As a full-time news blogger, my job is to find interesting/controversial/strange news stories from around the Pacific Northwest and write them up for easy consumption by you, our dear readers. Some days are easier than others. Some days a man fucks a goat, an autistic kid is labeled a cheater by Microsoft, or some sicko beheads a cat. Other days, things can be a little thin. But one thing's for certain: If this were Florida, I'd never run out of weird crap to write about.
-- On Monday, a story was published about Tom Laughlin, a veteran Sarasota police detective who was fired for trying to "secede from the nation" by putting his thumbprint on 21 silver pieces and declaring himself a "freeman" in court.
-- Also on Monday, a Tampa mom forced her teenage son to stand on a street corner holding a sign explaining how he's a dumbshit for getting a 1.22 GPA.
-- Then there's the crew of workers who were hired to renovate a police evidence room in Florence, but instead stole 48 pounds of marijuana from it.
-- Or maybe the Fort Meyers guy who busted into a country club, stripped naked, and stole $45 worth of sausage, napkins, and a first-aid kit.
-- And just for icing on the cake (or cookie) there's Hersha Howard, the Naples woman who was arrested for going on a roommate beating spree when someone ate her Girl Scout Cookies.
Again, these stories all came out in the last week.
This man got naked and stole sausages.
I asked Kyle Munzenrieder, my counterpart at our sister paper Miami New Times to offer his thoughts on what's up with the panhandle.
I'm not sure if getting to write about this stuff is as fun as it is soul crushing in a way that continually shakes your faith in humanity.
I'm not sure why we have so much weird news. Maybe it's a combination of the heat getting to our brains and the fact our diverse population of nearly senile old folks, crackers, nouveau riche, and a melting pot of immigrants makes all types of weirdness possible.
Munzenrieder isn't being overdramatic. Why, very recently he wrote about five teens in Marion County who stole the cremated remains of a dead guy and his dead Great Danes, then proceeded to snort them, thinking the ashes were cocaine.
I know some of Florida's weirdness firsthand, having lived in Key West for several months while I completed an internship with a newspaper there in 2006. And even there, on an island only two miles wide at one point and with only 25,000 people, I was treated to news involving underground cockfighting rings, Cuban bread-recipe thieves, and brawling transvestites.
This guy was arrested for soliciting a prostitute.
And while blogging about odd news in the Sunshine State would indeed be like shooting retirees in a barrel, it would also involve living there, which, besides in Key West, is not recommended.