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Thursday June 1, 2006

The Coconut Guys: it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a more quintessentially Miami story. Oh, and I so want a coconut for a quarter right now. You have no idea.

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Wednesday May 31, 2006

Salzinger at ArtCenter

stereoview image with breast masturbation toy

Holy crap: my pal Samantha Salzinger just got written up in New Times by Carlos Suarez De Jesus for the show at ACSF her work is in:

Through the other viewer one gazes upon an alpine clearing where a rubber replica of a porn star’s breasts bursts from a patch of daisies and heaves toward the clouds. One is immediately struck by these works’ shared sensibility with glory holes found in seedy XXX book shops that allow perverts to drop in on the action in coin-operated film booths.

Good job. Samantha worked super hard on these and she deserves to get some credit. If you’re extra slick, you might be able to can stare at the above images, cross your eyes, and get a taste of the 3d effect (though you need to check them out in person to see how amazing they really look).

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A nice article in the New York Times on the new Miami architecture. I still say that Koolhaas woulda been better then Pelli, but it’s all good. (via Miami Transit)

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Still think it's an adjustment?

sunset

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we’re in for some affordable housing in the MIA. The Herald would have us believe that housing prices are basically stable. Robert is more thoughtful, but basically sings the same song: that housing costs may not continue to rise as they have, but that we’re looking, at worst, at a correction.

Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on the actual numbers. We have inventory increasing. We have prices falling. We have the rate at which they’re falling increasing. What more do you want? How about Miami’s cost of living, now 15.5% over the national average? How about the insurance rates, which as any homeowner knows have shot up over the last 18 months, but are due for more major increases? How about “Forbes calling Miami one of the country’s foreclosure hotspots? And don’t get me started on the condo glut. When those 2-bedroom suites on Biscayne are going for $175K, you think it’s not going to spill over onto houses? Break me a give. Read this for a taste of what’s in our immediate future.

Update: John brings up a good point; this discussion is slightly impoverished without a reference to Steve’s analysis of the relationship between housing costs and wages.

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Tuesday May 30, 2006

RIP stupid flyover

63 st flyover w/ truck knocked flat on its ass
Image: City Debate

For those who haven’t had a personal relationship with the concrete slab at 63rd street on the Beach, it might seem astounding how much sentiment has been shed over its impending destruction. The 63rd Street Flyover is a menace: it’s just about the width of a regular lane, with no shoulders whatsoever. Driving it is (was?) always a hair-raising experience, followed by a sense of accomplishment upon each successful traversal. My dad, ever the daredevil, liked to joke (?) about taking it a little bit faster each and every time. Driving underneath it is no better: two lanes are split by the boatlike concrete median which houses a thick supporting column. The underside of the flyover itself is missing chunks where too tall box trucks slammed right into it.

So I feel for the North Beach residents who are so upset to see it go. But I don’t think traffic concerns are the reason for their consternation. I think the love/hate relationship with this thing, of which I’ve only had a taste, is the issue. How could someone live with something this insane for so long (the flyover dates back to the 1950’s) and not have an emotional relationship with it? Then FDOT comes along and just decides we’re better off without it? Oh, the bittersweet taste of progress!

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Sunday May 28, 2006

freedom of the seas

I’m getting a little sick of all the damned freaking fuss about the Freedom of the Seas. It’s a stupid, ugly boat (with a stupid name), and as you can see from my picture, it’s a little bigger then the one next to it. Geez.

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It never fails. I’ve got some news for you, guy: they’re not Latino. Also, Ed McMahon called to say, “you may already be a racist!” Personally, I’ve lived on South Beach for five years, and I’ve never noticed Memorial Day weekend as anything more then a bunch of people hanging out and partying.

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washington ave

Can we chill with all the self-congratulations? All you guys did was pave the streets. (Yes, there’s a hummer limo in my picture. Sorry.)

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Yep: a guy threw his two sons off a 15th floor balcony and then jumped after them. All I can say think of is that this shows how delicate a ballance our sense of reality is. You want to be shocked? Be shocked shit like this doesn’t happen 20 times a day. Rick says that the chandelier in the room under the roof they fell to was shattered by the impact.

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Haitians stand to benefit from bill. That is, Haitians, like the woman who “forged” a passport to get here, would have a chance to stay if the Senate version of the immigration bill passes. The probability of which seems to be dwindling by the hour: house Republicans are adamant about not including a “path to citizenship” in the bill, oblivious to the fact that we’re essentially at full employment, and illegal immigrants are pretty much an indispensable part of our economy.

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Saturday May 27, 2006

white WEAR party flier

It’s nice to see that these promoters learned didn’t learn shit from last year’s fiasco about throwing a ‘White Party’ on Memorial Day weekend. To wit: they inserted the word ‘wear’ between ‘White’ and ‘Party.’ Nice job.

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Friday May 26, 2006

Jesse Jackson (“not affiliated with the Rev. of the same name”) will be on Ed Bell’s show this afternoon.

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Fairchild (reprise)

audreyIII

I happened to be back down in Fairchild again this week. The Chihuly made a little more of an impression this time, but Audrey III stole the show. Audrey is a Amorphophallus titanum, a bizarre flowering plant of which most lives underground. Once a year (at the most, sometimes once a decade), it produces a gigantic flower, which grows practically overnight and lasts just a few days (it then produces a single gigantic leaf). You can see that when we were there, the flower was already wilting, and the “corpse” smell was gone. It’s fun, because these plants are obviously extremely rare, and Fairchild has one of the really spectacular ones: it grew to over 7 feet: the same height as Shaq!

Here is a picture of it in full bloom, taken on May 21 (my picture is from the 23rd), and Here is a link to Fairchild’s Audry blog. Oh, and here is a link to my flickr set from the visit, and though it’s mostly pictures of signs, I do have a nice one of a molting lizard.

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Wednesday May 24, 2006

oh shit, Tom's ATM is gone!

Tom misses his ATM. But look at the gorgeous photo he made!

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Henry e-mailed the Herald about the new blogs. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a response.

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Nice: Channel 10 tested the ice at a number of local restaurants just to see if it had, say, fecal material on it. Well, whadya know, they came up positive in quite a number of cases. Click the link for a list of places you may want to avoid, and wonder about the places they didn’t test (or the guy who scooped some ice after sloppy wiping right after Channel 10 left). Personally, I don’t get too worried about stuff like this, but I’m heartened to see Jerry’s on the list of non-fecal bacteria list.

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A nice flash presentation on the anatomy of a hurricane.

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What's up with the Merrick statue?

statue of merrick
Image: Miami Transit

Here’s the new statue of George Merrick, the crafty bastard who created Coral Gables. Doesn’t something seem a little funny about it? I’m comparing the statue with the photo of Merrick here, and it strikes me as a bit cartoonish and almost, well, squat. Is it the photo? Tere’s photo looks a little different (although some of her commenters thought it looked funny). Hmm . . . maybe it’s best enjoyed in person.

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Keep an eye on Target

$6

A friend told me that she’d had problems on two recent occasions where Target posted sale prices that didn’t ring on the register, and when she told the manager about it, they gave her shit. So, when my garbage bags happened to be on sale, I snapped a picture of the price tag just for fun. I forgot all about it by the time I got to the register, but when I checked my receipt on the way out, sure enough: they rang up at $6.49! Whatever: there was a long line at customer service.

Congrats, Target – you got my fifty cents. But I’m pretty sour about the whole thing. I’m keeping an eye on you.

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Tuesday May 23, 2006

The City of Miami beach is soliciting designs for new manhole covers. Anyone who lives in Miami Dade county can submit a design, due July 5. The city’s Art in Public Places Committee will review the designs, and the city Commission will approve the final selection. Fun?

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The City of Miami Shores Springs is sending out a flier which, among other Bird-Flu releated stuff, threatens a $50 fine for feeding “wild” birds.

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You know, and I was just about to start feeling bad for Winn-Dixie. First the bankruptcy and all the closed stores, then the unfortunate needle incident. But maybe they’ve had it coming: turns out the WD is rolling with lobster poachers. Tsk, tsk!

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¡MAYDAY!

Oh, boy, here’s something everybody already knows about: local hip-hop duo ¡Mayday! teamed up with the amazing Cee-Lo Green and DJ Craze for the song Groundhog Day. The video, shot in Miami (it doesn’t represent quite to the extent of the Rick Ross video, but it’s pretty damned good), got uploaded to YouTube a week ago, and has become the most popular video there of all time. But nevermind the stats: the video is a funny tribute to Miami visuals (shot on Washington ave and around downtown, including shots on the Metromover), the song is a tribute to (I think) working in an office all day and doing coke all night (and samples a line about TPS reports from Office Space), and the beat is old-school and super-mellow. What’s not to like? (via R: 1, 2)

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The oceans between Miami and Bimini are home to all sorts of stuff, including some major deep-sea reefs, home to many completely unknown creatures. Over the next week, a team will be exploring some of those reefs. “A primary goal of the upcoming expedition . . . will be to search for marine organisms that produce chemical compounds with the potential to treat human diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.”

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Monday May 22, 2006

Ice skating

iceskating

Ice skating seems like a natural fit for the hot, muggy months in Miami. Yet the only ice skating rink I knew about (up by FIU North) was torn down years ago. For the last few months I’ve been on a quest for ice skating, and it turns out it was under my nose the whole time: a friend pointed out that the Scott Rakow ice rink has public skate on Tuesdays and Saturdays, 8 – 10 pm (plus teen night on Fridays).

We stopped by last week (it was on Tuesday, and it was rainy, probably hence the relative emptiness of the place), and it was great. The serious skaters show up early and zip around, doing spins and jumps and and skating backwards (which I fell on my ass trying to replicate), along with a few couples. There was also a family with a few cool kids. I’m sure it’s kind of a crazy social scene on the weekends; the Tuesday thing is probably better for novices and serious skaters. Either way, though: FUN. $9 for adults, $6 for kids, $3 for Miami Beach residents(!), which includes skate rental. Here’s a Mapquest link, otherwise you’ll never find it.

And yes, there’s also the Kendall Ice Arena.

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Also, Bob Norman looks into the commenting system at herald.com. Very interesting, though I don’t agree that the Herald is legally responsible for readers’ online comments: see Section 230 protections.

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Larry Lebowitz calls bullshit on the recent survey that declared Miami #1 in road rage and on Miami-Dade Transit’s Commuter Challenge. Even he has to admit, though, that the “survey numbers probably reflect a greater truth.”

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You heard the one where Miami is paying $2 million to ‘exercise’ a train because of construction delays at MIA? Well, it gets better: turns out the terminal project is now a full $500 million over budget and the Herald is calling for a re-thinking of the whole thing.

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Saturday May 20, 2006

stingray

Frances Nash goes diving. Making underwater photography look easy, obvious, and cheap!

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Friday May 19, 2006

Nostalgia weekend

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There’s been so much grumbling about the raise that county commissioners are asking for that I’ve been waiting for someone to come up with a clear and persuasive argument for the raise. Michael Lewis to the rescue.

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Thursday May 18, 2006

wynwood by dig

This picture is from this post at Dig. Dig is the more graphically-oriented partner-blog to tNFH. He takes these great nighttime, low-angled, slightly cattywhompus pictures of streets and buildings, often focused on an empty middleground. For the full effect, click the images on the blog and say “view image.”

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Oh boy, everybody’s coming down on Johnny Winton: Jim DeFede, the police, and even John/Miamista. That’s gotta hurt.

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KH of tNFH reviews the Anna Maria Maiolino show at MAC for Miami Sunpost. I wasn’t crazy about the show myself, but I intend to see it again.

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How about some tits and ass before scoring? Great, let's eat at Mangoes.

Manola BBB hit it out of the park with this one. I guess a few weeks traveling around Spain is a good thing…

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That’s right – buy it bitch. White Dade (see here for a dubious explanation of the name) brings this rant, which starts out as a guide to partying smart, and devolves rapidly into a misogynistic tirade. Oh, well. It’s difficult to get too upset with a guy who lists “Bob Seger, Bruce Springsten, John Mellencamp, Bon Jovi, Poison, Motley Crue” at the top of his “favorite music” list.

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Wednesday May 17, 2006

Heat playoffs tickets presale passwords. I don’t care about the Heat; in fact, I have no idea what this is all about. Might be interesting for the b-ball fans, tho.

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Miami 21 meeting

meeting @ culmer

Went to a Miami21 meeting yesterday. Miami 21 is a great big master plan the city’s working on with Duany Plater-Zyberk and Company, and they recently unveiled a draft of the document (actually, the “document”: is a Powerpoint presentation, so I’m not sure it technically counts as a “draft”); this meeting was one of three intended to be an opportunity for citizen feedback. In the first hour, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk ran through the Powerpoint. A lot of her presentation was in city planning lingo and acronyms (sample slide: “Calculation of NFA based on GLA”), and I hadn’t really done my homework.

Still, the plan is commendable: it re-does the current zoning codes to create a logical distribution of density, human-scaled development, pedestrian-friendly streets, agreeable public spaces, and the like. If Miami were being built from scratch according to a plan like this (don’t laugh: see New Songdo), everything would be great. Coming, as it does, at the tail end of a building boom, well . . . we’ll see – it’s still a worthwhile effort, I guess.

The second half of the meeting (which ran quite precisely 5:45 – 7:45 pm) was for citizen comments and questions, which ran more or less as you would expect: a few property owners complaining that the changes would reduce their property’s value, a few passionate citizens with problems specific to their neighborhoods, and general grumbling that the process isn’t allowing enough time for citizen input. With regard to the latter, they have a point – the plan has only been on the web a couple of days, and there were a number of hands still up when the meeting ended. Ms. Plater-Zyberk handled this part of the meeting very well, answering the questions as best as possible, promising, as appropriate, to revisit each of the specific issues raised, and assuring everyone that, while the whole process was being rushed, they’d take the time to work through everyone’s concerns and stretch the schedule if necessary.

More meetings follow for Little Haiti, Upper Eastside, Wynwood, and Edgewater over the next couple of days (the plan is divided up into four quadrants, and all this is really just referencing the first of them).

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The blogacious hipster politics

new times spread out
I’m writing this drunk, and it’s about silly shit, and life is short, and you’re probably better off skipping this post. Count yourself warned.

Item #1 is this ignore post, wherein our heros (a) make fun of this event for being sponsored by Toyota (“where does it end?” I don’t know, but it ended a long-ass time ago if you’re going to eschew anything with corporate sponsorship, guys. Also, and I really really do love ignore, but you guys using “hipster cunt” as a put-down is kind of like a bulldozer calling a forklift yellow, isn’t it?) and (b) totally go off on Crispin Porter + Bogusky, because they found out that someone at the company left an ignore-insulting comment on Miamity (Kyle is pals with ignore, so he prob. gave them the IP). Also note this, and also that said comment was left under the name “newtimez,” which brings us to . . .

Item #2 So the New Times’ best of issue named a TV station’s web site Best Local Website, which is great, except that (#1: the Associated Press style guide demands that “Web site” is two words, and #2:) the logic that got you to that selection, taken to its obvious logical conclusion, leads you to name herald.com the “Best local Website” every year henceforth. Still no big problem, except that they then say something like “the loozers in Bloward can have a ‘best blog’ category, but we in daD3z know that blogz are, like, sooo 2001; we ain’t even w’dat, yo” (check the link above, in case I’m mis-remembering their quote a little (and also, btw, a belated congrats to Rick, who got the best blog nod in da BPB)), with which I just have the slightest of problems. Blogs, to me, are a format, not so much a cultural entity in and of themselves. In other words, a particular blog can be good or bad, cool or uncool, but to call blogs in general uncool is equivalent to someone in the 1920’s saying that the talkies are a silly fad, or (as I put it here) someone in 1460 saying that books are “so 1455.”

OK, so the New Times said something dumb. Appropriately, tNFH makes fun of them for it, as does Franklin (in tNFH’s comments), as does Kyle, and as I would like to . . .

The problem is that NT is supposed to be a “fun” publication, and you can’t possibly be a “fun” weekly without shooting from the hip, and without saying some stupid shit from time to time. The problem is compounded in the case of the “Best of” issue, wherein the staff is required to make up all this shit in all these specific categories, and make it make sense, and be fun to read, and not be the same thing year after year, and, well, who am I to get upset if all those requirements get in the way of not saying stupid shit from time to time. Not to mention the fact, and let’s face it, that that everyone knows what the best blog in MIA is (and let’s face it: the only reason you’ve read this far was to see if I was going to go there, and now you know).

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Tuesday May 16, 2006

Coconut Grove Playhouse director resigns

Unbelievable. Arnold Mittelman, artistic director of the Coconut Grove Playhouse resigned with an e-mail that accuses the board of treating him bad. Note that part of the reason for the mess is he took out an unauthorized $125,000 loan to cover salaries. Including his own. Which, by the way, just happens to be $220,000!

It sounds to me like his resignation will be helping the Playhouse out of its troubles in at least two distinct ways. Assuming, of course, that the place still has a chance. My guess is that only some government intervention can save the day at this point (and why not; a CGP bailout would be a lot less expensive then even just the most recent MPAC bailout).

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Say it ain’t so! It’s now official that Miami really does have the rudest drivers in the nation. Never fear though, Miamians: you can learn to drive.

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Christina Ricci's in town

Christina Ricci

This is maybe about the last thing you’d ever see here, but I have to make an exception: Christina Ricci’s in town(!), and she’s hanging out at Setai, reading Sybil. Hotness.

ps dear Herald, those funny underlined words are called hyperlinks. Look into it.

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Rick lays into the Cubans. Well, not exactly – he’s laying into a particular no-immigration-except-for-us mentality.

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The thing about the alligators

sign: We Sell Smoked Alligator Original or Hot
Image by Frances Nash

Now don’t get any ideas – this isn’t going to be one of those we’ve been eating them for decades, it’s a wonder they haven’t started eating us sooner type of things. But what’s really going on with all these alligator attacks? Look. Gators have brains the size of a pea. They’re running on some ancient-ass instinctual behavior, and they’re designed to live in the swamp, not in a lake by some dumb UDB-pushing cookie-cutter development (actually, human beings aren’t designed to live like that, either, but I don’t want to digress). What’s more, they’re cold blooded, kind of like a solar panel – the warmer it is, the more energy they have to move around, and the more they have to eat.

But of course the alligators aren’t the problem – the problem is people. Remember the guy from Grizzly Man? He thought he was going to be friends with bears, and ended up getting his brain snacked on by a grizzly while his girlfriend watched. Well, that’s the same thing that’s happening for our whole species with the alligators. The solution is simple: stay the hell away from the gators, and especially don’t feed them. (When gators get used to being around people (and esp. if they associate us with food), the possibility of taking a bite out of our ass becomes to look pretty attractive to a hungry one.)

The problem with this approach is that everyone has to do it for it to work. Good luck there. Also, all the alligators that have already gotten used to people are not going to un-learn shit. So my alternate suggestion is to watch your ass. Forget the zig-zag running thing – it’s a myth (alligators don’t chase people). The key is to just stay the hell away from them. If you’re attacked, pound the crap out of their snout and eyes. Yikes. All that and more in this fun video:

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Monday May 15, 2006

One of these days I’m going to write up a whole big thing about how Miami Art Guide sucks so so bad. Meanwhile, check this out – they’re apparently biting content from tNFH. Nice work, guys.

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One of those idiotic unclaimed luggage auctions is happening on Saturday. You pay $3 to get in, and bid on suitcases, contents unseen. You either luck out with someone’s laptop, or (more likely) you get someone’s dirty old clothes. Strictly for voyours.

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Heavy weather today. I heard reports of hail, and although I didn’t see it, here on the Beach I saw quite a few big branches down, and the power is out around Lincoln and Alton. Update: 30,000 people lost power, damage to the Opa-locka airport. Update: Dang – same thing in north Dade. Sorry, but the rainy season is fun. Update: The Herald gets all dramatic about it (replete with an 11:31 pm post time, and talking about “tomorrow” like it was “today” . . .).

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Critical flickr

w

In another life, I decided to do a photoblog, and had all the wealth and fame that comes with it, all with a minimum effort. Oh, well. In the interest of at least some approximation of that, I’ve begun to upload a few of my snapshots to flickr. Think of it as a more visual, less narrative side of CM. And do whatever else you’re supposed to do on flickr – tag, comment, etc.

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The beginning of I-95

A wierdly hypnotic video of two guys rolling from the grove to downtown.

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Saturday May 13, 2006

KH and Jose have art-things to do tonight.

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Thursday May 11, 2006

It would be just another in a long series of articles on Miami Performing Arts Center’s overbudgetness, but this one is allowing comments, and they’re flying.

A quote from the article (attributed to George Burgess): “Due to several unforeseen events, the project’s schedule sustained significant slippage in the last half of 2005 to place the completion date of Aug. 4, 2006 in jeopardy if aggressive action had not been taken.” And my favorite: ”[Bill] Johnson said the exact amount of extra money won’t be known until the building is finished and all subcontractors’ claims are handled.”

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The New Times’ Best of Miami is out.

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Kon Chau

Kon Chau Restaurant

My friends and I have been to China, and we can confirm that what you’ve heard about American Chinese restaurants is almost always true: the food they serve — indeed, the whole dining experience — is very different from the real thing. However, we (really them; I sort of just tag along) have discovered a couple of places that come close; today, a dim sum place (next to Lucky’s, actually) called Kon Chau. The menu is a single piece of paper with check boxes; you generally order about two items per person and everyone shares the whole lot. Part of the fun is that it’s difficult to know exactly what you’re getting from the english translations on the menu, which include “Pan fried turnip cake,” “Pork paste roll with oyster sauce,” and of course “Fish porridge.”

Kon Chau Restaurant

Four of us ate a veritable feast (which included three Tsing Tao’s) for something around $35. We had some duck soup, some fried dough shrimp thing or other, the aforementioned turnip cake (which is actually delicious), a plethora of various steamed dumplings, and a few other things, acompanied by wonderful green tea. We skipped the beef organ meat items (though I’m assured many of them are wonderful, too).

It may sound like a place for the gastronomically adventurous1, but considering that not eating one or two ordered items is no big deal, it really isn’t. Highly recommended.

Kon Chau Restaurant
8376 S.W. 40 St.
Miami, FL 33155
(305) 553-7799

[1] Yeah, I said it: gastronomically adventurous.

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Wednesday May 10, 2006

Let’s hear it for Miami moms blogging!

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An article that is nominally a criticism of the forthcoming Miami Vice movie turns out to be a celebration of the original series.

The dark and cynical “Miami Vice” blew open Reagan-Bush/Iran-Contra era America, and carved open the hypocrisy of the “war on drugs.” The show dared expose US government corruption, the CIA, covert operations, CIA involvement in narco-trafficking, and US imperialism. It dared show how rank and file cops, drug agents and whistleblowers who tried to do their jobs in earnest were manipulated, obstructed and betrayed by their own government.

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Tuesday May 9, 2006

Holy crap: on Metroblogging, Bianca writes the ode to Mondays at Churchill’s that I wish I’d written. “Churchill’s…it’s like my dirty living room. I can kick my feet up, sit on the tables, but never do I sit on the toilet seats.” Let’s have more shit like this out of Metroblogging!

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Speaking of Rick, he’s all exited because M****st (I will not link them in a house. I will not link them with a mouse. I will not link them here or there. I will not link them anywhere!!) linked to MB411. Whatever. And for the record, I have been to an auto show. It was when I was 14. They had a mock up of the A-Team van, with a mounted machine gun. It was great.

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What's up with the Daily Pulp?

pulp

Our story so far: Bob Norman launched the original Daily Pulp back in January, with a pretty decent splash. Word spread, and by March, the New Times brass took interest, and made him move it to their own domain. So far, so good. Then, on May 3, after months of posting every single weekday, the blog goes dark. Rick, along with most of the journalists in SoFla (who read the blog with some combination of delight and dread) are like, “wtf??” Then, on May 9th (yesterday, to those of you who are following along), a post appears on the Pulp from Tony Ortega, New Times editor, which cryptically begins “Bob’s busy with an investigation, so I thought I’d fill in . . .”

So, yeah, wtf? Well, rumour has it that it’s all about a beef between Bob and the New Times brass. A post (presumably the one intended for May 3) was vetoed by NT Lawyers, resulting in what must have been one of those legendary newsroom arguments. Lawyers and editors tend to win those fights, though, and the post never saw the light of day. So Bob goes off and writes another post, describing the whole incident (and probably using some choice words), and now they won’t let him put that post up, either. Now thoroughly pissed off, Bob stops writing the Pulp. He’s either sick of the whole damned thing, or it’s some sort of a stand-off.

If true, it’s disappointing but not unforeseeable. The New Times plays all punk-rock, but it’s a big national corporation, so it needs its ass covered. Maybe it’s impossible to do a blog like the Pulp under that kind of environment? In any case, if anyone has any other info on the situation, let’s hear it.

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Comments on herald.com!

Be still my heart: this article in the Herald (on the debate over rock mining) allows comments!! Has anyone ever seen this before? I wonder if this is an experiment, or the beginning of a new policy of some sort? In any case, it’s long overdue.

Nice system, too: there’s a comment rating system, a separate RSS feed (the herald has the RSS thing down), and some transparent moderation going on: “Messages 89.6 through 89.10 were deleted.” Nice job, Herald!

Update: Another and another.

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Miami foodie earns its pay: BYOB restaurants in the Miami area. If anyone knows of any others add them in their comments section, and let’s get a comprehensive list going. BYOB is the best idea EVAR.

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Some cranky guy does his own take on ‘you can learn to drive’. I remember someone suggesting a ‘throat-clearing’ sound car horn . . .

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Monday May 8, 2006

Jim DeFede on the boot camp beating death. He’s never been more right: “the special prosecutor in the case needs to move forward in pressing criminal charges against not only the guards who were present and participated in this heinous act, but the nurse, who stood by and watched as a young child was killed.”

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Tere reviews Randazzo’s Little Italy, and leaves room for a deliciously bizarre digression: “although I side with the wife in the personal divorce matter, I side with Randazzo as far as the restaurant goes – it’s successful, unique to the area, and offers real damn good food. And on Giralda Avenue – where restaurants go to die – that’s a pretty valuable thing.”

Girl can write. Somebody get her an SD400 and she’ll be dangerous.

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”[A]t least two of the workers were wearing safety harnesses, but he didn’t know whether they were fastened to the building or the framework.”

Considering they ended up in a pool of quick-drying concrete 16 floors below, I’d say it’s pretty clear whether they were fastened. Update: Nevermind. The more I hear about this accident, the more confused I get about how it exactly happened.

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Sunday coming is Mothers’ Day, and the Y-ME Breast Cancer Organization is going to have a “walk to empower” in the Grove. Over 40,000 participants are expected, and if you want to be involved, you probably need to start now. (via CGGV)

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Sunday May 7, 2006

Ecko's graffiti lawsuit

ecko's house - computer rendering

It seems that there’s a Miami Beach law that bans anything that looks like graffiti, even if it exists with the property owner’s consent. Marc Ecko is challenging the law. The image above is a computer rendering of the piece his business partner wants to put on his house on Pine Tree Drive.

Coral Gables famously requires color samples before issuing permits to allow painting a house (and you can paint your fence any color you like, so long as it is green), but a law prohibiting “graffiti” is particularly vague. Appropriately, Ecko has won similar lawsuits in other cities.

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Cuban connection

A follow-up to the Herald blogging post is really not necessary, since most of the blogs, while based in Miami, are not really about Miami. (There are, by the way, two new ones.)

Oscar Corral’s Cuban Connection is interesting sometimes. He recently posted about breaking up his blogroll into pro-Castro and anti-Castro, which just comes across as weird: the Herald’s blog on Cuban issues is “neutral” about whether Castro is good or bad?! To top that off, he refers to the “irreverence” of some of the anti-Castro blogs. Robert actually had a pretty good-natured response to that comment, which I’d have been pissed off about if I were him. Also, babalú gets oddly snubbed.

In any case, the comments section looks completely unmoderated, and an unhinged argument ensues.

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AMC movie theaters at Aventura Mall and Cocowalk will begin showing independent movies. Great, but the South Beach Regal has been doing that since it opened.

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Tweakz

aventura mall

The big state-of-the-art redesign is still pending, but meanwhile, there are some small changes afoot. As always, reader input is appreciated (disregarded: sometimes; ignored: never).

More to come . . .

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An article about the local art scene covers artists’ jumps from gallery to gallery in absurd detail, but has a great quote from Snitzer: “All the artists that are mad at me because I won’t represent them? Tough shit. It’s my dime.” (expletive restored)

Meanwhile, Turner reviews Novoa.

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Saturday May 6, 2006

We all love Carnival, right? Well, now they’re being forced to pay $6.25 million as a result of a class action lawsuit: turns out they were underpaying their employees. Nice work, Carnival!

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The report draft Omar wrote up — about the Miami Civilian Investigative Panel’s report on the 2003 Free Trade Area of the Americas Summit — has been covered in the Herald. Better yet, here’s a pdf of the report itself.

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Crockett's Theme

Let’s have s’more stoopid Miami Vice nostalgia videos. Here’s Don Johnson getting all deep with it.

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Friday May 5, 2006

Critical Miami supports getting rid of stuff, and living an uncluttered, unencumbered life. Now, Greener Miami has a guide for getting rid of stuff: the A-Z Disposal & Donation Guide.

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A Broward principal refuses to let a student sing an anti-Bush song at a school talent show. Hillary ensues.

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At SunPost, Omar has a draft copy of Miami Civilian Investigative Panel’s report on police behavior during the 2003 Free Trade Area of the Americas Summit. “The overwhelming presence of police dressed in riot gear intimidated demonstrators and deterred them from exercising their First Amendment rights . . . On occasion, indiscriminate use of force was utilized against demonstrators resulting in less lethal weapons being deployed against retreating subjects and bystanders.” (via Pure RHETORIC, who has some good personal recollections of the events)

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South Beach Chamber Ensemble

SBCE

The South Beach Chamber Ensemble performs at MAC at 4 pm on Sunday. I caught them doing the same program a few weeks ago at the Miami Beach Community Church, and they are excellent. Drawn from the teaching staff at New World School for the Arts, SBCE is a surprisingly hip string quartet. This program, for instance, includes nothing older then 1957. Between pieces, they explain, give background, and tell stories, sometimes interrupting each other to jump in on a point.

They open with Shostakovich’s String Quartet #7, which is Russian modernism at it’s best – dissonant, dramatic, and in places just plain weird. It’s the sort of piece that demonstrates why the string quartet can be the most effective of classical music units – it is able to create rich layers of texture with unusual techniques on each instrument, while allowing each of the instruments to be heard as a distinct voice. The show continues with Osvaldo Golijov’s “Tenebrae” (composed in 2003) a shimmering, slowly developing tribute to a visit to a planetarium, and concludes, fittingly, with a string quartet by Villa-Lobos, the Brazilian master.

The show is part of the ensemble’s “Music in Beautiful Spaces,” a good execution of a good idea. ($5)

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Breakin' weekend

mlp hip hop

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Thursday May 4, 2006

Big Cypress

West down Tamiami Trail, past all the airboat rides, past the Miccosukee casino and village, and past Shark Valley (where Frances recently went) lies Big Cypress National Preserve. A big park ranger station/visitor center has a gift shop (with lots of interesting books, actually), camp ground, and a little boardwalk where you can see lots of alligators. This is halfway to Naples, and many tourists just make a pit stop on their way cross-coast.

The dry season is a good time to visit, because hiking around the station without wading through the actual marsh is possible. Here is a trail that leads west from the station. There were thousands of dragonflies and butterflies (no mosquitoes).

The trees thicken, and get taller; this is the inside of a hammock, sort of an island of trees. In some sections, the ground was covered with tinny sage plants. In others, there were clumps of delicate little orchids.

In the center of the hammock there’s a little pool (reduced to muck now). The word “bog” comes to mind. A wrong step here can sink you into some shoe-loosing mud.

All manner of beautiful little flowers bloom.

There are occasional signs of recent fires. Regular burning is part of the ecosystem, keeping the trees in check, allowing the smaller plants to thrive, and redistributing nutrients.

Butterfly sex!

This is another spot. Yes, there are gators everywhere. No, I didn’t photograph them. And yes, they leave people alone.

On the way back, a stop at Clyde Butcher’s Big Cypress Gallery. Clyde’s got a nice little nature trail, and some stellar scenery (the previous picture with the water was taken here).

Majestic photos, for sale by the pound! Note the eerie blue light coming in from the outside.

Further down the road back, a memorial to those who perished on ValuJet flight 592, May 11, 1996.

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Wednesday May 3, 2006

Huh? Abrsoino Gallery has decided not to participate in ABMB06. “Even though our participation in the past few years was economically very successful, I felt that this year we needed to give our artists a fresher exposure and more challenging venues.”

“Is Art Basel Miami Beach played out?” Jose wonders. I doubt it, and I doubt that Ambrosino’s withdrawal would really be the indicator of that. But between this, and last year’s snub of Steinbaum, we have the makings of an Art Basel Miami Beach with very little Miami in it, which makes me sad.

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Yes, FCAT scores are up, but anyone who’s even remotely involved with primary education knows the sacrifices that have been made for this: art classes, PE, music programs, and field trips have all been slashed or eliminated in the interest of putting kids noses to the wheel (or whatever). BTW, this is the kind of stuff Steve used to write over here, in the good old days.

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Development and planning around MPAC

satellite view of Miami Performing Arts Center

Well, the Miami Performing Arts Center seems to be pulling its parking situation into shape nicely. Meanwhile, I have the recent Herald piece, Development blossoms around Performing Arts Center—with no plan in place, which is a criticism of a lack of urban planning (rather then the PAC), specifically singling out the unfinished Miami21 plan. Well, a public meeting to present a draft of the first quarter of the plan has just been announced. After the meeting (on May 13), the draft will be available online, and a series of open houses will begin (presumably to allow the public to comment on the plan).

This will be interesting; we have the opportunity to create the city of the future here, and the Herald is quite pessimistic:

[Development] is occurring with no comprehensive development plan in place. Even as the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency . . . spent three years and $716,000 preparing a 250-page master plan for the area, the City Commission has approved one massive project after another, rendering moot some sections of the CRA’s plan before it was ready. The city’s vaunted new, neighborhood-friendly development rule book, Miami 21, is months behind schedule and may not be in place until fall. Even some in the real estate business question whether stacks of high-priced condos—with few provisions for new parks, public spaces or other public amenities, much less affordable housing or a solution to the area’s persistent homeless problem—are what the MPAC district really needs amid signs of a possible condo glut.

Gee, when you put it like that, it sounds kind of crappy. Something tells me, though, that Miami21 will restore that green space, and that the MPAC district will become pedestrian-friendly and appealing. And with the impeding condo crash, it will, for a time at least, even be affordable. Hipsters all over South Florida are saving their money and biding their time. Meanwhile, look at that map – it turns out that MPAC was surrounded by parking lots and garages all along—check out the picture. How did we ever get into conversations about putting parking underground?

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Let’s have some conventions! how about gambling and sex online dating?

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Miami Foodie gets its first review out in style. “Jumbo’s ain’t your typical 24-hour soul food joint, they’ve been doing it for over 50 years . . .”

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Tuesday May 2, 2006

Holy crap, FPL is at it again. I’m no socialist, but there is something profoundly wrong about having a for-profit corporation supplying a commodity in which it is impossible to have competition.

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Michael Tilson Thomas elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

michael Bigups to Michael Tilson Thomas, artistic director of New World Symphony, who who has just been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Other 2006 inductees included Martin Scorsese, Paul Vogel, and Bill Clinton. The distinction “recognizes individuals who have made preeminent contributions to their disciplines and to society at large.” While the fellows list mentions MTT’s other gig, as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, the award reflects on the importance of NWS, which he helped to found, and which is creating an important link between serious music’s past and its future.

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Monday May 1, 2006

Kyle fills out the New Times poll. My WTF?! moment is “Best local Website: Miamist.com obviously.”

Not even as a joke, Kyle . . . not even as a joke.

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A day with immigrants

rally/vigil

Critical Miami dragged its ass down to Jose Martí Park for the 6 pm vigil, the part of Day Without Immigrants for folks who didn’t think this was a good time to assert themselves by ditching work. The mood was happy and energized. More then half the flags were American, with a healthy representation from various S. American countries, even a few (very few) Cuban. Not a Che shirt in sight, although . . .

rally/vigil

This is a little socialist party book stand. Workers’ power and whatnot. The top sign reads “No Deportations No Firings,” the bottom one, “US Troops out of Iraq, Haiti, Guantanamo, Afghanistan.”

rally/vigil

A crappy glimpse from the I-95 ramp approach. A decent crowd, not even considering all the people on the streets for blocks around. Jose Martí Park is actually a very nice waterfront spot, though maybe oddly small for a citywide vigil. Everything seemed to go well, though, and you should have no problem catching it on your evening news, what with the TV helicopters circling overhead and TV vans parked around the perimeter. More on Dw/oI at Greener Miami.

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The latest Jim DeFede report slams State Senator Rudy Garcia (R-Hialeah) for proposing a bill which would effectively shift much of the cost of water cleanup from rock mining interests to the public. Jim Doesn’t mess around – he gives Garcia’s office phone number.

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