[Celebrate Fat Tuesday by following a fat guy on Twitter. Twitter.com/gregcote].
A CRYING SHAME: THE UNRAVELING HEAT: [Update: Heat lose at home tonight to Portland for Miami's fifth straight loss and sixth in seven games]. Coach Erik Spoelstra was wrong to make what's private public and tell the world some of his players were crying Sunday after the team's fourth straight loss and fifth in six games. Amazing how CryGate has taken off as a national story. I was on ESPN's Outside The Lines, on The Sporting News national radio and on with Tony Kornheiser just in the past 24 hours, talking about it. That the star-studded Heat are crying makes it that much easier for all but Miami fans to laugh. This is not a team built to inspire sympathy (let alone patience). But the crying matter, of course, is peripheral to the point, which is that stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been chokers more than clutch when needed most lately. And that Chris Bosh (one shot in the fourth quarter Sunday) is too acquiescent to the Big 2. And that the center position continues as a huge weakness even as the point guard spot has improved. And that the bench is weak. And that Mike Miller (one point in 31 minutes) continues as an erratic disappointment. And that Miami sorely needs Udonis Haslem back on the floor as much for the emotional lift as the rebounds. Suddenly, Miami slipping to a No. 4 playoff seed seems possible as championship hopes run away. What to do, what to do? I present two Heat polls here. the first is on who should have the ball in the closing seconds. It's been LeBron, but that ain't workin'. I think Miami should give the team and the ball back to D-Wade, who obviously wants it. The second poll is on the coach. It is admittedly most likely a moot question because I honestly don't think Pat Riley wants to coach again, or will. But it's still an interesting discussion point.
CHAD OCHOCINCO CASTS FOR DOLPHINS: Perpetually dissatisfied Chad Ochocinco-or-is-he-Chad Johnson-again is lobbying for a trade out of Cincinnati and putting out feelers to get back to his hometown of Miami. "The Dolphins have always been my team since I've grown up," he recently noted. Stop it! Just stop it. Please? Chad is 33 now, and Miami already fulfills the diva-receiva quotient with Brandon Marshall. If the Dolphins are thinking trade with Cincy, QB Carson Palmer is the guy they should try to pry loose, although Miami's lack of a second-round draft pick would hinder that possibility even if there were interest.
PANTHERS TALK!: I have a new column online and in Tuesday's pulp edition on the Florida Panthers and the task facing GM Dale Tallon. Why? Because sometimes the intrepid columnist must delve into topics he knows won't generate a slew of online hits. Somehow, inexplicably, it made today's top-10 columns list on USSportsPages.com.
LOCALS ON COLLEGE HALL BALLOT: College Football Hall of Fame's new list of 79 2011 nominees includes six locally tied guys. First-time balloteers are former Dolphins and UM coach Jimmy Johnson, the late South Miami High LB Derrick Thomas, and ex-RB Lorenoz White of Dillard High. Back for another shot are ex-Cane DT Russell Maryland, vintage Dolphins safety Jake Scott, and briefly ex-Dolphins RB Bobby Humphrey.
CHARLIE SHEEN STILL WINNING, TALKING: Yeah on Saturday the defrocked Two And A Half Men star debuted an online show of sorts on Ustream. Click on Giving Winning A Bad Name for details and the video. Warning: It's 13 minutes of your life you'll never get back. Charlie moves closer and closer to the homeless man wearing a cardboard shirt ambling down a busy street ranting to himself with arms flailing. Except people aren't taking Charlie as seriously.
SPEAKING OF PATHETIC...: I happened across the season debut of Celebrity Apprentice last night and noticed Jose Canseco among the participants. The hope here is that Donald Trump will pay Jose to go away and never appear publicly again.
TV'S GREATEST WOMEN: TVSquad.com names its "100 Most Memorable Female TV Characters" and the top of the list is 10. Edith Bunker; 9. Clair Huxtable; 8. Veronica Mars; 7. Carmela Soprano; 6. Buffy Summers; 5. Elaine Benes; 4. Peggy Olson; 3. Lucy Ricardo; 2. Laura Roslin; 1. Mary Richards. Quick thoughts: Have never watched 8 or 6. Have never heard of 2. I appreciate Mad Men but think 4 is way over-ranked. And Lucy should-a beat Mary. Finally, I find it interesting that all 10 of these women have one thing in common: They all agree Charlie Sheen is sad.
ANAGRAM DU JOUR: Charlie Sheen = Hearse Lech In.
AND IN OTHER NEWS, NASA SCIENTISTS FIND EVIDENCE OF ALIEN LIFE: Click here. I dunno. I'd have thought this might have been bigger news.