Reefer Silliness

Last month, Smith mailed out a "leadership survey" to 250 Fort Lauderdale residents who were, according to Smith, "chosen due to their prominence in the city." Those familiar with Smith's missives will recognize the style: bolded, italicized, and virtually unreadable typeface, as well as Smith's peculiar mega-ellipses -- strings of as many as 63 periods used in place of commas, drop-dead graphological proof of Smith's deeply repressed anger. (Like, dude, you're so hungry.) Well, isn't it?

In all, 84 people responded with opinions about the state of the city and its elected officials and bureaucrats. Smith recently distributed the survey results around town and at City Hall. If the results are to be trusted, Fort Lauderdale's leaders should be polishing their résumés.

According to Smith's findings, only 17 percent think the City Commission is adequately representing their interests. City Manager George Gretsas has only a 52 percent approval rating. And 81 percent of the respondents think the city could do more to fight crime.

Mayor Jim Naugle bristles upon being asked about Smith's survey. "Apparently, Tim Smith doesn't think I'm one of the prominent people," Naugle says. "I didn't get a ballot."

Naugle flips through the results of the survey in his office at City Hall. "Here's my favorite," he says. "'Who do you think is most responsible for the recent rise in the crime rate?' Fifty percent say the City Commission. Five percent say the mayor. But, wait, wait, only 12 percent blame the criminals!"

Tailpipe is glad to say that Fort Lauderdale politics are as snippy as ever.

Got Barf?

Like much of America, Tailpipe was distressed last month when the Marlins suspended one of their batboys, a Broward Community College student named Nick Cirillo, for six games. The 19-year-old lad's supposed crime was accepting a dare from Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny, who had $500 that said Cirillo couldn't drink a gallon of milk in an hour without puking.

A player like Penny doesn't usually throw softball pitches down the chute (though he has served up 15 home runs this year). Cirillo drank the gallon but couldn't hold his sauce. A source told the Sun-Sentinel: "It was a big cleanup."

But the 'Pipe got to wondering. Was scarfing 128 ounces of moo juice just a fool's challenge? Could it be done?

Tailpipe turned to his favorite world-class eating competitor: Joe LaRue, the six-foot-eight, 280-pound Hollywood banquet chef who's currently the world's 14th-ranked competitive eater. On a recent Sunday, the 'Pipe joined LaRue at a picnic table on Fort Lauderdale Beach for a meeting of the milks.

"Throw the cap away," LaRue said audaciously, like Cortez burning his ships before marching on the Aztecs. "This is serious business." The 'Pipe fumbled to open his container of skim.

LaRue poured his own gallon of whole milk into four red, quart-sized cups, set his timer, and started pounding away.

The first quart he absorbed in, as he himself put it, "a leisurely 45 seconds." The second quart he imbibed by the three-minute mark and the third by minute eight.

He slowed. "I'm not pushing the consumption thing," he said. LaRue was concerned that his body might reject the milk, which allegedly has too many indigestible enzymes for the human stomach to, well, stomach. The worst-case scenario would have been "a reversal," which is pro-eater talk for hurling "six pounds of still-cold gut soup." LaRue finished the final quart in the 18th minute.

The 'Pipe, still chugging, passed the time by doing the math on LaRue's nutritional intake: 2,400 calories, including 1,120 of those from fat; four days' recommended allowance of saturated fat; two days' worth of cholesterol. LaRue shrugged at those numbers. He estimates he once consumed 11,000 calories in a 12-minute chicken-wings-eating contest.

Alas, the 'Pipe could not follow LaRue to such Olympian heights. After 35 minutes, with about 40 ounces remaining, this conduit's own pipework started to burble something fierce, and a sharp abdominal pain settled in, as if someone were jabbing the 'Pipe's midsection with a broomstick. With newfound appreciation for Cirillo's ordeal, Tailpipe tapped out.

LaRue sympathized: "Milk is a powerful beverage." A challenge not for mere mortals like Cirillo and the 'Pipe.

Out of a Phone Booth

It was that bruised, humiliating feeling that you get when you've been the victim of a hate crime and there's nothing you can do about it. Jeffrey Krainess and Mark Shawley stood on a dark Miami street last Sunday, waiting for the cops to arrive. They were also reliving the attack of a young man who, moments before, had leaped out of a car, called them "fucking faggots," and thrown a liquor bottle at them, striking Krainess in the back. Both were filled with frustration at the thought of the perpetrator of the second hate crime on South Beach since July getting away.

A single squad car showed up, joined by a large black Ford Explorer, out of which climbed a supersized man who began conversing with the police.

"The cops are talking to some guy after we'd just been attacked," Krainess recounts, "and we're like, what's going on?"

"He comes over to us, and we were both sort of emotional," Shawley says. "He asks Jeff, 'What's your name?' and Jeff tells him, and then he says, 'I want you to know they caught those guys.' He's very calm. He says, 'Everything's going to be fine. Just relax. '"

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