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You want swans? We got swans. Also, political crack and cracked corporate politics!

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While your feathers are probably still ruffled from the startling election blowout last night – “which was so amazing, right?” smirks the column that went to print before the last splotch of blood hit MSNBC host Keith Olbermann in the face – we’ve been licking our feathers for weeks over the aviary scandal of the century! It all started on Oct. 21, when an e-mail landed in our inbox from the Orlando Police Department’s ladymouth Sgt. Barbara Jones detailing some sinister goings on down at Lake Eola. There were swans, see, and they were stolen.

“Hijinks!” we squawked. This, we thought greedily, would be our fucking Pulitzer. Alas, the Orlando Sentinel was already on it. In less than two weeks, the paper printed no less than eight investigative tomes about the absconded fowl, including one obligatory puff-piece detailing the history of swannitude in the City Beautiful. It just so happens that the mean birds have been here for exactly 100 years.

Anyway, the cops kept a clumsy clamp on the meaty details of exactly what was happening, slowly letting the public know that two, no seven, no nine (maybe eight?) swans, worth $500 apiece, were missing from the city’s central retention pond. Although OPD had an idea what, exactly, was being done with the swans – and by whom – it wanted to make certain the case was handled with utmost discretion. For the rest of us, the suspense was unbearable.

But then, just as everybody was zipping themselves into their stolen swan costumes in preparation for Halloween weekend, the saga came to a rousing close. A 22-year-old hot guy from Jacksonville, Stephen Brezil, turned himself in for allegedly stealing the birds (through a bail bondsman, because this story couldn’t be any more ridiculous) early Friday afternoon. In addition to being an exotic-amphibian enthusiast, Brezil runs a Jacksonville pet store called Blazin’ Reptiles; that store sold four of the black swans to a Lake Butler man who grew suspicious of his purchase and called the authorities.

Now, at least six of the stolen swans are accounted for and back in their unnatural habitat. As for the others? There could have been a screw-up in counting the birds, bird-loving Commissioner Patty Sheehan told the Sentinel. You can’t make this shit up.

Well, you can certainly sit onshit (wait, what?). Last Thursday, Oct. 28, a little smidge of personal politics crept across the evening news transom: Mayoral hopeful (as of press time, anyway) Bill Segal’s 28-year-old son had been arrested while buying crack in a bad part of town. Yikes. That would have been bad news were it reported when it actually happened on Monday night, but it didn’t show up on the Sentinel “Breaking News” blotter until Thursday night, that much closer to the weekend before the election to end all elections. Conspiracy!

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