Messy Mariners

Five decades of debauchery

SAT 10/9

Yes, yes. It's so no-no to celebrate the voyage of Christopher Columbus without mentioning how his desperately financed, endlessly perilous, and ultimately earth-altering expedition led to the most horrific genocide, the most appalling spread of disease, and the most evil empire building of all time. But hey, all that stuff is so five centuries ago. And besides, if you haven't been around this town since 1954, when the first Columbus Day Regatta tore through Biscayne Bay to honor Chris's big crapshoot, please note this affair floats on a wave of joyful revelry, hard drinking, and abundant nudity -- all that makes Miami the great city it has become since the first invasion.

Back in 1952 Italian consul Dr. J.M. Gaetani launched his campaign to commemorate the famous Italian explorer (whose voyage was financed by Spain). Two dozen boats partook in the first salty party, but participation peaked in 1978 with 550 boats. The skippers of the 50th anniversary flotilla are prepared to honor the Euro hero with an exploration of fun and good humor. Humor. What's a genocide, er, regatta rather, without a few laughs? See the 2003 summary link at, which explains more about the two-day event than any item in a local fish wrapper could ever hope to. -- Greg Baker

They Suck

How to avoid black holes

FRI 10/8

What's mysterious, frightening, impossibly dark, and sucks? If you said Dick Cheney's soul, that's not the answer we're looking for. The correct response: a black hole, one of the great mysteries of outer space. If all you know about black holes comes from the Soundgarden song, educate yourself with Dr. James R. Webb's lecture, "Black Holes Primer: What We Think We Know About Black Holes." Afterward there's a question and answer session, refreshments, and, weather permitting, a sky watch on the telescope deck, where you'll get to peer through high-tech, pricey equipment. See the stars at 8:00 p.m. at the FIU Astronomy Center, Physics Bldg., CP-145, 11200 SW Eighth St. Admission is free. Call 305-348-3964. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik