[1) R.I.P. Whitney Houston. 2) Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" album was released this week in 1964. 3) You can still vote in our Ricky Williams/Dolphins Honor Roll poll in blogpost directly below this newest one. 4) I'm not sure. Is this the proper time to reveal that I once had an affair with Mimi Alford? 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]
THE WAVERING CONFIDENCE OF HEAT FANS (OR NOT...): I hear regularly from many Heat fans when you couple my own circle of friends and acquaintances with readers, and a general consensus seems to be that fans are hopeful Miami can win the NBA championship this year more than confident Miami will. Then I again I may hear from a curmudgeonly crowd. A poll to get a better, broader read on this had been clanging around in my thoughts for awhile and sort of got birthed into the blog by last night's 102-89 loss in Orlando that maybe reawakened doubts. That the Heat is better than last season is a presumption, but is it true? Miami in Year 1 of the Big 3 was 58-24 (.707) in the regular season and right now the record is 19-7 (.731), but a game like last night's makes you wonder. Me, anyway. Maybe not you? I do think the Heat is better in Year 2 and I'd still call Miami a title favorite, but that status to me falls somewhere between shaky and slight. Take a dip in our poll, be honest as you can, and say where your confidence is at.
#ThingsBlamedOnLeBron: To that hashtag Twitter discussion I contributed: Wreck of the Costa Concordia, global warming and the mild headache for which I just popped an Advil.
Another thing on LeBron...: Is it me, or is the media fascination with the Kendrick Perkins/LeBron Tweet-war much ado about very, very little?
HANLEY RAMIREZ IS TAKING NAMES: LeBron-like, Marlins star Hanley Ramirez is keeping a list of all those who doubted him or Tweeted ill of him and writing their names on his bat. Well, at least that is the premise of a new 30-second Spanish language Powerade commercial starring Hanley. Click here for the YouTube vid.
THE MIAMI MANNINGPHINS: Pictured is a conception by this artist of what the Dolphins logo would look like if the dolphin's face subtly and somewhat resembled the high-forehead profile of Peyton Manning.
LET IT GO, AMERICA, ON MICHAEL VICK: A new national survey by Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research indicates the following are the 10 most disliked athletes in America, with my parenthetical guess on the root of the dislike: 1. Michael Vick (dog killing), 2. Tiger Woods (infidelity), 3. Plaxico Burress (gun toting), 4. Ndamukong Suh (opponent stomping), 5. Kris Humphries (Kardashian dumping), 6. LeBron James (Cleveland jilting), 7. Kobe Bryant (just being Kobe), 8. Terrell Owens (just being T.O.), 9. Alex Rodriguez (steroids/wealth) and 10. Kurt Busch (cantankerousness). First, congrats to the Heat's own LeBron for continuing to slide down these unpopularity lists. General dislike of LeBron (at least outside of Cleveland) is less and less over "The Decision" and increasingly settling on simply the King James Factor, the perceived arrogance. Now to my main point. I am well aware from past emails that one is not allowed to support or defend Vick in any way without being labeled an advocate of puppy torture, but I must say -- again -- that Vick (pictured) served some pretty serious time for his dog-fighting operation and has shown proper regret, enough time served and contrition that we should lay down the MURDERER! placards and let it go. I'm an animal lover (have two pets), and I think breeding dogs to fight at their great and sometimes deadly peril is an awful and rightly punishable thing. But it isn't homicide or child rape, either.
MORE ON YOENIS CESPEDES: My newest column, on the Marlins' pursuit of Cuban-defector slugger Yoenis Cespedes (click here for the column), was, surprisingly to me, the most-read thing on all of MiamiHerald.com. That says two things: 1) Interest in the Marlins is increasing exponentially, and 2) the club's belief that signing Cespedes would be a huge hit with Cubans in Miami is on the mark.
HERALD NEWS: We don't have a sports ombudsman to pass along internal news, so I adopt the task and tell you that Israel Gutierrez is soon leaving the mothership to become an NBA writer for ESPN.com and also do stuff for other World Wide Leader entities. Good luck, Iz.
PANHANDLER TIPS (one in a series): The thought that a surprisingly high percentage of my blog readers are homeless or destitute may not be accurate. In any case if you can't personally relate to this Panhandler Tip, surely you can pass it along to someone you see haunting an intersection, cardboard sign in hand: Panhandler, do not beg help with a cigarette dangling from your maw. It suggests you will take my hard-earned offering and use it not for food or baby diapers, but for yet another pack of cancer herb. Smoking while panhandling is akin to waving a HOMELESS AND HUNGRY sign while the neck of a Jim Beam pint juts from your dungaree pocket. Or bumming coins while on your iPhone. It just isn't good for business!
WORLD RECORD FOR DUMB WORLD RECORDS: Guinness the beer, I like. Guinness the world-records people, not so much.If you don't agree there are too many asinine world-record categories you will after clicking here. (Somewhere, Gene Simmons and his own famous tongue has never felt more like a has-been).
BEIJING (Faked-Up News) -- The Chinese government is under fire from global women's rights groups for chemically encouraging the birth of gigantic babies in order to promote a national league of infant sumo wrestling.
We leave you for now with the Twitter icon (left) of Chad Ochocinco @ochocinco: "Relax: It's just egg shells." Of course it is egg shells. Click on image to enlarge and see for yourself. (Man, some of y'all got a dirty mind!) Visit us again. Will be adding more stuff to this latest blogpost...