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Friday August 31, 2007

Cover story about NefariousGirl in Citylink this week! Grab the print edition, the online is but a pale shadow. Congrats, NG!

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Labor daze weekend

miners

Tonight

Saturday

Sunday

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Thursday August 30, 2007

I don’t know if anyone besides me cares about this, but CM search results now direct to a page with a regular article list, rather then article titles+an excerpt. I think this makes stuff much easier to find on the site, and bridges the gap between tags and the search function. And since we haven’t done this in awhile, please to use this post as a place to vent other frustrations w/r/t the CM interface.

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Roma Organic Gelato

Chef Mauro is just about the friendliest guy you’ll come across in Mary Brickell Village. He’s a recent transplant from Italia, here to make it big! Everything in his store is 100% organic, including the gelato (available by the kilogram!), sorbet, pastries, and soon espresso. He’ll shower you with tastes of all the flavors the minute you walk in, and tell you all about his little shop. The lights are clouds, and the toy airplanes and balloons are from Italy. “I have a zeppelin on the way!”

I suspect that all gelato is equally delicious (hence the often extravagant decor in these places), but this stuff is organic, so you can tell yourself it’s healthier. As always, I recommend getting a little cup with half of two different flavors. I also recommend setting some time aside to explore this neighborhood, between the Brickell high-rises and the slightly more seedy Tobacco Road neighborhood. There are some great little restaurants around, and the whole area is going to soon be built over, so check it out. Tell Mauro ‘hi’ for me.

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“With a few more words it would have been an appropriate letter of resignation.” – an anonymous commenter on Timoney’s letter of appology.

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Review of The Room, a semi-secret beer connoisseur place on the southern end of the Beach, at the almost impossible to read Still Life with Feet.

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Avery Smith home At Preservation Online, our pal Margaret Foster has a great story about the Avery Smith coral house which was partially demolished earlier this summer. The house was originally built in 1915; the demolished section was added on in 1939. Seemingly against all odds, the fight to save the house goes on. The city’s Historic Preservation Board and Miami-Dade County’s Unsafe Structures Board have both approved the demolition, so now comes an appeal to the city, followed by possible court action. Update: Fixed the link. Also, the article now carries my photo(!) which makes the historical one here obsolete, but nice anyway.

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Wednesday August 29, 2007

Michael Lewis is disturbed by the surveillance cameras that are going up all over downtown. I’m with you, Michael, but as far as the cameras go, I think that battle is lost.

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Ft. Lauderdale is going to supplement it’s eroding beaches with grains of recycled glass. (via MiamiNights)

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Steve goes to Key West. Not a bad place to visit every few years, but I’m thinking more like Christmas time.

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Cesar Pelli's firm sued

carnival center The architecture firm of Cesar Pelli, which designed the Carnival Center, is being sued in California for cost overruns on a performing arts center project there. File under: things that make you go “hmm…” Among the complaints are seats with obstructed sight lines and other things that are clearly design flaws and incompetence (if true), which brings me back to my bemoaning, back in 2005, the selection of Pelli over Rem Koolhaas.

A response from Pelli’s firm:

Because buildings last for a very long time, we have always designed our projects with a long-term perspective. As with the Carnival Center, we designed the Orange County Performing Arts Center for the enjoyment of the children of the community and the generations to come. These issues will sort themselves out over time.

Which to me sounds like they wanted to say: “It’s just money. You expect us to worry about money when we’re building our monuments to the future? How short-sighted and small-minded you non-creative scum can be!”

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Tuesday August 28, 2007

Ian's hurricane Andrew journal

Click to read Click for slideshow.

My friend Ian was publishing a sort of zine around the time of Andrew, and in one issue he transcribed his journal from during and after the storm. His house was in the part of town that got hit really hard, and this is about as good an account of what happened that I’ve seen. I held on to it, and the 15th anniversary of the storm seems like a decent time to share. Click the image above to read. I also have high-resolution scans of the cover and inside pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. I unfortunately lost contact with Ian (don’t even remember his last name), and if anyone reading knows him, please have him get in touch, at the least to let me know if I can leave this up.

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Monday August 27, 2007

Frances Nash rides the Metromover. “‘Please stand clear of the door,’ says the robot voice, as if we’re going to the Magic Kingdom to visit Mickey Mouse. The boys get off and a homeless-looking dude waddles on board. He tries to sell me some palm leaves twisted into roses and grasshoppers. I pretend that I don’t speak English, but he won’t take the hint.”

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New speed-limit enforcement procedures on I-95?

So, this was the scene on I-95 Northbound around 9 am Friday. Notice the Miami-Dade Police cruiser around the middle of the photo above, and the empty stretch of road in front of him? OK, so this guy’s going about 60 or 65 mph. For awhile I was behind him, as were a few other people, sort of contemplating passing him. Then he flashed his lights a couple of times. No idea what that was supposed to mean. I changed lanes, and very slowly crept past him on the right. When I was next to him, he turned on his siren for a couple of seconds.

I looked over, and dude is giving me a “slow down” hand guesture! It’s official: here’s a Miami-Dade cop who’s decided he’s going to single-handedly tame I-95! It’s not his jurisdiction, but of course he can pull anyone over. I backed off, and got back into the huddle. That’s when I took this picture. The scene continued to be pretty crazy. At one point a plumber’s van tried to pass on the cop’s left, and the guy turned on his lights again and actually swerved into the left lane to cut the van off! So there he is, like a herder leading a flock of sheep, which got thicker and longer as it went (maybe the Pied Piper is a better analogy). This went from around I-195 to the 135th street exit, when he got off and the clump dispersed.

I wonder if this is standard policing procedure. I’d think the FHP troopers who patrol here would have something to say about it — average speed on ’95 during this time is about 75, and it seems to work pretty well. The FHP seem happy with this, and they don’t seem to ticket anyone going under 80. Weird.

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Friday August 24, 2007

Andrew: 15 years ago today.

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28-accordion Weekend

Accordion orchestra

Tonight

Saturday

Sunday

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Thursday August 23, 2007

“Two years after the hurricane of 1926 and while Miami was still reeling from the collapse of the great Florida land boom, Al Capone quietly purchased a bay-front home on Palm Island through an associate for $40,000, and spent another $100,000 to turn it into a walled-in fortress watchfully guarded by his ever-present security team of seven stalwart Sicilians.” After defeating legal efforts to have him removed from the state, he began sinking his teeth into the local nightlife and gambling industries. He also retired here after he got out of prison.

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The no-fault law is sunsetting, but yes, you still have to have insurance.

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No idea what this means, but Miami ranks #20 on Forbes best cities for singles list.

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Wednesday August 22, 2007

Miami Beach is not particularly eco-friendly, but things are changing, slowly. They could start by sending someone to fix this water main, still dripping more then a month later.

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Developments in the newspaper business

USA Today vote and comment features Two interesting recent stories that seem to signal what lays ahead for newspapers.

#1: Disappointing early results for USA Today’s adoption of social networking. The USA Today tried what many newspapers are considering: bringing their users much closer to their content by allowing them to create profiles with which to comment, vote on stories to rise to the home page, etc. Take a look: USA Today, and it’s hard to miss.

The problem is that for whatever reason, this is hurting their page views, which have declined 29% over the last year, while the NY Times and Washington Post have held steady. Perhaps this will make other newspapers *cough*hearld*cough* reconsider adopting social networking. It’s of course likely that the the implementation just needs to be tweaked a bit, or even that the decline in USA Today’s readership has nothing to do with the SN features — maybe they’ve just been sucking compared to the competition.

#2: A plan is almost finalized for Tribune to be taken off the stock market, purchased by a private interest: it would be owned by the employees, in a deal organized and financed by a guy named Zell. This seems to fall into the trend I suggested a couple of years ago of not letting newspapers be publicly traded. Maybe. Hopefully it’s not one of the colorful bumps along the way down for the industry. In any case, it’s far from certain whether the deal will go through after all.

#3 (bonus): As many have heard, the NY Times is planning to drop the pay-wall for some of their content. Hooray, but when?

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Tuesday August 21, 2007

So, Rick has been following the case of Miami Police Chief John Timoney and the Lexus SUV he’s had on “loan” from a local car dealership for over a year (without pay), including the pathetic excuses his department came up with when CBS4 called them on it. Well, John, the shit has hit the fan: your boss just told you to give back the car, and called for an ethics investigation. (BTW, in no way does this confirm, I’m sure, my long-standing assertion that all cops are assholes.) Update: He paid for the car. Two contrasting opinions in the Herald today: Ana Menendez is critical of the chief, drawing the comparison to the FTAA protests (see the link to the video in the comments), while the official editorial seems to hold that everything is fine now. Update (8/23): A vote of no-confidence by the police union is scheduled for September 4th. I hope this ends up sinking this asshole.

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One more art thing: you can volunteer to get naked for Spencer Tunick’s project at the Sagamore hotel in October. (via, and more at, Wormhole)

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Advertise! (on the walls of Fredric Snitzer Gallery)

Snitzer walls for rent

Our pal Bert Rodriguez is having his solo show at Snitzer in October, and he’s decided to sell the wall space for advertising. Behold the lavish PDF spec sheet Package.pdf (and really do try to download and check it out — it’s a pretty central component of the project). Now, art has drawn on the world of advertising for decades. What’s interesting about this project is that it takes the idea to a it’s logical extreme.

This is spelled out most clearly in the pricing structure: it’s not cheap. Anyone buying ads in the show will have to mean it, because they’re spending real money on a real ad. It’ll be real interesting to see what ends up in the show — more art-leaning interests? Liquor? Clothing? Obviously Snitzer is a very prestigious location, and I have no doubt of their 5,700 visitors/month (plus media exposure) claims, but this is a highly unusual proposition, and most advertisers like to play it safe most of the time. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

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Problems with the CM main computer; posting will be nonexistent light today.

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Monday August 20, 2007

Hurricane Andrew song

Disturbing Force, Back in ’92. Sure, the song is great. But to not lose sight of the message: that we’re all going to die. Also: lyrics about $26 billion in damage and a 5.2 meter storm surge. (via Awesome-ish)

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Carli Teproff on the little Chinese district along 167th Street. Very interesting, though I wish there were more photos. [Previously, here: Maggie’s Oriental Mart, China tag. ]

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Looks like the website of Fredric Snitzer Gallery is being redesigned in Flash. Please please say it ain’t so!

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The charter review is underway. Video of the task force’s first meeting is up at Miami-Dade’s webcast page (for 8/14/07), and I thought I was going to have to watch it, but luckily, Rebecca Wakefield did the dirty work for us. It’s all a little disappointing: panelists with vested interests, a limited number of topics under consideration, and interesting ideas from citizens given warm dismissals. Lots of interesting information available at the task force’s page.

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Miami globe

Miami globe.

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Saturday August 18, 2007

Mozzarella Saturday

The Korean Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2007

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Friday August 17, 2007

A rundown of bars (not clubs) on South Beach. I’ve really been enjoying Matt Meltzer’s work for Miami Beach 411.

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Stargazer weekend

stars

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Wow: Mayor Carlos Alvarez has ordered Miami-Dade county staff to stop attending commission budget meetings because he didn’t like the way the commission was treating them. “The fuse apparently was lit Thursday morning, when commissioners on the Airport and Tourism Committee grilled administration staff over the dissolution of the county’s communications department and the reassignment of its employees to other offices.” Just wow.

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Whatever else we may take away from the recent CG Playhouse post, we learned that the South Florida theater scene has a blog(!): South Florida Theatre Scene. Three months of archives, nine (count ‘em) contributors, and no silly “blogroll” (whatever that is). Good job guys! (But note: you’re spelling “theater” wrong.)

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Thursday August 16, 2007

R.I.P. Max Roach.

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Not your new State of Florida regulations regarding cellphone usage and other driving matters

Ahh . . . I saw this on another blog (forget which) and wanted to do a post about it, but turns out it’s a hoax. Bummer. But let’s post it anyway:

These are new fines that were implemented on 8/1/07 for the State of Florida:

  • As of 08/01/07 cell phone use must be “hands free” while driving. Ticket is $285. They will be looking for this like crazy – easy money for police department.
  • Cell phone use in the construction zone. – Double fine as of 08/01/07. Cell phone use must be “hands free” while driving.
  • Carpool lane – 1st time $1,068.50 starting 8/1/07 (The $271 posted on the highway is old). Don’t do it again because 2nd time is going to be double, 3rd time triple and 4th time license suspended.
  • Incorrect lane change – $380. Don’t cross the lane on solid lines or intersections. Block intersection – $485.
  • Driving on the shoulder – $450.
  • Passengers over 18 not in their seatbelts – both passengers and drivers get tickets.
  • Speeders can only drive 3 miles above the limit.
  • DUI (Driving under Influence=JAIL and stays on your driving record for 10 years!)

And hey people, when you get an e-mail on something, please Google it before blogging it. Remember — 92% of all forwarded e-mails are bogus.

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10 good cheap restaurants at Daily Candy. I’m concerned that lots of stuff on DC is paid advetorial, but this list looks pretty good to me.

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Let's cut the Coconut Grove Playhouse some slack

coconut grove playhouse Miraculously, the Coconut Grove Playhouse appears to be on a slow road back to solvency. A foreclosure was avoided yesterday, and many of the major debts are repaid, including all the back-pay owed the former employees and actors. But:

Money owed to Actors’ Equity for salaries, pension and health insurance has been repaid, but because there are penalties outstanding, the theater and Mittelman remain on the union’s default list — meaning no Equity actor or stage manager can work at the theater until that debt is eliminated.

I say it’s time for Actors’ Equity to cut the playhouse some slack. “Promoting the theater arts” is central to AE’s stated mission, and with regional theaters all over the country struggling and/or closing, here’s their chance to put their money where their mouth is. If they drop their fines, they forgo some potential profit, but they help hasten a theater back to its feet, where it can employ their members again. The playhouse is doing the right thing, and a show of confidence from AE would be a welcome gesture. If you agree, let them know: here’s their contact page, and here’s a sample message you might send; feel free to cut-n-paste and modify to your liking:

As a theater fan in Miami, I support the Coconut Grove Playhouse. The playhouse has been struggling to pay off its obligations and reopen, and it has paid everything it owed to your members. Yet it remains on your organization’s default list because of unpaid fines for shortfalls during its most troubled period. Please help the Coconut Grove Playhouse get back on its feet — and begin to employ your members — by forgiving its outstanding debts to your organization. You’ll be helping to strengthen the theater scene in Miami, and sending a positive message of encouragement.

Photo by ImageMD.

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baylink The Baylink monorail idea that MVB has been pushing forever get some “hard numbers” applied to it. Still pretty fanciful, but I agree that some version of this should be built.

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“We are thinking about appealing the board’s decision [to allow the demolition of the coral house] to the special master for the Historic Preservation Board. But, we’re consulting with other historic preservationists first.” — an attorney for Mitch Novick.

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Wednesday August 15, 2007

After more then a decade and a billion dollars, the new terminal at MIA is going to open August 29th.

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Jonathan’s got a nice photo taken from the Virginia Key bridge. Left to right: Port of Miami, South Beach (tall buildings), Fisher Island (squatter buildings), Virginia Key Beach Park, and the Pusty Relican. The water is the Biscayne Bay aquatic preserve. Don’t miss the link to the big version. Compare also the google map view (the view is roughly East-Northeast).

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Dean veering south . . . things looking okay for now, with maybe some serious rain around this time next week.

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What's up with Cypress mulch?

cypress mulch

Environmentalists are up in arms about Cypress mulch. They say coastal Cypress forests are being wiped out to produce it, endangering humans while clearing old-growth forests (yes, the video trots out images of Katrina-devastated New Orleans). Meanwhile, the stores selling the mulch claim that the mulch is created from the parts of trees that can’t be used for lumber, that the trees would be cut down anyway, and that regardless the logging is being done in a sustainable fashion.

Unfortunately, neither side has much credibility. Let’s try to sort this out. A recent AP article on the issue notes that the drop in area of Cypress forests is probably a result of changes in mapping techniques. That can be read to mean that they don’t know whether the forests are contracting (hey, nice work there, forestry dudes). Florida Today has a good article, which noted that most of the good Cypress was cut down over a hundred years ago anyway (go read — it’s the best overview of the issue).

The commonsense presumption is that if loggers are planting Cypress as fast as they’re cutting them down, everything should be fine (this could be ensured, btw, by strictly limiting the area they’re allowed to log). Are they? This strikes me as a good opportunity for an enterprising young journalist — we need some real answers.

I did my own investigation down at Home Depot, and sure enough, Cypress mulch is cheaper then other options. $1.67 gets you a 2-cubic-foot bag, vs. $2 for “Red Mulch,” $2.57 for Pine Bark nugget mulch, $2.95 for Eucalyptus mulch, $4.99 for fancy chemical-treated stuff. The Eucalyptus stuff makes pretty strong “Environmentally friendly / produced from plantation growth,” claims. If you’re covering 100 square feet, it’ll cost you an extra $12 over the Cypress stuff, so if you’re concerned about the environment it shouldn’t be a big deal to error on the side of caution. Real answers would be welcome, however.

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Bob Norman on the edited Herald letter. Don’t miss the comments.

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2 Live Looks gets the grand profile treatment from the Herald’s Jaweed Kaleem, including photos of the guys in action and a narrated slideshow. Congrats. (Oh, and I get quoted.)

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Tuesday August 14, 2007

Kiss the coral house goodbye: demolition has been approved.

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August gallery hop

August art hop

Mike Taylor Animal Science. This thing spins, and has multiple images painted on several panels, all in a space separated from the gallery with old sheets. It won me over. The rest of the show? Not so much.

August art hop

Next door at the Buena Vista Building, Skip Van Cel’s installation (69 mattresses acquired from a closing hotel), Now lie in it. No thanks, but impressive anyway.

August art hop

Downstairs, some sort of cute interactive activity involving painting and photography.

August art hop

Jetting to Wynwood. Target left, empty condos right (um, audience-right, not stage-right).

August art hop

Tom Scicluna’s Mast at Twenty Twenty Projects. A sailboat mast traversing the gallery. You were expecting something more?

August art hop

Check out the shoes on John Hancock’s keyboardist. John realized he couldn’t compete and kicked off his Reeboks.

August art hop

I liked this piece from Ralph Provisero’s show at Dorsch.

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There are problems with city-wide broadband in cities that led the way with it such as Philadelphia, and they’re trickling down to Miami-Dade, where the idea is little more then a glimmer in Carlos Alvarez’s eye. Increased projected costs, unforeseen obstacles, and the departure of a key employee.

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Monday August 13, 2007

dean

5am Monday

dean

5am Tuesday

A little early, but pleased to meet Tropical depression four, possibly to become Hurricane Dean at some point. Far away, but that curve sure looks like it’s feeling lucky. Update: 5 pm advisory: “The depression is moving quickly toward the west near 20 mph…and This general motion is expected to continue during the next 24 Hours. Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph…55 km/hr…with higher Gusts. Some strengthening is forecast…and the depression could Become a tropical storm tonight or on tuesday.” Update (8/13, 11pm): Far be it from me to alarm anyone, but the 5pm map and the 11 pm advisory both have this shit edging ever so farther towards a direct line with us. You can now see this sucker in the lower right of the satellite map on CM’s home page.

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Miami Nights’ review of M.I.A.‘s Kala. I too have been listening to it non-stop, and loving it. I thought Bird Flu and Boyz were great, and they sound much better on the album then on crappy YouTube stream.

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C.L. Jahn calls for the refreshment bar in Bicentennial Park to be re-opened. Not a bad idea: while we wait for the museums, couldn’t we have some security guards and some re-opened facilities there?

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Somewhat relevant to our discussion about beating the heat, the Herald profiles the Hash House Harriers. “Not runners with a drinking problem, but drinkers with a running problem.” Turns out that running and drinking is a global thing. The lesson is clear: you gain more hydration from drinking beer then you loose through the alcohol. (thanks Steve)

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A car crash I witnessed

car crash diagram

Going home on Friday around 7:20 pm, I was right behind another car that got hit in this intersection in Hollywood. One person was pretty badly hurt, and I ended up talking to the police about it. Here’s what happened.

First of all, all the streets in the diagram are one-way. Tyler is three lanes Westbound, of which the leftmost lane is a turn-only lane onto Dixie Highway. Dixie and N. 21st Ave are 3 lanes each, respectively Southbound and Northbound, bisected by railroad tracks. The group of cars on Tyler were all standing at a red light. Car [A] is the car that got hit, a Mercury Grand Marquis or some similar big 4-door 90s American car, [B] is me, © is a bus, [D] is the other car that witnessed the crash and stopped. We’re all standing at a red light, and when it turned green, we all went. Because of the size of the intersection, it’s not uncommon for cars to get into the turning lane and change to the center lane to continue along Tyler, and that’s what both [A] and [B] did. At this point, I’m just about to the railroad tracks, and I see car [E] zipping down Dixie Highway. [A] saw him too, and swerved left before the hit, but it was too late.

The front driver’s side corner of car [E] hit the front passenger-side door of car [A], which then hit a cinder-block wall between the sidewalk and front lot of the building on the Southwest corner. [B] and [D] pulled into the parking lot right next to that.

I got out of my car and saw that the lady in car [D] was already calling 911. There were three people in car [A], and the lady in the passenger seat looked hurt, and in serious pain. Several panicked moments ensued wherein the lady calling 911 was being asked a million questions about the situation, and the other people in the car were yelling trying to speed things along, though of course the ambulance had already been dispatched. First they were saying she couldn’t breathe, then that she was having trouble breathing. With her door busted in and up against the wall, the only way to get to her was through the driver’s side door, and there was obviously very little anyone on the scene could do to help her. Soon one police officer got there, followed shortly by the ambulance.

This was perhaps the most uncomfortable few moments of the whole thing, because the paramedics don’t really have any magic, and things are not instantly better when they’re there (although their presence makes a big psychological difference). They got in the car and checked the lady’s vital signs and asked her some questions to try to figure out her situation before moving her. Eventually they put a neck brace on her and carefully got her onto a stretcher and got out of there, along with the two guys from her car. After that the police interviewed me and the two people in car [D], got our information, and let us go. Before I left, I walked over the the guy from car [E] to see if he was OK, and got out of there. But something tells me this isn’t the last I’m going to be hearing about this.

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Michael Tilson Thomas has been doing a radio program, The MTT Files, which spotlights trends in the history of music. The first one, You Call That Music?!, is particularly interesting. They’re broadcast on WLRN’s digital substation, but are also available at the link, unfortunately only as streams, not mp3 downloads.

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Saturday August 11, 2007

Artificial Saturday

whisper

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Friday August 10, 2007

The courts put the breaks a little bit on the transformation of the banks of the Miami River from industrial to residential high-rise. At the least, the city needs to do some planning on the area before making drastic re-zonings. Miami 21?

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Local hero Fanless is next on the list to be serial-killed.

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Washout weekend

rain

Actually, who knows? Yesterday they were repeating 70% rain chance all weekend, now it’s down to 60%, and judging by recent performance, what we may have is a couple of isolated showers and beautiful weather otherwise. Not much happening anyway:

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Edited Herald letter

Herald Watch got a hold of a letter to the editor sent to the Herald and compared it to the published version. The letter is by former Herald journalist Paul Crespo, one of the subjects of Oscar Corral’s Radio Marti story. The strikeout text was deleted from the version published, underlined text was added. Interesting:

Reporter arrested / I was amazed -- but not surprised -- by your coverage of the arrest of Miami Herald reporter Oscar Corral. As the self-styled arbiter of ethics in Miami, The Miami Herald is displaying its own lack of ethics and professionalism in this case. In contrast to your front-page coverage of several Cuban-American journalists (including me) in 2006, your microscopic coverage of Corral's recent arrest for allegedly soliciting a prostitute was hidden on page three of the Metro section. / Regarding the front-page story by Corral about our freelancing for TV Marti, your own ombudsman, Clark Hoyt, found numerous flaws in Corral's reporting. Among the many critiques in his report on Corral's article, Hoyt stated that the story's ''hard and accusatory tone and the large and breathless headline suggested something more sinister than the story actually reported.'' What a difference between your piece against us and this minimal coverage of your reporter who wrote it. -- PAUL CRESPO, Coral Gables

What happened here? Well, they haven’t made it sound like Paul is saying anything he didn’t say. They’ve selected one particular point he made and deleted the material that’s tangential to that point. In the process, much of the anger obvious in the original has been sapped. There’s no question that the Herald editors have the right to do this. The question becomes, again, what should newspapers do differently in light of the internet?

A commenter on HW says: “On the web, there is little space limitation. They could have at least published the full version online.” More interestingly, they could publish both versions online, and let us see the edits. Such radical transparency seems to be the direction the internet is pushing all business, and it’s not ironic that newspapers are getting pushed in this direction, too. It will be interesting to see how long they fight this, and to what extent they are willing and able to change.

In the meantime, let’s have more of this. CC Conductor on letters you send to the Herald, and maybe these sorts of revision-revealed letters will become a regular feature.

[Accessibility note: the edited version of the letter is in the image’s alt-text. The original version is here.]

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Huge warehouse fire in downtown yesterday morning.

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Thursday August 9, 2007

TNfH points out that the videos from Optic Nerve are available on uVu, Channel 2’s video site. Unfortunately they’re not categorized yet: type “Optic Nerve” in the search box to get them. Also, Gesai Miami is accepting applications for an exhibition during Art Basel.

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How to survive a shark attack

“Shark’s teeth face inward, so when a shark doesn’t let go or wiggles its head and the person tries to pull away from the shark, that tissue just gets ripped right out. There are not that many predators under the water that could inflict a bite this size, this extensive.” — Dr. Randy Miller, who performed surgery on a lady who got bitten by a shark on Tuesday.

OK, this happened in the keys, and for whatever reason attacks are much more common there and on the west coast of Florida then on our nice beaches. I direct you to Camilo’s guide to sharks and the nerve-calming links at this post. We can also get some to-the-rescue from a pair of WikiHow articles: Prevent a shark attack and Survive a shark attack. (Short version: punch it in the eyes and gills.) Swim easy.

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Wednesday August 8, 2007

Demonstration to save the coral house

Coral house

Margaret sent this along (here is her photo set of the coral house):

Location: 900 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida 33139

On Wednesday, August 8, 2007 at 6:00PM, historic preservationists and residents of Miami Beach will demonstrate and picket to urge the City of Miami Beach to save the historic Coral Rock House and Mediterranean Revival Apartment Building in the Miami Beach Architectural Historic District from demolition.

This was the same 1916 historic coral rock house that was partially demolished last month in spite of the June 15, 2007 Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board order to make a good faith effort to restore the historic building.

Next week, on Tuesday, August 14, the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board will consider a petition for rehearing concerning the demolition and the request of a neighboring preservationist to penalize the property owner for acting in bad faith and causing the demolition to occur because of the owner’s own neglect of the historic coral rock structure. The petition is additionally seeking the reversal of the order allowing the demolition of a historic Mediterranean Revival Apartment Building also on the site.

An April 6, 2006, a letter from the City Manager documented the refusal of the coral rock house owner to allow city inspections that would have unearthed the cause of the sudden deterioration of the structure which had led to a court order allowing the demolition. With the demolition, possible evidence of “demolition by neglect” was destroyed which could lead to an inference that the premature demolition covered up the owner’s contributory negligence leading to the demolition of the coral rock house.

Update: Coverage in the Herald, along with some of the politics behind the house. The historic preservation board will vote next Tuesday on an appeal to the demolition order.

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Welcome additions at Publix: an aisle directory (never understood why they got ride of these) and reusable bags for $1.49 a pop. Update: Meanwhile, trouble for someone who brought their own bags to Publix.

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The Herald argues that the HUD takeover of Miami-Dade County’s Housing Agency is unjustified, because the agency was in the process of mending its ways. Of course the sentiment that it’s quite well justified will persist. More here.

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Barack Obama is coming to Miami

Barack Obama rally

Saturday, August 25th, Barack Obama will be in town, and you can get tickets to go see him speak at the Miami-Dade Democratic Party website. This isn’t a blog about national politics, but I feel compelled to say that Democrats, at least, should seriously consider going to see him. I’ll explain why as briefly as possible.

Barring some unforeseeable event that would give a Republican a chance, the next president will be either Obama or Hillary Clinton. Either one would make a good president in terms of policy, but I think Obama would be a much better leader for the country in terms of someone we have to listen to/see all the time. In a word, it’s all about sincerity. (This is something of a circular concept, because for a politician being “sincere” often means appearing sincere, but let’s let that go.) I think even opponents of Obama and even supporters of Clinton would agree that he is more sincere then she is. To me, that makes him the better choice for president.

That would be enough reason to go see him, but there’s something else. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Clinton has the edge in the race. If things go the way they look like they’re going to go right now, she’s the next president. But for now, it still very much could go either way. So you have maybe the last chance ever to see Obama talk while he (and everyone else) believes that he may well be the next president. If the reports of his oratorical powers are to be believed, this is an opportunity not to be missed. Also, insofar as his slimming chance is still substantial, your attendance (and $30 ticket price) is helping push things his way.

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Tuesday August 7, 2007

Celeste Fraser Delgado profiles Mark Buckley and his pet rooster Mr. Clucky. Mr. Clucky has previously been featured in the New Times, has his own MySpace page, and has been photographed by Miami Fever. That’s quite the celebrity cock.

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I noticed the “Herald reporter charged with soliciting prostitute” headline in my RSS this morning but wasn’t interested enough to click. So it turns out the reporter in question is none other then Oscar Corral, which has all the internets in a frenzy. Also, whether he remembers or not, Rick got ‘schadenfreude’ from me.

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So, the Herald got a phone call from Sacramento the other day, and they were all like, “yeah, the McClatchy call centers, that’s what we said,” and the big guy on the other end of the line was all “uh-uh — they’re ‘McClatchy Call Centers,’ and you’re running a correction on this,” and they’re all like “that’s ridiculous, we’re not doing that,” and . . . well, here.

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Tips for dealing with the summer heat

the sun

The Herald has tips for dealing with the summer heat. Don’t bother — it’s the usual stuff. Here’s some real advice (the comments are for what I’ve missed):

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“We already received testimony that the White House was very upset with Mr. Proenza raising concerns about the possible loss of the QuikScat satellite before a replacement had been developed.” — Texas congressman Nick Lampson. Proenza is still employed by the NOAA, who’s deciding what to do with him. Lampson and others want him to be made head of National Weather Service’s southern region, which doesn’t sound like such a good idea to me.

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Yikes!: Gus and Michelle bought themselves a kayak, and on their maiden voyage were attacked startled by a 7-food crocodile. A pants-browning experience.

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Monday August 6, 2007

Miami Spice: let the bullshit begin. Fuck you, Sushi Samba. Update: Lukewarm review of another MS experience, at $83/person. Enough to make a person long for good cheap food any day. Update: I was about to link to another review but I see that Rick is rounding these up. I’ve talked to a few people and read a few of these online reviews and have yet to hear a single MS report that’s more then “good.” And as Blind Mind says, “good doesn’t really cut it anymore.” Duh — especially when you’re spending $50 – 100 per person.

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MIA approach: slideshow

Home Page

Back in April on returning from Bogotá, I snapped a series of pictures from the plane flying in to Miami International Airport. Here they are, annotated.

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Saturday August 4, 2007

Riot Saturday

AES+F Last Riot

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Friday August 3, 2007

Good evening. Please note that Miami Nights now has an RSS feed. Thank you, gentlemen.

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Bicycle renting stations from around the globe. I appreciate the sentiment, but this would never work in Miami. If you think so, make me a map of where you would put the rental stations. The distances are simply too great, even putting aside the obvious weather issues. Riding a bike is great exercise, and a really good way to get to know your neighborhood, but as transportation it just stinks. On the other hand, bike + public buses seems promising. But for that you need your own bike, because by nature the bike rental stations will be sparser then bus stops.

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Sunset.

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“Miami has a big stigma attached to it among cultural circles in Cuba. Mainly because of the lack of cultural options compared with any of those cities plus it’s seen as a place where the worst of Cuban idiosyncrasies reign -the loudness, the tackiness, the flashiness, the braggadocio, the gold-chains-and-undershirt set and also the intolerant politics.” — Alex.

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No air supply Weekend

a picture to make children cry

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Thursday August 2, 2007

Super Shuttle lane hogs

supper shuttle

Here’s the Supper Shuttle, hogging the left lane on I-95. This happens all the time — approximately half the SS vans I see ride in the left lane, slow, and don’t move over to let anyone by. This particular idiot doesn’t even have anything to gain: the car way ahead of him in the next lane over is actually going faster then him.

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plane

Click the picture. It’s Florida. Now zoom all the way in. This is a plane that crashed 26 years ago.

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“You’d think I would have 5-10 therapists in my phone (or in 3 out of 5 spaces in my T-Mobile MyFaves™), since I’m a nutcase, but I eschew traditional therapy and prefer to self medicate with German pornography and dull razors.” — God loves Lackner.

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http://clubspiderpussy.wordpress.com/ Here’s a post on the cheap: weekly pictures of people in a club.

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What's up with Miami Spice?

Miami Spice website

Miami Spice gets way more gushing then it deserves. For $35, you get an appetizer, a main course, and dessert. Drinks and tip (“Base the gratuity on what full price would have been, not on the actual check.”) are extra. It runs August and September. Basically, this is a great deal if you’re a Fat American who (1) always orders appetizer and dessert, (2) likes going to posh restaurants, and (3) doesn’t much care what you eat there.

If you’re the coupon-clipping type, this means that you’ll probably eat out more in the next two months then you do the rest of the year. More power to you, but this is not the approach to life that I’m advocating. Part of the fun of eating out is reading the menu, and eating exactly what you’re in the mood for. That’s out the window. Restaurant portions are generous, and if you’re not full after a regular meal, you need to evaluate your appetite (and probably your waist size). Dessert should be split with a date. Also: you’re not saving money. Even if you drink nothing but tap water, you’ll be spending close to $50 per person (if you followed the tipping rule above). For just a few bucks more, you can eat like a normal person — a menu, a plate of food, and a glass of wine, and not have to check the scheduled days and meals when “the deal” applies.

Basically, this is a cheap (where “cheap = “inexpensive”) stunt by the restaurants to drum up publicity. Take the slowest months of the year, throw together a fancy website, send out some PR, and wham — you get “an event” that gets some traffic. A whole mess of sponsors kick in money and advertising help. Everybody wins.

Sure, some of these restaurants are outrageously expensive, and you could potentially get a great deal. Just weigh that against the possibility that Miami Spice customers have been snubbed in years past. I recommend you to go out and eat at nice places throughout the year, as the mood strikes you. Dress well, order what you want (the more expensive things on the menu are usually worth it), splurge on wine and coffee, tip generously, and generally live large for a night. Put it all on a credit card. When it’s paid off, repeat. You’ll be happier in the long run.

Update: The Herald article hilariously gives the [non-clickable] website as “ilove miamispice.com” — you guys are just messing with me now, right?

Update: Of the great minds please us to be thinking similarly.

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Wednesday August 1, 2007

Images of One Bayfront Plaza, a stunning (and huge) office building that will be built at this site sometime in the next decade. (via TransitMiami)

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Design tweaks at the miamiherald.com

herald menu

Click over to any news story at miamiherald.com, and you get this groovy new menu bar. This is the same design I complained about on the Carnival Center’s website last year. These are not too difficult to use but please Herald — can’t we have drop-down menus? You know, like we use on all of our software every day? Yes, I know they block a portion of your content, but when we’re on the menu we’re not looking at the content. Trust me — you’d make life much easier for all your users, especially the less computer-savvy ones.

That said, I really like the feature. I can jump to whatever section I need with one click, and scrolling through the menus gives a good overview of the site’s structure. Which leads me to the next logical question: why not on the home page? All usually I want from the Herald’s home page is to get to the local news in one click, and I’ve never been able to do that. Why, Herald, why? Why does the “News” link in the left column menu have sub-links for “Hurricane 2007” and “Obituaries” but nothing else? Hopefully you’re just trying it out, and then will migrate it to the home page. I like that idea of rolling out interface changes bit by bit, rather then doing a grand all-at-once “redesign.”

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