Acropolis Now

Though The Bitch normally wouldn't notice a 100-meter dash even if one happened in her back yard, she thinks the Olympics should be taken seriously. People in the ancient world really knew how to party; long-snouted, rose-eared hounds gained welcome just about every place in Greek society; and intramural sports competitions were serious communal events saluted with integrity, respect, and a lot of wine.

OLA father-and-son proprietors Ed and Brian Lieberman, who own the restaurant with chef Douglas Rodriguez, are interested in the Olympics, too. Ed, 50, and Brian, 25, were invited by Coca-Cola to be official corporate torch-relayers at a ceremony to commemorate the games this past July in Athens (Greece, not Coke's headquarters, Georgia). Brian returned to Miami apparently inspired, though not, it would seem, by Plato's arguments for the virtues of sophrosyn over hubris.

This Thursday, August 12, Brian plans to run down Biscayne Boulevard to OLA, carrying an Olympic-type torch to light the Caja China, the barbecue coffin used for OLA's weekly pig roast.

Brian Lieberman of OLA poses with the "pseudo Olympic torch" that looks sort of like a bottle rocket and sort of like some other things
Brian Lieberman of OLA poses with the "pseudo Olympic torch" that looks sort of like a bottle rocket and sort of like some other things
Residents of NE 28th Street east of Biscayne Boulevard say the developers of Onyx 2 are illegally cutting down trees on city-owned property, and turning a once-green strip of land into a muddy parking lot for construction crews
COURTESY OF DANA MURPHY
Residents of NE 28th Street east of Biscayne Boulevard say the developers of Onyx 2 are illegally cutting down trees on city-owned property, and turning a once-green strip of land into a muddy parking lot for construction crews

This event has been heralded with many thunderbolts from the mountain of Tara, Ink, the formidable PR firm representing OLA, whose representatives initially indicated the cookout-lighting would be performed with an actual Olympic torch. This terminology was later amended to "pseudo torch," and finally a beleaguered Tara, Ink staffer said: "Maybe pseudo-torch is the wrong term. We call it that, because it is an exact replica of the real Olympic torch. Yes, it will be aflame!"

The Bitch was impressed with the unseemliness of this, and did an instinct check with the United States Olympic Committee headquarters in Colorado Springs.

"The USOC is interested in contacting the restaurant owner to provide some background educational information regarding the use of Olympic imagery and terminology, and why it might not be a good idea to feature the Olympic Torch in this manner," huffed Carol Gross of the legal affairs division of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Though The Bitch just can't get comfortable in OLA's unergonomic, chilly interior; squirms at the blasting piped-in soca; and has better (not to mention less expensive) mojitos in the trunk of her car, she doesn't begrudge struggling restaurateurs the opportunity to cash in using any means necessary, including slumming as meeting central for every Junior Achievement club and neighborhood association in town. However, commandeering the torch, an ostensible symbol of teamwork and collective victory, for association with profit, individual excess, and gluttony is uncool.

OLA-mpics aside, why is the sign that says "5061 Eaterie & Deli" still displayed on the north side of the bistro building? Are the proprietors so busy they haven't had time to remove it? Have they forgotten it is there? Or are they keeping it up just in case things don't work out?

Palms Down BAP-CGM Development is planning a 50-story condominium building at the end of sleepy NE 28th Street, apparently figuring that people will line up to pay millions for penthouses with a view of the water, a Papa John's pizza outlet, and more crack smokers and hookers than you can drop an arsenal of water balloons on. Though the building, dubbed Onyx 2, is still in the permitting process, some residents are questioning the impact that traffic flow from the 122-unit complex will have on egress to Biscayne Boulevard. "These cars are going to be backed up all the way to the bay every morning," complains Dana Murphy, who lives a few houses down from the Onyx 2 site.

Murphy has already beefed with the construction crews twice for cutting down trees on city-owned property adjacent to the project without the proper permits. "I called code enforcement and an inspector came down and asked them for a permit, and they showed him an unsigned permit application," Murphy fumes. He says residents used to pick up trash in the area at the end of the street, a task that has been made impossible by the fact that construction crews have turned the land into a parking lot. "They completely trash the place, they sprayed something that killed half the plants, and they drive all over the grass -- it's all mud puddles now," he says. Murphy organized a protest this past Saturday, and about 30 neighborhood residents showed up to vent their concerns about the new megabuilding.

The advertising touts Onyx 2's location -- squarely in the middle of Edgewater -- as "located in Miami's emerging Arts District" (funny how the Arts District seems to grow based on the spread of lofts rather than, say, art galleries), and promises all manner of loft and condo options (including four-bedroom penthouses) priced from $400,000 to "more than $3 million."

The Long Bob Goodbye So Steve Inskeep and Renée Montagne are doing very good, low-key jobs as the interim hosts of NPR's Morning Edition, and as it turns out, Bob Edwards has gone, since his ouster in April, from being a sympathetic martyr to youth demographics to being something of a spotlight-hogging pest.

Edwards, who this fall begins a new gig with XM Satellite Radio as cornerstone announcer of the network's fledgling news service, won't be further inflicting his tale of woe on South Floridians, at least not on behalf of the Friends of WLRN. Edwards was to have been the speaker at the group's annual True Friend Award Breakfast in October.

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