Archive for January, 2007

Get Out of South Beach for Cryin Out Loud, Part 2 – Release Your Inner Child

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Okay, so you’ve shot off some guns, driven some balls and gotten your Billabong on in Hallandale Beach.

Now it’s a brand new Saturday morning and perhaps you had a bit of a wild night last night. Gentlemen, maybe you shouldn’t have thrown your head back over the bar and let that taught-thighed bartendress grapple your face between her knees and proffer you her shocking neon shot. Ladies, maybe when the tall and tawny Brazilian guy told you his name was Rodrigo, but that you could call him Rod … well, maybe you should have left it at that and not offered your sassy comeback. Then there would be no regrets this morning.

But since regrets are strewn over Miami on a Saturday morning like limp confetti after Calle Ocho weekend, let’s do something a bit more innocent today, shall we? Let’s go out and play with our inner child. And tell your inner child to bring along some swimming togs.
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In a Shanty Town outside of… Downtown Miami?

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Speaking of the spiralling cost of Miami real estate, has anyone else out there been following the Take Back the Land campaign? On a city-owned lot at the corner of Northwest 62nd Street and 17th Avenue, activists and homeless people have come together in a protest/community dubbed Umoja Village. The brainchild of activist Max Rameau, Umoja Village, according to a recent op-ed piece in the Miami Herald, consists of “32 makeshift homes — wooden pallets covered with painted cardboard — filled to capacity with 40 residents, including a family with an eight-week-old baby. There’s even a waiting list.”

This begs the questions: How bad off do you have to be to put yourself on a waiting list to live in a shanty town? And what kind of operation is Miami running where residents would prefer to live on a bunch of pallets and beat up couches rather than anything that the city can provide?

Part of the point of Umoja is to draw attention to the failure of Miami’s city government to provide affordable housing. The affordable housing crisis (highlighted in the Herald’s House of Lies series last summer) has been abetted by the city’s mismanagement of funds and destruction of 500 units of public housing between 1998 and 2000. These public housing units have yet to be replaced, even as luxury developments have boomed throughout Miami-Dade. Take Back The Land hopes to make this point all the more effectively in the media spotlight that will come with Miami’s hosting of the Superbowl from Jan. 29 to Feb. 3rd.

Just this week, Take Back the Land won a major political victory when the City Commission voted to table an ordinance that would have given Miami Police the right to evict homeless people from city owned vacant land.

It’s disturbing, effective and I gotta say I’m not quite sure what to make of it all, but I’m fascinated and wondering what anyone else thinks.

It’s Getting Hot in Here

If you’ve been listening to the weather reports this evening, you might be thinking we’ll all be waking up to a snow day tomorrow. Ahhh, glorious winter! A time of snowball fights on the front yard, snow angels, peeing your name in the snow, shoveling snow, getting trapped for days in a snowbound airport (like those poor suckers in Denver). Thankfully, none of that for us.

But this heatwave of a winter is getting a bit ridiculous. Maybe that queeny, old windbag is right afterall. Maybe in 50 years Florida will be one big cheesy aquascape. Maybe we should have elected him president. (Oh wait, we did.)

But for now, our local news station weathermen all have their panties in a bunch because – woo hoo! – a cold wave is coming. Still, don’t pull out your long johns and tire chains just yet. NOAA is forecasting highs around the mid-70s and lows mostly in the 60s. This site also has prior climate information and guess what!? The average monthly temperature in December was 73.6 degrees – that’s 4 degrees higher than average for the period, and the hottest weather in December since 1931.

Cold front my eye. This “cold front” is just a few days of above-average temperatures (historically) that feel cooler than the current average (last week, anyone), but are actually just average-average (in these days of global warming).

Catch a Ride on the Real Estate Bubble

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Ahhh, real estate porn! Thank God for that crashing real estate market. It makes for endless hours of pouring through real estate sites.

Turn-ons: ’30-something (year built), ample – um – square footage, glistening wet pools, wide-open waterfront views

Turn-offs: big old fake formica cabinetry, bushy overgrown landscaping, hyperinflated asking prices, bad, sloppy *paint*jobs

If you are looking into buying in this crazy market, or just curious about what the Jones’s are up to, Miami Dade County has a couple of great websites – you can search property records for just about any address and find out the most recent purchase price, appraised value, and lots of other info. If you want comparable data for a particular neighborhood, you can search through property sales going back several years, with specifics such as year built, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, etc.

And while you’re at it, you can also use this same site to search your area for registered sex offenders.

All Clear ! ( Again )

Another false alarm.This time it was just sprinkler parts. One good thing about the last two days- we know Port security is alert and terrorists will have a near impossible time penetrating this obvious target.

Another Alert !

Possible C-4 explosive devices being loaded onto a cruise ship. This is the second day in a row of security scares in the Port , on top of what is happening in NY today. Stay tuned,read here.

All Clear !

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False alarm! Just another day in the post 911 world. Read here.

Miami Port On Alert !

Three Middle Eastern men in an 18 wheeler have been arrested while attempting to enter the Port of Miami. Read here for the latest updates. Several government agencies are on the scene including Center for Domestic Preparedness – which deals with WMDs. The Port has now been shut down.

Kayaking by Moonlight (unless its cloudy and then you’re just paddling in the dark)

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If, like me, you made a New Year’s resolution to cut down on the alcohol intake and you’re wondering what the heck to do with yourself on a Friday or Saturday night, particularly when the moon is full and you’re feeling a little frisky, you might want to think about paddling around Biscayne Bay and then heading to Monument Island for a Weenie Roast with South Beach Kayak (1771 Purdy Ave On the bay, just north of the Venetian Causeway, 305 673-2845 or 305 332-2853, no link to a website ’cause I couldn’t find a website).

Ana Marie, the head kayaker, will take you on a leisurely paddle around the Venetian (and assorted other) Isands, timing it so that you can watch the sunset over downtown and peer into the houses of the high and mighty, many of whom are out on their docks getting their party on… and, if you’re curious she can point out which muckety-muck lives in which mcmansion.
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Got Out of South Beach for Cryin Out Loud, Part 1 – Hallandale

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Ahhhh, Hallandale Beach. The fresh air, the sunny skies, the almost complete absence of douchebags.

Ever wake up on a Saturday morning and you’re not hung-over (rarely!) and sick of going to South Beach for your yucks (always!)? Then get an early start and drive on over to Hallandale Beach for a day:

1) Grab some brunch at local legend Sage Bagels – What a Bagel! as they say

2) Head over to the American Range and Gunshop for some target practice – hence, no hangover is required

3) Unwind at the Aqua Golf Driving Range – this range offers a bit more peace and quiet than the first, so for those with hangovers, skip step two

4) Get your feed on at Mott Street Chinese Restaurant – please order the crispy salted pepper shrimp!

5) Bring a pair of socks to the Holiday Bowling Center – work off the fried wontons, and order a bucket of beers

6) End the night with drinks and music at the Billabong Pub – they have hundreds of different beers here, so you’ll be sure to make up that hang over on Sunday morning!
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