Monday, April 6, 2009


"Be on the look out for known associate of Miss Vero, Max Newport, armed with a lethal sense of humor and a Mitch Miller record - consider him dangerous!"

Max Newport

While my fellow Beach Housers have been flashing back to their more than hip Grateful Dead days, I am citing a reference to an obscure Bobby Vinton song and imbedding links to “Sing Along With Mitch”. Am I like on the cutting edge of cool or what? I’m pretty sure that it was not possible to find any album with Jerry Garcia and crew on the record racks in my little town during the 1960’s, although I did snag a copy of “Freak Out” by the Mothers of Invention on the sale rack at Woolworths, a double album that I still have today, with, of course, no way to play it.

Yes, I grew up in a family where we gathered weekly in front of the old black and white Philco and sang along with Mitch. “Could she, could she, could she coo.” How can you argue with that? Some of us are still looking for Suzie Creamcheese.

Max was stopped by the boys in blue last week and advised of a law that was previously unknown. Where is my crack Newport Legal Team when I need them? It’s what you don’t know that will hurt you. Don’t be looking for my picture on the sheriff’s website. I was given a verbal warning. I will share the horrors of this obscure law later on but first I want to share some of my troubled youth. You know, you’ve got your troubles, I’ve got mine. I see that worried look upon your face.

When I was in high school I used a fake i.d. not once, but twice to get into Surfs Up A Go Go; once to see Mitch Ryder and Detroit Wheels and then again to see The Nightcrawlers. The latter group had a regional hit called “Little Black Egg”.

Surfs Up later became The Coconut Club. The building has had many tenants since then. It was Bahama Joe’s for many years, then became a Japanese steak house and is now a real estate office at Royal Palm Pointe. Throughout the years, the building still looks about the same.

As a freshman at VBHS, I was in the band and a major Bob Dylan fan. The Freewheeler was set to perform in Miami and I was dying to go. Three beautiful senior girls, who all had boyfriends away at college, offered me a free ticket if I would go with them, bring my guitar and sing Dylan songs during the ride. Cars did not have sound systems then (unless you consider an AM radio a sound system). The problem was that my parents would not give me permission to go. I went anyway and was grounded at least until I was old enough to register for the draft. (Actually they took it better than I thought since I did leave a note and explained to them that there really was a reason that I knew most of Dylan’s songs and made the effort to buy a guitar to learn how to play them. Plus one of the girls was from our church.)

In spite of that, I did get into some trouble, but it was worth it. Through the years, I have seen Dylan in concert at least five more times but none were better than the one in Miami. It was about the time “Like A Rolling Stone” came out. I don’t think the word “awesome” had been invented yet, but that is the best word to describe that concert. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Once I started playing the guitar and singing in church, all was forgiven.

Back to my recent trouble with Johnny Law. I was pulled over for an obscured tag. The way the law is written, if any part of the tag cannot be seen, it is a second degree misdemeanor. Let’s take a look at the Florida Statute shall we?

320.061 Unlawful to alter motor vehicle registration certificates, license plates, mobile home stickers, or validation stickers or to obscure license plates; penalty.--No person shall alter the original appearance of any registration license plate, mobile home sticker, validation sticker, or vehicle registration certificate issued for and assigned to any motor vehicle or mobile home, whether by mutilation, alteration, defacement, or change of color or in any other manner. No person shall apply or attach any substance, reflective matter, illuminated device, spray, coating, covering, or other material onto or around any license plate that interferes with the legibility, angular visibility, or detectability of any feature or detail on the license plate or interferes with the ability to record any feature or detail on the license plate. Any person who violates this section commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

It was the highlighted portion of the latter part of the statute that got me in trouble. Not only do I have a specialty tag to let everyone know where I went to school, I had a frame around the plate to let everyone know, just in case you can’t understand the tag, that yes I did indeed go to the University of Florida. I guess that would be from our Department of Redundancy Department.

When I pulled into my office parking lot, at least half of the cars had similar license plate frames, many of them provided by the car dealer. The officer told me that they have been working with local dealerships so that their plate frames will comport with the relatively new law. This little episode did not cost me anything other than taking off a frame that partially obscured the word “Florida” with the word “Florida”. If I had just quaffed a brew or was transporting hookers to and from the Paradise Men’s Club, things could have been worse.

Check your license plates folks. Remember the object is to be on the road safely and not see the blue lights behind you. Don’t learn the hard way (like I did). A life of crime is not much of a life at all. “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen . . .” (sing along with me now).

Before I forget, many of us will be celebrating a Christian holiday this week. There is still time to get that special child in your life that unique Easter present that only you can give.

I hope you guys have a great week and please, and I beg you, stay out of trouble.



BlessUrHeart said...

Alas, Max, I was too young to even attempt access to Surf's Up, so you had all the fun while I ate at the Patio! Although I ate at Bahama Joe's many times. They had music on occasion. Banana Boat?

I only remember Mitch Miller from TV with the bouncing ball -- Mitch only had one, as I recall. But it was musical. Anyway, thank god for FM radio.

Maybe Vero's finest are only picking on gators? or college alums? I hear they never smile -- you know, they USED to smile. But I don't know any of these guys and gals now. And they don't seem to want to be known. Is it the new, macho paint jobs on the cruisers? who can smile with that aura around your neck?

Thanks for your great sense of humor, Max.

LDouglas said...

Lol! We didn't make you feel like you have oldageitus did we?

Thanks for the heads up on the license plate law. I'll have to check mine out. I wouldn't want to waste an officer's time pulling me over for that while he could be pulling someone else over.

Oh, and thanks (this time with a bit of sarcasm)- I'll never look at Easter Eggs the same way again. One of these days I'll learn to be wary of your links... :-)

Max Newport said...

Sorry Ms. Douglas about that offensive link. Sometimes I just can't help myself. Since I am a direct descendant of P.T. Barnum, you know that Mr. Haney has to be in that lineage somewhere. If I have helped just one person, other than myself, with this license plate law I feel that my half-time of the NCAA Championship Game has not been used in vain.

BlessUrHeart, I am just glad someone remembers Surfs Up other than me. We had a class reunion meeting tonight and I mentioned Surfs Up A Go Go and "Little Black Egg" and everyone looked at me as if I just landed from Mars.

Back to the game . . . as it is.

Countess du Roseland said...

I've been suffering smellucinations after my driver, Paco, was pulled over by the local police. Yesterday I thought I smelled that repulsive Good Earth Tea; and just now, black eggs. But there was no Good Earth Tea, and there are no black eggs! These odors from nowhere may indicate paranormal activity - but what kind of specter would risk smelling like little black eggs? Must have been diabolic, whatever it was.

I was lucky to escape with my life.

BlessUrHeart said...

I think it's your era, Max -- the drugs must've erased everyone's memory except yours.

You know, it was many, many years before I even knew they were singing "little black EGG." lol! and it wasn't the drugs. "Louie, Lou-eye, oohhh, baby, now blah blah blah . . . "