Loribiquity

Swamp Gas Speaks

 Lori Parrish is everywhere. The inimitable Broward County commissioner, a candidate for the $148,000-per-year property appraiser sinecure, has been mentioned eight times in the past two weeks in the Sun-Sentinel. A website, floridapropertytaxappeals.com, links to a glowing, 18-page biography complete with pics of the commish in pigtails. And her campaign signs are, well, all over the lawns of the powerful and wealthy.

This curious tube wondered how she can afford it. Then he smoked through her campaign documents. Lovely Lori had taken in $394,000 through July 1. That's much more than any other candidate -- as much as Sheriff Ken Jenne and bond underwriter/commissioner John Rodstrom combined. Who's helping out Lori? Convicted union boss Walter Browne gave $100 back in October; North Broward Hospital District bad boy Dorsey Miller shelled out $250 in June. Rick Case and H. Wayne Huizenga -- through a couple of their companies -- coughed up $1,000 each. There's a judge, Tom Lynch, and Dania Beach Mayor C.K. McElyea too. And there are hundreds of others.

But none of these guys has helped out Lori like Bob Bekoff, owner of the federally subsidized water taxi, which ferries thousands of tourists around town. He has hoisted her signs on boats that are seen every day by thousands. So we called him to probe the sensitive soul of the Lori supporter. His response doesn't reflect well on the candidate: "I wouldn't answer anything you have to say," he told the tube. "You are sewer gas."

Talk to him, Lori. He has no manners.

Sex, Lies, and Profits

Smutmaster Larry Flynt blew through town this week promoting his book Sex, Lies and Politics: The Naked Truth and the opening of his new Hustler store on East Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. The hoopla is over, but the citizenry, there as much to ogle as to buy, has eagerly embraced his long-time motto, “Relax, it’s only sex.”

On any given night, Flynt’s upscale sex shop’s parking lot is crammed with women, couples, and the occasional single guy trying to make their way into the neon-towered entry. There’s not one employee who looks over age 22, and the soundtrack is Miami Beach bouncy. This ain’t your uncle’s porn shop.

Two-thirds of the joint is ribald toys, gifts, and clothing, and the rest is serious sex ware: DVDs, dildos, and vibrators. But the entire store is permeated with hundreds of DVDs and videos of the 1996 film The People vs. Larry Flynt. This is the store’s clever ploy for dealing with a zoning requirement that less than half the store’s inventory be sexually oriented.

One evening last week, three young Latinas, well-dressed in skirts and short-sleeved blouses, clowned around with long, purple boas in the negligee department. Then the most animated of the three gently cradled a three-foot-long, plush, pink penis like a newborn baby as a male customer nearby marveled at a case full of glass dildos.

“These are just for show, right?” he asked.

“No, they’re usable,” the clerk said. “A lot of women like them because you can soak them in warm water — or cold water.”

“Looks painful,” the alarmed customer said. “That one looks like... a screw.”

A couple searched for a specific gadget, the name of which eluded them. “It’s one of those jelly things with a finger on the end,” the woman explained to a helpful clerk. “You know what it’s called?” The clerk shook her head. “It’s pink,” the customer said. She finally settled on the Flirtatious Dolphin, a battery-operated toy that, according to the description on the box, features “a flickering lighted bottle nose.”

“You think this’ll work?” she queried her partner. He (doubtfully): “You tell me.”

Tailpipe yearned for a sepia-toned time when sex was secret and sinful.

Straw in the House

Looking for a signature on that 1983 Darryl Strawberry National League Rookie of the Year card? Or perhaps for those seven Sports Illustrated covers the Straw graced? You could do worse than hang around the New Times parking lot. Dehhhh-ruhhhhl was passing through last week when he stopped to help New Times marketing directors Jessica Jerrick and Wendy Knowles load boxes full of promotional tchotchkes onto a dolly, then truck them to the second-floor offices. "Chivalry is not dead," Jerrick said later.

Neither of the women recognized the trim, six-foot-five, former first overall draft pick, but they wanted to thank him anyhow, so they offered him movie promo swag: a T-shirt and a crappy backpack "for this girly-girly preteen movie called Sleepover," Jerrick said. "It doesn't get much worse." This for an eight-time All-Star who was baseball's top-paid player in 1991, back when $3.8 million a year was real money. Only then did they exchange introductions. "I was just mortified when he said his name," Jerrick said. "We just wanted to crawl in a hole and take back our movie promo items."

Legal, drug, and health problems beset Strawberry throughout his 17-year career with the Mets, Dodgers, Giants, and Yankees. He twice developed colon cancer, was arrested for soliciting a prostitute and a hit-and-run in Tampa, and spent time in cocaine rehab. Strawberry, who is involved in fundraising activities with the 7th Avenue Recovery Program in the New Times building, told the women he just moved to South Florida and is interested in volunteering for children's and charity organizations. One of the great athlete cautionary tales of the past 20 years is now local, and he's in a giving mood.

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