[1) It is Monday, July 9. Hear Bruce Springsteen perform his heart-aching Independence Day on July 4 in Paris. 2) PR Disasters I Have Known: City of Hallandale Beach fires lifeguard who left his area to save drowning swimmer. 3) Photos of Tallulah Willis topless and smoking dope are evidently being shopped around. She's the 18-year-old offspring of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis. Oh you rebel daughter you! 4) Twenty-Six Words You Didn't Know Existed. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]
GIANCARLO STANTON OUT OF HOME RUN DERBY, ALL-STAR GAME: Stanton (pictured) left yesterday's Marlins game with continued soreness in his knee, underwent minor surgery today and will miss Monday's Home Run Derby and Tuesday's All-Star Game. More important, he will be lost to the Marlins for an estimated month to six weeks. The surgery was called successful. (Ever notice that teams never announce unsuccessful surgeries?) Stanton's absence will be a major blow to the team's effort to make up ground in the NL playoff chase.
HEAT LANDS FREE-AGENT RAY ALLEN: Ray Allen chose Miami yesterday over re-signing with Boston for nearly double the money, and the Heat is convinced the deciding factor was Miami's successful hard sell on the concept of "family" with this club. That's why he accepted $6.3 million over two years here, when the Celtics were dangling $12 million. The family factor latter is not to be underestimated, as Allen's fractured relationship with Rajon Rondo is one reason he left Beantown. Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra headed the local wooing party, and the three were later met by other Heat officials over dinner at downtown's pricey Il Gabbiano, where you cannot go wrong with the Costoletta alla Valdostana (chop stuffed with pate' foie gras, prosciutto and sauteed wild mushrooms) for $45.75. Stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade already had reached out to Allen, more of the welcoming family strategy that Miami thought gave it an edge. Wade on Wednesday Tweeted, 2Morrow is a big day for #HeatNation. James reTweeted that, adding, Absolutely!! #HeatNation Stand Up. James had earlier Tweeted, I hope so, in response to his son asking him if Allen would join the Heat, and also previously Tweeted a photo of Allen in a Heat uniform. Allen was Miami's main free-agent target. He'll be the top guard off the bench and a perimeter shooter from 3'sville. Riley is one of the NBA's great closers and proved it again. Appropriately, club owner Micky Arison announced Allen's decision by Tweeting, 'Welcome to the family, No. 20.' (He Tweeted from London, where he is attending Wimbledon's finals. It's good to be a billionaire!) Meanwhile Rashard Lewis and Marcus Camby are visiting the Heat this weekend and one (more likely Lewis) could still be signed.
'The Heat Effect': The success and popularity of the Heat has spurred the Dolphins and Marlins to a greater sense of urgency and to be bolder to grow their place in a sports market now dominated by the NBA team. I cite examples and explore in my latest column. Click on The Heat Effect.
MY WORLD: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NEWSPAPER AND BLOG: I write a Sunday notes column called Random Evidence of a Cluttered Mind, from which the name of this blog derives. Both that column and this blog aim to occasionally push envelopes with stuff a bit risque by mainstream-media standards. But I am reminded every week that certain stuff that's OK for this blog can't get in the newspaper. Here are two examples of punchlines I have tried and failed to get into my Sunday notes column: 1) Dennis Rodman says he wants to coach a topless women's basketball team at a New York City gentleman's club. Players need not be adept at dribbling, but bouncing is a plus. And 2) The University of North Dakota finally has agreed to drop its politically incorrect Fighting Sioux nickname deemed an offensive stereotype by Native Americans. The new nickname: Hard-Drinking Navajos.
OCHOCINCO LIVE-TWEETS WEDDING: (Or did that go without saying?) Dolphins receiver Chad Ochocinco -- four words that still seem strange together -- live-Tweeted from his July 4 wedding to reality-TV quasi-celeb Evelyn Lozada. They were wed in St. Martin in the Caribbean. Click here for the People account. Cameras were rolling (naturally) to document the nuptials for their upcoming VH1 reality serioes, Ev & Ocho. "I don't recall sending the butterflies in my stomach an invite," he Tweeted moments before the exchange of vows. (Wouldn't it have been great if Evelyn had then Tweeted, "Get off the damned cellphone!") Postscript: Also Wednesday, Ochocinco, displaying uncommon sanity, officially reverted to Chad Johnson again. Pictured: The happy and excessively publicized couple.
MARLINS MAKE STATEMENT WITH CARLOS LEE: [Update: Nice debut yesterday. Lee plays first, bats third, has double, single and run scored in 4-0 win] I like this. Feel badly for Gaby Sanchez, but feel good that the Marlins are buyers, not sellers as the trade deadline approaches. Means they haven't given up on this season, on now. Carlos Lee is past his prime, on the heavy side and relatively mediocre defensively at first base but remains a solid run producer and a clear upgrade over Sanchez and his season-long struggles. Lee's 975 RBIs since 2003 are the sixth-most among active players in that span, including 94 for Houston last season. That saddle-him-up-and-ride production is partly why he is nicknamed El Caballo, or "The Horse." Trading two prospects for Lee is another now-not-someday statement, and that's good, too.
Poll result: Romney edges Obama: Our blog poll was as close as I'd imagined. You can still vote (in the post just below this new one), but I finished counting chads and must declare Mitt Romney a narrow victor over Barack Obama, 51.2 percent to 48.8. Votes came in from 38 countries and 25 states. Just under half of all votes came from Florida, where Romney won with 52.8%. We'll have another, final presidential poll here just before Election Day. Poll analysis: Obama consistently led by a few percent until fairly late in the voting. Hmm. Makes me suspect organized Republican involvement to spread the word and swing the result. It's all good, though. Let freedom reign!
WHAT DOES THE FOURTH OF JULY MEAN?: I think to too many of us it's just a bonus day off, an excuse to overeat, consume mass quantities of alcohol -- like Americans need an excuse for that -- and blow up fireworks. A party, in other words. But patriotism lives somewhere in there. Wife and I spent a few midday hours on Fort Lauderdale Beach yesterday and I was inspired by all the red, white and blue attire. (My favorite T-shirt bore the rather aggressive sentiment: America: Back to Back World War Champions!) Also sat and listened to a quaint band of mostly older folks in the shade of a tent playing patriotic tunes, and was impressed by the number of revelers who stopped to listen, even sing along, then warmly applaud. The moral of the story: One can be drunk and a patriot at the same time. After all, what's more American than multi-tasking!?
WORLD'S WORST MOTHER: Here is my candidate until a worse one comes along.
Click back. Will be updating/adding much more to this latest blogpost...