Liquid Courage for Kids

Palm Beach County Schools peddle their good name

City officials are unconcerned. "Nothing's set in concrete that I'm aware of," Mayor Robert Anton says. Development director Laurence Leeds adds that, no matter what happens, the monkeys will be taken care of. "We have an animal relocation ordinance that applies to all development impacting wooded areas," he says.

Tailpipe would feel a lot better about the future of those cute critters if they lived anywhere but Dania Beach, which has shown recently that all things are possible for developers with big plans. Last year, Miami developers MKN Investors, which is building a 427-townhouse complex on Griffin Road, wanted to speed up the review process, so they "donated" $250,000 to the city. The money went into a "contingency" fund, part of which went straight to the commissioners for opting out of an employee health insurance program -- and MKN got its speed-up.

And guess who's about to assume the reins as Dania Beach Mayor in a few weeks? C.K. McElyea. That's right, the owner of Mac's Towing, who made New Times' list of the 2003 Dirty Dozen, for negotiating city contracts with the Broward Sheriff's Office at the same time his company was under contract with BSO to tow illegally parked cars.

A Dania Beach vervet: Can life as he knows it continue?
Spencer Bruce
A Dania Beach vervet: Can life as he knows it continue?

As far as the monkeys are concerned, they're suddenly nowhere to be found. "I haven't seen them in two weeks," Bruce says. Probably just roamin'. But the scary thing is that Dania Beach's favorite vervets could be "disappeared" overnight and, because there's no state law protecting them, no one would have to answer for removing them.

And it burns, burns, burns. Itches something powerful fierce, too. Hemorrhoids are no picnic -- or so they tell Tailpipe. Sula Miller, the TV diva behind Fort Lauderdale Big Grin Productions, was s truggling with an uncomfortable case of the 'rhoids when she hit upon a high-concept solution. Since Johnny and June have relocated to that Folsom Prison Yard in the sky, Miller figured they wouldn't mind if she borrowed "Ring of Fire" to use as a jingle for a new brand of sphincter-soothin' ointment. Her company would produce the ad. She figured wrong -- as soon as the story broke, daughter Roseanne Cash said she would "never allow the song to be demeaned like that."

Reached during a commercial shoot, Miller was barely able to work as handled calls from reporters all over the globe. The BBC, Rolling Stone, CNN News, USA Today, have all called her in the last week, eager to share in the laughs.

"It's an incredible media frenzy," she says breathlessly after a cell-phone interview with an Irish radio station. "When I came up with the idea, I had no idea it would create such controversy."

The song's publisher, Painted Desert Music, had tentatively agreed to sell the rights to Big Grin for $1 million. And "Ring of Fire"'s co-writer, Merle Kilgore, was down with the deal. "Big Grin was going to produce a 'spec commercial,' then pitch it to Preparation H or Anusol or Proctocaine, one of the hemorrhoid cream commercials," Miller relates. "I was really surprised the publishing company said yes."

Well, scratch that idea. The concept will not be making, uh, piles of money for Big Grin.

--As told to Edmund Newton

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