This small jeweler on the corner of Sunrise and 20th Avenue looks like a modest mom-and-pop joint, but if you've ever been stopped at that light and let your eyes drift to its marquee, you would see hilarious phrases like "We Accept Visa, AMEX, and Sugar Daddies" and "Buy Her a Diamond or Someone Else Will." Who says romance is dead?

Hockey at this hot spot is played in several forms. One, the ice version, which requires skates that may be rented for a couple of bucks on top of the $6 rink admission. The others, of the dome and air varieties, require quarters. But you're here to beat heat -- why sweat? Grab a beer from the snack bar, prop up the bladed dogs, and watch some ESPN on that mammoth big screen. At midday, the Zamboni evicts skaters to take a turn around that frozen cement pond. The air inside the arena settles and thickens. Walking in feels like the blank, brisk frost blast when a freezer door first opens. But this is full-body, a chill you can swallow in and wallow in. Exhale slowly, from the deepest, hottest pits of your lungs. Breath looks cool in summertime. Free skate is Monday through Friday 9:20 to 11:50 a.m. and 1:40 to 4 p.m.; Friday night from 7:30 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 1:30 to 4 p.m. and 8 to 10 p.m. And Sunday, it's 1:30 to 4 p.m.
The Cheesecake Factory
When it's Florence Henderson's birthday, everyone knows it. At least, everyone at the Cheesecake Factory on Las Olas, an eatery the former Brady Bunch mom frequented while she was performing in the Florida Follies down the street at Parker Playhouse. Back in February, she was spotted by several hungover 20-somethings enjoying a sensible salad with a group of girlfriends. After the waiter brought out a piece of chocolate cake with a candle (just one, of course), her gals began singing "Happy Birthday," making sure to put extra emphasis on the "dear, FLORENCE." Heads turned; people whispered. As Flo got up to leave, she approached the table next to the hungover patrons. "Hello," Henderson said, handing a girl a rose, "did you ever watch the Brady Bunch?" Everyone looked a tad confused. The Brady what? Yeah, in reruns on Nick at Nite. But, hey, Henderson gets an "E" for effort! According to a waitress at the Cheesecake Factory, Flo came in quite often while she was in the play. Scottie Pippen and other celebs, come in too, as well as others who "are usually a bit... older."
She attended her first North Broward Hospital District meeting in 1993, angry about what she felt were bloated salaries for officials. Back then, Jane Kreimer, a native of Pittsburgh, was a 69-year-old grandmother who lived in Pompano with her retired husband. Since then, she's become a most dogged watchdog of the controversial -- and utterly corrupt -- public hospital system. While the Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald often failed to do their jobs, Kreimer would be there, criticizing sleazy land deals, crooked business propositions, and bad medical practices. Even though Kreimer is an inveterate critic, she's always done it with style. When she attends monthly board meetings -- which she almost never misses -- she wears fine dresses and hats, as if she were headed for a skybox at the Kentucky Derby. She also keeps up a steady discourse (and believe us, Kreimer can talk with the best of them) with commissioners to maximize her effectiveness. Back in 1995, the board even allowed her to vote with the seven commissioners on whether to hire Wil Trower as CEO. Though Kreimer cast her ballot against Trower, he was approved by a majority. Well, Trower has proven to be a monumental disaster as district leader. Maybe Kreimer hasn't been able to clean up the district altogether -- nobody could -- but she's investigated and done more than just a little good while she's been at it. We tip our hat to the grand dame of the district.

Searching for that elusive Big O, only to be stopped cold by a 40-foot dike? Or maybe you've tried to take a gander at Lake Okeechobee, the second-largest freshwater lake fully in the United States (the Great Lakes are half in Canada, eh), only to gaze upon marshy islands or grassy shoals instead of the open water of the 730-square-mile inland sea. The earthen levee built to protect us from floodwater makes it impossible to see the lake from the road that circles it, and the southern and western sides provide few vantage points to see it at its best. The eastern shore is far better, and Port Mayaca (about two miles north of the Palm Beach County line on Highway 441) offers the best view of the entire "liquid heart of the Everglades." Drive to the top of the dike and hike down to the water's edge, where you'll certainly see wading birds, alligators, and maybe a manatee or two. If your timing is good, you'll see a variety of small boats pass through the lock system that connects the lake to the St. Lucie Canal and into the ocean. Bring a fishing rod and you'll probably snare a load of bass too.

Remember when the downtown skyline of Broward County's largest city was just a scattered handful of high-rise office buildings? If you've lived in South Florida for more than a few years, of course you do. And if you go back more than two decades, you'll remember a skyline distinguished largely by the edifice widely known as "that big brown building with the neon that looks vaguely like an outline of the state of Florida." No more. The accelerating construction boom has led to an increasingly dense mass of big buildings downtown, including a surprising number of residential towers. One of those, the unfinished 42-floor River House, is already the tallest building in the greater metropolitan area. Now, when you approach downtown Fort Lauderdale from almost any direction, the looming skyline provokes roughly the same reaction you get heading into Miami -- this is a real city. Best view: from the sweeping arc of the flyover from eastbound I-595 to I-95 north. You probably don't want to be down there driving in it -- the construction and all it entails continues -- but it's great to look at from afar.
Craving hot buns? How about a big, fat sausage? The Publix at Five Points can satisfy just about all your needs. Sure, it's got food, but it's also got men -- gay men -- and lots of them. Just about every Tom, Dick, and Harry cruises the aisles at "The Gay Publix," conveniently located in the heart of Gayville (that would be Wilton Manors, as if you didn't know). If you're tired of the bar scene or just shopping for a taste of something new, you can't do much better than this place. Strike up an innocent conversation with that hunk on the way home from the gym and see where it leads. Quick snack? Romantic dinner? Buffet? Maybe even a lifetime of good nutrition. We all gotta eat, right?

La Bare
So "Harley" is revving his motor in your face, and you don't know whether to laugh or laugh. For a not-so-small fee ($10 for ladies age 21 and older; $15 for ladies 18 to 20), you can witness a crowd of strictly women hootin' and hollerin'. Why is it that men sit at titty bars in dumbfounded silence while women -- when they visit their own version of the clubs -- fall off their chairs laughing at the teabag-o-rama? It's because, to women, places like La Bare are hilarious and not that sexy; sure, Dirk's got those dreamy eyes, and you can't keep your eyes off Paolo's huge... pecs. But these joints are filled with single and/or married women who are really wondering what it would be like to make out with another chick. Hooray for the converting power of the penis! La Bare is open Wednesday to Sunday, but Friday and Saturday nights are best.

Best Place to Meet Members of the Opposite Sex

PetSet

People say that you find love when you're not looking for it. But most people are idealistic morons who blow every chance at love by using other people to validate their narcissistic delusions. So, who cares what they think? The peeps at the nonprofit Humane Society of Broward County started a young professionals social group called PetSet, which puts the desire to be partnered to good use: raising awareness about responsible pet ownership and money to help abandoned animals. A yearly membership of $25 gets you discounted admission to monthly socials at the area's most exclusive bars and restaurants, like the River House and Johnny V's, and invitations to yearly events like the Halloween Masquerade Ball and Pajama Jam. These parties are packed with well-dressed, confident people looking to meet a furless friend like you.

Back in October of 2003, ten friends in West Palm Beach met in the back room of an Irish pub in the hope of organizing the city's growing community of young professionals. The group they formed -- including lawyers, teachers, and even a few politicians -- became West Palm 100. It holds regular happy-hour parties and organizes monthly volunteer work, including helping out on Habitat for Humanity houses or simply painting homes for those who can't do it themselves. In just a few months, the club attracted more than 160 members, who receive e-mails about upcoming events. Some day, West Palm 100 may become an official charity and have a membership list, dues, and even a phone number. But for now, it's simply a loose-knit collective, says Michelle McGovern, one of the founders and an employee of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. Says McGovern: "We really have big dreams for this."

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