!

The patio at Top Golf.
The deck at Top Golf.

I may also have to pick up some Florida Man comics…

The Current Situation

Happy Lunar New Year!

The rabbit is giving the traditional Lunar New Year greeting,
which translates to “congratulations and good luck.”

It’s another Lunar New Year, and this one is the year of the Rabbit, which starts today (January 22nd, 2023) and end on February 9, 2024. In Chinese culture and folklore, the Rabbit astrological sign is connected with peace, prosperity, and long life, and 2023 is supposed to be a year of hope. You might want to look back at previous Rabbit years (2011 and 1999) and see how they went for you.

Here’s hoping that this Year of the Rabbit goes better than the one in this video:

More about the Year of the Rabbit

The Current Situation

“Sir, this is a Wendy’s.”

Stranger than Fiction The Current Situation

The “Gen Z” version of “Harry Potter” seems lowkey sus

Here’s the text with link annotations for the Zoomer blabber…

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, liked flexing that they very basic, thank u. Tbh they were the last people you’d think would be sus, but they were all fax no printer.

Mr. Dursley was adulting at a firm called Grunnings, which made drills.

He was a dummy thiccc (w/ three Cs) man with hardly any neck, although he had an absolute unit of a mustache. Mrs. Dursley was a total Karen with zero chill and had hella neck, which came in very useful when she was stalking her neighbours and not minding her own.

The Dursleys had a small son called Dudley who they thought was the main character. The Dursleys were mostly thriving, but they also had lowkey tea which didn’t pass the vibe check and their greatest fear was to get called out and cancelled. They were girlbossing too close to the sun and didn’t think they could…

Don’t drag Gen Z kids for using the word “unalive.” As un-erudite as it sounds, it has a clever origin: it was coined to get around automated social media filters that block words like kill, death, and similar terms, yet doesn’t its meaning is easily grasped by people who’ve never encountered the word before.

America The Current Situation

ChatGPT’s advice for Kevin McCarthy

With Kevin McCarthy failing to win the vote to become Speaker of the House for the 11th time, he’s probably looking for fresh advice. Has he tried ChatGPT?

If he hasn’t, that’s okay — I asked on his behalf:

Here’s the text of my question and ChatGPT’s answer:

Me: I just lost the vote for Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 11th time in a row. 11 consecutive losses is unprecedented in the entire history of the United States. The number of votes against me has increased over these elections. Should I try again?

ChatGPT: It is understandable that you may be feeling discouraged after losing the vote for Speaker of the House of Representatives 11 times in a row. However, it is important to remember that each situation is unique, and it may be worth considering whether continuing to pursue the position is a worthwhile use of your time and resources.

If you believe that you are the best candidate for the position and have a strong vision for how to lead the House of Representatives, then it may be worth continuing to advocate for your position. However, it may also be worthwhile to consider the reasons why you have not been successful in the past and whether there are any changes you can make to increase your chances of success. This could include seeking feedback from your colleagues, adjusting your approach, or building alliances with other members of the House.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to try again will depend on your goals and the specific circumstances you are facing. It may be helpful to seek advice from trusted colleagues or advisors before making a decision.

Florida Florida of the Day Stranger than Fiction The Current Situation

One of Elvis’ jets is up for auction outside Orlando

Exterior of the Jetstar for sale. It is red with silver stripes and is dilapidated.
The Lockheed Jetstar in question.

This 1962 Lockheed JetStar — an aircraft from the beginning of the jet age — was once owned by Elvis Presley, and it’s up for sale at an auction right being held in Kissimmee from January 4th through 14th.

Here’s a video about the plane:

The Jetstar’s dual jet pod engine near its tail section.
An operational Jetstar has dual jetpods on either side of the tail section. The Elvis jet’s engines were removed a while back. (Creative Commons photo by Thomas R Machnitzki; here’s the source.)

Avid planespotters will note that it doesn’t have any engines. They were removed a long time ago, and it means that this plane can’t fly. Whoever buys it will have to disassemble it for shipping. This sale isn’t for someone who wants to travel in a classic private plane, but an enterprising individual or group who wants to start (or add to) an aviation museum or an Elvis museum.

The front section of the Jetstar, with its door open and the boarding stairs deployed.
Elvis has left the plane.

From the auction page for the plane:

For decades, Lockheed’s JetStar was the executive jet of choice for countless A-listers, recognized dignitaries and star-studded celebrities, and this 1962 Lockheed 1329 JetStar is no exception, as it was once owned by the king of rock ‘n’ roll: Elvis Presley. Presley acquired it from OMNI Aircraft Sales Inc. on December 22, 1976 for the princely sum of $840,000.

When Elvis took ownership of this particular JetStar, registered with the FAA as N-20TF, the entertainer was no stranger to luxurious aviation acquisition. He had already amassed a modest fleet, which included a custom Convair 880 named the “Lisa Marie” that went by the call sign of Hound Dog 1, along with a second JetStar identified by its call sign of Hound Dog 2.

Interior of the Jetstar showing the view from the aisle looking forward. Two red velvet seats are in the foreground, and there’s a lot of wood paneling the in background.
The interior is done up in red velvet with gold-tone metal accents. I am not surprised.

With a busy touring schedule, these crafts were needed to transport the singer, his TCB band, backup groups, Col. Tom Parker and the ever-present Memphis Mafia to venues, concerts and appearances all around the country. Elvis kept several pilots on retainer that were ready to fly him to adoring fans at a moment’s notice.

This JetStar is one of several private jets owned by Elvis Presley, with two currently on display at Graceland. Inside, the cabin features wood paneling and red velvet upholstery with gold-finish hardware. There’s seating for nine by way of six plush chairs that swivel and recline, along with a couch. An onboard entertainment system is tucked away in a media cabinet, featuring a television, RCA VCR player and audio cassette player, and headphone ports with audio controls are located at every seat. A galley contains storage and a meal-prep area complete with a Kenmore microwave and beverage dispenser. At the rear is a lavatory along with additional storage and cubby areas.

In the spring of 1977, the jet was sold, later ending up with a Saudi Arabian company. The JetStar was then moved to Roswell International Air Center (ROW) in Roswell, New Mexico, where it’s been stored for decades and resides to this day. The aircraft will require disassembly to be shipped, and coordinating assistance is available. Documentation joining the jet includes a copy of the Aircraft Security Agreement document signed by Elvis Presley, a copy of the Aircraft Bill of Sale and Official FAA Blue Ribbon documents. While the P&W engines and many cockpit components have been removed and no engines or replacement parts will be included with the sale of Elvis’ jet, it serves as an incredible restoration opportunity and a chance to create a unique Elvis exhibit for all the world to enjoy.

Angle view from the aisle showing two face-to-face red velvet seats. There is a lot of wood paneling.
Gotta love that 1970s wood paneling!

The auction site lists these highlights about the jet:

  • Purchased by Elvis Presley on December 22, 1976 for $840,000
  • 1 of several private jets owned by Elvis Presley, with two currently on display at Graceland
  • 1 of 202 production JetStar airplanes produced by Lockheed
  • Includes a copy of the Aircraft Security Agreement document signed by Elvis Presley
  • Includes a copy of the Aircraft Bill of Sale documentation
  • Official FAA Blue Ribbon Documents included
  • Aircraft Serial No. 5016
  • FAA Registration No. N-20TF
  • Red exterior with silver accents
  • Custom interior upholstery featuring red velvet and gold-finish hardware
  • Onboard Kenmore microwave
  • Onboard television with RCA VCR player
  • Onboard cassette player
  • Wood cabin paneling and trim including window shades
  • Six passenger chairs with swivel and recline functionality
  • Onboard lavatory with vanity
  • Interior cabin seating for up to nine occupants
  • The P&W engines and many cockpit components have been removed
  • No engines or replacement parts are included with the sale
  • Stored for decades and currently residing at Roswell International Air Center (ROW)
  • The aircraft will require disassembly to be shipped (coordinating assistance available)
  • An incredible restoration opportunity to create an Elvis exhibit for the world to enjoy
Dilapidated cockpit of the plane.
The cockpit.

Interested in buy this plane? Check out its auction page for all the details.

The Current Situation

“No, Mr. Claus, I expect you to die!”

Cat glowering at (and towering over) a diorama featuring a Christmas village and Santa Claus. Santa appears to be in danger.Have a safe and merry Christmas everyone — and to my friends across Canada and the U.S.: Stay warm!

Need context? It’s a reference to this scene from Goldfinger: