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Friday May 23, 2008

& i'm out (again)

Well, folks, I’m off on the trip originally mentioned here. The route is different: I’m catching Amtrak to Savannah GA first thing in the morning, and pedaling back according to routes suggested by the ACA, via maps that finally arrived Wednesday.

My only contact with this site will be by cell phone, which is why the twitter updates have once again taken prominence. Should be back in 1 week and some change, barring unforeseen circumstances, in which case all bets are off. Stay tuned for updates from the road.

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Wednesday May 21, 2008

Manola gets hassled and bullied at the Raleigh hotel. Idiots.

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Tuesday May 20, 2008

“Timberlake turns to us and introduces himself and then, out of nowhere, pulls the girl over and says to her, ‘meet my friend Josh.’” — Stories of folks’ run-ins with celebs at miami.com

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Exactly wrong: Miami Dade commissioners are considering raising public transportation rates. Just as they’re cutting routes. And just they should be doing the exact opposite. Also: cut property taxes and raise transit fees = more taxes for the poor, fewer for the rich. Nice work, folks. Update: The Herald agrees.

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bbq eel

Scenes from Lung Gong BBQ eel center, house dumplings bottom right, spicy pickled turnips (if everyone tells you to try them you probably should) center right.

beef tongue heart and intestine

Beef tongue, heart, and intestine. I’m not kidding, and it was great (although it did not a tripe convert make of me; if you don’t like chewy meats, stay away from the white bits). Again, order from the traditional menu and the dry-erase boards posted in the restaurant. You may also to check out LG’s website, charmingly devoid of a menu or any other useful information, or any actual photos of any actual dishes served at the restaurant.

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Monday May 19, 2008

Haha — Rick Ross’ new album gets a 2.4 on Pitchfork. Update: Ross’ fried seafood joint, Hip Hop Grub Spot, was highly praised in the New Times’ best-of. It’s on 441, a couple of blocks north of Ives Dairy Road. (thanks, CB)

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Google map with all the fires currently burning in Florida. From this page on the Dept. of Forestry website. I don’t need to tell you people that the Southwestern winds are bringing the smoke right over us.

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New Times Best of Miami 2008, diversions

best of

By the time I went to grab a copy of the New Times this weekend, someone’d pulled out all the ‘Best Of’ inserts (couldn’t help but notice that the design of the interior had been nicely re-vamped), so we’re stuck doing the slog on the internet. Here we are: New Times best-of, Diversions (more over the next coupla days, if I have the energy):

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Friday May 16, 2008

First of the year ultra-muggy weekend

k It’s going to be in the 90’s all weekend, with the humidity to match. You’ll want to get out there and enjoy it, but unfortunately there’s not much going on.

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Thursday May 15, 2008

Map magazine

Finally, a local magazine that does it right. This is the 4th (quarterly) issue of Map magazine, and the quality has been consistently great, so I’m finally letting myself get attached. Splitting the difference between local and non-local content — this issue’s cover, of the Ravonettes, is the first non-local — the magazine focuses on art, music, and culture.

This issue opens with a story on downtown club promoters, follows with a great interview with artist Aramis Gutierrez, and along the way features Del the Funky Homosapien, Luis Gispert, Dino Felipe, Gustavo Matamoros, the Postmarks, Jaco Pastorius, Paul Auster, and Rachel Goodrich. That, my friends, is a damned good list. Oh, and …

right smack in the middle, an article on Sweat Records. Perfect.

Editor Omar Sommereyns is a longtime Miami journalist, having most recently kicked ass at the Sun Post and Flavorpill. You couldn’t have picked a better guy to head up a magazine, as evidenced by the results.

For the gallery walk this month, Map threw a party next to Snitzer gallery, with a coffee bar, funky user-configurable seating, and a rock concert. They gave away the magazines, and distributed a card that guided folks through a carefully-picked group of the best galleries on the circuit, with step-by-step instructions. A nice touch.

Oh, one other thing I need to gush about — it’s beautiful. Map lets its graphic designers toss visual caution to the wind with each new spread, and you get stuff like the pages above — eye-popping but smart, and complimenting their topic. A series of grayscaled upside-down photos over a color gradient on one page, multi-colored plaid graph paper at 45-degrees on the next. It’s held together by a tight grid for the copy (set in a nice san-serif) and printed on lavish matte paper.

You can pick up Map free at lots of places around town, but why not spring for a subscription — your $25 is well worth it and supports what will hopefully be a long-running institution. Oh, and you can also flip through the magazine on their website and download a high-res PDFs of any of the 4 issues. Go read!

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Wednesday May 14, 2008

May gallery walk

May gallery hop

You missed Christina Lei Rodriguez’s show at Perrotin, right? Shame, because it’s gorgeous. By dropping the overt references to natural forms, the new work achieves a sort of post-apocalyptic disco grandeur.

May gallery hop

Detail.

May gallery hop

Take an exterior wall, paint it flat black, and write something on it in block letters. It’s pretty hard to miss, as Locust has been demonstrating for the last few months.

May gallery hop

Amber Hawk Swanson’s sex-doll twin shows off her business end. As you lean in to look, a camera’s watching you, with a live feed showing on a screen on the other side of the wall.

May gallery hop

Photos of the doll making friends accompany the installation. These leave something to be desired, actually.

May gallery hop

Map Magazine’s coffee lounge. Cold espresso in little cans distributed.

May gallery hop

In a trailer at the back of the lounge, Snitzer’s trailer hold’s COOPER’s latest work, ass-kicking as usual.

May gallery hop

Gavin Perry demonstrates what happens to artists when their work appears on the cover of a book: you’re issued dress shirts and cigars, and required to sport them when in public.

May gallery hop

Robin Griffiths’ sculpture at Dorsch, replete with WWII-era shaving kit and multiple whiskey bottles.

May gallery hop

Spinning lanterns by N. Sean Glover at Diet.

May gallery hop

At Castillo, Frances Trombly’s latest work, including woven cardboard boxes with embroidered labels.

May gallery hop

Meanwhile, palmetto bugs the size of a child’s hand prowled the streets, attacking stray cats and the occasional art collector. Must be summer kicking in.

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Tuesday May 13, 2008

Sassy photos from Miami (NSFW). Chinese food in the belly button: do not try this at home.

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Leyden Rodriguez has a twitter. Update: Indirectly via whom, my favorite new twitter acct: Oblique_Chirps.

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An interesting article on the discussion about which schools to close due to budget cuts. Sounds to me like low enrollment + crappy school (C, D, or F school) = a good one to close. Of course it gets more complicated, because there have to be nearby schools to absorb those kids. But the worst thing you can do is to have the professional staff figure it all out, and then close all the schools they recommend except the ones where there’s the most complaining. The solution? I dunno, maybe make Rudy Crew school Dictator For Life — did you see yesterday’s post? The school board is nothing but a thorn in his side anyway.

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Bulldozed.

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The Bas Fisher Invitational just had its last show ever and is closed.

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“Here, the Mayor [of Miami, Manny Diaz] engaged in ex parte communications with Respondent during the ten day veto period following the Commission’s adoption of the Orders. Petitioners emphasize that to the extent the Mayor believed that there were adverse effects resulting from the grant of rezoning and MUSP that required mitigation through the imposition of additional conditions, the matter should have been discussed within the scope of the public quasi-judicial process and required public hearing and notice. We find that the Mayor’s communications all took place after the hearings had concluded, away from public earshot, and therefore violated Petitioner’s due process rights under the Jennings criteria.” — Good stuff, from the court documents [PDF] pertaining to the torpedoing of the Mercy development. (btw, my version of the PDF has selectable text, unlike the herald’s. It’s all in the details.)

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Monday May 12, 2008

How do you increase public transportation use? Well, you wait for the cost of gasoline to go up, and when it does you introduce new routes and lower rates to attract drivers that were on the fence. And since gas prices have just risen, it makes sense that Miami-Dade is cutting 600 bus routes and the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority is considering dropping from 50 to 20 Tri-Rail trains per day. Update: A number of commenters have pointed out that the “600” figure is yet another example of the Sun-Post playing fast and loose with numbers.

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“I do not believe that the effort required of my staff to gather and organize the information regarding job descriptions and cost of all board office renovations … is an effective use of their time.” — School Superintendent Rudy Crew, responding to a request for information from the School Board. From Michael Lewis’ column on how the School Board operates, which is a must-read. (Among info Crew is not interested in providing: where the overtime is going.)

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Saturday May 10, 2008

Gallery walk tonight

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Friday May 9, 2008

Do-it-yerself weekend

bear

Sorry, rough night last night. If you know of something good, hit the comments. I’ll try to put together an itinerary for the gallery walk by noon tomorrow. Meanwhile:

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Thursday May 8, 2008

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

morikami museum and japanese gardens

Most people have heard of the Morikami but haven’t been there, because it seems so far away. Actually, it’s less then an hour from Miami, and totally worth the trip. Hours are from 10 am to 5 pm, and I’d recommend getting there on the early side, as the highly rated restaurant inside the museum closes at 3 pm. Click the photo above to see a slideshow of what it’s like.

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Wednesday May 7, 2008

The results are in from the Broward citrus canker class-action lawsuit: $11.5 million to be split between several tens of thousand residents. It’s not clear how much each person/tree will get, because some have already gotten money, yadda yadda, but sounds like upper three digits to me. Good news for former citrus tree owners in other counties, where similar lawsuits are ongoing; bad news for the State (uhh, that would be us). Someone should start talking settlement, no?

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Shark Valley

Shark Valley

23 miles west of the Turnpike on Tamiami Trail (click the map above for Google directions), in the heart of the northern Everglades, sits something rather remarkable — an all-access, super-easy nature trail known as Shark Valley. The trail is paved, and accessible by foot, bicycle (bring your own or rent), or tram tour. By bike, it’s just the right length that just about anyone can sit on a bike and finish it at a leisurely pace. The trail is a loop, so at the end you end up back at the visitor center, but at the far end you’re deep into the Everglades, far from civilization, with the birds and the alligators. It’s sort of a must-do for anyone who lives anywhere in South Florida.

This is what it’s really like in the Everglades. Peaceful, and stretching on into forever with grass, occasional patches of solid ground and a few trees, and swamp (note the water visible at the bottom of this photo.

Bleh, I don’t have a photo of the gators you see hanging out just off the path, but they’re there. (No worries, they’ll leave you alone.) Did get this little guy sunning himself, though.

Mostly what you get is lots and lots of birds, in all different shapes and sizes. Not sure what this fellah was hunting in the muck. Something delicious probably. Previously, we met this guy.

At the farthest end of the loop, you come to a rather improbably lookout tower. The views are fantastic, but again, it’s more about the vastness, not something you can reproduce in a photo. Go check it out for yourself.

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Tuesday May 6, 2008

John Spain explains how to pimp your booze.

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Alton Road bike lanes? Weather we like it or not, Alton Road is soon to be torn up. So, Miami Beach commissioners had a choice to make. Look at the two proposals below, and see if you can guess which they chose to recommend to FDoT.

alton road proposed reconstruction
 

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oh NOSE!!: There are people panhandling in the Grove!!. Read the comments for some stories of lives devastated by this menace.

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Pepe's

Pepe's

So, as I was pulling into Key West a few weeks ago, I called up our friend, and Key West authority, Squathole to figure out where to have a big post-100-mile dinner. “Pepe’s,” he says, “hold on, let me see if their address is printed on the bottle of hot sauce I bought there.” Well, it was, but whether through my bad hearing or S’s bad vision, I ended up with the wrong address: 506 Caroline, right off Duval. After looking for it, giving up, looking for someplace else to eat, not finding anything promising, I ended up finding Pepe’s up the street at 806 Caroline.

From first glance you can tell it’s going to be perfect: Pepe’s opened in 1909 and looks it. It looks a little shacky from the outside, but inside is surprisingly cozy, blending indoor and outdoor spaces with equal parts Key West shamble and fine dining. It looks empty from the outside but is actually packed — mostly with locals as it turns out, this being one of the places on the island they cherish.

Pepe's

The parrot guy holds court, and expounds on the joy and life-long commitment that is parrot ownership (tip: never buy a parrot at a pet store). The parrot doesn’t talk, but instead likes to imitate other animals. He does a pretty good pig. I made pals with seasoned locals Ollie, his wife, and the parrot guy, who could totally get babes if he tried.

So the food. Well, first beer: there is exactly one beer on tap. It’s Yuengling, and it’s $1 per glass, and it tastes absolutely perfect when it’s on tap and you’ve got no choice. (I strongly advocate the 1-beer concept to other restaurants, btw. It’s got charm, and so long as it’s a half-way decent beer it will make people happy.) I think I drank about 6 over the next couple of hours. The food is surprisingly gourmet. Pepe’s style fish comes with melted cheese, but I opted for the blackened. It came prefectly cooked, generously portioned, and with fancy presentation, vegetable, and mashed potato. The rule of thumb in the Keys seems to be that the seafood is fresher and better, but not really any cheaper, than Miami, and so it was. Apparently Pepe’s has a master pie baker, so leaving without pie is considered self-in-foot-shooting. There’s a daily pie special(!), Ollie ordered a slice to go, and I followed suit, which meant killer macadamia nut and chocolate chip pie for breakfast next morning. Need I say more?

Pepe’s Cafe
806 Caroline Street, Key West, Fl.
(305) 294-7192

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Sweat Records buys Rag Trade. “We’ll be keeping the clothing exchange aspect and expanding the boutique to include more local designers, a section for all the awesome local band shirts we’re seeing (that we don’t really have the space for at Sweat), as well as carrying some cutting-edge new clothing lines from around the world. Not only that, but we’re going to continue to throw the awesome and extremely well-received Kraftworks craft fairs every month or so[.]”

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Monday May 5, 2008

Crabby Jack's

Crabby Jack's

Hey kids, it’s non-Dade week here at CM, bringing you a random sampler of attractions from “the greater South Florida area.” You know, I’ve always had a feeling about the expression “South Florida” — it’s an expression that you hear in Broward much more often than in Dade. It’s the Miami Herald, but the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and I’ve always had the impression that it was an expression used by people who don’t live in Miami to make it sound like there’s no real distinction.

Anyway, on to Crabby Jack’s. Let me make clear that this is not a place to make a trip from Miami to visit. BUT should you find yourself hungry and driving down US-1 in the northernmost reaches of Broward County, I’d implore you to stop in for one of their Dolphin sandwiches.

CJ’s oozes old-Florida charm. The building looks like it was designed by the owner on the back of a napkin and build by his college buddies over spring break many decades ago. Exposed beams, brightly painted, hold the roof on, and big home made skylight let dramatic pools of light into the cavern-like room. Slats outside the winddows that circle the building let in a little more, but the feeling is not unlike a fort. “Stuff” covers the walls, but not in that charming-but-clean TGIFriday’s kind of way — this stuff is decades old. The menus stick together. Buckets on the tables hold flyers advertising 3-for-1 beers and bingo night. Most of the people in here on an early afternoon are sitting at the bar. A sign proclaims that smoking is permitted after 10 pm, and I think that’s an essential aspect of the atmosphere; it doesn’t reek of cigarettes during the day, but it has that “people smoke here at night” vibe. The waitresses wear tiny shorts and stockings, just one step above Hooter’s uniforms (one of them spent a good solid 10 minutes adjusting her boobs in her tank top in plain view of me, not that I’m complaining or anything).

But oh, that fish sandwich. Unbelievably moist, tasty, and generously sized. It comes plain or blackened, big slice of lemon, tomato and lettuce on a good roll, with near-perfect fries and that tartar sauce that makes you realize what tartar sauce is supposed to be — more creamy than mayonnaisy. Perfecto.

Crabby Jack’s
1015 S. Federal Highway
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441
954.429.3770

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Saturday May 3, 2008

Stale links Saturday

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Friday May 2, 2008

MiMo weekend

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Thursday May 1, 2008

County commission sells out Everglades

Last week, the Miami-Dade commission approved several developments beyond the UDB, and while the developments are still up in the air pending a mayoral veto, this spells trouble. A Time Magazine article very nicely lays out the compromised integrity of various members of the commission (“One of the Lowe’s project’s biggest backers on the commission is Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who is under federal investigation for allegedly receiving gifts from developers whose plans he’d voted for.”), but it also points out a larger point.

Nominally underway is a $10 billion Everglades restoration project funded by the federal government. In actuality, the whole effort is troubled and behind schedule. How, the Time article asks, can South Florida expect such a huge national investment in the ‘glades when we can’t resist paving more and more of it over? (via TM)

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