The Bitch

Game Theory

Eohippus, the miniature five-toed ancestor of the modern horse, bounded through the rainforests of South America dodging dire wolves and munching lush vegetation. As primitive ponies emerged from the forest to gallop across plains and continents, another eohippus descendant, the tapir, remained in the jungles along the Amazon River.

Tapirs are an animal of fascination for Colombian artist Nadin Ospina, whose installation devoted to the creatures, titled Los Estrategas (The Strategists) is featured through September at Etra Fine Arts at 56 NE 40th St. in the Design District.

The three species of tapir native to South America -- the mountain, Baird's, and Brazilian -- are endangered.

Nadin Ospina is obsessed with endangered South American tapirs, and devotes his art to them
Jonathan Postal
Nadin Ospina is obsessed with endangered South American tapirs, and devotes his art to them
Mike Nuckols reflects on his Scott Stapp experience at the Mandarin Oriental
Lyssa Oberkreser
Mike Nuckols reflects on his Scott Stapp experience at the Mandarin Oriental

The fragility of the Amazonian rainforest, symbolized by the tapir, is a recurrent theme in Ospina's work. "The Bass Museum, for instance, has a piece that, although different from this one, also depicts a tapir as the main subject," explains the gallery's Ana Maria Quiñones, who curated the show at Etra.

No Gossip Too Tenuous

Evelyn Greer and Michael Kosnitzky, two candidates for the Miami-Dade County School Board (respectively, in Districts 9 and 3) are both clever, reasonably straightforward individuals who always return The Bitch's phone calls, even if they're wary of a little nip. Yet somehow, in the incestuous cauldron of Miami-Dade politics, these two smart people have become linked in a far-fetched but juicy conspiracy theory.

Greer is mayor of the wealthy village of Pinecrest. Kosnitzky is a tax lawyer, bank owner, and accountant who made headlines last year demanding accountability at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Each of them hired political consultant Steve Marin to handle direct-mail campaigns. Marin, however, is also a lobbyist who has two current clients doing business with the school district: Pirtle Construction and Zyscovich Architects. Marin also has ties to scheming state representative Ralph Arza, no stranger himself to making the most of district political business. Arza used to be Marin's football coach at Miami High School. Some Grassy Knollers maintain that Miami City Manager Joe Arriola, the school district's former business honcho (briefly) and sometime blowhard, is exacting his revenge on the system, though in a convoluted manner: Arriola hated Kosnitzky when the latter served on the Public Health Trust, at one point calling him a "cancer" on the organization. Arriola did extend an offer of up to $25,000 to Arza, though, for his supposed educational expertise, which savvy types saw as a thinly disguised payoff for favorable Tallahassee legislation.

Both Greer and Kosnitzky say Marin is good at what he does, which is why each independently hired him. "I don't collude with [Kosnitzky]," Greer asserts. "I haven't spoken to Arriola or Arza or any of the öconspirators.' People in my district don't know who they are, and barely know who Merrett Stierheim is." (Truly, The Bitch notes, Stierheim's name has been airbrushed from the public consciousness like an apparatchik following a Stalinist purge.)

Greer says she met Marin when he worked on the campaign of her friend, Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson, noting. "He's doing my printing. He doesn't do anything else for me. I run my own operation." Greer says she knows about Marin's lobbying clients and, if elected, "would go out of [her] way to make sure I'm not involved in anything to do with them."

For his part, Kosnitzky says he also won't vote on matters where there might be a perceived conflict. He says he also returned contributions from both of Marin's clients. "It's a fair question," he acknowledges. "Yes, I was blindsided by this a few weeks ago, but I'm not going to change horses in midstream. Jackson Memorial was an open cookie jar and I closed it. If anybody in this town has taken whacks for being independent, it's me."

Rage Against Scott Stapp: One Man's Story

Nickelback fans who have been rejoicing over the Orlando band's ascendance to "most suckingest rock band in existence today" following the repeatedly announced breakup of Creed -- whoa, not so fast.

It's not Maroon 5 or Hoobastank sneaking up on the outside, either. The band that performed so crappily at a Chicago arena that ticketholders filed a class-action lawsuit against the group, is not, according to Prednisone-munching frontman Scott Stapp, quite kaput. (This despite increasingly desperate announcements from former Creedites Mark Tremonti and Scott Phillips to the contrary.)

Further, the extremely frequent Miami Beach visitor and performer of a recent solo acoustic set for unhappily surprised Rumi patrons is releasing his first one-man single this week. It's a song called "Relearn Love" from the forthcoming soundtrack to an album of music "inspired by Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ."

Of The Passion, Stapp, who also is often attached to the word "scourge," says, "Gibson took on a very controversial historical event ... All of us who have different faiths could use some tolerance for one another."

Michael Nuckols, an activist for environmental groups who comes to Miami for appearances at events such as the Ultra Music Festival when he's not dabbling informally in MDMA chemistry and pursuing a successful career as an electrical engineer, has a story about the too-frequently-tank-topped Stapp in which the singer exhibited a less than tolerant, forgiving demeanor during a charity ball game. Here is Mike the Man's story:

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