Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Steve Geller's antics; cowardly Miami Herald editorial board

Monday February 4, 2008

3:45 pm

Just wanted to call your attention to some interesting news I discovered via the Orlando Sentinel a few minutes ago, via email.

Don't think I ever mentioned it here before, but I subscribe to the Orlando Sentinel's excellent political blog, Central Florida Political Pulse, which seems, thus far, to have the great advantage of being able to call 'em like they see 'em with much more freedom than is generally common with other political blogs affiliated with newspapers.

Say, unlike the Miami Herald's political blog, Naked Politics, to name but one.

That low-hanging target, which for the better part of its existence didn't have even a single link to other Herald blogs on their site, still doesn't link to any other newspaper political blog, even ones within the state. Now that's using technology!
(Sounds like a Kim Marcille directive to me.)

The Pulse had an item today that FSU's President, T. K. Wetherell, has suddenly realized the true nature of his job situation, after what only seems like Fourscore and seven ethical lapses and arrests among FSU athletes.
That is, that he was, in fact, within the FSU hierarchy, the wagging tail, not the lead dog.
Well, at least now he knows the score!

He's been chasing the tail all this time, getting damn frustrated.
Now, he's chagrined to discover that he's just like the dog on that hysterical Comedy Central show of a few years ago, TV Funhouse.

I've always loved the term the NCAA uses in documents to describe situations less egregious than this one at FSU, albeit, usually at non-winning schools that can't sell merchandise and get big TV ratings all around the country like the Seminoles: lack of institutional control.
See SMU and death penalty, circa early 1980's.

Unfortunately for my tastes, the Miami Herald continues to walk a far-too-careful tip-toe around the very curious actions and puzzling behavior of Steve Geller, where there's never any telling from moment to moment which of his many 'hats for hire' he's wearing, a topic that both of my blogs will be addressing in the future.

One minute, Geller is the esteemed State Senator and top Senate Democrat of the fourth largest state in the country, a wheeler-dealer in a tiny govt. town who's in love with the sound of his own voice, and who proudly proclaimed his role at the time, complete with trademark smirk and sarcasm, in moving up the date of the presidential primary.

An hour later, Geller is the corporate lawyer/bully, trying to not only prevent Hallandale Beach residents living near the proposal -his constituents- at a City Commission meeting from
opposing his client's bad plans to build an over sized bldg. near their homes, but even worse, he's
actively trying to prevent them from even being able to speak during the public comments portion of the commission meeting.

(Months ago when it happened, I actually was so appalled by Geller's antics that I called a Herald reporter I respect on my cellphone, and then gave her a play-by-play of what happened.
That was really my only card to play because the Herald didn't think to assign someone to a public meeting that produced the largest building in Broward on U.S.-1 south of downtown Fort Lauderdale, the DOMUS project across from Gulfstream Park.)

Later, Geller wears the lobbyist hat he probably loves most, where he gets paid to alternately persuade/schmooze/ply city officials -also his constituents- to grant favors to or accept the plans of his myriad corporate clients who pay him handsomely.

Clients that doubtless make campaign contribution$, wouldn't you guess?
Yes, it's really quite a circle of love, isn't it?

Fortunately, the Sentinel and their blog runs accurate-but-negative things about the ethically-challenged State Senator Geller, who'll continue to mis-represent me and my neighbors up in Tallahassee for a few more months until he's term-limited out of his cozy confine$ in the lap of power.

(Geller has a big fundraiser in Tallahassee this week amongst his pals and clients for an election two years from now, when he'll try to take away Suzanne Gunzburger's seat on the Broward County Commission.
He's not even letting the fact that his Cooper City house isn't legally in the district prevent him from raising money.
He's Steve Geller -he does what he likes.)

The Sentinel blog carried the amusing item below about Wetherell, the former pol and FL House Speaker put in his cushy job by his pals to run a college whose reputation around the country, such as it is, rests almost entirely on its gridiron prowess, not its contributions to anything of real note or consequence, which may be a good thing in the end.

Well, okay, save for some NOAA hurricane/weather forecasters and some very cute FSU coeds, famous for smiling while wearing skimpy outfits at football games.
See http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2680844980098792027WIsYXc and

And, quite naturally, trying desperately to hang onto that 15 Minutes, witness Jenn Sterger, whose fame first came at the FSU at U-M game a few years ago. http://www.jennsterger.com/
Jenn at Wrigley Field: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/jenn_sterger/07/26/mailbag/index.html

One last thing, and it's troubling to me in so many ways that I can't even begin to get into here, but here's the gist of it, with more posts about the subject in the near future, when I post some reviews about aspects of the Herald that I've been sitting on for months.

In reading the article in the Herald last Saturday about the passing of former Herald editorial page editor Jim Hampton, Former Miami Herald editorial page editor dies
http://www.miamiherald.com/548/story/403335.html , I came across a rather curious comment from a Herald insider, one which caused me to roll my eyes, since I know only too well how drastically the newspaper needs to be turned around to make it relevant and better in a changing environment.

After I read this comment, I wondered how many other people in South Florida who care about public policy the way I do had a similar reaction:

Hampton's imprint is still apparent on the Editorial Board he helped shape. ''Who we are and how we function is Jim's handiwork,'' [current Heraldeditorial page editor] Oglesby said.

By that, does Oglesby mean the way the powers-that-be at the Herald played chicken recently with their readers, when their Editorial Board didn't make an endorsement in either party for the Florida presidential primary?

That abdication of basic civic responsibility caused even-tempered Channel 10/WPLG political editor Michael Putney so much indignation, that he felt compelled to mention it to his politically savvy audience last Sunday morning, on his popular TV show, This Week in South Florida.
You know, just in case his viewers hadn't noticed its absence in their Sunday Herald while they were munching on their breakfast.

Given the current state of the Herald, I don't know if Mr. Oglesby's comments were something I'd be bragging about if I were related to Mr. Hampton.
But maybe that's just me.

FYI: Last Thursday, I spent the hour in between the two episodes of SouthBeachHoosier TV favorite Chuck on NBC, reading the wit and wisdom of "DUMP STEVE GELLER," an opinionated person in D.C. -so he says- on various forums on a variety of topics, including tax reform, education and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's bias.

I don't know anything about who this person might be, but it's interesting that someone who lives in D.C., if that's true, would have such contempt and antipathy towards him.
Mine comes much more natural -geographical proximity.

For more information on the antics of Steve Geller, please see this dead-on Sept. 7th story from five months ago. http://news.tbo.com/news/metro/MGB25AM2A6F.html
Line In Sand Has Democrats Hopping by William March of the Tampa Tribune

Well, what do you know, National Dems are as unimpressed by the blustery comments of Geller as his constituents, and the media who collectively hope he'll get his comeuppance somehow.

"State Senate Democratic leader Steve Geller of Hallandale Beach, responding to the candidates' threat to boycott the Florida primary campaign over the Jan. 29 date, angrily urged Floridians to withdraw their endorsements for the candidates - and maybe their money.
"If the DNC chairman and the Democratic candidates choose to ignore our voters, then we can choose to ignore their campaigns," Geller said. "And where we go, so goes our wallets."

Of course, months earlier, Geller's penchant for bombast and delusions of importance cost the state of Florida, as this insightful May 17th post by Jason Garcia on the Pulse blog makes all too clear, http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_politics/2007/05/geller_to_dean_.html

The August 28th response to the post, which references Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times' comments, is one that the Herald and the rest of South Florida would've been smart to share with local residents, but never did.
Why do you suppose that is?

Wetherell criticizes FSU athletic department posted by Aaron Deslatte on Feb 4, 2008
The whole story of Wetherell's self-discovery

FSU president knocks Seminoles athletic department
Didn't trust athletic department to conduct cheating probe
Andrew Carter, Sentinel Staff Writer

Must-see National Signing Day news & TV: BTN & CSTV

USA Today's Jim Halley reports today on the effort to read tea leaves and figure out where talented #1 prep recruit Terrelle Pryor, a 6' 6" QB from Pennsylvania, will sign: Ann Arbor, Columbus or some place else entirely based on his intuition.
Who knows, maybe he'll open his eyes and realize that he can help change the direction of a program by signing with them, rather than going to one of the usual suspects.
That's be nice to see, regardless of what school that is.

Being a devout Hurricane football fan since 1971 and a Hoosier fan since 1979, it's frustrating sitting here knowing that Pryor's such a talented basketball player, too, but that both the U-M and IU are not even on his radar screen, since he seems to have the kind of natural ability, smarts and leadership that could really help both sports in Coral Gables or Bloomington.
He'd look so great in the cream & crimson or the orange & green of the Hoosiers or Hurricanes!
On the other hand, at least Pryor won't be one more PA high school QB -a la U-M alum Jim Kelly- that Joe Paterno tried to recruit and turn into a linebacker.
Those kind of recruiting stories stories never get old when you beat Penn State!

Less so when you lose the national championship to them in the '87 Fiesta Bowl game as the the top-ranked team in the country, when you clearly have the better team, brimming with future NFL talent!
Somewhere, I still have the Fiesta Bowl t-shirt with the -M helmet on it which I bought at the U-M bookstore that Christmas break, when I came back from Evanston.

Meanwhile, some guy that nobody has ever heard of will likely sign tomorrow and in three years, be in the Top Five in Heisman Trophy voting, and everyone you meet will say, quite mater-of- factly, that they always projected him 'ready for the next level.'
Such is the world of recruiting.

Top recruit Pryor keeps college coaches on hold

USA Today also had some positive news for U-M fans like me who could use some, with a story (and photo) of U-M Hurricane-to-be, safety Vaughn Telemaque of Long Beach Poly, one of the top players on the West Coast from a school with a history of producing talented playmakers, something the Hurricanes desperately need on both sides of the ball.

Telemaque had no problems seeing himself at Miami. He has lofty goals and hopes to help Miami get back to the top of the national polls.
"We're going to get Miami back in the national title hunt," he said. "I have some big goals when I get out there. I think I have a great opportunity to get early playing time, but I'm going to have to work for it."

Before I mention some other aspects of the college recruiting process, as well as the odd comment here and there, let me ask some questions for which there may not be any good answers, but questions that need to be asked nonetheless, a word I rarely use on my blogs.

How can IU football be anything more than a one-year wonder -given James Hardy's leaving early for the NFL- if the program continues to do such a piss-poor job of recruiting in the state of Florida?

It's really great that Hoosier QB Kellen Lewis is from the Jacksonville area and has turned out to be such a wonderful kid on and off the field, but as of a few days ago, rivals.com, http://indiana.rivals.com/commitlist.asp?school=30 showed only two kids from the entire state going to Bloomington, Peter St. Fort, a DB from Naples and A.J. Thompson from Lakeland, an offensive lineman.
That's simply not enough to be competitive!

Having been as deeply involved with IU athletics as long as I was, and as were so many of my best friends, I'm under no illusions about IU's football program or it's relative place within the football universe.
But I'm dumbfounded to see so many kids from the state who could be effective players at IU, leave for out-of-state programs that play in lesser conferences in MUCH more unattractive towns and blah campuses.

And really, what are MAC schools doing, getting more players from Florida than IU?
IU outclasses them in every way, but the only way to get those kids and use Bloomington and its resources to ultimate advantage is to develop a rep for producing playmakers.

I wish those two Florida kids I mentioned earlier the best, I hope they turn out to be great players and teammates and more importantly, get the great education they should get at IU, but I didn't see the word playmaker, dynamic or change-maker in their player profile.
That's what you need to get from the state of Florida, even if they're only County 2nd team, 3rd team or honorable mention, to stop the feast and famine routine at IU.

This is not an entirely new thought of mine, since many of my IU alum friends from all over the country used to wonder this when we'd get together to watch IU basketball games or U-M football games while I was in Evanston or Washington, D.C., either at my place or at some sports bar.

This was just before U-M, FSU and the Gators would routinely finish in the Top 5 by the end of the year, but the demographics and talent of the state were already hard to deny.

I even wondered this while I was at IU and would glance at the football roster and see maybe two players from the entire state of Florida there. It was presposterous even then.

Back then, when the sports TV landscape was much more limited, I always thought that given that IU had the advantage of playing in the Big Ten conference, that it would probably take IU having some high-profile skilled offensive players and a 2-3 year stretch of 7-4 or 8-3 seasons to overcome the inertia of Florida players to consider the idea of Indiana, even as I knew there were talented but not superstar caliber players leaving the Sunshine State for places like Michigan State or Illinois.

As for the Hurricanes and Coach Randy Shannon, would it be too much to ask that they actually try to sign some talented possession wide receivers or tight ends from Oklahoma and the Midwest?
Players who aren't speedsters from the inner city or from around Lake Okeechobee, and who foolishly think that speed is the answer to every question?

It's not, otherwise the U-M football program wouldn't have sunk to such pathetic levels.

You know, recruit ballplayers who hustle throughout the ballgame, instead of guys with big heads who think they can take breaks during an offensive drive, like multiple-year football failure and off-field screw-up Lance Leggett, who has regressed since he first signed?

He should've been released from his scholarship after the 2006 season, but Randy Shannon,
channeling Father Flanagan, gave him more chances to screw-up and screw-up Lance Leggett did. Over and over.

I still have handy my audiotapes of WQAM's play-by-play broadcastsof last year's U-M games, including a compilation tape of the season's highs and lows that I put together, to free up the other tapes.
One of the common elements of any ballgame was the WQAM announcing crew calling out
Lance Leggett for self-evident lack of hustle or effort, whether that was NOT going for the ball along the sidelines when the QB was running for his life and needed a dump-off target, not laying down a block on a running play, or taking one of his customary siestas during the game, when he sleepwalked.
Randy Moss might've been able to get away with that, but he's Randy Moss.
LL is just code for lazy.

You know, players along the lines of Howard Twilley, Steve Largent, Wes Welker, Dallas Clark or Jeremy Shockey? That'd be a nice start.
Many other U-M fans I know share a similar feeling.

We're SO fed up with watching lanky, trash-talking wannabe stars who can't go over the middle in a game against a tough opponent late in a game.

Players so fundamentally unsound around the sidelines that they lack proper footwork skills and don't know how to make a good target for a QB running for his life, as has been the case far too much the past three years in Coral Gables.

Frankly, if it was up to me, a good starting point would be dropping some curent U-M wide receivers who failed to show any signs of intelligent life when they were given their chances, few though that may've been.

The most embarrassing part of last year's season was the U-M's beyond-shameful passing performance against North Carolina State, where they actually chose to line up wide receivers behind center in the shotgun for a direct snap.
Sorry, but only completing one pass in a game should be enough to get a coach on the hot seat and a player demoted.

The most recent Tom Lemming 2008 National Top 25 rankings of college recruits for CSTV is at: http://www.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/recruiting/classrankings/08national.html

He has Notre Dame ranked first, the Gators third, U-M ranked eigth and the Seminoles at ninth. He ranks 5 Big Ten schools in the top 20, including Minnesota, saying "Finishing 1-11 on season and reeling in T-20 class makes Tim Brewster and staff biggest surprise in country."

List of Gator verbal commitments: http://interact.cstv.com/recruiting/searchrecruit.cfm?sport=football&dbyear=07&school_name=fla

Hurricane: http://interact.cstv.com/recruiting/searchrecruit.cfm?sport=football&dbyear=07&school_name=mifl

Seminole: http://interact.cstv.com/recruiting/searchrecruit.cfm?sport=football&dbyear=07&school_name=fsu

Tom's CSTV show Generation Next will have their annual National Signing Day programming Wednesday. The first show will be a one-hour program at 10 a.m., followed by a four-hour show at 2 p.m., which repeats at 6 p.m., with a one-hour wrap-up show at 10 p.m.

Tom's 2008 All-American team is at: http://www.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/recruiting/allamericans08.html

The Hodge Football Reporter, from Director of Recruiting Coverage for CSTV.com, Bill Hodge is at: http://slog.cstv.com/hodgereport_fb/

His list of IU verbal commitments is at: http://slog.cstv.com/hodgereport_fb/indiana/

Scout.com has U-M's class ranked 4th, FSU at 6th and the Gators ranked 7th, with IU ranked #58 in its rankings, with barely one-third of the talent and ability of top-ranked Alabama's.

Scout.com's HoosierNation football page with tons of info and video is at: http://indiana.scout.com/

Scout.com's network for the Big Three here in Florida is: CanesTime at http://miami.scout.com/, FSU's NoleDigest at http://florida.scout.com/ , with the Fightin'Gators at http://florida.scout.com/

Their John Decker reports on three recruits that IU is desperately trying to get, and why they may or may not sign with the Hoosiers: http://indiana.scout.com/a.z?s=170&p=10&c=726247&refid=4781

Meanwhile Jamie Newberg of SuperPrep.com takes a look at the Top 25 schools at: http://recruiting.scout.com/2/726125.html

The Big Ten Network will delve into the recruiting process, present expert analysis and unveil video highlights of the Big Ten's newest student-athletes with three editions of BIG TEN TONIGHT: SIGNING DAY SPECIAL: A live 90-minute show beginning at 5:30 PM ET Wednesday, Feb. 6; A 60-minute edition of BIG TEN TONIGHT later that evening with additional analysis; And a live 60-minute show on at 6 PM ET on Thursday, Feb. 7.

Excerpts from email I just received from the Big Ten Network.
Big Ten Network to Air National Signing Day Specials

Network to devote three shows to college football's most anticipated event

CHICAGO - Fueled by months, and sometimes years, of speculation and controversy, National Signing Day is the most anticipated day in college football. No single event has a greater effect upon the fates of football programs and the fortunes of coaching staffs.

The Big Ten Network will delve into the recruiting process, present expert analysis and unveil video highlights of the Big Ten's newest student-athletes with three editions of BIG TEN TONIGHT: SIGNING DAY SPECIAL:

A live 90-minute show beginning at 5 PM ET Wednesday, Feb. 6;

A 60-minute edition of BIG TEN TONIGHT later that evening with additional analysis;

And a live 60-minute show on at 5 PM ET on Thursday, Feb. 7.

"These shows will allow Big Ten fans to look into the crystal ball and see the future of their favorite teams and their archrivals," Big Ten Network coordinating producer Quentin Carter said. "The great thing about our coverage is that we'll concentrate solely on 11 schools and the student-athletes who will be coming to these 11 campuses."

Wednesday's programs will include portions of university press conferences, interviews with Big Ten coaches and instant analysis. On Thursday, Big Ten Network experts will closely examine each school's recruiting class and evaluate how each team addressed its most immediate and long-term needs.

Hosts Dave Revsine and Rick Pizzo will be joined by Big Ten Network analysts Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and Chris Martin and national recruiting expert Bob Lichtenfels of Scout.com.

For more information regarding the Big Ten Network, visit www.BigTenNetwork.com.

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. http://www.hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/

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