Thursday November 30, 2006
But first some background.
Babalu is Miami’s most famous, most widely read blog (especially if you don’t count Drudge). It’s been around for over three years, and is widely read and internationally respected as the premiere online voice of Cubans in exile. It’s a group blog, but editor Val Pietro is close to a celebrity, having frequently appeared on the radio and in print media.
Stuck on the Palmetto just celebrated its one-year anniversary, and what a year it’s been. It’s become Miami’s most-read omniblog, and, as the sidebar prominently reminds us on every visit, was named New Times Broward’s ‘Best Blog’ for 2006. It was a one-man shop until just recently, and is officially written anonymously, though Rick and Alex’s anonymity extends pretty much just to the point of leaving off their last names.
It may or may not be worth pointing out that Babalu’s Technorati stats are about an order of magnitude higher then SotP’s. Linkfight (possibly skewed by SotP’s blogspotness). Anyway, here’s the escalating clash of these two giants, in reverse order:
- November 29 (yesterday!): a crazy post where Rick lists everything he’s been accused of and all the names he’s been called without any attempt to describe what he many have said or done to cause such a response. With comments closed (!) lest anyone else remind him.
- November 27: my rambling account of a deleted comment on Babalu, and what it might mean. A long argument, including Rick and Val, in the comments.
- November 14: Babalu gets pissed off at SotP for taking his image (and apparently photoshoping it — the version at the post has apparently been changed back) and generally being a pain in his ass, and (ironically) does a “rename this blog” poll.
- October 22: “ Someone Needs To Start A ‘babalu Watch’.” Ouch.
- October 11: an somewhat typical post where Rick gratuitously (though not inaccurately) points out a few insults Babalu has hurled at Herald reporters. With links.
- September 07: a particularly sarcastic “The Four Rules Of Blogging…according to Val Prieto” post. A response to the infamous “Horse Post” (see below).
- September 05: Val catches a glimpse of Fidel Castro on Law & Order, prompting a post titled Is Babalu Becoming Delusional?, followed by an oh SNAP — here’s the video capture post.
- August 31: The Horse Post. Rick gets something wrong in a post, causing Val to suggest “Maybe you should take an exit ramp and actually see the freaken city youre writing about.” That sets off an argument that gets pretty personal.
- Early August: Mixed positive and negative posts, with Rick getting increasingly skeptical of Babalu: one, two, three. Some early mentions.
A fight between two inconsequential bloggers is not very interesting. A fight between two prominent bloggers is . . . well, still not very interesting, but interesting enough to make it worth collecting all these links in one place. Personally, I like them both, but I disagree with both often enough to make it utterly impossible to try to pick a favorite or assign any blame. It’s just two guys who don’t see the world the same way, and it’s all on the record. At least until Blogger crashes once and for all!
Wednesday November 29, 2006
My friend and co-worker Tiffany Hill flew home for Thanksgiving, and she told me about her terrible experience with Miami International Airport, which she says is the worst airport she’s ever seen. I should point out that Tiffany is a very experienced traveler, and that her criticisms are not particularly related to the Thanksgiving rush.
First, she was directed to an “Economy Park and Ride Lot” for long-term parking. This was by an attendant, after she’d entered the complex; there was no sign on the way in to direct one to the lot. So already she’s had to enter the airport, leave, and come back, just to park. Then there’s supposed to be a bus that takes folks from the lot to the terminal, but none was to be found. She eventually discovered that an MIA employee-only bus went to the terminal from an adjacent employee parking lot, and the driver gave her a ride. On her way back, another driver of the bus closed the door in her face without offering any other advice (and another one eventually gave her a ride).
As you drive around the airport, the signs that tell you what airline is in each area are almost impossible to read while driving by in a car. Inside, the information display terminals that tell you which gate to go to are nowhere to be found because they’re . . . at the gates!! Who designed this place?
The same thing happened in the luggage claim area — unless you recognize your bag, or people from your flight, you have no easy way to determine which baggage carousel goes with your flight. There are dazed and confused people wandering the luggage claim area looking for their stuff. This is insanity. Tiffany says, “It’s all about the signage!”
Tuesday November 28, 2006
Yesterday was a record-breaking day, with over 10,000 page views, I guess because of the “Blogger Deletes Comment!!!“ post (which, incidentally, was post 1001, so two milestones there for CM). But since I’m sure very few people are still following that thread, I thought I’d point out Manuel A. Tellechea’s comment, which says something very interesting and important, and is quite eloquent, too. Everyone should go read. Less importantly, I feel compelled to point out that you are currently reading a comment about a comment about a comment about a comment about a comment. My friends, that’s five levels of meta-ness. Update: as though on cue, Kottke shows me I’m an amateur, easily finding seven levels of meta-ness on del.icio.us. Oh well.
Art Basel weekend is right around the corner: It happens the weekend of December 9th and the few days before (the official opening is Thursday). If you’re coming in from out of town, you’re mainly concerned with getting yourself some airline tickets and hotel reservations. Us locals have it good. Here’s what the smart ones will be doing:
- Over the next couple of weeks, you can check out a lot of the stuff the Baselites will be scrambling to ahead of time, including the Pablo Cano show at MoCA, the Margulies (Duran just went), the MAM, the MAC, the New Art show at the Art and Culture Center, and A Room of One’s Own at the Frost. (The Rubell is closed until December 4th.)
- Try to get a pass to the Vernissage, which happens on Wednesday evening. Museums, galleries, and bigtime artists may have extras, so if you have and in with any of them, give them a call (and if you have access to these passes, try to get them in the hands of people).
- Check out a list of all 13 (!) art fairs happening that weekend at Miami Art Exchange (here are some descriptions), and maybe make a map or something?
Hey, baby, check out my 85mm f1.2. Seriously, though, ISB has the four things needed to get this particular brand of pictures: a good location, decent photoshop skillz, the nerve to step to people and put a camera lens in their face, consequences be damned (though he usually picks on unaccompanied females, fwiw), and maybe like around ten grand worth of glass. Count me jealous, at least of the latter two. (via SotP/r)
Monday November 27, 2006
OK, so a disgruntled former employee storms the Herald, takes a hostage, and then surrenders. The blogs jump all over it, of course. But one particular thing struck me during all this: a comment left on the Babalu post about the event. Here it is:
“Warning: The Attorney General Has Determined that working at the Miami Herald Is Dangerous to Your Health.”
It’s unfortunate that Jose Varela did not seize the racist Tom Fiedler. Had he done so, Cuban exiles would have erected a monument to Varela at the Cuban Memorial Plaza.
Pretty outrageous comment, and Rick and Bob both picked up on it; at some point in the meantime, the second paragraph of the comment was deleted, presumably by Val, the owner of Babalu. (Rick has thoughtfully archived a pre-deletion screenshot here.)
I find that comment outrageous, maybe even bordering on offensive, but for the life of me I can’t see how it rises to the level of needing to be censored. Now, Val runs a great blog, and I’m not trying to suggest that he can’t do anything he wants with his comments section. But I think the deleting of this comment deserves a little discussion. Many people in the Cuban-American community in Miami hate Fiedler. Heck, many Miamians of all sorts of origins hate him — this is a guy who’s claim to fame is sinking Gary Hart’s 1988 presidential campaign.
But nobody believes that the comment was a serious suggestion that someone harm Fiedler, nor can the “racist” comment possibly be viewed as a factual allegation. This poster was voicing serious dislike of, and doing it in an irreverent fashion. It’s not like joking about violence is considered out of bounds; check out Wonkette’s reaction to this very story:
We hope this is the start of a trend, and expect to see Tom Toles firing warning shots out of Downie’s office window by the end of the year.
And that’s a post, folks, not a comment.
OK, so comments get deleted all the time, right? What’s the big deal? Well, for 99% of the comments that get deleted from blogs, it’s because they’re abusive to the process — we delete spam, commercial messages, and abusive language directed at other commenters (ie “trolling”), which undermine the conversation. We do not, generally, delete comments simply because we disagree with them. But wait a second, if we take the gist of the comment to be that Fiedler is an ass, then presumably the editors of Babalu agree with the sentiment.
So what does it mean that this comment got deleted? That Val actually likes Fiedler? That he thought there was a genuine incitement to kidnap him? Or was it that he didn’t want that comment up because it made his blog’s community look a little nutty?
If it’s the latter, then the implications are troubling. Are they that, once again, the Cuban-American community is supposed to speak with one unified voice? That “extreme” comments are encouraged so long as they stay within certain prescribed lines (note that a regular commenter is named “KillCastro”)? Or that the line between flippant comments and violent actions is still dangerously thin for some?
Again, my intention is not to tell Val how to run his house, or what he can and can’t delete. But unlike zapping a piece of spam, deleting this particular comment had meaning, and it’s worth wondering what that is.
. . .and a not unpredictable brawl ensued in the comments below. I want to thank Val for correcting a couple of my points and sharing his perspective on this issue. To wit: (1) I was wrong about KillCastro being a regular commenter on Balabu; I randomly came across some old posts that led me to that conclusion. (2) I obviously wasn’t clear enough in saying that I think the comment should have stayed. (3) the comment was deleted by George, after consulting with Val (not a major point IMHO).
But let me jump straight to what I think is the most significant issue, and one which everyone in the comments seems to be ignoring: The comment was deleted to avoid (further) criticism from Rick. What’s up with that?? As much as I think the comment should have stayed, I think the reason for its deletion is even worse. We all have strong opinions, and we have blogs so we can hash out our intellectual differences. So why delete a comment to avoid an argument, if it’s an honest argument?
The rest of my thoughts are more relevant to what’s being discussed in the comments, so I’ll continue there. Thanks to everyone for participating — it’s a little bit of a flame war, but there’s some good exchange of ideas, too.
Update: This comment says something very important. Thanks, Manuel.
Sunday November 26, 2006
Miami at night, a new photoset. The downtown shots are hand-held, the South Beach shots are mostly . . . well, that’s right, I was the guy schleping around the beach with a tripod at 5 in the morning this weekend . . .
Friday November 24, 2006
A mockup from a piece in this month’s Wired Magazine (click for spectacular full-size). “Miami, for example, had only five skyscrapers (buildings more than 150 meters, or 492 feet, tall) in 1999 but will have 71 by 2012.”
Earlier today, an El Nuevo Herald cartoonist, Jose Varela, came to the office camoed up and armed with what appears to be a submachine gun. He took control of executive editor Humberto Castelló‘s office and trashed it. He had this to say (translated from Spanish):
You know that the newspaper lasts little today. This little problem is over now. This is a pig sty and somebody needs to pay, somebody has to do it, because this is how you clean shit. It’s about time, now that they’re mocking people. Today they’re going to see it as violence. But somebody has to pay and that is going to be Castello.
The news room was evacuated, and a swat team’s been called in. Herald report.
Update: From the Reuters report (emphasis added):
El Nuevo reporter Rui Ferreira said in a blog that he had spoken to the gunman, who told him, “You are speaking to the new director of the newspaper and I am going to unmask all of the true conflicts in the newspaper.”
Varela called the paper a “pigsty”, said it made fun of the Cuban exile community in Miami and that the paper paid poorly.
“They’ve been making fun of people long enough and today they will see it end in violence. But someone has to pay and that person is going to be (Humberto) Castello.” he said, referring to the Spanish-language paper’s executive editor.
Ferreira said Varela had been in the newsroom a week ago and told former colleagues he had bought himself a sawn-off shotgun and an Uzi submachine gun because he felt unsafe in Jupiter, a Florida town he moved to after his recent divorce.
Update (2:45pm): Police just arrested the guy. Nobody hurt. The update is at the original Herald link, along with a picture of Varela.
Update (11-25-06): OK, the machine gun was a toy(!), although he also had a knife. The “Herald report” link above now has a detailed account of how everything happened (not sure how I feel about them completely rewriting the story as it happens). It seems pretty clear that what we had here was a crazy guy going crazy. Check out a transcript where he compares himself to Rosa Parks at Herald Watch. And at the Pulp, Bob had this to say (after quoting the same “he shoulda grabbed Fiedler” comment from Babalu that Rick jumped on):
I can’t believe I’m even saying this, but I’m starting to think there needs to be some kind of town hall meeting with Fiedler, other newspaper editors and reporters, Cuban exile leaders, and anybody else interested in these issues. Stick Michael Putney in there to moderate. Start it at 7:30 and let it last until the wee hours if it has to.
One thing’s for sure: for better or worse, this has definitely piqued some interest in Varela’s work.
Bert Rodriguez, You’re only mad at yourself, photo installation on the east side of the Miami Herald building, 2006.
Bert Rodriguez, previously known for buying and returning picture frames with his picture in them, was awarded a $15,000 grant to complete this installation on the outside of the Herald building. It’s a photo of the view from inside the building, flipped horizontally for a mirror effect for westbound drivers. From an interview:
From inside the Herald building I took a photograph through windows of the outside view, and I took the picture from the part of the building where the banner hangs. From inside the building, the banner, which is 60-feet-by-40-feet, will reflect the same view employees always see. From outside — for people on the other side of the bay and driving toward downtown on the causeway — it will look like a reflection.
For a (Snitzer!) artist who operates on the boundary between the obvious and the sublime, this is pretty damn good. He resisted the urge to do something more obvious (say, on the building’s oft-bannered south wall), and nods subtly to the previous Herald-based installation, Wendy Wischer’s fantastic moon projection. But couldn’t $15,000 bought a bigger banner? Maybe three of these next to each other (60’ x 120’), which would also have resulted in a more pleasing horizontally-oriented image.
And yes, it’s up just in time for Art Basel.
Poor Metroblogging Miami. Half their posts are promises to cover a given topic along with a call for experts to do the actual writing, I. Ambrosia, their only writer worth reading, is posting less frequently all the time, and now this: Some twit from D.C. does a post about not knowing the difference between Ice Cube and Ice-T. They all look the same, huh Don? Thanks for dropping in and idioting up the place.
Wednesday November 22, 2006
Conspicuous consumption on Palm Island. Parked perpendicular to the shore for extra conspicuousness. Not sure the exact address, but around here. Seriously, though, it’s a nice boat. Anyone have a make or model on this thing?
Tere catches some shit at Oneburger. You might could find their menu on their website (oneburger – dot – com) but make a sandwich, because it takes at least that long to load this flash monstrosity. I once again extend my sympathy to Coral Gables residence, as they continue a search for one — just one — competent restaurant in their fair city.
If there’s one thing ignore’s good at, it’s handing out a dissing. Last week New Times gave them the opportunity, and they brought their blog out of a month-long hibernation to take NT down a peg:
Hey Jean, why do we keep receiving inquisitive calls from Lara Coppola every time she sees her name (and, more scarily and ethically dubious, misquotes attributed to her by you) in your column? Why does Ms. Coppola think that “we must have talked to you” because, well, she hasn’t? According to Lara, she has never spoken to you. She doesn’t even know who the fuck you are, just like Wikipedia, which recently erased your self-posted entry because you were deemed, we shit you not, “irrelevant.”
We’re guessing someone will soon be calling the big doggies in Colorado…again.
At issue is this article, which, um — borrows — images, and possibly the whole concept, from a months-old ignore feature about Kareem Edouard. Here’s a link to the blog rant, which also includes a swipe at Miami Nights.
“No candidate anywhere in the country spent more money on attack ads and TV commercials than Charlie Crist.” Jim DeFede wonders what kind of a governor he’ll be.
SUV drivers + Aventura = can’t park, let alone drive. All these pictures were taken during one visit to (what else?) Whole Foods. Walked straight from the car to the store, too. Talk about places I’m glad I don’t live. And I hear it’s even worse north of the county line.
Monday November 20, 2006
No, it’s not that easy. I think they got these signs out of the Kinkos when they realized that. But the fact that they ever got produced is some sort of achievement . . .
Friday November 17, 2006
- The Miami Book Fair International, all weekend.
- Probably some good music at FIU, too bad they can’t be bothered to put up a real web site to let us know.
- Tobacco Road’s 94th birthday, tonight.
- Do your good deed for the weekend: ECOMB’s Collins Park Beach Clean-up, Saturday 9 am to noon.
- Leslie and the Ly’s, Saturday at the District, Monday at Snatch.
- The Battle of Algiers, Saturday at the Miami Beach Cinematheque.
- Black Violin plays somewhere on Saturday, but good luck figuring out where. Geez.
- Two exhibitions at the MAM, one new to me, the other new to everyone. Free Sudydays, duh.
- Speaking of books, the Sweat Records book club meets Wednesday, November 29th at 8pm, which just about gives you enough time to pick up their next selection, Mountains Beyond Mountains.
Thursday November 16, 2006
I was just driving around, getting into other people’s business, when I drove by a marina on an impromptu trip down the 79th street causeway a few weeks ago. There was a guy washing a car and a big dog, and I snapped a few pictures of boats up on these huge shelfs, more or less expecting to get yelled at even though I was firmly on public sidewalk. Surprisingly, though, he and everyone else at North Beach Marina was super friendly, and I was invited in to stroll around and ask questions.
The boats sit triple and quadruple-stacked on these metal frames. There is also a hangar, which is the same on the inside but protected from the elements.
A big forklift grabs them from the shelves . . .
. . . and plops them in the water. These forklifts are as big as an 18-wheeler cab, can lift as high as three stories, and have forks as long as a car. The marina has two of them.
The boats sit on two carpet-covered slats of wood which are so close together that I figured a light gust might knock them all over. I’m told, however, that they stay put even in hurricane-force winds, and during Wilma, there was only one boat they bothered to tie down. No worries, no problems.
A slick, James Bond-looking catamaran sits on the bottom shelf. I forgot to ask what its top speed is.
Next to the marina, a little marine supply store specializing in boat upholstery. Lots of work on a sewing machine goes on there.
North Beach Marina
724 Ne 79th St
There are areas where parking spaces are a genuine scarcity compared to demand — anywhere near the beach, Downtown, the airport. Then there are places where that status is more dubious — Coral Gables, Sunset Place, downtown Hollywood. I think Midtown falls squarely in the latter category.
It isn’t necessarily even the money — it’s the feeling of being ripped off and made to jump through hoops. Parking in a garage is already a hassle, but making me fuck around with a ticket that needs to get validated and keeping an eye on the clock is a great way to make sure I only to to Target when I really really need to. For the life of me, I don’t see how that’s good for business.
In some areas, there might be a genuine concern that someone will park in one garage and then go somewhere else where the parking is more expensive. But in Wynwood? The only thing around there is galleries. If folks going to the galleries get in the habit of parking for free at Midtown, I’d think that would be a welcome development. I just don’t know what they’re thinking with those rates — it’s like they don’t want to make enough money to cover the expense of having the garage attendant and enforcement, but want to charge enough to be a pain in the ass.
Wednesday November 15, 2006
Google bench ads. Apparently a real thing. Spotted in Broward county.
Miami Nights reviews the Bang festival, and does a better job then the Herald. “If your set starts at 6:45 and an hour later your still not on, you might as well scrap the performance.” Bang was a financial bust.
I’m glad to see that our decade-long (+) experiment with recycling is finally coming to an end. Obviously it was a stupid idea from the get-go, thinking that ordinary people could be bothered to separate their recyclables from their garbage. Update: Liveblogging the workshop: “Sejias: This was meant to be an all day workshop and we are now just two commissioners. Sometimes I’m here all by myself.“ So it’s official — nobody cares.
Tuesday November 14, 2006
I stopped by the Midtown Miami development the other day. It’s still a big construction zone, with only a couple of stores open, but the overall shape is very apparent. This is only a brief look; I got there too late to really check it out.
I have aesthetic quibbles with some of the style decisions, but in terms of substance, this is development done right: mixing retail, office, and several styles of residential buildings in a dense and walkable little mini-district.
The map. From here, it looks like a regular mall. The residential developments aren’t on this map; they’re to the east. The Target, Linens ‘n Things, and West Elm are a godsend. Petsmart and some of the other stuff I could give or take. Marshalls, there’s one downtown, so I don’t see the point of that really. Plus, who shops at Marshalls, anyway? I have no idea what Loehmanns is.
Here are the towers going up. Taken from the parking lot of the Target. Some of this stuff has a loooooong way to go before it’s done.
Target (my camera was set incorrectly; it didn’t really look Satanic). No pictures of the inside — it looks exactly like every other Target in the world, except for the customers, who were maybe slightly hipper looking. It’s not a “super” target (in the parlance of large discount retailers, “super”=“has a big food section”), but there is a sizable food area; just no produce.
This is a bit of the facade. It’s all still getting finished up, but it looks good. The brick finish I guess is supposed to put the “town” in “Midtown.” Just behind those storefronts across the street is a working-class neighborhood with lots of small old single-family houses. Someone should do a comprehensive photo project on the neighborhood, which is now going to be undergoing some fast and drastic transformation.
Some of the rest of the development, looking quite a bit more generic, though it’s unfair to say that when it’s not finished. This is the West Elm store, which I’m looking forward to. After the target, the only other thing open is Circuit City, which I have zero interest in.
One other interesting note: unlike most malls, the parking garages charge. The rates are weird, too: free for the first hour with Target ticket validation (a pain in the ass), $1 per hour for the next four hours, and then $10 per hour after that. I have no idea what the logic behind those rates is. Someone obviously did some deep thinking about how to maximize their profits, logic and sense be damned. I’ll be surprised if they don’t get so many complaints that they have to change this soon.
Update: Oldswish points out that they got $170 million from the city to build this thing and paying for parking was always part of the plan.
Monday November 13, 2006
My kick-ass Olympus C-8080, sadly for sale on ebay.
Taken during that insane fuel tanker fire on I-95 last week.
We’re on year 2 of a strange blue-green algae infestation of Biscayne Bay. Algae is an important part of the ecosystem, providing food for microscopic animals. But when it goes wild like this, it disturbs the balance of the whole ecosystem. Light doesn’t get down to the grasses that live on the Bay’s bottom, so they start to die off. Then the crabs and fish that eat the grasses start to die. Before long, you could end up with a dead zone kind of like they’ve got in the Gulf of Mexico.
What’s causing the bloom? Well, algae feed on phosphorous, so the short answer is that it’s an increase in the levels of the big-P in the bay. How’d it get there? Check out an Appendix to a South Florida Water Management District report [PDF link; here is a text version] looks at that question. They’re sure it’s a combination of factors, but seem to settle on a sort of combination C-111/Wilma theory.
It goes like this: the C-111 collects water from around Florida City and dumps it in the bay. Normally, no problem. But “hurricane disturbances” last year caused a whole lot of that water to flow all at once last year. Right after that is when phosphorous levels, and the algae, first went wild. Normally, the cold weather of the winter would have killed the algae off, and indeed it did help. But when they did some tests in June and July of this year, the levels were back up. Not good.
Oh, and where’s the phosphorous coming from? Scroll to the bottom of this page and it’ll start to make sense: “The C-111 canal drains from north to south through an intensely-cultivated agricultural area between Homestead, Florida and Everglades National Park.” That’s right, el azúcar grande. Thanks again, guys!
Disclaimer: The photo above may or may not be related to the current algae bloom. I am not a scientist, and I don’t know shit about shit. I love sugar, especially the cheap, delicious, bleached kind. Yum!
Friday November 10, 2006
Looking out over Edgewater/OMNI area from Wynwood.
“More importantly, we discussed the university’s apparent ability to receive as much as $100 million for the naming rights… We therefore request that my name be removed from the FIU College of Medicine and suggest that it be renamed for the donor that makes the $100 million donation to the collegue. It would be selfish for us not to extend this financial opportunity to the university.” (link to letters, via SotP/a)
Looking at this post from last year, and looking at how things have changed. It’s a graph of search terms (from October, the last complete data set) that people use that land them here; there are fewer entries on the graph because there are actually more seraches, and as each slice gets proportionally smaller it becomes impossible to show them on the graph. So here’s a table version:
|301||critical miami||25||alabama jacks|
|132||miami ink||23||miami ink tattos|
|70||miami performing arts center||21||money stacks|
|64||nancy spungen||20||watson island|
|56||ticket clinic||19||ticket clinic miami|
|47||carnival center||18||bodies miami|
|46||miami blog||17||miami carnival center|
|35||uli herzner||17||gil dezer|
|30||carnival center for the performing arts||17||carnival center miami|
|29||miami blogs||5090||[not listed: 3,278 search terms]|
- There hasn’t been a Miami Ink post since the show started. Maybe there should be — obviously there’s a demand for information about Ami, Darren, Yosji, and the Chrises. Anybody reading that has inside dirt on the show? Drop me a line. And, the Dirt jacked my photo.
- 181 total searches of people looking for info on the Carnival Center. Unfortunately, Google only shows the first two results from any given site, and the first two posts that come up are not the most useful ones. This is what they’re looking for. Anyone with a website care to donate a link to help Google understand that that’s the page to point to? Ideally, the link would look like this: Carnival Center for the Performing Arts. Yes, I’m being annoying. Sorry.
- The Nancy Spungen thing was a mistake. Cringe.
- Ticket Clinic — official second post ever, and some of Steve‘s best work.
- Uli Herzner. Another sad google search. People want information, and they’re desperate enough to get three screens down, and they ain’t getting it. The CM link is right under the Wikipedia link, and neither of us knows shit about Uli.
Wednesday November 8, 2006
NicFitKid’s photostream: driving around, tagging shit with a rubber duckie ‘n heart graphic. People, that’s class.
Boxed in. How many times do I have to point out that we’re all in this together, and if we don’t look out for each other, we’re lost? Equally bad: people who park and leave big spaces behind and in front of their car, where a second car could have fit if they’d just scooted forward. People like this deserve unpleasant notes left under their windshield wipers.
Check out the Herald: As of 5:41 am, this page shows Jim Davis at 53.55%, and this page, not to mention the cover, is declaring Christ the new governor. WHAT THE HELL, GUYS — PEOPLE CARE ABOUT THIS STUFF!
I know it’s been a long night for y’all, but is nobody at the the controls over there? Update: Eddie points out that the graph represents only the voters in Miami-Dade.
[I was just reading this post and comments at 26th Parallell. I tried to leave a comment, but Robert’s system doesn’t let me link my name back here. So here’s my comment:]
When I was voting yesterday, there was a black guy hanging out and talking with the poll workers for a long time while his eligibility was being figured out (he’d been out of the country or something). When he finally left, I heard several of the poll workers remark, loudly and conspicuously, what a nice young man he was (he was 27; I’d overheard his birthdate as he was giving it to them), and how rare that was these days. Would they have remarked the same way about me? Of course not — it would have been absurd and weird. It’s not-so-subtle shit like this that I notice from time to time that makes me realize that subtle signs of racism are very prevalent in the US to this day.
On top of that, the legacy of Jim-Crow laws (which are not very far in the past) and slavery are very difficult to shake off for reasons that are no less real for being complicated.
The experience of immigrants is, indeed, very very difficult. It’s probably an oversimplification, but I’ll offer this: some people are just more motivated then others to get up and DO stuff. This is genetic. 100% of immigrants, almost by definition, fall into that category, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to find them succeeding at high rates. This group is roughly comparable to the many successful African Americans.
Statements like “those people should stop complaining and do something about their situation” are roughly equivalent to “I refuse to look into this situation and try to figure out what might be going on.”
Statements like “anyone from South Africa whose white can call themselves an African-American too,” while logically accurate, miss many important cultural truths. The fact is that white South Africans have a lot to answer for. If I was them I wouldn’t be arguing labels with a group of people who have a lot of persecution in their past, and who in my opinion have earned the right to call themselves what they like.
Tuesday November 7, 2006
Pictures of Hercules, a half-ton liger at
Metrozoo The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species, supposedly in Miami Myrtle Beach. More info way down in this interview.
- Go vote dammit. That means you! It’s part of your civic responsibility. (Take an umbrella with you — it’s going to rain.)
- Actually, there’s more to your civic responsibility. According to Noam Chomsky, your vote becomes more relevant if you (1) pay attention to the issues and (2) discuss them with other voters. If you’re like me, you haven’t really done enough of either, especially as concerns local politics. You know voting in local politics is more important then the nationals, right? Now’s the time to start taking an interest; let’s keep tabs on whoever’s elected, and think how who’s ever not elected would have done different, and be better prepared for next time.
- Elections website. Get a sample ballot, a list of voting sites, info on what to bring (hint: photo ID), and voting results.
- How to vote from last time. A tempting strategy is to vote the opposite of the Herald’s recommendations, on the logic that you cancel out a non-thinking drone, and give more of a voice to anyone who’s looked into the issues and made an intelligent decision. Of course the problem is that lots of people make informed, intelligent, and wrong decisions, so the intellectual and mathematical validity of this approach remains uncertain.
- Here’s the Herald’s elections page, with links to recommendations and all that.
- From personal experience, I know that if you haven’t notified the voting department about an address change, you should go to your old voting location, not the new one.
- Keep an eye on those fucking machines.
- Check in with our friends at the Elections Reform Coalition. My computer has trouble with PDF’s, so their website is like a broken monitor to me, but they might have some good advice. At the very least, try to take some photos of your polling place.
- Final thought: the Carter Center and the National Democratic Institute monitor elections in many countries around the world. On the radio the other day, Carter said that elections in the USA don’t even qualify for the monitoring, because they don’t meet the basic requirements. For example, they require standardized voting procedures for the countries they monitor. Yikes!
Monday November 6, 2006
Friday November 3, 2006
A device that measures your speed and blinks if you’re speeding, permanently installed on Miami Beach. These seem kind of silly; if they’re going to install speed sensors, why not couple them with a camera to photograph license plates, and just start mailing out tickets like in Europe. Update: Oh, and notice how it’s pre-vandalized for your convenience. Update: At the intersection of 56th Street and Pine Tree Drive, Miami Beach.
Thursday November 2, 2006
How to recycle phone books. Fine, but how do you get them to stop delivering them in the first place? There are stacks of phone books in the hallway of my apartment building that nobody wants. Why would they, when it takes a fraction of a second to find any phone number on Google?
In lieu of posting something real, a riddle: How many Cuban guys does it take to make a sandwich?
Selling your house in Miami? It’s time to get desperate. “[Offer] a ‘buy house now, get a Caribbean Cruise later’ sort of incentive furtherance.” Riiiiiiiiiight.
“He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist.“ This is totally fucked; those electronic voting machines are a lot worse then a waste of money: they’re a complete disaster. And people told the elections officials they were a bad idea. They went ahead and bought them anyway. Bad, bad stuff. Here and here we discussed voting online, which I still think is the obvious way to the future — and with no hardware cost. (via BoingBoing) Update: At The Register. Update: Fuck me: the Herald’s doing online polls now.
Wednesday November 1, 2006
Dr. James M. Jackson Office and Surgery: This charming little building is in the middle of a bunch of huge skyscrapers in the middle of Brickell. It’s on the national register of historical places, and it’s got its own Wikipedia page. It’s the office of the Dade Heritage Trust, who haven’t renamed themselves to the Miami-Dade Heritage Trust ‘cause they’re all about, you know, heritage.
wtf’s going on with my time stamps?? (TMWSD)