And in November, NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor was arrested after allegedly smashing his car into a vehicle on the Palmetto Expressway, injuring the driver, and fleeing the scene. Tests showed his BAC wasn't above the legal limit, although his CAI (Celebrity Arrogance Index) was seven times that of the average human's.

No word on whether his iron chariot was insured.

----------

Sailing into the End Times

And so it is written that in 2009, Miami embarked upon its slippery journey to the slimy bottom of the Atlantic Ocean — where it will become wedged among the lost city of Atlantis, the Castro brothers' secret lair, and Governor Crist's barnacle-bitten heterosexuality.

And when the last air bubble pops over our submerging city, there might be nobody left to write a thousand words about it the next day. Roughly one-third of Miami Herald reporters have already become adjunct English professors at Iowa community colleges, and the dailies in Broward and Palm Beach counties have resorted to massive layoffs as well. Local TV news stations are struggling to pay their monthly wrinkle-cream bills, and the formerly formidable alt-weekly SunPost is staggering like Kimbo Slice in a 12-round cage match.

The news items escorting us out of the year were as apocalyptic as ever. The posh Epic Hotel was forced to boot 400 tourists after an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease — a throwback affliction to the days when bums wore barrels and moonshine was illegal — claimed the life of one guest and sickened two others. An alert was issued for a yarmulke-wearing burglar wanted for raiding Miami houses of worship. And in perhaps the clearest signal yet that the cosmos has been knocked wildly off-kilter, the Dolphins still have a teensy-weensy chance of making the playoffs.

The year's final month did include one pleasant news item, though, a nice bit of feel-good frivolity of the sort that's been in extremely short supply of late. In mid-December, the world's largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, departed a South Florida dock on its maiden voyage. Hundreds of locals took short breaks from the bread line to pack the harbor, waving dirty rags and screaming huzzahs as the boat chugged out to sea.

Somewhere a few knots out, an iceberg lurks.

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