Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lazaro El Lechon, the vulgar pig!

This is alleged to be a banned commercial for Headquarter Toyota. I can't imagine why!

Video here.

Woodstock; where were you?

"They say that if you remember anything about Woodstock, you weren't really there." Alvin Lee, Ten Years After

Photograph by BURK UZZLE


This August 15 marks the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in Bethel, N.Y.

It's widely regarded as one of the greatest moments in popular music history and was listed on Rolling Stone's 50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock and Roll.

For the record, I did not attend. I was living and working in New York City at the time but chose not to go. Bummer!



The New York Times photo blog, Lens, has posted a narrated slideshow of Woodstock photos by former LIFE Magazine photographer Bill Eppridge.

And, if after looking at those images, you find yourself wanting more, don't worry. I'm sure there will be plenty of stories and retrospectives in the media in the coming weeks.

I'll close with my favorite video from Woodstock, which in my opinion, captures the essence of Woodstock.




Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Overtown's Mr. Entertainment!



Came across this ad in a Nov. 1963 issue of the Miami Herald for Clyde Killens' Knight Beat in Overtown.

Killens was an entertainment impresario who brought popular black entertainers to Overtown nightclubs half a century ago.

Here's a recording of the legendary Sam Cooke performing live at Killen's Harlem Square Club in 1963.

Killens died in 2004 at the age of 95 but had he lived he would have been 100 this year.

The Herald archives have many stories on him but I like this 1990 piece best.
'THE GLASS' REFLECTS OVERTOWN'S GLORY CLYDE KILLENS LIT HOT '50S, '60S SCENE IN ENTERTAINMENT

June 30, 1990

by SHARONY ANDREWS Herald Staff Writer

Clyde Killens doesn't think about the old days much. Except, perhaps, when he walks into his neighborhood barber shop and people need a little help with some Overtown trivia.

"Once they was betting on whether Redd Foxx had ever played the Knight Beat," says Killens. "I walked in and I was the proof. I'm the one who brought him in.

"They know if anybody knows, I do."

And so he does. Killens put Overtown on the national map as one the hottest black entertainment pockets in the country during the 1950s and '60s. Back then, he brought in legends like Dinah Washington, Count Basie and Sammy Davis Jr., who performed nightly in clubs like the Sir John Hotel's Knight Beat, which he managed.

Back in those days, Killens was known as "Miami's Mr. Entertainment" or "the Glass," the latter coming because "I always had a glass in my hand -- Scotch and water, of course."

His domain included Overtown's hot spots: Harlem Square, the Island Club and Mary Elizabeth's Hotel Fiesta Club. And the names were big: Mary Wells, Sam and Dave, Hot Papa Turner, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Jackie Wilson, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank DuBoise. Black performers would play at whites-only stages in Miami Beach, then drive across the bay to play Overtown. Often they saved their funkiest sets for those late-night gigs with Clyde; the audiences were often anything but segregated, whites knowing that Overtown was were the real shows were happening.

But Killens' genius was recognizing that it took more than big names to keep audiences happy. On Ladies Night, he gave out free panty hose and dresses. Sunday's door prizes were grocery carts filled high with offerings like neck bones and cans of black-eyed peas. His "Night in Nassau" was big with South Florida's Bahamian population; patrons brought native dishes like stewed conch, conch salad, conch fritters, pigeon peas and rice and fried fish.

"He was a guy who knew what kind of entertainment it took to make a club go," said China Valles, who hosts a jazz radio show on WTMI but in 1964 was broadcasting live the happenings at the Knight Beat.

"He had all the big acts. He used to bring them over to my radio booth and let me interview them, people like Aretha Franklin, James Brown and Joe Louis."

The clubs were filled nightly with both whites and blacks who did dances like the Madison, the Hully Gully and the Chicken Scratch "like they had rehearsed it the night before. It was just something to see, a hundred of them on the dance floor." The next day, from 3 to 6 p.m., the neighborhood kids were let in. For a dollar, they'd get dancers, comedians and a singer.

Folks also flocked to Clyde's, Killens' own pool hall. It's still open today. Frequenters in the old days included Muhammad Ali, then a young Cassius Clay; boxer Archie Moore; Flip Wilson. "It was the classiest operation around," said Killens. "Always someone big in there."

Killens arrived in Miami in 1924, a 15-year-old from Valdosta, Ga. Today, at 81, his memory is still sharp. He can tell you about when the tracks were just being laid for streetcars to go through Overtown, about being one of the first blacks to vote in the 1920s, about getting air conditioners in the old Colored Town theaters, about the hurricane of 1926 that ripped through the houses of affluent whites in Miami Beach but couldn't beat down the shotgun shacks of Overtown.

"They had to build Miami Beach all over again," he remembers. "We built ours right. Maybe a shingle fell here or there, but ours stayed up."

One house that made it through the storm was the one Killens still lives in today, at Northwest 11th Street and Second Avenue. The neat, two-story, bright white home with yellow trim now looks out of place on the glass-strewn, gutted block that once was the economic and social heartbeat of Overtown. In the 1950s and '60s, black society came through those doors for Killens' lavish parties. Says his bedridden wife, Ova, "Only the socialites partied here. We're the only ones left today."

The house used to have a gas station out front that sold more moonshine than gasoline in the 1920s and '30s, Killens remembers. He bought the place, fixed it up a little, and personally stood out on the corner and waved passing motorists in to his smooth driveway. "I'd stop any black person with a car. I am and have always been a hustlin' businessman," Killens says with a laugh.

Although much of the Overtown he knew and loved exists only in memories, Killens has no interest in moving. This is his home; these are people he knows and who know him. When he drives his brown Lincoln through the streets, people nod and say hello to the man who has been here longer than most have been alive.

Killens rarely leaves the neighborhood anymore, but every afternoon he heads east across the railroad tracks to the Miami Herald building to get the first edition of the next day's paper.

"I got to have my news, " he says. "I stay up to late at night reading the paper. I don't read books. The print is too small in those books. I just read. Don't even listen to music."

And he remembers. Showing a visitor an old scrapbook with browned clippings, he gently turns each page and points out the names. "See, here's Dionne Warwick. Her first gig was in the Knight Beat. Oh, there's Jackie Gleason -- he used to sing on the pool tables in my pool hall down the street, yes ma'am."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Miami Herald 'misleading' its readers?

Jim Savage

Is The Herald "misleading" its readers?

That's what one former Miami Herald editor says about the paper's recent obfuscation of the facts surrounding the complaint lodged against Herald Guantanamo reporter Carol Rosenberg by a navy commander.

Broward-Palm Beach New Times blogger Bob Norman reports that former Herald investigations editor Jim Savage has posted a scathing broadside regarding the paper's lack of a full accounting on the Rosenberg story on a Herald alumni email chain:
I thought it was appalling that The Herald's brief story headlined "Reporter Accused of Sexual Harassment" did not even attempt to provide a response from Carol Rosenberg. And worse, it never described the accusations, which, in my opinion, involve language issues, not sexual harassment.

A number of women have been accused in the past of sexual harassment, using their positions to seek sexual favors from fellow workers, men and women.

For both men and women, sexual harassment is a very serious allegation which can destroy careers.

I fear that Herald editors panicked when they learned that the Navy's letter of complaint against Carol had been released to other media. The resulting Herald story, in my humble opinion, qualifies as the single most misleading, inaccurate and damaging story published in recent years.
(Emphasis mine.)
This is not the first time the Herald has found itself in an ethical quagmire and it's not the first time Savage has criticized his former employer.

Four years ago Savage was one of over 500 journalists who spoke out against the Herald for the firing of columnist Jim DeFede.
Jim Savage, the Herald's retired investigations editor who supervised Fiedler's Gary Hart coverage, said DeFede's conduct has to be weighed against a lack of criminal intent.

Like some others, Savage saw the firing as a rash decision in a moment of crisis.

"I would not have made such a momentous decision when they were literally cleaning up the blood from the lobby floor," Savage said.
Perhaps what the Herald needs now - more than ever - are a few more editors like Savage, and few less like current editor Anders Gyllenhaal.

Cuba's eBay


So you're looking for a second car to tool around in on weekends.

You want something that will impress your friends. Like an old Soviet-era Volga 21. But you can't seem to find one in Miami.

Well, cheer up. There's one listed (with the original engine!) on Revolico.com that's for sale in Cuba. And for some reason there's a Miami contact.

Revolico is Cuba's version of eBay and Craigslist, all rolled into one.

The ads while straight to the point, are also poignant and offer a snapshot of the resiliance of the Cuban people.

Like this ad offering to trade a 1953 Ford for a smaller car:
1953 FORD WITH VOLGA 24 ENGINE AND A SPARE ENGINE, VOLGA DIFFERENTIAL, 5-SPEED TOYOTA TRANSMISSION. THE CAR IS RENTED EVERY DAY. I AM LOOKING FOR A SMALL CAR TO SPEND THE REST OF WHAT IS LEFT OF MY LIFE. I WANT SOMETHING MODERN. CALL MY WIFE NEREIDA OR ME, GREGO, AT 505722. MORON, CIEGGO DE AVILA. IF YOU HAVE A YARIS I WILL SWAP WITH YOU AND GIVE YOU SOME MONEY.
And here's someone who wants to trade their house for a car.

And of course there's a section for hook-ups.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Why does Anders Gyllenhaal want it both ways?


A few days ago we learned that a U.S. Naval officer based at Guantánamo Bay sent a letter to Miami Herald executive editor Anders Gyllenhaal that complained about the behavior of the Herald's Guantánamo correspondent Carol Rosenberg.

The officer, Jeffrey D. Gordon, alleges that Rosenberg has engaged in pattern of sexual harassment towards him and others at the base.

The story hasn't gotten much play other than a piece in Saturday's Washington Post.

The Herald ran a short, three sentence item in Saturday's paper that raised more questions than it answered.

That report was finally posted online today.
A U.S. Navy public affairs officer assigned to the office of the Secretary of Defense has sent a letter of complaint to The Miami Herald about the conduct of reporter Carol Rosenberg, who covers the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

In a letter dated July 22 to Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal, Cmdr. Jeffrey D. Gordon alleges that comments made over the past year by Rosenberg toward Gordon and other military personnel were unprofessional and constitute sexual harassment.

Gyllenhaal said Gordon's complaints are being looked into and that because this was a personnel matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further.
That last line struck me as odd. Call me crazy, but if you're going to report on personnel issues at other companies, then shouldn't you be just as quick to report on your own problems.

And right now it looks like the Herald is using a double standard when it comes to informing its readers. Avoiding the perception of a cover-up is just as important as not engaging in one in the first place. (Gyllenhaal should know this. He currently chairs the Pulitzer board which oversees the Pulitzer Prizes which are awarded for journalism excellence.)

But until Gyllenhaal decides it's time to give his readers all the news on this story, you'll just have read it here at Random Pixels and elsewhere.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't direct you to the lively debate going on about the merits of the navy commander's complaint over at Miami New Times.

Tim Elfrink thinks the guy is a crybaby.

And Kyle Munzenrieder says not so fast. "I have no idea if Rosenberg 'hates the U.S. military,' but blatantly disrespecting an officer sure doesn't help quell the wingnut crowd."

White House 'beer summit' this week?



The Boston Globe is reporting that the much-anticipated "beer summit" could take place this week.

President Obama will be having a beer (or two?) with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley in an effort to broker a truce between the two. Tempers flared after Crowley's arrest of Gates for disorderly conduct a week ago.

Speculation is rampant over the choice of brew the three will drink. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times lists some of the possibilities.

It's possible that there will be some cold Blue Moon™ Belgian White on hand. After all, that's what Sgt. Crowley was drinking when Obama called him at a Boston pub last week.

Blue Moon is described as "a refreshing, medium-bodied, unfiltered Belgian-style wheat ale spiced with fresh coriander and orange peel for a uniquely complex taste and an uncommonly smooth finish"...which sounds awfully "elitist".

Or maybe they'll just have a couple of Buds. (For the curious, Random Pixels is partial to Pilsner Urquell.)

But whatever beer the two Harvard men and a working class Irish cop choose to quaff, one thing's for sure, and that is that this story isn't going away for a very long time.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Is she gone yet?


Here's your souvenir front page from today's Anchorage Daily News.

View from the Rusty Pelican


Miami skyline as seen from the Rusty Pelican last Friday night. Spectacular!

Unfortunately the food was NOT spectacular!

I had the salmon. Or a more accurate description would be that the salmon had me.

It raced through my digestive tract like a suicide bomber through a Baghdad roadblock.

Got home just in time.

Apparently I'm not alone.

Talked with a friend whose girlfriend works at one of Miami's courthouses and whose job it is to book luncheons at the Pelican on a regular basis.

She says that she hates the place because so many people have gotten sick after eating there.

Don't say you weren't warned.

Here are some other opinions of the Pelican. Some good, some not so good.

Who needs a $5 foot-long? We got iguanas!


What's for lunch? You're tired of chicken, steak is too expensive and you've already been to Burger King three times this week.

According to Jeff Klinkenberg of the St. Petersburg Times, Sarasota County iguana hunter George Cera has the answer to those sky-high lunch tabs.
“[Iguana]...there are too many. We might as well . . . eat them.’’
Or as Klinkenberg puts it: "No need to stop at Subway for lunch."

And for the herpetophobes among us, Klinkenberg offers these not so comforting facts:
  • Iguanas, like Nile monitor lizards and Burmese pythons, aren't supposed to live in Florida. Now all manner of alien reptiles with no natural enemies are reproducing in the state's southern half as if on a mission to take over Florida.

  • Pythons, which grow longer than 20 feet, are eating alligators in the fragile Everglades — and experts fear that humans one day may end up on the menu. A state-sanctioned hunt commenced recently to reduce a population estimated to be at least 25,000 pythons.

  • "They are widespread,'' says Kenneth Krysko, who studies iguanas at the University of Florida. "And there are tens of thousands of them.'' Young iguanas eat eggs of protected sea turtles, gopher tortoises and burrowing owls. As 7-foot adults, they dine on endangered flora that includes the delicate butterfly sage. For dessert they devour expensive suburban landscape plants.
  • But Klinkenberg says there is a solution: "...there is no law against killing and barbecuing the homely invaders."

    To which I say, let's eat them before they eat us!!

    Saturday, July 25, 2009

    Let's all get nekkid!


    It's official!

    The world's best nude beach is right here in Miami Dade County!

    Travel website TripAdvisor has compiled a list of top nude beaches.

    In the top spot is Haulover Beach Park, Miami Beach, Florida which attracts more than one million visitors each year.

    TripAdvisor reader reviews for Haulover here.

    Hot pokers, broomsticks and the Miami Herald

    UPDATE: The Herald published a short three paragraph brief on this matter on page 3B of the Saturday, July 25 paper.

    Miami Herald correspondent Carol Rosenberg

    "Have you ever had a red hot poker shoved up your a**? Have you ever had a broomstick shoved up your a**? Have you ever had anything in your a**? How would you know how it feels if it never happened to you? Admit it, you liked it? No wonder why you like to stay in South Beach on your Miami visits."

    Now you're probably wondering where those six sentences came from. And your first guess might be that I lifted them from a script for a really bad gay porn flick.

    But guess again.

    Those lines were allegedly uttered by the Miami Herald's Guantanamo correspondent Carol Rosenberg to a United States Navy commander.

    According to a story first reported yesterday by Fishbowl DC, a US Navy Commander has filed a sexual harassment complaint against Rosenberg.

    The commander, Jeffrey D. Gordon, the Pentagon Spokesman for Western Hemisphere and Guantanamo issues, made the allegations against Rosenberg in a July 22, 2009 letter to Miami Herald executive editor Anders Gyllenhaal.

    (A copy of Cmdr. Gordon's letter to Gyllenhaal can be seen here.)

    Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz filed a story today which repeats the allegations.

    Kurtz also quotes several journalists who come to Rosenberg's defense:
    "Jamie McIntyre, a former CNN Pentagon correspondent, said of Rosenberg's interactions with Gordon: 'I didn't think there was any sort of sexual abuse, unless you're telling me a naval officer, a sailor, isn't used to hearing anatomical references in anger. It sounds like an overreaction on everybody's part.' He said Rosenberg 'was always professional in her demeanor when I was around her.' "
    But Gordon alleges that Rosenberg said this of McIntyre:
    "You're kissing his [butt] so much that I can't believe you're letting him stay with the rest of us. Do you love him?"
    Apparently this is not the first time that Gordon has complained about Rosenberg's behavior. Kurtz reports:
    "In his letter this week, Gordon said he appreciated Gyllenhaal's efforts last July, after a previous complaint to the Herald, 'to correct Carol Rosenberg's patently offensive conduct,' but was 'disappointed that the results were merely temporary.' "
    If that's the case it appears that Rosenberg may be getting some special treatment from Gyllenhaal.

    One wonders if Gyllenhaal would tolerate this sort of conduct on the part of a male reporter. While some of her her colleagues may not consider Rosenberg's remarks and conduct to be offensive, they are at the very least, unprofessional.

    And if true, then perhaps it's time for Gyllenhaal to replace Rosenberg.

    And of course, so far, the Herald's published nothing on this matter. Surprised?

    Thanks to Rick at SFDB for the heads up.

    Thursday, July 23, 2009

    How far have we really come?

    A man is attacked by a police dog during the Birmingham civil-rights campaign, Alabama, May 3, 1963. photograph by Charles Moore


    ...
    Here are the facts, according to the Boston Globe, that led to the weekend arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates at his Cambridge, MA home:
    You're at your Cambridge house, trying to open your front door, but it won't budge. The thing needs a shoulder put to it. So you ask the guy who drove you home from the airport -- a middle-aged guy like you, a guy in a suit and tie -- to help you. He kindly obliges.

    A woman is walking by. She sees you on the porch, a 58-year-old African-American man with a gray beard and glasses and cane, your striped polo shirt tucked neatly into your khakis. Even though you are Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the most prominent academics in the country, and Harvard's most famous face, she does not recognize you -- even though she works for Harvard Magazine, even though her office is right down the street.

    What she sees are a couple of guys trying to break into a house. She calls the police.

    By this time, you are on the phone in your own entry hall, asking Harvard to come and fix your front door. When you see the police officer on your porch, you assume it's someone to help you. When he sees you, a man at ease, chatting on a cordless phone, does the Cambridge police officer conclude things look okay? Does he take note of the fact that you make no attempt to run, as a robber might? Does he say, We got a call, sir. We're just making sure everything's OK, sir? Have a lovely day, sir?
    A Hollywood script writer in creative overdrive couldn't have come with this plot on a good day: a national dialogue on race sparked by the arrest - in his own home - of one of America's leading experts on race.

    An arrest on the vaguest of charges: disorderly conduct. According to the arrest report Gates was "observed exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior, in a public place."

    Total BS!

    The cop who arrested him knew this charge wouldn't hold up. So why did he arrest Gates?

    Cambridge police sergeant James Crowley told two Boston radio talk show hosts today, "He was arrested after following me outside the house, continuing the tirade, even after being warned multiple times, probably a few more times than the average person would have gotten."


    Gates, (l.) and Crowley, (rt.)

    The charges against Gates were immediately dropped when the Boston DA declined to go forward with the case.

    Crowley knew this would be the outcome. What Crowley didn't tell the talk show hosts is that cops have a saying: "You can beat the rap, but you can't beat the ride."

    President Obama tackled the issue during his Wednesday evening news conference saying the police "acted stupidly."

    That remark prompted one NYTimes.com reader to post this reaction on the paper's website: “I agree that there was probably some stupidity involved here, but I just don’t think him [Obama] weighing in on it benefits anyone. By the end of the week this will be spun so ridiculously that you’d swear he [Gates] called the Cambridge police pigs while eating brie and sipping pinot noir.”


    Indeed, there was probably some stupidity and over-reaction on the part of both Gates and Crowley.

    But Crowley is a professional and shouldn't have let Gates get to him.

    So far, not much on this incident hasn't shown up in the local media. However the Herald's Leonard Pitts promises he'll devote a column to the issue Sunday.

    So, how far has the nation come since that day in 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama when police chief Bull Connor turned his police dogs loose on civil rights demonstrators?

    Maybe that question can best be answered by Professor Gates.

    Wednesday, July 22, 2009

    Taco Bell's Chihuahua, Gidget, dead at 15

    First Walter Cronkite leaves us and now ... Gidget.

    Yes, that Gidget, the canine face of the talking Taco Bell dog ad campaign (Remember "Yo Quiero Taco Bell" and "Hey, Leezard!"), died from a stroke at age 15 Tuesday.

    Your "Miami Social" Daily Dose


    If you're one of those people who just can't get enough of the imbecilic and inane real-life twits on Bravo TV's paean to superficiality and banality that is "Miami Social," then you're in luck.

    One of the show's "stars" - Katrina Campins - has a Twitter account. You can get all the updates on the show here. Like this:
    Great "Miami Social" group scene at the Gansevoort coming up on Bravo TV!!!
    about 15 hours ago from web

    The way we were

    Found this great old photo of Miami Beach that's available through the LIFE photo archive hosted by Google.

    CAPTION: Auto traffic along Collins Ave., the main street of the city, where 6 out of every 10cars has a non-Florida license plate, amongst a residential population of 20,000. Date taken: February 1940. Photographer: Alfred Eisenstaedt

    The location shown in the photo is the Jack Dempsey Restaurant in the Dempsey Vanderbilt hotel he also co-owned. The Setai hotel now stands on the site of the original Vanderbilt hotel.



    Tuesday, July 21, 2009

    I thought they only used their guns at donut shops!



    Denver cop accused of using gun to speed up McDonald's breakfast

    Glenn Garvin unloads (again) on "Miami Social"

    Everyone's talking about Miami Herald TV critic Glenn Garvin's classic blistering last week of the puke-inducing reality show, "Miami Social."

    And Garvin, probably recognizing that he may not get another juicy target like this in his sights for a while, unloads (again this time on video) on the show.

    Garvin admits that one scene in "Miami Social" made him nostalgic for the days when a TV show shot in Miami didn't "have fish-sex in the first three minutes" and also admits he likes beating dead horses!

    Enjoy!

    Monday, July 20, 2009

    More bad news for the Miami Herald?

    UPDATE: AP corrects the story below. CORRECTS analyst estimate for quarter loss to 8 cents per share, instead of $6.45 per share.

    From the Associated Press:
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Newspaper publisher McClatchy Co. is scheduled to report its second-quarter results before the stock market opens Tuesday. The following is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.

    OVERVIEW: Hardly anything has gone right during the past few years for the owner of The Miami Herald and 29 other daily newspapers. The hard-luck theme is unlikely to change in the Sacramento-based company's second-quarter earnings report.
    [...]
    BY THE NUMBERS: Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect McClatchy to lose $6.45 per share on revenue of $369 million. The company earned 24 cents per share on revenue of $490 million at the same time last year.
    How does this affect the Herald and its subscribers?

    More from the AP report:
    WHAT'S AHEAD: Unless the advertising market rebounds soon, McClatchy may have to lower its expenses even more to pay its bills and remain in good graces with its bankers. That could mean even more layoffs at a company that already jettisoned about one-third of its work force in the past year.
    More layoffs? Not good news at all.

    The Herald is running on fumes now. Hundreds of experienced journalists have been laid off in the past year. The people who are left, are putting out a paper that's a shadow of what it once was. Even the paper's size is shrinking.

    I'm not sure the Herald can take another hit and remain viable.

    More info here.

    Sunday, July 19, 2009

    Where's Carlos Miller when you really need him?



    from the Daily Beast:
    Confronted by the family pet, police often shoot first and ask questions later, reports Radley Balko. Among hundreds of recent victims: Labradors, Wheaten terriers, and a five-pound chihuahua.

    Saturday, July 18, 2009

    Today at South Pointe Park

    South Beach celebrity crime file

    Back in February I wrote about a small group of South Beach parking scofflaws who use spaces marked "No Parking" as their own personal parking spaces.

    Seven days a week at West Avenue and 10th Street, there's a constant parade of people in pricey cars, who shuttle in and out of the spaces oblivious to the fact that they're breaking the law.

    Some park just long enough to grab a cup of coffee at the Starbucks. We've all done that.

    But then there are the select few who feel the rules don't apply to them. They pull ito the spaces clearly marked "No Parking," run inside Starbucks and get a cup of coffee. Then they come back out and sit down for 30 minutes at a time, confident that they'll never get a ticket because Miami Beach parking enforcement rarely shows up here.

    Today was such a day.

    I watched as a woman deftly maneuvered her Saturn SUV into a space a few feet away from a fire hydrant and just ahead of another illegally parked car.

    But this wan't just any lawbreaker.

    Look closely...it's one of Miami Beach's newest faux-celebrities: Maria Lankina of the Bravo reality show, "Miami Social," which debuted this week to rave reviews.



    Maria waltzed into Starbucks and got a cup of coffee and then came back outside and sat down with her laptop, her car safely parked in her own personal parking space just feet away.

    So while Maria might struggling with the inner turmoil that goes along with being part of one of worst reality shows in recent years ever; she can rest assured that the red carpet always awaits her at the Starbucks at West and 10th.

    Friday, July 17, 2009

    Where's Jeff Weinsier when you need him?

    UPDATE: Looks like Jeff is already on the case!

    Click to enlarge

    ...
    Attn. Channel 10 assignment desk: Can we have Jeff Weinsier look into this place?

    In case you're keeping score - Part II

    Marlins fan Michael Lawson enjoys the solitude of Dolphins Stadium, July, 2001.

    In a front page story in Thursday's paper, Miami Herald sportswriter Michelle Kaufman wrote breathlessly about the upcoming four game series between our beloved Marlins and the Philadelphia Phillies.
    Baseball fans across the nation will have their eyes on Land Shark Stadium as the second-place Marlins, four games back, try to make up critical ground on the Phillies in the biggest game of the day.

    "Other than Lance [Armstrong] in the Tour de France, we are the biggest thing going in American sports on this day," said Sean Flynn, the Marlins' vice president of marketing. "A second-place team heading into a four-game series against the first-place team, this is what you hope for on a mid-July day when not much else is going on. I can feel the buzz around here. People are excited."

    Crowds of upwards of 30,000 are expected, as the Phillies, the defending World Series champions, are typically a good draw, and even more so at this point in the season.
    Well, let's check and see how excited the fans were.

    According to ESPN.com, last night's stadium attendance was an astounding 15,171 (39.3% full) well below the 30,000 that Kaufman predicted. And that leaves me wondering if Kaufman is on the payroll of the Herald or the Marlins.

    However I'm sure that attendance at Marlins games will skyrocket just as soon as our new $634 million stadium opens.

    Right?

    They break ground on the new stadium tomorrow! Be there and be part of the excitement! After all, you're paying for it!

    Thursday, July 16, 2009

    I can't wait


    According to an impeccable, highly-placed source at Miami's premiere free weekly paper, Miami New Times, the boys and girls are working hard on a what sounds like a kick-ass piece for next week's issue.

    They've compiled a list of South Florida elected officials that have run afoul of law and created a baseball trading card for each of them. The possibilities are endless!

    This issue is probably going to fly off the newsstand quickly so get your copy early!

    Just asking

    I wonder if Carlos Miller will be writing about this?

    Carlos Alvarez and the Kodak moment

    UPDATED @ 2:55pm A loyal Random Pixels reader - who also happens to be a Miami Herald staffer - sends this suggestion along:

    "You should ask if the county commission's "plaque lady" is in trouble too. She makes sure all the lame plaques and certificates and keys to the city are ready for our esteemed leaders to present to people at various ceremonies. A full-time job!"

    Mayor Alvarez? What do you say? "Plaque lady"....Thumbs up or thumbs down?

    Was there anybody in Miami-Dade County older than the age of five who was surprised by yesterday's news that the county is facing a $427 million shortfall for next year's budget?

    The mayor proposes to make up part of that shortfall by firing 1,700 of the county's 30,000 employees.

    It shouldn't be all that hard for the mayor and the county manager to sh*tcan 1,700 county workers. (I use the term "workers" loosely.) Walk into any county agency and you'll see enough dead wood to fill up a good-sized Home Depot.

    And here's some more free advice for you Mr. Mayor. As you compile the list of people to fire, you might want to look around your own office.

    On June 18 of last year, Channel 10's Michael Putney wrote a scathing assessment of your first term for the op-ed page of the Miami Herald.
    Carlos Alvarez isn't a bad mayor. Nor a very good one, either. Nevertheless, it looks like he'll be the Miami-Dade mayor for four more years. The deadline for filing was yesterday, and no one other than a retired school teacher qualified to run against him.

    It's worth asking why. The first and obvious reason is the power of incumbency. Alvarez used it to collect about $720,000 for the reporting period that ended March 31.
    [...]
    Way to go, Ms. Williams, and you're only skimming the surface. You didn't even mention the $800 million collected from the half-cent sales tax for transportation -- "new money for new projects" -- at least half of which went to pay for routine operating costs, according to The Miami Herald's Larry Lebowitz. Then there are the millions from the Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust that went to developer Dennis Stackhouse for a failed biopharmaceutical park in Liberty City. There were similar problems with grants from the Metro-Miami Action Plan. And the massively bloated $6.2 billion price tag for construction at MIA jumped by another $100 million last week. The list of wretched excesses goes on and on.

    Granted, Alvarez didn't create most of these problems; he inherited them. But when they came to light, he reacted too slowly. He's not an actor; he's a reactor. For a guy known to take names and kick butt at the Miami-Dade Police Department, his management style has been passive-aggressive at County Hall.

    He needs to spend more time there. Alvarez prefers his satellite office in West Miami-Dade (also closer to lunch time favorite La Carreta) where constituents seeking help and favors often queue up like the ill and infirm at Lourdes. But Miami-Dade government is run downtown at County Hall, which is where a strong mayor needs to spend most of his time.
    Towards the end of the end of the column Putney wrote:
    Alvarez 's also not there much because he maintains a dizzying schedule of public appearances. Not even the late Steve Clark, glad-hander extraordinaire, showed up in front of so many civic, community and charitable groups. Alvarez 's appearances are documented by his county-paid staff photographer, and the pictures and stories are blast e-mailed to the media. It may help him get reelected, but he should spend less time in meaningless photo-ops and more time thinking about ideas or initiatives to help the people of Miami-Dade.
    Yep, that's right, Carlos Avarez has his own personal photographer, without whom, we'd never get to see crap great moments like this.


    Carlos Alvarez and fired Miami Dade Transit Director Roosevelt Bradley

    So Mr. Mayor, if you're really serious about saving the county money, why not prove it and clear out all of the dead wood.

    Maybe the first person you fire should be your photographer! Just a thought.

    Wednesday, July 15, 2009

    In case you're keeping score

    UPDATE: NBC6 draws a little inspiration from my post below.



    March 24, 2009 Miami-Dade's stadium OK is final hurdle for Marlins
    Miami-Dade County commissioners voted 9-4 to finance a $515 million ballpark and $94 million in parking lots at the former site of the Orange Bowl in Little Havana.
    May 23, 2009 Miami-Dade Commission's discretionary funds keep on growing
    Miami-Dade commissioners have created a veritable reelection piggy bank on the public dime, dispensing nearly $9.5 million a year -- evenly divided among the 13 members -- with few restrictions and scant oversight.

    Yet as budget cuts threaten to savage other county programs, commissioners show no signs of curbing the amount of their discretionary funds. Several want the kitty to grow, saying the money aids small businesses and civic groups while enriching the districts they represent.
    June 8, 2009 Marlins set stadium groundbreaking for July 18 at Orange Bowl site
    The Florida Marlins will break ground on their new stadium July 18 at the site formally occupied by the Orange Bowl.

    The 37,000-seat ballpark will have a retractable roof and is scheduled to open in 2012.
    July 15, 2009 Miami-Dade mayor proposes pay cuts, layoffs to meet budget
    Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez announced sweeping cuts Wednesday to cover a $427 million shortfall for next year's budget.

    Everyone from the mayor to the last janitor hired will receive 5 percent pay cuts, and 1,700 employees will be let go.

    More great reviews for "Miami Social"

    Ariel Stein

    This review by Ginia Bellafante appeared in the New York Times.
    "No drug kingpin, money launderer, bail bondsman, crooked cop, strung-out Mob lawyer or washed up C.I.A henchman has anything on a guy named Ariel, one of the seven friends at the center of “Miami Social” who exist to populate rooftop bars with pools after 6 p.m. Ariel thinks of himself as a person of considerable importance: he produces fashion shows in Miami-Dade County. But as long as Miami isn’t New York or Paris or Milan, saying you are the biggest fashion producer there is like saying you are the biggest auto maker in Tuscaloosa. Ariel claims to be attracted to both men and women, but mostly he is attracted to himself. “Oh my God, I look so good in this reflection,” he remarks, “and hot.”
    [...]
    Delusion is the lingua franca of the men and women on Bravo’s reality series, and like Ariel, his compatriots, although well into their 30s, seem to have little conception of a world beyond the Miami branch of the Gansevoort Hotel. In the great tradition of reality television, the jobs they have are vaguely in real estate (or just vague), which seems appropriate, given that the genre produces a fantasy of affluence rivaled by the once booming Florida housing market. George does something at a mortgage corporation but makes only a passing reference to the current difficulties, never suggesting that arranging mortgages in South Florida in 2009 is like selling muskets in a nuclear war.

    Nothing like a really bad reality show to inspire great writing.

    Kyle Munzenrieder of Miami New Times also takes a shot at Ariel:
    [M]uch like a regrettable amount of spooge on your stomach, but instead of wiping it up, it was allowed to crust over and form into the being we now call Ariel Stein.
    The Huffington Post's Michael Cohen - who says he's a friend of Ariel - also unloads on him:
    "Ariel is an insipid, tedious douchebag.

    That's on a bad day. On a good day he's just a twat, and that I can live with. Even though he comes across like a shallow fool who hates fat people and pities girls that were born ugly, I know that beneath it all, it's really empathy, because he grew up a fat Jewish boy in Miami Beach. I know this because we are friends.

    Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    Glenn Garvin reviews Bravo's "Miami Social"

    Katrina Campins


    Listen as the Miami Herald's TV critic Glenn Garvin rips Bravo's new reality show, "Miami Social"
    "Sifting through all the imbecilic, self-obsessed trash littering Ocean Drive to come up with the seven most pathetically vacuous, narcissistic excuses for human beings on all of South Beach was truly a Herculean task.

    "The show's casting director should be given some kind of award, then parachuted onto a lost desert island where he can never threaten us again.

    "I'm saying [Miami Social is] so bad it will make you regret being born with eyes. I'm saying it's so bad that if you saw a member of the cast burst into flame on the street, you wouldn't waste your spit putting him or her out. I'm saying Osama bin Laden, if he sees it, will weep bitter tears of frustration that he went after the wrong American city.

    "A stupefying concoction of idiotic hubris, faux glamour and neurotic self-absorption, Miami Social purports to follow ''a close circle of seven friends who make this city spin,'' including such civic heavyweights as a freelance editor, a freelance photographer, a South Beach party-planner and a real-estate agent [Katrina Campins] who doesn't know how to figure square-footage costs. (At last! An explanation for the collapse of the South Florida housing market!)"
    Note to Anders Gyllenhaal: If everyone just half the people at the Herald wrote with this much passion, I'd start subscribing again!

    Afternoon break

    Close the office door and turn off the phone.

    "Summer Wind" by Frank Sinatra

    Panic on the Titanic: bloggers are just 'pipsqueaks'

    Plain Dealer Reader rep calls bloggers "pipsqueaks"


    Two Cleveland Plain Dealer journalists ask: "Is there news outside newspaper newsrooms? Would bloggers have nothing left to talk about if newspapers went away?"

    They're starting to panic on the deck of the Titanic.

    Listen to Cleveland Plain Dealer Reader Representative Ted Diadiun describe bloggers as "pipsqueaks."

    And this: "Were it not for the newspaper newsrooms there really wouldn't be a lot of original reporting. There's not a lot of original reporting that happens out of blogs."

    Ted is clearly a guy who's stuck in the past and can't see the writing on the wall.

    I'm not sure what he's reading, but he's not reading Random Pixels or a lot of other blogs that do "original reporting."

    Hey Ted: Here's a story I broke yesterday. I just got an email from a Miami Herald staffer that read in part: "Random Pixels" beats the Herald again!"

    And what about this story Ted? It took my hometown newspaper ten days to catch up.

    And here's a story I beat the Miami Herald on by a full 24 hours.

    Journalist Steve Outing says, "the Plain Dealer can’t afford to have too many people on staff with views similar to Diadiun’s. For newspapers to get through the transition to profiting in the digital world, they need to pull together as a team and figure out how best to play in the digital landscape. If there are too many folks in that newsroom with views like Diadiun’s that the newspaper is best and other media are inconsequential in comparison, the Plain Dealer doesn’t have a rosy future."

    Perhaps some people at newspapers - Ted included - would do well to remember the quote by cartoonist Walt Kelly: "We have met the enemy and he is us."

    The enemy is certainly not bloggers.

    Monday, July 13, 2009

    The Bahamas has one less 'gator...


    ...Which now brings the total number of alligators living the the Bahamas to ... zero.

    A few years ago there were two.

    Miami wildlife biologist Joe Wasilewski was hired to trap it.

    That left one.

    Joe reports that over the weekend he trapped the last remaining 'gator at a golf course at Great Harbour Cay.

    If Joe's name sounds familiar that's because he's been written about extensively in South Florida.

    The Herald loves writing about Joe.

    For years Joe monitored the American crocodile population that inhabited the cooling canals at Turkey Point power plant.

    And Joe was part of the team that captured - 20 years ago next month - a 20-foot long reticulated python that was living under a house in Fort Lauderdale.

    I like to tell people that Joe is Miami's version of Steve Irwin.

    But Joe is much more accesible. He can be reached through his website: natselections.com

    Today's Random Pixels Time Killer

    Squirrel Gets Head Stuck in Yogurt Container

    But it all ended happily.

    Maggie Rodriguez in Washington Post


    Former CBS4 anchor Maggie Rodriguez gets some major ink today in a write-up by the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz.
    Although the University of Miami graduate is more comfortable speaking English than Spanish, her heritage has clearly helped her career. Rodriguez has never been to Cuba, out of respect for her parents, who fled the island in 1961 after her father was involved in planning for the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion.

    She started as a producer at a Univision cable station in Miami, carrying her own camera gear when she got a shot at reporting. Rodriguez moved to KABC in Los Angeles, working overnight and weekend shifts before rising to anchor. Then she returned home to anchor at the CBS affiliate in Miami, which hosted the Super Bowl in 2007. McManus, who is also president of CBS Sports, came to town that week and saw her do numerous live shots, which led to the courtship.

    Saturday, July 11, 2009

    Kind of Blue - the 50th Anniversary

    If I were were ever banished to a desert island and given a choice of one album to take, that album would have to be Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.



    If you consider yourself a jazz lover and you don't have this album in your collection then you're faking it.

    For the uninitiated, Kind of Blue is considered by jazz critics to be the single best jazz album ever recorded. Period.

    It was recorded in the spring of 1959 and released on August 17, 1959.

    CBS newsman Ed Bradley called Davis, "the essence of hipness."

    But Davis described himself best when he told Harry Reasoner of 60 Minutes, “My daddy was rich and my mother was good lookin’ and I can play the blues. I’ve never suffered and I don’t intend to suffer.”

    So if you've spent the last 50 years without ever listening to a cut from Kind of Blue, there's still time to redeem yourself.

    You can start now by listening to "So What."

    Wednesday, July 08, 2009

    MJ Reality Check

    If you thought the cable news networks' coverage yesterday of Michael Jackson's memorial services were a little over the top, you're not alone.

    Steve Lopez of the L.A. Times offers some insight that you probably didn't hear on CNN or MSNBC.
    "You had to wade through acres of shallow water to find media references to Jackson's reported $20-million settlement of a case involving a boy he was accused of molesting. And then there were his comments about seeing nothing wrong with sharing his bed with children, which tells me that if the scheduled comeback hadn't panned out, Jackson could have had a second career as an Irish priest."

    A look back at the Great Miami Beach Flood of 2009

    Stumbled upon this video today from last month's flood.

    Woman rescues her BMW.

    But she knows that if she opens the doors water will flood into the car.

    How does she solve that problem? Watch.

    (And for those of you who missed them, here are some shots of the flooding I took.)

    Tuesday, July 07, 2009

    We miss you already Sarah!

    Keith Olbermann's farewell tribute to Gov. Sarah Palin!

    Monday, July 06, 2009

    Miami's rep set to take another big hit!


    This invite just showed up in my Inbox

    MEDIA ALERT ** MEDIA ALERT ** MEDIA ALERT ** MEDIA ALERT

    WHAT: Premiere party for Bravo’s newest series "Miami Social,” which explores the lives of a successful group of friends who are some of the most connected and interesting young professionals in South Beach.

    WHO: The cast of "Miami Social" – Ariel Stein, George French, Hardy Hill, Katrina Campins, Maria Lankina, Michael Cohen, and Sorah Daiha.

    WHEN: Thursday, July 9

    Press check-in at 7:30PM

    Red carpet interviews & photos 8PM

    WHERE: Louis Bar-Lounge

    Gansevoort South

    2377 Collins Avenue

    Miami Beach, FL


    **PLEASE RSVP IF YOU PLAN TO COVER**


    First South Florida endures a string of gruesome cat mutilations/homicides.

    And now comes Bravo TV's "Miami Social."

    I'm sure there will be some in Miami who won't miss an episode of this latest reality-show abomination. Just as there are some who never missed an episode of Sex in the City.

    Just count me out.

    Jose Duran of Miami New Times said it best when he called the show "vomit-inducing."

    Rick at the SFDB (in full-snark mode) also warned us back at the end of May about the show when he said it was "chock full of wonderful, unadulterated, and unabashed Miaminess."

    Rick or Jose didn't use the words "pretentious," "self-absorbed," "conceited," and "arrogant" in describing the show, but I will.

    And while I'm at it, let's start the countdown clock as we wait for the first of what's sure to be many Miami Herald articles touting this garbage as "must-see" TV.

    You won't read this stuff in the Herald

    One of my Facebook friends posted this story:

    Midget wrestlers dead after hookers drug drinks
    TWO hookers were being quizzed last night after a pair of wrestling MIDGETS died in a sex party - plunging an entire country into mourning.

    Pint-size grappler Alberto Jimenez, 35, and his twin Alejandro - national heroes in Mexico - were drugged and robbed after picking up two tarts at a hotel.

    The thieving hookers are believed to have spiked their booze with eye drops to knock them out - but the dose was too much for their tiny frames.

    Now that's journalism!

    The Herald's Patrick whatshisname

    April 20, 2009: Veteran Miami Herald photographer Patrick Farrell wins Pulitzer Prize.

    July 6, 2009: Patrick Who?
    from today's Miami Herald editorial page

    Newspapers make mistakes everyday. Nothing new there.

    But shouldn't the people who put newspapers together at least spell the names of their staffers correctly?

    Otherwise, how are we supposed to trust the veracity of the other stuff you print?

    Sunday, July 05, 2009

    4th of July fireworks, South Beach



    A few shots from the fireworks display last night on Ocean Drive at 8th Street shot from a vantage point at Collins Ave. and 8th St.



    Saturday, July 04, 2009

    Denial ain't just a river in Egypt

    Welcome to Palin for President 2012!

    A blog by people who want to see Palin elected president in 2012.

    Here's part of what they say about Palin: "A candidate like Governor Sarah Palin emerges once in a lifetime."

    So true. And fortunate too.

    Friday, July 03, 2009

    Sarah Palin: Bizarre!

    Leave it to Sarah Palin to knock the Michael Jackson death coverage off the cable news shows.

    But she is the gift that keeps on giving.

    Brad Woodhouse, communications director of the Democratic National Committee said that Palin's "decision to abandon her post and the people of Alaska who elected her continues a pattern of bizarre behavior that more than anything else may explain the decision she made today."

    (Former Miami Herald political editor Tom Fiedler wonders if Palin has any plans to travel to Argentina.)

    Whatever develops over the next few days we'll always have those fond memories of some of Palin's other bizarre moments.

    Miami photographer in Afghanistan

    A U.S. Marine from 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, RCT 2nd Battalion 8th Marines Echo Co. yells to his fellow Marines as they take enemy fire during the start of Operation Khanjari on July 2, 2009 in Main Poshteh, Afghanistan. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


    Miami resident and Getty Images photographer Joe Raedle is in the thick of the of the fighting in Afghanistan.

    Today one of Joe's images from the fighting landed on the front page of both the New York Times and the Miami Herald.




    The New York Times photo blog, Lens, featured more of Joe's images in a slideshow yesterday.

    (The Denver Post's photo blog has also posted dozens of Joe's images here.)

    This is not the first time that Joe, a former Sun-Sentinel photographer and so-so UM baseball player, has risked his life to cover a conflict.

    As the post on Lens points out, Joe was wounded covering a battle in March of 2003 in Nasiriyah, Iraq.
    Joe "was hit twice in the back by flying shrapnel from an exploding mortar shell. Spared serious injury by his flak jacket, he kept on taking and transmitting pictures. He recalled young Marines crawling up to him while the firefight raged to say: 'What are you doing out here? We have to be here. You don’t.' "

    Thursday, July 02, 2009

    Could this be the end of the paparazzi?


    As if the paparazzi didn't already have enough problems, now some smart-ass NYU graduate student has invented a device that will let the celebs turn the tables on the pesky photographers.
    [The student,] "Adam Harvey recently invented a smart alternative for camera-shy celebrities, one that won’t tarnish their public image or end in an assault charge. His “anti-paparazzi device,” which is built into a clutch purse, uses a photo cell that picks up a photographer’s flash and communicates with a circuitboard, which then fires LED lights that flash back at paparazzi, ruining their photos."
    Way to go Adam! Now all those paps will have to get real jobs! And when that happens; the terrorists have won!

    Random Pixels 'feel-good' story of the day

    Not the rescued puppy, but I like the picture!

    St. Petersburg firefighters rescue puppy trapped in drainage pipe

    Wednesday, July 01, 2009

    Republican party continues to implode


    You remember the Republicans, don't you?

    The party that wants to take back the White House in 2012?

    But all of their 2012 hopefuls are self-destructing.

    And those who aren't imploding are forming up in circular firing squads.

    And now comes this: Vanity Fair Article Starts Heated Debate Between High Profile Republicans
    A hard-hitting piece on Sarah Palin in the new Vanity Fair has touched off a blistering exchange of insults among high-profile Republicans over last year’s GOP ticket - tearing open fresh wounds about leaks surrounding Palin and revealing for the first time some of the internal wars that paralyzed the campaign in its final days.

    Rival factions close to the McCain campaign have been feuding since last fall over Palin, usually waging the battle in the shadows with anonymous quotes. Now, however, some of the most well-known names in Republican politics are going on-the-record with personal attacks and blame-casting.

    William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard and at times an informal adviser to Sen. John McCain, touched off the latest back-and-forth Tuesday morning with a post on his magazine’s blog criticizing the Todd Purdum-authored Palin story and pointing a finger at Steve Schmidt, McCain’s campaign manager.