Monday, February 06, 2006

Spy (On) Kids

Got an e-mail from New Times stalwart Wyatt Olson on Saturday.

“Dear Mr. Pulp,
It would warm my heart greatly if you could posit an entry about the top-of-the-fold article in the today's Sentinel concerning the scourge of our private schools: ‘mean postings on Myspace.com.’ While no specifics about the nature of the meanness were fit to be printed, I'm sure you understand the dangers of this newfangled ‘internet.’ It's a slippery slope; first comes the mean writing, then comes the beating of homeless men.”

Olson is of course referring to Karla D. Shores’ article – which happens to be our story of the day -- about St. Thomas Aquinas High School suspending students for posting, yes, “mean” stuff on Myspace.com. The best part was the giant graphic teaching parents how to search surfing histories on their kids’ PCs. I thought, brilliant, but why stop there? Here’s some other tips:

1. Rifle through drawers and closets when the little buggers aren’t home. No telling what you might find, and when you discover something incriminating, make sure wave it in their faces and tell them they are doomed to burn in hell for eternity for it.

2. Bugging their rooms is cheaper and easier than ever. Catch them coughing from that bong hit or exchanging precious bodily fluids with that boyfriend or girlfriend you never approved of anyway. Then take all the freedoms away that they’ve come to cherish.

3. If you’re lucky enough to find a diary or journal, read it. And don't forget to steadfastly condemn the child for everything they’ve confided in those dirty, dirty pages.

4. Get a key for the bathroom lock and the next time Junior is in there for too long, spring in on him. Remember: Nothing scares a kid out of self-annihilation quicker than a good dose of extreme shame and humiliation.

Baseball Batterers
In a Herald story yesterday, a quartet of reporters – Wanda DeMarzo, Ashley Fantz, Darran Simon, and Nikki Waller -- made the same judgment as a lot of Plantation kids: Ammons was the worst of the lot, Hooks was edgy and seemed capable of violence, and Daugherty seemed the least likely of the three to have done it. For the first time in one of the dailies, the Herald brought up the issue of drugs, though only briefly and contained within a single quote. My column this week delved into the widespread rumor, emanating from people very close to the defendants, that they were “barred up” on Xanax pills when they did the beating.

Speaking of that column, the Daily Business Review took issue with it in today’s edition. The Review’s law editor, Harris Meyer, a New Times alum, intimated that Carl Hiaasen and I (God do I hate being lumped in with that guy) empathize too heavily with the punks because we’re a couple of white guys with ties to Plantation (I live there, Hiaasen grew up there). Meyer complained that nobody is talking about the death penalty for these kids like they would if they were black defendants.

“Perhaps the avoidance of the D word is because white, middle-class people are a little too close to the situation to make contemplation of the death penalty comfortable,” Meyer wrote.

For the record, I don’t believe I’ve ever called for the death penalty on anybody. Not a big fan, especially after what happened to Frank Lee Smith. I think those three should go away for life in prison. What’s really disappointing is that I confessed to a string of drug-crazed felonies and all I got was criticized for being too suburban.

Victor Fortune is Back!
Remember the boy who didn't fail after all [see "ATTN: This Story Is Crap" below]? Well Victor is back. In one of the strangest decisions I've ever seen a newspaper make, the Sentinel ran a reworked story, again by C. Ron Allen, on Victor on the Community News front that was extremely similar, right down to identical quotes, to the one that ran last week. Only difference: The false information about Fortune failing the FCAT and being held back was excised. Unfortunately, I can't find a link to the new story, but the old one is still up on the Sentinel site, full of the bogus information and without any mention of a correction. What's the matter with these people?

It Must Have Been the TruCoat
Our story of the day is this gem from Herald reporters Aldo Nahed and Carli Teproff. A government official goes berserk, crashes a new SUV into a car dealership and sets it all on fire. What could make a good bureaucrat do something like that? Well, I obtained a transcript of the conversation the suspect had with a salesman just moments before he went off the deep end.

Suspect: I sat right here and said I didn't want no TruCoat!
Salesman: Yah, but I'm sayin', that TruCoat, you don't get it and you get oxidization problems. It'll cost you a heck of lot more'n five hunnert -
Suspect: You're sittin' here, you're talkin' in circles! You're talkin' like we didn't go over this already!
Salesman: Yah, but this TruCoat -
Suspect: We had us a deal here for nine-teen-five. You sat there and darned if you didn't tell me you'd get this car, these options, WITHOUT THE SEALANT, for nine-teen-five!
Salesman: Okay, I'm not sayin' I didn't -
Suspect: You called me twenty minutes ago and said you had it! Ready to make delivery, ya says! Come on down and get it! You lied to me, Mr. Lundegaard. You're a bald-faced liar! A fucking liar. Oh, for Christ's sake, where's my goddamn checkbook. Let's get this over with.

It was only minutes later that the dealership was set ablaze.

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