Tuesday April 10, 2007
Manatees are about to be reclassified from ‘endangered’ to ‘threatened’, but the change does not bring any changes in regulations such as boat speeds, so let’s not freak out. While populations in South-eastern Florida may be declining, the ‘endangered’ status is specifically supposed to mean that a species is on the verge of extinction. To avoid diluting the term we have to be willing to re-classify species when their situations improve.
Wednesday October 25, 2006
Our litigious, intellectual property-obsessed, too-much-time-on-its-goddamned-hands society is running amok again. Our own local heroes, Dogma Grill (I will not link them in a house . . . you know the drill) has successfully sued another fancy hot-dog restaurant into submission.
We expect this crap from big stupid corporations, but a small local business? For shame. Oh, wait. But just you wait for the details: the name of the business, which would have caused confusion in the consumer’s minds? “Hot Dogma.” That’s right: the only similarity is the stupid pun. Turns out our local heroes p0wn that pun. More confusion: the offending restaurant is in Pittsburgh. I suppose Miami residents on vacation up there would have somehow associated the restaurants, and somehow . . . done harm to something, is what Dogma Grill, or rather it’s owner (a former MTV executive) was thinking. Good job, guys. Way to stick it to the man.
Pittsburgh residents are rightly pissed, but there’s not much they can do. But there’s something we can do, allright: get our hot dogs somewhere else. Anyone know a good place that serves fancy schmancy dogs?
Tuesday August 2, 2005
[Contributed by Steve Klotz]
From the front page of Tuesday’s NY Daily News: Dangling from chains off a Manhattan hotel balcony, a man showered midtown with bizarre leaflets about Florida tourism yesterday – triggering a massive police response amid fears he had a bomb.
Why should you care? You probably figure—not without good reason—that this sort of thing goes on routinely in New York on blistering hot summer afternoons. It’s just something to do before Yankee games. Mid-day amusement, a novel approach to snarling traffic between rush hours. Life in the Big Apple. That’s one reason you’re here, not there.
Turns out, though, that the nutjob has a Miami connection. The leaflets were printouts from antitourflorida.com, a bilingual website containing rants about Miami’s inhospitable crime, parking problems, weather, etc. One thing taken with another, this is the raving of a rather bitter fellow, who may or may not be the bozo hanging from a harness the cops hauled off the 13th floor balcony yesterday.
“I don’t give a rat’s ass who the hell he is or what’s his fuckin story,” one apoplectic commuter snapped, speaking for the entire metropolitan population. “I got things to do and he’s in my way. He should die. Gimme a gun. I’ll do it.”
The public ass-drag used to be a staple of civic disobedience here in the Banana Republic of South Florida. Typically, something especially politically obnoxious happens involving Cubans, either here in Miami or on the island, and the local response devolves into an intentional massive traffic jam, infuriating the population’s remaining majority beyond all rational thought. Naturally, whatever the motivation of the organizers, however noble their mission, the tactic itself pissed off everybody enough that the cause was lost, sympathy evaporated, and the effort backfired like a dyspeptic Metrobus.
The locals have wised up, but apparently we’ve exported the technology. As you see, it doesn’t play any better in New York, particularly in these times when any political bawdiness carries with it the taint of terrorist enterprise. Enough cops and firefighters were deployed against this ratbag to conquer Connecticut: a mere decade ago his crime might have been thought of nothing more serious than ambitious littering.
What this means is, the only effect his anti-tourism campaign might have is to encourage even MORE Noo Yawkuhs to find their way south on I-95, the exact opposite of what he wanted. The website itself, bilingually laughable, doesn’t warrant the bandwidth it takes to visit. I suspect what happened today is yet another glaring example of a Floridian fuckknuckle performing on a national stage. Last week it was a corrupt politician with a self-inflicted case of terminal lead poisoning; before that we had a brain dead woman and a crowd of chancel-dancing cross-wavers, led by Governor Bucktooth and the state police. OMG Next?
[See all Articles by Steve]
Monday May 1, 2006
Kyle fills out the New Times poll. My WTF?! moment is “Best local Website: Miamist.com obviously.”
Not even as a joke, Kyle . . . not even as a joke.
Tuesday May 8, 2007
Smoke from the brushfires today.
Friday October 20, 2006
Wednesday September 14, 2005
It’s bad enough that we live in a country where it’s considered controversial to give gay couples equal rights as straights. Now we have a resurgence of actual violence and other overt discrimination against gays right here on Miami Beach, supposedly a world famous gay-friendly place. This crap makes us want to scream: there are real problems in the world, and our society is so ass-backwards that we have to worry about cowards (and it is always two or more guys against one) picking on people different from them.
Some homophobes have semi-legitimate Bible-based reasons for their misguided beliefs, some can be reasoned with, and some are just grossed out by something they perceive as being different from themselves. People who attack others are not of any of these categories – they’re just plain assholes. The only thing we can do is refuse to tolerate their presence. Shaquille O’Neal, of all people, found himself in a position to do just that the other day. He called the cops and followed the assholes to make sure they got arrested.
We implore anyone who sees any sort of crime to report it to the police. But when it involves senseless violence against the innocent… actually, it would be nice if the next time something like this happened a bunch of people around turned on the attackers and gave them a taste of their own, but you didn’t hear that from us. And Shaq, as far as we’re concerned, all is forgiven about the flood lights.
Tuesday December 4, 2007
Installing something impressive in the Botanical Gardens across from the Convention Center.
OK folks, you know the drill. I’ll be delivering coverage from the show all week, more comprehensive information, and sometime Thursday or Friday, the “Art Basel guide for normal people.” For now, let’s get started with some links, of to which I will be adding later:
- The Herald’s disappointing special section, with a couple of semi-relevant articles, an impossible to use events database, a stupid “art quiz,” a prominent link to itself, and a semi-useful interactive map, which frankly just doesn’t do very much. A couple of interesting bits here, though.
- That’s right: 20 art fairs (plus a couple of things that don’t really count). Of note: Art Miami bit the bullet and changed its calendar to coincide with this week. Moved to a tent, too. High expectations for Scope, which rocked last year. Photo Miami moves to a tent (AIPAD moves into its old space).
- Miami Provocateur has links to all the big ones, and a few more notes.
- Plum TV, on the other hand, is running around getting good coverage. Overview, the elusive comprehensive list of Satellite Fairs (23 listed, not counting AB).
- NYTimes tribute to Sam Keller& (and click around — the whole weird little applet seems full of interesting stuff).
- Art Basel: the Superbowl of art, the Lollapalooza of international art fairs, an art Costco for billionaires
- The tribes of Art Basel Miami silliness.
- Art Basel the official site, which has a big events PDF for you to download.
- And note: (IGGY AND) THE STOOGES free concert on the beach (at Positions) TOMORROW 10 pm!!!!
- An overview of Art Basel and the Miami art scene at Smithsonian.com.
- A collection of articles at Haute Living.
- Something comprehensive-looking at MA2Dweek, including, like, hotel availability ($6,000 per-night suite available at the Setai, if you’re wondering).
- Duran’s an idiot’s guide to Art Basel for locals looking for a good time.
Tuesday June 26, 2007
A super-comprehensive rundown of South Beach hostels. Are there hostels anywhere else in Miami?
Monday June 18, 2007
Frank Houston visited Miami Childrens’ Museum and was none too impressed.
Friday April 25, 2008
- Schubert, Berg and the Lyricism of Vienna, a festival of events (many free) anchored by performances by the New World Symphony (which are not free).
- Opens 4.48 Psychosis at The Naked Stage, a “porthole into the mind of a mentally ill woman.”
- Also opens Handel’s Julius Caesar at Arsht Center and 12 Angry Men at the Broward Center.
- Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.
- Tonight: The Hobo Film Festival starts its US tour tonight at Sweat, 8 pm. (Thanks Lolo)
- Viernes Culturales.
- Saturday: Zen Art Faire at Wallflower.
- Green Living Expo in Ft. Lauderdale (so don’t go).
- Elisabeth Condon: Seuss Dynasty, one of three excellent shows currently up at Dorsch, got reviewed by Michelle Weinberg (but I prefer the Grant Haffner stuff).
- ANR at Upper Eastside Garden.
- Not sure who goes to see Bon Jovi these days (40-something women?), but this Saturday is your chance.
- Sunday: Crap, as always. If so inclined, the Euro Car Show.
Sunday May 28, 2006
I’m getting a little sick of all the damned freaking fuss about the Freedom of the Seas. It’s a stupid, ugly boat (with a stupid name), and as you can see from my picture, it’s a little bigger then the one next to it. Geez.
Thursday October 25, 2007
“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.
Wednesday January 3, 2007
All newly issued US passports now contain RFID chips, arousing some justified paranoia. Wired magazine to the rescue! How To: Disable Your Passport’s RFID Chip: “Hammer time. Hitting the chip with a blunt, hard object should disable it. A nonworking RFID doesn’t invalidate the passport, so you can still use it. . . . But be careful – tampering with a passport is punishable by 25 years in prison.”
Thursday July 7, 2005
Off topic, but here is a good round-up of information related to the London bombings.
Tuesday November 20, 2007
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.)
Friday April 7, 2006
- Steve Reich‘s Drumming, [listen to samples at this link] will be performed by the New World Symphony Saturday. This is a modern masterpiece, but please listen to the samples and decide if you can take a whole evening of it before you go — it splits the difference between music and doing your math homework. (There’s a “Happy Hour” at 7:30; concert starts at 9 pm.)
- Speaking of 20th century composers (and 21st), the New Music Miami ISCM Festival looks awesome (the program, not the web page), and it’s all free!
- The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Ft. Lauderdale.
- The Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival at Cinema Vortex (Saturday afternoon, free).
- The South Beach Chamber Ensemble does the string quartet thing at the Miami Beach Community Church on Lincoln Rd., 4 pm Sunday.
- It’s 2nd Saturday, and openings abound.
- For the brave: some UM students got together and made a musical based on the Breakfast Club (free).
- At Jimbo’s, Jimbo Luznar celebrates his 79th birthday on Sunday. You are encouraged to “Bring a little something to the party if you can, or perhaps a token of your appreciation.” Noon ‘till ??
Don’t ask me:a Memorial for “Julie Sparker”:http://www.undergroundparis.com/chapter22.htmlJulie Starker at Churchills on Sunday. (Thanks Christian; the spelling came from the pub’s calendar.)
- Not ‘till next Thursday, but the Black Eyed Peas play at the BA Center (wtf?! – you have to “join” their website to “read more“ about their concerts? Somebody needs an urgent clue-implant).
Update: Immigrant solidarity rallies (from the Herald):
- Sunday 3 p.m., rally and march by various groups including Archdiocese of Miami and Florida Immigrant Coalition, starting from the Stephen P. Clark government center, 111 Northwest 1st St., in downtown Miami, to the Torch of Friendship on Biscayne Boulevard.
- Monday 10 a.m., rally and march in Lake Worth at City Hall, starting at 7 North Dixie Highway and marching toward Bryant Park.
- Monday 3 p.m., rally in Fort Lauderdale between Broward Boulevard and 3rd Avenue in front of the federal courthouse.
- Monday 6 p.m., rally in Homestead at Harris Field, Campbell Drive and U.S. 1.
Thursday February 8, 2007
Via the radio yesterday, one of the main complaints that out-of-towners had about Miami during Superbowl weekend was the overzealous and unreasonable measures taken by the Miami police. They specifically quoted someone with ESPN, though I’m not sure if he was specifically referring to Miami PD or the County department. Sort of related: Miami’s Operation Tornado results in 101 arrests.
Thursday October 26, 2006
Two cool things happening tonight: At the Wolfsonian,
Go Native!: Ideas to Make Your Garden a Natural Habitat — landscape architect Raymond Jungles (ha!) runs through native species suitable landscaping, and shows some recent projects done native style. At the MAC, Dan fucking Grahm. 8 pm. Update: Grahm was great. A true believer in the power of [old-school] video technology to bring people together.
Monday January 22, 2007
This is a stupid question, and I don’t really have much to say about it. I wanted to express my disagreement with the thrust of Rick’s recent series of posts on the subject without really getting into the argument, so I left a comment saying he was “out of control.” Then I was singled out (with a link, thanks!) in the most recent post, so I feel like I should at least express an opinion.
Asking whether Cuban-Americans are violent is like asking if blonds are violent. Of course it’s absurd to say that there haven’t been violent incidents in the history of anti-Castro activities in Miami. But posts like this one . . .
Are you looking for an adventurous way to spend your Friday afternoon? Wander on down to SW 8th Street and 13th Avenue to the Bay of Pigs Memorial any time after noon and check out the rally that is planned.
If you really like living on the edge, wear your favorite Che tee. And, by all means, wear a pair of good running shoes.
. . . do nothing to advance the conversation, and amount to little more then a middle finger directed towards the entire anti-Castro Cuban-American population. You want to talk about the problems within the Cuban-American community, Rick? I’d suggest starting by showing some empathy with the cause, and trying to understand where those strong emotions come from. Otherwise, you make it too easy to dismiss you as a one-dimensional anti-Cuban demagogue.
Yes, there are violent knuckleheads in the anti-Castro community. There are violent knuckleheads in any group, and when it comes to an issue that people are as passionate about as they are about Cuba, those violent tendencies have a tendency to be inflamed. Those elements deserve criticism, but I believe that criticism of that sort is more credible coming either from within the group, or from a source that has shown empathy with the group’s cause.
Thursday August 23, 2012
You’ve seen “trolleys” crop up in other places for sure. They’re buses dressed up to look like “the streetcars of yore” or something, and I’ve never met anyone who finds this to be cute. The idea is that they provide a cheap or free way to quickly and easily get around a dense and compact area. That’s a promising idea, and the trolley concept may make some sense in cities where it aesthetically makes sense and where there’s no better way to provide such a service.
Enter Miami, where I guess our government is running in me-too mode, and our own trolley, running for about four months and now being promoted by an oversized mailer that arrived at my door yesterday. Notice anything about the route? Yep: it’s almost exactly contiguous with the Metromover route. Remember the Metromover? That thing that’s a free way to quickly and easily get around downtown? That thing that actually is fun (I see tourists on there all the time, and everybody loves it) and actually does aesthetically fit Miami’s style? Why on earth do we need the trolley? And why on earth is it painted green and orange and have the same goofy decoration that every trolley service in the country seems to have?
There’s a second trolley route that runs between Jackson Memorial and the new Marlins Stadium that makes some sense, but you wonder why they’d go with the uncomfortable and ugly trolley concept instead of, say, nice mini-busses like the South Beach Local uses.
Hey, you want to hear where the money for the trolley came from? Well, $2 million comes from the half-cent transit tax that you voted for in 2002 that was supposed to fund an ambitious Metrorail expansion. (The tiny airport expansion is the only part built, and the rest of the money is being squandered on shit like this trolley.) $1.5 million comes from the state, presumably from a tourism fund. And $4.1 million comes from federal stimulus money, which presumably they’d have much rather given us for, you know, something useful. (I’m reading the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority’s Strategic Regional Transit Plan from 2008 and believe it or not it doesn’t mention anything about the Miami Trolley.)
But you know what really irks me about all this? It’s the thought that it’s money that could have gone to developing the Miami Streetcar project. That was actually a sound idea: expand the Metromover with street-level trains that’d run further up and down Biscayne Boulevard, Midtown, Wynwood, Overtown, and the Jackson medical district. It was last heard from being pushed from 2008 to 2010, and now it’s a distant memory. Instead, we’ve got this pathetic trolley.
And it’s not that I think the trolley is completely useless, or that it won’t find a ridership. It’s just that it reflects our worst tendencies: our desire to take the politically and intellectually easy way out, and ignore the long-term problems and needs that are clear to see but challenging to address.
Monday January 7, 2008
We stumbled on a completely amazing farmers’ market down in Homestead this weekend. It’s just off the intersection of US-1 and SW 244 Street. The market is in this big building with open sides, and an adjacent swapshop-type area is adjacent, where you can get your share of discount car audio and designer knockoffs. There are also junk food vendors and pony rides, but the farmers market is the main attraction.
Ultra-plump produce reigns large and small, everyday and exotic. To example the latter, how about green garbanzo beans still in their husks? Everything was bristling with flavor, and of course it was amazingly cheap.
Florida plum tomatoes. Not pictured: the biggest mountain of bananas I’ve seen in my life.
This being homestead, Mexican-oriented stuff was abundant. Here are some half-dozen+ different dried peppers. Also — did I mention there was a little nursery section? Chad bought an Epazote plant, which apparently is extremely difficult to find.
Mysterious powders and dried plants hang from the rafters. Note the cartwheel pasta, available freshly fried elsewhere on the premises. No idea what the orange stuff is.
Oh, and if you’re ever in need of a 50 pound bag of carrots, they’ve like totally got you covered.
Thursday July 12, 2007
“Hot tar spilling out of a roofing kettle ignited a fire Wednesday afternoon at an under-construction gate-assignment tower at Miami International Airport.” No, not the main tower, and yes, everything’s fine. Here’s the story, but do you see something peculiar? In the photo, by Herald photographer Tim Chapman, there’s a little halo around the top of the tower, which is often a telltale sign of photoshopping. I guess the Herald considers a little digital burn-n-dodge Kosher, but you’d think at least they could be a little less sloppy about it. Here’s the photo, for when the Herald yanks it.
Tuesday June 19, 2007
So, the Battles show at Studio A last night was, surprisingly to most, packed. Also: the Battles’ ethereal, otherworldly on-record sound becomes something quite different live. Pitchfork’s observations notwithstanding, when you take a laptop-assisted rock band, and remove the post-production laptop aspect, you’re mostly left with a band jamming along to, and with, loops. E.g.: Guy plays a riff on a bass, which is recorded into a loop device. He continues playing, layering the sound. Two guitar players follow suite. Uber-heavy real drums come in. Mix-n-match to fade.
Or so it would be if Battles weren’t four exemplary musicians. But they are, and by throwing three different versions of guitar/laptop-based multi-instrumentalism into a pot with an absolute beast of a drummer, they’ve arrived at something special. I don’t know that it’s a finished product yet, but they’re on to something — or, on their way to something (or, at least, pointing the way to something).
Oh, about that drummer. John Stanier used to play for Helmet. I don’t know about you, but the chance to hear him take an “arty” turn was one of the thing that got me off my ass and down to the show. Shure enough, his kit is minimalist (save a singly showy-high cymbal) and front-and-center on the stage (“He’s a real showman,” said Cohen). It’s tough for a drummer to interact with loops, but you’d never know it watching Stanier — he’s as natural as he is heavy. Another thing — one thing he does not make it look is effortless. Three songs into the set and there wasn’t a dry stitch in his shirt. He nails everything perfectly, but the Sisyphean effort he’s putting in is inescapable. It would be forgivable — hell, it might be musically advisable — for him to ease off on the attack a bit here and there. But he is either unable or unwilling — alternating strictly between full-on and full-off.
So, there I am about half way through the show, and something’s nagging me: this music is reminding me very strongly of something that the record didn’t. Then it hit me: The Feelies! The Battles are The Feelies + laptops. It’s all there — the angular guitar interplay, the fronting of strong and unusual rhythms, and the barely-there vocals. (It appears that The Feelies’ seminal Crazy Rhythms is out of print, but I’d encourage Battles fans to seek it out, um, “by any means necessary.”)
In the meantime, I note how moving music can be when it is this reduced to formal qualities. Like Helmet, the Battles’ sound is mostly devoid of emotion (well, there is a sort of glee to it), but it’s somehow infectious. It’s strange how potent cheap music is, but it’s even stranger how fun really cerebral music can be.
Finally, yes: Studio A deserves credit for bringing down bands like this. The probably wouldn’t have been any other place that’d have hosted them. (And believe it or not there was even some sporadic dancing.)
Wednesday July 13, 2005
With the recent lane-signal law change, this seemed like a good time for more driving tips.
1. Signal your lane changes. Please? OK, fine. But at least don’t cut people off. Some of us are constantly running late, and we’re trying to hurry. If you’re on I-95, don’t be in the left lane if you can maintain your same speed in one of the other lanes. The left lane is for passing, or going fast. Note that the new minimum speed limit on interstates is about to become 50mph, so clearly you do not belong in the left lane if you’re going 55.
3. Speaking of parking lots, we all have to get along. If you’re walking through a parking lot, don’t walk where you’ll unnecessarily inconvenience traffic. (That means, walk perpendicular to the sidewalk, not diagonally!)
4. On the other hand, if you’re driving, give pedestrians a break. In the rain, pedestrians always get the right of way.
5. It is acceptable for cars to cut off SUV’s. It is not acceptable for SUV’s to cut off cars. (If you drive an SUV, keep in mind that cars behind you are in an inherently dangerous position.) It is acceptable for anyone to cut off taxis and limo drivers.
6. Highway debris kills people. If you see a truck with crap that’s about to fall off, call *FHP and report them (hell yes, get on your cell phone, dangerous as that is, you’re saving lives).
[Previously, Part 1 ]
Sunday January 7, 2007
Radio and TV Marti is now broadcasting in Miami, and DeFede is not happy.
Friday July 1, 2005
Out of nowhere, the Digable Planets have re-united and are touring. They’re at IO Lounge Sunday, live band and all. We saw them back in the day at Cameo Theater, so this counts as pure nostalgia. For you young’uns, here’s a good introduction to the group.
Wednesday February 21, 2007
My friends Ross, Silvia, and Saul have just moved to Bejing for “indeterminate amount of time” to live and teach English, and Ross started a blog to document their experiences. The other day he got a phone:
Then you pick your number, which vary tremendously based on what numbers are present. (eg. Fours are very unlucky since the sound for four is the same sound for death, so numbers with many fours are cheapest.) Needless to say, I have several fours in my number. Then you get your sim card and buy a phone, which you must haggle like mad for. The whole process takes several hours.
Oh, and of course they were there for the Chinese new year. Here’s a video of the fireworks. It all looks pretty amazing, and I’m totally jealous. I traveled around China with Ross and other friends a couple of years ago, and Beijing definitely seems a place worth settling down for a while. It’s like five cities in one, and it’s changing so fast right now, with historical hutongs being torn down and glass towers going up.
Actually, the Beijing building boom makes Miami look small-time. We would be driving in a cab for a few minutes, and pass three or four construction areas that each looked like downtown Miami. In fact, China construction is the major reason the price of construction materials has been inflated and we’ve had all these over-budget projects.
But I digress. Ross is in for quite the adventure; drop by and check on him.
Tuesday May 8, 2007
The origin of the name of Dade County.