Steve Otto Columns
Steve Otto: Beyoncé made a believer out of me
It's not easy in this post-45 rpm record era to keep up with the music trends, and somehow Beyoncé slipped by. I knew there was something called a Beyoncé out there, but it sounded like a mouthwash or something you clean the sink with. When the presidential inauguration was on TV and they said Beyoncé was going to do the national anthem, I braced myself for one more moment of agony from a pop singer trying to put a spin on a song already tough enough for most singers. When she nailed it, I couldn't believe it. Then, when it slipped out the next day she had lip-synced the anthem, I figured she must have used someone else's voice. But she stepped up the other day in front of the Super Bowl media and did it all over again in an in-your-face rendition that had to humble all of the doubters, including me.Other than the annual grading of the TV commercials, her rendition tonight has got to be the most intriguing thing going, although I suppose there also will be a football game. In other sports news, in what is likely to be the big event of the year around here, it was announced today (in fact right here and now) that the 25th Annual Beepball Game between the celebrity all-stars and the Lighthouse for the Blind will be on May 4. The big news is that the game — in which you have to hit a beeping ball while blindfolded — will be moved from its usual location at the Yankees' practice field to Steinbrenner Field. That's right, the Big House. As manager and coach for the 1-23 celebrity all-stars, I'm promising you right now we will field a squad that will not only sparkle with celebrities (if I can get their phone numbers) but post a solid win on the field. Save the date. In the "Tie it with the Hangman's Knot" department, the governor last week, along with Enterprise Florida, announced a new business brand for the state. It's boring. It's insipid. It is going to cost millions to promote. And only hours after it was announced, it started taking heat for being sexist. The proposed new slogan is "Florida is the perfect climate for business." That's not bad. It has all the charisma of a company mission statement. But the logo is the word "Florida" in green letters, except for the "i," which is orange and in the shape of a necktie. Oh, the emails are already rolling in. A tie, of course, is pure sexist pig. I give this one a shelf life of maybe next week. For all the talk about accountability andall the pontificating about Florida schools, we took yet one more step in the wrong direction this week. It happened in, of all places, the Florida Supreme Court, where a unanimous ruling said that it is the Florida Legislature, not the university system's Board of Governors, that has the power to set tuition rates and fees at public universities. The ruling was a partial defeat for former Gov. Bob Graham, who led a petition drive after the Legislature abolished the old Board of Regents. He had hoped to take at least a little of the politics out of higher education in Florida. Remember last year's battle to save the University of South Florida and other schools at the expense of a legislator's heavy-handed move to create his own university? If there was any good in the decision, it was the comment that the Legislature at least cannot dictate academic policies … hopefully.