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OC Dolphin wins March Madness Haiku Challenge!; plus my St. Patrick's Day video, Heat, Canes, Dolphins, porn-meets-pageant & more

[Hi. I'm Greg Cote, the only person on Earth, evidently, who really doesn't give a flying crap about the Fab Five. Click on Twitter to join us there, and on Chat to post questions any time for our Wednesday 1-2 p.m. live online chats.]

OC DOLPHIN WINS 6TH ANNUAL MARCH MADNESS HAIKU CHALLENGE!: Congratulations to long time blog-community leader OC Dolphin for recording his first career victory in our sixth annual March Madness Haiku Challenge. He slayed the field with this simple, neat, gently political winning entry:

"The world is crumbling

Barack's ratings are tumbling

Still has time for picks"

OC, email me at [email protected] and when I match the IP address to your winning entry we'll figure out a prize to send you. Also, if you email me a photo of yourself I'll post it here. Find all our 2011 entries in the blogpost directly below this one. And thanks to all who played along! (Liked a couple of r.duke's haikus, especially the one referencing Precious, but, um, this is a family blog. Sort of).

Previous March Madness Haiku Challenge champions:

2010--I am Kazaam with: "There is no Cinderella / Only step-mothers / Somewhere, Wofford weeps." 2009--r.duke with: "Basketball baby! / Vitale gets priapism / this time every year." 2008--Tococane with: "The Padawan Haith / Will Do Battle With Darth Barnes / The Force Will Prevail." 2007 (tie)--Bruce with: "Slighted Syracuse / Sadness Surrounds Snow City / Orange Turned to blue" and David Tucker with: "The Five Gator Boys / Only Forty Minutes Left / History Awaits." 2006--Kurt from Boca with: "Stay Home and Watch Games / Or Check Scores from the Office / Forget Champ by June."

1aa1haikudick 1aa1haikujap MARCH MADNESS HAIKU CHALLENGE: ENTER NOW! This is the official entry point for our blog's sixth annual March Madness Haiku Challenge, a contest that endures despite a typically tepid response rooted in most Americans' general innate fear of Japanese short-form poetry. Meaning your odds aren't bad should you dare to delve. This year, you may enter as a way of honoring Japan and its tsunami victims, because nothing says "I sympathize" quite like a haiku referencing Dick Vitale. Contest rules? Simple:

1. Haikus must at least tangentially be about the NCAA Tournament (men's and/or women's) and must be in haiku form, or precisely 17 syllables. Classic 5-7-5 metrical phrasing is preferred but not required, and rhyme-or-no-rhyme is your choice, but only entries of 17 syllables will be considered.

2. Enter as many times as you like in the Comments section here, but only ONE entry per comment, please! Haikus must be entered as a comment in this blogpost to be considered. In the case of similar haikus, favored status goes to first posted.

There will be a prize to be announced for the best, most original or inventive haiku. Not sure what yet. One year it was a 264-page Official NCAA Men's Final Four Records Book.

Tip: Haikus specific to this season and this tournament preferred. Bonus tip: "Krzyzewski" is three syllables. Now. Ready ... set ... haiku!

1aa1stpatricksday HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!: Hey here's our latest holiday video just for you! This one is Heat-themed. That's me in the middle with the hat, then left to right, it's LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Pat O'Riley. Notice Pat is the only one not smiling. Uh Oh. Click HERE to enjoy the video.

WEALTHY NORMAN BRAMAN SPENDS $1 MILLION FOR SUCCESSFUL RECALL ELECTION TO EXACT REVENGE BECAUSE HE'S STILL SORE HE FAILED IN HIS PROTRACTED EFFORTS TO STOP THE NEW MARLINS STADIUM: Well, I guess that headline about says it all. (And in other political news, lucky Michelle Spence-Jones evidently has more lives than a cat).

1aa1crown HEAT KING-O-METER UPDATE: [Lousy Heat result vs Oklahoma City last night, but what a spin-dunk move by Dwyane Wade. Lordie!] New update on our unpopular King-o-Meter, tracking which of Heat's would-be Kings is having the better overall season. This is after 68 games, through last night's loss to OK City: LeBron James leading Dwyane Wade by 3,951.07 King points to 3,489.66 in our cumulative ranking factoring 10 statistical categories. However, Wade leads in games led, 35-33. (Regular updates whenever you see the crown symbol pictured).

ON YAZ, NFL LOCKOUT: Longtime or careful readers may know Carl Yastrzemski was a boyhood idol who still holds a place in my sentimental heart. Well, if Yaz matters to you too click on Lion In Winter for a wonderful new Dan Shaughnessy (Boston Globe) column on the man who gives few interviews. Also recommended: This column by Sally Jenkins (Washington Post), a particularly astute take on the NFL lockout.

CANES MEN WIN N.I.T. OPENER: The NIT means different things to different schools. For small or downtrodden programs it can mean celebration, a big step in the right direction. For major teams it can be, well, sort of a humbling consolation. Somewhere in between: the UM men coached by Frank Haith to a 19-14 mark. I'm never quite sure whether this is a small program that should be pleased by the NIT invite, or a big program that should be disappointed by anything but the NCAA Tournament. I do now that -- based on the many narrow losses this season, including in the quarterfinals of the ACC tourney -- Miami is not far from playing with the big boys. If only close counted. UM won its N.I.T opener over FAU. Which is fine. I just wish coaches in the "other" tournament (including Haith) would stop talking about the opportunity to play for a championship. The NCAAs decide the one that matters. 

DOLPHINS' OPEN LETTER TO FANS OVER LABOR STRIFE: Click here to read the "open letter" to fans from Mike Dee, the club's business-side CEO. The concept of the letter has been further devalued, not only by the say-nothingness contained, but by the idea something posted online now qualifies, apparently, as a letter. (By the way, I purposely have written/blogged little about the NFL work stoppage, because both sides are greedy, because the topic is boring, and because at this point the likelihood of any games being actually canceled is roughly equal to the probability of Charlie Sheen being named parent of the year).

1aa1carolines PAGEANT SCREWS LOCAL CONTESTANT. WAIT LET ME REPHRASE THAT: Hollywood resident Caroline Schwitzky (sometimes called Carolina), pictured, a former Miss Weston, was denied entry into the Miss Florida beauty pageant because her titles -- not counting the Miss Weston crown she was made to relinquish in scandal -- also include Miss Exxxotica 2008. People are outraged on her behalf! OK, well, most people aren't. But Charlie Sheen is.

NEW DEFINITION OF "All-ROUND WOMAN": The above item reminds me that somebody just told me porn star Asia Carerra is a member of Mensa and once played piano at Carnegie Hall.

1aa1golf "DEAR GREG...": Your blog's OK, but would be better if occasionally you would show a picture from the recent Reid & Fiorentino (Heat broadcasters) golf tournament. And make it a photo in which four delighted men who look as if they've never seen a putt before prepare to burst into ecstatic cheers as O.J. McDuffie rolls one toward the cup. Thank you."

BOOK CLUB: Answer: I am currently half way through, and thoroughly enjoying, Peter Straub's "A Dark Matter." Question: Who gives a crap what book you're reading?

SPELLYNG BEA: An all-time great "Setrec" (correction) appeared in the March 10 Miami Herald. In it, the newspaper corrected having misspelled a key word in its coverage of The Miami Herald Spelling Bee. I couldn't make that up, because this is a blog.

THE LIST: MARCH MADNESS UPSETS: First-round results since the current format (basically) took effect in 1985:

Seed Pairings     Higher Seed's Record

#1 vs. #16   104-0 (100%)

#2 vs. #15   100-4 (96.2)

#3 vs. #14   88-16 (84.6)

#4 vs. #13   82-22 (78.9)

#5 vs. #12   69-35 (66.4)

#6 vs. #11   71-33 (68.3)

#7 vs. #10   62-42 (59.6)

#8 vs. #9   48-56 (46.2)

Click back. Adding more stuff to this latest blogpost later...