Sweethearts on Parade

You'll see it in large stacks around town, with articles shamelessly sponsored by big corporate advertisers.

Stay tuned for February's issue, which the old crystal ball tells Tailpipe will include stories about Yanni, Elton John, Andrea Bocelli, and Sarah McLachlan. (Oh, yeah, they're all scheduled to perform at Office Depot Center.) Just don't expect Live on Stage to ask Sir Elton anything along these lines: What about that smoldering touchy-feely relationship you've got going with Eminem?

Crime on the Menu

Say it ain't so, Jerry. Two weeks ago, Broward Sheriff's Office deputies nabbed Hollywood mob boss Gerard "Jerry" Chilli and 22 alleged mob associates, charging most of them with illegal gambling. But Chilli, who authorities claim is the Bonanno crime family's capo in South Florida, and Nicholas Pappas were also charged with dealing in stolen property. A BSO undercover sting called "Operation Coldwater" allegedly showed that Chilli had orchestrated the boosting of $300,000 worth of veal, liquor, and six-ounce salmon fillets, which he tried to unload on undercover detectives.

Ech, the mob can have its gambling profits. But when they start driving up the cost of comestibles (scallopini or blackened salmon are already pricey enough, to say nothing of the 'Pipe's usual brandy snifter of Wild Turkey and cracked ice), this cylinder starts breathing fire.

Watch out, because this tube just got word the mob food-skim is more widespread than BSO is letting on. More undercover operations, more busts in the works, include:

Operation Orange Fingers -- Investigations into allegations the DeCicco organization has been swiping Port Everglades-bound shipping containers of both the crunchy and puffy varieties of Cheetos and re-selling them to small-time vending machine guys.

Operation Tastes Like Chicken -- Detectives are searching for alligator nuggets taken by Dellacroce gang underlings in daring midnight raids on the walk-in freezers of various Quarterdeck restaurants. The 'gator meat is believed to be re-packaged for sale on the black market as chicken fingers.

Operation Chews on the Other Foot -- The Pedici clan purloined cases of Big Red, Bubblicious, and Juicy Fruit bound for Tamarac Cub Scout Troop 1105, then rewrapped and sold them to the Iraqi insurgency in packages emblazoned with George W. Bush's face and titled "Die, Infidel, Die."

Get the cells ready, boys. We're cleaning up the food business.

-- As told to Edmund Newton

Test Your Obit IQ

South Florida has long been called God's Waiting Room, but how do we describe it when He finally calls a loved one's number? This grim 'Pipe culled more than 700 recent Sun-Sentinel death notices for the answer. Most of the verbs therein are unsurprising, as almost all say a person ³died² (83%) or ³passed away² (10%). But some obituaries (about 5%) give more inspired descriptions of how the deceased in fact ceased. From the following list, can you identify the descriptions that actually appeared in your neighbors' obits versus the ones that came from ¹Pipe¹s fevered imagination?

A. "The angels came down from heaven for" a 43-year-old woman.

B. A 76-year-old woman "took the burning escalator to Satantown."

C. A 15-year-old boy "learned firsthand the dangers of autoerotic asphyxiation."

D. A 55-year-old man had a "new birthday in Heaven."

E. An 81-year-old man "went to do Jager shots with John Belushi."

F. A 77-year-old woman "was called home by her Heavenly Father."

G. A 90-year-old woman "went joyfully to be with the Lord."

H. A 63-year-old man "blew his final cosmic wad."

Answer: A, D, F and G are real. (But the 'Pipe calls dibs on E.)

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