See Cows?

Somebody Bad Stole the Manatees

"It was classic!" Lipner exclaims. "It was genius! It was going on for months!" And it was doomed. Krispy learned of Lipner's scheme and sued him. Lipner showed up at court in his Krispy Kreme outfit (refusing to remove his hat for "religious" reasons) and a dozen doughnuts. Not long after he introduced himself to the judge as "Mr. Krispy," Lipner was hauled off to Henderson Mental Health Center.

After his commitment, Lipner resurfaced in Illinois, trying his hand again at hawking Hallmark cards. "It was called Great Gifts, but it was all Hallmark merchandise," says Lipner. "I have friends at Hallmark stores across the country. They kept me stocked up, and I kept the checks coming."

OK, Lipner's resourceful, outspoken, not afraid to take a stand. But isn't there a little-noticed provision in the U.S. Constitution, something about how you have to be 35 to run for President? No big deal. All it would require would be a little old amendment and maybe an act of Congress. If Schwarzenegger can do it (that is, make himself eligible to run, though he's a non-native), so can the whiz kid from Tamarac.

Lipner says his strategy is first to go to court and win an age discrimination suit against the federal government. Of course, that'll be no mean feat, considering that, technically, Lipner is not allowed to sue anybody, not since that one-month stretch in 2003 when he filed 158 lawsuits. Lipner explains, "I wanted to sue everyone who ever pissed me off — and I wanted to set the record." He fell a little short on that score; Lipner says he's merely the second Floridian to be ruled a "vexatious litigator" by the court.

Lipner has already registered in Florida as a candidate for the presidency, though he says he's waiting till 2008 to begin his campaign. He's ahead of the other candidates in at least one respect, though: Lipner has named his running mate. It's Jules, his Siberian husky.

"Somebody has to speak up for pets." But Jules who's only 28 in dog years, also must jump through some legal hoops before she can hold public office.

His canine VP notwithstanding, Lipner assures voters that if (nay, when) he gets elected, "America will pretty much be run the same, but it will be a dictatorship. There will be no more elections. It'll be like Cuba — President till I die."

Arriba Lipner! Or, come to think of it, how about abajo?

Blow Me a Leaf

It's not the money or the gilded lifestyle that Tailpipe envies in the typical Palm Beach resident. It's the unflustered understanding of what matters in this world.

Recently, the talk of Palm Beach wasn't about terrorism or the fast deflating real estate bubble. It was... leaf blowers. It was the annoying grind of kerosene-powered motors that, at unexpected moments, can suddenly blot out the soft susurration of ocean breezes through royal palm fronds.

The city government understands its obligations. Last month, Palm Beach began enforcing a new ordinance requiring that all leaf blowers meet strict new sound-violation codes. Residents and landscapers are asked to register their machines, which means bringing them to a noise-testing station set up by code enforcement personnel. If the blower is quieter than 65 decibels (about the volume of a crowded restaurant) when tested at 50 feet, the owner gets a bright, weatherproof sticker declaring the machine a Certified Leafblower. About 80 percent of the machines on the market would fail that sound test.

"Newer leaf blowers come from the manufacturer with a seal already on there saying they won't make too much noise," says Sgt. Fred Hess, the code enforcement manager for the town of Palm Beach. "Officers will be able to look at the blower and see if it has either our registration or the manufacturer's seal."

In March, the responsibility for code enforcement was transferred to the police department, so uniformed cops will be out in force, ready to take down renegade leaf blower-ers.

They aren't going out hunting for violators yet. "We're not riding up and down streets looking for people with leaf blowers," Hess says. "We're only out responding to sound complaints."

He also stresses that registration is voluntary. "Nobody has to get their leaf blower certified," Hess says. But it's easier for everyone to just have them tested so we don't have to bring out the sound meter every time there is a complaint." First time offenders will get a warning, Hess says. After that, they receive a code enforcement violation, which will mean a $75 fine.

So how many leaf blowers have been registered in Palm Beach so far, you ask? Twelve.

Now, back to the important things. Here's a cellar-chilled bottle of fine chardonnay. Where's my corkscrew?

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