Monday, May 31, 2010

A Memorial Day story

photograph by
John Moore/Getty Images
On Memorial Day 2007, photojournalist John Moore visited Arlington National Cemetery's Section 60.

There he encountered Mary McHugh, sitting at the gravesite of her fiance, James J. Regan.

Read about his encounter with Mary and how he came to make one of the most heartbreaking and widely published Memorial Day images of the past few years.



Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Random Pixels random thought

Congratulations to John Ellis Bush Jr., 26, (left) -aka Jebby- on his wedding in Miami Saturday.

Jebby is the son of Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida and the head of the state's largest dysfunctional family.

But it looks like Jebby has finally straightened up and renounced his past behavior.

Also on this Memorial Day weekend, the 1,000th American serviceman was killed in the war in Afghanistan; a war started by Jebby's uncle George W. Bush.

Marine Cpl. Jacob C. Leicht, a 24-year-old Texan born on the Fourth of July, was on his second tour.

None of the children of either of the Bush brothers have served in the military. But I'm sure that was the farthest thing from their minds on Saturday.

Happy honeymoon Jebby!

Psst! Wanna work for the Herald?

The Miami Herald is getting desperate!

The paper has slashed so many positions there's apparently no one left to write stories.

But they're not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

A few months ago the paper rolled out something called the "Community News Project" which involves culling news from neighborhood newspapers and bloggers and posting it on MiamiHerald.com.

There's no pay involved, but the papers and bloggers benefit from the added exposure.

But the Herald needs more (free) stuff.

In the past few days I've noticed an annoying pop-up window that appears anytime I click on any of the links on the Herald's community news section. "Submit your story," it says!
Of course, there's some fine print:
Your submission will be reviewed -- and possibly edited -- by The Miami Herald or its community news partners. It may be published online or in print, either in The Miami Herald or in a partner's publication. Click here for more information on our Terms of Service for Member-Submitted Content.

Frequent contributors will be invited to submit an "avatar" (small photo or icon) to appear with their articles.
Funny, it doesn't say anything about how much they pay.

Let me see if I have this straight. I send the Herald a story and photographs and they can publish it on the web site or in the paper or a "partner's publication" or all three, but I don't get paid? Wow!

Thanks, but I think I'll pass.

But, for the rest of you out there, here's your chance to work for the Miami Herald.

And just like the full-time journalists who work there now, you'll get a by-line and lots of thanks...but not much else!

The Random Pixels guest column

My good friend over at South Florida Lawyers addresses a point about the Miami Herald that's had me scratching my head for quite some time.

Take it away SFL!
Let me ask you something -- what is the point of the Herald's five-minute summary, or whatever it's called -- that occupies a half page yet provides no new content of any kind?

Are there really people out there who are unable to scan a newspaper like the Herald in five minutes, without having a pointless summary that attempts to replicate what the Herald looks like on the internet?

Seriously, the paper's thin enough without having repetitive filler that serves no purpose whatsoever.
We agree! Perhaps it's time to retire this useless feature.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day weekend flashback...2001



Matt Meltzer at MiamiBeach411.com has penned a column about this year's Memorial Day weekend that's sure to generate a lot of discussion.
For those who are unaware, Memorial Day weekend in Miami is an unofficial “Urban Beach Weekend.” Much less euphemistically, this means that South Beach is more or less filled with black people. What usually follows is a weekend with lots of arrests, lots of girls being harassed on the street, and lots of SUVs with rims that cost more than the driver’s house.
For the record, having been in the middle of the action on South Beach for several years in a row, I've never witnessed anything negative.

But Matt makes some good points. Things can and do get out of hand.

Urban Beach Weekend didn't earn the less-than-stellar reputation it has because the hip-hop crowd comes here to spend the entire weekend at poetry readings or attending macramé classes.

But Miami Beach city officials have taken heat over what some see as an over-reaction to the crowds that descend upon the beach. The weekend visitors, their defenders say, are just here to have some fun and spend money.

But many forget what happened just a few years ago.

This might refresh some memories or enlighten others who weren't here in 2001:

From the Miami Herald, June 3, 2001:
HIP-HOP STRIKES NOTE OF DISCORD IN BEACH

by SONJI JACOBS

Born on the streets of the South Bronx in the late 1970s, hip-hop music has set its post-adolescent sights on South Beach .

It's a phenomenon that Miami Beach - which at times has had an uneasy relationship with the black community - wasn't expecting and isn't completely embracing.

A case in point: This past Memorial Day weekend, dozens of rap stars and tens of thousands of their fans surged into South Beach , handing the city one of its biggest five- day bashes.

Clubs, hotels and restaurants, many of which had a poor season, were packed. But some Beach residents described the experience as nothing less than their worst nightmare. (emphasis mine)

Miami Beach Commissioner Nancy Liebman, a mayoral candidate, wrote in a letter to concerned citizens, ``This Memorial Day Weekend was a tragedy for the City of Miami Beach in many respects.

``We degraded our worldwide image which we had carefully restored over the last six or seven years.''

Since the early 1990s, Miami Beach has actively wooed European, Latin American and gay visitors. But this holiday weekend, blacks found South Beach - and South Beach found itself unprepared. (emphasis mine)

Residents, shopkeepers and others complained of closed roads, parking woes and thousands of people spilling onto the streets all night.

Miami Beach Police arrested 211 people from May 24 through Monday, nearly double the number taken into custody the week before.

Most of the arrests were for charges of disorderly conduct and intoxication, police said. The five- day period saw three shootings resulting in minor wounds, two stabbings, three cases of sexual battery and 15 robberies.
[...]
But most Miami Beach leaders, including City Manager Jorge M. Gonzalez and the top police brass, have been much more reserved in their comments about the crowd - admitting they were taken aback by the sheer number of visitors and attributing obnoxious behavior, fighting and some violence to a small group of out-of-control tourists.

``We were totally overwhelmed by the amount of people who came to South Beach over the weekend,'' said Miami Beach Sgt. George Navarro. ``But for the amount of people we had here, crime was not so bad.''

The 211 arrests in a five- day period came close to matching figures from other rowdy Beach weekends. During Memorial Day weekend last year, which included the first Urban Fashion Week, Miami Beach Police made 215 arrests over the Thursday-through-Monday peak party days .

During the extremely popular five- day Winter Music Conference, a gathering of electronic-music buffs in March, the Beach police made 183 arrests.
Jacobs also skillfully included a bit of historical irony in her story:
For decades, most black Americans who came to Miami Beach did so only to work as domestics in the city's hotel, restaurant and nightclub industry - not to enjoy the sunny beaches , which were off-limits to them.

Ordinance 457, passed in 1936, required all Beach hotel, restaurant, nightclub and domestic workers to register with police and to be photographed and fingerprinted. Those who registered had to carry ID cards in the city.

While the law did not single out blacks, most historians agree that it was selectively enforced against them. Word spread that the Beach was not a place for blacks - a reputation that has haunted the city.

In 1990, local black leaders organized a boycott of Miami -Dade County and Miami Beach after several prominent officials snubbed South African leader Nelson Mandela during his visit to Miami .

And in 1996, problems developed following the ``How Can I Be Down?'' hip-hop convention. Fliers were plastered around the city, trash littered the streets, and residents complained about unruly behavior - prompting former City Manager Jose Garcia-Pedrosa to say that Collins Avenue looked like ``a bad - not a good - Third World city.''
The following year, things were little different.

"Miami Beach's Memorial Day Weekend 2002 was still a kickin' party, many visitors said, but with the bass turned low," the Herald's Daniel Grech reported.
Last year, Miami Beach police said they were caught off guard by larger-than-expected crowds, which spilled into the streets, upset some residents and overwhelmed city services.

``People did whatever they wanted,'' police spokesman Bobby Hernandez said. ``They got the upper hand and things got out of control.''

A year of detailed planning later, police called the weekend an unqualified success, at least from a public safety standpoint.

``People are happy, they're not stuck in traffic, the streets are clean, residential parking is being enforced,'' Hernandez said. ``We set the tone from the beginning.''

Police dispatched 400 officers - including 100 from Miami -Dade County police - each night, eight times the regular midnight shift. A 48-car rapid-reaction force started each evening in convoy through South Beach with emergency lights lit and sirens blaring.

``We let people know we're here,'' Hernandez said.

Police said 94 people were arrested during the long weekend, mostly for misdemeanors such as violating noise and open container ordinances. Last year, 149 were arrested, including more for violent crimes.

Don't touch me!

Anyone who's ever dealt with public relations people knows that they can be annoyingly persistent. And obnoxious.

I know from first hand experience.

But I've never experienced anything like what happens in the clip below.

Asylum.com provides a ittle background:
[TV reporter] Dan Noyes was doing an investigative report on San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital. According to his reporting, the hospital administrators had been using the patient gift fund for extravagances like gourmet meals, barbecues and airline tickets for themselves and staff.

Dan went to Honda Laguna Hospital to confront the administration about the report. Noyes tells Asylum that "in 25 years as an investigative reporter, this is pretty much the strangest reaction I've ever had from a public official."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rick Scott for Governor...a really bad idea.

Republican Rick Scott is running for Florida governor.

At the top of Scott's web site is this slogan: "We need a conservative outsider to hold government accountable."

Accountable? Before Scott holds government accountable, he may want to start by holding himself accountable.

Consider this story by Sally Kestin about Scott that ran in Sunday's Sun-Sentinel:
It was and still is the biggest Medicare fraud case in U.S. history and ended with the hospital giant Columbia/HCA paying a record $1.7 billion in fines, penalties and damages.

Now the man who ran the company at the time wants to be Florida's governor.

Rick Scott was co-founder and CEO of Columbia/HCA in the 1990s, when the FBI launched a massive, multi-state investigation that led to the company pleading guilty to criminal charges of overbilling the government.

Today, Scott is a Republican candidate for governor, running his campaign from an office in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
[...]
"I don't think his background justifies running for governor in any state, especially a state that has a lot of Medicare recipients," said Jim Alderson, a former hospital executive in Montana who received millions as a whistleblower in the case.

U.S. Rep. Pete Stark, a Democrat from California who criticized the government's settlement as being too soft on Columbia/HCA, said in a statement to the Sun Sentinel that Scott had made a fortune running a company "that defrauded Medicare out of billions.''

"Now he wants to run the state government?'' Stark said. "Watch out, Florida taxpayers."
[...]
Scott was never charged and left Columbia/HCA with $10 million in severance and stock valued at $300 million.
[...]
Scott lives in Naples in a $9 million house on the Gulf of Mexico.
The Sun-Sentinel wanted to interview Scott for the story, "but spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said he was unavailable. The campaign would only answer questions submitted in advance," according to the paper.

And if all of that wasn't scary enough, Scott says that he supports Arizona's immigration law and wants to "bring an equivalent law to Florida."



That's just what Florida needs; an immigration law that's sure to ignite a backlash and a instigate a boycott of Florida's number one industry, tourism.

Scott's Republican rival, Bill McCollum has his own problems.

Scott almost makes me wish that we could get Jeb Bush back...almost.

Bottom line: Scott is a bigoted, racist millionaire who wants to buy the governor's mansion. Let's send this clown back to his $9 million house in Naples!

Monday, May 24, 2010

A little gift for Miami-Dade taxpayers

News item from the Miami Herald:

When County Hall's budget ax fell last year, the mayor and commissioners slashed more than $400 million in jobs and spending. Yet one perk was preserved: Their taxpayer-subsidized luxury cars.
[...]
County Mayor Carlos Alvarez, already provided two county-owned Chevy Suburbans and two drivers to crisscross South Florida, is poised to take possession of a new BMW 550i Gran Turismo sedan. Taxpayers will cover a big chunk of the cost.


Click image to enlarge.


So here's a nifty desktop wallpaper for your work or home computer to remind you daily of Mayor Alvarez's arrogance!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gossip from One Herald Plaza

Miami Herald staffers are still digesting last week's memo from publisher David Landsberg informing them that they will be forced to take an un-paid one week furlough again this year.

And some are wondering if executive editor Anders Gyllenhaal brought back more bad news from Herald parent company McClatchy headquarters in Sacramento. Gyllenhaal reportedly spent a few days there this week where McClatchy's 2010 annual shareholders meeting was taking place.

Some staffers are incensed that the forced one week furloughs will all but wipe out the small gains they realized when 2% pay increases were re-instated this year.

Others are wondering how much more they'll be asked to sacrifice, especially in light of the news earlier this month that "Gary Pruitt, the chief executive of [Herald parent] McClatchy, was paid $2.6 million last year, up 61 percent."

One staffer, when reminded of Pruitt's pay raise said, "Thanks you so much; that's one more reason for me to get shit-faced tonight."

2009's 2010's Worst Most Morally Bankrupt South Florida Politician





Last year Random Pixels named Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Alvarez as 2009's worst politician in South Florida.

We're not even half-way through 2010 but it looks like Carlos Alvarez is once again the odds on favorite to win the award again this year.

Consider today's Miami Herald story on the deep emotional attachment Miami-Dade commissioners and mayor have for their Lexuses and BMWs.

The Herald's Matthew Haggman reports: "County Mayor Carlos Alvarez, already provided two county-owned Chevy Suburbans and two drivers to crisscross South Florida, is poised to take possession of a new BMW 550i Gran Turismo sedan. Taxpayers will cover a big chunk of the cost."

But this quote from Alvarez propels him into first place as not only the worst South Florida public servant, but also the most morally bankrupt:
"If they take this car, then what car do I have?" asked Alvarez, who earns a $233,123 salary and $92,187 in benefits. "This is my personal car."
Now, that's chutzpah!

Is it any wonder that many consider Miami one of the most corrupt cities in the nation?



Thursday, May 20, 2010

The way we were

In 1960 shopping malls were a relatively new idea. In an editorial on Nov. 29, 1960, The Miami News called the new Lincoln Road Mall a "laboratory."

Three days earlier on Nov. 26, the "new" Lincoln Road - designed by architect Morris Lapidus - had been dedicated.

But in 1983, the mall's better days were behind it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Before Miami Vice and CSI Miami....

Where's Carlos Alvarez Jr.? UPDATED

In Dec. 2008, the Miami Herald's Joan Fleischman wrote about the release from prison of Carlos Alvarez Jr., who had served 13 ½ years for kidnapping and a series of violent sexual assaults he committed in 1994.

Alvarez Jr. isn't just any violent felon. He is the son of Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Alvarez Sr.
At the time of his arrest, Alvarez Jr's. father was an assistant chief with the Metro-Dade Police Dept.

Alvarez Jr. pleaded guilty and was rewarded with a relatively short sentence of 18 years in prison.

In 1995 the Herald's Manny Garcia wrote:
"Margaret Bisignani, assistant chief prosecutor with the sexual battery unit, explained the [plea] deal: 'The victims collectively had expressed a desire that they did not want to testify,' she said. 'Everyone just wanted an end.'

"He could have received up to 30 years under the plea agreement, life in prison if he had gone to trial and lost."
This story has for the most part been under-reported by the Miami media.

The Herald has printed a grand total of two stories on Alvarez, Jr.

In January of this year I updated my original post with information from FDLE's web site that revealed that Alvarez Jr. had moved since his release from prison.

I had pretty much considered the matter closed but yesterday someone left a comment on my January post.
Anonymous said...
"I am disgusted - I was one of the ones he tried to kidnap. I was 19 at the time. They railroaded us to agree to the plea. And no one bothered to call me up and give me a heads up that he was out. I thought I could count on at least that. Now I know he's just around the corner. Wonderful job Dade County."
Of course there's no way of knowing whether or not the comment was left by one of Alvarez Jr's. victims. But I'm inclined to believe it was.

It's pretty evident that this victim lives with the crime still fresh in her memory.

And that raises some troubling questions.

The commenter says she was "railroaded" into agreeing to the plea deal. I wonder if that would have been the case if Alvarez Jr. had not been the son of a high-ranking police officer.

And according to her, "no one bothered to call me up and give me a heads up that he was out."

Sounds like a story that needs some follow-up.

Anyone at Miami's only daily newspaper care to tackle this one?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Is the Miami Herald a "family newspaper?"

Newspapers are full of cliched writing.

One of the more overused phrases you'll find in any American newspaper is, "family newspaper."

And of course when it comes to cliches, Miami Herald writers aren't immune. They trot that term out a dozen or more times a year.

Just last month, Herald sports columnist Greg Gote wrote, "What he actually screamed into his hand wouldn't do for a family newspaper."

A June, 2008 Herald story contained this phrase: "...his erotic mobile, Dangling Parts, too graphic to be photographed for a family newspaper."

You get the idea.

But fresh and imaginative writing has always been in short supply at the Herald.

But what's wrong with describing the Herald as a "family newspaper?

Don't families all over Miami-Dade set aside a time each evening after dinner when they gather in the living room and divvy up sections of the Herald and read it aloud...like a scene out of "Leave it to Beaver" or some other fifties TV show?




I'm pretty sure that the Herald's executive editor Anders Gyllenhaal actually believes that's what happens in thousands of South Florida homes every night.

Thus the term: "family newspaper."

But if that's the case, why did Gyllenhaal allow this "porn star" tease to run across the top of this morning's paper? My guess is that Gyllenhaal has never seen anything closely resembling porn.


Click to enlarge.


But I just can't shake this image of kids all over Pinecrest asking, "Mommy, what's a porn star?" after seeing today's Herald. It's your fault Anders!

This isn't the first time that the Herald has strayed from "family values."

But, it's time to decide Anders. Is the Herald still a family newspaper?

Because, as we all know, in the fifties when you said beaver you were talking about a TV show. But now...well, you catch my drift.


Monday, May 17, 2010

The way we were

They write letters*

From the Miami News, Sept. 28, 1977

*with apologies to SFDB

Sunday, May 16, 2010

30 years ago

30 years ago this week....the verdict in the Arthur McDuffie trial and the riots that follwed.


Miami News, May 19, 1980


Miami News, May 20, 1980




The way we were

from the Miami Daily News, Aug. 1, 1951

In 1951 a three minute visit from a TV repairman cost Albert Kahn of Miami Beach $3.50.

Mr. Kahn did the math and then wrote a letter to the Miami Daily News alerting its readers to a "real opportunity!"

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More bad news at One Herald Plaza


Further proof this week that the Miami Herald just isn't getting the job done: Last week, Miami New Times staff writer Tim Elfrink wrote a short item for the paper's blog about Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Alvarez "posting an official county bid notice for his new work car... a BMW 500i Gran Turismo."

Apparently recognizing a good story when they see one, reporters at CBS4 and NBC Miami followed up this week.

But Anders Gyllenhaal, the Herald's executive editor, has yet to assign anyone to do a story on the mayor's latest attempt to stick it to Miami-Dade taxpayers.

Perhap's Gyllenhaal's lethargy can be explained. Maybe he just doesn't care any longer. Or could it be that he's preoccupied with more of Dave Barry's simpleton humor?

Morale at One Herald Plaza took another hit yesterday when Gyllenhaal and his employees got more bad news.

Miami Herald Publisher David Landsberg informed newsroom staffers via email that they will be required to take a one week unpaid furlough again this year.

Last year, staffers were also required to take a one week unpaid furlough as part of a series of cost-saving measures instituted at the paper.

In his e-mail, Landsberg said that while things were improving at the paper, revenue was still lagging.

Landsberg told affected employees that they must take their unpaid week off before September 30. That prompted one staffer to note that the furloughs will have to be taken in the middle of the summer vacation period. Said the staffer, "Who's going to be left to put out the paper?"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The way we were


The Dec. 11, 1974; "mob rubout" of Miami Beach attorney Harvey St. Jean, who was murdered in broad daylight.

The Miami News speculated on the identity of the killer in the Dec. 13, 1974 issue of the paper.

And Miami Herald crime reporter Edna Buchanan, in writing about St. Jean's murder, penned one of the more famous lines in true crime writing, "The corpse had a familiar face," which became the title of her classic memoir.

St. Jean's murder was never solved.

Coming Thursday!


WPLG's Jeff Weinsier, a name that strikes fear into the hearts of South Florida restaurateurs, reports via his Facebook page and Dirty Dining blog, that he's has found the "CLEANEST restaurant kitchen we have EVER seen. Thursday at 11 on Local 10 News."

Just in time for May sweeps!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The day Elvis came to town

Imagine being a teenager in Miami in the mid 1950's.

If you turned on the radio you might have heard this, or this.

And for four straight weeks, starting in March of 1956, the number one best-selling single was a song called "The Poor People of Paris" by Les Baxter.

But in the last week of April, Baxter's song was knocked out of the number one spot by a song called "Heartbreak Hotel," sung by a 21-year-old former Memphis truck driver named Elvis Presley.

By the summer of 1956, Presley had been shaking things up in Eisenhower's mid-50's America for the better part of two years.

And in the first week of August 1956, Presley had been booked for two days at Miami's downtown Olympia theater.

Miami, it's safe to say, had never seen or heard anything like Presley up until that time.

The 16,000 screaming kids who attended Presley's seven performances on Aug. 3rd and 4th, 1956, had no way of knowing that they were witnessing music history.

I've written a story that reconstructs the amazing events of those two days. Read the story by clicking here.




The way we were

One day in Dec. 1956, half the inmates at the Coral Gables jail escaped!

from the Miami Daily News, Dec. 5, 1956

Click image to enlarge

Sunday, May 09, 2010

It's time to fire Anders Gyllenhaal!

It's time to fire Anders Gyllenhaal.

Gyllenhaal has been the Miami Herald's executive editor since 2007.

Under Gyllenhaal's leadership, the most recent figures show that over the past six months the paper's daily circulation is down 16% and Sunday circulation has fallen 13%.

The Herald's Sunday circulation, which used to be the largest in the state, has fallen to 5th behind the St. Petersburg Times, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel and horror of horrors, the Tampa Tribune!

And under Gyllenhaal's guidance, the paper has so drastically decimated its local reporting staff, that it now has to rely on local bloggers to bolster its online community news coverage.

Gyllenhaal, it seems, will try anything to revive the paper's declining circulation.

So desperate that he'll print anything. It's my firm belief that if he thought that printing fart jokes on the op-ed page would increase circulation, he'd start tomorrow.

But on Saturday he did something equally ludicrous.

The Herald printed the first of three excerpts from former "humor columnist" Dave Barry's new book, "I'll Mature When I'm Dead."

It's a safe bet that Gyllenhaal, as the executive editor, approved of the placement of Barry's piece on the front page of the paper.

But I'm wondering if he, or anyone else at the paper, actually read the excerpt before it was published. It wasn't funny.

In the piece, Barry regurgitates a favorite and tired theme of his: "Tourists, be careful when you come to Miami because you might get shot." Hahaha! Judging from what I read Saturday, Barry's book promises to be a real knee slapper.

Barry uses moldy old news stories from the bad old 80's and 90's to prove that Miami can be dangerous. Sure, he's writing humor. But in order for humor to succeed it has to draw on reality. He fails by using 20 year-old news stories that have no connection contemporary Miami.

That comes as no surprise to some who discovered a long time ago that Barry really isn't very funny.

He's a guy who has trouble recognizing real humor.

Granted, Barry has a lot of fans.

According to his web site, he's written 30 books.

So somebody must be reading his crap, and in the process, making him very wealthy.

But as H.L. Mencken once said, "No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public."

And consider these lines from his web site...which I assume were written by Barry:
In 1988 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Many people are still trying to figure out how this happened.

Dave has also written a total of 30 books, although virtually none of them contain useful information.

Dave lives in Miami, Florida. [...]

He has a son, Rob, and a daughter, Sophie, neither of whom thinks he's funny.
Note to Anders: Sounds to me like Sophie and Rob have a firm grasp on reality.

Perhaps you should have talked to one of them before greenlighting the publication of their dad's front page piece.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Power to the pooches!

photo by Marko Djurica/Reuters


Back in the late sixties when I lived in New York City, there seemed to be a street demonstration every weekend against whatever the outrage du jour was.

But since it was the late sixties; more often than not the protests were against the Vietnam war; or maybe for equal rights for women.

I saw a lot of strange things at some of those protests but I'm pretty sure those sixties protesters never had a mascot.

But that was then and this is now.

If you've watched any amount of cable news in the past few days you've probably seen some of the protests in Greece.

I was watching the other day when all of the financial news channels were carrying live pictures of the protests in Athens, while simultaneously here in the U.S., the stock market seemed on the verge of a collapse.

But as I watched the stock market implode-albeit briefly-something in the live video from Greece caught my eye.

Every so often the cameras would show a dog running across a thoroughfare, oblivious to the fires, tear gas, rocks and bottles and the Greek police beating the crap out of whatever protester happened to be unlucky enough to get caught.

But, as it turns out, this wasn't just any dog.

Enter Louk, the Riot Dog.

Louk, it seems, has been attending and participating in Greek riots since 2008.

And because this is 2010, anyone or anything who happens to be on TV for more than 10 seconds is an instant celebrity. So it follows that Louk now has a following.

But unlike the cast of the "Jersey Shore," Louk actually has character and more importantly, a discernible personality.

He's even got a Facebook fan page, which lists his favorite activities as attending riots and barking at police.

A recent wall post says this about Louk:
"[he's] a mystery wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a blue collar indicating he has his shots. What brings him to the riots? Does he believe in the overthrow of private ownership? Does he see the rioters as his pack? Does he just hope that the police are going to start throwing those big sticks for him to fetch."
Louk is also on Youtube

And there's a slide show at Newsweek.com with pics of Louk and other assorted Greek canine anarchists.

thanks to Tamara for the heads up!

Friday, May 07, 2010

The way we were

An ad for Royal Castle from the Miami Daily News, Dec. 3, 1956

Not much to say except that you have to be really old to remember 15 cent hamburgers at Royal Castle!

Click image to enlarge


Coming Monday...

A heads up to those of you who visit this blog regularly ...

I've written a story that will be posted Monday on MiamiBeach411.com

I don't want to give too much away but the story takes place in a very different Miami in August 1956.

Some of the things included in the story are a suicide in a downtown Miami hotel that inspired a hit song, a 1956 Lincoln covered with notes written in lipstick, another suicide - this one of a reporter in Washington, a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist who got his start as a photographer, and a former United States senator.

Look for the story Monday at MiamiBeach411.com.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The way we were

Miami News columnist Bill Baggs, in a July 13, 1955 column, recounts a day 30 years earlier when one Miami police officer took a zero-tolerance stance against jaywalkers!

thanks to Larry H. for the tip!


Click image to enlarge