Oh, boy.  It’s been an exciting week here at Fresh-Squeezed Florida.  Ever since I got back from the Gulf, I’ve not been putting the 500 miles a week on my car that I normally would while visiting Florida’s finest attractions.  Instead, the heat has driven me indoors as has sheer exhaustion from a couple of important projects.

First of all, we have the oil spill. I am not so sure that the gloom-and-doom stuff is that far off the mark.  I have to question media blackouts and media slants and all those Good American BP commercials that keep popping up on my television and why suddenly immigration is in the news and the spill is not and why, above all, the rest of the nation and the rest of the world seem to think we have a minor event the size of a postage stamp and hardly more critical than a slight overflow of gasoline from the pump at your corner BP station.

What this means for me is that I’ve made emergency plans.  This has taken some of my time but I am prepared as I will ever be, which personally signifies survival gear and four jars of lemon body cream and a couple of cases of Country Stew Pedigree dog food stashed in the back of my SUV.

Then there’s the Thomas Center Theatre for Young Audiences.  You may remember that I was the marketing manager for this theatre.  After taking two years to get off the ground, the theatre had a hugely successful, SRO opening and then went straight to the City Manager as a budget cut.  And the City Manager approved the cut, so I’ve been mobilizing the troops.  I spoke about the theatre at a Town Hall meeting and got reduced to a “plea for the arts” in a newspaper article that named the names of people who argued over the biomass plant and the ongoing issue with homelessness in the Swamp City.

I’ve started a Facebook page called “Save the Thomas Center Theatre for Young Audiences,” so if you’re on Facebook, look me up (Suzanna Mars) and join my group.  My goal is to have over 500 members in two weeks and I am up over 150 in 24 hours.  Something might come of this:  I might never work in this town again or someone might say, Holy cow, that girl could command an army and offer me a job that lets me support myself.  Which is, you know, pretty impossible these days.

I am also starting to book the Heart of Florida Asian Festival, which is held 10/23 and 10/24 at The Thomas Center in downtown Gainesville. I book second-stage entertainment, the food, and the vendors/community groups.  My title is “Production Coordinator,” but I’m also the bonsai-wrangler, the sumo commando, and the champion of your right to scorch your tongue on wasabi ice cream.

Once again, my Random Roadside steers off the common blacktop.  I consider signage to be a roadside attraction and I’ve included a couple of special examples here.

 Astor Owl Bait ‘n’ Tackle, in, duh, Astor!  What a wonderful sign, but the business was closed.

In honor of the 4th of July, here’s a sign for VFW Post 9986.  Birds of prey seem to be a theme in Astor.

What’s the Ocala National Forest without Whoopie Pies?  Whoopee! I’d like to submit Whoopie Pies as the Official American Treat.  I know, I know, it’s hard to knock the Twinkie off its perch, but still…

It wouldn’t be America without the Good Ole Redneck Bar, would it? Found on the road to Alexander Springs.  This part of Central Florida seems to bask in Neo-Confederacy.

Hot Fish, We Got It!  White Springs, Florida.  What kind of fish? I’m thinking Florida’s favorite, the mullet, and we can probably rule out something fussy like halibut or anything that requires a fish fork.  Note the bidirectional arrow, one pointing towards a house and another towards the road.  Still, what an example of American ingenuity! Why not run a fast-food enterprise along with a jury-rigged parking lot?  Bravo!

The racing business is tough.  Here we have a sign that illustrates this point succinctly.  Note that there seems to be no middle ground.  Also note that the real estate on Dupree Pine & Cowpen Island Estates seems to have bottomed out.

Shoot me full of puzzled. If you can’t shoot, then what is the purpose of this range?  Grazing land for cattle?

Oh, did this look as if it might have been wonderful, back in the day.  Now, only uffalo roam.  Shame.

The Guerra’s (sic) seem to not correctly celebrate the artistic potential of having one’s very own fish camp.  See how Razorback Camp. on the other hand, has erected its own pole in addition to having a sign on the shared pole. 

Uh, oh, more Sons and Daughters of the Neo-Confederacy.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Blackstock’s (sic, and I might add a rather ironic surname for members of the White Might).

Another local business that has unfortunately shut its doors.  I’d take this over a Kangaroo any day of the week.

Guard dog.

This building, the Eureka Landmark, was a facade. If there’s a campaign to save it, boys, I’m your girl.  Sign me right up!