Archive for January, 2007

Three Cheers for Good Ole’ Jaws Chestnut!


According to Weird News, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut gobbled 21 pretzels in 10 minutes to win the 2007 Pretzel Twister World Pretzel-Eating Championship in Miami,” this past Sunday What the article fails to mention, but you can find out by checking out the IFOCE website (International Federation of Competitive Eating) is that homeboy didn’t just win, he broke the dang world record of pretzel consummation. In our very own city! Now let me ask you honestly, with this kind of entertainment available, do you really care how strong the mayor is?

I do wish I had known about the event ahead of time, I feel like I would have given Joey a run for his money, or at the very least had the privilege of being part of history in the making. I’d love to hear from anyone who actually went.

Slow Drivers Out Of The Fast Lane !

Today’s Herald discusses a new law being proposed that would enforce an existing law that the left lane is for passing only. Every time you see some old codger, a clueless taxi driver or someone combing their hair while yakking on the cell doing 45 in the left lane over the MacArthur Causeway , you see everyone else swerving around them – causing near accidents everywhere – not to mention creating road rage and traffic jams. Read the article and comment – this law must pass !

Here’s a little story, I got to tell


For those of you who like a good story and want to see some real live professional yarn-spinners do their thing, The Moth Story Tour, featuring Andy Borowitz, Jonathan Ames and Miami’s own Jim DeFede, is coming to the Deering Estate (Palmetto Village) next Friday, February 2nd to kick off the South Bay Festival of the Arts.

I can’t speak for all of these guys but I saw Andy Borowitz at the Miami Book Fair a few months ago and the guy is not just funny and smart, but tells the kind of stories that make you feel funnier and smarter just for having heard them.

Jim DeFede, is kinda widely known as the conscience of the fourth estate in our fair city and has done a bunch to help bring to light the shadier side of Miami politics. I’ve never seen him speak but I did see him eating wings at Shucker’s one time. Just thought I’d mention it.

For those of you who can’t make it, Eira and I are hoping to attend and we’ll let you know what we think for next time they come around…

For those of you who are so excited by the idea of live storytelling that you can’t wait to throw your hat into the arena and show people what kind of story-skills you’re packing, you missed your chance to enter the Moth Stories Contest for this year, but you should check out the website which has a whole bunch of stories, including last year’s winner, so you can start practicing for next year,

And finally, for those of you who caught the Beastie Boys reference in the Title and still think that three bad brothers’ story about a horsie and a quart of beer qualifies as story-telling, here’s the Wikipedia entry on Paul Revere, which is a pretty good yarn in and of itself, you know what I’m talking about, boy.

Morningside Architecture in Critical Miami

Critical Miami, a blog I’m a big fan of, has an interesting series of pictures of the architecture in Morningside where many of the houses date back to the 20’s. It’s worth checking out.

Miami: In Books


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.

Worst Price Gouging Ever !

Today the price of oil dropped below $50 a barrel for the first time since May 2005 meaning that prices at the pump will soon be below $2 per gallon. That’s not the case at this Shell Station on the corner of Royal Palm and Arthur Godfrey (41st) in Miami Beach. These prices defy reality and are probably illegal, meant to trick unaware tourists in rental cars. For the best prices ( $2.03 today) go to Miami Gas Prices.

Parrotheads for a Day – Cheap and Close to Home


So, I know this doesn’t start out very Miami-centric, but wait for it. See, Bennett and I took advantage of the long weekend for a little overnight to Key Largo. We stayed at a lovely, quiet no-tell motel by the side of the road (the Overseas Highway) called the The Hungry Pelican. The great thing about this place is that it’s right on Florida Bay and they have kayaks and a canoe that you can just sign out for free. (We’re into kayaking.) Another good thing is that the drive is under two hours, so you can get out on Saturday morning, do a little afternoon kayak and have a mellow dinner, spend most of Sunday on a hammock or on the water, and be back in Miami by dinnertime.

Which is exactly what we did: Sunday afternoon, we chartered Captain Rick’s sailboat Morning Star for a romantic sunset cruise complete with bubbly supplied by the Capt. It was unbelievable. I almost hate writing about it, because it’s just that good. I want him all to myself.

At $45 bucks a person, I was shocked that it would just be us out on the wide wild ocean, but incredibly enough the Captain only takes out only one group at a time, first come first served, 2-6 people per group. He also does longer snorkeling trips in the morning for $65 per person. Provided the weather is nice, that is: Captain Rick is one of those awesome guys who’re really badasses but always do things by the book, so if he says the day is no good, the day is no good and no sailing for you.

The sun having set, we got in the car, pointed it north and called up some friends to meet us at the Key West Grill at 8 p.m. North, you ask? Well, yes, see – the Key West Grill is in Normandy Isle. It’s right on the water at the back of the International Inn, and it’s perfection. The food is okay. Just food like somebody’s Carribean grandma might make. But it’s cheap and plentiful, and it’s served by a great no-nonsense friendly waitress who has this way about her that’s kind of indescribable. Like maybe she’s just there filling in for the real waitress who didn’t show up that day, and she’s just doing the owners a favor. (The owners are all smiles and warmth, by the way.) She is just the unwaitressiest waitress ever, is all. And yet you still feel completely welcome and taken care of at all times. Oh, and did I mention the wine? Yeah, it’s all Yellowtail all the time, and they charge like $11 a bottle. The hours go by here like, well, like your own personal Margaritaville.

Miami Vices


Not since the days of Miami Vice has there been so much Miami-style murder and mayhem on television. I love it. Especially since Dexter, the Showtime series pictured above actually uses the building I live in for one of its locations. That’s it right up there, in fact, in the opening credits. That’s right. Dexter – that serial-killing do-gooder actually lives in my aparment building. And let me tell you – when Showtime comes to film at your location, you better be damn quiet. And no walking around or anything. And definitely no opening or closing any doors. You’d think the Pope was on location instead of Michael C. Hall.

Anyway, in addition to Dexter, as Bennett pointed out, our city is also host to part of the CBS franchise CSI: Miami. (I have never been able to watch a complete episode of this show because David Caruso just creeps me out to no end. Click on Bennett’s link below and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.) And, as they say in infomercials, that’s not all folks: we’ve also got TLC’s Miami Ink and – not to be left behind – Animal Planet’s Miami Animal Police. That’s what’s on the air currently that I know of. Anybody got any others? Or shows from the past that deserve some props? Worst all time Miami-based show? Need to jar your memory? Check out IMDB for a bunch of titles.

The real miami…

You gotta love how David Caruso exposes the real Miami underworld in this series of one liners from the show…


Quick Peek Into 2007 (and it ain’t pretty)

Just in case you were wondering what the future holds for us this year in Florida, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is here to tell youthat the slowdown in the housing market is going to create “headwinds” and “mixed prospects”, notably via a “reality check” in the housing market. For those of us who are renters, I guess this is good news. Maybe I’ll finally be able to buy Paulina Rubio’s house on Star Island for $5.00 just like I’ve been telling Eira all along.

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