Only in Florida can fact outdo fiction

first_img July 15, 2003 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Only in Florida can fact outdo fiction Senior EditorThe difficult part in being a satirical fiction writer using Florida as a setting is real life keeps turning up situations more bizarre than the wildest fictional musings. Miami Herald columnist and author Carl Hiaasen recounted stories and anecdotes that illustrated the strangeness of his native state as the keynote speaker at the Bar’s June 26 Annual Meeting Judicial Luncheon.In his novel, Double Whammy — where Hiaasen said he cornered the fiction market on “love, sex, and corruption on the professional bass fishing tournament circuit” — a villain breaks into a mobile home, only to have a pit bull latch on to his arm. The bad guy kills the dog, but it doesn’t let go in death, and the man winds up carrying the head, still attached, around for days. As feverish delusions set in, he even begins treating it as a pet.“It was one of the sickest things that had ever been published in the English language that I knew and I was very proud of it,” Hiaasen said.Yet shortly after the book was published, he was speaking to a group of lawyers, and afterward, one came up and, referring to the pit bull episode of the book, asked, “‘Who told you about that?’ That’s the worst words a writer can hear,” he said.Turns out the lawyer was walking his retriever when it was attacked by a pit bull, which the man dispatched with a handgun. The pit bull continued to hang on, even after it was dead.He also worked on another story where a lawyer shot an attacking pit bull, which resulted in a lawsuit, all of which illustrates Florida’s unique character.“If you live in Norman, Oklahoma, you don’t get a lot of shooting of dogs by members of the bar, I’m guessing,” Hiaasen said.Another of his favorite stories had the headline, “Mutant alligators in Lake Apopka raise concerns.”“Anywhere else in the world, having an alligator in the lake will raise concerns,” he said. “Here, it’s mutant alligators.”Pesticides in the lake were changing female alligators into male alligators as they got older. “They were not only confused, but pissed off,” Hiaasen said. “Hence the concern in the headline.”Alligators figured in another of his favorite stories which following an appellate ruling earned the headline: “Court: Gators in bed a bad idea.”That case stemmed from an investigation by wildlife officers after neighbors complained of strange goings on at a mobile home. The man who answered the door was wearing a bloody T-shirt and showing puncture wounds in his chest, but insisted to authorities that nothing was wrong. The officers investigated and found, in his bed, two large alligators which, according to the officers’ affidavit, they immediately removed for the gators’ protection.“Most people would sneak out of town, but this guy filed a lawsuit to get the gators back. They must have had some special quality,” Hiaasen said. “Here’s the funny part. Twenty-three months later, it winds up in front of the Third District Court of Appeal which rules directly, bluntly, and sanely I might add, that there is no constitutional right to consort with prehistoric reptiles, either intimately or not intimately. It is not in the constitution.”Hiaasen also had medical stories, which led him to comment on the current battle in the legislature where the House and Gov. Jeb Bush are seeking to impose a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases. The Senate is seeking much higher cap levels.“It indicates an abysmal lack of faith in the jury system and the judges of this state,” he said of the $250,000 cap. “There are reasons we have courts and reasons we have to litigate cases that are disturbing.”Hiaasen said years ago he worked on an extensive series exposing the incredibly lax discipline of the medical profession, and part of that experience led to his creation, in the novel Skin Tight, of “the worst plastic surgeon imaginable.” Of course, reality soon outstripped his creation — and more than once.One example Hiaasen provided for the audience involved an aging bodybuilder, who spying the shingle for a cosmetic surgery clinic, walked in and arranged for pectoral implants. During the surgery, the man kept waking up and thought he was hallucinating. When the patient removed the bandages several days later, he found out he had not been hallucinating — he had a breast implant in each shoulder.The “doctor” wasn’t a doctor at all; his only medical ability consisted of getting the shingle for his practice designed. Without access to real anesthetic, he relied on a friend who worked for a veterinarian to provide him with an animal tranquilizer, of which he had given the bodybuilder a “chihuahua-sized dose.” The man had been performing surgeries for a year and a half.Hiaasen said if he invented such a fictional scenario, “My editor in New York is going to read this and say, ‘You know, you’re the sickest man I’ve ever met and I’m not going to publish your work anymore.’”While such tales might be cause for humor, they also show the need for the legal system, he said, adding, “If you don’t have lawyers, justice doesn’t come to people like that.”And in the uproar that was the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election, Hiaasen said lawyers and the legal system proved their worth again.“That whole process would have never been resolved without attorneys,” he noted. And when the motions and appeals reached the Florida Supreme Court, they were televised. “It was the first time I heard questions asked by the justices that I heard from common people on the street,” Hiaasen said. “I was frankly pretty proud that regardless of how it turned out that this was being ventilated in such an adult, sensible way.” Only in Florida can fact outdo fictionlast_img read more

Replacement of Broome County public safety radio system underway

first_imgThe Colesville site joins 15 others that will replace the current system. Several other sites have already been built and five more will be constructed in the Spring. On Thursday, Director of the Broome County Office for Emergency Services Michael Ponticiello said crews recently broke ground on one public safety radio tower site in Colesville. COLESVILLE (WBNG) — Broome County is currently replacing its public safety radio system that will allow first responders to effectively communicate in case of an emergency. By replacing the system, Ponticiello added, “This will dramatically improve communications and safety for not only the residents of Broome County, but in particular the police, fire, EMS and public works departments for all the municipalities across the county.” “The whole purpose of replacing the public safety radio system is that the current one is antiquated, dates back to the 1970s and doesn’t provide adequate coverage,” he said, adding the current system is roughly 50 years old. The physical radio units that first responders carry around are also being replaced as a part of the project. “When you do need 911 you want to make sure that they get there in a timely manner and part of that is for our ability from the 911 center to communicate with the first responders, so whether they’re on the road or in their station, to make sure that we’ve got reliable communication, with them that works not only on a blue sky day with a little breeze like today, but when we’re flooding or having other disasters it has to work all the time.” The new system will be up and running in 2021. Ponticiello said the money for the $23 million project comes from the surcharge you see on your landline or cell phone bill.last_img read more

Why won’t the government allow pension holders to trade property like shares?

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Buyers keen on “enviable” views from city’s high rise apartments

first_imgPalisade at Kangaroo Point is being built by Multipart Property. Photo: SuppliedUnobstructed views of Brisbane’s city skyline is drawing buyers to Palisade Apartments at Kangaroo Point. The five-storey complex, developed by Multipart Property, will feature 10 apartments, each with individual and private lift access maximising internal areas of apartments.GAP Development sales spokesman Fraser Byrne said construction started in December, after an eight-week sales campaign.Mr Byrne said their target market was typically downsizers looking for the lifestyle and location factors of being minutes from South Bank, Kangaroo Point and Brisbane CBD.He said families, Sydney and Melbourne buyers looking to relocate, and DINKs (double income no kids) were showing an interest in the project, due to be finished in 2020. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus14 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market14 hours agoPalisade at Kangaroo Point is being built by Multipart Property.center_img The living area at Palisade at Kangaroo Point is massive. The development has many standout features, according to Mr Byrne who said the penthouse had its own exclusive rooftop area with private lift access, and “enviable” Brisbane skyline views. “There is a communal rooftop facility overlooking the Brisbane River and CBD,” he said. “Palisade has never-to-be built-out great views.”Mr Byrne said with a shortage of large three bedroom apartments in a boutique complex close to the CBD and South Bank, buyers would be drawn to the project. The pet-friendly apartments range in size from 120sq m to almost 300sq m.last_img read more

Mohn Exits DOF

first_imgNorwegian shipping company engaged in the subsea construction market, DOF, said that Frederik Wilhelm Mohn has resigned from the boards of directors in DOF ASA and DOF Subsea AS with immediate effect.The Oslo-listed companies said they are working on finding replacements.Frederik W. Mohn is the sole owner and managing director of Perestroika, a Norwegian investment company with investments in oil and gas, shipping, infrastructure, real estate development and financial services.Perestroika became a DOF investor in July 2016, and Mohn has been a member of its board since May 2017.Frederik Wilhelm Mohn is also an Independent Director at Transocean, the world’s largest rig company.Previously, Mohn served as a director of Songa Offshore SE from 2013 to 2014, and as chairman of the Songa board from 2014 to 2018. He also serves as a board member in several other companies, including Viken Crude and was the CEO of Frank Mohn AS from 2011 to 2013.last_img read more

China jails doctor for baby theft

first_imgHealthInternationalLifestylePrint China jails doctor for baby theft by: – January 14, 2014 24 Views   no discussions Share Tweet Sharing is caring!center_img Share Zhang ShuxiaA Chinese obstetrician has been given a suspended death sentence for stealing newborn babies and selling them to child traffickers.Zhang Shuxia was found guilty of abducting and selling seven babies in Fuping, Shaanxi province, the sentencing court said.She told parents their infants had serious diseases and convinced them to give up the babies, the court said.Zhang has been sentenced to death, with a two year reprieve.Suspended death sentences are normally commuted to life imprisonment in China.Zhang sold seven babies to child traffickers between November 2011 and July 2013, including a pair of twins, a judgement posted on the Weinan Intermediate People’s Court’s verified microblog on Tuesday said.Six of the babies were rescued, but one baby girl died.‘Fabricated reports’Zhang worked in Shaanxi’s Fuping Maternal and Child Healthcare Hospital.“Zhang used her position as medical personnel to fabricate reports about the infants, saying they suffered from birth defects or diseases that were hard to cure,” the court said in its judgement.“She abducted and sold several new-born infants, violating professional and social ethics,” the judgement added.It is not yet clear whether Zhang will appeal, the court said.Zhang and several other suspects were arrested after the most recent abduction case in July.The parents reported the case to police after they suspected their baby had been trafficked.The baby was found and returned to his parents in early August.Police said they were still investigating 50 related cases, including 26 cases linked to Zhang, and several other suspects were in criminal detention, Xinhua news agency reported.Four other officials from the hospital are on trial for suspected dereliction of duty and are awaiting sentencing, Xinhua added.‘Unspeakable acts’Under China’s strict population control policies, most couples can only have one child, and there is a strong preference for healthy baby boys.Earlier this month, China’s top legislature formally adopted a resolution easing the country’s one-child policy, allowing couples to have two children if either parent is an only child.On Chinese social media, netizens condemned Zhang’s actions, with many calling for the death penalty.“She obliterated her humanity, and conducted unspeakable acts under a cloak of legality – only executing her will level the people’s anger!” microblog user China Luo Jian wrote.However, user Wen Jin Rang wrote: “For such a criminal, sparing her life will serve a greater educational purpose than killing her.”Meanwhile, Sina Weibo user Doctor Fei Ge described Zhang as the “scum of the medical profession, who damaged the reputation of doctors”.BBC News Sharelast_img read more

Arsenal keep vigil on duo ahead of Leeds clash

Arsenal wait on duo ahead of Leeds clash #LUFC #FNH— Leeds News Hound (@LeedsUtdFNH) January 3, 2020 Arsenal will assess the fitness of Hector Bellerin and Gabriel Martinelli ahead of Monday’s FA Cup third round tie at home to Leeds. Right-back Bellerin and young Brazilian Martinelli have missed recent games with hamstring injuries, but could be fit for the clash at the Emirates. Promoted ContentInsane 3D Spraying Skills Turn In Incredible Street ArtBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For ThemThe 10 Best Secondary Education Systems In The WorldCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable WayWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?Why Do So Many Digital Assistants Have Feminine Names & Voices?You’ve Only Seen Such Colorful Hairdos In A Handful Of Anime7 Of The Best Top Models From India10 Risky Jobs Some Women DoEverything You Need To Know About Asteroid Armageddon7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend Better10 Greatest Disney Female Villains We Love Anyways Head coach Mikel Arteta will definitely be without defender Calum Chambers after he had surgery on Thursday following anterior cruciate ligament damage to his left knee. He is expected to be absent for a period of six to nine months and joins Kieran Tierney on the sidelines, although the ex-Celtic left-back is aiming to return to full training in March after successful surgery on his dislocated right shoulder. Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa is expected to make changes after the New Year’s Day draw at Championship promotion rivals West Brom.Advertisement Read Also: Arsenal set to land Bayern Munich star for £12.8m Barry Douglas may deputise for left-back Ezgjan Alioski, who came off at half-time at the Hawthorns, and teenage goalkeeper Illan Meslier hopes to make his debut. Versatile youngster Robbie Gotts could also finally get his debut after been named on the bench 32 times in the Championship since Bielsa’s arrival in 2018. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Loading… Loan signing Eddie Nketiah has returned to Arsenal and Tyler Roberts could play if he has proved his fitness following hamstring trouble. read more

Martinez tips Hazard for quick return from injury

first_imgBelgian national team manager Roberto Martinez is confident star player Eden Hazard will be back to full fitness in the near future.Advertisement However, Martinez told an interview with Belgian newspaper HLN, the former Chelsea man is recovering well from surgery.“I know he is recovering well, with no complications, and should be walking soon.“There is a concern there could be complications in the next 4-5 weeks.“There have been no issues so far, and I am confident Eden will return soon.”Real Madrid have not given an update on the 29-year old’s expected return to full fitness, with initial estimates set at early June.La Liga remains suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, with potential return dates reportedly set aside for late May and early June.Eden HazardRead Also: EPL clubs committed to finishing season, but no deadline setThis would allow Hazard to join back up with Zinedine Zidane’s squad and complete the 2019-20 season.Los Blancos are currently two points behind leaders Barcelona, with 11 games to go, and they also face a Champions League last 16 second leg clash with Manchester City.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Promoted ContentYou’ve Only Seen Such Colorful Hairdos In A Handful Of AnimeTop 10 Enemies Turned Friends In TVWhy Go Veg? 7 Reasons To Do This7 Inventions Created To Start Saving The World10 Risky Jobs Some Women Do7 Of The Wealthiest Universities In The World10 Extremely Dirty Seas In The WorldEver Thought Of Sleeping Next To Celebs? This Guy Will Show YouThe Very Last Bitcoin Will Be Mined Around 2140. Read MoreTop 10 Most Iconic Characters On TVWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?8 Superfoods For Growing Hair Back And Stimulating Its Growth Loading… Hazard has endured an injury disrupted first season with Real Madrid, and he is currently sidelined with a second ankle injury of 2019-20.last_img read more

Allardyce: Criticism is nonsense

first_img Many have cited negative tactics as the reason for their unrest, but Allardyce believes a recent barren run of results has seen some fans turn on him – claiming a 0-0 draw at Chelsea, which saw the Blues have 39 shots to West Ham’s one, was celebrated as a triumph despite Jose Mourinho describing it as “19th Century football”. “It is a nonsense,” said Allardyce of the fans’ criticisms. “Their perception is because we haven’t won (in four games). “When we went to Chelsea and they were all very, very happy that was based purely on a well-structured defensive ploy with little or no football at all. But it was still hailed as a great performance. “You can’t expand and open up against Chelsea because you lose five or six-nil. We play to win when we play a game and if we don’t play to win we play not to lose. Our biggest problem is that we haven’t drawn enough in between the wins.” Allardyce welcomes Tottenham to Upton Park in Saturday’s early kick-off looking to record a third victory of the season over their London rivals. Following a 3-0 Barclays Premier League win at White Hart Lane in October, Allardyce’s side repeated the trick when they came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory in the Capital One Cup quarter-final. Spurs head coach Tim Sherwood also faces an uncertain summer, with reports continuing to appear that the club are lining up a replacement for the man who took over from Andre Villas-Boas in December. West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has come out fighting against those supporters who have called for him to be sacked, labelling their criticism as “nonsense”. Press Association A banner unfurled during last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to relegation-threatened West Brom declared a certain number of Hammers supporters were keen for owners David Gold and David Sullivan to replace Allardyce. The 59-year-old was also given little backing in an online poll conducted across independent fans’ sites, with over three-quarters of respondents wanting to see the former Bolton manager’s 35-month tenure at Upton Park brought to an end. Allardyce accepts that constant speculation and pressure on managers is part and parcel of the modern game as he tried to shake it off and focus on improving on the Hammers’ poor form. “No one wants to see things like that (the banner at West Brom) and wants to be criticised,” he added. “It is what it is at the moment. It is part of the job today and altogether people keep telling me how to play and the performances we need to give. “In our last four games our performances have been good, but without a result comes the criticism. It is about results, not what you have done for the 90 minutes, it is what has come out of the end of it. “Of course it (criticism) bothers you but you don’t let it affect your clear thinking. You concentrate on the players and make sure they continue to strive to get better and better. “This year, while the league has been extremely entertaining, we have had ups and downs. It has been a pretty hectic season, a pretty demanding season for us all, and I think that is shown in the fact that 10 managers have changed in one season.” last_img read more