Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I shot the photo (above) back in 1983 or '84 at the Coconut Grove Bed Race.

I didn't get the name of the woman who rode on the bed that day, but I'm sure that she still has nightmares more than 25 years later.

This weekend, the Coconut Grove Bed Race will once again take to the streets.

The race, which was first run sometime in the late 70's, was started by Grove merchants as a way to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy telethon.

Like the annual King Mango Strut Parade, the race has certain "inmates take over the asylum" atmosphere about it.

The race returned to the Grove last year after a hiatus of of 6 or 7 years.

In 1988 Miami Herald staff writer Frank Cerabino perfectly captured the flavor of the race that year.
The 10th Coconut Grove Bed Race rolled through town Sunday, turning Bayshore Drive into Dade County's hormonal epicenter for an afternoon and proving once again that charity can be fun and lunacy's trap door opens up to the Grove.

"A quick survey of the crowd yields: dogs in sunglasses, a sidewalk saxophone player tooting on his alto horn while wearing plastic gloves -- safe sax -- and a bare-chested man wearing the quintessential Grove outfit: black bicycle shorts, a beeper and a 13-foot Burmese python around his neck.
Big Fannie Annie, a 450-pound stripper who paraded in a bed pulled by her colleagues at Follies International, a nude dancing bar in Hialeah, was a real crowd-pleaser.

"She's big in Hialeah," explained club security guard Frank LaBrada.

Annie, in fact, is big everywhere.

Then there's the gang at Mario's Italian Restaurant in North Miami, entering their high-calorie racing machine, "the Pepperoni Wagon."

A person can get indigestion just looking at this machine. We're talking pepperoni pizza hubcaps, pepperoni sticks hanging from the bed rails, and a 31-inch pepperoni pizza riding as a centerpiece on their bed.

"We made it at 2 a.m.," said worker Rob Egert. "It's getting a little overdone now."

The sweltering afternoon not only cooked the pizza, it also melted the face off the sphinx ice sculpture the Hyatt Hotel had on its extravaganza -- Cleopatra Marches into the Grove.

Cleopatra, perched behind the melting sphinx, got a rope- pulled ride from 10 slaves and eight slavettes. The Hyatt bed took first prize in the parade competition.
"The parade is better than the race," said spectator Susan Casalotti, 28. "People throw stuff at you during the parade."

Casalotti and her friend Karen Stracener, 23, got thrown the following items: a "Don't Panic" button from Federal Express, a garter from Follies International, a visor from Panama Jack's, a balsa wood airplane from Aviation Sales, and a key chain from Cellular One telephone company.

The centerpiece for nearly all the beds was a healthy young woman in a skimpy bathing suit.
Cerabino capped off his story with this bit of sad news: "For the first time in the bed race's 10-year history, riders weren't permitted on the beds. Liability concern has finally taken its toll on the Coconut Grove Bed Race."

This year, however, riders are allowed back on the beds.

And perhaps that's because the race now has a sponsor.

This month the Miami Herald reported that "a group of medical professionals and personal-injury lawyers, known...as 1-800-411-PAIN," bought naming rights to the race.

Monday, August 30, 2010

West Palm Beach cops (and regular folks) seeing red over red-light tickets

The Palm Beach Post's PageTwoLive columnist Jose Lambiet reports that cops in the City of West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County are learning the hard way that red-light cameras in West Palm Beach don't discriminate. Or play favorites.

And neither does WPB Police Assistant Chief Dennis Crispo.
Tired of lawmen trying to weasel out of paying, Assistant Chief Dennis Crispo last week sent a preachy letter to all other area chiefs and Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw to lay down the law.

“Please advise your members if they are captured on camera in their vehicles running the red-light at these intersections, they will be cited,” the letter reads. “The only remedy for relief will be through the traffic court system. All law enforcement personnel must understand the high standard of conduct is applied to them in order for the public to have confidence in their departments and the officers.

“This trust is a critical and precious commodity . . . and yet it is fragile and easily lost.”

So, what sparked the move? I’m told higher-ups at the WPBPD have been fielding dozens of requests from law enforcement agencies everywhere to “take care” of their red-light citations.
Crispo is not the first police official to issue such a warning to his officers.

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Police Chief Greg Graham [told a local paper last June] "that the enforcement cameras had snapped photos of 26 Cedar Rapids police cars speeding or running red lights as of last week.

"No, these photos don’t immediately end up being tossed aside, the chief says."

But Chief Crispo's edict may not stifle the simmering outrage over, what many see, as the  growing intrusion of government into the daily lives of  its citizens.

In  South Florida, concerns are being raised over mechanically-issued traffic citations. Attorney Bret Lusskin writing in the Miami Herald calls red-light cameras, "the worst kind of government intrusion."
"These cameras represent the most egregious government intrusion into our lives of this generation. Since the dawn of civilization, government has claimed ``safety of the public'' as grounds for ever-increasing dominance. The notion of government surveillance cameras on every street corner is an Orwellian nightmare. Just about everyone who has received one of these loathsome tickets didn't deserve it. And with time, the abuses will only worsen."
It was Lusskin, who last February, fought and won against the City of Aventura's red-light cameras.

But last month, the Miami Herald's Kelly House wrote of one woman's rude awakening after being caught by red-light cameras:
[A] Sunny Isles Beach clothing salesman came home from work to find his pregnant wife sobbing, holding several tickets for failing to come to a complete stop at a camera-monitored red light in Aventura. After a $125 ticket in the mail the previous day, five more -- amounting to $1,875 more fines -- were dropped in the mailbox that afternoon.

All of them were for making only a rolling stop before a right turn at Aventura Boulevard and West Country Club Drive, nabbed by one of the red-light violation camera fast spreading throughout South Florida. And all were within a week long period.
Elsewhere, opposition to speeding and red-light cameras is showing up in extreme forms. The New York Times reported last year that "Doug Georgianni, 51, an employee of Redflex Traffic Systems, was shot [and killed] on April 19 as he operated a photo-enforcement van on a Phoenix highway." Just last week Georgianni's killer was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Hopefully the courts will rule against these cameras before that kind of thing happens here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Shaquille O'Neal did something in Boston yesterday

NBA carpetbagger and former Star Island resident Shaquille O'Neal did something in Boston yesterday, all while mumbling unintelligibly. The Boston Globe caught it all on on tape. A photographer also took some pictures of him riding in a car, goofing around with a cop, wrestling a little kid, hugging a girl and reading a book.

That is all.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Jungle Island's Tiger Encounter!

Wow, what a day it was Saturday!

The Miami Herald is reporting that a "Bengal tiger named Mahesh escaped his habitat and was on the loose at Jungle Island for a time Saturday, sending hundreds of frightened guests and staff scrambling for safety and then cowering for more than an hour at the Watson Island attraction."
For Miami mom Dorothy Evans, there with two small children for a birthday party, the first sign of trouble came when she spotted the Gibbon on the loose in the park.

Visitors and staff soon rushed past, shouting, with park workers herding the guests in a barn area, where they were under lockdown for 90 minutes.

``We were really scared. There were people crying,'' said Evans.

The scene got so chaotic at one point, Evans said, that park visitors were knocking each other down. One child scraped his face.
C'mon, why is this a big deal? Didn't anyone - including the Herald reporters - bother to read Jungle Island's website?

Click image to enlarge.

BREAKING NEWS! America's youth have a death wish!

America's youth have come up with a novel way to kill themselves!

The LeBron James ripple effect

Used to be, going to a ball game was a part of the American experience. An escape from reality with peanuts, Cracker Jack, $5 hot dogs and $8 beer...it doesn't get any more American than that.

Now, thanks to Steve Ross and some high-rollers, going to a game anywhere in South Florida will soon be like a visit to South Beach.

News item- From Jose Lambiet's Page 2 Live:
Two months before the Miami Heat and its all-star trio — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — take on the National Basketball Association, scalpers report ticket prices for Heat games home and away are burning up.

A Fort Lauderdale ticket broker tells Page2Live that some courtside seats for the Heat’s Oct. 29 home-opener against the Orlando Magic are selling for $7,500-a-piece!
News item- Miami Dolphins bringing nightclub experience to Sun Life Stadium:
Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross keeps stressing the need to enhance the fan experience at Dolphins home games at a Sun Life Stadium.

On Wednesday at LIV Nightclub in the Fountainebleau hotel on Miami Beach, the team unveiled the latest incarnation of boosting the fan experience: a 10,000-square foot, two-level South Beach-style club from which fans can watch Dolphins games.

Modeled after LIV and run by its operators, the exclusive area of Sun Life Stadium is to encompass a portion of the 200 and 300 levels in the west end zone overlooking the field and including an outside veranda with stadium and couch seating.
“We’re bringing the kind of entertainment and energy inherent in South Beach nightlife – but in a way where these fans can still enjoy the game,” Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said in a statement.
(LIV, coincidentally, is the same nightclub that figures into an NCAA investigation of sports agents paying for drinks and other favors for university football players in Miami over Memorial Day weekend.)

And what about the Marlins? Well, as we learned this week, it appears that the team has borrowed some bookkeeping tricks from South Beach nightclubs!

But, a Miami New Times reader named "Jimmy" isn't buying into all the hype. "My bannana hammock is all ready for the Jets game party atmosphere. Is it aqua or is it green? I can go both ways with it," he says.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A 'teenage loser' in the summer of '65

Jeff Klinkenberg, (right), in the 50's, and on a fast track to becoming a "teenage loser"

My friend Jeff Klinkenberg, who just happens to be Florida's best storyteller, demonstrates why he deserves that title with a great story in Sunday's St. Petersburg Times about teenage angst and misspent youth in Miami.
I was a teenage loser. In 1965, when I was 16, I was what the cool kids called a "fink." Being cool was beyond me. I had no car and no access to a car, which meant I was a fink who rode a bus — or even more damning in the hot-rod era — a bicycle. Girls liked dangerous boys who burned rubber, smoked Pall Malls and got in rumbles. I read Tarzan novels in my room and built Popsicle stick rafts under the bridge on Sixth Avenue. I liked to fish and catch snakes and study my pimples in the reflection of the water.
In 1965, Florida boys often had summer jobs. Rich kids parked cars at the fancy restaurants or toted golf clubs at the ritzy country clubs. I mowed lawns. On a good Saturday, I mowed half a dozen with our terrible, always-on-the-fritz Briggs & Stratton that stalled the instant it approached Mrs. Crespo's jungle of intimidating St. Augustine grass. Then I'd edge, rake and sweep for $1.50 a yard, hardly enough long green to pay for a roll or two at the bowling alley. Yes, finks liked to bowl, even if they bowled alone.
No Jeff, you were not a loser. All the "dangerous boys who burned rubber, smoked Pall Malls and got in rumbles" are in prison or dead.

Nevertheless, a great piece!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Late nite jazz classic

From the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival: The Duke Ellington orchestra's classic performance of "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue," with the famous 27-chorus saxophone solo by Paul Gonsalves.

People's Bar-B-Que or Jerry's Deli...which is worser?

Looks like President Obama made a bad choice in picking South Beach's Jerry's Deli last week when he suffered hunger pangs on his way back to MIA.

The Sun-Sentinel reports that state restaurant inspectors dropped in at Jerry's on Tuesday.
The restaurant where President Barack Obama ordered takeout pastrami sandwiches last week was cited Tuesday by a state inspector for critical violations of sanitation and safety laws.
On Aug. 24, a state inspector from the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation found 26 critical violations.

Jerry’s Famous Deli co-owner Jason Starkman said of the violations, “It’s the state’s job to find them. It’s our responsibility to clean it up and fix it. And that’s what we do. If they question something, I will throw it away. I don’t risk anything or take chances.”

The inspector halted the sale of cooked meat balls, found potentially hazardous raw and cooked foods kept at improper temperatures and noted bare-hand contact of bread by employees and improper hand washing, among other violations.

It’s not the first time Jerry’s Famous Deli has been cited by authorities.

Last May, an inspector found “potatoes contaminated by dirty water from a broken cooler;” and “precooked beef and chickens left outside from night before out of temperature and bad oder (sic);” among 19 critical violations at the restaurant. After that visit, a manager said the meat was discarded.
Jerry's joins Overtown's landmark People's Bar-B-Que on a list of South Florida eateries you don't want to be caught dead in!

Is it Nov. 2nd yet?

Don't know about you, but I'm up to here with election coverage already!

Nov. 2nd can't come soon enough.

But for a little comic relief, I'll be checking in to see who the Miami Herald's Marc Caputo is terrorizing interviewing with his handy-cam.

With all due respect to Ch. 10's Michael Putney, Caputo offers up some of the most refreshing video political coverage around. He does stuff with his camera that adds another dimension to traditional political reporting.

Somehow he gets people to open up when sticks his camera in their faces. And sometimes they get annoyed. I enjoy the latter.

Check out Caputo's recent interview with Hialeah voter Andres (Andy) Fernandez.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Miami New Times gets results!

The story sounded unbelievable; even in Miami where anything - no matter how ludicrous it sounds - is possible.

A couple of county jail guards order some take-out chicken from a popular Overtown restaurant - People's Bar-B-Que - only to discover to their horror that their poultry is populated with maggots!

Gus Garcia-Roberts at Miami New Times broke the story Monday.

But Garcia-Roberts hinted in his piece that he was a tad skeptical of the jail guards' claims. Ditto for his readers.

But in another unbelievable twist to this story, Garcia-Roberts reported Tuesday that State of Florida inspectors showed up at People's the same day his report appeared online and conducted a surprise inspection.

Inspectors found 20 critical violations and three non-critical violations.

Some of the critical violations observed by inspectors:
Observed rodent activity as evidenced by 100 plus FRESH rodent droppings found IN STORAGE AREA by kitchen (no physical separation between storage and kitchen)

Observed DEAD MOUSE in control devices (glue trap) in KITCHEN AREA

Observed 3 live flies in kitchen.
The state ordered People's closed temporarily the same day!

People's is a very popular Overtown eatery.

It's made Miami New Times Best of Miami list five times since 1999, including Best Soul Food Restaurant in 2009.

But New Times isn't the only Miami media outlet to have gushed over People's.

Just last month, the Miami Herald's Anna Quintana said of People's: "If you're in Overtown and need a barbecue fix, there's one place you can't go wrong: People's Bar-B-Que, a Miami institution."

Quintana continued lovingly:
The smoky scent of Southern cooking greets you before you even step through the door of People's Bar-B-Que in Overtown.

Inside, people are lined up at the counter waiting for their orders, and tables are full of customers already enjoying their meals.

Known for its homemade mustard-based barbecue sauce and ribs, People's Bar-B-Que has been serving Miami since 1962.

"I can count the number of cooks that we've had with one hand," said Carl Lewis, whose father opened the restaurant. "It's the consistency that makes our food great."

That consistency is also what keeps customers coming back for more.

Dolores Richardson has been coming to People's since it was a barbecue stand in the early 1960s.

"I order everything and anything," said Richardson. "Their barbecue is special."
And now, thanks to Garcia-Roberts, we all know just how "special" the bar-b-que is at People's really is.

Stuff we like

Here's your feel good video of the day.

Video by AP photographer Lynne Sladky

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jeff Greene throws a victory party: Drinks are $8 and Mike Tyson is a no show!

This might be my last post ever on Jeff Greene.

Greene lost tonight to Kendrick Meek in Florida's Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate. Meek pummeled Greene despite the fact that Greene spent four times as much as Meek: $22.89-million of his own money as of Aug. 13.

I can't remember the last time someone as odious as Jeff Greene - and who called themselves a Democrat - ran for office in Florida.

I mean, this guy gave me the willies. Maybe that's because even though he called himself a Democrat, deep down he was really a Republican.

Here's a transcript from Chris Matthews' "Hardball" show yesterday on MSNBC.
Two months ago on this show, Democratic Florida Senate candidate, Jeff Greene, said he could not remember whether he voted for Ronald Reagan for president or not. Well, yesterday on NBC, Norah O‘Donnell once again pressed the converted Democrat on his voting record. Guess he still can‘t remember.


NORAH O‘DONNELL, NBC NEWS: Did you run for Congress as a Republican in California?

JEFF GREENE (D), FLORIDA SENATE CANDIDATE: Yes, 28 years ago, in 1982, in my 20s. I made a mistake. I admit it. I‘ve been really supporting Democrats, voting for Democrats the last 27 years.

O‘DONNELL: And who did you vote for in 1980?

GREENE: I don‘t remember that, who I voted for. We‘ve had that discussion before. I can‘t remember. I can tell you that it was—

O‘DONNELL: Ronald Reagan?

GREENE: I can‘t remember who I voted for. I don‘t remember who I voted in 1980. I can tell you that I was—

O‘DONNELL: But who did you vote for in ‘84?

GREENE: ‘84, look, it was, look—


GREENE: I can tell you this, I supported—I remember supporting President Clinton.


MATTHEWS: Wow. I don‘t know anybody who doesn‘t know whether they voted for Reagan or not, Ronald Reagan. The people who don‘t remember must have forgotten a good part of modern American history. This guy is hiding something. I think he‘s hiding the fact he‘s a Republican.
Anyway, Jeffy threw a victory party tonight at a "run-of-the-mill Marriott in West Palm Beach over The Breakers, the iconic Palm Beach oceanfront resort where Greene worked as a bus boy." About 15 people showed up.
The St. Petersburg Times called the affair, "austere." This from a guy who knows how to throw a party!
And for a man who according to required financial disclosure forms could have assets topping more than $2 billion, Greene didn't even spring for free drinks. Wine and cocktails, after the first drink, cost $8.

No Mike Tyson, either, who served as Greene's best man. And, for the record, no deckhands spotted from Greene's 145-yacht the Summerwind.
So, as Jeffy rides off into the sunset, he'll have plenty of time to ponder whether or not he snatched defeat from the jaws of vistory simply because he didn't spend enough money. Because while money can't buy you love and spending close to $25 million won't buy you an election; it appears that $50 million will get the job done nicely!

Stuff we like

The iPhone goes to war

From the Denver Post's photo blog: "Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder not only documents the war in Afghanistan with traditional digital cameras, he also used an iPhone camera, carried in his flak jacket pocket, coupled with a Polaroid film filter application to photograph the daily lives of Marines, Afghan soldiers and fellow journalists during the military offensive in Marjah, Afghanistan."

Click here to see the images.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Government out of control

Apparently the city of Philadelphia has run out of ways to squeeze its citizens.

In a push to raise more money - probably to pay the salaries and pensions for the losers at the Philadelphia Parking Authority - the city has slapped a tax on bloggers.

That's right, bloggers!
After dutifully reporting even the smallest profits on their tax filings this year, a number — though no one knows exactly what that number is — of Philadelphia bloggers were dispatched letters informing them that they owe $300 for a privilege license, plus taxes on any profits they made.
One blogger, Sean Barry, has made $11 in two years with his blog, Circle of Fits. Doesn't matter; the city still wants $300 from him!

Wonder how long before the geniuses at Miami-Dade County Hall try something like this here? Ahhh, that's probably not going to happen.

They're too busy with other stuff. Right? And besides, they wouldn't eff with me; I've always been Mayor Carlos Alvarez's number one fan!

The way we were

Two views of the Rickenbacker Causeway in 1969 via the LIFE Magazine photo archives hosted by Google

The Rickenbacker, back in the day, was a dangerous place for fishermen, drivers and bicyclists.

And in the years since, not much has changed.

Random Pixels Quote of the Day

via Miami New Times

"There were maggots coming out of the meat, out of the bone. The whole piece of chicken was writhing. I think what might have happened was heating up the chicken activated the maggots. I yelled, 'Lord have mercy, Fred -- we done ate half of this damn food already!' " -Miami-Dade Corrections Sgt. Rosanna Perry, after eating take-out chicken from People's Barbecue

Now that's definitely some funky chicken!

Friday, August 20, 2010

The bears among us

Jeff Klinkenberg of the St. Petersburg Times has written an absolutely wonderful story about Florida's bears.

The bears - there are about 3,000 in Florida - are in trouble.
"Garbage kills bears," Mike Orlando says. He manages bears in the northeast part of the state for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. More and more he manages people who live near bears. In his territory, which stretches from Orlando to the Osceola National Forest near Jacksonville, bears often share the suburbs with raccoons. Except that raccoons never weigh 600 pounds.
About 11,000 bears roamed Florida when the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century. In 1973, the year Mike Orlando was born, the state was down to about 300 bears. Florida finally listed bears as "threatened" about four decades ago and seriously began protecting their habitat. It also slowed down the carnage on roads and banned bear hunting. The population rebounded. Now 3,000 bears try to survive from the Everglades to the Florida Panhandle. Mike Orlando's jurisdiction is home to about a third.

Read the rest of the story here.


Today, as I approach a milestone here at Random Pixels - my 1,000th post - I'm introducing a new feature called, "Faces."

From time to time, I'll retrieve a photograph from my archives and write a little blurb about the subject.

I'm kicking off the feature with a photograph I shot in the early 90's of Miami criminal defense attorney Richard A. Sharpstein outside federal court in Miami.

Sharpstein, a former Assistant Dade State Attorney, has been in practicing law in Miami for more than 30 years.

His firm's website says that "he has tried hundreds of cases across the spectrum of criminal defense, civil fraud and civil rights litigation in high profile and complex cases representing corporate executives, politicians, international bankers, police officers, and other public figures."

And reporters covering Sharpstein's cases know they can count on him for highly printable quotes and sound bites.

In 1990 when he was representing a client involved in the case of former Panamanian strongman, Manuel Noriega, the Miami Herald said this of Sharpstein, "a big fan of metaphors and twisted cliches, he approached Noriega at his bond hearing and, after a few jokes, asked him for help in answering a few questions about the case. Noriega agreed. Sharpstein openly relishes his involvement in the case, which he calls the Starship Noriega."

What follows, are some of Sharpstein's more colorful metaphors and twisted cliches.
Sharpstein represented embattled Dade County commissioner Joe Gersten in the early 90's. When Gersten was spotted signing autographs at a bar, Sharpstein told the Herald: "He's out on the campaign trail. He's been signing a lot of autographs lately and, like Elvis, he's been spotted in a lot of places."

In the mid-80's, Sharpstein represented one of eight Miami cops who were implicated in the beating death of career criminal Leonardo Mercado.

At trial, Sharpstein had this to say of Mercado: "Leonardo Mercado was a cockroach who bred a new generation of baby cockroaches."

Sharpstein called Mercado's stepsons - whose last names were Soto, and who admitted to selling dope and lying on the stand - "Teenage Mutant Ninja Sotos."

In the early 90's, Sharpstein represented one of four executives of home builder GDC, who were accused of conspiring to cheat thousands of home buyers during the 1980's. Prosecutors said the four broke the law when they brought buyers to Florida on trips to see homes -- but the trips, the prosecution said, prevented buyers from learning about the local real estate market.

Sharpstein scoffed at the charges.

"If you're going to charge these men with a crime, you might as well indict Vanna White for hiding vowels."

In the mid-80's Sharpstein represented a top manager with the City of Miami, who along with dozens of others, was accused of buying stolen clothes from Emeterio Marino Pijeira, a man who kept his small Miami duplex filled to the rafters with racks of suits, dresses, ties, belts and shoes. The Herald reported that Pijera "didn't accept credit cards and charged no sales tax."

Said Sharpstein of the charges, "It's not the crime of the century. Wasn't it Woody Allen who said that in his family it was a crime to buy retail?"

And in 2000, Sharpstein represented a Miami cop accused with three other officers of taking part in the cover-up of the 1997 shooting of a homeless man.

One former cop, Rolando Jacobo, agreed to testify against his fellow officers. Sharpstein told reporters how the prosecution convinced Jacobo to cooperate: "They put his feet to the fire, they seasoned him, they basted him, put him on the spit and turned up the fire to see if he'd flip over. Then they told him: `We have your goose cooked.' ''

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jeff Greene has a 'beef' with Kendrick Meek

Yesterday President Obama made a stop in Miami Beach as a part of his five state political trip designed to show support and raise money for Democratic candidates.

On his way out of town, Obama and Senate candidate Kendrick Meek stopped at Jerry's Deli on Collins Ave.

The Miami Herald reported that Obama "ordered a corned beef on rye with mustard and a corned beef on rye with mayo."

Well, that's not entirely true. Last night WSVN had video from inside the deli. The tape showed Obama ordering and then asking Meek what he wanted. Meek also orders corned beef and then adds, "but make it with mayo."

Mayo and corned beef??

Well, it didn't take Meek's opponent, Jeff Greene, very long to seize upon that gaffe!

Look at this attack ad that's set to hit the airwaves today!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On the tarmac at MIA

A nice shot from a source at MIA today of Air Force One just before President Obama departed.

UPDATED:  President Obama made an unannounced stop at Jerry's Deli before leaving Miami Beach. POTUS apparently experienced first-hand some of the non-service that South Beach is famous for worldwide.
The Miami Herald's Beth Reinhard quotes Politico's Carol E. Lee: POTUS ordered a corned beef on rye with mustard and [Kendrick Meek ordered] a corned beef on rye with mayo. Both were to go.

POTUS went to pay but there was no clerk there to take his money. POTUS and Meek were both in shirtsleeves and ties.
Corned beef with mayo?? Yuck!!

Your Random Pixels Only in South Florida Moment of the Day

Local 10's Jeff Weinsier serves up today's Only in South Florida Moment of the Day!

Watch the raw video of Jeff's confrontation with the owner of a Haitian restaurant! Priceless!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bill McCollum beats up on Rick Scott!

via the St. Peteersburg Times "The Buzz" political blog:
Another moment in the Republican governor's race, another ad. This one's from Bill McCollum's election committee, Florida First. It's pretty devastating, ending with footage of Scott running away from news cameras and a Tea Party guy shouting about a deposition. Then there's the click of handcuffs that form the 'C' and 'O' in Scott's name.
I love it when Republicans beat up on each other!

Jeff Greene for Senator...are you freaking serious?????

The Broward/Palm Beach New Times blog, The Juice, has an interesting post today by Sharyn Peach, who worked on the yacht owned by Jeff Greene, U.S. Senate candidate.
Working for Jeff Greene on the Summerwind was an experience I was hoping to forget. I almost did, until about two months ago. I was sitting on my couch in Fort Lauderdale, watching TV, not particularly paying attention to the commercials. Then I heard it. A voice I haven't heard in four years. It made me cringe. I looked up and started yelling, "Oh my God! Oh my God!" It was Jeff Greene, running for U.S. Senate. Are you freaking serious????? Do people really not know about him and his past behavior? I still cringe when his commercial comes on.
More here along with some NSFW pics!

Stuff we like

Jack Whinery, homesteader, and his family. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Images, by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations. The photographs are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color.

There are 70 of the images here on the Denver Post's photo blog.

There's also a book available.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley died 33 years ago today in Memphis.

The faithful are turning out in his hometown to remember him.

Here's one of my Elvis favorites from his early years.

It's his 1954 cover of  "Good Rockin' Tonight"

I can never listen to it without also thinking of Wynonie Harris, who first recorded "Good Rockin'" (video below) some 6 or 7 years earlier.

RIP Elvis and Wynonie.

And in case you missed it, here's my story of Presley's visit to Miami in August 1956, 21 years before his death.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The way we were

Seems like yesterday....

from the Miami News, July 13, 1981

Just 29 short years ago you could actually make phone calls from your car!

And for the low, low price of only $3780!

And a few years later, in 1984, Motorola freed you from the car!

For only $3995, a lucky few were able to impress their friends with this stylish piece of technology!

From the Random Pixels Presidential Style File

Looking at the above photograph of President Obama swimming near Panama City yesterday got me thinking.

OK, so he was a little shy about being photographed by the press.

Only a White House photographer was on hand to document the presidential plunge....which I'm sure Fox News will explore in depth this week. Just like they did when he wore "fancy pants and a fancy shirt" during a trip to the Gulf in April.

But I think the photograph highlighted the differences between Republicans and Democrats.

How's that? you ask.

Well, look below.

This is what Republicans wear when they go to the beach!

And this is how they dress when they go boating.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Abbey Lincoln - 1930 - 2010

From the NY Times:
Abbey Lincoln, a singer whose dramatic vocal command and tersely poetic songs made her a singular figure in jazz, died on Saturday in Manhattan

N.Y. Times struggles with geography

Ninety years ago, Miami Beach developer Carl Fisher had a problem. He lamented the fact that Northern newspaper editors "made no distinction between Miami and Miami Beach, three miles from the mainland." He hired a man named Steve Hannagan to let the world know that Miami and Miami Beach were two separate places.

But, almost a century later, there's still work to be done.

Even LebRon James has no idea where the Miami is. He thinks the Miami Heat play on South Beach!

And consider this headline today on a blog post by Phil Patton on nytimes.com about the new parking garage at 1111 Lincoln Road.

Makes about as much sense as if they had written, "In Brooklyn a New Parking Garage Adds Glamour to Lower Manhattan."

LeBron can be forgiven. The New York Times should know better.

Note to Phil Patton: Come to Miami and take the tour!

Stuff we like

Homeless guy panhandling outside a restaurant in NYC the other day asks a woman for spare change. She doesn't have any. Instead she lends the guy her American Express card. It really happened and it's your Random Pixels Feel Good Story of the Day!

From the NY Post:
A Manhattan homeless man had an emotional reunion yesterday with the kindhearted ad executive who lent him her American Express Platinum Card outside a SoHo restaurant, in what became a shining act of generosity, trust and honesty.

"I didn't have to thank him. I trusted him all along," said Merrie Harris, 45, as she hugged Jay Valentine, 32, outside La Esquina on Kenmare Street.

Harris lent her card to Valentine there Monday after he asked her for change. Most people who witnessed the act of extreme generosity doubted he would ever come back. But a short time later, he returned with the card, stunning many and earning Valentine the title of Most Honest Homeless Man in the City.
So, if you're thinking of trying this yourself the next time you get hit up for some spare change, the cynics at New York Magazine have some advice: Don't!
No matter how many hero stories the tabloids will tell you, here are some immutable truths of New York: Giving credit cards to strangers is a bad idea. Standing up to muggers with guns may be brave, but it will also very likely get you killed. Leaping onto the subway tracks and lying down on top of somebody only works in the minority of cases. (Best to get everyone off the tracks.) And dating Alex Rodriguez might seem like it will make everyone love you, but at the end of the day a bunch of asshole Red Sox fans are just going to end up wearing a mask of your face behind home plate.

Taking one for the team is always appreciated, people, but come on, don't be stupid.

Friday, August 13, 2010

It's Friday....

....so time to grab a beer and hit the chute!

And who couldn't use a beer right now?

Especially those of you who just can't seem to get what you want!!

But all this will change once the new stadium is built!

Florida Marlins Delay Game Until Their Fan Shows Up
MIAMI—The Florida Marlins delayed the start of their game against the St. Louis Cardinals last Sunday when Steve, their fan, failed to show up at Sun Life Stadium by the scheduled 1 p.m. start time.

"That's strange," Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said while squinting up at their sole fan's unoccupied bleacher seat. "It's not like him to be late, especially on a Sunday. And this is his last chance to see us before we go on the road for 10 days."

"Well, we can't really start without him," added Rodriguez, who had earlier called Steve's cell phone and house, but received no answer. "How would that look?"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Are you sick of Steven Slater yet?

Bitchy flight attendant Steven Slater's countdown clock has started running. By my count he has 14 minutes of fame remaining. But stories are now surfacing that he may have instigated the entire matter with his attitude.

And the national conversation has started. Is he a hero or just unprofessional?

Monica Hesse of the Washington Post suggests that Slater's meltdown was a inevitable. Serving passengers is, essentially, a "crummy job".
Passengers can all be divided into four types," says [a] no-nonsense attendant who has whittled the chaos of airline travel into logical precision. The four types are:

A: All About Me

B: Business

C: Casual

D: Deer in Headlights

A and D are the ones you have to look out for," the woman says. A's are obvious -- they're the ones who are demanding bottled water and a free snack box before the wheels go up. But never underestimate a D. Your typical D passenger, the spacey novice, is the one who is going to open the overhead bin and gently spread his overcoat down the length of the whole compartment. The D will not hear the sighs of annoyance from the other passengers, because the D will have already unwrapped his smelly sandwich and plugged his headphones into your seat's jack.

Incorrect, Passenger D. That move is incorrect.
So, how long before Slater signs a deal for a reality show or a beer commercial? And what should he do before his 15 minutes run out. Gawker.com readers weigh-in with some suggestions.

I've seen some stories that suggest that being a "stewardess" was once a glamorous job.


I guess the people writing those stories forget that back in the day, flight attendants battled their weight instead of passengers. And if they lost the battle, they lost their job. And a flight attendant could also be fired for getting married! Married flight attendants were likely to pay more attention to their husbands than to the company, airline execs reasoned.

Steven Slater isn't the first flight attendant to have had a bad day.

The profession has always had to deal with unruly passengers.

Consider this story from the Miami News on Aug. 4, 1954.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Lost Gulf

Rick Bragg, professor of writing at the University of Alabama, has written an absolutely beautiful essay on the Gulf oil disaster's impact on him and others in the Gulf.
Everybody feels something when they look at it, unless they are hollow. Standing in that sand, looking into that blue-green, liquid forever, I felt relieved. It was forty years ago this summer. I was going on twelve, a boy from the red dirt, what people call the Alabama highlands. My leather work boots, my future, lay under my bed in Calhoun County, three hundred miles away. I didn’t need shoes here. I felt the sand pulled from beneath my toes, felt clean water rush around legs as pale as bone, because a serious man, a working man, did not strut around in short pants. My bathing suit was a pair of cutoff jeans, and when I turned the pockets out I found a handful of sand, white as a wedding dress, pure as salt. For some reason, a reason my grown-up mind cannot see, I laughed out loud. ¶ What I do recall, more than the lovely dunes and raucous seabirds and tiny fish that rode the waves straight into my cupped hands, was a feeling that I stood at the edge of something, not a place to fall off but to float away. The Gulf of Mexico, so vast, was just the beginning of a big world that did not end at the terminus of a dirt road, or a mill gate, or a bald hill stripped clean of pulpwood. From here, why, a fellow could go almost anywhere. ¶ And my momma thought she was just taking me to Pensacola.
My whole life has been bathed in these waters. I lived through a thousand undertows, ten thousand hush puppies, two honeymoons, five hurricanes, a never-ending sunburn, untold jellyfish stings, a dozen excellent drunks, two Coast Guard interventions, a hammerhead as long as a Boston Whaler, and one unfortunate misunderstanding in the Breaker’s Lounge. Here I saw the most beautiful mermaids God ever constructed, the ugliest oyster I ever ate, and a hermit crab with a Rebel flag painted on its back. As a child I moved ten tons of sand, one plastic bucket at a time, and as a grown man I waited two hours outside Captain Anderson’s in Panama City for a piece of grouper and some French fried potatoes.

The most dangerous man in Tallahassee!

No, it's not a politician...it's the Miami Herald's Marc Caputo and his video camera!

Listen as he grills gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott yesterday about a video deposition he gave in a lawsuit over his healthcare company.

It's Caputo who once caught Mayor Carlos Alvarez's former chief of staff Denis Morales being a little too forthcoming about his inflated salary.

Below is another Caputo video that shows Bill McCollum as he gives two different answers to the same question about immigration.

See more of Caputo's video work here at the Miami Herald's Political Currents page.

Of "death machines" and "streets of terror"

My photograph of Milt Sosin, June, 1990. 
Photographed for the St. Petersburg Times.

"Milton was the most abrasive, annoying, persistent reporter I ever saw." -John Keasler, Miami News columnist

"[Milt] Sosin was so aggressive that he was arrested, more than once, for interfering with police investigations. He was physically attacked by mobsters, who objected to his take-no-prisoners coverage of organized crime. He intimidated public officials, lawyers, timid editors and anybody else who got in his way." -St. Petersburg Times reporter Jeff Klinkenberg writing about Sosin, July 15, 1990

"I never considered reporting as work. That's the truth. I never worked a day in my life." -Milt Sosin as quoted by Jeff Klinkenberg

Milt Sosin was the greatest newspaper reporter you probably never heard of.

Hired by the Miami News during WWII, he worked for the paper for 32 years.

In 1976 he retired. A day later he took a part time job with the Associated Press as a "stringer" at the federal courthouse in Miami and worked there for another quarter century.

Today, his name is virtually unknown to a generation of young news reporters.

But older newsmen still smile at the mention of his name.

The Miami Herald's John Dorschner described Sosin this way for a 1992 Tropic Magazine story: "[Sosin is] a super-competitive, cantankerous, feisty, abrasive, editor-hating, ambulance-chasing, go-get-'em tough guy from an era when newspapermen still unashamedly used the word scoop, when there were bulldog editions and legmen and shouts of "Stop the presses!"

Milt Sosin spends a day as a panhandler
Nov. 1958.

In his more than 50 years as reporter, Sosin covered a lot of stories. Big stories.

"I know he wasn't at Pearl Harbor. And I know he wasn't at the birth of Christ. But he was everywhere else,'' former Miami News editor Howard Kleinberg told Jeff Klinkenberg of the St. Petersburg Times in 1990.

When gangster Al Capone was taking his last breaths of life at his Palm Island mansion in 1947, Sosin was waiting outside.

He was in Havana in 1959 when Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista regime. In a Jan. 3, 1959 Miami News story, Sosin described Havana as "a city of stark danger by day and sheer terror by night."

Milt Sosin has his papers checked 
by a policeman in Havana

And Sosin was in the basement of the Dallas police department in Nov. 1963, just feet away and close enough to smell the gunpowder, when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald.

In 1978, Sosin somehow managed to snag an interview with publicity-shy mobster Meyer Lansky.

Sosin also covered the early days of America's space program and countless hurricanes.

But he wasn't without his faults.

Sometimes the title of "star reporter" went to his head.

When, in the 1950's, editors at the Miami News decided stories needed shorter, punchier sentences, Sosin rebelled.

According to the Herald's Dorschner, he posted a note on the newsroom bulletin board: "Quit. That's what reporter Milt Sosin did today."

But sometimes his bosses made allowances just to keep him happy.

When Miami News editor Howard Kleinberg learned that Sosin kept a bottle of rum in his desk, he told him booze wasn't allowed in the newsroom.

Jeff Klinkenberg of the St.Petersburg Times relates what happened next: "I called him on it,'' Kleinberg says. "Sosin explained that when he covered a fire, his feet sometimes got wet, and that a shot of rum kept him from catching his death of cold. I allowed him to have his rum. Who was I to tamper with tradition?''

Another Sosin legend is that for many years he was known to pack a pistol.

A retired A.P. editor told me: "[Milt] told me that once, gun in hand, he kicked in the door of a Miami Beach walkup, looking for some guy this local syndicate had supposedly hired to do Milt in. Milt, being Milt, had a free-lance photographer with him on his “raid.” It didn’t pan out."

Sosin covered the news in an era before cell phones and laptop computers.

In the 50's, 60's and 70's, reporters' lifelines were as close as the the nearest pay phone.

A guilty verdict at a big trial would send reporters scrambling for courthouse pay phones.

Legend has it that Sosin always kept a pocketful of "Out of Order" stickers which he slapped on courthouse hallway pay phones just before a big verdict was about to come in.

Milt Sosin phones in a hurricane story in 
Jacksonville in the early 1960's

But sometimes pay phones weren't always available.

In Jan. 1960, when 9 people were killed in a car crash 55 miles north of Miami on U.S. 27 in Palm Beach County, the News dispatched Sosin and a photographer by helicopter to the crash scene.

The photographer shipped his film back to the paper by helicopter. But Sosin, stuck on the scene, employed some of the enterprise that he's now famous for to get his words back to the paper.

The crash story also contained some of Sosin's famed prose...the kind of writing that's all but disappeared from today's newspapers. Sosin described one of the cars involved in the crash as a "hurtling death machine."

I remember reading Sosin's stories in the Miami News in the late 50's and early 60's. Twenty years later - in the mid-80's - I ended up working with him when I covered stories at the federal courthouse for A.P.

I had never met anyone like him before that time....or since. He was one of kind.

Sosin died ten years ago this month at the age of 92. But, his legend lives on.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Take this job and shove it!

A Jet Blue flight attendant on Monday quit his job on the spot while his plane was on the tarmac at Kennedy International Airport. It's a safe bet that the way he chose to quit isn't covered in any human resources manual currently in print.

From the New York Times:
On Monday, on the tarmac at Kennedy International Airport, a JetBlue attendant named Steven Slater (above left in a happier mood), decided he had had enough, the authorities said.

After a dispute with a passenger who stood to fetch his luggage too soon on a full flight just in from Pittsburgh, Mr. Slater, 38 and a career flight attendant, got on the public-address intercom and let loose a string of invective.

Then, the authorities said, he pulled the lever that activates the emergency-evacuation chute and slid down, making a dramatic exit not only from the plane but, one imagines, also from his airline career.

On his way out the door, he paused to grab a beer from the beverage cart. Then he ran to the employee parking lot and drove off, the authorities said.
The New York Daily News has a great shot of the guy being arrested and adds some extra detail in prose tailor-made for its blue-collar readership:
The plane had just landed, but he was ready to take off.

A JetBlue flight attendant blew his top, grabbed a beer and bolted out an emergency slide at Kennedy Airport on Monday - then headed home to have sex with his boyfriend.

After he was bonked in the head by a bag, Steven Slater stunned passengers by spewing profanity and ranting about quitting as the flight from Pittsburgh pulled up to the gate around noon.

"To the fucking asshole who told me to fuck off, it's been a good 28 years," Slater, 38, purred, cops said.

"I've had it. That's it," he added, according to a passenger on board.

The mad-as-hell steward grabbed a couple of brewskis and popped one open before activating the emergency exit, witnesses told airport employees.

After tossing his two carry-on bags on the slide, he followed them to the tarmac.
And so it goes.....