Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Miami Herald lost a bit of its heart and soul today

"I try to leave out the parts that people skip." ~Elmore Leonard
...

I've lived in Miami for a lot of years and I can't remember there ever being a Miami Herald without Margaria Fichtner.

And while I can't remember every story she wrote, I'm pretty sure that when I did read one, I didn't skip over any parts.

Margaria's last day at the Herald was Thursday. She worked at the paper 42 years.

Some of her colleagues paid tribute to her in an email that was circulated in the newsroom.
From: Andrews, Pat - Miami
Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2011 5:24 PM
To: MIA Newsroom
Subject: Goodbye to a dear friend - Ms. Margaret Maria Fichtner

At 3:58 p.m. today, after 42 years of very excellent service to The Miami Herald, Ms. Margaret Maria Fichtner left the building. This much has been confirmed. Because you would not have seen this note – or that full name - if she hadn’t.

No cookies, she said.
No cake.
No page (we ignored her on that. Gotta see that page!)
No annoying PDAs.
And no stupid speeches! She loathed speeches - unless they could be caressed lovingly into a riveting narrative – about someone else.

But, we simply could not allow more than four decades of such talent, tradition and history walk out the door without note. Especially since she was once Herald Club Editor. As in: she handled coverage of women’s clubs, a truly astounding concept on several levels.

So, some memorable Margaria moments from a handful of her friends and colleagues, current and former:

Beth Dunlop: So I don't think there's ever been a better writer on the pages of The Herald. Truly. Over the many years, I've often found myself wishing that Margaria would write a novel, just so I could read it, and re-read it. Lately though, she's been my editor, and I can only say that there are editors, and there are great editors -- and of course, Margaria is a great editor, the one that you always, always, always want to do your best work for and who won't mind that you ended a sentence (or even a phrase) with a preposition if it's in service of the language or the meaning or the rhythm of the language or the quest for the meaning. There really aren't many, anywhere. I mean it. Um, was I supposed to be funny here?

Ana Veciana Suarez: When I started at The Miami News, before the invention of computers, I wanted to be Margaria. I dreamed of being Margaria. Or, at least, writing like Margaria. Having been edited by her, I can tell you that even her editing notes and explanations are exquisite.

Leonard Pitts: "She's one of - if not the best - damn writers at the Miami Herald.''

Joan Chrissos: My most memorable Margaria moments - Arguing with Jacob Goldstein over the precise word. Getting her started on Enrique Fernandez. Shuddering over Shelley's soliloquies over Art Bah-Zal. Editing her beautiful story on Miss Hazel - with this glorious line, “She has learned that even she, who regards the English language as the glorious trumpet of the angels, may never quite make peace with its inconsistencies and flaws.”

Ellie Brecher: For whatever reason, a lot of stray dogs end up in The Herald parking lot. They are, invariably, scraggly, pathetic, and in need of expensive veterinary care. In other words: irresistible to Margaria, who took them home, where they lived for longer than any canines in the history of the world.’’

Jane Wooldridge: Despite her passion for Ralph Lauren jackets, Margaria spent two years as the editor of Elan, a sleek section showcasing fashion and society events in the mid-1980s. (The fact that Margaria dislikes both was not a factor in its demise.) One of her grandest entrances came during Elan's early days, when Margaria was greeted by 1 Herald Plaza's Features staff with a wheelchair and walker on the occasion of her 40th birthday.
She has saved many reporters from lives of poor taste and worse grammar, including the long-lost "Pink" Ellie (Elinor Burkett), Jane “which fork do I use” Wooldridge and Peggy “I'll wear Vittadini” Landers. Margaria has long celebrated holidays by taking each of her dogs out for a separate ride in the car. The cats, not so much.

Dora Bain: Not having had any children of her own, she took on the role of “godmother” to several children of Herald staffers. She never took a real lunch break; instead she would take that that hour to go home to walk her dogs. She rescued and found homes for many dogs and cats that she couldn’t take home because she had too many of her own.
There are quite of few stories in the Herald archives with Margaria's byline. Here's one that I somehow missed the first time around.
JIMMY CHESTER, CANINE MATCHMAKER

Friday, September 11, 1987
By MARGARIA FICHTNER Herald Staff Writer

The job: Has worked 30 years at Miami's Knowles Animal Clinics, for the past 25 as the staff's expert at assisting dogs that are too innocent, confused or just plain reluctant to mate by themselves. "They're pampered types of dogs , many of them. They just don't know what they're supposed to do. I tell people sometimes to get their dogs some Hustler magazines so they'll get the idea."

The specifics: Don't ask. When people inquire of Chester what he does for a living, "I tell them I work in a veterinarian's office."

The demand: Surprising. Chester assists at two or three matings a week, with August and September the year's prime months. "People ship their dogs to me from all over the country." Most pairings are prearranged, but Chester will recommend likely candidates for dog owners seeking partners for their pets. "If they need help, they call me."

The stubborn: "Dogs are very individual, like people. There are some more temperamental than others. Every once in a while you run across a female that definitely doesn't like the male, or a male that doesn't like the female, but not too often. Males being males, they're not quite as fickle, excuse my saying it, as females."

The success rate: Almost 100 percent. Grateful owners occasionally name their pets' offspring Jimmy or Chester in his honor.

The cost: $30 up.

The technique: Developed "I guess by trial-and-error or on- the-job-training. It's something most veterinarians can't do, and most breeders can't do. I've shown a lot of people how to do it, but even then, some people just never learn." Some of the more complicated mating procedures must be supervised by a veterinarian, but Chester tries to keep things as natural as possible, given no moonlight, roses or champagne.

The greatest challenge: A pair of 200-pound mastiffs. "I needed a couple of people to help because of their size, but they did just fine."

The limits: "I don't do cats. Cats are very serious about their sex lives, and they're real secretive."

The personal side: Born in Albany, Ga., 50 years ago. Came to South Florida in 1957. Had one brief job before he came to work for Knowles. Divorced father of six grown children. Lives in Northwest Miami with one dog -- a Labrador mix named Yellow -- and Speckles the cat.

They're starting to head for the exits at County Hall

UPDATED @ 3:30pm, July 1: Susanne Torriente has been hired as an assistant city manager in Ft. Lauderdale according to the Sun-Sentinel.

...

Newly-elected Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez has yet to be sworn in, but some County Hall big shots are already heading for the exits. More on that in a bit, but first, a little background.

In August, 2009, the Miami Herald's Matt Haggman and Jack Dolan exposed a County Hall shell game being run by then Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Alvarez.

In the Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009 page one story, headlined "Downsized Miami-Dade staff still make big bucks," Dolan and Haggman wrote,
Under fire for delivering double-digit raises to his closest advisors during a budget crisis, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez has defended himself by saying the perks were part of a broader staff reorganization that eliminated jobs and saved money.

But many of the executives whose jobs disappeared are still working for the county , in some cases at higher salaries -- raising questions about how much the cutbacks have saved taxpayers.

For example, the mayor said the 54 percent raise he gave in 2008 to his $125,000 per year director of communications, Victoria Mallette, was a bargain because she replaced two other executives.

"The truth is, if you look at the situation as it really played out, I saved the county , I don't know, more than $100,000," Alvarez told WQBA radio host Oscar Haza on Tuesday, two days after a Miami Herald report detailed raises to his top aides.

But both of the employees Alvarez said Mallette replaced, former Communications Director Paula Musto and her Assistant Director Louie Fernandez, are still on the county payroll.

They made a combined $315,839 in September 2007, when they left the communications office. They grossed $350,243 in their new county jobs in 2008, payroll records show.

Musto is now the $145,542 chief of public relations for one of the county 's smallest departments, the 33-person office of Capital Improvements.

Fernandez, who had been a firefighter before becoming a county spokesman, is now a captain in the fire department's training division. His $125,777 salary is about the same as it had been in the communications department, but with generous overtime he grossed $203,702 in 2008, records show. Fernandez did not respond to messages requesting comment.

County Manager George Burgess said both Musto and Fernandez represent a savings to taxpayers because their old jobs were eliminated, and they took vacant slots that were going to be filled anyway.

"We like to promote and hire and provide opportunities from within," Burgess said. "If you're creating positions for someone, that's a different story."

But critics say moving executives around only makes sense if the vacant job they step into is necessary, and if new responsibilities justify the salary.

In her old role as county spokeswoman, Musto was quoted hundreds of times in newspapers and magazines across the country. Since the move to Capital Improvements two years ago, she has been quoted once, according to a search of Lexis-Nexis, the nation's most thorough aggregator of printed media.

Musto said her days are now filled with preparing reports and discussing capital improvement projects with municipal and industry leaders across the county. "To me, media means doing an online newsletter now," she said.

"That's not worth $145,000. No way, no how," said County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez, a frequent Alvarez critic.
Musto no longer works in the Office of capital Improvements.

On the Port of Miami's website, she's listed as the Communications Director for the Port.

The most recent data shows that Musto now takes home almost $152,000 a year.

And while she's the communications director for the Port of Miami - which is the largest container port in Florida - I could find no instances where she's ever been quoted in local media on issues related to the port.

The August, 2009 Herald story also cited another example of a highly-paid county executive being shifted around within county government.
In all, 26 people have left the executive offices without being replaced since Alvarez's election in November 2004, according to Burgess. There have been a few positions created, bringing the overall job reductions to 20 -- a number Alvarez cited last week in broadcast appearances, e-mails to constituents and a letter to The Miami Herald editorial board.

Fourteen of those who left have found other jobs in the county , Burgess said Friday.

Among them:

* Susanne Torriente , an assistant county manager since 2003, who was named director of Miami-Dade's Office of Sustainability last month. The newly created post, which was not advertised, will oversee a small department run since March 2008 by Devesh Nirmul.

"The more I looked into it, the more I realized this office needed additional resources, so I spoke to George about beefing it up," said Torriente , who moved to the new position with her two staffers from the mayor's office -- increasing the office size from two to five, with another expected. The office will be funded by a federal grant.

Torriente said the job description remains broadly defined. "It's what you make it," she said.

Her $206,783 salary will not change.

"We're talking about somebody who was No. 2, right behind Burgess, and she's now supervising six people? And she's making over $200,000 a year? That's a little high, I would think," Gimenez said.
The most recent county data shows that Torriente's annual salary is was more than $214,000 a year.

Yesterday, Torriente - sensing perhaps that with the election of Carlos Gimenez, her days as a highly-paid, do-nothing county executive might be coming to an end - submitted her resignation to the county manager.
From: Torriente, Susanne M. (OOS)
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 2:54 PM
To: (DERM) All Users
Subject: Dear DERM...

Dear DERM – this morning I gave the County Manager my resignation, which I have attached below. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with you over the last month. I hope I was able to share my passion, energy and insight. Please keep doing what you do so well. Approach your jobs with excitement and view your jobs through the broader sustainability lens. Please continue giving Jose and Lee your full support. We floated many great ideas this month. Jose and Lee are working on many of these ideas and will see them come to life. Best wishes to each of you, and like I said to the Manager, perhaps our paths will cross again.

Susy



_________


Madame Manager:


Twenty–one years ago this summer, you called me and offered me a position as a Management Trainee in Metro-Dade County. I realized that it was a great opportunity, and soon found out it was a great honor as well. My years at the County have been challenging and rewarding, and while I enjoyed many years of problem solving and trouble shooting on the 29th floor, nothing has been more rewarding than the last two years coordinating, enhancing and managing the sustainability agenda for Miami-Dade. I am pleased and proud at the progress we have made in two short years. GreenPrint is the county’s first sustainability plan and first climate action plan. It is a roadmap for the next five years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and measure progress in many quality of life initiatives. It is the first plan in the county to have its own scorecard and performance measures. It is already being recognized as a national model. The energy grant has given us the ability to pilot new and innovative technologies that can be replicated and institutionalized. We have met all our federal milestones and we continue to be highly praised by the Department of Energy.

Thank you for your confidence in my abilities during this historic transition. Juggling three jobs has given me additional insight and confidence. I have enjoyed the opportunity to manage the day to day operations of the Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) and prepare them for the transition to a new government.

I can assure you that the staffs of both the Office of Sustainability and at DERM are capable, qualified and prepared to carry the agenda forward with excitement, enthusiasm and passion. It is them I will miss the most.

The transition is over and it is time to move on. This is not an easy decision, but it is the right decision at this time. Please accept my resignation from County service. I wish you continued success, health and happiness. I do have a feeling that our paths will cross again.

Susanne M. Torriente,

Sustainability Director

Miami-Dade County

305-375-5593

green.miamidade.gov

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

[PHOTOS] Chris Hansen of 'To Catch a Predator' caught with his pants down in West Palm Beach

Click here to enlarge image.

NBC News correspondent Chris Hansen is used to taping people with hidden cameras.

But now, the hidden cameras have been turned on him.

Last weekend the National Enquirer photographed Hansen, the host of the show, "To Catch a Predator," having a romantic dinner with sexy West Palm Beach TV reporter, Kristyn Caddell, and then spending the night at her apartment.

From Media Bistro:
Chris Hansen, best known for his “To Catch a Predator” series on “Dateline NBC,” has reportedly been caught by undercover cameras cheating on his wife with WPTV reporter Kristyn Caddell, who is 20 years his junior.

According to the National Enquirer, Hansen, who 1s 51, has been having an affair with Caddell for nearly four months.

Hansen lives in Connecticut with his wife and two sons but has been spending time in South Florida apparently working on a story about the disappearance of James Trindade, a local man who went missing back in 2006.

Hansen and Caddell were introduced in the VIP area of a West Palm Beach club and “there was an immediate physical attraction between them,” a source told the Enquirer.

“Chris and Kristyn got on so well that she ended up going back to his room at The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach–and later boasted to pals about staying the night with him,” the source says.




Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Creepy Rick Scott: Now, he's creepy AND annoying!


Doesn't this guy ever learn?

Florida Governor Rick Scott is now "frightening" Florida voters.
Looking for support, Gov. Scott gets on the phone — and dials you

by Adam C. Smith
St. Petersburg Times Political Editor

The calls have been coming most every week, the same amiable voice on the other side of the line.

"Hi this is Gov. Rick Scott. I wanted to personally call and share some very encouraging news about our efforts to get Florida back to work. ... Unemployment is down for five straight months, bucking the national trend."

On Friday, Scott's recorded voice told an undisclosed number of Floridians how he's cutting property taxes, a reference to his cutting back water management districts. Before that it was about fighting drug abuse and vetoing "wasteful special interest projects" by fellow Republican legislators.

[...]

Odessa resident Kathy Winarski, a registered independent...was "a little frightened" the first time she picked up the phone and heard Scott's voice. "Why's he bothering me with this?

Tom Petty tells Michele Bachmann: "Don't play that song!"

-via Hollywood Reporter:
On Monday, [Michele] Bachmann officially announced her candidacy for U.S. president. She left the stage as Petty's "American Girl" blared over the loudspeaker. Uh-oh.

Petty is unhappy with Bachmann's choice of exit music, according to political consultant Matt Ortega, and is in the process of sending a cease-and-desist letter. NBC News has also confirmed the report.

This wouldn't be the first time that Petty has fired off a legal letter for political uses of his music. Previously, the singer sent George W. Bush a C&D over his presidential campaign's use of the song, "I Won't Back Down."

Hit it, Aretha!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Carlos Gimenez...the right stuff

This week's Miami Herald editorial endorsing Carlos Gimenez for mayor contained an apology of sorts.
"His vote against the Marlins stadium deal is a case in point. We disagreed with him then, but details that emerged later about the stadium’s construction deal show Mr. Gimenez was right."
It's not the first time the Herald has had to apologize to Gimenez.

Gimenez was appointed as Miami's city manager in 2000, after Donald Warshaw was ousted from the job.

The Herald wasted no time in opposing Gimenez's appointment...not once, but twice.

"Miami needs a professional," the Herald editorialized on May 10.
NICE GUY, BUT . . . MIAMI NEEDS A PROFESSIONAL CITY MANAGER

The Miami Herald - May 10, 2000
Author: Herald Staff

The city of Miami needs a professional city manager. What it has in just-designated manager Carlos Gimenez is an amiable and capable veteran fire chief, chosen out of convenience - or spite - by Mayor Joe Carollo.

If commissioners take the easy way out and approve his appointment, they stand to hobble further this wounded city for political expedience. If, however, they have one second's concern about Miami's health and stature, they will hold Mr. Carollo to his intent, stated last week, to conduct a national search for a manager - while Chief Gimenez holds the reins temporarily.

This beleaguered city has made impressive strides under City Manager Don Warshaw. It has recovered from near-bankruptcy, but still is fragile and is seen by many as a laughing stock. It needs an administrative chief who instantly commands respect - not one who, like Chief Gimenez, may or may not earn it.
Eight days later, the Herald kept up the drumbeat. "Reject Gimenez," the paper said.
REJECT GIMENEZ APPOINTMENT
MIAMI COMMISSION MUST INSIST ON PROFESSIONAL


The Miami Herald - May 18, 2000
Author: Herald Staff

The city of Miami is too complex, its financial condition too fragile to be saddled with an inexperienced city manager who already shows disturbing signs of being too eager to please a vindictive mayor. City commissioners, therefore, should reject Mayor Joe Carollo's appointment of Carlos Gimenez today.

Miami has special needs that require an experienced hand at the helm. Although Mr. Gimenez has several years' experience as the city's fire chief, he is woefully inexperienced in municipal operations.

[...]

Mr. Gimenez may be a fine administrative bridge, but no more. Let him serve as an interim manager until an experienced professional is found to take Miami to world-class status.
Carlos Gimenez would prove them wrong. Less then 5 months later, the Herald had to eat a little crow.
TO THE POINT MANAGER GIMENEZ'S STEADY HAND

The Miami Herald - October 2, 2000
Author: Herald Staff

When Miami Mayor Joe Carollo recommended that Fire Chief Carlos Gimenez take over as city manager in the wake of the post-Elian raid and firing of Donald Warshaw, we disagreed. We urged that Mr. Gimenez serve as an ``administrative bridge'' while a broader search went on for ``an experienced professional.''

We were wrong to underestimate Mr. Gimenez and to compare him unfavorably to his predecessor. To the contrary. Since taking over, Mr. Gimenez quietly and effectively has directed the city's bureaucracy through a tumultuous time. He has recruited first-rate people into key jobs - among them, Robert Nachlinger as finance director, a man who helped bring the city out of bankruptcy and who is respected in the bond markets.

And the manager last week won approval for a budget that slashed property taxes - a spur to investment. Most important, he deftly has balanced the often sharply competing interests of Mayor Carollo and the commissioners.

We're glad to note the track record he's developing.
I believe the readers of Random Pixels can make up their own minds.

However, I wanted to point out a few things that may have been lost in all the campaign noise.

Gimenez's more than 35 years of service in this town without even so much as a hint of scandal is remarkable. That, combined with a consistent record of sticking up for the taxpayers, seals the deal for me. This really isn't a fair fight.

Hopefully, the voters will send Robaina back to Hialeah.

Luther Campbell also can't spell

Mayoral candidate Julio Robaina, and the people who work for him, can't spell.

And neither can one of Robaina's main backers, Miami New Times "columnist," Luther Campbell.*

Here's an illiterate and ridiculous tweet Uncle Luke sent out Friday about Julio Robaina "caring about black people." Note that Luke has misspelled Robaina's last name.


LUTHER R CAMPBELL
Voting Robaino for good reasons he's the only on that cares about black people. You have to care about all people to be the Mayor.
17 hours ago via TweetDeck

Hopefully, after Tuesday, Campbell will the fade as quickly as last year's campaign signs and crawl back into the sewer from whence he came.

(* If there's anyone who believes that Campbell actually writes that New Times column himself; I've got some great property in the Everglades I can sell you.)


Friday, June 24, 2011

Random Pixels hears ...

...that the brand new Sonic Drive-in burger restaurant in Homestead is owned by former Miami city commissioner Johnny Winton.

The fast food joint opened on June 13 according to The Burger Beast.

Winton gained notoriety in May, 2006 after being arrested at Miami International Airport.

According to a Miami Herald story at the time,
Winton was arrested, then hospitalized, Monday night after a physical scuffle with police that began at a Miami International Airport bar.

Winton , who police say became belligerent after storms delayed his business flight to Houston, fought police so hard he lost his balance and knocked himself to the ground, banging the back of his head on the floor of Concourse E.

Miami-Dade Police Detective Nelda Fonticiella told WFOR-CBS4 that Winton was intoxicated, and that management at the bar had called for help in having him removed.

Police say Winton knocked the two uniformed officers around before he finally tumbled to the ground.

``Elbowed one in the face and then kicked the other one,'' Fonticiella said.

One officer, Fonticiella added, ended up with a chipped tooth.

It was while Winton was attempting the kick that he slipped on the marble floor and fell, hitting his head.

Winton refused medical treatment after his fall, police said, but as a precaution was taken to Ward D at Jackson Memorial Hospital, commonly known as the jail ward, for examination.

He will eventually be taken to the Miami-Dade jail for processing.

Winton faces one count of disorderly conduct and two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer.

Fonticiella told CBS4 that as police attempted to take him out of the bar, Winton became belligerent and yelled, ``Don't you know who I am?''

`` Johnny what?'' City Commissioner Angel Gonzalez said when told about Winton 's alleged actions. ``Wow. That's pretty bad. Those are pretty bad charges. I don't know what to say.''
In June, 2007, the Herald reported that Winton's case was resolved when he entered a plea of no contest to "two charges of battery and one of disorderly intoxication, all misdemeanors. Under the plea deal, Winton will serve two years of probation, pay about $2,300 in restitution and court costs."

Daily Show classic from June 10, 2009

The Daily Show's Jason Jones visits the New York Times' offices to find out why the last of a dying breed prefers aged news to real news. Best moment: Jones tells executive editor Bill Keller a joke about the Times' finances.



Miami - a scenic short film

Miami - a scenic short film

Cinematography by Bill Roach, Joel Edwards and Jesse Edwards.



Thursday, June 23, 2011

Some free advice for Miami-Dade's next mayor

In less than a week, Miami-Dade county voterss will pick their their next mayor.

Today, I chatted briefly with Channel 10 political reporter, Michael Putney.

He reminded me that whomever is elected, he'll only have the the job until November, 2012.

"So," I asked rhetorically, "the next 18 months will be like an audition of sorts?"

"If you say so, Bill," Putney answered with a chuckle.

With that in mind, I'd like to offer a little advice to the next mayor of Miami-Dade County.

About the Marlins Stadium. The day after you are sworn in, I'd like to see you order construction stopped on the stadium. Once the construction company has removed their equipment, hire a demolition company to raze the place. And then, send the bill for the demolition to the Marlins.

Decisions. Over the next 18 months, you'll have to decide on many complex issues. Before making any decision, ask yourself one question: "What would Carlos Alvarez do?" Then, do the opposite. I don't think that needs any further explanation.

If you keep your promises, we'll let you keep your job.
  • Carlos Gimenez says he, "wants to shrink and streamline county government, paring back the county’s 50-plus departments to 25. He also wants to roll back property-tax rates to 2009-10 levels, cutting about $350 million from the county’s $4.7 billion operating budget..." Good! Do it.

  • Julio Robaina promises, "to shake up the highly unpopular county government. The politician has embraced term limits for commissioners in a bid to inject new blood at County Hall, promised to streamline a government considered bloated and inefficient, and pledged to re-establish trust with skeptical voters." Good! Do it.
  • The Car. This one isn't brain surgery.

    Carlos Alvarez got into trouble for a lot of things.

    But, many voters just couldn't reconcile keeping a mayor in office who insisted upon riding in style on their dime.

    Taxpayers do not want to read headlines like this ever again: "Former Mayor Carlos Alvarez's BMW lease cost county $37,849 for 10 months."

    So, after you take office and you find yourself looking for a set of wheels; consider how the new mayor of Tampa, Bob Buckhorn, solved that problem.
    When he took office, the city lease on [the former mayor's] hybrid was running out, and anyway, [Buckhorn] saw himself as more the "muscular mayor car" type.

    [...]

    From the police forfeiture lot they brought him what looks like a drug dealer's SUV off an episode of The Wire. His ride is a big, black 2005 Yukon Denali, smoked windows, 100,000 miles.

    If the prospect for gas-guzzling is troublesome, well, there is the fact that it was free, courtesy of a "bad guy" and "ill-gotten gains," as the mayor puts it.
    That's right gentlemen...the mayor of Tampa drives a car that was seized from a drug dealer.

    Just think of the dual message you'll be sending to taxpayers. You'll be riding in a car that didn't cost your constituents a dime and, you'll be fighting crime! (I'm sure Miami-Dade police director Loftus will be able to fix one of you guys up with a fine set of wheels.)

    That's it gentlemen. By next Wednesday, one of you will be our mayor. But you'll also be on probation for the next 18 months. Govern yourself accordingly.

    Remember, we'll be watching.

    Changes to Miami Beach Precincts on Election Day

    Random Pixels would like to pass along this important notice from the Miami Beach Public Information Office regarding next Tuesday's mayoral election.
    As a result of the May 24 Countywide Special Election, a Countywide Special Run-off election is scheduled for June 28 to elect the Miami-Dade County Mayor.

    Normally, the North Beach Park Youth Center, Normandy Park and Pool, Flamingo PAL building and South Pointe Park Community Center are the regular Miami Beach polling precincts.

    Due to the summer youth activities scheduled at these facilities, it was impossible to have them serve as polling precincts for this election. In addition, the Miami Beach Botanical Garden is unavailable due to renovations.

    Miami-Dade County Elections, working closely with the City Administration, have assigned temporary polling precincts for the June 28 Run-off Election, as follows:
    Click to enlarge.
    As an alternative to voting on Election Day at the assigned precinct, Absentee Voting and Early Voting are currently available.

    Early voting is available in the First Floor Conference Room at Miami Beach City Hall and at the North Shore Branch Library from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on the following, remaining days:

    Thursday, June 23

    Friday, June 24

    Saturday, June 25

    Miami-Dade County Elections has sent notifications to voters, as well as noticing the aforementioned precincts in local newspapers. In addition, this information has also been posted on Miami-Dade County’s Website and Elections webpage.

    More voting info at Miami-Dade Elections Department.
    MIAMIBEACH
    Nannette Rodriguez, Public Information Officer
    OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS1700 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Tampa man kills alligator and deer with his new AK-47, posts pics on Facebook

    photo via Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

    Kyle Edwards, a 21 year-old Tampa man who's an avid outdoorsman, probably won't be nominated for a "Sportsman of the Year" award anytime soon.

    From the St. Petersburg Times:
    Tampa man accused of posting Facebook photos of illegally killed alligator, deer

    By Craig Pittman, Times Staff Writer

    A Tampa man is facing criminal charges for trying out a new firearm on some wildlife.

    He shot an alligator and a deer, state wildlife officials say, using an AK-47 he'd recently bought at a Tampa gun show

    What tipped them off? Kyle Edwards, 21, posted pictures of his kills on Facebook, wildlife officials said. Someone who saw the photos notified the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
    Full story here.

    Julio Robaina...definitely not ready for prime-time!


    Julio Robaina wants to be Miami-Dade county's next mayor.

    If elected, he would lead a county government with over 30,000 employees and a oversee a budget of some $7.5 billion.

    So who has he surrounded himself with?

    Idiots, apparently!

    Check out the embarrassing mistakes on a flyer his campaign put out announcing an event in Aventura Thursday.

    The list of "Invited VIP's includes "Former Governer Jeb Bush." Governor is misspelled.

    "[Miami] Mayor Thomas Regalado". Regalado uses Tomás, not Thomas.

    "[Miami Beach] Commissioner Geroge Expozito." They've mangled the spelling of George AND Exposito. And, as in the case of Regalado, Commissioner Exposito goes by Jorge and not George.

    It occurs to me that the Anglicization of the first names of Regalado and Rxposito wasn't a mistake. Perhaps it's an effort to pander to the largely non-Hispanic crowd this event is expected to draw.

    But, I've saved the best for last. For some strange reason, they couldn't even correctly spell the name of Luther Campbell...even though he's listed as a "SPECIAL guest of honor." They turned Campbell into Cambell.

    The good news is that they've correctly spelled the name of the other "special guest," former Miami-Dade transit director, Roosevelt Bradley.

    But, still unanswered is, why would Robaina invite a man to this event, who was fired from his job as transit director? Does Robaina plan to give Bradley a job if he's elected?

    Is this how you plan to run the county, Julio?

    -flyer via SFDB

    Eat your heart out, Julie Durda!



    From Gawker.com:
    In an inexplicable appearance that proves he'll do just about anything to promote his upcoming film, Larry Crowne, Tom Hanks spent some time with the hosts of Univision's Despierta America morning show on Tuesday. And if the above video of Hanks dancing the "weather mambo" with sexy co-host Chiquinquira Delgado is any indication, a very good time was had by all.
    The show's news reader aptly summed up the segment, "The craziness you see on Spanish TV, you don't see on English TV."

    Russian cat barks like a dog

    Andy Warhol once said, "In the future, every cat will be famous for 15 minutes."

    He didn't say that? Well, he would have, had he foreseen the invention of YouTube.

    This week's viral video is of a Russian cat pretending to be a dog who in turn pretends to be a cat.

    Sound confusing?

    Watch.




    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    President Obama magically soothes crying baby! [VIDEO]

    Michelle Obama is shocked as her husband magically soothes a crying baby. (Click image to enlarge)
    Is there nothing this guy can't do?

    At a recent White House meet and greet, a wonderful thing happened that would make just about anyone smile, regardless of their political persuasion.
    President Obama and wife Michelle encountered an upset and crying baby. When asked for a photo with the commander-in-chief, the First Lady proceeds to hand the crying child to the president, only to watch the baby nearly instantly stop crying.
    Of course, there's a tiny segment of the population in this country who just can't let go of the hate.

    Some visitors to the FOX News website couldn't refrain from making racist comments about the video; which the FOX News webmasters have seen fit to leave intact. (Scroll down past video to see screenshot.)




    Click to enlarge.


    Newspaper headline of the week...

    Here's how to write a headline that sells newspapers.

    But, the only thing better than the headline is the story's lede:
    BY Reuven Blau
    DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU


    Rikers Island is trying to turn down the heat by covering up the skanks - and keeping out the shanks.

    From now on, female visitors who show up spilling out of their tight tops, miniskirts or ripped jeans will be issued a passion-dampening T-shirt that comes in a hideous shade of neon green and in just one size - XXL.

    Meet Dusty, the klepto kitty / cat burglar

    Via TIME.com:
    No one deserves the name “cat burglar” better than Dusty. He is not only a stealthy thief, but an actual cat.

    Dusty, a six-year-old house cat from San Mateo, Calif., has stolen hundreds of household goods and personal items around town. Though their stuff goes missing once in a while, neighbors can't help but adore this klepto kitty with a wacky hobby.

    Who wouldn't? Just watch Dusty in action. In the video, Animal Planet sets up a surveillance camera to film his nightly pilfering expeditions. He delivers the prized booty one by one with due diligence. First, he steals a blanket, then a pair of swimming goggles, a sponge, a glove and a brassiere. According to the theft victims next door, he takes extra care to correctly match paired items, such as shoes or bikinis, even if it means revisiting the scene. Unlike his feline counterparts, Dusty has a soft spot, not for fish, but for swimsuits drying on clothesline. He took six bathing suits from one neighbor's home.



    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Governor Rick Scott wants to help you spam your local newspaper

    Rick Scott is getting desperate.

    From the Orlando Sentinel's Scott Maxwell:
    Rick Scott cares! He really does care!

    For a guy who claims not read newspapers — or care what the polls say or the public thinks — Rick Scott sure is putting a lot of effort into trying to score some good publicity.

    In fact, if regular old rank-and-file Floridians won’t write nice things about him in letters to the editor, Scott has decided to write the words for them.

    One of the newest features on www.rickscottforflorida.com is a page where Scott supporters can send pre-written letters of praise for Scott … written by Scott’s campaign team. Just pick the newspaper you want to contact. (Yes, the Sentinel is one of the seven.) And then you can add your name to a letter that says: “While politicians usually disappoint us and rarely keep their promises, Rick is refreshing because he’s keeping his word. His policies are helping to attract businesses to our state and get people back to work.”

    It’d be even more refreshing to read letters sent by people who actually wrote them themselves. But it appears that Scott has reached the point where he doesn’t care about such nuances.

    You can read the full pre-written letter – and attach your own signature to it – here: http://www.rickscottforflorida.com/2011/06/14/email-a-newspaper-editor/
    ________

    The thing that jumps out at me is that the St. Petersburg Times is not one of the seven newspapers.

    The Times has the largest circulation of any newspaper in Florida. Perhaps, even Rick Scott and his handlers know that St. Pete Times readers - and editors - are too smart to fall for a cheesy stunt like this.

    The text of the letter is posted below...in case "Psycho Rick" tried to remove that page.
    Dear Editor,

    When Rick Scott ran for Governor he promised to create jobs and turn our economy around. I voted for Rick because he’s always been a businessman, not a politician.

    While politicians usually disappoint us and rarely keep their promises, Rick is refreshing because he’s keeping his word.

    His policies are helping to attract businesses to our state and get people back to work. Some of the special interests are attacking the Governor for making tough decisions, showing leadership, and doing what he told us he would do.

    Rick Scott deserves our unwavering and enthusiastic support. How can we expect to elect leaders who will keep their word and do what’s right for our state if we don’t stand up for those with the courage to set priorities, make difficult choices, and actually deliver on their promises made?

    Christopher Jahn gives Random Pixels a civics lesson

    Christopher Jahn
    I don't get all that many comments on my posts here at Random Pixels. But when I do, they tend to be doozies!

    Consider this perspicacious comment left by Christopher Jahn last night in response to my post about Miami photographer Carlos Miller.
    Freedom starts in the streets, Bill. In our homes, and in our daily boring little lives. Not in the headlines.

    Carlos clearly understand what's important, and we're lucky to have him.
    You're right Christopher. I don't know what was I thinking when I questioned Carlos' commitment and passion in standing up for our First Amendment rights.

    He is, clearly, a living, breathing, walking embodiment of Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King ... all rolled into one.

    Just look at this picture of Carlos confronting a Ft. Lauderdale police officer at Friday's First Amendment protest.

    Carlos Miller, right, bravely confronts a Ft. Lauderdale police officer, left, at Friday's First Amendment rally.

    Looking at that photograph, I was immediately reminded of a similar photo of a protest from the Civil Rights era.

    Birmingham police turn a police dog loose on Walter Gadsden, May 3, 1963. Photograph by Bill Hudson.

    And Christopher, your point was driven home even more forcefully when I watched this video....


    ....of Carlos' dramatic and historic protest last Friday. As I watched, it suddenly dawned on me that Carlos is a beer-swilling, modern-day equivalent of a 60's Freedom Rider; ready to sacrifice all for the cause.

    And I was struck by the eerie similarities between Carlos' rally and the recent anti-government protests in Egypt.

    You are so right, Chris. We're lucky to have Carlos. He's a true First Amendment warrior. Thanks for helping me to see the light.



    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    They came, they saw, they shot

    Carlos Miller takes a picture of Ft. Lauderdale attorney Norman Kent.
    photo by thebulldog@nikonmiami.com

    Miami photographer Carlos Miller is on a one-man quest to protect our First Amendment rights to take pictures in public.

    He runs a blog called, "Photography is not a crime," (PINAC), where he proudly declares that he's been arrested twice while trying to take pictures.

    A casual reading of his blog reveals that there is, indeed, some sort of undeclared war on photographers in this country.

    But, photographers getting hassled while doing their job is nothing new.

    Some of Carlos' battles have included his fight for the right to photograph minimum-wage MetroRail security guards. (He won that one, I think.)

    He also fought for his right to take pictures of people handing out cigarette samples on Lincoln Road. That one ended in a stalemate.

    And, of course, who can forget Carlos' "Battle Royal" with a woman selling a fish on the side of the road? Carlos ended up getting his ass kicked for his efforts to take a picture of a dead fish.

    And because Carlos has sacrificed his freedom, dignity, precious time and hard-earned cash to secure his and your rights to photograph utterly meaningless people, places and things, the media naturally seek him out when doing stories on the erosion of our rights.

    The Miami Herald's David Smiley recently turned to Carlos for his story on "The history of cops vs. cameras on Miami Beach." Carlos told Smiley that friction between cops and cameras is a nationwide epidemic. "It's everywhere," said Carlos.

    So when Ft. Lauderdale police recently threatened photographers with arrest on a movie set, Carlos sprang into action; hitting the road with his "First Amendment Traveling Minstrel Show."

    The fight in Ft. Lauderdale centered around some signs the movie company posted on a street that warned against taking pictures. Apparently the movie company posted the signs without actually checking the law.
    The production company's publicist, Claire Raskin, said on Tuesday the area marked off by the signs should be considered private property and off-limits to photographers. "We're basically renting out the place."

    The public is allowed to walk into the Himmarshee area to visit bars and restaurants, but taking out a camera is a no-no, city and police officials said.

    On Wednesday an officer at the scene told a video journalist and photographer from the Sun Sentinel that they could film and shoot as long as they stood behind the signs.
    Carlos organized a passive protest that took place last Friday.

    His plan was to show up with several dozen photographers, sit down at outdoor cafes near the movie set, have some lunch and take lots of pictures. The movie people countered by renting the entire street which blocked access to everyone.

    So, no one got any pictures of any movie stars.

    But they did take lots of pictures of each other.

    (At least one photo agency - Splash News - got images. But, they're pros.)

    But, Carlos can chalk up another First Amendment victory. Your right to take pictures of your friends on the street is safe!

    I do applaud Carlos for calling everyone's attention to the fact that a private company and a government agency - the Ft. Lauderdale police - were trying to bully people and trample their rights.

    Kudos also to Ft. Lauderdale attorney Norm Kent, who filed an injunction against the police.

    But, here's a suggestion Carlos.

    Next time a movie shoot comes to town, why not shoot some pictures of actual movie stars? Ignore the jerks who are trying to keep you from getting pictures and work around them.

    I've been hassled once or twice over the years, but it's never stopped me from getting pictures. Pictures that sold.

    Below are just a few pictures that I've shot on movie sets. I ran into obstacles trying get a lot of the pictures, but I always came away with the shot.

    Of course, if all this sounds too difficult, you can always stick to photographing MetroRail security guards and fishmongers.

    "Scarface," Miami Beach, 1983

    "True Lies." Brickell Avenue, 1993

    "True Lies," Brickell Avenue, 1993

    "True Lies," InterTerra building, Brickell Avenue, 1993

    "True Lies," Inter Terra building, Brickell Avenue, 1993

    Sylvester Stallone and Janice Dickinson, "The Specailist," 1994


    Gimenez and Robaina on the Marlins Stadium...let's go to the tape

    Before we get to the stadium issue, let's check some late-breaking news...

    Looks like Julio Robaina's flip-fops are catching up with him.
    Poll: Gimenez takes commanding lead in mayor’s race

    Carlos Gimenez, steadily gaining momentum across a diverse spectrum of Miami-Dade voters, has taken a commanding lead over his flashier, better bankrolled opponent, Julio Robaina, in the June 28 race for county mayor, according to a new poll.

    In the poll, 50 percent of likely voters picked one-time underdog Gimenez for the county’s top job, while 39 percent chose Robaina, who had been the frontrunner at the start of the hard-fought race for the powerful mayor’s post, which has been vacant since the dramatic March 15 recall of Carlos Alvarez.

    ________


    Thanks to a commenter on the Miami Herald 's website for posting this tape of Bryant Gumbel interviewing Carlos Gimenez on the Marlins Stadium deal.


    Robaina’s declarations on the campaign trail have also drawn criticism because they have contradicted his own record. He has, for instance, said in his campaign that he opposed using public dollars to finance a new Florida Marlins stadium. Yet he spoke in favor of the deal on the March 2009 night when county commissioners considered — and ultimately approved — the public finance plan. -Miami Herald, May 10, 2011






    Some additional reading:
    Marlins’ profits came at taxpayer expense

    The swindlers who run the Florida Marlins got exposed Monday. They are as bad as anyone on Wall Street, scheming, misleading and ultimately sticking taxpayers with a multibillion-dollar tab. Corporate fraud is alive and well in Major League Baseball.

    A look at the leak of the Marlins’ financial information to Deadspin confirmed the long-held belief that the team takes a healthy chunk of MLB-distributed money for profit. Owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson for years have contended the Marlins break even financially, the centerpiece fiscal argument that resulted in local governments gifting them a new stadium that will cost generations of taxpayers an estimated $2.4 billion. They said they had no money to do it alone and intimated they would have to move the team without public assistance.

    In fact, documents show, the Marlins could have paid for a significant amount of the new stadium’s construction themselves and still turned an annual operating profit. Instead, they cried poor to con feckless politicians that sold out their constituents.

    The ugliness of the Marlins’ ballpark situation is already apparent, and the building doesn’t open for another 18 months. Somehow a team that listed its operating income as a healthy $37.8 million in 2008 alone swung a deal in which it would pay only $155 million of the $634 million stadium complex. Meanwhile, Miami-Dade County agreed – without the consent of taxpayers – to take $409 million in loans loaded with balloon payments and long grace periods. By 2049, when the debt is due, the county will have paid billions.

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    Bill Haast; the death of a true legend

    Douglas Martin has crafted a masterful tribute to the legendary Bill Haast in today's New York Times.
    Bill Haast figured he had handled more than three million poisonous snakes over the years, and he had the hands to prove it.

    An eastern diamondback rattlesnake left one hand looking like a claw. A Malayan pit viper mangled an index finger. A cottonmouth bit a finger, which instantly turned black, prompting his wife to snip off the fingertip with garden clippers.

    Mr. Haast was bitten at least 173 times by poisonous snakes, about 20 times almost fatally. It was all in a day’s work for probably the best-known snake handler in the country, a scientist-cum-showman who made enough money from milking toxic goo from slithery serpents to buy a cherry-red Rolls-Royce convertible.

    [...]

    For all the time he spent with snakes, Mr. Haast harbored no illusions that they liked him.

    “You could have a snake for 30 years and the second you leave his cage door cracked, he’s gone,” he told Outside magazine in 1997. “And they’ll never come to you unless you’re holding a mouse in your teeth.”
    -from the Miami Daily News, April 10, 1949


    -from the Miami News, Aug. 30, 1984

    Julio Robaina wants to do for Miami Dade County what he did for Hialeah....let's hope he doesn't get that chance


    From CBS4's Jim DeFede:
    HIALEAH (CBS4) – At every campaign appearance, Julio Robaina touts his record as Hialeah mayor, reminding voters he did not raise property or business taxes in the city.

    “As the mayor of the second largest city in Miami-Dade County I had to face these challenges,” he has said on numerous occasions.

    At its core the Robaina campaign is based on a simple premise: He will do for Miami Dade County what he did for Hialeah.

    “I would hope not, he’s destroyed the city,” said Barbara Hernandez, president of union representing a majority of Hialeah’s 1,600 employees. “I believe he acted out of malice toward the residents and its employees.”
    If that report doesn't motivate you to vote, I'm not sure anything will.

    It's so easy to do. Early voting starts today.

    "Early voting begins Saturday at 20 locations across Miami-Dade County, as the candidates for county mayor, Julio Robaina and Carlos Gimenez, head down the home stretch toward the June 28 runoff election," the Miami Herald reports.

    However, thanks to Gov. Rick Scott, "...a recently changed Florida law, the early voting will span just eight days — June 18 through June 25. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m." (Scroll down past the video for early voting locations in Miami-Dade County.)

    Yes, this Rick Scott.


    Early Voting Locations in Miami-Dade County:

    Click here to see the wait time at your location.

    North Dade Regional Library, 2455 NW 183rd St.

    North Miami Public Library, 835 NE 132nd St.

    Lemon City Library, 430 NE 61st Street (Reading Room)

    Aventura Government Center,19200 W Country Club Drive (2nd Floor Commission Area)

    Miami Beach City Hall, 1700 Convention Center Dr.

    West Flagler Branch Library, 5050 West Flagler St.

    Coral Gables Library, 3443 Segovia St.

    South Dade Regional Library, 10750 SW 211th St.

    Florida City - City Hall, 404 West Palm Drive (Commission Chambers)

    West Dade Regional Library, 9445 SW 24th St.

    West Kendall Regional Library, 10201 Hammocks Boulevard

    Elections Department (SOE Main Office) 2700 NW 87th Ave.

    Miami Lakes Public Library, 6699 Windmill Gate Road

    Stephen P. Clark Gov’t Center (SOE Branch Office)111 NW 1st St. (Lobby)

    Kendall Branch Library, 9101 SW 97th Ave.

    Model City Library @ Caleb Center, 2211 NW 54th St.

    John F. Kennedy Library, 190 West 49th St.

    Coral Reef Library, 9211 SW 152nd St.

    City of Miami – City Hall, 3500 Pan American Dr.

    North Shore Branch Library, 7501 Collins Ave., Miami Beach (Program Room)

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Stuck overnight at an airport; two guys decide to make a video

    STUCK from Joe Ayala on Vimeo.

    -video: DriftFotos.com

    OK, listen up all you Steven Spielberg wannabes...forget about film school.

    Just watch this video. It'll teach you everything you need to know about filmmaking.

    Here's the set-up: "While on their way home from Formula Drift Palm Beach, Larry Chen and and [Joe Ayala] found themselves stranded over night in the Dallas airport as their flights home were canceled. The [above video] is a brief summary of the events that took place that night."

    The boys have answered a few questions about the making of the film.
    Q: How did you pull if off with just the two of you? Some professionals have commented that they thought you had a crew.

    A: We didn't have a tripod with us but I had gear to shoot cars, so we used a suction cup mount, and we used a magic arm mount that is something that clamps on to anything. We clamped it on to the stalls in the bathroom, and to this railing for the escalator shot. But like, it's just like normal stuff, grip stuff that any professional photographer would have.

    Q: Did you run into any security? The airport seems incredibly empty.

    LC: Yes, there were security guards rolling around.

    JA: They sort of just stopped, looked, and realized that we weren't a threat and moved on.
    By the way, before you ask, yes, the good people who run the Dallas Airport are just a little upset.

    From MSNBC:
    Airport spokesman David Magaña said that while DFW appreciates the creativity and humor demonstrated by the filmmakers, it does not condone the fact that they entered an eatery after business hours. “The video did point out the need to better secure this restaurant, and that issue is being addressed immediately,” he said.

    Magaña added that security agents did observe the filmmakers at the airport, but “because the filmmakers were presenting no threat to themselves, to others or to flight safety, and were causing no damage, there was no imperative to curtail their activities.”

    Miami "snake man" Bill Haast dead at 100

    UPDATED @ 7:00pm:
    Miami Herald has posted a story that says Haast died of "natural causes."
    ....
    Random Pixels has learned that Miami's legendary "snake man," Bill Haast, has died. Haast died at his home in Punta Gorda on Wednesday. He celebrated his 100th birthday last December.

    I'm re-posting below, my original tribute to Haast, written on Dec 30, 2010 when he turned 100.
    _________

    from the Miami News, Aug. 23, 1964

    Ten years ago, Miami herpetologist Joe Wasilewski was working with a documentary film crew on a piece about 90 year-old Bill Haast, the legendary former owner of Miami Serpentarium.
    Wasilewski recalls that a member of the crew asked Haast - who has been bitten by poisonous snakes at least 173 times - if he thought that snake venom prolonged life. "Ask me when I'm 100," Haast replied dryly.

    Ten years later Bill Haast is alive and well and living in Punta Gorda, FL where he runs Miami Serpentarium Laboratories.

    Today is his 100th birthday.

    In Aug. 2006, when Haast was 95, Miami Herald reporter Luisa Yanez wrote that the "Miami Snakeman" was still injecting himself with snake venom. Yanez quoted Haast as saying: ''I could become a poster boy for the benefits of venom. If I live to be 100 I'll really make the point.''

    Over the years, Miami newspapers have chronicled Haast's frequent brushes with death.

    In Feb. 1949, the Miami Daily News reported that Haast, then 38, had been bitten by a Mexican water moccasin.

    In Feb. 1961, after Haast was bitten for the 67th time, he told the Miami News: "Let's hope it was the last."

    It wasn't.

    In Sept. 1970, Haast was bitten - number 112 - by a Malayan pit viper.

    Happy birthday Mr. Haast!

    "The kiss" ... the best photo from the Vancouver riots

    I don't see all that many news photos that make me look for more than a few seconds.

    However, an image that came out of the Vancouver riots this week is different.


    Some are saying it might become "as iconic as the famous Life magazine shot of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square the day World War II ended."

    The photo in question is known simply as "The Kiss." Some websites are calling it the "Kissing Couple."

    From ABC News:
    Just who were those people? And how did they get caught up in such a passionate kiss, right there in the middle of the riots in Vancouver, British Columbia? There was anger and violence all around them -- the Vancouver Canucks had just lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of hockey's Stanley Cup finals.

    The picture of them, by Vancouver freelance photographer Richard Lam, has gone viral on the Web. One headline called it "love among the ruins." History will decide, but one could imagine it becoming as iconic as the famous Life magazine shot of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square the day World War II ended.

    The young lovers -- if Australia's Channel 9 has the story right -- are Scott Jones, 29, from the Australian city of Perth, and his Canadian girlfriend, Alex Thomas. The Vancouver Sun said Thomas is a student at the University of Guelph in Ontario.

    The Toronto Star has posted a slide show here of other images made before and after. The photographer, Richard Lam, didn't get a chance to talk to the couple after making the image.

    "I was trying not to get my ass kicked," Lam said when asked if he'd stopped to talk to the couple.

    In an email to Esquire magazine Lam writes: "I was covering last night's Stanley Cup Playoffs for Getty Images when Vancouver erupted in riots after the Canucks' Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins. It was complete chaos. Rioters set two cars on fire and then I saw looters break the window at a neighboring department store. At that point, the riot police charged right towards us. After I stopped running, I noticed in the space behind the line of police that two people were laying in the street with the riot police and a raging fire just beyond them. I knew I had captured a "moment" when I snapped the still forms against the backdrop of such chaos but it wasn't until later when I returned to the rink to file my photos that my editor pointed out that the two people were not hurt, but kissing."

    Related story here.

    Shocking Video! Lioness tries to eat adorable baby at zoo!



    From TIME.com
    One-year-old Trent was visiting the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colo., with his parents when he caught the attention of a very curious — and hungry – lioness named Angie. The resulting video, which you can enjoy above, has gone viral, with almost 2 million views on YouTube.

    Cute little Trent, with his sweet hooded sweater, was simply gleeful over the lioness's failed attempts at an attack. The 400-pound feline jumps at the baby as it sits and claps its tiny hands in happiness. At one point, the lioness opens up her ginormous mouth, exposing those deadly chompers, and you can't help but be thankful for the thick glass — Trent's head could literally fit in Angie's mouth.
    When I saw this, my first thought was, "Lions behind glass? What a bunch of wusses they are in Colorado."

    In Miami, we let our big cats interact with the tourists.

    The Random Pixels crime file: Vancouver rioters have their own Facebook page


    Tim Elfrink of Miami New Times writes,
    "The Boston Bruins destroyed the Canucks on their home ice last night, with goalie Tim Thomas pitching a shutout while one-time-Florida Panther Roberto Luongo imploded for three goals.

    "The Canadian masses, it is fair to say, did not deal well with the disappointment."


    Vancouver Sun video by Mike Hager.

    And now, we're learning - according to Gawker - that freedom may be coming to an end for many of those who rioted in Vancouver following the Canucks' loss:
    "Loads of photos [are] on a Facebook group and Tumblr set up by Vancouverites to out the rioters. There are also pictures all over Twitter, where the mayor and police have issued tweets asking people to preserve their videos and pics of the rioting."
    The Facebook Vancouver Rioters photo page has over 83,000 likes....and lots of pics!

    Vancouver rioter tries to set a police car on fire.