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Friday July 13, 2012

Pride, Greed, Sloth, and general incompetence

7 Deadly Sins This week in local cultural malice, incompetence, and shoddiness, sung to the tune of the seven deadly sins. I’ve only got four this week, so I guess we’re not doing so bad

Sloth

I am sure that the Florida Cultural Alliance does important work, and deserves all the support we can muster for them. But when I saw the email they sent out yesterday, I just had to share it as an example of the worst kind of corporospeak, and the worst in online interaction design. Try — just try — to have any sense of what the purpose of the email is and what they want you to do after reading it just once. Not possible. I’ve ready if about a half donzen times and I get it now, and it’s stark. The FCA has apparently submitted SUGGESTIONS to a Florida State government entity. They want you to familiarize yourself with the state program they’re addressing, read their dense PDF suggestions, write a letter indicating your support for their suggestions and fax (Yes. Fax. In 2012.) it to the number provided TODAY BY 5 PM. Doesn’t say who you’re faxing it to, and doesn’t say why it has to be today. But hey — this was dated 1:25 pm, so they’re giving you more than three hours. Get on it.

Oh! And as an afterthought, yeah, you can submit your suggestions for the Five-Year Strategic Plan. Oh wait no, that’s for the Six-Pillar Framework. You do it by clicking into a PDF (this one created by the State) that takes your comments and has a “email this form” button which to me looked suspiciously like just a text box with no functionality.

Pride

It’s not in my nature to wipe lipstick off a pig, but the Jewish Museum of Florida couldn’t hack it anymore and signed it’s buildings and collection to FIU. And that’s fine. The Wolfsonian certainly seems to be thriving under FIU’s wing. But tacking the initials of the university to the organization’s name, which henceforth will be “Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU”, is galling. It makes perfect sense from the institutional ego perspective, but would have been overruled by typographic aesthetics and all-around sanity at a classier organization.

Envy

While Googling around for the previous article, I perchanced to click on a link to a Sun Sentinel article. You will probably not get it, but here’s what I saw:

sun sentinel screenshot

“Hey, you found a link to one of our articles in a search engine! Can we interest you in a home-delivery subscription to our newspaper?” Look at your statistics Sun Sentinel — this is not helping your subscription rates. And I guarantee you that it’s hurting your readership and credibility. And while we’re on it: I understand why your pages need to be choked with ads, but spam popover links? Really?

Greed

Next February, the Arsht Center is hosting a concert tribute to Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. It’s part of a series of six concerts, half of which are these condescending “tributes” to Jazz Names You Recognize, which in my opinion are demeaning to the performer, the legendary figure, and the audience. But something (and I’m assuming it’s actually not the Arsht Center’s people) has sunk to a particularly odious level with this, which I received in yesterday’s email:

thelonious monk

Thelonious Monk is died in 1982 after a heartbreaking final few years. He is a hero to musicians and creative people everywhere. And while this concert does include his son, using the man’s name and image like this is repugnant. There is a special place in hell for the people that did this, where they can hang out with the folks behind the John Lennon shirts

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Wednesday April 18, 2007

“If you have been to Miami Beach, maybe you have noticed a thin string, strung out from poles along the beach. It’s the eruv (eruv chatzeirot), a symbolic enclosure required by Judaism in order to allow certain activities, most notably carrying, that can only be done inside a shared enclosed space during Sabbath.” — Alex

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Thursday August 3, 2006

South Beach synagogues

935 Euclid

I lived at 936 Pennsylvania Ave when the Synagogue at 935 Euclid was being rebuilt; I could see their stained glass star-of-David window from my window on the alley standing at the sink in my kitchen. I have a big photo of the building, gutted and ready to be rebuilt as luxury condos, hanging in my present apartment (a couple of blocks down on Euclid).[1] Since then all the condos have been sold; probably for close to half a million each (wild guess—anyone know for sure?).

Another synagogue, on Washington and 3rd, became the beautiful Jewish Museum in the 1980’s (?), but I was under the impression that the synagogue a couple of blocks down the street from my new apartment was still functioning. Boy was I wrong. Unbeknownst to me (and so done much more subtly then the 936 job), it has been converted into one huge contemporary residence. I’m going to go ahead and declare this “creepy.” Who would want to live there? Well, we’ll see: it’s selling for 17 million. The one thing I think I like about this renovation is that they left the exterior intact.

So as far as I know the only functioning synagogues on the Beach are on Alton now. What we have, of course, is the Jewish population moving away, mostly to Broward. It makes sense that the synagogues in residential neighborhoods would be converted to residences, and the ones along the bigger arteries remain as is. Unfortunately, the ones being renovated were more architecturally interesting, so there’s a severe loss of history here. So it goes. (via Rick and thanks NicFitKid, in Rick’s comments, for additional info)

[1] That’s my attempt to rephotograph it through the frame glass, and so the crappy quality of the picture.

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