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December 19, 2013

Dolphins/NFL Week 16 predictions; plus Heat states its case, Duck Dynasty fracas, 'Free the Nipple' movement & more

1) It is SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21. Bowl glut begins! Today are the first four of 35 bowl games, and it'd take a court order to make me watch any of them. 2) To the e-mailers asking: I have bunch of back-loaded vacation days I need to use before end of year. That's why I have had fewer columns lately. 3)  In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Shame and opportunity in Sochi Olympics, first Mock Draft, Google search stats, Dolphins' playoff chances, George Zimmerman's art, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird), Vine (Greg Cote) and Facebook (Greg Cote).

Dolphins' Christmas greeting: Click HERE for the official Dolphins' Happy Holidays video. In case you weren't sure who the team considers its biggest stars, the players greeting you are (in order) Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Cam Wake and Ryan Tannehill.

UPSET BIRD DAY / WEEK 16 NFL PREDIX: WITH DIFFICULTY, DOLPHINS KEEP ROLLING: Dolphins at Buffalo in December with Miami playoff hopes in play. Like Ringo said, you know it don't come easy. 1aa1fripixTwo things worry me. One, the Bills' NFL-leading sackers as much as the elements making it tough on Ryan Tannehill. Two, just this gut feeling that after three straight emotional wins -- vs. the hated Jets, in snowy Pittsburgh, then over the nemesis Pats -- the Dolphins are due a letdown/stumble/return-to-Earth performance. Still like Miami, 23-20, but that's logic talking me out of that gut feeling of an upset. Click on Week 16 Gems for all of our complete prediction capsules, and on Holiday Cheer for my Friday Page NFL notes column, leading with a rose-colored take on why Miami, once in the playoffs, can beat anybody.

1aa1dwadedrivingHEAT SAY HOLD ON YOUNG PACERS, NOT YET, SON: Click HERE for my column from Wednesday night's 97-94 Heat win over the visiting Pacers. In the NBA the challengers, the wanna-be's, seek to make statements in December. The champions make theirs in June. But fans and Your Friend the Media love the concept of "statement games," and so contained in last night's win was the reminder Miami will not cede the East easily, or quietly. The fight for the best record and No. 1 seed is on. Bring it. The inevitable Miami-Indiana Eastern finals will be brutally delicious. And there was this, too, arising from the bayside arena last night: If that Dwyane Wade, healthy and soaring to a season-high 32 points, is the one we see in the playoffs, the Heat can three-peat. Wade is shown driving last night in a shot by staff photog Hector Gabino. That is the Dwyane Wade who drew LeBron James here in the first place, and who might convince him to re-up.

DUCK DYNASTY: PHENOMENON AND FRACAS: [Update: The Duck Dynasty family has produced the T-shirt pictured left to support their suspended brethren. Comeback for the word "Yuppie" is offically launched!] The phenomenon: A ratings-gold A&E reality show about a long-bearded Louisiana family that got rich making duck callers for hunters. Like the pet rock or 1aa1ddphilthat Gangnam Style 1aa1philshirtsinger, Duck Dynasty is one of those things that flare brightly and briefly across the American landscape, loved, then forgotten. It's the Warhol "15 Minutes of Fame" idea. And the clock is now ticking on Duck Dynasty because of ... The Fracas: Family patriarch Phil Robertson (pictured) ranting anti-gay in a GQ interview, calling homosexuality immoral and likening it to bestiality. A&E has now suspended Phil indefinitely; click HERE for the story. Meanwhile Phil met the predictable backlash by explaining he's an old hippie who got over drugs by embracing God, and that the Bible says man should be with woman. OK, whatever. That's in no way an apology, but it's a free country with free speech. The man is entitled to his beliefs. The thing is, folks like Phil always seem surprised by the consequences of those beliefs, surprised to learn that most Americans are intolerant of intolerance, and that using ancient Scriptures to justify modern-day bigotry doesn't fly with the grace of, say, a duck.

ON THE 'FREE THE NIPPLE' MOVEMENT: Yes, there is such a thing, and it went from obscure to talked-about when Miley Cyrus recently Tweeted in support of it. Talk about advertising! If your cause is 1aa1freeniptoplessness and Miley supports you, that's like owning a restaurant and having Bobby Flay rave about it. Gold! Anyway, Free the Nipple is the name of a documovie in the making (scene from shooting pictured left) by L.A. filmmaker and political activist Lina Esco, 28. It posits that women should be allowed to be topless whenever and wherever they wish as an equality issue, because men can, and because society should be concerned with violence, not nipples. I can already hear a national chorus of Red-Blooded Males shouting "WHOOO!" in lusty support of the movement. I would add two thoughts: First, being real here, there are legions of perverts and would-be rapists whose addled minds surely would take widespread female toplessness as an invitation for their creepdom. Second, rather than toplessness being OK for either 1aa1fatsex, I'd just as soon it be banned for both. That way the hairy-chested, morbidly obese man who jogs shirtless through my neighborhood would be made to throw on a tent shirt. I cannot honestly say that seeing a woman I don't know topless would outweigh the delight in not seeing the man pictured at right in all his shirtless glory. Nipples of either gender are not obscene, no. But neither is modesty a dirty word.

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