Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

"Planned Progress" in Normandy Isle

For the last few months the Normandy Isle area of Miami Beach has been undergoing a number of construction projects all rolled into the vaguely-named “Normandy Isle/Normandie Sud Neighborhood ROW Improvements (BP-4)” project (though you have to go HERE to see a description). Now, I’m all for general neighborhood improvements and I understand that there will be inconveniences while the construction is underway, but at least as it regards my street, this is already bordering on the ridiculous.

It’s been 3 months since our street was first invaded by the construction crews. Parking, already a thorny issue on the Beach, has been made an even greater headache by the projects, most of which are started, then left unattended for days or weeks, before being picked up again. Just last week the crews returned to my street to begin the “final phase,” which so far has involved the removal of a roughly 5 ft. section of asphalt next to the sidewalk, and today, as you can see above, the removal of the sidewalk itself. I’m hoping that they will start pouring the signature pink concrete to make the new sidewalk and gutters soon. Perhaps it is a good thing I am flying out of town next week.

The big problem I have with all of this is one of communication. Though there are some signs around the area with all the legal mumbo jumbo these usually have, the residents of the area should have been informed directly about the project to be undertaken in our neighborhood. In fact, I’ll take that further and say that type of communication should not be a one-time event at the start of a project, but a constant stream of information and updates as things move along. I mean, there is already a web page for the project at the official city website, how about adding an RSS feed and regular updates? Is that too much to ask of city hall?

In the meantime I continue to stretch my patience and park my car in makeshift (and generally illegal) spaces, thanking heavens that no ticket-happy cops have passed by (and if they have, thank you for being understanding).

I’m Not As Stupid As You Think I Is…

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
– Declaration Of Independence, 1776

Equal opportunity is a descriptive term for an approach intended to provide a certain social environment in which people are not excluded from the activities of society, such as education, employment, or health care, on the basis of immutable traits.
– Wikipedia

One of the most ignorant things that come up during a debate concerning the pursuit of Happiness is that somehow everyone has a shot at attaining some fraction of what the pursuit of Happiness has to offer. People love to wash themselves of responsibility… it’s the American way… and wash themselves they do.
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Miam-uh…

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Well… here it is… my first Metroblog. I’ve been thinking that maybe for my first post I should keep things simple… kind of a hello / how are you? question and answer process. I know we’re supposed to write a bio but bio’s are so pretentious… I think mine says something like “professional idiot and obnoxious fool”.
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Miami Herald just wants to be loved

Miami Herald features queen Jill Bauer has been chronicling her quest for love via the internet–she registered on personals sites Chemistry.com, Match.com, and Jews-only JDate.com (Jews get all the fun web s!), and has found success in meeting various men for dates. She’s not, however, having much success in turning those dates into the romance she craves.

It’s refreshing to see people unabashedly using the internet for matchmaking–personals ads often have a negative, tawdry connotation, but there’s nothing wrong with finding love however you may. So it’s hard to not sympathize with Miss Bauer as she stumbles along. But perhaps men might be more interested her if she didn’t write about her dates in the Miami Hearald, trashing the losers for all of the city to read..and include her picture in the paper, so guys can match her face with her name.

It’s just a thought.

Race for beau can be romantic [Miami Herald]

Miami: In Books

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It must be a conspiracy. (In Miami, it always is.) Last night I was thinking it might be interesting to do an entry on Miami-related books. This morning I do a search on Amazon to add to my mental list. And what do I get? The Rolexxx Club. Why is this a conspiracy – aside from the fact that everything in Miami is? Because just last night, Bennett and I were at the Key West Grill (what can I say? I wrote about it and then absolutely had to go there) and we passed by a Miami New Times bin on our way out. What’s on the cover? A story about the real Rolexxx Club. And by the way, the New Times had a major cover typo this week – they spelled it Rolexx.

So The Rolexxx Club – the novel – is a thriller of sorts: strippers, rap and ugly deeds. Thrillers, mysteries, crime capers – Miami is perfect fodder for the genre. You got your Edna Buchanan, James Grippando, Charles Willeford, Paul Levine, Michael Gruber, Jeff Lindsay, John Dufresne, Carl Hiassen. Even your Meta Smith, author of The Rolexxx Club. (It goes on and on, if that’s your cup of tea. I’d link to all these guys, but honestly, if you don’t know how to search for them on Amazon, you probably can’t read.)

If you do read books, though, read these:

1) Miami – Joan Didion – cocaine cowboys, castroites & anti-castroites, CIA operatives and conspiracies. The pinnacle of Miami writing. And it’s all true.
2) Miami Noir – Anthology – some of the best of the genre.
3) Early Bird – Rodney Rothman – doesn’t have Miami in the title, but does include yours truly as a character. 28 year old decides to try out the retirement lifestyle a bit early. Hilarity ensues.
4) Miami: Then and Now – Klepser Carolyn and Arva Moore Parks – wonderful pictorial history of Miami. There are a million things you didn’t know. And startling photographs of the way we were.
5) The Aguero Sisters – Christina Garcia – two Cuban sisters and everything that divides them and unites them. Chick lit mainly, but so nicely written.

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.

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