Thank You,Thank You, for the Draft
We cannot win a single game.
Not even one, we're very lame.
We cannot win one here nor there.
We cannot win one ANYWHERE!
Could you, would you
On the road?
Would you, could you
If it snowed?
We could not, would not, on the road.
We would not, could not, if it snowed.
We could not win with Ronnie Brown.
We could not win when he went down.
We could not win with Trent the Green.
The Lemon breakthroughs are unseen.
Not by ten! Not by three!
Not wearing green! Not in OT!
We would not win against Petrino.
We would not win with Dan Marino.
We cannot win without deep threats.
We cannot beat the lowly Jets.
Not the Raiders, Texans, Pats, or Browns.
We played them all. They beat us down.
Not at home! Not away!
We cannot win a game we play!
We cannot win one in the rain.
Or in the dark. Or on a plane.
Or in the sun. Or on TV.
We're just so bad, so bad, you see!
You cannot win one,
So you say.
But keep on trying,
And you may.
We will try hard. You will see.
But winning's just not meant to be.
You are so bad. It is perverse.
You could run the table, in reverse.
The way you lose: no art, no craft.
For the draft.
(With thanks to Michael Mooney.)
Great Train Heist
Last time New Times visited the Hollywood Railroad Station Museum, it was just a sealed storage room in the Amtrak and Tri-Rail station next to the I-95 exit at Hollywood Boulevard. There was also a trailer, which project director Tony Campos used as an office, and there were grandiose rumors of vintage railroad cars being lovingly restored on a siding in Hialeah. That was a year and a half and about $400,000 in state grants ago.
Tailpipe revisited the place last week and found: sealed storage room, locked trailer, and, yes, rumors of railroad car renovation off-site.
He also found, after a few phone calls, state funders pitching a bitch.
The folks at the Florida Division of Historical Resources can't remember ever having to demand that a grant recipient return funds. But they're asking train aficionado Campos, who purports to be pals with the Bush clan, to give back $375,000 of the money they gave him. State officials say the would-be restored cars are still sitting in virtually the same disrepair they've been in for three years at a rail yard near Miami International Airport.
"There were some questionable expenditures of funds," says Dave Ferro, of the state agency. In October 2006, Ferro asked Campos, in a registered letter, to clear up the discrepancies. Campos allegedly went MIA. Now the agency has given an ultimatum: Fork over the funds or face legal action. The State Attorney's Office in Broward County is investigating Campos, who did not respond to numerous messages from Tailpipe.
This could have been a railroad extravaganza for Campos. He was in line to get more than $1 million from the state's Bureau of Historic Preservation via an entity he titled the "Hollywood Railroad Station Museum, Inc. D/B/A Dorothy Walker Bush Great Floridian 2000." According to the Department of State, the Great Floridian Program honors residents for their "significant contributions to the progress and welfare of this state." Dorothy Walker Bush, the late grandmother of President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, lived in Florida from 1965 until her death in 1992. And she was a rail enthusiast.
Acquaintances of Campos say he claimed to have known Grandma Bush and bragged about an alleged stint as her security guard in support of a Secret Service detail.
The north end of the station, where train travelers used to store their baggage, was slated to house the museum. A sign on Hollywood Boulevard alerts drivers that there's an "R.R. Museum" at the station (just as it has for about two years), but the windows are covered with large sheets of plywood. A peek under the rolling metal freight doors shows no evidence of the rail library or model railroad layout that Campos promised.
Campos still works out of the office trailer sometimes, one Amtrak employee said; he drops in occasionally to pick up mail. Creditors stop by occasionally too, the employee said. "If you're thinking of doing business with him — don't," the Amtrak employee warns.
Connie Greer, executive director of the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami, says Campos appeared to have latched onto the restoration game as his own gravy train. She says Campos signed on as a volunteer with her organization several years ago and won several state grants for restoration work on Gold Coast's crown jewel — the Ferdinand Magellan Presidential Rail Car, a Pullman car designed for President Franklin D. Roosevelt that's now a national historic landmark.
In all, Campos' grant-writing skills earned Gold Coast, which stands near Metro Zoo, $75,000 in state funds between 2001 and 2003. But Greer says she noticed that he was authorizing work that went beyond the scope of the grants.
Greer says she heard that Campos had secured a $250,000 award from the National Park Service for, again, the Ferdinand Magellan. Trouble is, Campos neglected to mention anything to Greer about that particular grant, which was awarded under the Save America's Treasures program. And all the correspondence for that award went to his office at the Hollywood Tri-Rail/Amtrak station.
"He was implying that he owned one of our cars and that it was going to go up there [to Hollywood] and getting all this money with our equipment," Greer says.
She says she has no idea what became of that money.
After that, Greer says, "I distanced myself from him every way I could."
Sometimes, hot tickets call for desperate measures. In Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, fans of Hannah Montana are shelling out as much as $3,000 per ticket to catch Hannah in concert. Locally, the going rate is more like $150 to $350 (judging by eBay) — hot enough to (gasp!) drive some people to church.
For anyone without a tween in the house, Hannah Montana is the lead character in a popular Disney TV show. She has to balance her secret life as a famous pop star with her everyday adventures as a normal girl. Hannah is played in real life by actress/singer Miley Cyrus, now pushing the ripe old age of 15.
"Hannah's a monster right now," says David Hughes, senior pastor at Church by the Glades in Coral Springs. To lure worshipers, the church, which averages 3,000 attendees, is giving away two pairs of donated tickets to Hannah's November 20 show, which sold out faster than a desperate parent could dial a phone number and pull out a credit card. The bait seems to be working. Hughes says the number of first-time visitors to his church tripled October 26 and 27, the first weekend of the ticket giveaway.
During the service, visitors were asked to fill out a card to get in the running for the prize. Hughes planned to ambush the lucky recipient on a weekday morning. The idea is to knock on the winner's door, "Publishers Clearing House-style," complete with a video camera and possibly a TV news crew. "We're going to go early — catch 'em in their jammies!" Hughes said.
In keeping with the theme, Hughes says, his worship band plays Hannah's tune "Nobody's Perfect" to go along with a series of teachings called "No Perfect People Allowed."
"We're definitely a rock 'n' roll church," Hughes says. "We've got a band, a light show..." The band plays covers of U2, Evanescence, and All-American Rejects songs.
"Church should be fun! We're sort of a nonreligious church," Hughes continues, explaining that he teaches a "Biblical common-sense Christianity" with an emphasis on developing a personal relationship with Jesus. "There's a minimum of judgment and condemnation and a lot of creativity."
Earlier this year, the Church by the Glades gave away $15 gift cards to the iTunes store; another week, it raffled off an iPhone. It's all an effort to keep the church culturally relevant, Hughes says. The 45-year-old pastor used to be an actor and a model (working mostly in television commercials), and he has an obvious flair for theatrics. "I'm the only pastor with a SAG [Screen Actors' Guild] card," he laughs. A few weeks ago, he says, to illustrate the Bible teaching that faith without works is dead, he had some parishioners dress up as pallbearers. They carried a casket — which Hughes jumped out of Lazarus-like.
Such extreme measures have been the topic of debate on sites like www.ChurchMarketingSucks.com. Hughes does not apologize for the gimmicks. "The point of view of the church has been absent from the cultural dialogue," he explains. "We're coming up with creative ways to begin the conversation. You can't have a conversation until you engage people."
Hughes says that he has received a few complaints from conservatives, who say his methods amount to bribery. "We never mean to offend anyone. But you know, Jesus was controversial. Some people loved him and were willing to die for him. Others feared him and wanted to kill him. That's an example I'm not afraid to follow."