Friday, October 30, 2009

Random Pixels says goodbye to South Beach

I've left South Beach.

It wasn't too many years ago that just the thought of spending an hour on South Beach would cause me to have a major panic attack.

So you can just imagine what six years of living here has done to me.

But I moved this week.

I got tired of being around people who embrace a criminal lifestyle, ghetto lifestyle, the drug lifestyle and the lifestyle that says it's ok to let your dog sh*t on the sidewalk everyday.

That combined with two stolen bicycles, incompetent landlords and general overall rude and inconsiderate behavior made the decision to leave so much easier.

I've arrived at the belated realization that South Beach is a great place to live if you are homeless or if you can afford to pay $3,000 a month in rent.

If you fall somewhere in between; you're screwed.

I'm was in the middle...stuck between a rock and what was once an elegant art deco building that had seen better times.

The first couple of places I lived in weren't all that bad.

But my last apartment on 8th Street near Meridian was roughly the same size as a cell on Florida's death row with about the same ambiance.

I had only planned to stay six months.

I ended up staying two years.

The first year and half or so was OK.

But the straw that broke the camel's back was some of the building's newer tenants.

There was Luis who moved in above me back in March.

He was an Iraq war veteran with PTSD, 100% disability, a $2600 a month government check and a heavy dependence on drugs.

Lots of drugs.

He partied 24/7.

There isn't a mind-altering substance that hasn't coursed through this guy's body.

When I told him that his partying was keeping me awake he responded by asking me if I wanted something to help me sleep. Luis had a drug for everything!

After a couple of calls to Code Enforcement and few more to the Miami Beach cops, he was gently convinced that he'd be happier living elsewhere.

A couple of months ago one guy moved in on the third floor.

In retrospect, he was the ideal neighbor: you never saw him or heard from him. He didn't have loud parties and he never knocked on your door to ask to borrow anything.

The only problem with him was he didn't pay rent.

He was just a homeless guy who took advantage of an open window one day and stayed a month.

After he left a couple of drug dealers moved in down the hall. Their activities were so obvious and blatant that even Stevie Wonder would have caught on.

One night at 2:30am there was a tap-tap-tap on my door. When I asked who was there, a voice on the other side said, "It's your neighbor, let me hold your cell phone."

A few days later the cops came in and marched everyone out in handcuffs.

And I started looking for a new place.

I placed an ad on Craigslist and within a week I'd signed a lease on a new apartment.

A good friend helped me move the bulk of my stuff this past Monday and Tuesday.

And with another ad on Craigslist I found a guy with a Ford F-150 to help me move the last load for $60. And he even hooked up my DVD player.

The new place isn't that far from Miami Beach; but it seems like a million miles away.

And compared to South Beach it's like Mayberry RFD. Really!

I cut the last tie to South Beach today when I called FPL to have my electric service moved.

However my sunny disposition was temporarily darkened when the guy taking my information asked me if I'd like to have the Miami Herald delivered at my new place!

But give me a few days and I'll get over it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Herald turns to perky boobs to revive sagging circulation!

Monday, Oct. 26, 2009--Figures are released that show the Miami Herald's circulation plunging 23% over a year sgo.

Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009--Miami Herald features boobs on front page.

Probably just a coincidence.

Image via Newseum.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Miami Herald circulation plummets again

Editor and Publisher magazine reports today:
"Circulation at many of the country's largest newspapers continued a steep slide as the Audit Bureau of Circulations Monday morning released the latest figures for the six months ending September 2009.
"The Miami Herald reported a daily circ decline of 23% to 162,260
[compared to Sept. 2008]. Sunday fell 14.6% to 238,613."(The Herald's web site, by comparison, continues to post gains.) [Miami-Dade County, according to the latest census figures, has a population of 2,398,245.]

The state's largest newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times, "saw a 10 percent decline in average weekday circulation from last year, down to 240,147 (Sunday circulation was down 5 percent to 370,050)."

In 1981 - when Miami-Dade's population was an estimated 1,732,000 - the Herald's daily circulation was 421,236 according to Time magazine.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

It's official: National park bears prefer minivans

In case you didn't get your fill of bear news yesterday, here's another item we ran across today.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Stewart Breck, a research biologist with the National Wildlife Research Center has co-authored a study on the vehicle preferences of black bears that inhabit the Yosemite National Park.

The study, with the catchy title, "Selective Foraging for Anthropogenic Resources by Black Bears: Minivans in Yosemite National Park," was published in the October issue of Journal of Mammalogy.
"They target minivans," said Breck. "They will pop open windows, peel open a door, rip out back seats. They can do a lot of damage.
"Minivans were the first or second preference every year, accounting for 26 percent of all the break-ins. That's despite the fact that they make up only 7 percent of the vehicles parked in Yosemite Valley."
You've been warned!

Friday, October 23, 2009

The best worst campaign ad ever?

That's what the Herald's Naked Politics blog says about this piece of cinematic artistry touting Miami mayoral candidate Joe Sanchez.

You decide.

One thing I do know...while the ad might not be the greatest, at least Sanchez never raised money for a terrorist.

Ice skating bear files a grievance with his boss

"A circus bear killed one person and injured another during rehearsals for an ice-skating show.

"The bear, which was part of the Russian State Circus, killed Dmitri Potapov, 25, a circus director who was visiting the show in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. An animal handler who tried to stop the attack suffered bruising to the brain and lacerations to his scalp.

"It is unclear why the bear, which was wearing ice skates at the time, attacked Mr Potapov."
Previous Pissed-off Bear Gets Revenge story here.

He's tanned, he's fit, he's relaxed....very relaxed!

What's up with Republican governors and work?

They're either out hiking the Appalachian Trail or resigning.

And what about Charlie Crist?

He's not quitting or hiking but he's not exactly working himself to death either.

Marc Caputo and Shannon Colavecchio, of the St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau reviewed Crist's schedule and found that, "since campaigning three years ago on a promise to work hard for Floridians, Gov. Charlie Crist has scheduled the equivalent of almost 10 weeks off annually."
"Of his 1,027 days in office, there were a maximum 651.5 work days, not including weekends, holidays nor 22 days of annual leave given to state workers."
Read the results of the Herald/Times review of Crist's work habits here and here.

Destitute photographer shoots First family snapshot...

(Official White House Photo by Annie Leibovitz)

....that looks just like your family snapshots!

Not the usual mega-produced, impeccably lit work we normally get from Annie.

And all this time you thought your family snapshots sucked big-time. But using this as a guideline, you've been doing everything right.

Don't you feel better about your pictures now?

The caption says the photo was taken on Sept. 1, 2009; the week Annie had other things on her mind.

photo via White House Flickr page

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Only in Miami-Dade County!

Denis Morales, Chief of Staff to
Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Alvarez

Miami Herald reporters Jack Dolan and Matthew Haggman continue to keep watch on Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Alvarez and his Circle of Barely Competent Commissioners at County Hall.

In today's installment of HiJinx at County Hall, Haggman and Dolan report that:
"Three weeks into the budget year, confronted with a room full of politically influential county employees and the first vote that would actually take money out of the workers' pockets -- the commissioners froze.

"The delay comes at a price.

"As each week passes without the promised cuts, the county's deficit grows by another $4 million, according to Mayor Carlos Alvarez."
So, now might be a good time to go back and take a look at a somewhat obscure video shot in August - and that re-appeared inadvertently on the Herald's homepage today - by Herald Tallahassee bureau reporter Marc Caputo, who was in Miami for the county budget hearings.

In it, Caputo captures the mayor's right hand man, Denis Morales - a former Miami-Dade cop, but who now looks more like a Mafia Goodfella - joking about his big salary, which is larger than that of Governor Charlie Crist.

Ahh, life is good...if you're Denis Morales, that is.

Catch more of Caputo's Canon handi-cam ambush work here at the Herald's Political Currents page.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You think your job sucks?

"Michael Graczyk has witnessed more than 300 deaths, and many of those were people he had come to know."

Tamara announces Miami departure; Random Pixels descends into a pit of misery

I first met Tamara Lush - Tam to her friends - over 5 years ago.

She was a reporter at the St. Petersburg Times and she came down to Miami Beach to do one of those only in Miami stories.

I was assigned to shoot the pictures.

We've been friends ever since.

Tam moved to Miami a few years ago and worked as a staff writer at Miami New Times.

Then she joined the AP and shook things up.

When South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford decided it was time to come clean, Tamara gave him a shoulder to cry on...while keeping her tape recorder running!

And Tam is one of those friends who will do any thing for you.

Tam's also one of the most talented writers I've ever met. Along the way she attempted to teach me a few things about writing; which, to her, must have been like trying to teach a fish how to ride a bicycle.

But all good things must come to an end.

Tamara posted this on her Facebook page a few minutes ago.
"Tamara Lush has some exciting news! After five years of living in Miami, Marco and I are moving back to the Tampa Bay area in December. I am going to be working out of the AP office there. The Florida adventure continues!

Miami Least Stressed-Out City....

Random Pixels photo

Here's why!

Antique Market on Lincoln Road is back

The Antique Market on Lincoln Road is back.

This Sunday - the 25th - is the second show of the season.

And you know what that means.

For starters, some of the best people watching in South Florida.

And lunch at some of Lincoln Road's fine restaurants like The Cafe at Books & Books; a long-time Random Pixels supporter.

But there's also the Icebox, the Van Dyke and Balans.

South Beach-USA tells you what else to expect.

As for the antique show itself, more than 100 vendors offer everything from vintage one-of-a-kind clothing to old hard-to-find magazines and books, jewelry and all manner of tchotchkes.

The Herald dips into the recycle bin once again...

If you're a regular Herald reader and today's front page gave you that deja-vu-all-over-again feeling, you're probably not alone.

Today's Overtown garden story by James Burnett has been done before.

Lots of times.

As we all know, they're good at recycling stuff at the Herald. Very good.

After all, it's so much easier than coming up with fresh ideas.

FIU psychology professor Marvin Dunn planted his first urban garden 1994, shortly after the Florida Department of Transportation gave him permission to cultivate one of the embankments along I-395 near Overtown.

And the Herald did their first story on Dunn's greening of Overtown in 1996. And they haven't stopped.

I photographed Dunn three years ago when he received the Garden Crusader grand prize..

In October 2006, Herald staffer Laura Morales wrote about a "group of 250 students and teachers from Miami Dade College [gathering] at the corner of Northwest 11th Street and Second Avenue to pull weeds, plant pigeon pea seeds and help get the future Overtown Community Organic Native Plant Nursery and Garden ready to bear some fruit."

That location just happens to be around the corner from the garden at Northwest Third Avenue and 10th Street, where today's gardening story takes place.

Today's story was very nice and made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

But is it really news every time someone plants a radish or a mess of collard greens in Overtown?

Monday, October 19, 2009

The boat-rocker

Nineteen years ago tomorrow, in a Ft. Lauderdale courtroom, jury foreman David Garsow stood up and recited the decision of his fellow jury members in the case of the State of Florida vs. Luther Campbell: "Not guilty."

Rick Bragg of the St. Petersburg Times wrote:
"The lead defense attorney said the First Amendment was a wall built to protect people like Luther Campbell and 2 Live Crew. Prosecutors claimed the wall hid something vile and obscene.

"Either way, it's a wall still standing.

"A Broward County jury Saturday ruled that the nasty-talking rap group was innocent of violating obscenity laws. It was a landmark case that coupled freedom of speech with a rap group known for lyrics that degrade women and tout violent sex.

"The jury of four women and two men came back with the verdict of not guilty after just two hours of deliberations. Crew leader Campbell jumped to his feet and raised his fist in the air. The tiny, crowded courtroom erupted in cheers. One woman said ""Thank you Jesus.'' Members of his family started to cry."
I was the pool photographer in the courtroom that day.

But at the time, the importance of the verdict was the last thing on my mind.

I was more concerned about getting the exposure right in the dingy, cramped courtroom lit only by weak fluorescent lights.

Broward County Sheriff Nick Navarro had hoped to make an example of Luther Campbell and his foul-mouthed crew.

But he miscalculated.

Campbell's attorney was soft-spoken but tough-as-nails Nova University law professor Bruce Rogow, who as a young civil rights lawyer in the South in the sixties, confronted a group of angry whites after police officers refused to intervene.

Fighting injustice is in Rogow's DNA.

"I saw such hate, and I knew for the first time what it was like to rock [the] boat," Rogow told the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel in 1988.

Rogow spoke with me today by phone from his Ft. Lauderdale office and recalled his reaction when he first learned that Campbell was being charged with violating Broward's obscenity laws.

"I was amused," says Rogow. "I didn't get angry because I knew I could win [the case]."

Rogow told me that the first amendment is still "respected."

But it's his words to the jury 19 years ago that still stick in my mind.

Rick Bragg wrote them down for his St. Petersburg Times story:
"The First Amendment does protect speech, even nasty speech, even four-letter words," Rogow said. "The purpose of the Constitution is to keep the state from not liking something and putting people in jail.

"It's not a matter of taste. If you don't like it, you don't have to go to their concerts. But to deny those people who want to do it is to deny their freedom of speech. That's not what this country is about."

Plagiarism: Alive and well at

image via Flickr

More than a few South Florida blogs took note of the Orlando Sentinel's report Sunday on Cuban pot rings.

I posted an item yesterday and noted that it'll be a long, long time before the Herald tackies this subject.

And Frank Alvarado at Miami New Times reminds us that he did this story two years ago!

And then there's

Remember that guy who used to look over your shoulder in school and copy your homework?

He got a job at!

Staffer Brian Hamacher saw the Sentinel's report and liked what he saw!

He was in full cut-and-paste mode bright and early this morning over at

Hamacher basically rewrote the entire Orlando Sentinel report for's web site.

Hamacher says early on that his story is "according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel." He cites paragraphs from the Sentinel story and uses quotations.

But he also copies entire chunks of the Sentinel story without attribution or quotations. He moves phrases around and changes a word here and there, apparently in an attempt to make it look like he actually did some of his own reporting.

Sentinel: "Cubans who arrived in the U.S. within the past five years represent 85 percent to 90 percent of the suspects arrested in Florida on grow-house-related charges." Cuban refugees have risen up to take the lead in growing marijuana in the Sunshine State, accounting for 85 to 90 percent of the suspects arrested in Florida on grow-house related charges in the past five years.

Sentinel: "Until the early 1980s, Florida's marijuana trade thrived on pot smuggled from Jamaica, Mexico and South America." Until the early 1980s, Florida's pot sources were generally Jamaica, Mexico and South America.

Sentinel: "The yield is potent, five to 10 times stronger than it was 20 years ago, say drug agents who have had the pot tested." Authorities say the pot is five to 10 times stronger than it was 20 years ago.

Sentinel: "...348 grow-house-related arrests last year in Miami-Dade County..." In Miami-Dade, 348 grow-house-related arrests were made last year of Cubans.

Sentinel: "Miami became the center of a cottage industry raising the highest-quality, most-expensive pot in Florida." Miami became the epicenter of the new homemade industry and the source for the highest quality and most expensive pot in Florida.

Sentinel: "Statewide, records aren't kept that specify the nationalities of those who run grow houses. However, Cuban influence has risen rapidly." Though Florida doesn't keep records that specify the nationalities of the grow house operators, individual Sheriff's Office statistics show that the number of Cuban growers seems out of proportion. is the worst local TV station web site in South Florida.

But come on guys! Enough is enough already!

How much longer are you going to perpetrate this fraud upon your readers?

How about doing a little of your own reporting for a change?

"No more f**king salad orders" means just that!

One too many orders for mozzarella caprese was apparently the breaking point for a Boca Raton chef who threatened to shoot the waitress.

via South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Why just reading the Herald won't keep you fully informed


  • Frank Alvarado from Miami New Times reminds me that he did this story two years ago.

  • And I was perhaps a little too hard on the Herald when I said that you'll never see this story on their front page. I'm sure they'll get around to doing it one of these days...I can see the headline now: "Newly Arrived Cubans Finding Work in Florida's Growth Industries"

    Interesting front page Special Report in today's Orlando Sentinel.

    The story, by staff writer Henry Pierson Curtis, documents law enforcement's fight against Florida's indoor-marijuana trade, which cops say is dominated by Cuban refugees.

    It's the kind of story you won't see anytime soon in the Ultra-Politically Correct Miami Herald. And certainly not on page one.

    And that's understandable.

    As Pierson points out, "The topic is sensitive in a state where the status of Cuban refugees was a badge of honor until tainted by a few thousand criminals in the 1980s Mariel boatlift."

    (An AP story based on the Sentinel's report is posted on the Herald's web site.)

    But the Sentinel's story is as important as it is eye-opening.

    Among the Sentinel's findings:
  • "Groups of young Cubans are turning to the lucrative business of raising ultrapotent pot worth up to $4,500 a pound without fear of deportation or lengthy prison sentences."

  • "Probation is a common sentence for anyone convicted in state court of running a grow house."

  • "[Officals] estimate that Cubans who arrived in the U.S. within the past five years represent 85 percent to 90 percent of the suspects arrested in Florida on grow-house-related charges."

  • "Cuban-American National Council President Guarione M. Diaz in Miami was unaware of the high percentage of young Cuban-born suspects arrested statewide in the pot trade.

    "Told of the 348 grow-house-related arrests last year in Miami-Dade County, Diaz said, "Twenty thousand Cubans arrive in South Florida every year, so numerically 300 arrests would be a relatively small number, but I think even one is too many."

  • Friday, October 16, 2009

    If I had a boat

    Lyle Lovett always puts me in a good mood.

    No good deed goes unpunished

    So back on Wednesday I get an email from Kim Stark, editor and publisher of the Miami Sun Post.

    She wants a picture I shot of Miami Beach author Gerald Posner.
    Bill, can you send me more images? My deadline is today. We go to press tonight. Thanks, Kim
    Funny, I say to myself...she didn't mention payment.

    I email her back and ask if she can pay.
    Unfortunately, we don't at the moment.

    We are on a very, very tight budget right now.

    Things have been pretty rough.

    I really want to run your photo because you are mentioned in the book and Gerald suggested it, instead of having my husband, also a photographer, do the shoot.

    I was also going to suggest you send a pic of yourself to include in the article.

    Let me know asap, because then I have to arrange a shoot for this afternoon.

    Thanks, Kim
    "Pretty rough" would turn out to be a major understatement on Kim's part.

    But I liked the fact that she tried to charm me by asking for a photo of myself.

    But I tell her: no is how I make my living.

    Later on in the day I get another email begging for a photo.

    I relent and offer a couple for $25.

    Send them off at 5pm think that's the end of it...

    At 10pm I get a frantic call. Kim tells me that they can't open the pictures.

    I tell her I'm done for the night.

    "Won't you talk to my husband,?" she asks.

    OK, I say.

    Guy gets on the phone and I ask him why he waited so long to call.

    He says "We just got the pictures."

    Impossible, I say. I sent them at 5pm.

    "No you didn't," he says.

    CLICK...I hang up!

    Not nice to ask me for a favor and then essentially call me a liar.

    A little later I get this email from Kim's husband.

    It was an absolute pleasure dealing with your sunny personality.

    Here is what was received from photo 1.

    Don't know if you know how to actually send a simple jpg.

    Maybe it's because you are too much of a loser to have to go to your local donut shop to access the web.

    None-the-less karma's a bitch. The email was only received at 7:30p possibly due to the file size and problem opening it.

    At which time Kim (my wife) was working on other components of the paper. Not sure if you are having a bad day or you are just an asshole. Your point was well received by how fucking rude you are. Have a nice life douche-bag.

    Stuart Davidson
    Yes, Stuart...karma is indeed a cruel mistress!

    I did a little checking today with former Sun Post staffers and learned that the inability to open jpegs are the least of the paper's worries.

    Today I called my friends at Miami New Times and they did some digging on their own and learned that the once proud Miami Sun Post is foundering and headed for some very sharp rocks.

    Karma indeed!

    Failing newspaper hits rock bottom

    UPDATE: Answer to the questions below: Miami Sun Post.

    What South Florida weekly newspaper stiffed numerous staffers and freelancers this year and still owes them thousands in back pay?

    What South Florida weekly newspaper deducted taxes and social security from employees' pay checks but never sent the money to the IRS?

    What South Florida weekly newspaper is misstating its circulation in order to keep big advertisers like CVS and Home Depot?

    What South Florida weekly newspaper has not paid its printers and continually switches firms to avoid paying for printing services?

    What South Florida weekly newspaper frequently switches banks in order to keep one step ahead of creditors?

    What South Florida weekly newspaper's management has been called "criminal" by former staffers.

    Find the answers to these and other questions soon at Miami New Times. (HINT: New Times is not the answer...they will have the answer.)

    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    Up, up and away!

    This seems apropos after today's Cable News Mega Extravaganza....

    That was then, this is now

    October 2, 2009:
    "I think [Sarah Palin] has talents, but my honest view is that she would not be a winning candidate for the Republican party in 2012. Were she to be the nominee, we could have a catastrophic election result." -John McCain's former chief campaign strategist Steve Schmidt
    October 15, 2009:
    Steve Schmidt, who served as McCain's chief strategist in the 2008 election, said Wednesday that putting Palin on the ticket energized the Republican party, according to the Associated Press.

    "There was huge excitement that transformed the race," Schmidt reportedly said in a talk delivered at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. "I believe to this day that had she not been picked as a vice presidential candidate, we would have never been ahead, not for one second, not for one minute, not for one hour, not for one day."
    So what is it Steve; or do you know?
    "I said what I said on the 2012 (race). … I said what I said today," Schmidt replied, according to Arkansas News.
    Oh, OK...thanks for clearing that up!

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Photojournalism explained

    Photojournalism is a particular form of journalism (the collecting, editing, and presenting of news material for publication or broadcast) that creates images in order to tell a news story. It is now usually understood to refer only to still images, but in some cases the term also refers to video used in broadcast journalism. Photojournalism is distinguished from other close branches of photography (such as documentary photography, street photography or celebrity photography) by the qualities of:

  • Timeliness — the images have meaning in the context of a recently published record of events.

  • Objectivity — the situation implied by the images is a fair and accurate representation of the events they depict in both content and tone.

  • Narrative — the images combine with other news elements to make facts relatable to the viewer or reader on a cultural level.

    Like a writer, a photojournalist is a reporter but he or she must often make decisions instantly and carry photographic equipment, often while exposed to significant obstacles (physical danger, weather, crowds).
  • And of course, is still the best place to see some fine photojournalism.

    photo by Miami Herald photojournalist C.M. GUERRERO

    click image to enlarge

    Miami Herald seeks headline writer...must be able to squeeze out fresh ideas!

    Miami Herald, The (FL) - Wednesday, August 22, 2007

    University of Miami president Donna Shalala stepped behind the podium Tuesday afternoon and uttered six simple words: "I didn't want to do it."

    But ultimately, Shalala and the executive committee of UM's Board of Trustees believed there simply wasn't enough guaranteed money available to fully renovate the Orange Bowl.

    Miami Herald, The (FL) - Sunday, April 16, 2006
    Author: ELAINE MARKOUTSAS, Universal Press Syndicate

    There's some juicy news about home interior palettes. The sometimes playful, always warm marriage of primary red and yellow now is living large on walls, furniture, lighting, rugs, window treatments and vivid accessories such as pillows and vases. Orange is no longer confined to children's rooms or edgy contemporary design. It has assumed a certain savoir faire, even chic status.

    Miami Herald, The (FL) - Thursday, December 30, 2004
    Author: ASHLEY FANTZ,

    It may still be named after a stadium in Miami, but the Orange Bowl's revenue, fans and fervor are inching north.

    Throngs of Oklahoma Sooners' and University of Southern California Trojans' fans are bypassing Miami Beach hotels for Broward County the weekend before the Jan. 4 showdown at Pro Player Stadium.

    The Miami Herald - Thursday, November 7, 2002

    Eno Valiente, head coach of the Carol City Optimist Orange Peewee football team, gathers his team during a timeout Friday night in a National Youth Football League American Conference game. Valiente has guided his team to a 9-0 record, and the defense hasn't allowed a point this season. Story, 4.

    Miami Herald, The (FL) - Saturday, November 30, 1996
    Author: STEVE WYCHE Herald Sports Writer

    All you have to do is look at the University of Miami-Syracuse series since it was restarted in 1990 to learn the difference between holding an edge over a team and owning it.

    Miami Herald, The (FL) - Thursday, January 4, 1990

    Workers trying to spot bad apples in a crush of oranges being rushed to juice processors before a freeze-damaged crop can spoil say they sometimes sort out more than bad fruit. Such as an alligator.

    Miami Herald, The (FL) - Friday, February 3, 1989
    Author: RICH HOFMANN Knight-Ridder News Service

    Given the current state of college basketball, it is tough to do anything shocking anymore. Eleven teams in the Top 20 played Wednesday night. Five of the 11 lost. That's par for the parity-rutted course.

    Miami Herald, The (FL) - Saturday, September 27, 1986
    Author: PETE CROSS / Miami Herald Staff

    A blown rear tire sent eight bins of Florida oranges rolling off a trailer truck across four lanes of traffic on Interstate 95 Friday, just north of Oakland Park Boulevard. No one, including truck driver Willie Mobley of Fort Pierce, was injured in the accident. Traffic bogged down, however, as workers wielding shovels scooped up the spilled fruit.

    Miami Herald, The (FL) - Sunday, September 1, 1985
    Author: TONY DeMARCO Herald Staff Writer

    Second- and third-place finishes just aren't good enough anymore for the Orange Crush girls' softball team.

    Coach Ed Dominessy and his players -- spoiled by last year's Amateur Softball Association 16-18-year-old girls' national title -- aren't happy with the way their sixth season ended last month.

    Miami Herald, The (FL) - Thursday, December 29, 1983
    Author: EDWIN POPE Herald Sports Editor

    I have seen LeRoy Jolley up, when he trained Kentucky Derby champions Foolish Pleasure in 1975 and Genuine Risk in '80. And I have seen LeRoy Jolley down, when his 2-5 shot, Honest Pleasure, lost the '76 Derby to Bold Forbes.

    Miami Herald, The (FL) - Sunday, October 17, 1982
    Author: CHRISTINE BRENNAN Herald Sports Writer

    The University of Florida cleansed itself of two weeks' worth of football sins Saturday. In a three-hour purification observed by 72,885 witnesses, the Gators demolished hapless West Texas State, 77-14.

  • Happy anniversary Bill!

    The Smoking Gun reminds us that today is the fifth anniversary of an event that at least one person at Fox News would probably like to forget.

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    Today's recycled news story from NBCMiami

    NBCMiami took a break on Monday and decided to steal "borrow" a story from Miami New Times instead of the Miami Herald.

    But it still took two people to re-write it!


    Things are getting bad!

    The New York Times can't afford to buy .... newspapers!

    Dr. Joe

    Photograph: Matthew Cavanaugh/EPA

    Miami AP reporter Tamara Lush has crafted a compassionate and elegantly written profile of one of Miami's best: José Greer, Jr., who was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom in August.

    You too, can be a jernalist journalist

    Now would you look at this!

    As we all know, the journalism standards at aren't all that high.

    Actually, there don't appear to be any standards.

    But this may be pushing it!

    Click image to enlarge.

    Random Pixels loves the Sun-Sentinel

    While reading a story by former Miami New Times reporter and current Associated Press reporter Tamara Lush on the Sun-Sentinel's web site, I couldn't help but notice that they have linked to THREE of my posts here at Random Pixels. (Scroll down to the bottom of story.)

    Sunday, October 11, 2009

    What bloggers do on their day off

    Many of you ask me, "Random you have a life?"

    And of course, the answer is no.

    But I did take the time today to meet on Lincoln Road at the Van Dyke (separate checks please!) with the following South Florida bloggers:

    Rick of SFDB

    Transit Miami

    Eye on Miami

    Bark Bark Woof Woof

    Like I said, I have NO life!

    Because we swore an omerta, I'm not allowed to repeat anything we talked about, but I can reveal that Rick, does indeed, bear a striking resemblance to Jeff Goldblum.

    And I think I am allowed to say that at one point we talked about the famous Flinstones cigarette commercial.

    Ah, the good old days.

    Coming soon to

    ...Exclusive coverage of the Hindenburg disaster.

    Clicked on's website today and saw this story.

    The gist of the story was how revelations in Gerald Posner's new book Miami Babylon, have "gotten [him] blacklisted from the VIP party circuit in town."

    All this is "according to The Miami Herald," says the story. That's a phrase they use quite often at

    Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe that if you're in the news business, you should at least pretend to do your own reporting and not regurgitate stuff you read in the Herald.

    And shouldn't your site have some....oh, I don't

    There's a reason why some believe that is Miami's worst TV station web site.

    The problem with the's story today is that it's old news!

    I wrote about the so-called "blacklisting" of Posner last week.
    "I’ve learned that a few events planned to coincide with the book’s release have been canceled due to pressure exerted by a few influential people who don’t like the way they’re depicted in the book."
    And that was followed by a blurb in the NY Post on Wednesday.

    So, what does have planned for the upcoming week? Coverage of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the Pearl Harbor bombing, extensive coverage of the Vietnam War and Nixon's resignation. bad is your site? Let me count the ways!

    Saturday, October 10, 2009

    Saturday night blues....John Lee Hooker

    Boom, boom, boom!

    Miami Beach's 'real' winners

    Gerald Posner, author of of the forthcoming book Miami Babylon, talks about Miami Beach's real winners in this Miami Herald video.

    Today's totally unnecessary story...

    ....comes to us from the New York Times.

    Reporter N.R. Kleinfield profiles two absolutely adorable, jobless, Facebooking, identical (think Doublemint gum) twins from Ohio who live in New York City.

    Kleinfield reports that a year and a half after graduating from Rutgers with degrees in journalism, Kristy and Katie Barry can't find jobs in their field.

    Actually, jobless is only 50% accurate.

    One has a job as part time bartender and makes $800 a week.

    The girls live with their 22 year-old brother Zack, in a "cozy two-bedroom fourth-floor walk-up on West 73rd Street, $2,900 a month."

    And while they're officially "jobless", they always seem to have enough money for Starbucks.
    The wind picked up. They got drinks from Starbucks and sat in the park on Columbus and 66th Street, the acceleration of life around them.

    Katie said that a friend put her on a list to get into focus groups: “They pay you to say if you like green ketchup or hate Lysol. I can do that.”

    Kristy said the bar had been so slow one night that she found herself singing Celine Dion to the fish tank: “There’s got to be a way out of this,” she said.

    They had been chewing over ways to get noticed, inject some news into their lives. Mom always told them: “If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be what you’ve always been.”
    Hmmm, mom was right girls! It's time to get noticed!

    How about getting someone at the New York Times to write a lame, 2,400 word piece for the Sunday paper?

    That should do the trick!

  • thanks to Tam for the heads up!
  • Friday, October 09, 2009

    Fast food will make you stupid!

    More proof that regular consumption of fast food can lead to random acts of stupidity:
    "The cashier gave them a small french fries, not a large. For most McDonald’s customers, a forgivable mistake. Not for these two, police said.

    "The man and woman turned violent, hurling coins and plastic safety cones at cashiers."
    Need more proof? Click here.

    Thursday, October 08, 2009

    Gloria Estefan BUSTED!

    The Herald's Lesley Abravanel is reporting that Gloria Estefan had her necklace confiscated earlier this week in a London airport en route to Milan. Estefan was sporting a Bullets 4 Peace pendant.

    Note to Gloria: While your intentions are no doubt well-meaning; it's probably not a good idea to take anything that looks like it might be a weapon or ammunition on a plane including, but not limited to: fake hand grenades, toy pistols, deactivated nuclear warheads, rubber knives and de-fanged alligators.

    Get my drift?

    South Beach Chatter

    While discussing various South Beach hamburger spots with a Miami Beach cop today, I asked: "Have you ever tried Cheeseburger Baby?"

    His response: "I don't frequent the 1500 block of Washington too often. It just doesn't have that Miracle Mile vibe."

    Now that has to be the understatement of the year!

    Little newspaper getting big ideas?

    Jm Mullin, the editor and publisher of Biscayne Times, is looking for a few good writers.
    We here at Biscayne Times World Headquarters are looking for some new correspondents to supplement our stellar cast. If you live in a condo in downtown Miami (between the river and I-395), and you’d like to chronicle life in that particular frontier, we want to hear from you. Ditto for these areas: Edgewater, North Bay Village, Bay Harbor Islands, and North Miami. Warning: This is not a path to riches.

    Please send contact information and writing samples (if you have them) to editor Jim Mullin.
    When Mullin bought BT a few years ago its coverage was limited to the Biscayne corridor and surrounding neighborhoods.

    But a story in the September issue covered a Coconut Grove story: the "behind-the-scenes feud involving the Strut’s only surviving original founder, Glenn Terry, and longtime participant and fundraiser, Antoinette Baldwin."

    I'm attempting to contact Mullin to see if he has plans to expand BT's coverage area.

    Biscayne Times editor Jim Mullin responds:


    Your analysis is wrong. Our coverage area, generally speaking, is the Biscayne Corridor, from downtown northward. Of course, we do cover Miami city government issues that affect the corridor, and we have in fact reported stories from Miami City Hall, and as you know city hall is in Coconut Grove. Does that mean we're now "covering" Coconut Grove? (A close reader of the BT would realize that our "Culture Briefs" calendar regularly recommends events outside the corridor.)

    The King Mango Strut takes place in the Grove, but people from all around attend. It is a 28-year tradition, after all. Besides, it was a good story and I had it first, and wasn't going to let some arbitrary geographic boundary prevent us from pursuing it.

    I've attached here some material about the BT that you may find useful if you want to write about us. One piece is a redacted letter I sent to an advertising agency outside Philadelphia whose client was interested in the BT. The agency rep knew nothing about us, so I wrote an explanatory letter.

    Nothing, however, beats picking up a copy of our news magazine, holding it in your hands, and reading it. That the way more than 50,000 people experience it. I can direct you to several businesses where we drop copies.

    ~ mullin

    And here's part of the letter Mullin sent to the advertsing agency that explains how BT is doing:
    At a time when large metropolitan dailies and many weekly papers are struggling, intelligently edited niche publications like ours are thriving. In fact we’re actually growing. Since January 2009, we’ve added an average of 10.6 new advertisers each issue.

    Throughout this year, we will continue expanding our distribution area northward toward Broward. In May we added all single-family homes in upscale Bay Harbor Islands. Last month [July] we added every home in the exclusive waterfront community of Eastern Shores. As Miami’s new condominiums are completed and begin to fill up, we steadily increase the number of copies we deliver to their mail rooms or lobbies.

    For this success we have our readers to thank. After six years, they have become fiercely loyal to the BT, which they repeatedly tell us they keep handy all month, especially to make use of our Dining Guide, by far the most comprehensive listing of Biscayne Corridor restaurants in any local publication. Unlike every other publication in Greater Miami, we never cut our listings to save space. This benefits all advertisers, not just restaurants, because readers linger over advertisements for a full month.
    So while Mullin says my analysis is wrong regarding BT expanding its coverage area, he doesn't fault the title of my post.

    And says Mullin: "Throughout this year, we will continue expanding our distribution area northward toward Broward. [And] In May we added all single-family homes in upscale Bay Harbor Islands.

    Just thinking out loud here: if you're going to expand the distribution of your paper to include new neighborhoods; won't you also have to cover those neighborhoods?

    Score one point for Random Pixels.

    Postscript: BT is still doing stories not found elsewhere.

    This month's story on the occupancy rate of some of those brand new condo towers on Miami's skyline is a prime example.

    Wednesday, October 07, 2009

    Stupid is as stupid does....

    OK, so Miami has lots of beautiful people.

    And more than our share nitwits.

    Yep; we're dumb and dumber.

    A survey in the November issue of Travel + Leisure magazine ranked us 29th out of 30 on the intelligence scale.

    So it's probably just a coincidence that day in and day out, the most popular stories on the Miami Herald's web site are sports related.


    Random Pixels recognizes....

    ...Jack Dolan, Matthew Haggman and Rob Barry of The Miami Herald.

    The trio received the gold award in the third annual Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism it was announced Wednesday.
    "Borrowers Betrayed" by Jack Dolan, Matthew Haggman and Rob Barry of The Miami Herald received the top gold award of $5,000.

    A nine-month investigation and resulting series uncovered poor oversight by Florida mortgage regulators that permitted thousands of individuals with criminal records to conduct business in the state's home loan industry. Starting with the tragic case of a single mother who lost her home because of a crooked broker, the Herald expanded its probe to ultimately topple one of Florida's most powerful commissioners.

    "The Herald really nailed this investigation, uncovering a unique angle on the theme of the year," the judges said in their assessment of the work. "It found a staggering degree of nonfeasance on the part of the state, bringing perpetrators to life and showing the human impact of misdeeds."

    Random Pixels scoops NY Post's Page Six! (sort of)

    Jorge Perez and Gerald Posner: Ready to rumble!

    In my post Monday about South Beach author Gerald Posner's new Miami Beach tell-all book, Miami Babylon: Crime, Wealth, and Power—A Dispatch from the Beach, I wrote:
    "Some events planned to coincide with the book’s release have been canceled due to pressure exerted by a few influential people who don’t like the way they’re depicted in the book."
    From today's New York Post:
    Condo king Jorge Perez was set to host a party for the author at his huge, and largely unsold, Icon development in downtown Miami -- until he actually read the book.

    "I got an e-mail from his assistant saying he got an advance copy and didn't like the way he was depicted," Posner told Page Six. "There will be no cocktail party."
    As Posner told me a few weeks ago when I interviewed him, "I always tell people, 'If you want a book that only says nice things about you, write it yourself.' "

    Tuesday, October 06, 2009

    Hey, the guy was hungry!

    Man Shoots Taco Bell Employee After Being Denied Service
    A Miami Taco Bell employee is recovering after she was shot in the leg by a man who became irate when he was refused service.

    It happened at the Taco Bell restaurant at 630 NE 79th Street. Restaurant employees told police a man drove up to the drive thru window around 3:40 a.m. and tried to order food. The manager repeatedly explained that the restaurant had closed at 2 a.m. and he wouldn't be served. The man then pulled into the parking lot and waited for the employees to leave.
    Another drive-thru rage story here in the Random Pixels archive.

    Monday, October 05, 2009

    A scary Halloween at One Herald Plaza?

    from the Poynter Institute's Biz blog, by Rick Edmonds:
    The most recent six-month period for measuring newspaper circulation ended last Wednesday. It takes a month or so to assemble the results, so watch for actual numbers around Halloween. I'm sticking my neck out only a little in predicting they will be a veritable house of horrors."

    But what does this mean for the Herald?

    The last report in April showed the Herald's daily circulation dropping 15.8% to 202,122; and Sunday's was down 13.1% to 270,166.

    But as Edmonds points out, "This is the first six-month period likely to show the full effect of the recession on customers who have chosen to cancel subscriptions or buy the paper less frequently."

    The new numbers are likely to show the Herald's daily circulation slipping well below 200,000 for the first time in memory.

    Not good news for a paper that in 1981 boasted a daily circulation of 421,236.

    The Politics of Spite

    Paul Krugman in Sunday's New York Times:
    "“Cheers erupted” at the headquarters of the conservative Weekly Standard, according to a blog post by a member of the magazine’s staff, with the headline “Obama loses! Obama loses!” Rush Limbaugh declared himself “gleeful.” “World Rejects Obama,” gloated the Drudge Report. And so on.

    So what did we learn from this moment? For one thing, we learned that the modern conservative movement, which dominates the modern Republican Party, has the emotional maturity of a bratty 13-year-old.
    [T]he guiding principle of one of our nation’s two great political parties is spite pure and simple. If Republicans think something might be good for the president, they’re against it — whether or not it’s good for America."

    Will "hot chicks in miniskirts" save the Herald?

    That's Miami New Times staffer Kyle Munzenrieder thinking out loud back in August when writing about my dust-up with the Herald over a few pictures of cheerleaders.

    He wrote: "pix of hot chicks in miniskirts is pretty much the only hope that paper has left, and, got dang it, they'll fight tooth and nail for it."

    I'm not sure if anything can save the paper at this point but it looks like they're still betting on "hot chicks" to goose up those Web site page views.!

    They continue to run a few pics of cheerleaders each week in the Dolphins and 'Canes slide shows for the sweaty-palm crowd.

    So will "hot chicks in miniskirts" save the Herald?

    Probably not.

    But I'm fairly certain that this crap won't.

    New Miami Beach tell-all book set to shake things up!

    Author Gerald Posner - RANDOM PIXELS photo

    Noted South Beach resident and author, Gerald Posner - and his wife Trisha - have written a new book - their 11th - that focuses entirely on South Beach.

    The book - Miami Babylon: Crime, Wealth, and Power—A Dispatch from the Beach, will be released October 13 by Simon & Schuster. (Read an excerpt here.)

    Posner gave Random Pixels an advance copy of the book - which I read cover to cover in about two sittings.

    Posner also granted me the first interview regarding the book.

    I've written a review of the book for

    Posner told me that he and Trisha worked on the book for over three years, conducting more than 200 interviews and sifting through some 20,000 pages of court documents, criminal case transcripts, records of city commission and zoning board meetings.

    What he learned and put in the book is already starting to make some of Miami's movers and shakers unhappy.

    And Random Pixels has learned that some events planned to coincide with the book’s release have been canceled due to pressure exerted by a few influential people who don’t like the way they’re depicted in the book.

    I can also reveal that Random Pixels makes a brief but important appearance in the book.
    -Gerald Posner will present and sign copies of "Miami Babylon" at an appearance at Books and Books on Lincoln Road, Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.

    Sunday, October 04, 2009

    Lest we forget...

    While you were at the beach or the mall today....

    Eight U.S. Soldiers Dead in Bold Attack in Afghanistan
    KABUL, Afghanistan — Insurgents besieged two American outposts in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, American and Afghan officials said, killing eight Americans and two Afghan policemen in a bold daylight strike that was the deadliest for American soldiers in more than a year.

    for Charlene

    Good Morning Bill

    Attached is the link to the Dade-Broward-Monroe Counties Race for the Cure.

    I walked in it years ago..who would have thought?

    It is such a moving event.

    The look of joy and hope in each survivor's eyes is apparent every step of the walk.

    Thank you so much for your help.

    Whether it be by being a friend to Tim when he needed support throughout this crisis or by putting the pink ribbon on your blog, you really touched me.

    Just as an fyi...The Power of One has been and still is being sent to anyone who knows me with the hope that they can help in any small way.

    Thank you again, Bill. While I was recovering your blog really entertained and informed me.

    With Gratitude and Love,


    Race for the Cure
    2009 Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Komen Race for the Cure
    Saturday, October 17, 2009
    Bayfront Park, Miami Florida

    Saturday, October 03, 2009

    How to get your story on page one of The Herald

    Miami Herald staffers are still talking about the curious placement of a story on page 1A of the Sept. 29 issue of the Herald.

    A story that many newsroom staffers believe should have run in section B.

    The story - with the eye-catching headline "Miami plans events to celebrate Abraham Lincoln's birth bicentennial" - was a peculiar selection for a newspaper struggling to retain print readership.

    Random Pixels has learned how the story the story came to make it to page 1A.

    It just so happens that the chairman of Miami's Lincoln Bicentennial celebration is none other than David Lawrence Jr., former Miami Herald publisher.

    Lawrence resigned abruptly from the Herald in August 1998.

    My sources say that Lawrence made a trip to the Herald newsroom to personally lobby current publisher David Landsberg to get the story placed on page one.

    The sources used the word "pressured" and "relentless" to describe Lawrence's lobbying tactics.

    Lawrence finally won the coveted page one real estate for his story after meetings with Landsberg, metro editor Jay Ducassi and executive editor Anders Gyllenhaal.

    How to sell newspapers

    Like this:

    Or this:

    Not this: