Carl Hiaasen Has Left The Area

Stuck on the Palmetto dices up and serves Carl Hiaasen's appearance this morning on the CBS Early Show, where the novelist and Miami Herald columnist continued his never-ending "Dang, Florida Is Weird" tour. How many times you think Hiaasen has said a variation of, "Florida is a magnet for all kinds of characters. That's why there are so many writers here." Or, "Nothing makes sense in Florida. That's why we're all here."

Don't judge. He's made a mint capitalizing on the strangeness of the place, so you can hardly blame him for playing the same damn tune for 20-some-odd years. But the stuff about writers loving this place apparently doesn't extend to Miami. The most interesting factoid coming from the interview was the revelation that Hiaasen calls Vero Beach -- which was described by the Early Show hosts as "north of Miami" -- home. Yeah, it's north of Miami, but "south of Daytona" is a more common way to describe it. From downtown Miami, you're probably talking about a 2.5 hour drive, minimum.

So I guess Hiaasen dropped the Keys for Vero? Odd move aesthetically speaking, but at least it kept him far, far away from the newspaper he actually writes for, which is an a obvious sign of success. A reliable measure of clout for a columnist is the distance they keep from the town they ostensibly write about. If you get far enough away, just about everything you write is based on other newspaper reports and what you see on TV. It's called "pontificating" (less charitably known as "gasbagging") and it's a very good gig, since there's no reporting involved.

And now that Hiaasen has officially moved out of that large sprawling mass of development known as "South Florida" into that less-large sprawling mass of development known as "Central Florida" he's moved a notch up. But he's got a long way to go. The most successful columnist in the world is Leonard Pitts, Hiaasen's comrade at the Miami Herald. He lives in Maryland. Bravo, Lee! Bravo!

Super Bowl Pick: Da Bears

That's right, I'm going against Shula and taking the Bears (and the seven points). Why? Let's just say that Peyton Manning, if he's going to win, is going to have to play one of the best games of his life. You have to love the Bears defense, especially that front with the wily Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye -- that's a helluva pair of bookends, people. I think they're going to get penetration and I think they're going to hit Manning repeatedly. With Brian Urlacher, an all-timer, holding down the fort at middle linebacker and some speedy DBs, nothing is going to come easy for Manning.

He'll get some points though. And that's where Thomas Jones comes in. He's been running like a man possessed lately. And Indy has shown profound weakness at stopping the run this season (let's face it though, the Colts' D is schizophrenic, so you never know). I'm betting that Jones is going to chalk up 100 or more yards and Rex Grossman will play just badly enough to win (with a couple of fine passes -- the boy can throw), and Devin Hester, the raucous rookie, is going to pull a rabbit out of his jock.

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