Who needs a seven-foot center? Not the Miami Heat. They've found competitiveness without some towering freak taller than most trees. A small, fast approach can work when a team rosters a number of versatile weapons, the best of whom is this 6-foot 4-inch rookie guard who can play the point, shoot the nets out, pass with precision, and launch himself above the big freaks to slam home a highlight-reel dunk. Wade's NBA arrival is like one of his ferocious slams, hinting at (dare we say) "Michael potential." The young man also happens to have helped the Heat reshape itself into a potential championship team. Off the court, Wade is a quiet, sleepy-looking, 22-year-old family man. But on the hardwood his cross-over move could break an opponent's ankle and his gravity-belying acrobatics can make a Heat fan out of a New Yorker. Can a kid turn around a team quickly and thoroughly? If his name's Dwyane Wade, bet it all he can.

"If It's Tourist Season,Why Can't We Go Ahead and Shoot 'Em?"

"If It's Tourist Season,Why Can't We Go Ahead and Shoot 'Em?"

If weathercasters were ever accurate, this award would probably go to the one who was most often on the money about rain showers and cold fronts. But because forecasts are all the same and as reliable as a Bush administration intelligence report, the winner here must have something beyond the latest bulletin from the weather bureau. No weathercaster is as easy on the eyes as WSVN-TV's Jackie Johnson (Channel 7). Attractive, shapely, a self-described "outdoor girl" from Michigan, Double J has made the weather segment a must-see, especially among young males who judge women by superficialities like attractiveness, figure, and affinity for the outdoors. Her station knows this way too well: Sex appeal is what makes Johnson and WSVN a perfect match. She even has a special feature, "Living It Up," wherein assignments range from learning to handle the throttle on a speedboat to playing beach volleyball to "surfing" on South Beach. Segments like the last thrust a scantily clad, dripping wet Johnson straight into your throbbing living room. And you thought meteorologists were boring.

A lovely hot winter's afternoon on this winding way through the Everglades adjacent to Tamiami Trail. Indians in new-model sedans waving as they blow by. Two French women pigmenting canvases with the bold black-and-white images of wood storks set against the verdancy of piny perches. A dozen alligators basking by the shallows. A rubber-booted phycologist holding a magnifying glass above a scummy rock. An assortment of unusual structures that nonconformists call home. An eyes-to-the-ground snake collector toting a pillowcase and walking stick. An anhinga spreading its wings after a postlunch swim. The blue and white of the endless sky giving way to the ochre-orange fade of the sun. Peace in the swamp. And then -- yikes! Pickup trucks with Confederate flags across the rear windows screech to a halt. Out spring cropped-top, fatigue-wearing, gun-toting, painted-face warriors of unknown affiliation. Seriously serious-looking soldiers without a war whom one dare not risk approaching. In fact hitting the gas and getting the hell out of there is the right idea. Talk about your freaks of nature.

BEST REASON TO STAY IN MIAMI FOR THE SUMMER

No tourists

Yes, the clouds that billow over the Everglades and march east to erupt violently are breathtaking. So is the warmth of the ocean at midnight. But the best reason to stick around here during the swelter season is more basic: Nearly everyone is gone. Well, at least the people you want to be gone -- the tourists, conventioneers, and migratory snowbirds who flee at the first sign of serious humidity. As a result, parking spaces appear. Lines at the movies shrink. Restaurant reservations no longer need to be made a month in advance. And the nights are calm and quiet and fragrant with jasmine.

BEST REASON TO STAY IN MIAMI FOR THE SUMMER

No tourists

Yes, the clouds that billow over the Everglades and march east to erupt violently are breathtaking. So is the warmth of the ocean at midnight. But the best reason to stick around here during the swelter season is more basic: Nearly everyone is gone. Well, at least the people you want to be gone -- the tourists, conventioneers, and migratory snowbirds who flee at the first sign of serious humidity. As a result, parking spaces appear. Lines at the movies shrink. Restaurant reservations no longer need to be made a month in advance. And the nights are calm and quiet and fragrant with jasmine.

About 25 or 30 miles out on the Tamiami Trail there's a swerving turnoff that leads to a T-shaped strip of asphalt to nowhere. It runs parallel to the trail and about three or four city blocks in length, bordered by trees, marsh, and muck. At night especially, it's rare to encounter anyone other than the occasional snake collector or frog gigger, although possums, rabbits, and plenty of other creatures, including an occasional (extremely occasional) bobcat, come out to feed, fight, or facilitate offspring. Here, there is peace. And a stunning over-the-trees view of sunsets followed by utter darkness that allows for spectacular looks at a night sky unencumbered by the ambient light of the city. To be caught here in the middle of a thunderstorm is bliss, and when the stars put on a show (meteor showers and such), there is no better place to watch as you ponder your utter insignificance in the universe.

Miami's Civilian Investigative Panel was created to look into complaints of police misconduct. The panel is a refuge for those who are frightened by the power structure of local government and law enforcement. (There are parts of Miami, it should be noted, where complaining about the police is tantamount to asking for an ass-kicking.) So it was ironic, to say the least, that Miami City Manager Joe Arriola would choose a January 15 CIP meeting to throw a raging hissy fit -- as TV news cameras rolled. The city hall meeting had been convened to hear allegations of police brutality against FTAA protesters. When security guards tried to bar entrance to a fellow who had threatened city employees in the past, a few zealous community activists got it in their heads he was being harassed because of his political views. Arriola came out to the lobby to see what was going on. And then he detonated. News crews were treated to a red-faced tirade against activists Max Rameau and Leo Casino. Later Arriola could be heard stalking the hallway just outside the hearing, muttering, "Some people are just angry that the good guys won."

Miami's Civilian Investigative Panel was created to look into complaints of police misconduct. The panel is a refuge for those who are frightened by the power structure of local government and law enforcement. (There are parts of Miami, it should be noted, where complaining about the police is tantamount to asking for an ass-kicking.) So it was ironic, to say the least, that Miami City Manager Joe Arriola would choose a January 15 CIP meeting to throw a raging hissy fit -- as TV news cameras rolled. The city hall meeting had been convened to hear allegations of police brutality against FTAA protesters. When security guards tried to bar entrance to a fellow who had threatened city employees in the past, a few zealous community activists got it in their heads he was being harassed because of his political views. Arriola came out to the lobby to see what was going on. And then he detonated. News crews were treated to a red-faced tirade against activists Max Rameau and Leo Casino. Later Arriola could be heard stalking the hallway just outside the hearing, muttering, "Some people are just angry that the good guys won."

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®