The Miami Circle has become a cyberspace cause celebre.
Famous cynic James Randi, a.k.a. the Amazing Randi, has sent out thousands of e-mails allegedly debunking it -- though he's never even visited. Randi questions the authenticity of the downtown site, which archaeologists suggest may be part of a centuries-old culture. He refers to "wild suppositions, unwarranted conclusions, and other less-than-justified elements."

Says researcher Bob Carr: "He simply doesn't have all the facts."
Then there's a surfeit of flakes worldwide who have flocked to Miami Circle sites on the Net. Take, which questions "With the circle safe for now, is Broadway next?" and concludes, after some very complicated mathematical machinations, that the ring is "part of the rediscovered planetary matrix." Finally there's, which advertises the circle along with animal-hugger fare such as "The Buffalo Crisis, Stop the Slaughter of Our Relatives."

El Nuevo Herald is becoming more independent from its mama, the Miami Herald, but not without separation pain. For months now the paper has been trying to play stories differently from its English-language counterpart.

The February 17 edition did just that. The "Panorama" section features a wire story about the Pope meeting with Bill Clinton to talk about Cuba. There's also a little something on Republicans and presidential impeachment.

Problem is, the whole page was a misprint -- about three weeks old. Whispers at the Herald say it may have been sabotage. No way, says El Nuevo editor/publisher Carlos Castaneda, a recent arrival from El Nuevo Dia in Puerto Rico. "It was the rush of deadline ... There was no conspiracy. Leave that to the Cubans," he comments.

Then there's good news. Roberto Fabricio, whose title recently deflated from managing editor to associate editor, penned a prescient (if overhyped) piece about the proposal to raise tolls -- days ahead of the Herald. (A board approved doubling tolls one week later.)

Castaneda says Fabricio wasn't demoted: "Roberto is a great journalist."

The star-studded Marlins of old are no more. You can tell by the year's first pocket calendar. No hurler Livan Hernandez on the cover. Not even fast-fielding second baseman Luis Castillo.

Nope. This time the Marlins give you the year's schedule with a hat covered by a bunch of Marlins-related pins.

It's the first time in years the team has used anything but a player or manager on the giveaways. "Part of our new campaign: Your home team, the Marlins. It's the floppy hat that every Florida fan has," says Renee Corguson, Marlins graphic designer.

The calendars change several times each season. One player, outfielder Cliff Floyd, was on the cover of this past month's issue. "I am not sure who or what will follow," Corguson adds. The team's purported lack of stars this year has nothing to do it, says Marlins vice president of sales and marketing spokesman Jim Ross.

Assistant Miami Police Chief John Brooks, once a candidate for the department's top job, now filled by Bill O'Brien, has applied to become Hollywood's new lead enforcer. Brooks says it would be a step up to lead the scandal-plagued force.

As told to Chuck Strouse

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