Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida, Europe and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura.
Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hoosiers! And the day after my beloved IU Hoosiers win their first Big Ten regular season basketball championship in 20 years, we speak now of the other beloved "Hoosiers." New York Times film critic A.O. Scott on what makes "Hoosiers" not just a great sports film, but a great film for the ages

Opening scene and credits of MGM's 1986 "Hoosiers," with Jerry Goldsmith's iconic Oscar-nominated score. Uploaded June 1, 2012. http://youtu.be/tUqhPsZh93Y

NYTimes video: N.Y. Times film critic A. O. Scott reviews the beloved 1986 MGM film "Hoosiers" about Indiana high school basketball -and personal redemption- set in 1951, and why it still remains a film for the ages. Uploaded March 3, 2009. http://youtu.be/AzgOZ0xHCEA

And on the day after my IU Hoosiers win the Big Ten basketball regular season championship for the first time in 20 years, a game they appeared certain to lose to Michigan in Ann Arbor before coming back in the final seconds, we speak of the other beloved "Hoosiers."

In 1986, I was living in Evanston, Illinois, the suburban home of IU Big ten rival Northwestern Universitylocated on the shores of Lake Michigan, a town full of bright and fully-engaged professional, academic and management types just north of Chicago, and a world separate and apart from the life I had known and led in North Miami Beach and in Bloomington.

Then as now I was a big sports fan and avid movie-goer, a lover of not only classic films, but the worlds of advertising, journalism, American and European history and politics.
And like many of you reading this today, a sucker for smart and knowing well-made films about comebacks and teamwork and overcoming adversity against all odds, including those of self-sabotage, as was the case with Dennis Hooper's character in the film, where he played former basketball star-turned-alcoholic father and assistant coach "Shooter" Flatch

In short, I was the perfect demographic for the MGM film that came out that year loaded with a cinematic all-star lineup and a narrative that was straight out of both Indiana and Hollywood, loosely based on a story I'd known for years since leaving South Florida in the rear-view mirror for the Cream and Crimson of the beautiful rolling hills of southern Indiana and Indiana University in Bloomington, late in the summer of the year that the film 'Breaking Away" had been released to popular and critical acclaim.

Because of who I knew and what my interests and passions were, I'd been hearing and reading about the film from the very beginning, even before it was ever shot, from friends in Los Angeles involved in the entertainment industry and thru my avid and copious reading of the film industry trades I usually bought most weeks, like Variety.

From the crucial initial choices made in on-screen casting as well as those behind-the-screen with respect to the writer, director and even the film's composer, I knew that it could be a very special film indeed if all the stars aligned, and yet you never know how these things will go, despite the talented team you assemble.

So, it was with all of that history and knowledge very much front and center in my mind that I found myself one cold night in Evanston literally leaning against a wall while in line outside of a movie theater, forced by timing to listen to a bunch of jaded and self-indulgent NU grad students blabbing about the film and story in ways that bore absolutely no resemblance to what the reality was or what was soon to come.

As ridiculous as it sounds now, they even joked about leaving after an hour because how could this story about Indiana high school basketball possibly turn out to be anything worthwhile, even with Gene Hackman.
Yes, they really said that.

But you know what I did?
I kept quiet.
I kept my mouth shut and refused to play the Marshall McLuhan card as Woody Allen had does in his Oscar-winning Annie Hall.
You know what scene I mean.

I found myself there at that point in time because I'd had the good sense and foresight many months before to call in some IOU's from folks I knew around the Chicago area who were very much, yes, "in the "Loop" in the Loop.
The sort of people who know things before the masses and have unusual access because of who they are or what they do.
Since I wasn't afraid to reciprocate, I was also never afraid to ask for favors when it came to something important, as long as it was legal and above board.

I told them, these media and business mavens, that I wanted to be in the audience for the sneak preview of "Hoosiers " weeks before the film actually played in Chicagoland, and if possible, somewhere near Evanston.

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That's how I came to be standing in line with a special pass from a film-related concern to attend a special sneak preview of "Hoosiers" at a then-extant movie theater on Central Avenue, located across the street from the Wildcats' athletic facilitiess, the-then Dyche Stadium and Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Hickory High head coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) gives his underdog Huskers some pregame reminders and encouragement just moments before the start of their championship game against South Bend Central. Preacher Purl (Michael Sassone)  delivers a message that seems tailor-made for the upset-minded team. Uploaded February 13, 2011. http://youtu.be/3gKbrj2nZis
"And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen."
- Preacher Purl encouraging the underdog Hickory High basketball team before the state title game against heavily-favored South Bend Central in 1986's Hoosiers 

The rest as they say is history.

I've seen this film well over 25 times from beginning-to-end, less than some, but surely more than most.
Though that's still less than I've seen "Breaking Away," a film that I know inside and out like I know the smiles of my three adorable nieces in any large crowd.

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Aventura.

If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect. But seldom if ever see...

This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, north of Aventura and south of Hollywood and right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and well-educated populace, yet its citizens have almost become numb to HB City Hall's frequent outrages and screw-ups, the result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road for others to solve in the future.

I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog of my own that could try to do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change in public policy and goivernment engagement. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY of Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials, elected and otherwise. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru shining some well-needed public scrutiny on the issue or pol, or requires a higher degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of the incompetency, cronyism or negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)
Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) wearing the teal-colored Miami Dolphins cap I gave her in January 2013 (in Stockholm) while recording her 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds" at Sandkvie Studios in Visby, Gotland, Sweden. Also pictured here are sound engineer and co-producer Linus Larsson and musician/DJ/co-producer Mats Jönsson, April 12, 2013.Click the photo to see her videos, read my blog posts and Tweets about her and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.