Under the category of "Only in Lake County" comes a fellow nicknamed "Edarem," a star on YouTube.
For the Internet-challenged among us,
YouTube.com is a wildly popular place on the information superhighway where people can upload what used to be quaintly called home movies.
Today, with inexpensive digital cameras, it's a simple process, and YouTube says it has "hundreds of millions" of video clips that anyone can watch on a computer with just a click.
Out of that jumble come "stars" whose popularity begins to rival the "real" ones. It's the poor man's online Hollywood.
One of those is Edward Muscare — Edarem to his YouTube fans — who is currently residing in the Lake County Jail.
Make no mistake: Muscare is no Tom Cruise.
He's a 77-year-old guy with hair like Albert Einstein, wiggly, insinuating eyebrows that give you the creeps and a missing tooth. His most popular clip on the video-sharing service is one of him lip-syncing to Roy Orbison's tune "Oh, Pretty Woman." Nearly 700,000 people have watched it.
If you didn't know Muscare was a child molester, you could guess after watching this clip. But it's so obvious, you have to laugh. The guy is a convicted sexual batterer — but he's also a hoot. His clips just beg the viewer to consider the complicated mixture that is human nature.
At one point, as the "Pretty Woman" video goes on, my personal reaction was to scream, "No! No! No!" in the middle of the newsroom before everyone had finished their morning coffee. That's because Muscare takes his sweater off during the clip, and I feared he wouldn't stop there. Thankfully, he did. Apparently, he just got a little warm in the presentation.
Others videos are mostly Muscare singing little ditties such as the Chiquita banana song from television advertisements years ago. He wiggles his fingers and eyebrows, rolls his eyes and generally looks goony doing just about anything.
Many of his videos depict him just sitting and chatting, sharing his homespun philosophy on how to quit smoking, how dogs give unconditional love to their owners — "Hey, baby girl," he says to one, planting a smooch on top of her head — and how to make a cheap luggage rack for a 1970 Volkswagen Beetle with four eye screws. He said he doesn't care how it looks. "I like practicality," he told listeners confidentially.
One clip is an odd little treatise on why English is a difficult language to learn and how folks shouldn't make fun of those who are struggling to master it. None is sexually explicit or even suggestive.
Twenty-three years ago, Muscare was convicted of molesting a 14-year-old boy in Orange County. His Lake County charges came when he failed to register as a sex offender after moving here. He's still on probation for that.
Oddly, after the former Kansas City television host moved to South Carolina, one of the conditions of his probation was that he stay off the Internet. Why? Beats me. In 1986, the Internet was just emerging for the general population, and Muscare wasn't accused of using it in any way to meet children. He was ordered not to be alone with kids under 14. Now, that makes sense.
So, that's how Muscare came to the Lake County lockup. And the question is whether Circuit Judge Mark Hill should sentence him to jail for violating the terms of his probation. Geez. Let's spend court time on real issues, not this junk.
The Internet is simply a part of life these days. No one is accusing Muscare of using it for illegal purposes. This is just an old showman occupying his time making goofy, harmless videos and posting them for others to enjoy and comment on. And comment they do. One declared Muscare the wisest man on YouTube. Um, perhaps that's going a bit far.
If Muscare touches another kid, I say slam-dunk him into prison. Otherwise, the Internet restriction ought to go away.
Lauren Ritchie can be reached at Lritchie@orlandosentinel
.com. You may leave her a message at 352-742-5918. Her blog is at OrlandoSentinel.com/ laurenonlake.