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Winners & Losers: Don Redman, Pickleball

WINNER: Pickleball! Although it sounds like a disgusting type of cuisine, it's apparently sort of a scaled-up version of ping pong. It is played on tennis courts, but uses hard racquets (wood or graphite) and a hard plastic ball with holes to reduce air resistance. The game has become extremely popular in retirement communities, and in fact the "Pickleball World Championship" is held at The Villages every year. Although popular, the sport has its share of opponents, mostly non-players who live nearby and are subjected to a relentless *POP* *CONK* *POP-KOW* at all hours of the day, and possibly at night from the hard plastic ball bouncing around the court - which is surely better than the similar sounds of tennis. Some tennis players also feel pickled as they see their courts getting taken up by folks who are playing an alien form of their game. I didn't realize tennis was a Puritanical game.

LOSERS: Management of the Ship Inn in Callahan, which jumped overboard last Friday, leaving 30 residents perplexed and possibly without a home. The facility, which is more of an apartment complex than an actual motel, has apparently gone into bankruptcy and will presumably come under direct management by whatever bank owns it. Hopefully the bank will hire a manager to run the property and collect the rent, rather than leave a bunch of people homeless. If the residents ever see the former manager again, there might be a plank-walking incident to report on.

WINNER, FOR DOING THE IMPROBABLE: James Perry Turnage, who probably finds this less amusing than we do. A suspect in a Yulee murder who fled back home to Vineland, NJ, Turnage apparently thought he was in the clear before getting nabbed by some alert Feds. Two FBI agents in the area had stopped at a Wawa - that's a convenience store chain in Yankeeland - sort of like a 7-11, but with more coffee. Noticing that one of the guys in line looked just like Turnage (because it was), they followed him, and were soon joined by backup agents. Turnage then led the agents - in unmarked cars, presumably, though possibly with cool low-profile blue lights - on a cinematic high-speed chase for two miles before transitioning to a foot chase. Everyone has probably seen Officer Bob with his obvious car and blinking lights chasing someone, but how often do you see a guy in a LeSabre running from two cars of probably suit-wearing FBI agents?

LOSER: Corrine Brown and her merry band of quasi-gangsters. Brown has now been caught red-handed for the 242,781st time in the middle of some shady dealings. Community Rehabilitation Center operates a location in a shopping center called Pearl Plaza, just south of Gateway Mall. CRC has hired Brown's daughter and possible heir-apparent, Shantrell Brown's lobbying firm, to get them what they need in Washington. According to a Times Union article titled "Keeping it in the family", although CRC is a nonprofit, it's not a particularly efficient one. With millions of dollars in revenue (much of which comes from federal and local government sources), the organization still operates in the red, and employee salaries make up a huge chunk of its expenses. This whole thing seems suspicious, though not particularly unusual.

WINNER: Srey Neth, a 22-year old Cambodian who spoke to students at the University of North Florida about issues surrounding sexual slavery. Neth, who says her mother sold her into slavery at age 14 for $300, apparently now lives in the United States. With a significant logistics industry, many ports of entry and an extensive coastline, Florida has become notable as an area for human trafficking in the US, although the issue doesn't normally get much attention.

LOSER: Don Redman, who spooks a lot of people with his apparent belief that the City Council runs Halloween around here. Redman has apparently received quite a few requests from his fellow parishoners to introduce a totally nonsense, unenforceable, nonbinding resolution to ask kids to trick-or-treat on October 30, rather than October 31, which (this year) happens to fall on a Sunday. News flash, McFly: You can trick-or-treat on Easter if you want to. Presumably, all of those airheads will be opening their Christmas presents either a day early or a day late next year, since December 25, 2011 is a Sunday.

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In addition to offering up his weekly winners and losers in The Jacksonville Observer, Graham Wellington enjoys bacon, fancy hats and prank calling apartment complexes on Park Street.

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