Best Of :: People & Places
It was just another night on Eddie K.'s 10 p.m.-to-2 a.m. shift on WQAM-AM (560). Because it was the tail end of March, South Florida's king of late-night sports talk had plenty of raw material. Blah-blah-blah Heat, blah-blah-blah Marlins, and, of course, blah-blah-blah gambling. Then, right before the break, Kaplan got an "ACLU call." A man wondered what it must be like for Kaplan to "work with niggers, kikes, and spics all the time." (Or something to that effect. We were in our car at the time and couldn't reach for a pen without endangering our fellow motorists.) Now, such a call would not normally go out over the air: The host would press the "dump" button, and thanks to the magic of the seven-second delay, the world would never hear those slurs. But Kaplan let this shit hit his fans -- and then spun it into gold. He segued from that call into one of his patented commercials for the Booby Trap in Pompano Beach. Now, some folks might find strip clubs as offensive to women as the caller's epithets were to the respective ethnicities. Not our Ed: He proceeded to wax poetic on how, if one is infected with racism, all one must do is spend one night among "the beautiful, young, naked women of the Booby Trap -- women of all colors and descriptions," and one will be cured. About how, when overcome by such transcendent concupiscence, all of one's prejudices melt away, as if by magic. It was truly moving. In fact, the next time the United Nations sponsors one of those conferences on racism, we nominate Ed Kaplan to be keynote speaker.
Greed is both America's driving force and its incurable sickness. One particularly egregious symptom: the obsession with property values. The lust for high-end real estate reinforces old prejudices, creates paranoiac provincialism, and often leads to a stifling conformity that strangles the imagination -- but hey, it fattens the wallet. (Yes, Weston, we're talking about you). All of these facts conspire to make the property appraiser's Website a most delectable pleasure of the guilty variety. The site feeds that unhealthy instinct Veblen called "pecuniary emulation." You usually can't find out your coworkers' salaries, but, on Bill Markham's database, you can damn well learn how much they paid for their houses. Look up your boss and confirm once and for all that the nincompoop is making way too much money. Look up politicians, pastors, friends, neighbors. Find out their square footage and what they pay in taxes. You know you want to know, so get down off your high horse and log on. On a more practical note, somebody told us it can also help gauge the value of a home you are buying or selling. Just remember to follow the instructions: last name-comma-no space-first name, like say, Rodstrom,John (who has a house assessed at more than $700,000 on Nurmi Drive in Fort Lauderdale, if you're curious).