The License Plate Gambit

Don't think you're going to get rich by attaching a slogan to the backs of people's cars.

Webb approached Culpepper and offered a compliment on the sly: "You shoot like you play for money."

Yes, indeed, Daunte plays at home. "Last night," he said, "we had 40 grand on the table."

Ultimately, neither team advanced to the finals — but neither did Irvin's team. When the ex-receiver learned the news, he staggered in mock histrionics, then signed autographs on a pool table as a sharply dressed man the size and shape of a coffin looked on.

The Black Widow and the Duchess: Crossing cues
The Black Widow and the Duchess: Crossing cues

"Does Michael Irvin really have a bodyguard?" Fialkov blurted. "Give me a break."

Back at the auction table, Lee's opening offer of $300 for the autographed Irvin jersey remained the only bid.

Gangsta Clerk

"CLICK IT OR TICKET!" reads the personal quote on Howard Forman's MySpace page. "AND KEEP IT GANGSTA!"

As the county's clerk of courts, Forman is at least vaguely familiar to anyone who runs afoul of the law in Broward, but he's not exactly a dynamic public persona. That's why Tailpipe was surprised (even amused) to find that someone had added him to the growing list of figures to be spoofed with a phony MySpace profile, complete with photos of prisons and biographical information cribbed from the Clerk of Courts website.

His stated interests include "eating," illustrated with a picture of donuts. His "heroes" are the police in a slideshow of cops sleeping in uniform and beating the snot out of perps. The song that greets visitors to the page begins, "Hey, dog, this one here is for all my motherfuckin' niggas who is locked up, dog."

The portrait is at once vulgar, insulting, and, Forman acknowledged, oddly flattering.

"Well," he said when the 'Pipe sent him a link to the site, "at least I have 77 friends."

Yes, it's a spoof site, he said. "People can put in what they want to, and we can't do anything about it. When anybody wants to pay traffic tickets, they have to do it through me. Maybe not everybody's happy about it."

Maybe. The folks who have left comments include a 29-year-old Pompano Beach man who writes, "I ain't scarred [sic] of you you can take this ticket and shove it. UP YOURS HOWARD!!!!!!"

That's no way to speak to a dedicated civil servant. See if you can improve the dialogue at

Ice Cream Shootout

The scene: An old-fashioned ice cream parlor in downtown Hollywood. The crime: Uncivilized behavior involving tasty treats, a pair of tenacious tots, and two grown men. The outcome: A stabbing ice-cream headache for Thomas Lyons, owner of Hollywood Ice Cream.

Jeff Langer and his twin 5-year-old daughters came into the store on June 21 — an afternoon visit that ended with both girls in tears, Langer and Lyons red-faced and swearing, and a police officer called to the scene. Since there was no physical assault, not even a ticket was issued. But Langer says responding cops advised him to "write a letter and [distribute] it to everyone I knew." The unsigned letter, e-mailed to local news outlets, the Better Business Bureau, and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, characterizes Lyons as a barbaric brute who "threatened to kill me."

Lyons' side of the story — naturally — is much different. He says Langer, a regular customer, was too busy to pay attention to his children when he came in, as he was engrossed in a phone call. "The kids were eating on the floor under the table, hanging off the counters, and pulling menus off the windows," Lyons alleges. When he asked the kids to cool it, he says, Langer snapped. Their divergent opinions regarding child discipline escalated into a shouting match and sobfest. (One of the girls was crying because she'd pinched her finger while climbing around, Lyons says. Langer says both girls spent 45 hysterical minutes in tears "as they were fearful and worried about my safety").

Langer explains that he was on an important business call when Lyons scolded his kids, who had come from summer day camp. "All I knew is I had a situation on my hands," he says. He hopes the ice cream parlor will feel the heat: "I have enough people I can tell that I can influence his business directly," Langer says. "Within a block of my house, I have 30 parents I know well."

This troubles Lyons. "I don't hate kids!" he says. "I don't want them to be silent, just well-behaved." Lyons opines that Mrs. Langer would have been none-too-pleased had she seen her husband's lack of supervision over his daughters that day. "If I'd acted like that in a restaurant when I was a kid," Lyons adds, "my mom would have had my ass."

Someone, Tailpipe thinks, needs to learn to use his indoor voice. Or Lyons can invest in one of those signs that reads "Fair Warning: Unattended Children Will Be Given an Espresso and Black Coffee."

— As told to Edmund Newton

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