One of the best things about living in South Florida, if you can afford it, is having your own boat. Another of the best things is, well, having a good friend who owns a boat. But what about the in-betweeners, those with a few bucks -- if not enough for their own yachts, enough for some self-indulgence? That´s where the Anticipation IV (110 feet long) and Anticipation V (80 feet long) come in. Day trips run from noon to 4 p.m., and four-hour evening cruises can begin anytime after 6 p.m. There´s a dizzying array of combination packages to choose from: young adult and bar/bat mitzvah, corporate, and wedding packages, not to mention silver, gold, and platinum upgrades. All include an open bar, hors d´oeuvres, and dinner. For entertainment, there´s a DJ and an MC. Floral arrangements are included on all tables, and the pilot house is open for tours. Of course, you´ll pay dearly for such lavishness, but isn´t that the point? Top-of-the-line corporate and wedding packages start as low as $5,687 (a silver upgrade for 50 guests) and go as high as $13,249.50 (a platinum upgrade for 100 guests), while young adult and bar/bat mitzvah packages with upgrades range anywhere from $5,989.50 to $10,829.50, also depending upon the number of guests and the kind of upgrade. And what, you may well ask, does all this include? A $200 fuel charge, $250 dockage charge, 6 percent sales tax, and 20 percent service charge. If you want extra time on the water, it´s prorated by the hour, and you can throw in a second DJ for $200. Oh, and did we mention the $2,500 deposit required to reserve the charter, plus $2,000 as a damage deposit on some charters? Kinda makes the $3-per-car parking fee seem insignificant, doesn´t it?
The burgers are beef, but the hogs are beefier. On any given Friday night, this Fuddruckers´ parking lot swells with dozens of Harley-Davidsons, Triumphs, Indians, and just about every other chrome-plated two-wheeler you can imagine. For the boys and girls astride these growling, porcine behemoths, it´s a chance to show off and shoot the breeze. For the rest of us, the Friday-evening spectacle is a spicy condiment to a half-pounder.
Ye gods! Who designed this clusterfuck? Whoever it was, they should be dragged out into the street and shot as an example to other fast-food-chain architects. Anyone who approaches this benighted Wendy´s from the opposite side of the street will find he must drive around the building to order, somehow slipping past the cars picking up food at the window. But you can´t! A line begins forming out in the streets. Another line at the ordering area. Another at the pickup window. Cars circling the whole mess to try and find a way in! Aiiieeeee! It´s enough to make a fellow reach for his .357. I just... want... a burger!
Ask how this eye-catching joint along a particularly butt-ugly stretch of Route 441 got its name. Go ahead. You´ll probably be compensated for your time with a withering stare and a stern reply: ¨Through marriage, OK? Next!¨ If that´s the truth, fine, but ETF Co. must attract customers hoping it´s really a wedding chapel, makeup warehouse, or place for Michael Jackson to unload stolen goods (on consignment).
Recession, reschmession -- it´s still not easy to find good pool cleaners. How else to explain Guardian Pools´ motto -- ¨We Show Up!¨ -- which is proudly displayed on the company´s trailers. Is this how they stand out from the crowd?
The 1,900 employees who pamper the rich and famous at the Breakers receive some royal treatment themselves at noon-time. Florida´s fanciest hotel serves a first-class lunch to its workers at the below-ground Breakaway Cafe. The price: just $2. Those who fluff pillows for celebrities can have chefs prepare specially ordered pizzas and stir fry. There´s also a salad bar, pasta station, carved meat to order, and make-your-own sundaes. Then there are the main entres, which include a much-loved angel-hair pasta with Hawaiian chicken. Often, employees dine in the basement cafeteria on the same grub being served in the ballrooms overhead. Breakers Public Relations Manager Margee Adelsperger declined to say how much the hotel shells out to feed its employees. ¨It´s the Breakers,¨ she says, ¨so the quality filters all the way down.¨ A gourmet meal that´s cheaper than an extra-value meal can´t be beat.
One-hundred-and-ten-pound Miss Tootsie stands only a foot tall. She keeps no set hours. She provides no assistance whatsoever as you choose a hibiscus or some pond stones or a Bismarck palm to take home and plant in your front yard. Yet the jovial, Vietnamese pot-bellied porker will happily bound over to you, snout quivering with delight, to see if you´re carrying pig-friendly victuals. Actually, Miss Tootsie will eat just about anything, say the fine folks at the Florida Nursery Mart. With free reign to roam across the nursery´s green acreage (which includes a large pond and fountain frequented by iguanas) Miss Tootsie´s disposition is so cheery and she´s so cute in that bristly, gut-dragging-the-ground kind of way that you´d have to be a real animal hater (or bacon lover) not to come away smitten. The way she contributes aromatic, organic fertilizer (for free!) -- whenever and wherever she pleases -- is no less special. Just wear old shoes.
Word to fashion divas: You´re not worth your Vogue subscription until you´ve seen a poodle in purple sequins work a runway. Those style credentials ain´t worth doggie-doo until you´ve seen a dachshund don Harley leather. And you just haven´t lived until you´ve caught a Chihuahua in a bikini. For 20 years, the Pet Therapy Dog Foundation of Boca Raton, a nonprofit group, has presented free canine couture shows at hospices, nursing homes, and the like in hopes of bringing smiles (or at least smirks of disbelief) to those who most need ´em. ¨People get a real kick out of it,¨ says founder Lynn Hunt Hoffman, who, by the way, also organizes animal weddings and bridal shows. ¨And the dogs love the applause.¨ Hoffman´s glam pooch posse includes 30 unbelievably well-trained, trick-performing models. Fashion shows include casualwear (dresses, smocks, skirts), a fantasy collection (hula girls, firemen, strippers), and formalwear (evening gowns, tuxes with tails and top hats). ¨Even the men laugh with the dogs,¨ Hoffman says, ¨not at them.¨
Psyched about your two-week vacation but dread boarding your kids, er, pets at the vet? Then don´t. Instead, put them up at a resort where dogs, cats, and other critters are spoiled rotten (only the best for little Spanky). For as little as $25 a day (plus a mandatory $31 bathing charge), the kindly folks at Clint Moore will dote on your four-legged family members. Upon arrival, pet guests are led to spacious, air-conditioned quarters. Next come the perks: private yards for dogs, squishy toys for cats, personal valets, special menus, and three daily play sessions for all. And did we mention that a vet actually lives on the premises? It´s like a friggin´ Providence episode. White picket fences surround the place while a side pen makes a cozy home for a ragtag group of abandoned animals including Porky, a 300-pound pig; Stormy, a miniature horse; and goats Milo and Daisy. The best thing to ogle at this place, though, may be the endless parade of pampered pooches and their well-heeled owners.
Watch a dog´s nose burrow down into a bed of seaweed and then spiral into it, whole body writhing in joy, and you´ll understand what Anita Lankler did for dogs on Jupiter Beach. In 1994, Jupiter was set to follow most other waterfront cities and ban dogs from the Atlantic. Lankler and a couple of her friends asked the town council to reconsider. They promised to clean up after the animals. The Friends of Jupiter Beach grew from 30 volunteers in 1994 to more than 5,000 in the next nine years. The group organizes regular monthly cleanups (of human and animal litter), publishes a code of conduct for dog owners, and patrols the beaches to issue gentle reminders. It works. The week before Anita Lankler died of cancer in January of this year, Gov. Jeb Bush named her a recipient of a Points of Light Award. And some lab or beagle or bull mastiff is still on the beach in Lankler´s town reveling in the seagulls cawing, the waves breaking, and the living, breathing multifarious stench of it all.

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