Thursday, May 31, 2007

Who's Yer Dada: Art Meets Comedy June 9th Miami

The Dadaists have always intrigued us. As a reaction to the horrors of World War I, it was an "anti-art" movement, a precursor of the rise of modern man, the incubator of the original "button pushers."

Miamian Austin Horton is reaching back to the Dadaists for what he describes as a "post apocalyptic absurdists costumed art party." Call it what you want, it sounds like a whole lot of fun to us. Following is his press release:

"Who's Yer Dada: Art Meets Comedy Presents: DD III 'Meet Your Maker'."

DATE: Sat. June 9th 7:30pm-12:30am
WHERE: Miami’s Design District, 139 NE 39th St.

Were you just thinking to yourself, damn, You know what Miami needs, a really cool event with art, costumes, comedy, music, a parade of costumed freaks, performance art and drinks? Well luckily Austin Horton was in your head and has just the prescription you need, how terribly ironic.The third edition of the Who’s yer Dada: art meets comedy. DD III, “meet your maker” is focused on the theme of the end of the world, human mortality and people who genuinely just want to meet their own fathers. It will kick off with a Dadaist art parade through the design district, winding back up at the site. Artists in DDIII are the most diverse group of Dada participants yet. They include Robert Chambers, Tao Rey, Bahkti Baxter, Lam Vuong, Austin Horton, Gustavo Oviedo, Oliver Sanchez, Ricky Jimenez, Skreeto, and more T.B.A. We will also have an extensive art object store with unique affordable items from the artists as well. The music for the evening will begin at 7:30 with sets from Jesse Jackson, King Bee, Pots and Pans. Arranged to be a progression from organic to electronic, the music will build throughout the course of the evening and explode with a very special set from Animals of the Arctic. Guests are encouraged to come early to get the full effect. Between musical sets, live comedy from Austin Horton promises to be as diverse as the event itself. Other guest comics TBA. Not that we have to rely on gimmicks but if that’s not enough to bring you out, perhaps the bevy of fire breathing circus freaks will (not kidding about that one). People wishing to take part in the pre-show design district art parade are urged to be at the space ready to go by 6:45pm. Other guests are encouraged to attend in their own interpretations of neo-dada, post apocalyptic carnival costume but it is not mandatory. Event contact: Austin Horton 646 257 0823

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Monocle Man On Cubans, Venezuelans, Signs, Single Women I Know, and Shaking Hands

WARNING: First off, anyone wearing a monocle today should be viewed with suspicion. This gentleman, who wishes to remain anonymous as is a blogger's wont, is not the kind of guy you'd invite to a party. If his 1,000 yard stare doesn't quickly put your shindig into an irreversible slide toward downersville, his jaded, dyspeptic personality soon will. So, dear reader, read his words with caution and a mojito, MVB's drink of choice, in hand.
  • I find it amusing that the thing that finally pushed the Venezuelans over the edge is when Chavez took away their TV. He's been whittling away at their freedoms, democracy and capitalism for a long time, but until he took away their TV, they basically took it. Now they're marching in the streets. I wonder if they'll cave like Cubans or resist. Only time will tell if they are worthy of living in freedom or if Miami will become another dumping ground for a flotilla and a flytilla of wussy refugees. If the latter happens, it could get pretty crowded on Calle Ocho when both groups start marching at the same time, flaunting their righteous indignation for losing their countries while waving their flags-- none of which resemble the stars and stripes.

  • Most of the single women I know are in their mid-thirties-to-early forties. Most of them have adorable accents. One is from Argentina. One is from Brazil. One is from the UK. Two of them are single moms. All of them are hard-working and full of life. They're great contributors to this great country and make living in Miami so special. I love them all. Too bad we make them jump through hoops and break the law to live here. My father was an immigrant, but I don't think he had to go through all of what these worthy women must.

  • I'm at an age now that I am constantly looking for signs, something that will tell me that I'm making the right decision, that the woman I'm with is the woman I've always been looking for, that the future will be much better than today. Yesterday, and I'm not making this up, I saw a Buddhist priest walk by my window. I, of course, immediately took this as a sign, that something good might be coming down the pike towards me. He was walking down the street in flowing robes and black socks and shoes. He was smiling. He even looked up towards my window. For some reason I ducked.

  • If you ever see me coming, don't shake my hand. It has killed many people. Eric Fleming was my first victim. He was the trail boss on "Raw Hide" with Clint Eastwood back in the mid sixties. I must have been around twelve years old. My dad took me to the Orange Bowl for a rodeo. Fleming was there signing autographs. Years later he quit the show and went to Peru to make a movie and died trying, drowning in a river. I lost the autograph, but not the guilt. Years passed. I found myself working as the Florida Field rep for publicity and promotion for some major Hollywood studios. Jim Henson came to Florida to promote a movie. I shook his hand. He died way too soon. John Candy was up next. Ditto. Although some celebrities have survived, their careers have died. Steven Seagal is the most famous but I have ended the careers of writers, directors, producers, and actors. Except for RenĂ©e Zellweger's. She came in to promote "Empire Records". As an unknown, I could hardly get anyone to interview her. I had to stage an autograph signing stunt at a record store in Coconut Grove to get the media interested. I got TV and print coverage, but I had to drag people off the street to line up for autographs. She of course went on to bigger and better things like winning an Oscar for her role in "Cold Mountain." Looking back, I'm not sure if I ever shook her hand.
  • Elita Loresca.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Architecture God Has Spoken: How Dare You Usurp my Domain!

I see a God can't even get out of town on Memorial Day for a little RR without the MVB staff usurping its territory. Your previous post on the proposed 70-story building for downtown Miami was a pretty accurate description of the building but you caved with that silly "Tip o' The Kangol" BS. Now let me tell it like it is: One Bayfront Plaza is not worthy. In fact it suffers from MPD-- Multiple Personality Disorder. It's a building that can't make up its mind what it is. It looks like it was designed by a committee. And just because it's tall doesn't make it worthy. You're too easy, desperate for any building longer than my index finger. How pathetic.

UpDate (8/15/08): Miami Today reports 60 core borings 185-feet in depth show the land is "strong enough to withstand its 1,049-foot height." The next step is to present the 8,300-page construction plans to the City of Miami's planning department for review and approval. The city has warned Hollo that the review process may take two years. Building is expected to take 3-4 years with completion by 2016. Mr. Hollo is quoted as saying he wants "to leave it (the building) as a legacy to the city."

Saturday, May 26, 2007

70-Story Skyscraper Planned for Downtown Miami

Tibor Hollo has always commanded our respect. He is a true visionary. But calling the 70-story mixed-use tower he plans to build at 100 S. Biscayne Blvd a "signature building" would only be true if your handwriting was, at best, lacking style and grace and, at its worst, if it were completely illegible. Twisting spires are popping up all over the world, most showing much more finesse than this design. Still, his attempt to build a tall building downtown and have it opened by 2011 is worth a doff of our backward wearing Kangols.


Tibor Hollo

Let's just hope he won't compromise the height for One Bayfront Plaza to please the visionless bureaucrats taking up space at the Miami-Dade Aviation Department. According to a Miami Today article, the projected height of 1,049 feet (with 13 foot floor-to-ceiling heights-- the highest for any building downtown) surpasses the allowed height by 100 feet. In June or July an ordinance comes before the county commission that would allow buildings to be as tall as... 1,000 feet.

Whoop-tee-do. In our opinion, there shouldn't be any height restrictions on any downtown buildings.

In the old days, when Hollo first came to Miami and started building it up, he was a pioneer and gutsy brawler who never had a problem taking on any governmental fool who dared question his buildings. Now, it seems he's way too ready to compromise. As an example, Miami Today shows him acquiescing on more than a number of issues regarding his "bad handwriting building." Aside from parking concessions which Hollo and we don't have a problem with (planners want him to take advantage of a standing offer to all developers to shave off 10% of their proposed parking if their buildings are within 600 feet of a MetroMover station to encourage people not to use their cars. In this case, that means he could nix 256 parking spaces), Hollo made us nervous when he was willing to say good-bye to a pedestrian bridge designed to connect his building to a MetroMover station. Planners believe this will encourage street level pedestrian traffic. And, of course, it will but we think it's one stupid idea. How convenient it would have been to step out of a MetroMover car and walk over Biscayne Blvd without waiting for traffic to stop for you (like Miamian's stop for pedestrians anyway).* What we would have liked to have read is Hollo telling them to "fuck off and kiss my ass. I'm keeping the bridge and I'm building my building as big as I want it to be." But that only happens in the movies and books like "The Fountainhead."

Donna Elizabeth Milo, a member of the city's planning board, is quoted as saying "we want to be a world-class city, and this is a world-class office building."

Not really. It's just a building that's been done before-- and with more grace and class. World class. As far as we're concerned, Miami still hasn't landed that "signature building." But it's at least a step in the right direction.

UpDate (6/21): Miami city commissioners allowed building heights in the urban core to increase from 949' to 1,000' per the aviation departments suggestion.

UpDate (8/15/08): Miami Today reports 60 core borings 185-feet in depth show the land is "strong enough to withstand its 1,049-foot height." The next step is to present the 8,300-page construction plans to the City of Miami's planning department for review and approval. The city has warned Hollo that the review process may take two years. Building is expected to take 3-4 years with completion by 2016. Mr. Hollo is quoted as saying he wants "to leave it (the building) as a legacy to the city."

*We're only kidding. We know Miamians have been known to stop for pedestrians and rarely hit-and-run.

Miami City Manager Pete Hernandez Is Guest Speaker At Next MiMoBiBo Meeting


This Tuesday, May 29th, join a diverse group of citizens and guest speaker Miami City Manager Peter Hernandez for breakfast at:
Uva69
6900 Biscayne Boulevard
Time: 8:30am
(Everyone is responsible for their own check)

MiMoBiBo (Miami Modern Biscayne Boulevard) is a non-profit association focused on preserving and improving the historic district. They meet for breakfast or dinner on a regular basis to explore the challenge of revitalizing the historic area as a future destination. The tools they have established to meet their goals include creating a place-making streetscape, providing local/state and national incentives, marketing the area with a MiMo theme and empowering a leadership group of residents, business people and property owners who will nurture the neighborhood. You can learn more here.

Score One for the Miami-Dade Inspector General

Christopher Mazzella runs Miami-Dade's Office of the Inspector General. He and his staff are one of the few good things our county has going for it. He inspired our first MVB Worthy Award. Without his tenacious watchdog efforts, we're sure things would be a lot uglier in government and truly believe he and his office are keeping it from sliding further toward becoming a banana republic. Yesterday, the Miami Herald reports the state reaffirmed his right to use a national crime database.

And why, might you ask, would such a question come up in the first place?

Because Miami-Dade police union President John Rivera was angry about Mazzella investigating him and other officers by using the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database which is used for criminal background checks. Rivera was angry enough to file lawsuits and publicly berate Mazzella because, in his view, the investigations were "flawed and unfair" after an anonymous complaint against the cops. It is Rivera's contention that Mazzella had "misrepresented his office as a 'criminal justice agency'."

Say what? Isn't that exactly what they are?

"There was no doubt," Mazzella said, "given our agency's commitment to rooting out corruption that we are a criminal justice agency."

Last fall a Miami-Dade investigation found no crime had been committed by Mazzella and his crew. In fact they suggested that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) join the FBI which has seen the inspector general's office as a criminal justice agency for nearly a decade. Yesterday, the FDLE gave Mazzella and his department its official blessing for access to the NCIC.

Following that ruling, Rivera, also the statewide Police Benevolent Association president, said he would file a complaint against the FDLE and ask for his own access to the NCIC. He reminded everyone that he has a "higher authority than Chris Mazzella. I want a machine for the PBA too."

Yikes! Now that makes us nervous. Besides sounding a bit childish on Rivera's part, we suspect by all the posturing and lawsuits thrown at Mazzella and his posse, the good guys are on to something, something big enough to make headlines and the corrupted powerful sweat.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Save the Miami Marine Stadium! Next Virginia Key Masterplan Public Meeting and Workshop: June 20th

For all of those who want to save the Miami Marine Stadium, the next Virginia Key Masterplan and Workshop will be:

Wednesday, June 20th
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
La Salle High School (Cafeteria)
3601 South Miami Avenue
According to the City of Miami Planning Department, "the focus of this meeting is to hold a design workshop intended to generate a list of island-wide improvements for the future of Virginia Key."
MVB urges you to attend this meeting to make your case for saving the Marine Stadium. If you cannot attend, we hope you will consider expressing your desire to save the stadium through a "feedback" link provided here.
UpDate (8/20/08): The third public meeting for the Virginia Key Master Plan will be held Tuesday, August 26, 2008. The latest design ideas will be presented by EDSA, the lead consultant.

When & WhereTuesday, August 26, 2008
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.Miami City Hall Chambers
3500 Pan American Drive

For more information on the Virginia Key Master Plan, please visit http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001fAzuQnAG4G5kHMXSSIvu365OGc9htCWRpJ4UAb68OmF2OzoAFqg1X5dYRhgn7nktG3klDljCDkLD1JCNYVtoYnQBTxD_svdVcH3NV0o8wQptq8K62B6OY7628hs5_0GhHWhG3mFiwkDgHSDs5jPyKg==

UpDate (9/19/08): Friends of the Miami Marine Stadium pulled off a major coup: they got the World Monuments Fund to endorse saving the Marine Stadium. This couldn't have happened at a better time because The City of Miami Historic and Environmental Preservation Board will discuss and possibly make a determination of the final historic designation of the Miami Marine Stadium at their meeting on Tuesday, October 7, at 3:00 PM, City of Miami Commission Chambers. Failure to do so should make them look like idiots-- or at least suspiciously on the take. If you got the time, try to stop by to make your voice heard.

UpDate (10/7/08): The City of Miami historic preservation board finally saw the light: by a vote of 8-0, it agreed to designate the Miami Marine Stadium worthy of preservation as an historic site. Let's see the visionless try to knock it down now!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Are Miami-Dade Transit Busses...Possessed?


Push button to enhance your blogging pleasure.

MVB has noticed an alarming increase in runaway busses over the past three months. The first one on February 10th inspired the Lost: Miami post. That bus took out an apartment building because its brakes had failed.* A week later, another bus plowed into a van on Krome Ave. Two days ago, one ran into a church.

Coincidence? We think not. Miami has long been noted as a hotbed for voodoo and Santeria activity. Spells are cast willy-nilly every day around here and we suspect one was cast at Miami-Dade Transit. Maybe a bus arrived late once too often and finally sent someone over the edge. Maybe deposed transit director Roosevelt Bradley wants his job back so badly he's gone voodoo on us. Who knows? But if you value your life, heed our warning: if you see one coming just start running.

*Play the news video. It proves, to paraphrase Dave Barry, we're not making this up. Also, you'll get to meet a neat little kid with a great vocabulary describing the accident. For fans of Lost, you'll also catch some weird parallels with the series like the pregnant woman on the bus and the old couple. Was the man possibly a retired...dentist? And just who was that stranger the bus driver picked up minutes before it crashed? Now insert your own impression of Dr. Evil's maniacal laugh.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Is Miami's Rickenbacker Causeway American's New Ellis Island?

According to the Miami Herald, more and more Cuban migrants are using the lights of Miami's Rickenbacker Causeway to find their way to freedom. "The brightly lit bridge...has become a beacon for Cubans traveling to the United States. In some villages, they are told to follow the bridge to the toll plaza for food and water."

And freedom. Unless, of course, you're Haitian. Haitians get sent back. Cubans can stay. Why? America's "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy. According to the law, Cubans and Haitians are equals at sea if intercepted by the Coast Guard: Back you go.
However, if a Cuban sets foot on U.S. soil, the law favors them with the right to stay in the U.S because they are seeking refuge from an oppressive political regime. Haitians, on the other hand, have to go back because they're only starving to death back home. Even if they land on the hallowed, legendary ground of the Rickenbacker Causeway. In 2002, live TV caught a large group of Haitians in a rickety old sailboat running aground on the Rickenbacker. Haitians were shown jumping off the boat and walking along the causeway, stopping surprised drivers asking for help. Toll booth workers helped them as much as they could but ultimately, once they were rounded up, they were returned to Haiti.

Rickenbacker Causeway ain't Ellis Island. At least the New York entrance to America's promise of hope and freedom never refused the "wretched refuse of your teeming shore...the homeless, tempest-tossed..."

"Since the start of the year," the story goes on, "at least 145 Cuban migrants in 15 separate groups have trickled onto the causeway." None of them were sent packing back to Cuba. What it comes down to is that Cubans got connections. Except for the clothes on their backs and hope in their hearts, Haitians got nothing. Even if they arrived wearing ruby red slippers, clicked their heels like a freaking chorus of crickets on a hot steamy south Florida night, and could sing like Dorothy, it won't mean a thing because they're all too goddamn black and poor. Some day that will change once the Haitian voting bloc becomes too big to ignore. Someday soon. Until then, the Rickenbacker is nothing more than a pretender to Ellis Island's legendary throne, a future tourist attraction only Cubans will want to make a pilgrimage to.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Carnival Center for the Performing Arts: Stop the Hemorrhaging Now!

Enough already with shoring up Carnival Center. In today's world, unless you own a theatre sans mortgage, the only one making a profit in the performing arts is the theatre owner who leases his space to whatever fool-- excuse us, producer*-- who thinks he can make a buck off his show. Now we learn that the nearly half-billion dollar Carnival Center, only seven months old, needs another $4 million to keep its doors open through summer. This is more than double the yearly estimate of running the complex.

Who is responsible for this woefully low estimate? A man we were told was the best for the position after a nation-wide search: President and CEO Michael Hardy.

MVB urges the commission to accept the fact that Carnival will never make money and to stop the hemorrhaging now by:

  • Refraining from giving Hardy the money,
  • Giving Hardy the axe instead.

Here's why we believe Hardy has to go. The Miami Herald reports the budget is so far off because:

  • Hardy didn't know how to figure out the estimated cost of running the air-conditioning. Instead of figuring costs based on the volume of both performance halls, he estimated electrical costs based on the square footage of the spaces. Most high school students could have given the county the right figures-- at a fraction of Hardy's salary,
  • Knowing how important it was to be frugal with the public's money, Hardy still spent big bucks on outside consultants instead of conferring with the architects or at least county in-house experts in building and zoning. Hardy blames those same consultants for not being able to do the math re estimating the electrical costs to cool the two massive buildings,
  • Failure to budget for police services on show nights. Among other things.

When we hear bureaucrats turning to outside consultants at tax payers expense instead of turning to the professionals in the county and city building and zoning departments, it gives us pause: do they know something we don't know? Isn't anyone qualified enough in those departments to formulate numbers you can count on? If there aren't, shouldn't we be worried?

Maybe Terence Riley, former head of Architecture at MOMA and now the director of the Miami Art Museum, should be cut some slack instead of getting our criticism. After all, he's budgeting for outside consultants ranging from companies who will advise on escalators and elevators ($50,000) to $2.2 million for MEP/FP Consultants (whoever they are) to help Herzog & de Meuron design our new art museum. Maybe he, like Hardy, knows something we don't know. After all, he's at the top in his field too. Miami's intelligentsia was tripping over itself and backslapping itself and depositing air-kisses on its collective cheeks when it was announced we landed the guy who also happens to be a licensed architect.

Which brings us back to the real question: aren't these kinds of things best handled by the architects chosen to design the buildings at considerable expense to the public? If you can't believe your architect of record, who can you believe? Oh, that's right, your consultant-- at considerable expense to the public.

In any event, Hardy's got to go because Carnival can't afford his incompetency. Even if it will never make money, at least it will be managed properly. Art and science museum directors are allowed a little more slack only because their charges are less dynamic income generators. Unless you're booking the Mona Lisa, Bodies or King Tut, museums are never expected to be self-supporting through ticket sales-- especially publicly funded buildings costing more than many countries' GNP. Let's just hope Riley's consultants get the air-conditioning costs right.

UpDate (5/29): Carnival Center will be closed in August and for part of September for "routine maintenance," officials say according to Miami Today. "Albert Milano, who previously served on the Carnival Center's board of directors, said he knew of some construction and maintenance issues that need to be addressed." Yeah, like building a parking garage for one thing.

UpDate (6/14): Riley gets an extra $2 million from Miami city commissioners for his art museum.

UpDate (6/20): The Herald reports today that county manager Burgess blames the deficit on Carnival Center management. No kidding? Still, he recommends that the county commission give Hardy and his incompetent crew the $4.1 million "infusion" they're asking for, which is not surprising considering Burgess' magnificent management style.

UpDate (6/27): The Miami-Dade County Commission caves and gives Carnival $4.1 million to keep it afloat. Although management was criticized and threatened, Hardy and his crew are still at the helm.

*Don't get us wrong. We love producers! The world would be a duller place without them. It takes a rare combination of balls, business sense, and a love of theatre to be successful in that field but no one has those traits in government.

UpDate (10/30): Hardy is fired and replaced with legendary wunderkind Lawrence J. Wilker (JFK Center) and some guy named Scott Shiller for $40,000 a month for 6 months until they or someone else is permanently hired.

In Their Own Words...

"We seem to be fighting everybody -- we're fighting the feds, we're fighting the state, we're fighting the cities, we're fighting the mayor.''-- Katy Sorenson, Miami-Dade County Commissioner, as quoted in The Miami Herald

And the county mayor is fighting both the commission and the feds. Talk about a litigious society! It's a miracle anything gets done around here. Well, maybe we should qualify what we mean by "done." We mean in the sense of "well done." Most of the stuff local government accomplishes is fodder for embarrassing media stories about cost overruns by ham-handed, visionless bureaucrats who will occasionally steal from the public trough.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Miami 21: Don't be miserly with the vision

Our previous post regarding development got us to thinking about Miami 21, the City of Miami's attempt to come up with a reasonable, forward thinking plan for urban development. We urge its designers and its implementers to consider the words of one of the world's greatest architects and city planners, the very late Daniel Burnham:

"Make no small plans. They have no magic to stir humanity's blood."

Specifically, save room in your master plan for the biggest and best buildings in downtown Miami. Don't settle for anything less than buildings that push the envelope and make us proud, that put Miami on the collective conscious map of the world.
UpDate (6/28): City of Miami commissioners postponed voting for or against Miami 21 so they can study it further.

Miami: Where's the Vision?

It sure isn't in the Miami-Dade County Commission. When they recently put the kabosh on a $3 million six-year study to guide responsible development for the next 40-years, MVB took note. It wasn't surprising to find the manatees worst enemy, commissioner Natasha "I want my water" Seijas, leading the charge against reason but we choked on our mojitos when we read in the Miami Herald that the commission's most consistent environmentally friendly commissioner Katy Sorenson was also dissing the study. It appears the main argument against the study which is officially called the "South Miami-Dade Watershed Study and Plan," is its insistence on corralling urban sprawl and encouraging development-- low rise condos and town houses-- along existing highways, especially U.S. 1. Sorenson thinks the plan is unnecessary because planned communities in her neck of the woods are already implementing a common sense/environmentally responsible approach to development.

We think this community needs all the incentives and laws it can muster to encourage responsible growth and can't understand why any reasonable person would find fault with the logic behind the plan-- even if it is redundant. As in most fail-safe systems, redundancy is built in to insure it works. When it comes to quality of life issues, this community can use all of the redundancy it can get.

Commissioner Dennis Moss is quoted as saying, " It's not an easy issue and folks are not going to give in terms of their philosophies" (regarding development). He-- and developers quoted in the article-- say people want "suburban dream homes" with yards instead of town homes and condos and don't mind the commute to get to them.

We say, start leading instead of being led by your "electorate," which we fear may have an abnormally high level of developers residing there. Show some vision and take a stand for doing the right thing-- like county mayor Carlos Alverez who is for the plan. Even if it is redundant.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Veronica Mars Joins Gilmore Girls in Cancellation Land

What the hell does the cancellation of Veronica Mars have to do with anything about Miami? Well, it was something that brought the publisher Verticus Erectus and his daughter together. It, along with Gilmore Girls, was something they shared in Miami when she was home from college. She introduced Erectus to both series. In the last couple of weeks, both have been cancelled by CW. And they were good. Real good. And relevant to the blogging community which is built around people who, for the most part, are younger than MVB's head honcho by a couple of decades. A group that-- at least for the younger bloggers-- has given up reading the newspaper because they never got into it in the first place, getting whatever they need to know from electronic sources. One of the great things about Veronica Mars was the depiction of this generational gap between her and her dad without the disparaging depiction of the father figure as a bumbling fool usually found in many TV shows today. In one memorable scene, Veronica's dad returns to the house after a fruitless search for his morning newspaper only to find it opened and waiting for him on the kitchen counter. Veronica is preparing breakfast and quips, "I wanted to see what it was like getting your news off the ground."

Both shows had a loyal following but the numbers just weren't there. Granted, Gilmore Girls probably had lost its impetus with Rory's graduation from Yale and landing a job that would take her away from mom, the effervescent Lauren Graham. Sustaining their rapid fire banter that was a hallmark of the show over the phone wouldn't cut it. But Veronica Mars still had some life in her since Veronica was still in college. Since great writing and acting isn't a prerequisite for success these days on network TV, maybe it would have been a good idea to have sexed the shows up a bit more to grow their audiences. Or dumbed them down. Or made them for less. And, last but not least, had added more Latino characters. When you learn that CW fell behind even Univision this season, you know that isn't such a bad idea.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

"We Have Met The Enemy and He is Us."

That's Pogo's most famous quote, circa 1971. Walt Kelly used it to illustrate a point on pollution. Maybe we've been reading the comics way too long, but when MVB saw this recent Dilbert panel in the Miami Herald's Business Monday, it brought back memories of Kelly's genius. Scott Adams is in many ways our Walt Kelly of today. Instead of a universe populated by opossums and critters in the Okefenokee Swamp making astute, sometimes uncomfortable observations on the human condition, Adams does it today from the spirit-killing confines of the office cubicle. So, when we saw this, we had to ask, is this us? A bunch of technology adapting, bandwidth hogging egotists who know how to type?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Verticvs Is Happicvs He Can Talk To And See His Kids In Chinacvs (and also the guy downstairs)!




I feel like dancing in Bicentennial Park with my dog Snoopycvs and singing "It's A Wonderful World" because of what technology has wrought. Specifically, Skype, the free Internet videophone for your computer. Being able to talk to and see your UF kids studying abroad in China is pretty cool. It makes emails look archaic. Sure, the image might be a tad slow but considering it's all freaking free, who can complain. Yes, Louie, it is a "wonderful world."

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Architecture God Has Spoken: Oppenheim has Vision-- but where's the record breaking height?

I was in Dubai recently checking out the buildings rising there when I checked my emails from Verticus. The Transit Miami blog had scored some major pics of a proposed building for the downtown campus of Miami Dade College. MVB had ran an earlier posting applauding Miami Dade for its visionary quest for a developer to share the property in exchange for giving the college what it needs to expand and flourish. The Calatrava posting urged the college to hold out for the tallest building in the world. MVB believes it's the last piece of prime downtown land worthy of nothing less than the biggest and best. Although Oppenheim's proposal is worthy, it isn't all that original-- it's been done in China-- and it isn't tall enough. Make it bigger, big guy. Give those mortal Miamian's something to crow about.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cool Things Made In Miami: DrinksTV.Com

You can toss those bar books and hand held computers that tell you how to mix a drink now that DrinksTV.com has arrived. Although Miramar isn't necessarily in Miami, it's close enough to call it one of ours. Now anyone on the planet can watch a gorgeous local barmaid (and a few not so pretty barmen) mix a drink with the recipe planted in a window next to the "TV" screen. The hardest part will be following the instructions given by the barmaids, especially when they are as babalicious as Carolina from Bricks Nightclub in downtown Miami. Talk about great PR for this community! It's already in over 300 liquor stores in 16 states where it plays continuously dispensing mixing advice and reminding everyone who sees it how lucky we are to be living here with such a stunning array of barmaids. It moved to the web when CEO John Kyle discovered that America Online had 1 million lookups for cocktail recipes a week. According to the Miami Herald, he hopes it will "do for bartenders what the Food Network did for chefs." From what we can see, with its liquor sponsors and advertising dollars rolling in from big spenders like the U.S. Army, it surely will.

MVB encourages responsible drinking and blogging.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Monocle Man on Roosters and Women and the Dangers of Playing With Screwdrivers

WARNING: First off, anyone wearing a monocle today should be viewed with suspicion. This gentleman, who wishes to remain anonymous as is a blogger's wont, is not the kind of guy you'd invite to a party. If his 1,000 yard stare doesn't quickly put your shindig into an irreversible slide toward downersville, his jaded, dyspeptic personality soon will. So, dear reader, read his words with caution and a mojito, MVB's drink of choice, in hand.
  • This weekend I was shopping at Publix. I bought a tin rooster. It was the last one they had. It looked Haitian in origin but upon closer inspection it was Chinese. While I'm waiting in the meat aisle to get a butcher to wrap up some beef bones so I can later boil and suck down the marrow, a woman started up a conversation with me regarding my rooster which was standing upright, looking over the top of the shopping cart. Later, we ended up sleeping together. When I woke up the next morning, my rooster was gone (and so was the woman).

  • Which got me to thinking. I had heard rumors about the power a rooster has over women in Hialeah and certain parts of Medley, that a man with a rooster tucked firmly under his arm was like a babe magnet. I know dogs and especially puppies pretty much do the trick anywhere else on the planet when it comes to meeting women, but I suspect from what happened to me over the weekend, a rooster-- even a tin one-- should be the first choice of accouterments for guys on the prowl in south Florida. UpDate (5/21): The Miami Herald reports today that a very popular local rooster is missing from a Miami-Dade dockside restaurant. We suspect "Little Bob," a "happy-go-lucky rooster" is helping some guy get laid.
      • The next night I discovered the dangers of playing with screwdrivers. Not the ones you carry in a tool box and never use. I'm talking about the kind you drink. After the second one, I thought I'd get creative and add some sliced bananas to the top. I learned very quickly that drinking and slicing don't mix. The blood kinda made it look like a Tequila Sunrise. I call my new drink Screwed and recommend you do the slicing before you start the drinking.

      Sunday, May 06, 2007

      The Architecture God Has Spoken: 5th And Alton is an ABC!

      5th & Alton, the big box "vertical retail center" that will be built at the gateway to Miami Beach from MacArthur Causeway defines what happens when art and architecture meet a committee, something I blithely label-- because I can-- Atrocity By Committee. The ABCing of the American landscape occurs when the anal and small minded laboring under the auspices of a selected group arbitrarily rework an artist's vision to make it palatable for their communities, often draining it of its power and individuality.

      Case in point is 5th & Alton. The Miami Beach Design Review and Historic Preservation boards rejected two designs before accepting this one. According to the Miami Herald, the developer's first submission was Art Deco-- but it was rejected because they wanted a "world class" design at the entrance to the Beach. The reworked design was rejected for a second time because it was too world class. The one you see here is the third and final design which passed muster. Too bad "too world class" won't cut it on the Beach. Setting arbitrary standards on what is acceptable for the public by a group of self-righteous know-it-alls hurts everyone and deprives our community from another opportunity to stand out from the crowd of the pedestrian and boring. Remember this, my children, art should never be left in the hands of a committee.

      I find very little appealing about 5th & Alton aside from the Publix and the Best Buy that will be going there for you mortals. In my opinion, aesthetically it could have been much, much more-- especially for such a landmark site. For example, what's with all that curved concrete facing one of the best views of downtown Miami and cruise ships leaving the Port of Miami? Where's the glass? Bar and restaurant space could have been put there. Can't you imagine the sunset views? Thanks to all of that parabolic concrete, I'm sure the intense concentrated sunlight bouncing off the wall will melt metal and blind drivers on the Alton Road flyover, adding new meaning to the term "flyover." In the end, Miami Beach becomes just another atrocity on the American landscape.

      Thursday, May 03, 2007

      Grimshaw Architects Win Commission To Design New Miami Science Museum


      The London based firm Grimshaw Architects has won the commission to design Miami's new $275 million Science Museum in Bicentennial Park. The Coral Gables firm Rodriguez and Quiroga won the spot for "executive architect," which will oversee construction documentation for permitting and building.

      The 200,000 square foot Science Museum (with 25,000 square feet dedicated to the Historical Museum of Southern Florida) will be built next to the proposed $208 million Miami Art Museum, which will be designed by the equally revered Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre De Meuron.

      The Science Museum is scheduled to open 2011, a year after the opening of the Art Museum. According to the Miami Herald, the Science Museum will "include an aquarium spanning three floors, with mangroves and seagrass at the top, a tropical coral reef in the middle, and large sea creatures such as sharks and rays on the ground level...rooftop observatory, a 300-seat planetarium and a wildlife center, all on the roof."

      When these museums kick in and join the Carnival Center and the American Airlines Arena, who wouldn't want to live downtown? Talk about an urban cultural mecca, these amenities will propel Miami into the top ten cities in the world and cement its claim to being the "Gateway to the Americas."

      Wednesday, May 02, 2007

      Bloggers Cruise

      Carnival reports that the "first ever" Bloggers Cruise will be held January 19-26, 2008 aboard the Freedom. Departing Miami, the itinerary includes stops at: Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. Cost: $600 each.

      For those SoFla bloggers too busy to take time off from their blogs, may we suggest something less time consuming and expensive: MVB's Alternative Bloggers Cruise. It'll be a BYOB&F and much more "authentic." After an inspirational message by Ms. Dayngr, seminars might include:

      Entertainment could be provided by Klotz. We'll rent a few row boats and row our way over to Monument Island and party on the beach. Activities? Whatever you want. MVB leans toward limbo contests.