New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman at Temple Israel Sunday

A bunch of phonies like saying they read the New York Times. They think it makes them sound smart. Here's a quick test to measure their Times pedigree. Throw out the name Thomas Friedman and watch their reaction. If you get a blank stare, they're stinking fibbers. If they nod, mention multiple Pulitzers, best-selling books such as The World Is Flat or Beirut to Jerusalem, and throw out big words like profligacy and austerity, then yes, they are legit.

Friedman is an institution in print journalism. And if the industry is dying, the Times will be the King who doesn't relinquish his thrown until the reality TV hordes bludgeon him to death with their remote controls.

He's the guy who tells much of the country how they should feel about

global goings on. But unlike so many talking heads, he actually knows

what he's talking about. And Friedman is coming to Miami this weekend.

But be warned, you'll have to break out the checkbook, to get a glimpse

of the author and hear his wise words.

Friedman is getting a double dose of the Magic City with two stops back

to back on Sunday. First he'll be at Temple Israel in downtown

Miami at 5 p.m. and then he'll mosey on over to the Betsy Hotel's B Bar

on South Beach fro a private soiree. Both events are open to the public,

or at least the public with ducats to spare. Tickets for the Temple

event go for a cool hundred while the Betsy event (a VIP dinner with Q

and A session) is ten times that price coming in at $1,000.  Funds from

both events are going to charities, so keep the griping down to a

minimum. Autographed books will be available at both events, though we

think they should be giving them away with those covers.

As for Friedman, he's been doing his thing on the printed page for

decades and doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon. As well as

his two columns per week for the times, he has written a series of

non-fiction books that try to break down what the hell is going on in

places like the Middle East. Beirut to Jerusalem is practically a

textbook for anybody trying to get a handle on that part of the world.

Good luck. He likes to joke that he is considering releasing a second

edition of the book, with a one-line introduction--"Nothing has changed."

Check out his website or Times columns.

And though he has a cushy job, he still flexes his travel and reporting

boots often, saying that "If you don't go, you don't know." Same goes

for his Miami appearances.

Thomas Friedman will be at Temple Israel (137 NE 19th St.,

Miami) at 5 p.m. and at the Betsy Hotel's B Bar (1440 Ocean Drive, Miami

Beach) at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $100 and $1,000, respectively. For more

information call 305-379-0800.

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