kottke.org posts about Florida

Monkey business

posted by Aaron Cohen   Aug 24, 2012

Monkey Business

Dang, I really enjoyed this article about a monkey on the loose in Tampa. I think you'll like it, too, if you like sentences such as, "He received death threats from pro-monkey radicals." To keep myself from blockquoting the entire story, I had to put away my Copyandpaster. Did you have any idea there were wild monkeys in Florida?

At his desk, Yates unfolded a map of Tampa Bay. But he found he had to flip the map over, then consult other maps, at different scales, to trace the macaque's entire odyssey. "It's an amazing feat, when you think about his travels," he said. Since 2009, Yates estimates that he has gone after the animal on roughly 100 different occasions. The monkey was his white whale. He claimed to have darted it at least a dozen times, steadily upping the tranquilizer dosage, to no avail. The animal is too wily โ€” it retreats into the woods and sleeps off the drug. A few times, the monkey stared Yates right in the eye and pulled the dart out.


This is not the first time that monkeys have incited a minor populist uprising in Florida. The population of wild rhesus macaques in the middle of the state โ€” the tribe from which, the theory goes, the Mystery Monkey strayed โ€” was established in the late 1930s by a New Yorker named Colonel Tooey. (Colonel was his first name.) Tooey ran boat tours on the picturesque Silver River, a premier tourist destination. A brazen showman, he wanted to ratchet the scenery up another notch. So he bought a half-dozen macaques and plopped them on a small island. Macaques are strong swimmers; Tooey had no idea. According to local lore, the animals were off the island within minutes.

Note: Illustration by Chris Piascik...prints & more are available.

Burning bills

posted by Aaron Cohen   May 07, 2012

Remember the Ice T line, "So much cash gotta keep it in Hefty bags?" These Florida brothers, illicit pill mill operators the both of them, had so much cash they had to keep it in Hefty bags, yes, but they also had so much cash they burned the $1 bills as punishment for not being $5, $10, or $20 bills. Business tip: If you have so much money you are literally burning cash, you need to take another look at operations. Chris and Jeff George are now in jail after their prescription pill empire was shut down by prosecutors.

The cash piled up despite the brothers' free-spending ways. Jeff George bought a monster truck, multiple Lamborghinis and a Mercedes Saks 5th Avenue Edition. There were only five of those cars made, and George liked his so much that when he totaled it, he bought himself another, according to a friend.

Jeff George assembled a small navy, including a 36-foot racing vessel, a 39-foot sports boat and two yachts, 38 and 55 feet in length. He also bought the shopping plaza housing his favorite strip club. The purchases were a convenient way to launder money, according to the indictment.

At the end of the article, it says the physicians associated with the Georges' operation were among the top purchasers of oxycodone, and that their demise "played a major role in reversing both local and national trends of rapidly increasing painkiller abuse." I would love to see numbers backing that, as well as the impact on pharmaceutical company profits.

(via @delfuego)

Portrait of a housing bust

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 01, 2010

From the Big Picture, a selection of aerial photos of houses and housing developments in southwest Florida.

Florida housing