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Thursday May 31, 2007

This is how seriously our leaders are taking the water shortage: when an underground pipe burst in Miramar, it took over a week to get the permits to fix the leak. So much water gushed out that it caused a “small sinkhole.”

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Welcome New Times readers

newtimes best of cover Oh, so it occurred to me that some new folks might be dropping by to check the site out, and maybe they could use a little more then an MF-bomb to get oriented. I’d say the best way to get a sense of the site is just to skim through in reverse chronological order. When you get to the bottom of the page, click “Older articles” to go to the next page, and so on. Click lots of links (open them in new windows/tabs so you can find your way back).

If you’re particularly interested in a subject, you can click its tag at the bottom of the article or in my super-retro tag cloud (thing in the sidebar with different-sized words) to get all the articles with that tag. (Tags only go back a little over a year right now and are a bit of a mess, which I promise to fix this weekend. I’ll fix the archive pages, too. Maybe even the stinkin’ blogroll.) Too much work? Here are some recent favorites:

For stuff from before that, check out the year two wrap-up, which has links to some of the better stuff from the last year. You know, reading the Best-of award, I can’t help but think the NT’s poked around some of the oldest pages, from back in April 2007: “You’re as likely to find updates on major construction as anecdotes about visits to offbeat ethnic eateries.” Look: Earth day, 2005, and La Vraie Difference.

Stop by tomorrow, when CM will tell you how to run your weekend. Oh, and I still think New Times should bring the “best blog” category. My unofficial pick for best blog: Transit Miami.

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Hmm, it looks like the Carnival Center will in fact be closed for part of the summer, for August and part of September, probably in part as a money-saving measure.

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Ikea is coming

ikea chair Anyone who’s ever been to Ikea is a devotee of their inexpensive, modern Swedish furniture. And any devotee who lives in Miami bemoans the fact that the closest store is in Atlanta. There have actually been recorded road-trips up there just for the purpose of buying furniture, because Ikea’s shipping is notoriously expensive and difficult. And while there has long been talk of a store opening down here, many were skeptical of Ikea’s claims that a store will open this august.

Well, those doubts can now be put to rest, because word is out that Ikea is officially hiring. They’re looking for 400 employees, because, if you haven’t been, these places are huge. Here’s where it’ll be — way out in West Broward off I-595. Worth the trip, trust me. They have a massive selection, crazy good prices (How much do you think that chair right there is? Click on it and see how close you are.), and a restaurant attached that serves delicious Swedish meatballs. Yum, meatballs!

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Congrats to Stuck on the Palmetto, named best local blog by New Times Broward/Palm Beach for the second year running.

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Wednesday May 30, 2007

Best Miami website, motherfuckers

I’m not quite sure I’m believing my eyes, but Miami New Times’ best of 2007 is out, and Critical Miami took ‘Best Website’. I guess w00t and thanks are in order. The operant link may be my rant from last year, wherein I embarrassingly whined about not winning the award then, and further complained about the lack of a ‘best blog’ category. But if 54 references aren’t enough, let me spell it out: I love you too, guys. (I’m also glad that NT noticed the commenters here, who’s contributions are just as important as mine for making the site worth visiting. Thanks.)

Update/PS: I’m sure the print version is perfect, but your online listing doesn’t technically include a hyperlink. And the Biscayne Times award doesn’t even include the name.

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tornado

Tornado in downtown Miami, May 12, 1997. (via Rakontur, via SDoFB)

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“I went to the office and they gave me a paper that said, ‘Walk to your sister’s house’ . . . Then I told the lady that my sister’s house is far, then she said she didn’t care, ‘Walk home.’” (PS, his sister’s house is in Atlanta.)

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The guy who shot two out-of-towners over Memorial Day weekend has been caught, and he’s a local. It turns out to have been something that started as an argument and escalated. Good grief. Anyway, he’s confessed, and they have a ton of evidence. Now get this: it looks like the two dead guys were hanging with Fat Joe.

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$19 for a 7-day metro pass. It’s for tourists: 2 trips per day x 5 days = $15 per week for public-curious regular commuter.

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Tuesday May 29, 2007

Miami Gmaps street views

gmaps miami

This is more interesting/cool then useful, but a Google truck with a 360° camera mounted to the top spent some time driving around Miami last year, and now we see the results: you can click on many of the streets in Miami in Gmaps and get a panable photo-view every few feet. In other words, they photographed everything from every spot along the roads deemed interesting enough, to wit: Downtown, central Coral Gables, and Miami Beach south of 5th, as well as all major streets for a couple dozen miles. Not only does this point in the direction of of how reality and the internet will continue to merge in the future, it’s a lot of fun to play with. Here are some spots I’ve stumbled on (click the little dude-figure icon in each case to get the panorama; you may need to download a new version of flash):

OK enough. Anybody else spot anything interesting? (via Kottke)

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A bunch of new restaurant reviews are up at Meatless Miami

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“There is no annual report for the Parks Advisory Board for the year 2006. The board has had severe problems meeting quorum, and there were no accomplishments to report.” — Ed Blanco, reporting to the the Miami Commission that nobody from the Parks Advisory Board shows up for meetings. [YouTube] Hmm . . . (via Transit)

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Memorial day weekend the wraps-up

Nobody seems to care . . . no press release on the Miami Beach Police website, and the only information I can find is in this Herald article about two guys from Tampa that got popped in front of David’s Cafe II off Lincoln Rd. So the shocker is that with somebody (ACLU observers) watching them, MBPD made about half the arrests they did last year. Hmm…

But honestly: drug sniffing dogs? Is that really the best reaction to hundreds of thousands of out of town people trying to have a party? Hey officer, you see that guy over there smoking a joint? No, you missed it. Well anyways, he’s not a threat to my safety.

Anyway, like I said before: I walked around and talked to people every day this weekend, including late at night, and everyone I met was super friendly, much more so then the usual crowd. I just don’t see what all the fuss is about.

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Saturday May 26, 2007

Parkour Saturday

a bridge in japan  

Links takend from a variety of places, including Cynical-C, Waxy, and Kottke .

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Friday May 25, 2007

Special Note! (or, 'Memorial Day Weekend')

Urp! I was away from computer thursday evening and friday morning, hence you have no idea what to do with your weekend. Please to consider going down to random clubz on tonight friday saturday and sunday nightz and digging the hiphops weekend. Elsewize help the ACLU by coming down anyway and keeping an eye out for Miami Beach PD (love you guys — most of the time!) from whatever overzealous crackdowns may have been handed down. ktnxbi.

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Thursday May 24, 2007

The only two things new to me from this list of 50 offbeat Florida attractions were Jackie Gleason’s Mausoleum and the World Chess Hall of Fame.

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Rene Rodriguez and Bob Norman are upset about the loss of a local film reviewer. As it pertains to the general erosion of local reporting, I get it. But taking a movie critic and assigning her to work on other local stories hardly seems like a tragedy. You’d have to argue that there’s some sort of local perspective that makes a difference about whether you’ll like a movie or not, which, except for once in a blue moon is absurd, no?

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Miami Beach mayor sues Dade over petitions

claim (pdf) “It shall be unlawful for any person, entity, or elector intentionally to make or cause to be made any false statement concerning the contents or effect of any petition for initiative, referendum, or recall submitted pursuant to Article 7 of the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter to any person who is requested to sign any such petition or who makes an inquiry with reference to any such petition and who relies on such statement.”

So reads a law passed November 28, 2006, by the Miami-Dade County Commission. Pretty straightforward: the law makes it illegal to lie to someone to get them to sign a petition. Who could have a problem with that? Well, your suspicions might be raised when you hear that the law was passed by an embattled commission facing the strong mayor proposal, opposed by Katy Sorenson (widely held as the sole voice of reason on the commission), vetoed by Mayor Carlos Alvarez (veto overridden), and that Miami Beach mayor David Dermer is now suing the county over the law (here’s a (.pdf) copy of the claim, which includes the oridnance).

Here’s the counter-argument: let’s say you’re getting signatures to help the manatees by restricting boating speeds in canals. I’m a boater and I hate the idea. I call the cops and tell them you’re “making a false statement” about manatee populations. Next thing you know you’re in the back of a squad car, hauled off to MDPD headquarters. Even if my claim turns out to be bogus, you’ve had one unpleasant afternoon, and are going to be pretty discouraged from going back out on that corner. (And forget a countersuit — you’d have to show malicious intent.) So basically, the argument goes, this is just another attempt by the commission to consolidate their power by making it more difficult for citizens to get referendums passed, this time at the expense of first amendment rights.

Keep in mind that the referendum process is governed by the county charter (check it out, it’s a real page-turner), which by definition the commission cannot overrule. Keep in mind also that actually lying to someone in the process of collecting petition signatures is fraud, which is of course already illegal — the difference is that I can’t call the cops down to slap handcuffs on you then and there.

And keep in mind that getting a referendum on the ballot requires getting something like 100,000 signatures, which is hard enough without these bullshit obstacles. I hope the commission’s power-grab gets slapped down by the courts. But more importantly, I hope you people vote some of these turkeys out of office soon.

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Wednesday May 23, 2007

A baywalk is part of Miami 21, but anyone who’s been down to the bay knows it’s a little pie-in-the-sky, since almost all the buildings along the bay have fence up to the water and private yards. Anyway, here’s what the Baywalk would look like if we had a baywalk.

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Test your knowledge of the Jose Padilla trial.

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gigant beetle

Giant Harlequin Beetle found on cargo ship. A few things about this. I understand that there’s a real threat if these insects establish a foothold here — it turns out they burrow into mango trees, killing them — but mainly it’s just sort of cool that a giant beetle is on the news. Also, why does it look like they sentenced him to death by hanging?

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Break me a give — everybody’s up in arms about (granted, another) $4 million budget shortfall at the Carnival Center, but a $503 million budget overrun at the airport barely gets noticed.

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Here come the hurricanes, 2007

2007 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook - 3 to 5 major hurricanes, 75% chance of above-normal season So you thought the rate at which housing prices are falling was slowing down? Well, here’s just what the doctor ordered to keep it moving along: a nice and busy hurricane season. The NOOA’s official hurricane predictions are out, and here’s the scoop: 75% chance of an above-average hurricane season, 13 to 17 named storms and 7 to 10 hurricanes, 3 to 5 of which will be major.

I just heard Al Roker say there’s a 100% chance of landfall of at least one hurricane, which is of course stupid. He was misquoting from the full report, which actually says:

While NOAA does not make an official seasonal hurricane landfall forecast, the historical probability for multiple hurricane strikes in the United States increases sharply for hyperactive seasons. For the U.S., all hyperactive seasons since 1950 have had at least one hurricane strike, 92% have had at least 2 hurricane strikes, and 58% have had at least 3 hurricane strikes. For the eastern seaboard of the United States, 92% of hyperactive seasons have had at least one hurricane strike, and 42% have had at least two hurricane strikes. For the Gulf Coast region of the United States, 83% of hyperactive seasons have had at least one hurricane strike, and 58% have had at least two hurricane strikes.

(Click the links if yr be enjoying bar graphs of doomz and destruction! (Note to NOOA: Blind people care about hurricanes too. Please to be making your graphs accessible in the futur.)) I’ll say this again for the skeptics: we’re in the middle of a 10-year run of strong hurricane seasons. Last year El Niño came along and unexpectedly bailed us out. No such luck this year. In fact, there is a chance of La Niña forming, and La Niña actually makes hurricane seasons worse (not joking), so the above predictions could turn out to be low. Good times.

Here’s my favorite bit: NOOA calculates something called the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index: “The ACE index is a wind energy index, defined as the sum of the squares of the maximum sustained surface wind speed (knots) measured every six hours for all named systems while they are at least tropical storm strength.” Got that? Well, for 2007, the ACE index is predicted at 125% to 210% of the median. In other words, brace yourselves kids.

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Tuesday May 22, 2007

Rebecca Wakefield on what happened to the kite-flying event in Bicentennial park Sunday. In short: it was a disaster. It was raining, so the city decided not to clean up after a huge festival there the night before. See also Commonsense Miami’s Bicentennial Park page — these are the people who organized the event, who apparently have some web-development muscle behind them.

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What's up with the primary?

Yesterday, Florida moved its primary to January 29th, which means it’s preceded only the Iowa and Nevada caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. It puts us ahead of Super Tuesday, when most of the states hold their primaries.

This sort of leapfrogging is bad for the system (humor me a second), because there’s no logical place for it to end — nobody wants to be at the irrelevant end of the process, and the greater the time between the primaries and the general elections, the more wasteful and boring the whole process gets. And sure enough, the national Democrat and Republican parties wagged a finger at Florida about doing this, and both have threatened to take away 50% of our delegates. We’ll see if they follow through.

The standard arguments for the move is that Florida is one of the most important swing states in the country, and there’s no reason for us to have near-irrelevant primaries at the end of the process. So why not just move our date to Super Tuesday with the parties’ blessing? Well for one thing, South Carolina is on January 29th. Why should they get a first say about the candidates?

But for that matter, why should Iowa and New Hampshire? This is the problem with United States presidential primaries — the whole system stinks. I’m sure folks are real nice in Iowa and New Hampshire. But let’s face it — they’re hicks! Nothing wrong with that, but why in God’s name should this ultra-homogeneous (~97% white, overwhelmingly farmers, mostly Christian) group of people play the crucial role in our election process year after year after year? The only possible defense is a feeble appeal to tradition. Please. This is no way to run a country.

So Florida’s move is selfish, unreasonable, and destabilizing. But it’s destabilizing in a good way. We’re risking our delegates to bring down this idiotic system. When Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina move their primaries to February 5th, we’ll do the same. That’ll never happen, you say? Well, they won’t do it voluntarily, sure. But If this keeps up the national parties will make them move. Having all the primaries on one day is far from a perfect system (if you want to get wild and crazy with it maybe consider the random primary proposal), but at least it makes sense.

Oh by the way, the bill that brings this change also mandates new paper-trailed voting machines. No time to think this through, though, we’re going to find some “good enough” machines that print a little receipt and it’s going to be disaster city all over again. I predict that whatever new machines they get will have immediately-obvious flaws, we’ll be replacing them again in a year or two, and I’ll be looking for someone else to sock.

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Monday May 21, 2007

Unemployment continues to drop: 3.6% in Miami-Dade and 2.9% in Broward.

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An absurdly comprehensive list of complaints about club/restaurant bathrooms. “Nocturnal – Your large stall is good, but the floor is always wet, and the sink is always broken. The garbage can is full of drug paraphernalia and vomit. The bathroom guy is annoying. It’s always warm.”

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Did U2 play at a wedding at the Versace mansion? Update: No.

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Miami Beach is preparing to import sand from other countries to replenish the beach, especially if the hurricane season is a bad one.

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Saturday’s storm.

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Saturday May 19, 2007

Sofa Saturday

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Friday May 18, 2007

Rebecca Wakefield on Museum Park, and right about everything as usual. And — stop the presses! — is it just me or do the SunPost’s homepage articles now point to permalinks!? I’ll check when the next issue comes out, but if this is true it’s a big deal.

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“The term ‘Miami Mafia’ was coined by castro [sic] himself. To use the term in anything other than a tongue-in-cheek manner (which the tee does and Menendez does not) is to put the lie to what might otherwise be a cogent point she seems to be making.” — nonee moose

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Cuba Nostalgia Weekend

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Thursday May 17, 2007

Alfredo Triff has posted his opening remarks regarding Art Basel from the panel discussion at Snitzer last Thursday. This is an edited version. The “Blogs are dead!” comment, which elicited such a gasp from the audience (oh, was that just me?), has been softened to “The local blog sphere, so effervescent three years ago, is now dead.” Seriously though, Triff rocks: “Artists can co-sponsor public events, alternative shows, public lectures and alternative art presentations. Art needs to go back to the street. Let’s give the market a different kind of spectacle by turning the spectacle on its head!” Listen to the panel at MAeX. Then, for those who were there (or listened to it), any particular impressions?? Let’s get into it . . .

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About 70% of Broward elementary and middle schools have mandatory school uniforms, and Steve doesn’t approve (I think).

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What Art Basel really means for Miami

basel

Plenty. Duh: the Basel engine brings important art folks to town, increases Miami’s prominence as a global art hub, and draws the attention of our ordinary citizens to art. But it’s also often pointed out that these benefits are not transitory — they accrue each time Art Basel is here. If Basel goes away, all the good effects it’s brought thus far stay. “Art Basel has planted and irrigated the seeds for the development of the art community in Miami,” says Mariangela Capuzzo.

But there’s another important piece to this puzzle. It’s not just about what Basel does for Miami; it’s about what Miami does for Basel. Where, in 2001, was an ambitious art fair from Switzerland to set up a satellite event? City size is a secondary factor, as is (let’s face it) the strength of the local art scene. What they were looking for was a city (a) as far from Basel as possible, and (b) with a certain cachet.

Let’s consider how the Basel folks might have thought this one through. They’re obviously looking for a city in North or South America. It has to be considered cool. Let’s say they start with São Paulo, maybe the hippest city in South America. Two problems: (1) how convenient is it for US collectors to travel there, plus the fact that (2) the big German festival Documenta has already sort of beaten them to the punch. The former concern applies to all South American Cities, and as tempted as the Swiss must have been by, say Bogota, at some point they must have realized that it would be easier to tempt S. American collectors to the US then to tempt US collectors to go international. Americans are lazy, we all know that. On the other hand — wait a second isn’t there a city that’s technically in the US, but that’s generally considered to be a part of South/Central America in spirit? You see where I’m going with this?

I grant that, having made the decision to go USA, the Swiss folks might have made lots of choices. New York comes to mind. But I think they were specifically looking for a place to call their own: one that didn’t have a strong established reputation on the international art scene, particularly the fair scene. And since their fair is in the Summer, they needed a spot that’d be comfortable in the Winter — i.e., well south of the Mason-Dixon line. Now your choices are down to a few (admittedly hip) spots in Texas, New Orleans, and maybe Atlanta. With everything we’ve considered, do any of these places hold a candle to Miami? Consider the presumable appeal to rich South Americans. Consider the reputation, within the USA, as a resort/vacation destination. Consider the sheer fucking spectacularness of the place.

What’s Basel doing for Miami? Not an unfair question. But I think we should be thinking just as much about what Miami is doing for Basel.

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Wednesday May 16, 2007

T.M. Shine on The Artpartments/Kunst Motel, an apartment building that Blair Russell renovated and turned into live/work spaces for artists. “While renovating the former crack house into an art house, Russell discovered the walls of one apartment were filled with machetes.” Here.

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kid with a shark on the beach
Miami Fever strikes again. Link goes to big photo, and here is a guy on a bicycle holding his cock.

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Some podunk research comes out about driver rudeness, and everybody’s up in arms about it, blogs, the national news, you name it. Finally, Larry Lebowitz has taken the time to poke holes all through the study. It’s shoddy. Update: Another interesting tidbit: the survey got the rankings basically by asking people in each city if they thought the drivers in their city were more or less courteous then in other cities. In other words, the study shows that Miami drivers think they the rudest.

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Vestigial smokiness
Vestigial smokiness, yesterday.

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“Thus, we have made the decision to change the name, and the ‘men only’ concept, as expeditiously as possible. We have ordered the signs to be changed, and they are to state ‘Executive Grille’, with no reference to restrictions as to male or female usage. The signs will be changed as soon as our sign makers can construct the new signs.” — Letter to Roxcy Bolton from Burdine’s, October 13, 1969. More about Roxcy Bolton.

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Tuesday May 15, 2007

Here’s a zip code map of Miami-Dade. Always seem difficult to find when you need it.

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What's up with the water?

link to water management map

[Last week I disagreed with Carl Hiaasen’s handling of the compensation for wrongful conviction issue, arguing that he should have tackled the general case, not a particular instance. An interesting conversation about the issue ensued: one which could have existed on a much larger scale. Different week, same stink: On Sunday, Hiaasen again missed the point.]

South Florida is experiencing a serious drought. The gap between our fresh groundwater and salty water is tight, and the current Phase II and III restrictions are almost draconian: sub-78° indoor temperatures are banned, farms are restrictions in their crop irrigation, lawns can be watered and cars washed only four hours per week . . . wait a second. We’re close to having dire harm to our water supply (Phase IV = “Permanent or irreversible damage to the water resource,” in case you were wondering) and we’re letting people wash their cars and water their lawns? What’s going on here?

Well, so Carl Hiaasen figured out a solution for us. Too bad that, once again, Hiaasen is wrong all over the place. His solution? Let’s ban building!

One way to gird for the future — and protect families who already live here — would be to impose building moratoriums in those counties where the water shortage is most acute.

This is way too simple and sensible. Moratoriums can’t be enacted unless local leaders are willing to stand up to developers, a rare occurrence indeed. The state is requiring counties to recycle water for nonpotable uses, but that doesn’t curb the liquid appetite of sprawl.

Well, that may work for some message board crank, but when we hear it from a major newspaper’s columnist I feel obligated to point out some flaws in the plan (and make no mistake, “one way to grid the future” aside, this one idea is all he’s got). For starters, Hiaasen appears to have missed the hundreds of condo buildings that are currently and already under construction in Miami. (But that’s probably because he lives 150 miles away, in Vero.) More to the point, what does he have in mind, a border fence of some sort? Sorry, but you can’t stop people from moving where they want to live. It’s proved impossible to prevent people from crossing even national borders when they really want to, and for all the Conch Republic fantasies of Hiaasen’s former life, Florida is not a sovereign nation.

But the hypothesis that overpopulation is the cause of the water shortages has more fundamental flaws. If it were the case, we would expect that the drought would be the worst where population is densest. It’s not. See the South Florida Water Management District’s map (converted to a jpg for your convenience). Note that Broward and Palm Beach currently have Phase III restrictions, while Miami is under Phase II (what’s up with the roman numerals, SFWMD?).

OK, so what’s really going on here? Well, the SFWMD district spells it out pretty clearly: “Too Little Rain = Water Shortages.” You see, the groundwater is part of a cycle. It’s like an underground river. The levels are low because of the lack rain, And while the problem right now is exacerbated by the human population, future water levels will be determined by our future rain, not by our current use, because the groundwater is part of a natural global cycle. I can’t emphasize this point enough, and I ask you to look at the diagram at that link. You saw it in a book when you were a kid, but look at it again.

We’ve had problems with the ground water before, as these data clearly show (but warning, the page loads slowly), and we’ll have them again.* The solution is not to try to ban new people from moving to Florida. The trick is to plan for the shortages better, and take effective steps to lower our water consumption during the crunch. What’s the most effective way to handle that? Some barely enforced restrictions on lawn watering? Give me a break.

All we have to do is get serious about getting the word out. First of all, we should ban all lawn watering. It’s the dry season in the tropics, and grasses are supposed to dry out — it’s the way of nature! Don’t worry, they’ll come back when it starts to rain. Next, put out a serious media campaign to get people saving water. This has been done before, but this time it seems pretty feeble. Tell people to stop running their dish washers half-full, stop taking baths, and stop leaving the water running. If that doesn’t work, how about shutting the water off for an hour or two once a week? Not only will that save some water, but it’ll make these idiots realize that this is serious. Oh, and fixing the @!$% pipes wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Of course a building ban will never happen, so calling for it is so much pissing in the wind. Restricting where development can happen is of course very important, and so far the UDB has been more or less enforced. That means more condos and fewer houses being built, and an increase in density. This is good not just because high-rise dwellers use less water then homeowners, but because of the commensurate improvements in energy use, vehicle use, paved surface area, etc. We can’t keep them out, but we can force them to live smarter. Let’s put aside the foolishness and get to the real answers.

Update: John S. has a great suggestion in the comments: a sliding scale where the price of water for residences roughly doubles for every hundred cubic feet of water used.

* Heck yeah, I went all into the DBHYDRO to pull that stuff up.

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Monday May 14, 2007

Rick does a great homage to a golf course that’s just closed, Raintree. Now if only I had a blogroll, you could go see it.

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Hidden City gets into a car accident with some guys who’re being chased by the police. Hillary Hilarity ensues.

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Last non-muggy gallery hop

Brünte Klaus explains* the work of David Rohn at the Buena Vista Building. We laugh because it’s funny, and we laugh because it’s true.


The Moore Space’s website would have been good enough to let me track down this artist’s name, except that that particular page was broken. Conditions of Display is a serious attempt at an exhibition worthy of this almost-museum space. But it’s organized around the concept of nonstandard display strategies, which prevents the show from really achieving thematic unity. This, along with the fact that most of the pieces are (worthwhile, but still) exercises in artistic detachment, makes for one aloof stroll.


Dumpster across the street from Snitzer/Bruk. Hmm…


Daniel Blair, aka DJ Hottpants, and yes, I did photograph the rest of him. My photstitch software botched the rest of the photos. (Cowboy-font “Friends with You” t-shirt, if you must know.)


The beautiful people at Twenty Twenty, which I’d never been to before (and which doesn’t have a website? has a website (thanks, dig, and speaking of which, more photos at)). A perfectly lovely photo exhibition. Aspiring gallerists take note: art looks better when you have to climb the stairs to see it. See also Spinello, Brook’s original space, and scores of places in NY.


And speaking of New York, Circa 28 is something like to Miami today what Max’s Kansas City was there in the 60’s. I think. Maybe. Or something.

By the way, this all sucks. There was lots of good art, interesting people, and photographable situations, but I couldn’t get it with my officially lousy little camera. I’m working on getting some decent gear, so more of this soon. Oh and hey, did anybody make it to the Goldman warehouse? Anything interesting happen there??

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Saturday May 12, 2007

Total eclipse of the heart Saturday

radioactive ad

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Friday May 11, 2007

Gas will soon cost $4 a gallon, and Oppenheimer can’t wait.

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Interesting discussion at StoP: what’s the best place to live in South Florida. The votes so far are 12 for places in Dade, 1 for Broward.

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The Florida Division of Forestry’s map of existing Florida wildfires (updated daily). Yikes!

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Mom's Weekend

if you could see this you'd see a rose

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Thursday May 10, 2007

Tropical Currents (mp3 link) “Topical Currents looks at the prospects of City of Miami public properties, including Virginia Key and downtown’s Bicentennial Park. The park has been mentioned as a possible site for a Florida Marlins baseball stadium as well a potential “Museum Park Mall.” Virginia Key is on the causeway to Key Biscayne. For years, it was the only black beach and is also home to the abandoned Miami Marine stadium. Of course, there have been commercial proposals, and some advocates insist the City should preserve green space.”

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Another art panel!: “Whatever Happened to the Miami Art Scene?” Tonight at 8 pm at Snitzer. Eugenia Vargas, Brook Dorsch, René Morales, and Alfredo Triff, moderated by Gene Moreno. See the flyer at TnfH.

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Art journalism panel

art journalism panel
Left to right: Me, Joanne Green, Elisa Turner, Omar Sommereyns, Anne Tschida. Photo by Onajídé Shabaka, Miami Art Exchange.

The panel was a riot. Silvia Karmen had this very interesting opening statement that touched on a number of interesting topics that I was looking forward to getting into, but it turned out that the crowd pretty much had one thing on its mind — they want more arts coverage. More coverage overall, more intellectual/critical writing, and better listings. I thought the format was really brave; it allowed audience members to jump in with questions/comments pretty much any time, which lead to a rollicking discussion, with moderators, panelists, and audience members all occasionally fighting to get a word in edgewise (kudos to Claire for stepping in when needed). Anyway, it (the format) ensured that Franklin’s fears were moot — members of the audience were very open with their concerns right from the get-go, and they kept the conversation where they wanted it.

To that end, the consensus was that improvements in arts coverage (both in quantity and in quality) will happen when the editors of our local publications come to believe that there is a strong demand for it. I promised to provide contact information for those editors, and here it is:

Personally, I think that paper letters are most effective, followed by phone calls, followed by e-mail. (Feel free to send me more specific information for these folks, or additional names that we should contact).

One of my suggestions for addressing the lack of arts writing was to call for a community of Miami arts bloggers. Someone asked “how do you get people to start an art blog” or something, and I never got to answer, but here it is: you encourage them. Grab them by the scruff of the neck and yell at them if you have to. There are lots of kids in college who are (a) majoring in journalism but interested in art or (b) majoring in art but interested in journalism or© majoring in something else but interested in both of the above. My message to these kids would be: start the damned blog! It’s easy, and you’ll be doing something that needs doing. There should be a whole range of blogs just about art — you can be completely silly and trivial, completely serious and academic, or anything in between. Compare Wormhole and Modern Art Notes — they couldn’t be more different, yet they both contribute something to the same community.

For their part, the panelists were smart and constructive. The time definitely flew by. I also wanted to say that I did this panel not because of any particular commitment to journalism or art, but because panels are fun, and I wasn’t disappointed. The discussion was great, and I got a chance to meet some very interesting people afterwards, for which I’m very grateful.

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Wednesday May 9, 2007

Relaxin’ or murdered?

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FDOT’s proposed plans for I-395.

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I just noticed this photo of fireworks during the SuperBowl. Same scene during the day.

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Panel homework

In preparation for tonight’s panel, I’m reading and re-reading recent work by my fellow panelists. Here’s what I’ve got:

OK, sorry, I’m getting a little carried away venting my frustrations with these publications’ websites. I’m not addressing the writing; these are obviously all fine writers, I just hate to see good work be put into crappy packages. Anyhow, see you there at 7 pm.

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The smoke’s plans for today are to fade out by the afternoon and then return in the evening. (via TV)

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Tuesday May 8, 2007

Smoke

Smoke from the brushfires today.

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A thought: if today’s high is 78° and the water restrictions make it illegal to set your thermostat any lower then 78,° does that mean that no air conditioner in Miami will even kick on today??

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The origin of the name of Dade County.

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Our pal NicFitKid has escaped from Miami. Godspeed!

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Maibaumfest German Spring Festival

German festival

Oddly enough, this was fun. Most of the music was in German, but here an MC leads, in English, the crowd in a sort of dance. German dancing accommodates being stuffed with beer and wurst by employing mostly simple lumbering and swaying motions. In one, the idea was just to sort of crouch down and stand back up every few bars.

German festival

Dudes in lederhosen perform. This was just as we walked in, so the main appeal was of culture shock. This is way deep in the SW of Miami, mind you. Never did figure out the significance of the wreath hanging from the ceiling and the crown on a pole in the previous picture.

German festival

A sampling of cakes and “Apfelstrudel” (delicious). Not pictured: wurst hotdogs, schnitzel sandwiches, and some serious beer, including light and dark Warsteiner on tap. There was also the typical arts and crafts area.

German festival

Random picture from the trophy case of the German American Club.

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Monday May 7, 2007

The full text of Miami mayor Manny Diaz’ State of the City Address for 2007 is now online.

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Carl Hiaasen has a column about Alan Crotzer, who spent 8 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of rape. He reprehends the Florida state legislature for not compensating him with money ($50,000 per year). My problem Hiaasen with this is that he never generalizes the argument — if he’s going to write about compensation for wrongful conviction, why not argue it should be automatically awarded to everyone?

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I'm on a panel this Wednesday

conversations with miami

Joanne Green of the New Times, Omar Sommereyns of the Sun Post, Anne Tschida, Elisa Turner of the Miami Herald and I will be doing a panel on arts writing in Miami, and media in general, at Locust Projects this Wednesday. Stop by and say hi.

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Artspace at Sailboat Bend

artspace sailboat bend

Artspace is an organization that renovates old industrial buildings and turns them into live/work spaces for artists. They’ve been doing this all over the country since the early 90s; the Tilsner is a good example. Typically they purchase an unused old building with high ceilings, big windows, and lots of potential. They renovate, creating units suited to various functions: painting studios with high ceilings, soundproof units for musicians, sprung floors for dancers, etc., and then lease them to artists for “permanently affordable” rates. Having a large group of artists living and working together in one place is not only good for the artists, but it usually revitalizes the whole neighborhood.

Unfortunately their project in Miami has fizzled out, but they’re building one up in Ft. Lauderdale, here. Unlike their typical projects it’s built from scratch, but it’s in a cool little neighborhood, walking distance from downtown. They’ve set up a website for the space, and it looks like units are going to rent for anywhere from $575 to $1,100 per month (the latter is for 3-bedrooms). The reason I’m writing about this now is that next Tuesday, May 15, there’s going to be a meeting for those interested in living there. It’ll be at Artserve, here, at 5:30 pm. There’s more information at the project’s page on Artspace’s website.

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Saturday May 5, 2007

Ted Saturday

a habanero pepper

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Friday May 4, 2007

Dragonboat weekend

dragonboat

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This Herald article about how the Midtown area is starting to look like a real, walkable city, looked interesting but it was too long and tedious to read. Luckily, Duran was nice enough to pull out the interesting bits. I think I agree that calling it “Midtown” is annoying.

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Thursday May 3, 2007

A state panel has selected four companies to build and operate the Port of Miami tunnel. Against all odds, this project seems to be moving forward. Oh, also, Grimshaw Architects will be doing the Science Museum in Bicentennial Park.

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Bellsouth romantic

bellsouth mailpiece

I got this incredibly pathetic card in the mail from Bellsouth yesterday and I just had to share it. It’s not new — anyone who’s gotten rid of their land line over the last few years has probably seen it, but it’s worth going into anyway. Here’s the slide-show, with my comentary.

All kidding aside, when they say “We promise to be really really good to you from now on,” they are full of shit. I have Bellsouth’s web hosting at work, and recently we’ve had problems with the e-mail. Turns out we were over our drive space quota, which is (wait for it) . . . 500 megabytes. This is for a $19.99/month plan. Dreamhost charges $7.95 for their cheapest plan, and they give you 160 gigabytes. And they increase it automatically every month. Here’s an article about Bellsouth- from two years ago. Since then they’ve been purchased by AT&T, but it’s all the same crap.

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On several highways in Miami-Dade, buses are now allowed to use the shoulder. That’s how you encourage mas transit — get people there in half the time it’d take in a car!

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Holy crap: Part of the water restrictions is that large buildings can’t be any cooler then 78 degrees. That includes office buildings, shopping malls, government buildings, and even the common areas of condominiums. The only thing exempt is homes. Yikes!! (via KaiB)

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Wednesday May 2, 2007

Critical Miami is blocked under AOL’s “safe browsing” software.

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Price gouging (again)

gas Once again, our friends over at Metroblogging are outraged by South Beach gas prices, and throwing around accusations of “price gouging.” I corrected them on this when the same thing happened last year, and got an earful from our friend Biscayne Bystander:

It is illegal in the state of Florida to sell gas below your competitors.

The Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (yes they do exist) does not tolerate price discrimination. Infact, this little known and well organized lobbying group had the Motor Fuel Marketing Practices Act enacted into law in 1985.

With all due respect, “The MFMPA prohibits below-cost selling at retail . . .” does not mean it’s illegal to sell your gas cheaper then the guy down the street. It means it’s illegal to sell your gas for less then what you paid for it. This prevents large retailers from undercutting local competition at a loss to themselves for awhile, until the competition is driven out of business and the big guy gets 100% of the market share.

Let’s say you’re a mom and pop gas station. Actually, nevermind — let’s say you’re a mom and pop doughnut store. I’m a big ghastly doughnut empire, and I move in next door to you. Well, my massive nationwide profits allow me to sell doughnuts for less then it costs me to make them for a few months. All your customers come to me, and after a few months you have to close down. Then I raise my prices back to normal, and I can go about my business without any of your annoying competition. That’s what the law prevents.

Once again: expensive prices ≠ price gouging. Gouging is when prices go up to take advantage of a civil emergency. Expensive is when prices are high because of other factors, like the cost of taxes and insurance on South Beach. I explained all this back in 2005 in the original price gouging article but nobody was reading then.

The gas stations on the beach are for emergencies and for the carelessly rich — everybody else buys their gas on the mainland. (BTW, that photo is from downtown — on the beach it’s much more expensive!)

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Efforts continue to bring Miami to a point of having more stadiums per-capita then any other city in the world. Update: And I hear there’s talk of putting a soccer stadium of all things on Virginia key!

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“And then there are those days when my car is rammed at a stoplight in Opa Locka by two thugs with guns and drugs trying to evade a multi-car police chase.”

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Photos from “Ten Museum Park,” my favorite condo building going up in Miami right now.

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Tuesday May 1, 2007

A big sculpture by Fernand Léger that was installed outside the Miami Art Museum this weekend. It’s solid metal, and a crane was needed to lift it into place.

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10 questions about the drought and water restrictions answered. Lots of good information here.

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Fly Boutique

Fly Boutique

Fly Boutique looks like just another clothing shop on Lincoln Road; it’s only inside that you realize it actually sells vintage clothing. You don’t hunt for fabulous old clothes here — you just grab ‘em off the racks. The owners pick through the stashes at thrift stores and estate sales and whisk the best stuff here. You’ll pay, too: dresses can cost over $100, pants run $40 to $90. And yes, they do have men’s clothes.

Fly Boutique

Most of the charm is in the way the store is decorated. It’s kind of like a crazy aunt’s living room, if your crazy aunt had no closets and an obsession with clothes from the 60/70/80s. There’s a funky couch, a coffee table piled high with fashion magazines, rugs on the terrazzo floor, and funky objects everywhere.

Fly Boutique

A cache of belts. Good grief, who wouldn’t want to be a rock star?

Fly Boutique
650 Lincoln Road
305.604.8508

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