Thursday, November 29, 2007

France's past and present: cemeteries and riots

Just got my daily Der Spiegel email update this afternoon, and as usual, it has something well worth reading.
Today, it's some great photos of WW I cemeteries in France that are meticulously kept up.
"The war cemeteries of the Western Front are as well-maintained as if they had been built this year. Their poignant message of peace is equally fresh.",5538,26815,00.html

The IHT has a fantastic photo of a beleaguered woman visibly wearing her disgust, who acts as an everyman while standing next to a burned truck in Villiers-le-Bel, which is roughly four miles northeast of Le Bourget, where Lindy landed, and has the unhappy distinction of not being served by any station of the Paris Métro or the suburban rail network.

"It feels like we live in a war zone," said Nadège Tanier, 40, a mother of two. Headlined 'Caught in the middle' of French unrest, the photo and article is available at:

As to the riots in Paris and Sarkozy's deft handling of the situation -so far- by refusing to walk into the tar pit his opponents want him to stumble into, I'm glad that Fadela Amara, who I've seen on France 2 before, will finally have a chance to flex her muscles a bit for the benefit of the Trans-Atlantic media, who've largely never heard of her, rather than some mealy-mouthed apologist bueaucrat straight out of Central Casting doing his best Inspector Clouseau impression. Oui, another sharp Sarko personnel move!

I mention Amara now because she was mentioned prominently in Elaine Sciolino's good Nov. 11th dispatch, Proposal in France to Test Some Immigrants’ DNA,
as being dead set against the DNA test, to which Sarko adroitly retorted:

“This DNA test exists in 11 countries in Europe — including some Socialist ones, like Great Britain,” Mr. Sarkozy said in a television interview last month. “How is it that it doesn’t pose a problem in these countries, but it creates a debate here?”
He also said that the test would be voluntary and would be used only where
there were no clear records “to prove that children are really your own.”

Today's WaPo dispatch from Molly Moore in Paris concludes thusly:
"But Roger, the Bondy mayor and a member of the opposition Socialist Party, is skeptical of Amara's efforts. "She tours France and meets with people, but she doesn't bring any answers to our problems," Roger said. "What is currently happening shows that we need more than nice words from the government. Things have to start changing tomorrow, not in five years."

For more on what's happening, check out Joshua Boswell's excellent blog on French politics and culture,
Another p.o.v on the current riots, as well as their underlying social and political causes, is much more sobering and depressing to consider, however much it may be accurate:

So, when in the Fall of 2001, you and thousands of your Algerian pals,

a.) insult the country you live in by booing the playing of La Marseillaise before the start of the Algeria-France 'friendly' soccer game, the first game between the countries since Algerian Independence, then choose to b.) run out on the soccer pitch, en masse waving Algerian flags, before
c.) laying on the field, en masse,
you shouldn't be too surprised if the average French citizen's first thought isn't, "What can I ever do to help YOU assimilate successfully, when so much of your identity is tied-in to your NOT being French in both your head and heart?"

If you never saw the way that story was portrayed on PBS' Frontline program -honestly, for perhaps the first and only time on PBS!- here's the link.
It's quite good and well worth your time!

Reading the mayor of Bondy's comments in The Washington Post today made me think of all the times I've watched the American Mens National soccer team play Mexico in Los Angeles.
Predictable result: continual jeering by the huge Mexican contingent of fans, and the English-language American TV networks closing their eyes tight so they don't have to acknowledge the reality, or comment on it.

That was most painfully evident on ESPN, the same cable network that patted them self on the back to no apparent end for airing the recent Women's World Cup in China, most of which I watched.
But on the very day that American head coach Greg Ryan was actually fired for reasons having to do with his coaching moves during the World Cup, ESPN had NONE of their soccer experts and analysts on SportsCenter to give some perspective on what it all means.
Now that some news is actually happening!
What a black eye for their peculiar brand of sports marketing/journalism!
(FYI: Pia Sundhage replaced Ryan and will lead the team at the Beijing Olympics next year.)

And the fan behavior in Los Angeles and the firing of the Women's National coach don't even rate an eight-minute segment on ESPN sister ABC News' Nightline? After all the crummy, 1,001 who-really-cares news segments they've run since the program was changed for the worse, especially the endlessly repetitive Katrina story lines? Wow.

Meanwhile, lest we forget, our pals at The Brookings Institution remind us, Al Qaeda Targeted France first:

More Brookings insight on France is at

Bookmark it, because President Nicolas Sarkozy clearly has no intentions of wasting time sitting behind a desk at the Élysée Palace, and Philip H. Gordon of Brookings actually translated Sarko's book "Testimony."

For an excerpt of the book, see

C'est la vie.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bill Lynch holds Hoosier reins through 2012; Kirby Freeman's future

While I support the decision by IU President Michael McRobbie to give Coach Bill Lynch more time to develop the Hoosier football team into the sort of program that we would all like to see: consistently good, clean and exciting, as a reward for the splendid job he's done of keeping everyone involved in Hoosier football on the same page since Coach Hoeppner's untimely death this past summer, that doesn't mean I think it was quite the 'no-brainer' that I've read and heard many Hoosier fans and columnists say it was since their exciting win over Purdue last Saturday.

IU press release and transcript of Bill Lynch press conference: and

Letters to the Indy Star re Lynch's future at IU:

Terry Hutchens' take on the contract extension at the Indy Star:

Ditto, Doug Wilson's take on it at the Bloomington H-T:

Frankly, all these weeks later, I'm STILL trying to digest and make sense of IU's very frustrating 36-31 homecoming loss to Penn State on Oct. 20th, in what was a very winnable game.
A classic "trap game" for Penn State one week before their home game against Ohio State.
A win would've gone a long way towards confounding the low expectations that so much of the country still has for the program, especially after a bad 52-27 loss at Michigan State.

(My feeling following that loss to the Nittany Lions was the exact opposite of my mystification at the Hurricanes' improbable victory over FSU up in Tallahassee that same weekend: pleasantly surprised!
Honestly, as a devout Hurricane fan since I was ten-year old in 1971, attending my first 'Canes game, the infamous "Fifth Down" Tulane game, I ask this question: has anyone ever fallen out of favor quicker at the U-M with coaches and fans, and gone straight to 'goat' status quicker than erstwhile 'Cane QB Kirby Freeman after the FSU victory, wherein he was hailed after being pummeled on his winning TD toss, but then could only muster one completed pass a week later at home in the Orange Bowl against a middling North Carolina State team? I think not!

For my two cents, I still think Freeman can contribute, but my suggestion is that he do so by putting on some weight and trying to channel former Dolphin TE -and Boston U. QB- Jim Jensen, one of Dan Marino's favorite targets for so many years, who as any Dolphin fan can tell you, was always clutch with a capital "C."
See Dave Hyde's 1992 Sun-Sentinel piece on Jensen's indispensable role with the team and why fans embraced him:,0,6981786.story
It may come to pass that Kirby Freeman finds that his emotions work better for him as the recipient of a completed pass, rather than as the man behind center. I hope so.)

I'm still upset with Coach Lynch and IU's offensive coordinator , together, channeling former Dolphin head coach and current University of Pittsburgh head man, Dave Wannstedt, late in the second quarter when trailing 20-14.
Pocketing three timeouts while running two ineffective running plays in a row to end the first half, knowing that YOU have to kick off to Penn State to start the second half?

The rather predictable result of this bad strategy after Penn State's first drive of the second half, suddenly trailing 23-14 -and lost momentum!
It's really not brain surgery

It reminded me of Wannstedt's infamous clock management skills and overall conservative play-calling, which befell the Dolphins so many times over the years.
In particular, it reminded me of a game at Minnesota in 2000 against a terrific Vikings team just beginning to show their offensive prowess, with Daunte Culpepper, Chris Carter and Randy Moss.

It was the second game of the season and I was temporarily in South Florida for a week, after flying to my dear friend Shannon's wedding near Dallas, where it was only near 110 degrees everyday in the shade, before heading back up to my life in Washington, D.C.
Now any honest and realistic Dolphin fan -not always the majority to be sure- would've told you before the game that IF you could hold the high-powered Vikings to a single field goal in the first half, you'd have taken that in a heartbeat, and taken your chances in the second half.

And that was exactly the situation the Dolphins found themself in, trailing 3-0 with about two minutes to go in the first half.
Close to mid-field right before half-time, Wannstedt pocketed time-outs rather than putting the team in a position where Olindo Mare could at least try a field goal on the last play of the half to tie it, which would surely have given the team a much-needed if only temporary morale boost.
Long story short, Daunte Culpepper, in his second career start, threw for 355 yards in a game the Vikings narrowly won by a margin of 13-7.
It was yet another of a series of never ending missed opportunities I witnessed with the Dolphins, Redskins, Orioles and Hoosiers of that era.

Roughly at the same time as the Penn State loss, I also failed to note the pride I felt in seeing the two lengthy CBS News segments that examined the IU football team's role in the Sideline Response System (SRS), research being done in Bloomington on head injuries and concussions.

The official CBS version of this, complete with video, is titled "An Electronic Eye On Hard Knocks, New Helmet Can Detect Concussion By Measuring G-Force — And Alerting Doctors" is well worth seeing.

I first heard about this development in this Ken Kingery story on January 26th, right before the Super Bowl down here between the Colts and the Bears.
"IU’s squad now equipped with helmets that gauge impact"

See this story, with an excellent photo, in M.I.T.'s Technology Review magazine:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

SouthBeachHoosier: Jill Long Thompson for Governor of Indiana

Jill Long Thompson for Governor of Indiana

I first spoke to Jill Long in the Fall of 1988, when I was doing some research work for USA Today for their federal election coverage, specifically, interviewing House candidates from all over the country about what personally motivated them, aside from their own parochial district issues and pet peeves.
There were lots of crazy people running for office that year, as there always are, but they were outnumbered by the hundreds of very dedicated people I spoke to, not all of whom were well-to-do, but all who were willing to put their family's life on hold for a bit while they did something they felt compelled to do, for whatever reason.
After listening to literally dozens and dozens of smart, well-meaning and earnest candidates from all parts of the country for weeks -and all the others- I wasn't prepared for my conversation with Jill.

I spoke to her fresh from her having just shaken some hands with some prospective voters outside of a 7-11 store near her campaign office, where she'd gone with the intent of just grabbing some things for her and her staff.
Though my phone call to her from Washington was out-of-left field, her charming personality and compelling policy answers just knocked me out.
What was supposed to be a short, to-the-point interview -it was USA Today after all- turned into a really interesting 15-20 minute conversation about her district and what she thought it needed and how she could best accomplish that feat.

I had a better grasp and memory of political news and its cross-currents than most people, but frankly, I'd never heard of Jill Long until I called her.
(Perhaps that was perhaps I hadn't met Charlie Cook yet, which was four years later.)
But that day changed everything -she was no longer an unknown name to me .

Sadly for my copious notes, Jill eventually lost that '88 election to incumbent Dan Coats, but despite being an underdog in what'd long been a very safe GOP district -formerly represented by both Dan Quayle and Coats, who'd be appointed to succeed Quayle in the Senate- her powers of persuasion were such that in 1989, she convinced enough Hoosier voters in Indiana's 4th Congressional District to elect her to congress, after all, to fill the vacant seat.

Once Jill was elected and had gotten her feet on the ground in Washington, I came by her office to try to arrange a meeting and find out what it felt like to actually have the responsibility of her district on her shoulder.
Well, even before I got a chance to walk through her doorway and arrange a chat, I ran into her in the hallway on her way to a hearing or meeting.
I introduced myself again and after a bit, as we walked and talked together towards her meeting, she laughed at my being able to remember exactly what she'd said that day out of a couple hundred conversations with candidates I'd had.
Then I reminded her that just because I no longer lived in Indiana, "I always looked after fellow Hoosiers." Or words to that effect.

That was the first of perhaps a dozen or so conversations I'd have over the years with Jill while she was in Washington, and every time we spoke, her friendly, calm and confident demeanor betrayed none of the condescending attitude I'd seen quickly infect other newcomers to the Hill, even Dems I'd once liked, contributed to, or, even personally campaigned for.
(Believe me, my friends and I knew exactly who THOSE Dems were! We had a growing list.
When our friends or friends-of-friends expressed an interest in wanting to work for someone on this carefully chosen bad boy honor roll, they were quickly educated as to the relative shortcomings of their pol of choice, whether intellectual, character or personality.
If we'd only had a blog back then!)

When I ran into Jill one afternoon in 1993 while on my way to get to my Capitol Hill softball team's game on The Mall, sponsored by DNG, Democrats for a New Generation, I showed Jill the t-shirt logo we'd agreed upon.
With the great help of my teammate Michelle Marinelli, then in the office of Congressman Tom Lantos, and one of the team's vocal leaders, it was based on a unique Democratic donkey button I'd been given years before at a political rally.
Happily for me, since I really LOVED the design, once I showed it to them, the rest of my
softball team liked it enough to want it to represent us.
(The very same softball team where I'd meet my dear and now life-long friend from Hope, Arkansas, Shannon (Lauterbach) Morales.)
Jill just loved the design, and once I saw her positive reaction, I quickly promised her that I'd somehow scrounge one up for her to wear -eventually.

Once again, weeks later, with her button in my gym bag, as always seemed to happen, I ran into Jill a below-ground congressional hallway on my way to her office.
She was so pleased with how the button looked that, much to my amazement, she immediately placed the button on her jacket lapel to show it off, while dozens of people gawked and walked past us, curious as to what this little button this Member of Congress had actually looked like, which greatly pleased me.
Quick to see the humor, Jill then joked that it'd quickly become a must-have for fellow Dems on the Hill.
I laughed and thought -and not for the first time- that anyone who was as politically savvy and intelligent as Jill, but more importantly to me, as genuinely sincere, plus a straight-talker to boot, was just what the Democratic Party desperately needed in Washington.
A 'breath of fresh air' to use an old cliche that I've never uttered here, to cut through the myriad geographical and institutional cliques/niches that have long bedeviled the party on the Hill, especially over at the DNC.
Sort of like how I view another SouthBeachHoosier favorite, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota's very positive influence on things on the Hill ever since she got elected.

Though I personally try my best to keep up and read the online papers and blogs, I'm clearly no expert about what's currently troubling or frustrating Indiana voters these days.
What sorts of new policies and strategies they'd like to see given a chance and actually get
implemented to improve the economy or their quality-of-life, and which ones need to be jettisoned as dead-weight, good ideas that couldn't be publicly reconciled with the current political reality, for whatever reason.
(See Former Bush Aide Fights Nickname: Gov. Privatize, By Monica Davey, June 16, 2007

And I'll be honest, every time I had a chance to speak briefly with, see, or even be in the same room as present Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, back when he was working his magic in Washington for Senator Richard Lugar, it was hard not to come away impressed.
I've always been fond of folks, regardless of party, who are known as real ideas people.

(But then I've always prided myself on being a better judge of politicians than most of the people I've known, esp. in the media, since my track record in those things has generally been better by far.
I was behind
Carter, Hart and Clinton when they were getting near zero name recognition, and still remember the names of the know-it-all reporters and columnists, national and local, who buried them prematurely.
I told just about everyone I know that
Dukakis would select Senator Lloyd Bentsen for Veep exactly a week before Chris Matthews mentioned it on Larry King's then-late night Mutual radio show broadcast out of Arlington.
Days later, I told some folks on Bentsen's staff who had a group hose on Capitol Hill, who were looking for a new housemate. They laughed, but I, of course, had the last laugh on them in more ways than one, and eventually moved into a much nicer, cheaper and more spacious place in

That consistent intuition tells me one thing.
That I'd trust Jill's combination of character, drive, intelligence and personality more than just about anyone else in politics you could possibly name.
Personally, I only wish that South Florida had more people down here who had half as much to offer the public as Jill does to the people of Indiana, to help clean-up the myriad ethical, financial and public policy messes/scandals down here -and in Tallahassee.
Jill for Governor? Absolutely!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

SBH Time Machine: CriticalMiami's great photo of Sahara Hotel in NMB

Woke up early this morning intent on making up for a lot of the time I've wasted over the past few months awaiting my new-and-improved computer, to post some things that have heretofore gone un-commented upon the past few weeks.
Notable among these were some particularly bad examples of journalism in both the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, more of the usual suspect: what's written in the paper not being nearly as important as what's left out. And I'll do that.

But right now, before too much of the Hurricanes at Boston College game gets away from me, I wanted to bring to your attention an interesting photo that caused me to laugh when I first saw it on recently.
(I told my nephew Mario before he left to go to the U-M finale at the Orange Bowl, that my intuition was VERY BAD about the 'Canes, and that they were likely looking at three weeks of being pummeled to increase UVA, VA Tech. and Boston College's bowl prospects.)

It's a reminder of the history and everyday life that's disappearing in North Dade, and North Miami Beach and Sunny Isles in particular, from the era when I was growing-up in NMB.
The South Florida that was, as always, equal parts kitsch, apathy and opportunity.
Back when real estate speculation was just a hobby or simple addiction, and NOT something that people bragged about, like they had suddenly become Columbus, and were the first person to ever realize that a nice place near the beach was a good idea.

CriticalMiami, posted a photo of the Sahara Hotel, at 183rd Street and Collins Avenue, in what is now the town of Sunny Isles, but which previously had been a part of NMB proper, prior to its formal incorporation a few years ago.

Somewhere, I think I might still have my cache of 1970's and early '80's hotel brochures and post cards which I gathered one day while home from IU on Christmas break.
I was at Haulover Beach, the beach I knew like the back of my hand, more intent on channeling some memories with some friends over drinks than actually getting into the water, but in those pre-cell phone days, when they didn't show, I got bored of waiting, and rather than leave, decided to walk my way north up the strip and gather whatever examples of kitschy hotel stuff I could get my hands on.
(Sadly, this was already after The Castaway's Wreck Bar, with their Tahitian motif had long since gone by the wayside, before my friends and I from North Miami Beach High School could ever take full advantage of its favorable location, after watching the TV ads for years as we grew-up.
For photos of The Castaways as well as more of The Sahara Hotel, and several other local landmarks and curios, see Tiki Kiliki's flickr site,
Which reminds me, one of these days, I need to do a photo search for the old Playboy Club near 79th Street, which always caught and held my attention whenever my family was heading downtown.)

My plan was to take this all back with me to Bloomington, and show my friends up there a snapshot of what life down here was REALLY like, such as it was, mixed-in with some particularly good photos I'd taken of some very cute female friends I'd run into at the beach days earlier.
Fortuitously, one of them had a 35mm camera with her, saving me from having to use one of those awful Kodak 110 cameras I was then using, back before one-time use cameras liberated everyone to always be camera-ready.
I intended the photos to serve as a sort of a morale-booster for us during Bloomington's cold and snowy winter, to get everyone in the mood for spring break a couple of months later.

I guess I hardly need to mention here that saying the words "North Miami Beach" to Midwestern kids in those pre-Miami Vice days, created fantastic ideas in their heads that bore little to no resemblance to the reality of life down here.
For instance, they had no idea what a "condo commander" was.

Much as you'd expect, my Hoosier pals from New York were all-too hip to the hum-drum reality of life down here, from their myriad trips down here over the years visiting family over holidays.
They'd turn to me and pepper me with:
1. "When is THAT bridge over the Intercoastal near Turnberry going up?"
2. "There's nowhere to shop."
3. "How can you stand it?"
4. "It takes forever to get anywhere, and there's nothing to do."
Right, as opposed to now.

CriticalMiami's flickr site is at:

1:35 p.m.
I got too distracted by the U-M game and the VA Tech at UVA game, and now the 'Canes are trailing 14-0 at halftime. Same ol', same ol': Kyle Wright is All Wrong and "The human fumble machine". I wonder what that is in Latin?

Note to self: Old idea for new SouthBeachHoosier post needs to be finished- Is Randy Shannon the Black Dave Wannstedt?
The football coordinator who knows his one area very well, but when given the opportunity to rise, then suffers "the slings and arrows" and reality of The Peter Principle?

I first read the book at JFK Junior High in 1974 at the suggestion of one of my favorite teachers ever, Lloyd Siegendorf, a smart and savvy FSU grad, and the man who let our social studies class watch the Watergate hearings live on TV, interspersed with lots of Q&A and clever banter. (He's the brother of the former Dade circuit court judge, Arden Siegendorf, )

As I recall it, Mr. Siegendorf was talking to us about important books, and how they can help shape our worldview for the better if we read them correctly, but mentioned that ideas NOT rooted in reality and common sense were just good intentions. Or something like that.
(I've tried to keep that in mind over the years, as well as here on the blog.)
Then he mentioned The Peter Principle, which I'd read about in magazines.
He stated that given my particular interests in politics and history, it was something that would come in very handy in the future. Naturally, he was right!
Every 13-year old ought to read it, in order to better prepare themself for life after school.

As this article in the Salt Lake Tribune makes clear, thirty-plus year later, Mr. Siegendorf STILL knows how to fire up kids:

By the way, says:
"We couldn't find any photos tagged with "Randy Shannon". We give up!"

Why am I not surprised?
Millions of photos of everything under the sun on that site, but while there are hundreds of photos of U-M players, fans and ballgames, photos of him coaching are nowhere to be found on Flickr. Hmmm...
Sort of like how Shannon's coaching is invisible, as the team has regressed in EVERY phase of the game this season, and continues to be unable to make proper halftime adjustments.
Bad and boring never sells in South Florida.
Especially when you've become conditioned to exciting excellence.

Friday, November 23, 2007

...the Miami Dolphins select Darren McFadden, RB, University of Arkansas

In the end, I guess you'll just have to take my word for it.
I've thought this particular thought for months and months now, and have even shared it with others in all sorts of different settings, from the Ojus barber shop to the Hallandale Beach Post Office and the Publix grocery store on Hallandale Beach Blvd., whenever I've heard someone opining out loud about what the Dolphins really need to help make themselves relevant again, and end their many years of despair in the wilderness.

I've continued to think this even while listening to some particularly foolish Miami sports talk radio suggesting, in all seriousness(!), that a.) the Dolphins draft yet another QB with their first pick in April's NFL draft, or, b.) equally implausibly to me, draft down.

Finally, last night, over Thanksgiving turkey with my nephew Mario up in Pembroke Pines, I said it was a no-brainer: with the first choice in the 2008 NFL draft, for the good of their team and the delicate psyches of their fans, the Dolphins simply MUST, MUST, MUST draft Arkansas' do-it-all offensive dynamo, Darren McFadden, playing the role of Reggie Bush. aka The Ultimate Weapon - Arkansas' Darren McFadden

Having watched this afternoon's Razorback upset of LSU at Baton Rouge -Buh-bye LSU in BCS title game in New Orleans- I've seen nothing to give me pause and re-think my intuition that the Dolphins grab McFadden, toute-de-suite!
And in any case, as history suggests on my blog, I have a soft spot for folks from Arkansas.
They've seldom let me down.

As for Kentucky QB Andre Woodson, whom I absolutely love -the spirals in his passes are both silly & mesmerizing- I'd happily grab him in a heartbeat if I wasn't so high on John Beck's leadership upside. I suspect he'll wind up with the Jets, who should've learned their lesson with U of L QBs from the Browning Nagle experience, and take a pass on Brian Brohm.

As for LSU's inconsistent DT Glenn Dorsey, who's been exposed a lot in the second half of the season, perhaps never more so than in a particularly glaring example when CBS-TV's broadcast crew called him out for his invisible play, right before a play where Razorback fullback Peyton Hillis ran right thru Dorsey's spot on his way to a long TD, his stock is going down like a rock.

For next year, to replace the often incoherent offense and inconsistent play-calling -but with an offensive line that's played much better than could've been expected, thanks to Hudson Houck's coaching- let's start with a of John Beck at QB, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams at RB, Ted Ginn, Jr. and Marty Booker at the wide-out spots, with McFadden coming in every few plays at different positions to mix-it up a bit, and catch somebody in one-on-one coverage with a slow-stepped LB, or to -yes- "split the seam. "

I like Cam Cameron a lot and NOT simply because he's both a former Hoosier player and coach, and someone that one of my cute former Alpha Chi housemates at Colonial Crest Apts. once dated while he was the back-up QB at IU.
(That was about 10-12 years before Trista Rehn was an Alpha Chi at IU, and 20 years after longtime SouthBeachHoosier legal eagle favorite Victoria Toensing of DC was there. My six-degrees of Cam will be the subject of an upcoming SBH post, one that's been long in the planning.)

I honestly do believe that Cam's got the right kind of character traits and a willingness to adapt, that can lead him to becoming, in time, one of the best coaches in the NFL, even as he's made far too many bad choices in this his first year.
But honestly, IF he can't succeed with all these guys on offense next season, after having gone thru a complete traing camp together, with everyone "on the same page," Cam will be "Gone with the Wind" before the end of the 2008 season. And rightfully so.

Hmmm... Dontrelle Willis, Dwyane Wade and Darren McFadden all in South Florida?

I can see lots of W's with these D's.

Yeah, I'll take their natural talent, self-evident desire and strong work-ethic any day.


Something to think about from the Palm Beach Post's Dolphin beat reporter Edgar Thompson in his forum Q&A chat of Tuesday November 20th,

"...A longtime NFL observers recently told me there’s no team even close to the Dolphins when it comes to botching the draft in the past 10 years. From 1998 to 2003, the Dolphins had 59 draft picks and picked 46 players and used 13 picks in trades. With the return of Ricky W, only one player of the group remains on the team. Wayne H knows this and knows it’s time to do something about it. The scouting department is the logical place to begin. Of the Dolphins’ 14 scouts and player personnel people besides Mueller, six have been around for more than eight seasons. Four have been around for 11 seasons or more. It appears to be time for a shake-up in the scouting department. I don’t know enough about the behind-the-scenes workings of the NFL, but it seems to be pretty clear these guys have been missing on players for a long, long time. I have to believe Randy M, in 22 seasons in the NFL, knows who some of the top scouts are out there. Wayne H needs to open his checkbook and get a couple of them..."

SouthBeachHoosier's take on THE biggest Kansas-Missouri football game ever

cover of current Sports Illustrated, November 26, 2007
Dream Season (So Far)
Unbeaten Kansas Takes on Missouri In the Border War and This Time It Matters

Yes, it's THE biggest football game between the schools in history. Period.

Naturally, it falls to a proud and smart Hoosier grad, formerly one of the regular guests on ESPN's Sunday morning program, The Sports Reporters, Jason Whitlock of The Kansas City Star, to help explain the true significance of Saturday night's nationally-televised ballgame from Arrowhead Stadium. on this weekend full of some of the biggest college football rivalries around.
Just the mere fact that the game even is being telecast nationally in prime time, as opposed to the more predictable choices of -say, Florida State at Florida ballgame at 5 p.m. on CBS, the Alabama at Auburn ballgame at 8 p.m. on ESPN, or even the Virginia Tech at UVA ballgame at noon on ESPN2, given VA Tech.'s status as a national school- speaks to a new era that holds the possibility of ushering in a new era of national respectability for two long-suffering and largely-insignificant football programs.
Football programs that have largely been below the radar for the entire lives of the very high school kids they're trying to recruit, a very tough psychological barrier to overcome, since not all talented kids have tradition as high on their list as perhaps they do playing time.
If even a handful of talented high school kids decide to de-commit from their present oral commitments with other schools and decide to cast their lot with KU or MU, all of a sudden, it's no longer just a fluke or a one-hit wonder with them, and becomes the foundation for changing the way the schools are perceived nationally.
No longer a mere afterthought.

Considering the way that other Big 12 and Big Ten schools have long been able to cherry-pick the two states' best players, especially Oklahoma and Nebraska, and spirit them out of state, for the Jayhawks and Tigers to play a tough competitive four quarters of football, with no stupid coaching blunders, while showing some degree of imagination on offense along the way in what promises to be a windy game, might be a way of making that a reality instead of just a possibility.
Being in Bloomington, only a few hours east of St. Louis, I was always aware of the large number of Hoosiers with St. Louis-area roots, at certain dorms, or, in my own case, on floors at Briscoe Quad, people who made their rooting interests plain by their -in some cases- near constant wearing of St. Louis Cardinal baseball ball caps.
And when those St. Louis-area Hoosiers were both smart and good-looking friends, it was much easier to remember their rooting interests.
Like fellow Briscoe Quad resident Valerie Tershluse, she of the dark-haired good looks I've forever been attracted to, or, her older cousin, Mary Beth Terschluse, to this observer, who never saw a preppy at NMBHS despite how popular that look was becoming nationally, a walking and talking advertisement for how great J.G Hook-style classic clothes could look on an already attractive college student.
Valerie was somebody I saw just about everyday my first two years at IU while we both lived at Briscoe Quad, in the hallways and breezeway, and cafeteria and TV room.
And she had friends everywhere, including on my floor, the 4th floor of A building, which is how I suppose we probably met in the first place.
[A happy coincidence was her living on the same floor in the B building, away from Fee Lane, as many of my closest friends, many of whom I'll recount in future posts, like the unforgettably witty Dawn Janet from Elmhurst (IL) -who typed most of my various reports over the years, since I'd taken French for four years at NMBHS instead of typing- and her wonderful roommate Sherrie S. from suburban Chicago, too.
A year later, there was added to the mix my sweet and adorable and very talented friend from Louisville, Jennifer Grimes, an IU Pom squader, whose wholesome, girl-next-door good looks I quite accurately describe on my homepage as being "always such a distraction while sitting underneath the basket."
That floor also was the home of someone whom I shall always have a special place in my heart for, Jacquie Cherbocq, the wonderful woman who made it possible for me to see all of IU's basketball games to begin my life as a Hoosier.
For two years in a row, 1979-80 and 1980-81, she graciously lent me her pink fee receipt so I could purchase both the "A" and "B" schedule tickets at the IU Fieldhouse during class registration, back when the ticket packages were set up so that, supposedly, in the abstract, more students could attend a game.
One package contained the Purdue home game, while the other was either the Kentucky home game if we had UK in
Bloomington, or, the best opponent not
named Purdue if we were playing UK in Lexington that year.
I've never forgotten Jacquie's kindness to me, especially since she brought me such amazing
That first year, 1979-80, it gave me seats in the third row behind the north basket in our season-ending victory over Ohio State for the Big Ten Championship, after Butch Carter sank some free throws to make it 52-50, my first time ever rushing the court.
The second year, 1980-81, was full of
magic since it was the the year we won the NCAA basketball tourney, beating North Carolina.]

Because of that proximity I spoke about, I saw a lot of Valerie, and she never failed to have something very interesting on her mind to share, along with a kind word.
Later, after I'd made the move out to Colonial Crest Apts. on 703 W. Gourley Pike, I saw even more of her, as she moved out there as well.
A big selling point? Their pool scene was, in a word, amazing!
One thing I recall in particula rwas that Valerie and I seemed to be on the same wave-length in many ways, some odder than others.
For instance, she always seemed to head out to The College Mall at the very same time of the month as yours truly.
Being car-less back then, Valerie often spirited me away in her car from the Mall on bitterly cold or snowy days while I was waiting for a late-arriving IU bus.
For whatever reason, good timing perhaps, I often seemed to catch Valerie wearing her martial arts outfit, either before or after the class, which, to these eyes, only made her athletic great looks even more appealing.
Sadly for me, I suppose, for as long as I knew her, Valerie always seemed to be dating someone I already knew pretty well, and as far as I know, she didn't have an identical twin out there in the world. Not that I didn't look for that twin on campus anyway!
Back when I was thinking about the kind of smart, sweet and interesting women I wanted so badly to meet when I was filling out college applications in North Miami Beach, though I hadn't yet met her, Valerie was exactly the sort of woman I was picturing in my head.
The very kind that seemed practically nonexistent in the very superficial, blase world of NMB in the mid-to-late 1970's I was living in, and wanted so much to escape.
The truth of the matter is that what I hadn't counted on, with Valerie, as with so many of the female friends I eventually made at IU, was their high degree of self-assurance, self-confidence, and ability to take care of themselves.
Now that's a combination I've always found appealing!
Obviously, I've never forgotten how deeply Valerie imprinted her great personality on me, merely by being herself.
A couple of Valerie Tershluses in an area does wonders for morale and its quality of life.
Boy, could South Florida ever use a couple thousand Valeries these days.
[SouthBeachHoosier Trivia: The Cardinal baseball team was the first sports team I have any recollection of actually rooting for, largely a result of my living in Memphis as a small child during the Cardinal's glory era in the mid-60's, when they appeared in the World Series of 1964, '67 and '68, winning the first two with one of my all-time favorites, #45, Bob Gibson, whose fluid pitching motion I mimicked for crowds without any kind of prodding whatsoever.
That, plus, the simple reality of living in the same nice upscale apt. complex as then-Cardinal catcher and Memphis native Tim McCarver, whose kids were my age.

I'll have more on McCarver in a future post, but it's ironic that I lived in the same place as him for a bit, and then, moved to an area just two miles miles away from where North Miami High Pioneer alum Steve Carlton grew to fame, before becoming his teammate with both the Cardinals and, more famously, with the Phillies, when he was Carlton's pet catcher, and someone whose Topps baseball card I was always getting in my pack.
One of my favorite covers of Sports Illustrated as a kid in that era was one photo of the Cardinals' simply titled, "$100,000 Infield."

cover of Sports Illustrated, September 4, 1967
That St. Louis Spirit
The Cardinals' Tim McCarver
Of course, part of that cap-wearing I referred to earlier was simply self-identification with the very good Cardinal teams of that era.
Certainly it's always easier to wear your team's cap when they're doing well, something I grew to appreciate growing-up in such a demonstrably front-running area like South Florida, where people were -and remain- always looking to jump onto the latest bandwagon, fad or craze, be it sports teams, fashion, music or otherwise,
I recall like it was yesterday the mood on campus before and during the Cardinals-Milwaukee Brewers World Series of 1982, a series that, to me at least, largely split the IU campus in half their rooting interests, since there were so many Hoosiers from Wisconsin, though nowhere near, of course, the number from the St. Louis area.
I recall quite specifically among my St. Louis and Milwaukee-area friends along the Third Street sororities, like Tri-Delt, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Alpha Phi, there emerged a sudden interest in sporting ball caps on great-looking heads that I'd never seen before.
Maybe they'd sported a golf cap or something a few times when I'd seen them on a parents weekend or something, but never anything with an actual team on it, save IU, of course.
I remember being involuntarily drafted a couple of times for trips to the nearby College Mall or downtown in search of Cardinal or Brewer gear at sporting goods stores, and the split on campus being the subject of lots of news stories in the ids , the IU student newspaper, for a week or so.
Of course, when you have a cow that gives good milk, keep milking!
Still, while fewer in number, The Brew Crew fans compensated for their smaller numbers by being very loud.
You might even say, ahem, boisterous!
If you're like me, a big sports fan for as long as you can remember, you tend to notice things like team ball caps right away, especially when waiting online at the quad cafeteria with nothing but time on your hands.
Or, like a foreign correspondent doing research, while taking a break from the usual cast of characters at your dorm, and visiting friends and embedding at their quad cafeteria, with its strange and foreign ways, yet still full enough of Hoosier cuties wherever you looked to remind you all over again of just one reason why you were so happy to be a Hoosier.
It was probably much the same way when Hoosier grad and Oscar-winner Kevin Kline was attending IU.

cover of Sports Illustrated, October 25, 1982
(Lonnie Smith sliding into second base as shortstop Robin Yount throws to first base.)

[SouthBeachHoosier Trivia: As it happens, for reasons not worth getting into here, I was among the select fortunate few who were able to attend the sneak preview of The Big Chill at the IU Auditorium, a few weeks before it opened nationally,

The scene when Kevin's character, sporting goods store entrepreneur Harold Cooper, is shown
getting ready for a run, and then you suddenly see him wearing the ubiquitous grey University of Michigan t-shirt, was the one and only time the enthralled IU audience booed.
(Though everyone knows Michigan is a great school and all, the less said about the way that Hollywood has made that particular t-shirt a perennial on actors and actresses on myriad TV shows or in films, the better!)
My first thought after seeing that scene was of Northwestern grad MacLean Stevenson constantly wearing an orange U of I cap in his portrayal as Col. Henry Blake in the beloved TV series, M.A.S.H., and since I was enough of a TV and film
junkie in those pre-internet days, to already know he'd gone to Evanston.
(As it turns out, Stevenson died on my birthday eleven years ago.)

I think this bit of Illini knowledge was first dropped on me by fellow Briscoe Quad resident and good friend, Lolita Zwettler, yet another of my female friends blessed not only with a warm and lively personality, a facile brain that could demolish poorly thought out arguments in an instant, but also, not incidentally, as I could never quite forget when I was with her, the kind of smoldering, dark-haired great looks that always made me weak at the knees.
Like the first time I ever saw Ava Gardner in a really good film, One Touch of Venus, and saw exactly what all the fuss must've been about in the 1950's!

I could never quite get out of my head how much her first name must've been the source of discussion when she was in high school, even among those not entirely sure of the narrative of Nabokov's controversial novel, and the ensuing great film starring Peter Sellers, James Mason and Shelley Winters, which I've only seen about two dozen times.
Less for the remake with the brilliant Jermey Irons and Dominique Swann, with Swann perfectly cast as the mis-placed object of his lust and affection.

Now as it happens, to connect the dots here, my friend Lolita was from Champaign-Urbana, the home of U of I, where at least one of her parents was at the time, if I recall correctly, either a professor or administator at U of I, hence her knowledge of this TV trivia about a beloved character.
Trivia -Actual Hollywood talents who went to U of I: actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and director Ang Lee.
When I lived in Evanston a few years later, and asked around about this diss to Wildcat pride, I was continually told that the reason Stevenson was forced to wear the I for Illinois was because the show's producers thought that the country wasn't quite familiar enough with the NU to 'get it' if he sported the purple"N "I'd became so accustomed to seeing wherever I went, but would get the orange"I."

All I could of think was the antagonistic bumper stickers I always saw on my drive home with friends for spring break to Ft. Lauderdale, once we got near Chatanooga, and started sharing the road with students from Ann Arbor, East Lansing and Columbus.
Stopping at the same gas stations, McDonald's and rest stops, and me, noticing the infamous Michigan State Spartan bumper sticker dig at their arch-rivals in Ann Arbor's helmet:
"What you call Maize, we call corn."
That always mades me laugh, no matter how many times I saw it!]

Besides Valerie Terschluse and her cousin Mary Beth, I knew a fair amount of talented and amusing Hoosier friends and acquantances from Kansas and Missouri over the years, a partial list of the most notable being the following:
-David C. (Dave) Whitmore from Overland Park, KS, my great friend of whom I've already written so much about on the SBH homepage.
-IU soccer phenoms Mike Hylla and Dave Boncek, of St. Louis, who were twice members of an IU NCAA champion team, including the game I was at in Ft. Lauderdale, the eight-overtime victory.
Dave and Mike lived in the same apt. complex as me, directly across from Memorial Stadium, and not surprisingly, like all IU soccer players, or at least the vasy majority of them,
were personable and funny, which always made rooting for them very easy on those rare times when we were actually trailing in a game.
Since they had a very particular talent for showing some crazy soccer skills, they were very adept at always kickin' the ball around near the pool -basically, just below my apt.- while simultaneously noticing -along with me- who among the bevvy of beautiful IU coeds lying around the pool still retained their spring break tans.
Yes, that a was a very nice place to live!
(I think the daughter of IU team doctor, Dr. Brad Bomba lived there as well, if I recall.
Dr. Bomba was an All-American end when he was at IU in the mid-'50's.)

Still later, when I was living in Arlington County, in the mid-90's, I was fortunate enough to have a smart and personable housemate from Kansas in an apt. on Pershing Drive, just off Washington Blvd., down the street from Fort Myer,
named Derek Schmidt, who may well have been THE most honest person I ever met in Washington in the 15 years I lived there.
I'll have more to say about Derek in a future post, but for my purposes here, I'll just mention a couple of quick bio details to give you an idea of what kind of terrific guy he was.
When I moved in with Derek in 1994, he was working as an LA for Kansas Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum, and then later, worked for Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska -whom I dislike- all while going to Georgetown Law School at night.
Try doing all that and having a social life, too!
More recently, Derek, the former editor of the University Daily Kansan, was elected to the Kansas State Senate.
Derek's self-evident character, intelligence and comity are such that he was appointed by his Republican colleagues as "chairman of the Legislative Post Audit Committee, which is the "watchdog" committee that oversees the work of the legislature's professional auditors. Derek used the chairmanship to ferret out government waste and inefficiency."
After he was re-elected in 2005, they were so impressed that they voted him the
Senate Majority Leader!
It goes without saying, that whatever our various political disagreements might be from time to time, Derek almost always used facts to form the basis of his argument and personal persuasion, not hyperbole or the selective use of history, which as you might imagine, were the mainstays of Washington discourse, sad to say.
Those policy disagreements notwithstanding, I could vote for Derek without any reservations whatsoever, and only wish that his sort of personal honesty and straight-talking were more common in the political corridors of South Florida and Tallahassee than the current reality.
Not that anyone is looking to SouthBeachHoosier for political endorsements!!!

Weather forecast for Saturday night's game at Arrowhead: cold with lows around 26 and with a 40% chance of snow -

Before the game rolls around, check out these links and educate yourself a bit in ways that you won't if you read the Miami Herald or the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

We're one day away from Armageddon at Arrowhead, and we're all excited, we all want to be a part of it. We want the Kansas and Missouri football programs to entertain us, make us proud and settle a feud that has been marinating, bubbling and erupting for more than 100 years. Only one thing can ruin Saturday night's historic clash.

Hype for Saturday's Border War started with January's announcement of the game moving to Arrowhead, picked up inertia as Kansas and Missouri steamrolled through their season and is now a runaway train of exhilaration. But buildup for next year's game at Arrowhead, the second in the two-year contract, will grow even bigger.
Jeremy Maclin should have grown up here, in this troubled neighborhood where gangs roamed the streets and the cupboards were often bare. He probably should have failed here, too.
The biggest clash ever in the oldest college rivalry west of the Mississippi is Saturday night as the Jayhawks play the Tigers at Arrowhead. At stake is the Big 12 North title, a chance to win the conference football crown and perhaps even playing for a national championship.


SouthBeachHoosier's prediction: Kansas Jayhawks!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Makeover of Washington D.C.'s Penn Quarter Long in Coming

Not mentioned in this otherwise positive story by Theo Milonopoulos in the Los Angeles Times on the myriad changes taking place in what was once a dreary and unsafe -at night- part of the nation's capital, is the tranformative effect on people's life of having a consistently good if-not-always-great Metro system.
It's the sole reason I was able to live in Arlington County, as close to Georgetown as I did, for almost 14 years, with never a thought to live farther out in the suburbs, and paid as much as I did for my place .

It gives people working in that part of D.C. the freedom to stay after work and socialize and have a life and be able to do things that don't revolve around parking, bars and restaurants, like the events at the Verizon Center.
Oddly, to me at least, the writer never specifically mentions the hearty pioneer role played by, of all actors, yes- the Hard Rock Cafe, in keeping a candle in the window.

For years, other than Ford's Theatre on that same block, there was nowhere to go at night where by day you had constant activity generated by neighbors like the FBI and the Federal Election Commission.

Frankly, having walked from near Capitol Hill or the National Gallery of Art over towards
the Metro Center area at night only a couple of thousand times, once I was in that general area, having turned off Pennsylvania Avenue, THE only consistent lighting on the side of that block of Ford's Theatre, the FEC, the FBI and The Hard Rock, was that provided by the McDonald's.

And that McDonald's was only there because unlike the geniuses in the Florida Marlins marketing office -as well as Jeffrey Loria and David Samson, who put the Marlins lone team store on Calle Ocho, instead of having it located in areas where their actual customers live and shop, like Pembroke Lakes Mall, Dadeland, Sawgrass or even a small ground floor store on Brickell Avenue towards the Greenberg Traurig building- they'd done their research and knew exactly how many people were in the area at any time of day.

More particularly, they knew the large number of chartered/tourists buses deposited there during the day for tours of the FBI and the House Where Lincoln Died.
Especially kids and their teachers/parents/chaperones.
Kids riding on buses for hours being dropped in front of a McDonald's is the retail equivalent of a ca$h-flow "Perfect Storm."

(More next week on the Marlins self-sabotaging marketing and stadium problems next week, replete with some facts and figueres and thoughts you haven't read elsewhere, which I've been keeping under wraps 'till after the season was over.

If you want to do some advanced reading on this subject which butress the points I've already written and kept in Draft for a few months, carefully read the Herald's recent story on the lack of any general interest bookstore within the city limits of the city of Miami, and why that is so.)

Not mentioned, for reasons that seem rather obvious to me, is the extent to which many of the then-existing bad probelms were compunded by the few actions the city did take.
That these plans and strategies often seemed poorly-thought out at first, or lacked what would seem like anything resembling an appropriate level of follow-up scrutiny or a self-correcting mechanism, like a sunshine provision, so that if they were judged unsuccessful, they'd be left in place permanently, only made public policy types me who actually knew the area shake our heads in dismay.

Not unlike South Florida, where there's always been an argument that methods and strategies that work successfully elsewhere either can't be tried, or are ruled out of consideration here immeditaely because of some sort of some crazy non-existant 'South Florida exceptionalism,' there was an element in D.C. that wanted to be seen succeeeding without asking for the the help of those who had already knew and had learned the lessons, and seen them replicated successfully elsewhere.

Here's the situation: by the early '90's, despite the election of a new mayor -Sharon Pratt Kelly-elected in large part to regain control of the city from the sort of corrupt, criminal and mendacious elements that held sway over lots of neighborhoods, is the extent to which the DC Public Library branch there had become an encampment for the homeless and drug dealers, which was never more apparent than when you walked thru the restroom door.
The stench would knock you out.
People walked around like zombies.

At night, because the city trusted engineers more than they did common sense, they foolishly
blocked off an existing east-west street that funneled traffic thru the heart of the city.
Their intent was to make the area near the DC library branch more pedestrian-friendly, but because they did so without considering what the corresponding effect would be on local businesses and their employees, not to mention, tourists, the safety situation became markedly worse, because police cars could no longer cruise by regularly.
The city essentially 'gave up' on the block.


Los Angeles Times
No end in sight with D.C.'s makeover boom
The once-blighted Penn Quarter is revitalized so rapidly that the city is under pressure to keep capitalizing on the area.
By Theo Milonopoulos, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 22, 2007

WASHINGTON — As secretary of State in the late 1700s, Thomas Jefferson laid out the initial design, including "public walks" for the area between the Capitol and what is now known as the White House. The capital's first city planner, Pierre L'Enfant, envisioned a grand boulevard, home to academies and lecture halls to enlighten and entertain, connecting the legislative and executive branches of the government.

Instead, Pennsylvania Avenue and the blocks just north of it became lined with boardinghouses and hotels where members of Congress resided. The open-air Center Market sold foodstuffs, manufactured goods and even slaves. Gambling establishments and music halls, not lecture halls, were the most popular forms of entertainment.

And like many center-city areas across the country, this one fell on hard times over the years. As fewer shoppers ventured downtown, preferring modern suburban malls closer to home, the city's most prestigious department stores, Garfinckel's and Woodward & Lothrop, closed their doors. By the mid-1990s, panhandlers and prostitutes roamed Jefferson's "public walks," and Ford's Theatre, the site of President Lincoln's assassination, was surrounded by blocks of boarded-up buildings and graffiti-covered storefronts.

"It was dreary," said Anthony A. Williams, Washington's mayor from 1999 through 2006. "I thought it was embarrassing that the nation's capital, within blocks of the White House, had drifted into despair."

Now this once-blighted area, rechristened Penn Quarter, has been transformed into a thriving business district with high-end residential developments, a vibrant night life and the third-most lucrative downtown office market in the country. But this urban renaissance has revitalized the area so quickly that the city and developers are under pressure to continue capitalizing on downtown's high-priced commercial market while meeting the growing demands of residents for an affordable and livable environment.

The 138 blocks of the Downtown DC Business Improvement District, which includes Penn Quarter, have nearly 100 restaurants, along with boutiques, galleries, museums and theaters. Among its attractions are the restored Old Patent Office Building, which houses the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian's American art collection; the new Harman Center for the Arts, which marries the classical Shakespeare Theatre Co. with a 21st century performance space; and the popular International Spy Museum, which explores the history and tradecraft of intelligence and is headed by a 36-year veteran of the CIA.

"It's a vibrant, inviting and bright place," said Richard H. Bradley, executive director of the Downtown DC BID.

That wasn't the case 10 years ago, said Miles E. Groves, director of the Downtown Neighborhood Assn. The bustle of business during the day drifted into desolation at dusk, as drug dealers and prostitutes took over the streets. "It was a place where you didn't want to be at night," Groves said.

As mayor, Williams sought to reverse this downward spiral through the Downtown Action Agenda, a public-private partnership. Its goal was to build off the district's economic boom to invigorate a strong residential, retail and entertainment destination.

The Downtown DC BID worked with the city and developers, using tax abatements, bonds and land subsidies to encourage investment in residential projects as a means of supplementing the already strong office market, said Gerry Widdicombe, the group's economic development director.

Anchoring this development was the MCI Center, a $200-million sports and entertainment facility that opened in 1997. Now known as the Verizon Center, and home to the NBA's Wizards and the NHL's Capitals, the building will have welcomed over 24 million patrons when it celebrates its 10th anniversary next month.

"We used to sit around and wait for federal handouts . . . until we finally started to do what other cities do: Invest in themselves," Widdicombe said.

From 1996 to 2006, according to the BID, that investment totaled $8.2 billion -- for 16.9 million square feet of new and renovated office space and 3,308 residential units. Jobs in the area grew to 177,000 in 2006, from 120,000 a decade earlier. For fiscal 2007 alone, the area generated $740 million in local taxes and other revenue.

But the rapid growth of the office market has outpaced the ability of the city and the developers to deliver some essential residential services, Groves said. There has been no comprehensive survey of the area's demographics since the 2000 census, which Groves said ignored the dramatic downtown population boom and prevented the city from getting a clear picture of the downtown living environment.

"We have a mixed-use environment that is more focused on commercial development than on the fact people live here," Groves said -- noting, for example, that there is no full-service grocery store. In addition, he said, the area's growing popularity has pushed out many of the small shops and galleries that had been enticed by cheap rents."

It makes it very difficult for the small and independent folks to survive," Groves said.

The city and the developers are working to iron out conflicts between commercial occupants and residents over such issues as better street lighting and time restrictions on construction and trash collection, Widdicombe said. BID employees provide some extra sanitation and street services, and plans are in place for a Safeway as a part of CityVista, a new complex of retail shops, condominiums and rental apartments.

Bradley said that 20% of the residences at CityVista will be classified as "affordable housing" for low-income individuals, with rentals below the market rate. The price of new one- and two-bedroom condominiums averaged about $350,000 to $650,000 in 2006, according to the BID. Shopping remains an issue, said Karen M. Sibert, the BID's communications director. Even though several national stores, including Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble and Bed Bath & Beyond have opened downtown, the area still lacks a centralized shopping district.

Rather than having stores disjointedly dotting the ground floors of office buildings, Sibert said, the BID hopes to create several contiguous blocks of retail to help restore downtown's shopping core.

Three large retailers -- clothiers H&M and Zara and furniture store West Elm -- have taken ground-floor space in the restored Woodward & Lothrop building on F Street, the heart of the city's traditional retail area.

The BID celebrated its 10th anniversary last week with a gala at the Harman Center. These days there are few vacant properties ripe for redevelopment in Penn Quarter, but Bradley said he did not see the renewal slowing down.

"We are now a very different kind of place a decade later," he said.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007

#IUBB, #bannersix

#IUBB, #bannersix
Assembly Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana; Click photo to see video of Straight No Chaser's version of Back Home Again In Indiana, 2:37
The South Florida I Grew Up In

Excerpts from Joan Didion's Miami, 1987, Simon & Schuster:

In the continuing opera still called, even by Cubans who have now lived the largest part of their lives in this country, el exilo, the exile, meetings at private homes in Miami Beach are seen to have consequences. The actions of individuals are seen to affect events directly. Revolutions and counter-revolutions are framed in the private sector, and the state security apparatus exists exclusively to be enlisted by one or another private player. That this particular political style, indigenous to the Caribbean and to Central America, has now been naturalized in the United States is one reason why, on the flat coastal swamps of South Florida, where the palmettos once blew over the detritus of a dozen failed booms and the hotels were boarded up six months a year, there has evolved since the early New Year's morning in 1959 when Fulgencio Batista flew for the last time out of Havana a settlement of considerable interest, not exactly an American city as American cities have until recently been understood but a tropical capital: long on rumor, short on memory, overbuilt on the chimera of runaway money and referring not to New York or Boston or Los Angeles or Atlanta but to Caracas and Mexico, to Havana and to Bogota and to Paris and Madrid. Of American cities Miami has since 1959 connected only to Washington, which is the peculiarity of both places, and increasingly the warp...

"The general wildness, the eternal labyrinths of waters and marshes, interlocked and apparently neverending; the whole surrounded by interminable swamps... Here I am then in the Floridas, thought I," John James Audobon wrote to the editor of The Monthly American Journal of Geology and Natural Science during the course of an 1831 foray in the territory then still called the Floridas. The place came first, and to touch down there is to begin to understand why at least six administations now have found South Florida so fecund a colony. I never passed through security for a flight to Miami without experiencing a certain weightlessness, the heightened wariness of having left the developed world for a more fluid atmosphere, one in which the native distrust of extreme possibilities that tended to ground the temperate United States in an obeisance to democratic institutions seemed rooted, if at all, only shallowly.

At the gate for such flights the preferred language was already Spanish. Delays were explained by weather in Panama. The very names of the scheduled destinations suggested a world in which many evangelical inclinations had historically been accomodated, many yearnings toward empire indulged...

In this mood Miami seemed not a city at all but a tale, a romance of the tropics, a kind of waking dream in which any possibility could and would be accomodated...
Hallandale Beach Blog

Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or otherwise superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and much-needed insight onto local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now, despite all the technological advances that have taken place since I grew-up in South Florida in the 1970's. On this blog, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger, disdain and laser-like attention primarily on the coastal cities of Aventura, Hollywood and Hallandale Beach.

IF you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be in stultifying traffic, be paying higher-than-necessary taxes, and be continually musing about the chronic lack of any real accountability or transparency among not only elected govt. officials, but also of City, County and State employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, work-ethic mentality that citizens here deserve and are paying for.

This is particularly true in the town I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, just north of Aventura and south of Hollywood. There, the Perfect Storm of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent.
Sadly for its residents, Hallandale Beach is where even the easily-solved or entirely predictable quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and the unsatisfactory management and coordination of resources and personnel.

It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and weather, yet its citizens have become numb to its outrages and screw-ups after years of the worst kind of chronic mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, they wake up and see the same old problems again that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion. Instead the city government either closes their eyes and hopes you'll forget the problem, or kicks them -once again- further down the road.

I used to ask myself, and not at all rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?"

Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog that could do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time.
Someone who wanted questions answered in a honest and forthright fashion that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change.

Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower, between beach and A1A/South Ocean Drive

Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower, between beach and A1A/South Ocean Drive
Hallandale Beach, FL; February 16, 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier

Hollywood in Cartoons, The New Yorker

Hollywood in Cartoons, The New Yorker
"Gentlemen, I am happy to announce that as of today we are closing down our Washington news bureau and moving the entire operation to L.A."

Hollywood in Cartoons, The New Yorker

Hollywood in Cartoons, The New Yorker
"O.K., so I dig a hole and put the bone in the hole. But what's my motivation for burying it?"

Hollywood in cartoons, 10-21-06 Non-Sequitur by Wiley, www-NON-SEQUITUR.COM

Hollywood in cartoons, 10-21-06 Non-Sequitur by Wiley, www-NON-SEQUITUR.COM
The Magic of Hollywood: A motion has been put forth that we should seek to create rather than imitate. All in favor of killing this silly notion, nod in mindless agreement...

Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins
South Beach Hoosier's first Dolphin game at the Orange Bowl came in Dec. 1970, aged 9, a 45-3 win over Buffalo that propelled them into their first ever playoff appearance.

Sebastian the Ibis, the Spirited Mascot of the University of Miami Hurricanes

Sebastian the Ibis, the Spirited Mascot of the University of Miami Hurricanes
Before going to my first U-M game at the Orange Bowl in 1972, a friend's father often would bring me home an extra 'Canes game program. That's how I came to have the Alabama at U-M game program from Nov. 16, 1968, which was the first nationally-televised college football night game in color. (A 14-6 loss to the Crimson Tide.) After that first ballgame against Tulane, as l often did for Dolphin games if my father wasn't going, I'd get dropped off at the Levitz parking lot near the 836 & I-95 Cloverleaf in NMB, and catch a Dade County Park & Ride bus, going straight to the Orange Bowl. Onboard, I'd get next to the window and listen to WIOD's pre-game show on my Radio Shack transistor radio. A few times, I was just about the only person onboard besides the bus driver, which was alright by me. Once at the Orange Bowl, if I didn't already have a ticket, I'd buy a game program for myself and one or two for friends or teachers before heading to the ticket window, since you usually couldn't find a program vendor once inside. I probaly had a friend or my father with me for just under 40% of the U-M games I ever went to, but you have to remember that the team, though blessed with several talented players, like Chuck Foreman and Burgess Owens, was just so-so to average at best, and the games were usually played on Friday nights, so it wasn't exactly high on everyone's list of things to do. Depending upon the opponent, if I was alone, I'd often have entire areas of the Orange Bowl to myself. (Wish I had photos of that now!) For instance, I had a good portion of the East (open) End Zone to myself against Oklahoma in the mid-70's, when the Boomer Schooner and the Schooner Crew went out on the field after an Oklahoma TD, and the Schooner received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from the refs, as would happen years later in an Orangle Bowl Classic game. (Against FSU?) I was there for the wins and losses under Pete Elliott, Carl Selmer & Lou Saban, and the huge on-field fight in '73 when under eventual national champion Notre Dame (under Ara Parseghian), they called a time-out with less than a minute to go, and already up 37-0. Their rationale? To score another TD and impress the AP football writers; final score 44-0. Well, they got their wish and beat Alabama 24-23 for the title at the Sugar Bowl. A year later, thanks to my Mom's boss, she and I saw Ara's last game as head coach of the Irish in the Orange Bowl Game from the East End Zone -in front of the Alabama cheerleaders!!!- in an exciting 13-11 Notre Dame win over Alabama and Bear Bryant, a rematch of the '73 national title game. I was also present for the U-M's huge 20-15 win under Pete Elliott against Darrel Royal's Texas Longhorns, the week Sports Illustrated's College Football preview issue came out with Texas on the cover, below. I was also present for lots of wins against schools called College of the Pacific, UNLV and Cal-Poly San Luis Obsispo, which I'd then never heard of before.

Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders, April 28, 2007

Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders, April 28, 2007
Photo by Mario J. Bermudez. April 28, 2007 at Dolphins NFL Draft Party at Dolphin HQ, Davie, FL

Of cheerleaders past and present

Given South Florida's unique version of the melting pot -con salsa- demographics and mindset, these women in the photo above are surely what most South Floridians would consider attractive women. But for this observer, who's spent hours & hours at IU cheerleader tryouts and who has known dozens of cheerleaders -and wannabes- in North Miami Beach, Bloomington, Evanston and Washington, D.C., the whole time I was watching these members of the Dolphins' squad perform, I couldn't help but compare them and their routines to those of some IU friends of mine who ALWAYS showed true Hoosier spirit & enthusiasm. Sitting at my table right near the stage and still later, while watching the long lines of Dolphin fans of all ages waiting to snap photos of themselves with the cheerleaders, I couldn't help but think about those friends who always left me and other Hoosier fans feeling positive & optimistic. Was there anyone I saw in Davie who possessed these valuable intangibles: the dancing precision of IU Red Stepper -and Captain- Gail Amster, my talented and spirited Phi Beta Kappa pal from Deerfield (IL), who always sat next to me in our Telecom. classes as we took turns entertaining the other; the ebullient spirit & energy of two Hoosier cheerleaders -and captains- from Bloomington, Wendy (Mulholland) Moyle & Sara Cox; the hypnotic, Midwestern, girl-next-door sexiness of Hoosier cheerleader Julie Bymaster, from Brownsburg; or, the adorable Southern girl-next-door appeal of former Hoosier Pom squader Jennifer Grimes, of Louisville, always such a clear distraction while sitting underneath the basket? Nope, not that I could see. But then they were VERY tough acts to follow!!! And that's not to mention my talented & spirited friends like Denise Andrews of Portage, Jody Kosanovich of Hammond & Linda Ahlbrand of Chesterton, all of whom were dynamic cheerleaders -and captains- at very large Hoosier high schools that were always in the championship mix, with Denise's team winning the Ind. football championship her senior year when she was captain -just like in a movie. That Denise, Jody & Linda all lived on the same dorm floor, just three stories above me at Briscoe Quad our freshman year, was one of the greatest coincidences -and strokes of luck for me!- that I could've ever hoped for. You could hardly ask for better ambassadors of IU than THESE very smart, sweet and talented women. In a future SBH post, I'll tell the story of one of the greatest Hoosiers I ever met, the aforementioned Wendy Mulholland, the Bloomington-born captain and emotional heart of the great early '80's IU cheerleading squads, and the daughter of Jack Mulholland, IU's former longtime Treasurer. The acorn doesn't fall far from a tree built on a foundation of integrity & community service! (After he retired, Mr. Mulholland was the first executive director of the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County. I used to joke with Wendy that her dad's name was the one that was permanently affixed to the bottom of my work-study checks for years, while I worked at the Dept. of Political Science's Library, first, at the Student Building in the old part of campus, and then later, after it was refurbished, in magnificent Woodburn Hall, my favorite building on campus.) In that future post, I'll share some reflections on Wendy's great strength of character and personality; my intentions of returning to Bloomington a few weeks before Fall '82 classes started, so I could help Wendy train and work-out to rehab her knee, so she'd feel confident in trying-out for the squad again, following a bad knee injury that'd left her physically-unable to try-out for the squad the previous spring, a big disappointment to those of us who cared about both Wendy and the team; my incredulity at, quite literally, running into Wendy while walking down a sidewalk one afternoon a few years later in Evanston, IL, when we were astonished to discover we were both living there, with me trying to hook on with a Windy City advertising agency, and Wendy then-attending Kellogg (KGSM) at Northwestern, right when the WSJ had named Kellogg the #1 Business School in the country. I'll also share a story about Wendy performing a true act of kindness towards me in 1982, when I was having a real emergency, and she went above-and-beyond what I had any logical reason to expect. Yet, Wendy, along with her very helpful dad, Jack, came through for me when I was in a very bad time crunch. I've never forgotten Wendy's kindness towards me, and her true Hoosier spirit. There's NOTHING I wouldn't do for Wendy Mulholland.

It's All About "The U"

It's All About "The U"
South Beach Hoosier's first U-M football game at the Orange Bowl was in 1972, age 11, against Tulane in the infamous "Fifth Down" game. In order to drum up support and attendance for the U-M at the Orange Bowl, that game had a promotion whereby South Florida kids who were school safety patrols could get in for free IF they wore their sash. I did. Clearly they knew that it was better to let kids in for free, knowing their parents would give them money to buy food and souvenirs, perhaps become a fan and want to return for future games. The ballgame made an interesting impression on The New York Times, resulting in this gem from the "View of Sport" column of Oct, 14, 1990, labeled 'Fifth Down or Not, It's Over When It's Over.' -"In 1972, aided by a fifth-down officiating gift in the last moments of the game, Miami of Florida defeated Tulane, 24-21. The country and the world was a much different place that fall because The New York Times took time and space to editorialize on the subject. ''Is it right for sportsmen, particularly young athletes, to be penalized or deprived of the goals for which they earnestly competed because responsible officials make mistakes? The ideal of true sportsmanship would be better served if Miami forfeited last week's game.' South Beach Hoosier hardly needs to tell you that this was YET another New York Times editoral that was completely ignored!

The issue I took with me the night of U-M's 20-15 upset of #1 Texas at the Orange Bowl

The issue I took with me the night of U-M's 20-15 upset of #1 Texas at the Orange Bowl
College Football, Texas No. 1, Hook 'em Horns, Sept. 10, 1973. Living in North Miami Beach in the '70's, my Sports Illustrated usually showed up in my mailbox on the Thursday or Friday before the Monday cover date. And was read cover-to-cover by Sunday morning.

The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm
U-M QB Ken Dorsey, Miami Hurricanes Undefeated National Champions 2001, Jan. 2002

Miami's Romp in the Rose

Miami's Romp in the Rose
Miami running back Clinton Portis, Jan. 7, 2002

Why the University of Miami should drop football

Why the University of Miami should drop football
June 12, 1995


Steve McGuire and Miami Overpower No.1 Notre Dame, Dec. 4, 1989

How Sweet It Is!

How Sweet It Is!
Miami Whips Oklahoma For The National Championship, Pictured: Dennis Kelleher, Jan. 11, 1988

My, Oh My, Miami!

My, Oh My, Miami!
Steve Walsh and the Canes Stun FSU, Oct. 12, 1987

Why Is Miami No. 1?

Why Is Miami No. 1?
QB Vinny Testaverde, Nov. 24, 1986

Miracle In Miami

Miracle In Miami
The Hurricanes Storm Past Nebraska, Halfback Keith Griffin, Jan. 9, 1984

Special Issue: College Football

Special Issue: College Football
The Best Passer, George Mira of Miami, Sept. 23, 1963

1984 College & Pro Spectatcular

1984 College & Pro Spectatcular
A Pair Of Aces: U-M QB Bernie Kosar & Miami Dolphin QB Dan Marino, Sept. 5, 1984

Pro Football Hall of Fame Special Issue

Pro Football Hall of Fame Special Issue
Dan Marino, Class of 2005, Aug. 2005


A Portfolio by Walter Iooss Jr., Ricky Williams, Miami Dolphins, Dec. 9, 2002

Coming Back

Coming Back
Jay Fiedler rallies Miami to a last-second win over Oakland, Oct. 1, 2001

Dan's Last Stand

Dan's Last Stand
At 38 and under siege, Dan Marino refuses to go down without a fight, Dec. 13, 1999

The War Zone

The War Zone
In the NFL's toughest division, the surprising Dolphins are on top, Lamar Smith, Dec. 11, 2000

Down and Dirty

Down and Dirty
Jimmy Johnson's Dolphins Bury The Patriots, Steve Emtman, Sept. 9, 1996

The Sunshine Boys

The Sunshine Boys
Now Playing in Miami: The Dan Marino and Jimmy Johnson Show, May 11, 1996


Miami loves Pat Riley but wants to give Don Shula the boot, Dec. 11, 1995


Which of today's stars are locks for the Hall of Fame? Dan Marino for sure. But who else? To find out, we polled the men who do the voting. Sept. 14, 1995

Sportsman Of The Year

Sportsman Of The Year
Don Shula, Dec. 20, 1993

Dan The Man

Dan The Man
Dan Marino Saves The Day For The Dolphins, Jan. 14, 1991

Dangerous Dan

Dangerous Dan
Dan Marino Passes Miami Into The Super Bowl, Jan. 14, 1985

Super Duper!

Super Duper!
Wide Receiver Mark Duper Of The Undefeated Dolphins, Nov. 19, 1984

Air Raid! Miami Bombs Washington

Air Raid! Miami Bombs Washington
Mark Clayton (burning Darryl Green) Sept. 10, 1984

Rookies On The Rise

Rookies On The Rise
Dan Marino: Miami's Hot Quarterback, Nov. 14, 1983

New Life In The WFL

New Life In The WFL
Warfield, Csonka and Kiick of Memphis, July 28, 1975

Zonk! Miami Massacres Minnesota

Zonk! Miami Massacres Minnesota
Larry Csonka, Jan. 21, 1974

Pro Football, Miami Is Rough And Ready

Pro Football, Miami Is Rough And Ready
Larry Csonka & Bob Griese, Sept. 17, 1973

Miami All The Way

Miami All The Way
Bob Griese, Jan. 22, 1973

It's Miami and Washington

It's Miami and Washington
Mercury Morris Speeds Past The Steelers, Jan. 8, 1973

Kiick and Csonka, Miami's Dynamic Duo

Kiick and Csonka, Miami's Dynamic Duo
Larry Csonka & Jim Kiick, Aug. 7, 1972

Sudden Death at Kansas City

Sudden Death at Kansas City
Miami's Garo Yepremian Ends the Longest Game; (kneeling) placekick holder Karl Noonan, Jan. 3, 1972

New Pro in a New Town

New Pro in a New Town
Miami's Frank Emanuel, Aug. 8, 1966

Old-style "Obie" the Orange Bowl Committee mascot

Old-style "Obie" the Orange Bowl Committee mascot
The iconic image I grew-up with in Miami, before FedEx got into the picture