Off Key

| November 1, 2016

By Bob Frederickson

From Millenials on the Move to Justice Down the Tubes?

A New Option for Millennials Imprisoned in Parents’ Basement?

With statistics showing that young adults age 18 to 34 are for the first time more likely to live at home with their parents than with a roommate or romantic partner close to their own age, the implications for the economy are less than rosy…especially when it comes to the housing industry. Education loans for degrees that have failed to help land the expected high-paying job have left this generation burdened by a level of debt formerly used to purchase a first home or start a small business.

But now a local developer has a unique plan to get the kids out of the house and into an affordable place of their own. Bernard Croghan wants to turn the vacant county jail in downtown Bradenton into living spaces for ‘crowded nesters’ wanting to (finally) light out on their own.

It’s an interesting pitch: trade the comforts of a multi-generational home for the ‘solitary’ space of the former county lock-down. But then again, if you’re going to be chained to a mortgage, it might as well be for a real prison, not simply a metaphorical one.

And if the younger demographic targeted by Croghan doesn’t come through, perhaps he can re-target his marketing plan toward their parents. They might just jump at the chance for a little solitary confinement of their own. Manatee county commissioners will consider the project in January.

More Millennial Housing News

Malinda Crichton of Sacramento California has been building her very own dream house in typical millennial fashion: eschewing grand and gaudy for small and cozy in keeping with the ‘tiny’ house trend (living spaces typically less than 500 sf). Such diminutive domiciles are all the rage these days for those raised with a near borderline obsession with reducing their footprint on the planet. There are even several cable TV shows celebrating the trend.

Crichton’s immediate problem though is that her work-in-progress was so small that someone walked off with it. That’s right, someone stole her new house right out from under her nose; it was just feet away from the nearby apartment she has been renting while she works to complete it during her free time. She went outside one recent morning to do just that and ‘poof’…no house.

Not to worry though, it was eventually found a few blocks away, abandoned in a shopping center parking lot. But I have to wonder…was it really stolen or did it just get blown across town by a brisk breeze?

Revenge of the Clowns?

Remember the clown statues placed around town a few years back? They were sponsored by local businesses, organizations and governmental offices that decorated them in keeping with a particular theme related to life hereabouts. Many celebrated Sarasota’s circus heritage. Well, as shocking as it may seem now from the vantage point of the oh so civilized times we live in today (cue the laughter), a number of the clowns were mercilessly attacked, even defiled…proving yet again that no good deed intended to bring the community together goes unpunished.

As best I can recall, none of the defilers were ever caught, but we all learned a new term: coulrophobia: the irrational fear of clowns. Perhaps that’s what led to the vandalism some civic leaders speculated. As for me, I always chalked it up to a simple case of bullying by losers too insecure or cowardly to bully actual living, breathing beings who might actually fight back. In any case, the clowns were eventually removed and all returned to normal.

But now…well… "…they’re back!”

And they’re not happy. Reports of creepy clowns prowling the Internet and even spotted near schools and playgrounds have caught the attention of law enforcement agencies here and in other communities nationwide. It’s gotten so bad, Target has decided to pull all clown costumes from its shelves this Halloween season; and McDonalds has even exiled Ronald McDonald, removing him from his former exalted position as corporate mascot and all around ambassador of mirth, at least until the whole creepy clown thing blows over.

Ronald was unavailable for comment, but friends, including Bozo, Clarabelle and Weary Willie report that he is totally devastated by the whole turn of events.

Who’d a thunk it…Ronald McDonald kicked to the curb like a common Hamburglar.

Trump’s Last Long-Shot Hope?

Choosing between two deeply flawed candidates for president may make the bottom of the ticket in the upcoming presidential election more important to many voters than has historically been the case.

Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine have been largely overlooked throughout most of the race, but in that moment of truth when folks go to the polls, draw the curtain and have to finally decide, they just might be so repulsed by both Hillary and Donald that they make their decision based on the candidates’ vice presidential running mates instead.

And therein may lie an interesting but plausible scenario that just might result in a Pence presidency. Odds are that if elected, Trump will face the very real prospect of impeachment, given his lack of support in Congress. After all, he is disliked (hated?) by Republican and Democrat leaders alike in both the House and Senate. But Hillary? If elected, Democrats would never allow her to be impeached…under any circumstances. So conflicted voters who wretch at the thought of either Trump or Hillary leading the nation might just be willing to justify their vote for Trump as really being a backdoor play for Pence, rationalizing Trump is unlikely to survive a year in office before Democrats initiate (and Republican leaders gleefully support) impeachment proceedings against him…catapulting Pence into the oval office.

Incendiary New Product Launch

There have been plenty of new product launches over the years that have gone belly-up. The Edsel…New Coke… But in most cases the fallout has been relatively benign for consumers. Sure, people might have laughed at your grandfather for driving a car that looked like it needed a rhinoplasty straight off the show room floor, or scratched their heads in wonder over Coca-Cola deciding to reinvent the most popular and profitable soft-drink in the history of the universe.

But Samsung’s incendiary Note 7 ‘smart’ phone takes things to a whole new level. The company’s advice to customers last week was only slightly less alarming than if they had instructed owners to carefully take their new phones to the backyard, bury them to a depth of six feet and…run!

The FAA announced last week it is now a federal crime to bring one of the devices onto an airplane. Samsung estimates the debacle will cost it in the neighborhood of $5 billion over the coming months.

Sympathy for the Devil(s)?

What do Ted Bundy and Danny Rolling have in common – besides being cold hearted, remorseless serial killers convicted and sent to their final reward under Florida law? Answer: their death sentences were not unanimous jury decisions. Which means that if they had been sentenced under new guidelines handed down last week by the Florida Supreme Court in a 5-2 decision, these less than model citizens would still be taking up space here on earth instead of sailing through eternity on an all expense paid tour of Dante’s nine circles of Hell with Beelzebub himself serving as their cruise director. (One can only hope…).

Oh…and Joseph Smith, the low life who murdered Sarasota pre-teen Carlie Brucia a decade ago…he’d also skate past death row under the new rules. Now if juries couldn’t unanimously agree on the death penalty for these three reprobates, it’s hard to imagine any criminal or defense attorney ever taking the Florida death penalty seriously again. Which may just be the ultimate goal of the five ‘reformist’ Florida Supreme Court justices that voted in favor of the new perp-friendly rules.

Cue The Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil. Justice is supposed to be blind, not the Justices entrusted to administer it.

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Category: Columns, News

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