Not only did our friends at WTVJ-TV (Channel 6) abandon South Florida's first television studio -- conveniently located across from the federal courthouse in downtown Miami -- to better bring us gripping developments from Plantation City Hall, and not only did they leave a physical and metaphorical black hole downtown, they also desecrated the structural shell they left behind. On their last day in Miami, staffers pulled out markers and paint and graffittied their historic studio's walls. There's symbolism here, none of it particularly appreciated.

"Oooh!" our car squealed as a young Cuban fellow yanked open her doors and began vacuuming nooks and crannies she didn't even remember having. They'd been crudded up that long. Somehow he's able to distinguish and therefore not throw away the valuables lost in a thick layer of gym clothes, fast-food bags, spilled laundry detergent, and work papers we meant to take home but have actually been ferrying around town for weeks. Car-wash packages range from $9 to $19, and detailing services run $30 to $40. We chose the $11.95 premium wash, which includes something called "wheel bright." Inside the building there's a long hallway with windows so you can satisfy that voyeuristic urge to watch the pressurized water and soap blasting off the bird droppings and thick layer of road dust covering the windows. The waiting room is cool, sufficiently stocked with coffee, soda machines, an ice cream freezer, and a stand supporting bags of plantain chips. The television gets remarkably clear reception and is perpetually tuned to lurid but alluring telenovelas. Hours are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and Sunday. On Saturday it's 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
All you need is a sense of adventure and a willingness to get a little dirty. Need a chair? A bookcase? An African mask? Who knows what you'll discover in the stylish home-furnishings center of Miami. Sneak around the back alleys, lift a lid, hoist yourself up, and peer inside. One advantage: There are practically no restaurants here (apologies to Piccadilly Garden and Buena Vista Café), so you won't be wading through rotting foodstuffs. For an added adrenaline rush, there's the risk of being questioned by a police officer who thinks it's mighty strange you're doing this. You may or may not be asked to leave, depending upon whether the Dumpster is on city or private property. And should you find something worth keeping, you'll have a nice little story to tell.

Last December the school board brushed aside a proposal by its maverick member, Marta Perez, to create an ethics commission that would act as a watchdog over the district. Why? Millions squandered on questionable land purchases. Fortunes spent to settle sexual-harassment lawsuits. Administrators with diploma-mill degrees. Overcrowded classrooms. Underpaid teachers. Unwelcome parents. But in rejecting the measure, Perez's colleagues argued that they didn't need an ethics commission because there weren't any problems. Now, that takes chutzpah.
Miami actually is controlled by a secret cabal of gay Cuban men known as Los Pollos Tropicales. (All right, we made up the name, but we're pretty sure about the rest of it.)

What more is there to say than "farewell"?
"There is a substantial likelihood that the “Cuba Affidavit' will be found unconstitutional," Moreno declared in a seventeen-page ruling in May of last year. And with that he suspended the so-called Cuba ordinance, which required that anyone conducting business with Miami-Dade County sign a document vowing not to transact business with Cuba or with any business that conducts business with Cuba. The most prominent targets, however, were county-funded activities that brought musicians and artists from the island. Moreno put the handwriting on the wall in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Miami Light Project, GableStage, Teatro La Ma Teodora, and concert promoters Hugo Cancio and Debbie Ohanian. At the time the U.S. Supreme Court was reviewing a similarly repressive Massachusetts state law targeting business dealings, including cultural exchanges, with the repressive regime in Myanmar (the country once known as Burma). When the justices nixed that law in June of last year, Moreno dutifully followed suit with a pro-forma edict declaring the Cuba ordinance unconstitutional. Poof! County lawyers vanished from the courtroom without argument. Soon the highly uncomfortable (but constitutionally protected) rhetorical contortions performed by the ordinance's defenders, including county commissioners Javier Souto and Miriam Alonso, Mayor Alex Penelas, and lawyer Victor Diaz, also disappeared from view. There is, however, a substantial likelihood that some of them still believe it makes sense to oppose a dictator by thinking like one.
A repeat victory for the no-longer-so-boyish Herald columnist, who last won this award in 1996, following his arrest for disorderly intoxication at Johnny Rockets restaurant in Coconut Grove. (Charges were later dropped.) Five years later the still-single sportswriter has joined George Clooney, Derek Jeter, and Matt Damon as one of People magazine's "100 Most Eligible Bachelors." In the magazine LeBatard squats over a pool table and admits he's "never been in love." People made no mention of "I Am the Hunter," the notorious 1800-word essay LeBatard wrote for Cosmopolitan in 1997. "Men like me travel in packs, pursuing perfume, and we find the chase more intoxicating than everything after it," LeBatard admitted. "We dabble in relationships for the same reason we dabble in hunting: There's an incomparable rush wrapped in the search and discovery. But then, when the last bullet has been fired and the gun is spent, when the conquest is complete and the game is done and we get to see what we've done close up, all that remains is the blood and the smell and a mess to clean up. Doesn't mean we won't go hunting again, mind you. We drink after a bad hangover, don't we?" Hard to believe the guy hasn't found a mate.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®