All Hail, the King of the Smurfs

All Hail, the King of the Smurfs
Filed Under: News
Thousands of Miamians were forced to wonder this past Saturday: Why in God's name was George W. Bush providing the commencement for a former community college in the middle of West Kendall? Commencements were taking place simultaneously at Miami Dade College's seven other campuses; the mayor of Hialeah gave the address on the Hialeah campus.

One Miami Dade College official, speaking off the record, offered this answer: "We were a pretty safe bet. Bush gets to come enjoy his base, talk about his policies, and we get to have the president give our commencement."

That's right, Miami: We are the Bush family's bottom bitches. An open letter asking that the President of the United States to speak at the MDC commencement had been on the table since 1995. With the president's disapproval rating bouncing, of late, between 50 and 60 percent, now must've seemed like as good a time as any to head for acolyte country.

The packed gymnasium thundered as Bush took the stage, clad in a blousy blue robe that made him look something like the Emperor of the Smurfs. Only one brave bassoonist in the orchestra pit had the cojones to boo into the mouth of his water bottle.

The President opened light — riffing that he had no idea what it was like to graduate with honors ("Way to work hard, immigrants! I never had to") and ribbing himself magnanimously for being so poorly spoken.

After crediting the students who managed to earn their degree speaking English as a second language, he added, "some would say I am the first president to do the same."

Outside a few hundred people gathered to protest Bush's visit. Most carried the garden-variety protest signs ("You say president — I say terrorist," etc.) and a chunk of the anti-Bush crowd was over the age of 50, leaving one to wonder where the young agitators were. A handful of pro-Bushies turned out, which led to some interesting exchanges:

Protestor, to a pro-Bush guy: "Your president is a murderer!"

Pro-Bush guy (holding an American flag): "You're friends with Osama!"

At 5:00 p.m., as Bush spoke and protesters sweated profusely under the Miami sun, NPR provided its hourly update of the war in Iraq. On Saturday nine U.S. soldiers were killed; a car bomb killed 55 Iraqis and injured 150.

Bush dashed off before having to sit through the reading of 1500 graduate names — boooorinng. — Calvin Godfrey and Tamara Lush

A Whole Lotta Blow
Filed Under: News
Last month the U.S. Coast Guard made its biggest-ever cocaine bust off the coast of Panama.

Officers boarded a 330-foot ship heading north and discovered about 38,000 pounds of cocaine in two shipping containers, officials said. Thirty-eight thousand pounds. More than 17,000 kilos. Nineteen tons, for God's sake.

The Associated Press wrote about the arrival of the Panamanian ship and its booty in California. The story ended with this sentence: "The cocaine, with an estimated street value of $500 million, will be turned over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which will take the drugs to Miami to be destroyed."

That little detail led Riptide to call DEA Special Agent Oscar Negron here in Miami. How, we asked, does the DEA destroy nineteen tons of blow?

"Well, we have a procedure set in place," Negron replied. "We bring it to a warehouse here in South Florida and we dispose of it. There's a whole security procedure behind it."

Negron would only say that the drugs were flown to South Florida last week. He wouldn't say where the warehouse is or how the coke is destroyed. "I don't go into details on how we do the destruction," he said. Negron added that a small amount of the white stuff will be preserved for evidence. He also explained why the drugs were flown on the government's dime to Miami. "This investigation is being led in Miami," he said. — Tamara Lush

King for a Play
Filed Under: Culture
Dave Hill, a self-described "fat motherfucker from Cleveland," has decided to invent a throne for himself and assume it.

The comedian's show, The King of Miami, premiered this week on Mojo, a new high-definition channel available through Comcast that caters, weirdly, to adventure travel and luxury lifestyle enthusiasts.

Hill essentially plays a consummate moron, determined to take over the town. But it's clear upon his arrival that there's nothing really to take over. Instead he must invent his battles, tilting at luxurious windmills.

"It's a really beautiful, natural location," Hill says when asked: Why Miami? "It had everything you would want, excesses and all that, for a delusional person — not that people there are delusional."

His schedule is similar to that of a Travel Channel stooge: get a spray-on tan, go to Monkey Jungle, eat at Versailles, play Jai Alai, and so on. But the content is smart, and his project kind of turns the town out for what it is: a dull pastel mirage.

Hill: Why do you call it Jai Alai?

Jai Alai player Inakai "Goikoetxea" Osa: It means "Merry Festival."

Hill: So do you guys ever call it Merry Festival?


Hill, however, manages to avoid the itinerant cruelty of other man-on-the-street performers (e.g., Sasha Baron Cohen); the joke is almost always on himself.

Motivational speaker: Why have you decided to call yourself the King of Miami?

Hill: I don't know. It sounds catchy it looks good on flyers. — Calvin Godfrey

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