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Wednesday October 31, 2007

Two more roosters found!

william burroughswilliam burroughs

Muchas gracias to Suzy of MB411 for sending these photos over. She says: “I found you some more cocks! These aren’t Cuban though…I found each of them outside of Nicaraguan establishments! The first one is on Flagler and NW 16th Ave and the second is on SW 2nd ST and 8th Ave.”

Perfect. I’d say that we now have enough material to get a tag up: cocks. And while careful examination of the shapes suggests that not all the photos are originate from the Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust program, clearly there is a family resemblance. So . . . does anyone have any more cock pictures?

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Noel’s rainbow, from this morning. It was gone by 10 am.

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The Haloween library pumpkin letters

Click to read Click for slideshow.

Someone has been planting a pumpkin on the spire of the North Miami Public Library every Halloween night for the last 37 years(!), accompanied by peculiar, rhymed, letters. Full of bad poetry and bizarre references, and signed by “Coxie’s Army,” the letters claim that the act somehow protects the library. The Herald has a story, along with a pdf of 25 of the letters. Here they are for your easy reading (click above). Actually, the letters are at least as interesting visually as they are to read — full of graphic elements, “redacted” sections, and odd symbols. Viva la pumpkin!

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Tuesday October 30, 2007

“The problem is that people who hang out in Broward tend to blind themselves to the complete bullshit that is that county. They manage to convince themselves, through a careful concoction of Goldschlager, Jaegermeister and Zombienation, that Ft. Lauderdale beach is a real beach, Galleria is good for something other than champagne-drunk Neiman Marcus binges, and the Swap Shop is as good of a place as any to meet a special lady.” — Lackner.

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Miami Skylift

Miami Skylift

The Miami Skylift, which, when it opens, will take people on a 15-minute, $15 dollar, 500-foot high tethered balloon “ride” in Bayfront Park. (Here is the rendering of the balloon in operation, and here is the discussion of whether there’ll be anything worth looking up there.) It’s opening in “Fall 2007,” which means “sometime soon, we really don’t know.” Seems like something worth trying once. But I was interested to learn that there is a degree of controversy about the location, the Mildred and Claude Pepper Fountain, designed by the Japanese artist Isamu Noguchi in the late 80s as part of a reworking of Bayfront Park. Michael Lewis laments the decision to shut down the fountain, and provides some history:

Selling the city’s front door to a carnival ride so that the Bayfront Park Management Trust can collect $270,000 a year rent plus a share of ticket and advertising revenues to support the park’s operations reinforces Miami’s pennywise, pound-foolish history. . . .

Designed by world-famous sculptor and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi, the turbulent eye-catcher offered a fantastic computerized show of water plumes — until the city discovered that while it could afford to build the fountain, it hadn’t figured on the cost to operate it, a failure repeated at the nearby Carnival Center for the Performing Arts 15 years later. . . .

To keep water flowing day and night, the trust was told, would cost $544,000 a year, $350,000 more than the total of park revenue from rentals and the paltry $50,000 the chintzy city itself was willing to provide. Even to run the fountain just four hours a day, the trust was told, would cost $61,000 more than the trust could amass. . . .

To save $61,000 a year, the city destroyed the memorial to Claude Pepper, a giant who served Miami for more than 40 years in Congress. It ruined the $20 million Bayfront Park plan by design genius Isamu Noguchi to create a waterfront focal point.

Now the hulk is being commercialized and carnivalized.

Here is a photo of the fountain from the park’s website, obviously in its less glorious, more recent days. (Also, note word: ‘carnivalized’.)

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Monday October 29, 2007

cone noel

Dadies and lentlemen, no doubt you will be glad to find yourself back inside the snug cone of possibilities (click for kewl animation). ETA for peak of whatever weather’s coming to us is Wednesday afternoon, but note that I took the bike out a few minutes ago and was able to go a few blocks westward without pedaling, under wind power alone.

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Miami from the Venetian Causeway.

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Michael Hardy, CEO of the Carnival Center, has been fired and replaced with Lawrence J.Wilker.

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Found: another one of the cocks, at Miami’s famous Firehouse Four.

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The Jeff Weinsier incident

Jeff Weinsier gets arrested Last week, Channel 10 reporter Jeff Weinsier was arrested in front of Miami Central Senior High. By now everyone knows what happened, but let’s recap: 1) Weinsier and his cameraman, while shooting from the sidewalk, are ordered, and more or less forced, by police to go across the street; 2) Weinsier calls his station, who calls the police department, and they’re “given permission” to go back; 3) upon returning to the sidewalk on the school’s side, another confrontation with the police ensues, and Weinsier is arrested; 4) upon being searched, he is found to be carrying a concealed weapon, which is illegal on school grounds.

Well, WPLG 10 has now released the raw video of the incident, and C.L. Jahn breaks it down. C.L. Points out the obvious — that the video doesn’t show Weinsier ever setting foot on the school’s property. This misses the rather obvious point that we don’t know what happened before the camera started rolling. Video footage and photography are like that: our brain is tricked into thinking we’re seeing all there is to see. It’s completely possible that Weinsier was standing on the grass before the video we see was shot. And if he wasn’t, the police can certainly claim so, which may give some legal standing to their “lawful order” for him to stay across the street.

The law here is murky: schools are surrounded by a 500 foot “school safety zone,” and in some regards this zone is considered an extension of school grounds. Carlos Miller addresses the various laws that come into play here and here. It seems clear that Weinsier violated the law by carrying the gun near a school. But if that’s the only thing he ends up guilty of, it may very well overshadow the much larger issue: whether the police were right in ordering him off the sidewalk, and in arresting him. Carlos says:

According to Florida Statute 810.0975, which defines trespassing in “school safety zones”, a person is committing an unlawful act if he loiters in the school safety zone, but “does not have legitimate business in the school safety zone”.

The emphasis is his, and with good reason: a possible hinge-point is whether television reporting constitutes “legitimate business.” The common-sense answer would be ‘yes,’ but of course common sense is irrelevant. What’s relevant is how all the various facts of the case, and the relevant laws, are going to be interperted here. If the officer had a legitimate reason for ordering the reporters to leave (despite the fact that he doesn’t give one on camera, he of course had a reason — TV reporters file reports from schools all the time with no trouble), does disobeying the order actually constitute trespassing? Will they continue to insist that Weinsier stepped on the grass? Is it legally relevant that the Police Department’s own Public Information Officer told the station that it was OK for Weinsier to be on the sidewalk?

Perhaps most important: will the WPLG stick up for their reporter, and fight this case hard? On Friday, the station suspended Weinsier for two weeks for carrying the concealed weapon, a violation of their company policy. Fine; they may just be erring on the side of caution in preparation for the fight to come. But barring more information, this is a clear first-amendment issue, and the station — we all — need to pursue it to make sure it’s resolved properly. If the police were not right, there needs to be a major counter-suit. And remember: if the only charge that sticks is the concealed weapons violation, the police were wrong. In this case, that constitutes a technicality, because it wasn’t discovered until after the arrest. We’ve all seen how well police reports can spin police behavior even when it is obviously and clearly wrong. Let’s not stand for that this time around.

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Sunday October 28, 2007

Tropical depression 16

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a cone. Tropical depression sixteen, on the verge of becoming a tropical storm. Update: Hope you didn’t get too exited there — the map as of 2pm has it turning Northeast. Upgraded to tropical storm Noel.

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Saturday October 27, 2007

Port-au-Prince Saturday

haiti

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Friday October 26, 2007

I think this might be Halloween weekend

halloween pumpkins

Halloween is next Wednesday, so I guess a certain amount of the related celebrationing is to fall on this weekend. Not any of the particularly emphatic celebrationing, I doubt, but there seems to be a lot of stuff for kids. I haven’t got the interest to try to distill it, so just check the top of SunPost’s Calendar.

Tonight

Saturday

Sunday

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Thursday October 25, 2007

Bill Citara’s hilariously negative review of Cancun Grill in Miami Lakes. “Chicken mole is a disaster — a thin slab of rock-hard breast immersed in a sauce so insipid and one-dimensional it strips the olé from mole with a single bite.” Related: The best Mexican in Miami (hint: not a restaurant).

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Sunset, Washington Ave.

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James Wilkins has a few pictures and some commentary on the new Hollywood ArtsPark (btw, I work across the street from this park).

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Boyton Beach police to reporters: shave your heads and we’ll give you special scoops. Did I miss a memo about this officially being a police state?

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“Salazar tried to maneuver sideways, but there was no avoiding the collision. When he hit, his bike flew over the truck — 10 meters, he says — and crashed on the other side, breaking in two. He went under the SUV as dozens of bikes behind him plowed into it and bounced off each other like birds in a turbine.” — Crazy SUV vs. bicycle pack accident. Please, people, watch out for the cyclists.

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Wednesday October 24, 2007

Great documentary about the sugar industry. Stuff about Florida is mixed in throughout, though the fucked up Haiti/Dominican Republic situation steals the show. Update: The link is fixed.

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Large load.

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Jeff Weinsier, a reporter for Channel 10 news, was arrested for “trespassing” while standing on the sidewalk in front of Miami Central High. After the arrest, police found a gun on him, so charged him with possession of a firearm on school property. Police say he had previously stepped on the grass, but the video clearly shows them arresting him on the sidewalk (“which is usually considered public property,” as the report incredulously puts it) after he refuses to cross the street. (Via Carlos Miller, who unpacks some of the law around this.)

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Tuesday October 23, 2007

Fishing, Haulover Beach.

Dusktime fishing, Haulover Beach.

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How to ride public transportation to work

Public transportation is slow, inconvenient, and uncomfortable. For anyone in Miami with a car, it’s usually an unthinkable alternative for commuting to work. Between figuring out how to get to the bus station, waiting for a bus, the long ride, and (god forbid) transfers, this is an option most of us dismiss out of hand, despite a vague awareness that riding the bus is somehow socially responsible.

But the solution is surprisingly simple. You throw a bicycle into the equation, and a lot of the problems go away. For the last few weeks, I’ve been taking a combination of bicycle/bus to work, and on the way home biking the whole way. Follows a step-by-step of how I now get to and from work, but first the benefits:

  1. The environment, stupid. Depending on our commute time and vehicle, we’re shifting the international power balance toward countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia on the front end, and pounding coffin nails into global warming on the back end.
  2. Exercise. You know you need it.
  3. Time to read. Books. I don’t know about you, but stupid internet has eaten up most of my book reading time at home. Here’s an hour a day reserved for paper reading.
  4. Money. A weekly $40 gasoline tab is now a $7.50 bus tab. Not exactly a get-rich plan, but it’s something. Of course people without a car figured all this out years ago.

Can something like this work for you? The answer is, probably. Here’s what you do:

transit map

1) Hit the maps. Here’s a link [PDF] to the Miami-Dade transit master map. Confusing, right? No worries — all you’re doing here is getting a general lay of the land, figuring out which buses (or Metrorail, if you’re lucky) may work for you. If you’re lost, try the South Florida Trip Planner.
 

route map

2) Select route. Here’s the list of routes. Find the ones that seem like possibilities and check the detailed maps of their routes. (Careful: some lines pull sneaky tricks, like running differently on the weekend, or having alternating buses only loop part of the route.) Keep in mind that you can bike between 1 and 2 miles in 10 to 15 minutes, so the route only has to pass within a radius of where you are and where you need to be.
 

route schedule

3) Hit the schedules. Each route has schedules for both directions. Of course the buses don’t hit the stop at the precise time listed, but the map will give you a very good idea of how long the ride will take. Backtrack, and figure out what time you need to be at the stop.
 

bus

4) Flag down the bus. Have $1.50 ready. Bills or coins, but no change provided. Don’t even think about a bus pass — unless you’re riding more then two routes a day, it’s a sucker’s bet. When the bus pulls up, grab the handle on the rack out front and pull forward . . .
 

rack

5) Secure your bike. Easy. The bike closer to the bus faces this way, the front bike faces the other way. Pull the support arm over your front wheel, and wiggle it snugly into place. This is all fairly idiot-proof, but you can get more detailed instructions if you feel you may exceed Miami-Dade Transit’s idiot-proofing level.
 

inside bus

6) Ride. Contrary to popular belief, most buses are not crowded. I get plenty of personal space most of the time. The people watching is not to be underrated, but like I said, this is really an opportunity to get some quality reading done. Get off at the front door, so the bus doesn’t pull away with your bike!
 

ride home

7) Bike home. Bring a change of clothes for the ride home. Take all the side-roads and cut through all the parks you can. Enjoy the fresh air. Easy.

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Monday October 22, 2007

miami beach flyer
 
miami beach flyer

Here’s a crazy racist/homophobic election flyer sent out in Miami Beach. There’s a weird fake poll, too.

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FEMALE LOVE, IT’S AL WAYS TEMPORARY” And getting it painted on your cars is the best solution? I don’t know what she did to you, buddy, but it’s time to let go a little.

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The solutions to the Herald Hunt. The map doesn’t seem to be online, though.

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Spiegel Tent coming to Miami Beach

spiegel tent

The Spiegel Tent, seen here in it’s usual home under the Brookly Bridge, is coming to Collins Park in December for a couple of months. I’m hoping they plan to flesh out the season with some local acts. (thanks, Mr. Entertainment)

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Friday October 19, 2007

Oktoberfest weekend

oktoberfest

Tonight

Saturday

Sunday

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Thursday October 18, 2007

Congrats to Miami City Ballet [Music], who’s Jewels has just been very favorably reviewed in the New York Times.

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If you’re a high school kid, and you get kicked out of marching band for having a straight D average, don’t hold a big protest with all your friends, because people will either laugh at you or shake their heads in pity at your sorry misguided ass, and they’ll be right. (That said, I’m impressed they got 60 people out for the protest.)

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Tickets for the 2008 Wine and Food Festival are on sale. Actually, some of the events are already sold out! (via)

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Ferris wheel is a bad idea?!

downtown

Miami-Dade Commissioner Carlos Gimenez recently floated the idea to build a big observation-type ferris wheel somewhere by the water, either in downtown, at the port, or on Miami Beach. Jim DeFede and Alex thing this is a bad idea, because, they say, there’s nothing to see. I think that’s just crazy. Click the image above, or better yet, “check out James Good’s aerial picture set, all photographed from a similar moderate height from the general area where the wheel would go. Now consider the difference between compact-digital photos of something and the real 360° view of same. Nothing to look at? Say what?!

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Wednesday October 17, 2007

I’m now officially 3 for 3 of friends in China with blogs: Ariel, Ross, and Silvia (sad kitten story here). Good job, China team! (Anyone seeing a bunch of question marks just needs to install a Chinese language pack.)

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Miami Contemporary Artists the book! By Julie Davidow and Paul Clemence, with a forward by Elisa Turner. Over 100 artists, including Hernan Bas, Jose Bedia, Teresita Fernandez, Naomi Fisher, Luis Gispert, Daniel Arsham, Susan Lee Chun, Cristina Lei Rodriguez, and TM Sisters. Book launch events around Art Basel, but looks like you can get a copy now.

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Dusty foot: Cubans who immigrate to the US through Mexico, avoiding the Coast Guard and wet-foot/dry-foot. Apparently they can just walk up to a US official at the Mexican border and ask for political asylum.

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Britto-designed uniforms proposed for MIA

Britto uniform

OK, so this design was pretty seriously proposed for all employees of Miami International Airport. The article doesn’t exactly say what the status is, but some of the Miami-Dade Commissioners didn’t like it much. Natacha Seijas actually said, “my maid wears better clothes than this t-shirt,” which really deserves it’s own article, but whatever. My impression is that they want the design changed, but are not averse to having Britto uniforms for the airport. Yes, the shirts are fugly. But there is a larger issue underlying, and we’re way overdue for a serious conversation about this, people.

Now look, I don’t have anything against Britto. A couple of months ago I was working on an overview of everything he’s got going in Miami, and it was going to have a pretty positive spin. He’s a great guy, he makes colorful decorative stuff that makes people smile, and he’s been very generous to lots of positive causes. But in terms of actual art, his stuff is bullshit. Even the people who like it admit that. They’ll say things like, “I know it’s not really good art, but I just like it.” And that’s great — there’s certainly room in the world for a little inane eye candy ((of which talking, you may to enjoy theze superdope screen savers)).

I’m just concerned that it’s getting a little out of hand here. I now pass at least three different Britto sculptures on my commute to work, at least two of which are on public property. Now look here: public art is serious business. It’s based on tax money (which, as P.J. O’Rourke jokes, we’ll kill your grandmother if she doesn’t pay it), and it’s meant to enrich our lives. And trust me, Britto’s stuff may make you smile, but it is not enriching jack shit. We have an Art in Public Places program, and we should not be circumventing that process for public art selection. (The catastrophe of maintaining that art is a somewhat separate issue, btw.)

Fine, public money to my knowledge hasn’t directly funded any of the pieces in question, they’re either on private land or were donated. Private citizens can buy whatever they want. But private citizens should put the breaks on. We don’t let pop stars rewrite the national anthem,* and we shouldn’t let Britto’s formulaic pop-art rehashing become a de-facto flag for the city of Miami just because it’s loud, colorful, and mindless vocabulary ties in with the most easily marketable aspects of our city. Sooner or later, everyone’s going to wake up and recognize this stuff for the bubblegum twaddle it is, and it’ll be too late — the whole city’s going to be covered in it.

* This point is somewhat undermined by this, but still.

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Florida’s minimum wage starting January will be $6.79, an increase of 12 cents. Gee, thanks.

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Tuesday October 16, 2007

October gallery hop

bakehouse art complex

Click for slideshow. October second Saturday at Emmanuel Perrotin, the Bakehouse Art Complex, Snitzer, and Dorsch, and more. And can I say: less then two months till Basel. Of course I can.

Update: More pictures of art at dig.

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Monday October 15, 2007

An interesting list of places that can be rented for weddings or other events.

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Rascal House

Rascal House, photographed in 2005. Closed in 2006. Update: OK, still open, but on its last leg. And the signage is all gone.

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Opa-locka bans exposed underwear

Consistently ranked among the highest violent crime rates in the United States, the government of Opa-locka is understandably always on the hunt for practical solutions, but boy have they put their foot in it this time. How about a law that bans baggy pants and exposed boxer shorts. Yeah, the crime rate should be plummeting any second now.

Commissioner Timothy Holmes, the law’s sponsor: “Instead of getting their education, these kids are picking up a style that came from prisons . . . And if they keep it up, although I’d hope not, two-thirds of these people with the pants below their butt will end up in prison.”

This doesn’t even pass the laugh test. I mean, so, the height of your pants determines where you end up in life? I guess Mr. Holmes has his pants up way high, over his belly button, with some tight suspenders. (Not sure, the picture on his official bio page is broken. But note that the bio describes him as “powerful, gifted, and compassionate.”)

Now, I’m glad we have a government that’s not afraid to think outside the box when it comes to keeping our kids out of prison, but I think this law is really just the first step. Next they need a law to ban oversize t-shirts, cornrows, and extravagant jewelry, no? But that’s still a half-measure. I think the only way to guarantee these young people a successful future is city-ordained uniforms and crew cuts.

What’s particularly disturbing is that the law’s framers have practically admitted that it does no good — the only enforcement if a cop tells you to pull up your pants and you refuse is that they can remove you from public property. Yeah, that shouldn’t lead to anyone getting unduly harassed by police.

Civil liberties, Mr. Holmes. Look it up. If you can’t come up with any real solutions for the citizens of your city, do them a favor and resign. Laying down idiot laws to criminalize something that doesn’t hurt anyone is deeply, profoundly wrong. It’s worse then attacking the symptom rather then the root of a problem — it’s an attack that’s sometimes near the problem. And I’d note that this is another law that would only stand a chance in Bush’s Fascist America 2.0 (“When you’ve surrendered the big rights, you hardly notice the little ones”).

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Saturday October 13, 2007

Noney Saturday

loop the loop

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Friday October 12, 2007

Miami International Airport employees are being sent to customer service training at Walt Disney’s Disney Institute.

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KH has a perception of Miami’s art scene which is at odds with the conventional wisdom. “Miami has a heavier core than people often give it credit for . . . I find that as a community of art makers and an art audience, we have an interest in something darker and deeper than festive hedonism–things swampy, earthly, deadpan, furious, benighted and spiritual.”

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Waxing moon weekend

waxing moon

Tonight

Saturday

Sunday

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Thursday October 11, 2007

I have to tell you — I saw a few people riding these Segways covered with cheesy billboards on Lincold Road the other day, and the ads just strip away whatever sliver of grace those machines had. It’s like riding around in a big plastic shopping cart with an electric motor.

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Wednesday October 10, 2007

Condo litigiousness

What with the current state of the condo market, it’s no surprise that lawsuits are flying back and forth with reckless abandon. Jared Beck uncovers two interesting strains of such suits. One surrounds situations in which condo projects were not completed within the promised 2-year period. In the other, a developer has refused to return $10 million worth of deposits for a project he apparently has no intention to build at all.

I’d say that the primary impact of these sort of suits is independent of the result — they will first and foremost fuel buyer’s suspicions, fears, and caution, and push the overall market further into the hole.

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Now I’m getting all verklempft: two Broward Sherrif’s officers bought a bicycle for a boy who had his stolen and broken. I’m glad the BSO has a blog to keep us up to date on their deeds. No mention of the rubber bullets incident, but you can get a kick out of those who think this excuses any future police abuse. That’s right Rick, you remind us about this incident every time a cop tases someone for hogging a microphone or beats up a kid for riding a skateboard.

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Courthouse reconstruction, 2005.

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Tuesday October 9, 2007

Ipanemic: easily my new favorite blog. Weird, passive aggressive, and ultra-local. At first when I saw this I was worried that I had MPD, and this was the blog of one of my alternate personalities, and while I’ve ruled that out, well, I mean, geez — the thing where he went to Tantra by himself? Just genius. Please take the time to click around and really explore the site, because it does not operate like any other website in the world. I mean — huh?? — Since when is a ham sandwich a variation on pb&j.

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Spencer Tunick shoot photo by Luciano Bove

One more photo, by Luciano Bove, from the Spencer Tunick shoot. Sorry, I can’t resist the pink.

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The sea grass of Florida Bay, damaged by boating, is being restored.

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Misogyny from around the web

Two case studies:

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Monday October 8, 2007

Mango & Lime has an list of restaurants to take out-of-town parents. You know, impressive yet safe. I’d add Tap tap and maybe Tapas y Tintos.

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spencer tunick at the sagamore

Early photos from the Spencer Tunick photo shoot at the Sagamore. Photos: John Vanbeekum, Miami Herald. Update: Channel 10 has more photos in a slideshow, and some video.

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'Stay as far away from us as possible'

Miami Beach Mayor David Dermer: “I come from a city that doesn’t have a lot of need to ask the county for things, other than to stay as far away from us as possible.”

Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose ‘Pepe’ Diaz: “I do not want to see that city come before us and ask for any money like the $300,000 to help with the festivals.”

Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno A. Barreiro: “That’s one voice within a city. People when they’re leaving office go off on tantrums.”

Dermer’s response: “We are the engine of revenue production — certainly tourism revenue production — within the county. It behooves the county to ensure they have the cleanest, safest and strongest engine to keep that revenue coming.”

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LOL: The Beer Depot.

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10 ways the new miamidade.gov website sucks

miamidade.GOV

“OK, we’ll show those bastards. We’ll re-design the site, top-down, make it all Web-2.0 looking, throw every widget under the sun at it, and be damned if they’re not blown away.”

Uh, sorry, Judi. You blew it. Big time. So much so that a comprehensive, methodical analysis would take weeks, of which I ain’t got. But let me give you some highlights:

  1. You’ve got five (oh so slick) tabs running across the top: ‘Home,’ ‘Service Center,’ ‘County Agencies,’ ‘County Hall,’ and ‘Calendar.’ With the exception of the first and last one, do you really think anyone who doesn’t work in a county government has any idea what those things mean? You get paid for obfuscation?
  2. It’s a non-standards-compliant mess of HTML tables. I sympathize: web standards have only been globally accepted since around 2002. Nobody would expect you to get up to speed when building a website for a body that only governs 2.4 million people.
  3. Some of your links launch new windows . . . some don’t. This would be annoying enough if there were some rhyme or reason to it. There ain’t. Speaking of links, about half the links to existing pages have broken.
  4. What’s the single worst method for delivering online video? Windows Media? OK, let’s use that exclusively. (I’m letting the random links to PDF’s slide.)
  5. Here’s another great idea: let’s have as many sections of the site look and behave as completely differently from each other as possible! OK, you’ve got the main page. Compare the following: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 . . . ok, I’ll stop. Those last two aren’t technically even on the same domain (btw, is there a reason for that?). This takes the cake, though, right? No navigation for you! (What makes this particularly fun is that all these pages are a just a single click off the main page. Imagine what we could find if we dug a little.)
  6. With the possible exception of the Luminati, every other website in the universe that requires registration has the registration button on the login page. I searched like crazy for the registration button, and after a long search was informed that “Due to our recent upgrade, however, registration is temporarily suspended.” Ah — so this is one of the new “features.” Got it. Curious about why I was trying to log in?
  7. because the “My Calendar” thing seemed like the only hope for getting useful information out of your otherwise hopeless calendar page. Speaking of the calendar, if a sane rethinking of the whole thing is out, can we at least have the events open to real pages, instead of crappy popup windows?
  8. On the “Information for . . .” menu, residents are #9 on a list of 11. Thanks for making it abundantly clear where we rate.
  9. Extra poke in the eye to Firefox (or any non-IE/Windows) users: home page opens scrolled down a random number of lines, “intro” video distorts into its letterboxed shape, and of course none of the previously mentioned FUBAR has been addressed.
  10. . . . all of which brings me to the sad conclusion that this is nothing but a shitty new skin on the same shitty old mess. We think these people are going to implement county-wide wireless internet access? They can’t even get a website working right.

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Sunday October 7, 2007

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Valid CSS!

In preparation for tomorrow’s post, I did a little housekeeping, fixed some nagging problems, and presto: this shit is validating. For now. And only Transitional. But I’m getting serious about this. U: A few extremely minor other changes are lurking. Let me know if anything looks broken.

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Friday October 5, 2007

The City of Miami will pay $160,000 and the county $300,000, in a settlement with 20 victims of police brutality/abuse during the 2003 FTAA protests. Our pal Tamara even throws in a few choice Chief Timoney quotes from back then, like calling protesters “pussies.”

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Miami Carnival weekend

carnival

“Miami Carnival” is not the same thing as “Carnival,” but it’s something. See Sunday. Also, I believe there’s still time to register for the Spencer Tunick nakedness on Monday.

Tonight

Saturday

Sunday

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Thursday October 4, 2007

You know what, fuck House of India. I’ve been there a few times with friends (who insist on going regularly despite consistently bad treatment) and while the food is fine, the service is uncomfortable and weird. But this takes the cake: they had a lady arrested because of a misunderstanding over $3 on her bill. And it pretty much sounds like their mistake. I’m sorry for you people in Coral Gables with restaurants that feel like they can abuse you because there’s no competition, but this place needs to be boycotted. Update: Also, fuck the asshole Coral Gables police officer who thought it would be a good idea to arrest this woman, and the asshole police chief who agreed. (via whl)

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The bastards changed the time of the Museum Park meeting tonight from 6 to 4:30pm! WTF — they’re claiming conflict with a later event, but isn’t this a transparent effort to make it impossible for many people to come? Why isn’t anyone making noise about this?!

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Proposed new Metrorail and other transit lines

BRT, Metrorail, DMU

Left to right: Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Metrorail, Disel Multiple Unit (DMU).

Below are proposed new transit lines from the executive summary of a Kendal Link study (download pdf of summary). While it focuses on South Miami, it has implications for the whole county. Still, the political situation in Kendall around some of these proposals is pretty controversial. This is mainly NIMB surrounding transit trains along existing, but minimally-used, tracks. As such, I’d be interested in hearing what South Miami/Kendall residents thing of these proposals.

It’s useful to know that this study considers anything under 5 years short-term planning, 5-15 years is mid-range, and over 15 years is long-range. You can click any of these maps to see a larger version.
 

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Proposed Metrorail/BRT line along Kendall Drive.
 

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Proposed North/South Metrorail line along Turnpike.
 

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Proposed new Metrorail (orange) line and DMU (green) line.
 

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Proposed North/South BRT line, alternative to above Metrorail option. I gather this is more useful to more people, but also more disruptive.
 

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Putting it all together: this is the short/midrange transportation strategy.
 

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And finally, the biggie: the long-range “preferred” transit strategy. It ain’t pretty, but this is what you get when you combine low-density sprawl with a mandate to reduce worldwide carbon emissions. Also: I still want my Metrorail beach-line.

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Wednesday October 3, 2007

Classical music comes back to Miami radio: I don’t know how I missed it, but WMCU 89.7 FM has been purchased by a company that intends to turn it into a classical station. May begin broadcasting later in this month. Yay! (via 26th Parallel)

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HUD takeover approved

I’m looking for something interesting, and it’s really just slim pickins. Yesterday the Dade Commission approved HUD’s takeover of the County’s housing agency. We knew this was coming, and the commission voted 11-1 for it because this way they get a little oversight and a little veto juice over some of the fed’s decisions. They’re unhappy, and so are housing advocates, on the grounds that the fed’s just a bigger bureaucracy (and so how can we expect it to do a better job).

But come on, people — the Miami-Dade Housing Agency was a clusterfuck for a very long time, lots of people knew about it, and they let it slide. And don’t give me “the problems are being addressed,” either. The response has been a completely limp, “we’re addressing the issues” type of shit, not the “we’re going to lock up everyone involved, and everyone who knew what was happening.” Also: you think that was the only Agency in the county that was corrupt? Where are the crackdowns on the other departments, Mr. Carlos Alvarez, Strong Mayor? Where are the results?

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Also: the Herald’s webmasters had nothing better to do, so they decided to overhaul the site’s misguided mandatory registration system. It went live yesterday and dumped anyone who registered after May of this year. If you’re going to re-register, please use names to let them know how you feel about the system (e.g. “Mr. Fuckyou Assholes”) and MyTrashMail.

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Tuesday October 2, 2007

What's up with mandatory PIP car insurance?

The state’s law requiring personal injury protection (PIP) insurance expired Sunday, though the fight is not quite over yet. What does this mean?

First, a primer on the exact changes (and please correct me if I’m wrong leaving out something important). The PIP law required every driver to carry $10,000 worth of protection for anyone injured by or in their car. It made Florida a “no-fault” state: if you’re in a crash with another driver, each drivers’ insurance covers his medical expenses, regardless of who caused the accident. Hence “no fault.” The logic behind this is that it allows everyone to get medical treatment without bureaucratic worries, and theoretically keeps costs low by minimizing lawsuits.

The downside of this is that if you already have medical insurance, you’re paying for double coverage. Many people who are in accidents that are not their fault also unsurprisingly report their insurance rates going up afterwards. So, the new law allows drivers to carry insurance for property damage only, should they so desire. Under the new system, if you’re in an accident, your regular health insurance will pay your medical bills, presumably recovering their costs from the person who caused the accident, in court if necessary.

This would be great if 1) everyone had health insurance and 2) everyone was smart enough to get insurance to cover injury they cause to others. To the extent that those two things are not true (only 80% of Florida residents currently have medical coverage; and don’t even get me started on #2), the new law is going to wreak havoc. The upside is savings for those that are properly insured, yet drive carefully enough not to actually cause accidents. More importantly, it will tend to hasten a state of affairs where we are forced to confront the larger medical/insurance disaster facing the country, as a much larger proportion of car accident victims arriving in hospitals will have no insurance covering them.

This highlights the real clusterfuck aspect of this change, which is that medical/insurance lobbies are essentially behind both sides of the issue. On the anti-PIP side are companies who are concerned about insurance fraud under the old system, which could easily pump money out of the system, $10,000 at a time, with simple staged accidents and shady doctors. On the other side are the doctors and hospitals worrying about the uninsured trauma cases they’ll be forced (god forbid) to treat and not be able to collect payment for.

That these are the two sides battling over something this important (rather then what’s best for people who’s just been in a serious car accident) is a sure sign of a broken system. I’m almost tempted to let them do away with it, let the situation come to a head, and then fix it from the bottom up.

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“Yet, despite this, there are those that recall the past failure of the much hyped Omni Mall when considering Midtown’s prospects for success. However natural this historic allusion may seem, the Omni, which never had the residential component Midtown has, is currently owned by a New York-based firm with billion dollar plans that span 10-15 years. Suffice to say times have changed.” Fine, but I still say that Midtown is no fun. The parking, even with validation, is a hassle. There’s no air conditioned part to the mall where you can just hang out. And they really, really need a big bookstore to make it the destination they so clearly want it to be.

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Monday October 1, 2007

“[Carlos] Suarez de Jesus may admire Kilimnik’s show, but that admiration seems intimately entwined with an attitude which diminishes and belittles women.”

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A list of still-live Miami-related Geocities websites, including Early aviation photographs, the Coconut Grove juggling exchange, ‘Nicholas Dunn’’’s Story’, and the charming South Beach crew. You may also enjoy the Firefox extension Timemachine 1.0, which will make ANY website look like 1996.

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The Florida Springs blog.

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The Little Havana roosters

william burroughswilliam burroughs

One of the more colorful bits to come out of the Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust situation is the case of these fiberglass roosters. Eight of these were ordered by the trust five years ago (total cost: $26,000) to give some pizazz to Little Havana. They quickly became the subject ridicule, then of vandalism.

Most of them have been mercifully removed, one still stands, hopefully to remind our esteemed leaders to relax and keep their notions of “art” to themselves. For crying out loud — Bacardi logos? What on earth were they thinking?! I photographed these in 2003; Veronica mentioned one in her piece on Little Havana in 2005.

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You’ve got to love the Miami Herald. A great expose on misuse of funds at the non-profit Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust (part one of three!) runs alongside a director’s commentary style article about the reporters reporting the story. Maybe part 2 of the story will include a sidebar on the graphic designer who laid out the page.

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