Friday, June 29, 2007
Sir Manny Mojito, King of Little H, is seeing visions again. A few weeks ago, it was Elita Loresca's floating talking tatas. Today, it's the iPhone. He saw it in jail with the Knights of the Mesa Redonda. Paris, of course, is long gone and expected to make millions on her little stint in the hoosegow, but King Manny and the boys aren't as fortunate as her. Lacking looks and money not to mention their aversion to bathing has not helped their cause. Still, the good but silly king wants an iPhone.
We can't blame him. Although we're not into gadgets, this little device has caught our collective eyes. It's like the future has arrived. Well, at least not until 6pm today, the official time of the iPhone's release. Word has it people from all over the world are flying to the east coast to be the first to get one. Too much. In any event, the $500-$600 price tag plus the AT&T monthly fee estimated to be around $100 is hard to justify. During a live interview on CNN today, someone actually tried to steal one from the Newsweek tech writer who was being interviewed outside the Apple store in Manhattan. The on-camera scuffle was pretty cool. Just like the iPhone.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
- Friends and Fellow Cyclists-
We have a fantastic ride coming up this Saturday! We're collaborating with Weed & Seed and other community groups to create a special ride for the kids. We secured a donation of 100 bikes fo the kids of Liberty Square and we can't wait to ride with them!
We will be starting at the Culmer Metro-Rail Station and heading to the Liberty City Community Center. From there we will be joining children from the Liberty City Community Center, Weed & Seed and Liberty City Trust. We will then ride off together as a large group to Legion Park. We'll then go back to the Liberty City Community Center to have a party with food and entertainment! Be prompt, this ride will begin at 10:00 a.m. as we need to get to the Liberty City Community Center by 11:00 a.m.
We're still looking for volunteers to help with follow-up rides after this special event! If you're interested in helping out, Please contact Tia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who: Cyclists, kids and community organizers
What: Bike ride for the kids of Liberty Square!
Where: Culmer Metrorail Station, 701 NW 11th St, Miami , FL 33128
When: Saturday, June 30th at 10:00 a.m. PROMPT!
Why: Because we love da kids!
Hope to see you all there!
Your Friendly Organizers - Emerge Miami
For more information, please call The Wallflower Gallery 305-579-0069
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
- January 30, 2008: "It looks as though that he used his wine glass to try to knock out his girlfriend, his foot and elbow to try to knock out some cops and his head to try to knock out a police car.'' Schwartz on ex-football player Wayne Carey and his arrest outside a Miami nightclub.
- December 24, 2007: "Soto needs to find himself another line of work. In fact, there's an opening for the village idiot down the block. I'll be glad to give him a reference." Schwartz on repeat offender Angel Soto who got famous and made some Metro-Dade cops infamous two weeks before in a televised car chase. He goes to jail, bonds out and takes Miami cops on another car chase this morning. He's back in jail and you can see the WSVN-FOX video here. Thanks, Bill, for this wonderful Christmas gift. It's been too long between your oh so worthy bon mots.
- June 26, 2007: "Labron Brown is a sociopath little thug without two brain cells to rub together. He has no criminal past and now it looks like he has no future." Yesterday regarding the alleged 15-year-old who killed two men last week at a graduation-birthday party in northwest Miami-Dade. Please note that much of Lt. Schwartz' way with words are lost in reading. To really appreciate this guy, you have to see and hear him speaking. For that treasured only-in-Miami experience, we found this link to the above story for your viewing pleasure.
- "What we're talking about is a cracked-out, machete-wielding moron who went on his own personal countywide crime spree." Schwartz on the one man crime wave that police dealt with on 6/13.
- "This was pure bloodlust. There was no reason for this." Schwartz describing the murder of a homeless man by four men in 2006.
- "What we have is a situation where witnesses ran away as police arrived. People say they want to rid their neighborhood of crime, but it's up to the community to help us do that. They don't seem to realize we can't do it alone." Schwartz in 2006 on the murder of a tourist who stopped to ask somebody for directions in Coconut Grove.
- "For her safety and the safety of all concerned, the officers decided to remove her from the situation. Clearly this upset her even more, and she slapped one of the cops on the hand. Not a good idea." Schwartz on the arrest of O.J. Simpson's 19-year-old daughter Sydney in 2005.
- ''We believe this was a personal thing. They were toying with him like a cat does a mouse or a lizard.'' Schwartz describing a murder victim in 2005.
Now for a little reward for reading this far. Our favorite cop is also an "accomplished ventriloquist" and a puppeteer! That's right, Google found a press release about Lt. Schwartz doing a series of children's public service announcements in 2003. He used his puppets, Kookie the Bird, Dan the Man and Buster, "perhaps the first handicapped puppet on a wheelchair", in the spots. (In an effort at full disclosure, please note that Verticvs, at the beginning of his long and storied career, started out as a puppeteer for Burger King and has built his own rod puppets-- including Bob, the world's first talking Fiberglas coconut. But this had nothing to do with MVB choosing to highlight Lt. Schwartz. This post was planned before it was revealed Schwartz has a relationship with puppets). If you're lucky, you can see them during children's programming.
UpDate 3/19/08: Schwartz, 55, retires March 27th after 26 years of service. He says he'll be following the acting bug. "I'll go wherever the work is." For us, Bill Schwartz always made bad news sound good. We'll miss him.
Monday, June 25, 2007
- ABC World News reported that Americans are the most giving people on the planet. Last year over 300 billion dollars was given by us to those in need. When I hear this, it makes me proud to be an American. And it makes me crazy when I think about all those Caribbean and South American nationalities parading up and down Calle Ocho waving their countries' flags. American flags are rarely seen. Ungrateful, myopic, and embarrassing.
- Speaking about embarrassing, it looks like south Florida's first family of African-American politicians, the untouchable Meeks, is on the take too. Part Two of the Miami Herald's three-part series about developer Dennis Stackhouse, labeled the "Poverty Peddler" by the paper, who failed to deliver on a $250 million biopharmaceutical park in Liberty City, had former U.S. Rep Carrie Meek on his payroll. She received at least $40,000 and a leased Cadillac Escalade from one of Stackhouse's companies. "She was paid as her son, U.S. Rep Kendrick Meek, requested millions of dollars of federal dollars for the biotech project." In the expose, we also learn that county commissioner Dorrin Rolle, who represents Liberty City, Miami's poorest neighborhood, "received thousands for his campaign coffers and a $10,000 donation to the nonprofit social-service agency that pays him $177,000 a year." That salary alone is embarrassing.
- Despite what we know about Americans having good hearts, I don't think they will elect a woman president. There are too many men out there who hate women and for those who don't, Hillary isn't "feminine" enough to woo the rest. Obama doesn't stand a chance either. He's too black for some and not black enough for others. Edwards is a fool who doesn't know how to spend his money. The threesome also supports creating a bigger army which is probably the best reason why they shouldn't be elected-- and won't be elected thanks to our Iraq fiasco. Bloomberg, should he run, is too Jewish-- but probably the least touchable by lobbyist and probably the best for running the country like a business. In the end, we'll probably elect Fred Thompson because we like his movies and his TV series "Law and Order." I'm not so sure that would be a bad thing. It doesn't matter who the Republicans choose. After Bush, it will be a long time before we see one of them in the Oval Office.
- Cable news is embarrassing. Paris Hilton is the reason.
Again, if any of the above offends you, please click here.
UpDate (6/26): The Herald reports today that, following its expose, U.S. Rep Kendrick Meek "called for the county to recover any funds misspent" on the proposed biopharm park in Liberty City.
UpDate (6/27): The Herald reports today that County Manager George Burgess sent a letter to companies controlled by Boston developer Dennis Stackhouse, saying his firms defaulted on county contracts and a 75-year lease on county land by failing to provide crucial documents about the biotech park.
UpDate (11/4/08): Obama becomes America's first black president. We were wrong in our earlier prediction and couldn't be happier. Unlike his opponent, he can change. We think he's the best thing that's happened to our country since Kennedy.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Ms. Ugucconi explained that TDRs are an incentive to keep historic buildings (including apartment buildings) in tact. TDRs are calculated by the square footage of the existing building and the difference between what could be built. An example where TDRs can be used is T6-8. A developer can build to the 6 stories by right and he can increase the height by 2 stories by purchasing TDRs, paying for affordable housing and green space credits or qualifying as a green building.
When an owner sells the TDR rights, he in turn completes an Existing Condition Report, a Long Term Maintenance Report and a 40-year recertification is required. Total TDRs can be sold ONE time only. There after, when the building is sold a covenant will pass along with the property requiring the building be maintained.
The MiMo Biscayne Boulevard District is the only district where TDRs will be offered for non-contributing buildings.
Now that's interesting.
The next MiMo Dinner is this Tuesday at 6PM at Uva69, 6900 Biscayne Boulevard (inside dining room). As always, everyone is responsible for their own check. The speakers will be Maria Mascarenas, NET Administrator and OFC Darrell Nichols and Carmen Caldwell, Miami-Dade Crime Watch Director speaking on the topic “How Crime Watch Can Work in the Business Community in concert with surrounding Residential Neighborhoods.”
Friday, June 22, 2007
Some facts on the building that started it all:
- 20-stories, 96 condo units, 6 apartments per floor
- 5-story "sky court"
- 300' long by 37' wide (the length of each side of the building's "hole")
- It appeared in the opening credits of the "Miami Vice" TV series
- A rival developer, concerned that Atlantis was taking all the attention away from his new building next door, hired famed kinetic artist Yaacov Agam to make the building look like one of his 3D paintings. Thousands of gallons of paint later, the Villa Regina still can't save itself from the powerful aesthetics of Atlantis although it does allow a select few to say dismissively, "You may own an Agam, but I live in one."
- Now, after 25-years, Atlantis has decided to light up its way cool red roof-top pyramid. That red glowing pyramid is a welcome addition to Miami's ever changing night time skyline.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
What we found interesting is table 12's contribution. It's spokesperson wanted to make it clear that commissioner Sarnoff who was at that table "contributed but did not participate." That table, which was for saving and restoring the stadium, wants to rename it "Jimmy Buffet Stadium." Call us paranoid, but we kept an eye on table 12 and noticed the Key Biscayne nimby table were quite palsy-walsy with the commissioner, making numerous forays to talk to him. We suspect they were lobbying for their position and reminding him in oh so subtle ways that they have enough money to back his run for re-election. We would like to remind the good commissioner of his Miami Today quote regarding the controversial decision by "the electorate" who voted to put the art and science museums in Bicentennial Park. He supports that project which is unusual for a NIMBY and states that voters should be given "a lot more credit" for knowing exactly what they were voting on. Well, Mr. Commissioner, don't forget what you saw tonight. We know exactly what we want: Saving the Marine Stadium.
Table 7, in favor of saving and restoring with a vengeance (not our table but ours in spirit), made it clear they wanted a "non-biased engineering study" regarding the structural integrity of the stadium. A city of Miami spokesperson told the crowd that a study is underway.
Despite not seeing one example from the consulting firm EDSA of a conceptually restored stadium (even the maps left it out), we were told over and over again not to fret because it hadn't been forgotten or eliminated from future plans. I think tonight's charette will make it hard for them to dismiss the will of the people. And then maybe not. Despite wanting to believe as hard as we can that we are not being conned, we find it hard to understand after all of this time nothing had been done to include a representation of the Marine Stadium in the maps or supporting documents. Maybe we've just been living here too long and have become jaded towards promises made by governmental officials and their consultants. Only time will tell. Right now we should be happy.
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://www.edsaplan.com/Virginia_Key/home.html
UpDate (8/27): The "experts," AKA city planners/consultants, came back with the latest designs for Virginia Key. Despite an earlier charette where the public overwhelmingly agreed that the Marine Stadium should be saved, it is glaringly absent from this latest iteration. In its place: Two 5-story parking garages, a "dry-stack" boat storage for 700 boats, 41,000sf of "small scale retail," and Olympic-sized swimming pools among other sundry items. The city and its experts have effectively destroyed one of the few things that makes Miami unique in the world and replaced it with the pedestrian. The Marine Stadium was the only one of its kind on the planet. Now, because it might be "cost prohibitive" to fix-up, we have become a lesser city, less unique, and a people less worthy of being taken seriously, at being looked upon by others as blessed, lucky, special and cool.
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!
UpDate (4/27/09): The Miami Marine Stadium becomes one of eleven buildings on the National Trust for Historic Preservation thanks in part to the efforts of Miami architect Jorge Hernandez and Friends of the Miami Marine Stadium. Let's see our visionless bureaucrats try to touch the old lady now.
- There were no "structural issues" discovered with the Marine Stadium following Hurricane Andrew. He toured the site with a delegation and no one could see any signs of "spalling," tell-tale signs of sub-surface structural damage revealed as "chipping, fragmenting, or separating of the surface."
- Still, saving the Marine Stadium is "not a simple issue." He said efforts had been made to find vendors to take over the stadium but none of them thought they could make a go of it because they thought it was "too small." Making it "market viable" is the real issue, not the stadium's structural integrity.
- He agreed with us that the Marine Stadium is Miami's Taj Mahal. There is nothing like it in the whole world. He said that the "last decision is to destroy it" and everything should be done to try and save it.
- Regarding the recent media stories about the sad state of downtown, he said that was one of the main reasons he got into politics. His downtown office was crumbling around him and couldn't find anyone in government who cared. He laid some of the blame on the county which hasn't spent "an extra dime" on downtown.
This is why we like Johnny Winton and want to see him get his office back. He's a straight shooter and shares our vision of the "Manhattanization of downtown Miami." Regarding whether or not the Miami Marine Stadium will ever become "market viable," may we suggest that we start seeing it as the "people's building," the older, maligned stepbrother of the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts. If we can prop up high culture, we can prop up pop culture and recreation too. Besides, we think Budweiser, possibly in association with a company like Live Nation which is running the Jackie Gleason Theatre on Miami Beach, could make it work during all those dates between the opening and closing dates of the the Unlimited Hydroplane racing circuit.
Finally, don't forget to attend today's meeting regarding the Miami Marine Stadium. It's at 6:00 PM in the LaSalle High School cafeteria (3601 S. Miami Ave.).
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
P.S.: Don't forget the next meeting regarding the fate of the Miami Marine Stadium is tomorrow at 6pm in the La Salle High School (3601 S. Miami Ave.) cafeteria.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Leave it to the ever creative Manola Blablablanik of Sex and the Beach to fulfill a real need with the introduction on her blog of free Spanglish lessons! Finally for all of us wondering what the other half of Miami is saying, Ms. Blablablanik is offering a bridge between the two cultures! The Spanglish lessons will be taught by her friend Maestra Manola Finlandia. Way to go, Manola!
JUNE 19th - Ellen Uggucconi crafted the Chapter 23 Historic Incentive Package which was been passed by the Historic Environmental Preservation (HEP) Board this passed week. Since she wrote it, she understands the ins and outs. This is your opportunity to get your questions answered and explained in a way you can understand. Please send us your questions and bring them in written form to the meeting.
NEXT REGULAR MiMo BREAKFAST MEETING JUNE 19TH
Please join us for the next regular meeting of the MiMo Biscayne Association.
When: Tuesday morning June 19th at 8:30AM
Where: Uva69, 6900 Biscayne Boulevard (inside dining room)
(Everyone is responsible for their own check)
Speaker: Ellen Uggucconi, Historic Preservation Consultant, City of Miami
What Chapter 23 means to Historic Biscayne Boulevard
Sunday, June 17, 2007
UpDate (7/3): Miami City Manager Pete Hernandez suspends embattled housing director Barbara Gomez without pay today, but she's not out of a job: She can take a demotion ($24,000 less a year) that would still qualify her for that million dollar pension if she sticks around one more year.
UpDate (7/13): Gomez is fired and loses million dollar pension. Also fired, Mary Conway, Chief of Operations, for allowing a group of employees known as "The Firm" to operate a private business out of that department.
It's hard to believe it's been 40 years since the "Summer of Love" officially got its start today, June 16, 1967 at the Monterey Pop Festival in San Francisco. This is a bittersweet milestone for the boys here at MVB. The pain it inflicts is right up there with watching the Stones perform today. Both make you feel old (and with the Stones, near death). Still, thinking back to that magical time in rock music, MVB is reminded that the Monterey Pop Festival heralded some of rock's best music and groups. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding were introduced to the world at the festival. Redding would die a few months later. It was a time of songwriting genius. John Phillips of the "The Mamas & the Papas" whipped out a song to promote the event. He had his boyhood friend Scott McKenzie, who once was a member of his group that evolved into the Mamas and the Papas, record it. It pretty much sums up that era of hope, change, and, of course, love.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
This is MVB's first posted, non-linked video. "The Darkside of the Boom" is a documentary about the Miami housing crisis and is being showcased because it is worth watching and supporting its filmmakers. This is a teaser for the rough cut which will be shown tonight at 7pm at Barry University's School of Business building, Andrea Room 112.
From what we can see, Wills Felin and his partners at Major Minerz productions, have done an outstanding job in chronicling the disaster in affordable housing in Dade County. Although it isn't required, MVB suggests supporting their request for a $5.00 donation in order to help them finish the film. A panel discussion will follow the screening of the half-hour rough cut with the filmmakers, community organizers, and residents.
Barry University is located at 11300 NE Second Avenue.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Never say MVB doesn't try to be fair and balanced with our take on local politics. We like to think we tell it like it is-- or should be-- and try to give credit where it is due no matter how much our opinions may differ on the dais. Case in point: although we consider Marc Sarnoff to be the "song and dance man" on the City of Miami commission, he must be given credit for a great one-liner that succinctly describes the half billion dollar Carnival performing arts center, aka the PAC. In today's Miami Herald, he will forever link in our mind the letters PAC with "Post Apocalyptic Center."
And, since we're in such a charitable mood, we support him on his slapped down attempt to wrestle control of the quasi-public Downtown Development Authority* from fellow commissioner Joe Sanchez. Sarnoff thinks the DDA isn't pulling its weight as do we. Instead of commissioning another study about downtown, as the DDA is more inclined to do than doing something of actual worth, we both agree that the agency should be more pro-active in achieving concrete-- as in sidewalk-- results. To take it a step further, we think commissioner Joe Sanchez, the still reigning chairman of the DDA, and Dana Nottingham, the executive director of the DDA, would be more effective if they got up out of their cushy executive chairs and went downtown with a shovel to scrape the gum off the sidewalks.
UpDate (6/21): DDA directors approved the agency's $4.1 million operating budget. It includes
- $1.9 million in salaries and benefits for its 20-person staff,
- $899,000 in operating expenses ($211,000 for marketing and publicity and $102,000 for professional fees including accounting and auditing),
- $135,000 for a tenant improvement program,
- $60,000 for a retail leasing consultant,
- $35,000 to create a Biscayne Blvd café district,
- $15,000 for a retail training program.
That ought to cover the cost of a few more shovels.
*In fairness to our limited but oh so worthy readers, we should note that our publisher received payment for winning an "Urban Walls" mural contest way back in 1977, probably long before many of this blog's readers were born. Our allegiance will always be with the original DDA executives but none of them are currently affiliated with today's DDA due to death and attrition over the many years.
UpDate 2/16/08: Dana Nottingham, the DDA's director, finally gets the heave ho with a $180,000 severance deal.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
For awhile, MVB has been advocating making Miami the first city in the world to offer daily flights into space for the common man. Despite a nearly forgotten two mile long landing strip sitting in the middle of the Everglades which could be used to launch and retrieve Virgin Galactic designs immediately-- if the rocketplanes were available-- the state and county's less than enthusiastic response has allowed New Mexico to get the jump on being the first place in history to offer these daily space flights.
Until now. The Paris based European company EADS Astrium announced yesterday that they will be building a "space jet" which will be able to do something the Virgin Galactic team wasn't pursuing-- taking off and landing from commercial airports. The EADS Astrium approach also differs in the design of the aircraft. Instead of using a small vessel attached to a large plane with an unpowered free-fall back from space (Virgin Galactic and the space shuttle) , the Astrium will be a single aircraft using jet engines upon takeoff and landing and rocket engines for the final boost into suborbital space. Because it will use jet engines for a controlled flight back to the airport, it removes the necessity to surround the launch site with thousands of unpopulated acres as required by the space shuttle and Virgin Galactic and opens flying into space for every airport.
Miami should make every effort to stage the first multi-passenger fee paying space flight scheduled for 2012. The county and the city ought to form a delegation and travel to Paris to sell them on making that happen. Since it won't be easy convincing Europeans to launch the first space jet outside of Europe, the delegation should be willing to make some major concessions, i.e., giving up space at Opa Locka Airport to assemble the prototype and test fly it. Right now, there is an EADS office in Houston. The delegation ought to be willing to give EADS "free room and board" to move it to Opa Locka. In so doing, Opa Locka Airport finds a new purpose and revitalizes the economy. A little showmanship wouldn't hurt either by combining the first flight with a new Orange Bowl Parade whose theme for 2012 might be "Fly Me To The Moon!" As we like to say here, it only takes a little vision.
Click here to see a video presentation of the EADS Astrium vision.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
UpDate (6/15/07): Verticvs must confessicvs, I've never tasted a Twinkie. This bothered me a lot since this posting. It was disingenuous to allude that I had so I made it a goal to try one ASAP. The SoBe Publix on West Ave doesn't carry them. Probably too unhealthy for the customers that shop there, you know the kind, all health conscious and trim. I finally found them at 7-11. I rushed home, set them down on my kitchen table and tried to ignore them until lunch but they kept calling my name. After a couple of hours of ignoring their siren call, I ripped open the package. Soft and spongy just as the advertising said. I took that as a good sign with more good things to come. I took a bite. I must have gotten one of the left over ones that hadn't been converted to the new/old banana flavor. I was disappointed. It was okay, but I was looking for the banana flavor. I feel guilty as I type and probably will feel guilty the rest of the day for eating such an unhealthy product. Still, when the Apocalypse is in sight, this is the perfect snack food for such an occasion. Hopefully when it comes I will eat it with lots of in your face attitude.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
"What the f---"
"Sh-h-h! Get your shoes off!"
It was Lincoln Basel, MVB's art critic. I quickly removed my shoes and sat next to him. "What the fuck," I whispered, "is going on?"
"We're worshipping the Christopher Mazzella Buddha."
I looked up at the towering statue. I wondered how the hell they got it up the steps and into the office. It took up most of the office space it was so goddamn big. I looked around. Another group of true believers, so close they were rubbing shoulders with the Buddhists, were kneeling in front of the Elita Loresca altar doing their best to om away hurricanes. No one was working. I turned to Lincoln and tapped him on the shoulder to get him to open his eyes and stop his praying. "Lincoln," I whispered, "just one question. Why?"
"The Miami Herald has uncovered more bad news about local government. Some chick named Barbara Gomez, Director of Miami's housing agency, is under investigation for steering over a million dollars to one of her ex-husbands who once did time for smuggling cocaine."
"But that's normal here. Do you think it requires founding a new religion?"
"The Herald also reports she's under investigation for steering millions of dollars to developers who failed to deliver on public housing projects."
"Yeah, so? This is the norm here. I don't think--"
"Her other ex-husband is Rene Rodriguez."
I stopped short. Rene Rodriguez was the Teflon bureaucrat who once directed Miami-Dade county's corrupt and mismanaged public housing agency before taking an early retirement.
"We think, " Lincoln whispered, "Christopher Mazzella and his staff will need all the help they can get."
I couldn't argue with him. It appeared the tentacles of corruption and greed were running deeper than anyone had suspected. I shifted onto my knees and started praying, crossing myself, and genuflecting for all I was worth.
UpDate (6/28): The Miami Herald reports today that the Miami city manager is forcing the Godfaddah (aka Miami Housing Director) to take an early retirement. Downside: She may walk away with a penison worth $1 million.
UpDate (7/13): Barbara Gomez, the Miami Housing Director, is fired and loses million dollar pension. Also fired, Mary Conway, Chief of Operations, for allowing a group of employees known as "The Firm" to operate a private business out of that department.
Monday, June 11, 2007
- "I am not a crook." President Nixon
- "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." President Clinton
- "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.' – President George W. Bush, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln under a banner declaring 'Mission Accomplished'.
These quotes have all come back to haunt their speakers. We suspect that Mr. Diaz' assertion will to.
UpDate (6/12): The Pollyanna Mayor of Miami is described by the Miami Herald as "unaware of the loans and grants" from his housing director Barbara Gomez to an ex-con husband. ''I'm extremely concerned,'' he said late Monday. And, it appears, extremely unaware of what's happening in his administration.
UpDate (6/13): It appears the "haunting" is happening quicker than we expected. Today the Miami Herald reveals: "Auditors said city housing chief Barbara Gomez's department repeatedly awarded tax dollars to developers without evaluating their projects against other proposals.
'There really wasn't any competitive bidding -- that was one of the biggest findings,' Auditor General Victor I. Igwe said Tuesday.
Auditors found another troubling trend: one in four loans in the city's $73 million portfolio was in default as recently as January -- diverting dollars from badly needed affordable housing."
Pollyanna Manny is reported as having no comment until he finishes reading the report.
UpDate (6/28): The Miami Herald reports that the Miami city manager is forcing the Godfaddah (aka Miami Housing Director) to take an early retirement. Downside: She may walk away with a pension worth $1 million.
UpDate (7/13): Gomez is fired and loses million dollar pension. Also fired, Mary Conway, Chief of Operations, for allowing a group of employees known as "The Firm" to operate a private business out of that department.
June 12th, 6PM -- Arts & Cultural Committee Meeting UVA69 - inside dining room.
Contact Kris Wessel, email: email@example.com
JUNE 19th 8:30AM
Ms. Gibbs, it's been time to take action twenty-years ago. Downtown is a joke, hidden behind a facade of chi-chi condos concealing broken sidewalks and bums on the make. Danger literally awaits around every corner. What the city needs is less editorializing and studies and more action to solve the problems. MVB suggests starting here with our 4 part "Simple Plan":
- Put a moratorium on any more "studies." Downtown has been studied to death.
- Fix the goddamn sidewalks.
- Sweep the bums off the streets. If there is no budget for more cops on the beat, hire less expensive workers and give them the legal authority to round up the vagrants, put them in the back of a van and drive them over to Camillus House. Photograph them and get their SS numbers, etc, and input their mugs and info into a "bum data bank." If they're caught downtown again, freeze any benefits that they might be getting that allows them to eek out a living. Repeat offenders go to jail where they will learn to live without booze and drugs and will be employed in meaningful pursuits such as working on a chain gang. Make hanging out downtown a pain in the ass and in time, they'll find more hospitable places to crash-- unless, of course, the ACLU gets involved and they put the kabosh on this idea.
- Reduce parking fees. Until Miami finds its rhythm with people who live and work downtown, parking fees must be scaled back to make coming to downtown attractive and affordable.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Verticvs knew this wasn't a good sign. King Manny Mojito and the Knights of the Mesa Redonda were on TV. WSVN-Channel 7, the local Miami Fox affiliate, was airing something about them on the six o'clock news. King Manny was holding up the Swarovski crystal bra. Verticvs turned up the sound.
"We demand entry to present Elita Loresca this bra," King Manny said in his unique British/Cuban accent, "so that we may rescue her, save Miami from hurricanes, and fulfill our quest."
"The group of men, all dressed like medieval knights," Craig Stevens' voice over explained, "is led by someone who calls himself, Sir Manny Mojito, the King of Little H. At first our front gate security guard thought it was some sort of stunt until the men drew their swords and threatened him."
The station cut to the security guard Manuel Molina.
"That's when I pulled out my Thunder Five and asked them if they would like to reconsider. Which they did with the king guy yelling at everyone to 'Run away! Run away!' and complaining about it not being fair. What a bunch of losers."
The station cut back to Craig Stevens and Lynn Martinez in the studio. Martinez cheered him on. "Way to go, Manuel!"
"We tried to get a statement from Elita," Stevens said, "but she was unavailable. Knowing Elita, she's probably already in bed. That 5am call time for our morning news program is a killer."
"Trust me, Craig," Martinez said, "I think I can speak for Elita when I tell you she wouldn't wear anything that tacky. In fact, the last thing we need is our weather girl running around town in a rhinestone bra. I mean, we already have enough larger than life distractions what with Shaq and Hulk Hogan living here."
"Yeah, you're right, Lynn. And it could be dangerous. Can you imagine Elita wearing that bra outside on a sunny day when she's tooling about town with the top down?"
"Holy traffic accident, Craig!"
"Actually, Elita probably shouldn't drive anywhere with the top down. Know what I mean?"
"That's for sure. Anyway, police have asked that if you see these men to give them a call. Seems that tacky bra was stolen from a downtown jewelry store and might actually be worth something."
The station cut to very bad video footage from the jewelry store surveillance camera. It showed King Manny and the Knights of the Mesa Redonda breaking the glass display case with their broadswords and running away with the Swarovski bra as Martinez continued to speak over the grainy black and white image. "Judging by the way they're dressed, it shouldn't be too difficult."
"Oy vey," Verticvs added before turning off the TV.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
There beneath the locked jeweler's display case in the Seybold building in downtown Miami lay the fabled crystal bra!
"How much?" Sir Manny asked as the Knights of the Mesa Redonda, all eager to see the object of their quest, bunched up behind the King of Little H and pushed him against the display case.
Moishe, the jeweler, shrugged. "It's not cheap. It's a one of a kind. That isn't your everyday cut glass, you know."
"Yes, I know. Swarovski crystals and all that. All the way from Austria. How much? Stop shovin'!"
Moishe paused and looked at the motley crew. He admired the delicate work of the chainmail and noted the semi-precious stones embedded in the hilts of their swords and, of course, he wondered if King Manny's crown was solid gold. He hoped they might be as rich as they were insane. "Fifty thousand dollars," he said with an apologetic shrug.
"Fifty thousand dollars?" King Manny and the Knights of the Mesa Redonda cried.
"Hey, what can I tell you, it's a one of a kind." Moishe paused and looked around before motioning King Manny to come closer. "Famous bosoms have filled it," he whispered with a knowing nod of his head.
"Famous bosoms?" Manny and the Knights responded loudly.
Moishe pushed away and looked around. Some woman was glaring at him from a perch above the display cases. He smiled weakly up at her and offered a jaundiced wave of his hand. "Smile to the wife," he whispered through clenched teeth, "and maybe I can work out a deal."
King Manny and the Knights of the Mesa Redonda smiled and waved at the woman but she just sadly shook her head and turned away.
Moishe was still looking at his wife when he whispered, "Elizabeth Taylor once wore it."
"Elizabeth Taylor?" they all shouted once again. The boys are big fans of their fellow Brit.
Moishe froze. His wife's eyes had narrowed into little slits. He gave her one of those "please forgive me, honey, for being such a goddamn fool" kinda smiles. She turned away in a huff. Moishe turned back to the Men of the Mesa Redonda. "Look, gentlemen," he whispered, "a whole bunch of famous tits have occupied this bra. It comes with a pedigree. Now if you can't afford it, perhaps you might be interested in something else. Perhaps a...small tiara?"
"A small tiara?" one of the knights exclaimed. "Does he look like he needs a fooking small tiara?"
"What's going on here, Moishe?"
The men jumped. They hadn't seen the wife coming.
"Darling," Moishe gushed, "these men wanted to buy the Swarovski bra."
"Wanted'?" she said intimidatingly. "Can't you afford it? What kind of king are you anyway?"
"I'm a king on a budget."
"Then try K-Mart."
As she turned away, Moise grabbed her arm. "Dear, these men are on an important quest. Without the bra, hurricanes will come and Elita Loresca the Storm Goddess--"
"'Elita Loresca'? I should have known. You men are all alike. It's pathetic. Are you idiots trying to buy this bra for her?"
"Yes," King Manny said, "in order to save Miami from hurricanes and to free a young and innocent maid who--"
"Boys," Moishe's wife said, "this bra isn't big enough for Ms. Loresca's love bubbles. You need the No. 9."
"The 'No. 9'?" King Manny asked.
"The No. 9. It's the first bra for the surgically endowed. You can get it at Nordstrom."
"Are you implying the Storm Goddess' gongas aren't genuine?"
"They're too round. It's the first sign someone's been foolin' around with Mother Nature."
"Heresy!" one of the knights shouted. "Heresy I say!"
"You are an evil wench and not worthy of protecting the bra!" another knight screamed and before anyone could say 'stop,' a broadsword smashed through the glass display case and a hand protected by a steel guantlet snatched the fabled crystal bra. Alarms rang, the Moishes screamed, and King Manny yelled "Run away! Run away!" and the Knights of the Mesa Redonda and their king who lives for the quest ran out of the building scattering passerbys with raised swords, flapping cloaks, and shouts about freedom and hurricanes.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
"But it came from her very own disembodied bosom."
The Knights of the Mesa Rendonda were milling about the cramped MVB office, downing mojitos and backing into things with their broad swords. Verticvs didn't want them to overhear what he was about to say to King Manny.
"Dude," Verticvs whispered, "maybe you and the boys ought to cut back on the mojitos. I mean, c'mon, a disembodied, floating, talking matched set?"
"It's true! We all saw it."
"I'm sure you did, especially after all that drinking you guys did last night."
"Then how do you explain my map?"
"I think someone's pulling your chainmail. This is a picture of Channel 7 where Elita Loresca works."
Sir Manny paused. "Why does a TV station need a moat?"
"It's Biscayne freaking Bay, for crisesakes. And that's the 79th Street Causeway running in front of it."
Sir Manny paused some more. "So, I guess those aren't watchtowers?"
"And there's no drawbridge? Or guards?"
"Guards, yeah, but no drawbridge."
Verticvs could see the leader of men who lived for quests was crestfallen. "But that should make it easier for you, right?"
Sir Manny was lost in thought. "I'm sorry?"
"I mean you won't need to storm the castle, so to speak. You can go right up to her and hand her the," Verticvs paused to bracket the next words in quotation marks with his fingers, "'fabled crystal bra'. Right? No need for any bloodshed, that's always a good thing."
"Do you think they'll let me hand it to her?"
"I don't see why not. As long as you and the boys check your swords and weapons at the door. Hell, knowing Channel 7, they'll probably even put you on TV."
"You can count on it."
"So where can I find the fabled crystal bra?"
"The one the talking tatties told you I once held in my very own hands?
"Jeese-Louise, that was a while back. It was for a story I was doing for a magazine. I never met the guy who owned it. He was a jeweler in the downtown Miami diamond district. But it shouldn't be hard to find. Everybody knows everybody down there. And King Manny, those sparkly things on top of the bra, the ones the talking tatas couldn't pronounce, they're called Swarovski crystal. It's expensive imported Austrian cut glass."
"Cut glass?" Manny Mojito, King of Little H, seemed disappointed.
"Yeah, but it's real expensive. Chicks dig it for some reason."
"Elita Loresca is no chick," he reminded Verticvs. "She's a goddess."
"Well, she's something else, that's for sure."
"She's a goddess," Sir Manny repeated in a louder voice, "and I'm on a quest for her."
"And so are we!"
Verticvs looked around and saw the Knights of the Mesa Redonda holding their mojitos and swords high in the air toward Sir Manny. Sir Manny drew his own sword and touched the sword tips.
"Before we set forth," he said with deep import, "we must first worship the goddess."
They turned to the makeshift Elita Loresca Hurricane Protection Altar in the office, kneeled before it, flipped on the audio omming device, and joined it in a mixture of communal bliss and intoxication. Verticvs didn't know whether to be alarmed or impressed.
Monday, June 04, 2007
"It's Glinda!" someone shouted.
Sir Manny and the boys applauded and jumped up and down in anticipation like silly school girls, rattling their chainmail against their armor to such an extent that it sounded like thunder rolling across the water. They liked Glinda. She was pretty. And had a sweet voice. And a girlish laugh. They missed that kind of woman in Miami; in these modern times. They last saw her in Oz where she was known as the "Good Witch of the North" and traveled in a glowing globe. But, as the apparition grew nigh, they shuddered and turned away, hiding their eyes from what they could all see was clearly not the wholesome Glinda. Instead, hovering before their eyes, tempting their manhood with lascivious thoughts, was the impossibly large and perfect breasts of the Storm Goddess, Elita Loresca!
"Run away!" Sir Manny shouted. "Run away!"
And they did for it isn't every day you hear tits talk.
They turned slowly, in unison, fearful for what they may find, fearful they may fail one more temptation.
"I am the amazingly large and perfect breasts of the Storm Goddess, Elita Loresca! Bow down before me!"
They fell to the ground and shook in their armor, rattling against the rocks beneath the bridge with the intensity of a Buddy Rich drum roll.
"Mercy, oh great Magumbos!" Sir Manny beseeched. "We are but mortal men and cannot resist such temptation!"
"Forget about my magnificent mammararies," the boobs boasted over the roar of a semi passing overhead. "Fools that you be, focus on the message!"
"The cleavage?" Sir Manny asked with trembling voice.
"The message, you dumbkoff!"
"The message?" Sir Manny asked as he raised his head oh so carefully to look at the remarkable rack.
"Rise, Sir Manny, King of Little H. Only you are worthy to gaze upon my super sweater swellers up close and personal."
"Yes, you! Only you were brave enough to take a peek at my pneumatic knockers."
Sir Manny rose unsteadily to his feet. He had a silly grin on his face, his eyebrows were jumping.
Sir Manny, perhaps because of the mojitos, maybe because of the many rocks scattered willy-nilly under the bridge, tripped and stumbled into the fabulous funobagos.
"Uh ma gah!"
His muffled scream rose from between the double-d's but he couldn't free himself. It was as if someone or some thing was squishing the dangerous Dagmars against both sides of his face.
"I can no breathe!" he gasped, sounding a lot like Scotty from Star Trek.
"Shut up and listen!" the bombastic Berthas boomed. "Elita Loresca is in danger! She is being held against her will in her own temple by...Management!"
"No, not management!" one of the knights shouted.
"Yes, Management!" the congas continued. "The only way they will let her go is if she returns the fabled crystal bra!"
"Da 'fabled crystal bwa'?" Sir Manny asked from the muffled depths of the bra's décolletage.
"The fabled crystal bra."
"But how can she do that if they won't let her leave her temple?" one of the knights asked.
"That's where you come in," the sisters intoned darkly. "Elita is threatening Miami with a hurricane unless they let her out of her contract and until they do, she's not doing anybody any favors. So, if you want to save Miami from a hurricane and free Elita from her prison, you must undertake a quest for the Goddess of the Storm!"
"Oh, no," one of the knights of the Mesa Redonda moaned from his position on the ground. "Not another fooking quest?"
"I HEARD THAT!"
The tatas were in such a titter, whipping Sir Manny's head back and forth as if it were already in a hurricane, that the crown he always wore even when he slept, was knocked asunder. It arced across the night sky and fell onto the rocky pavement with the sound only a cheap gold plated ring can make.
"Never question the kazoos nor doubt the truth the titties speak!"
"Neva! Neva!" Sir Manny managed to muffle through the whiplashing from the wahwahs. "Wha is it you wan?"
The shaking shebas suddenly stopped and let go of Sir Manny's head. Dizzy, he unintentionally grabbed the Garbos to keep from falling and...fell in love.
Although he couldn't see them just yet because he was having a hard time focusing, he knew he had his hands on something special and a silly smile began to grow across his blind man's face as he slowly settled to his knees. His eyes, wider than an astronaut on a space shuttle launch, were averted, lost in carnal pleasure and fantasy. His lips began to tremble as he drooled and made funny, less than kingly sounds, sounds perhaps a pimply faced, hormonally out of control teenage boy might make upon touching his first breast. When his eyesight and his equilibrium returned, the first thing he saw were the humongous ho-hahs in his hands and from that point on he was officially gaga over the gagas.
"Sponge cakes of love," he said with an insipid smile as his eyeballs rolled upward beneath his eyelids. He squeezed the Chiquitas one more time and when they grew larger in his hands, he fell deeper under their spell. "Your wish is my command," he struggled to say as he fought to focus on the fabulous female frontal flesh fins.
Thelma and Louise took turns talking. "Your quest..." Thelma said into his left hand, pausing for Louise to finish the sentence in his right, "is to bring back the bra."
Sir Manny's eyes started to flutter. "The...The bra?"
"The bra," the girls responded through both hands in stereophonic harmony, "the bra Verticus once held in his own hands."
"Verticus?" Hearing his name brought a picture of the publisher up from memory and that image shook him out of his Rabelaisian reverie.
"The bejeweled bra made from Swarvosky...Swakosky...Swarviski..." The pink nosed puppies all cute and cuddly were having a hard time pronouncing the word and, as they struggled to say it, the motion they made beneath the brassiere tickled Sir Manny's palms and he started to laugh.
"DO YOU THINK SOMETHING'S FUNNY?"
Sir Manny yanked his hands away and looked at his palms. They were bleeding from two small holes, holes that could only have been made from the friction caused by...spinning drill bits!
"WELL DO YA, BUB?"
Sir Manny looked at the Storm Goddess' bra. He could see the nipples spinning angrily behind it. He gulped and tried to smile.
"No mam--mar--mamararies--MAM!," he managed to say.
"GOOD!" both yayas yelled. "Now go find Verticus. He once held the bejeweled bra right here beneath this bridge. Get it and bring it to the Temple of the Storm Goddess."
"Here." The magical mambos motioned for Sir Manny to come closer. "Don't be afraid. We won't bite." They started laughing and bouncing up and down out of sync, following the rhythms of their own personalities. "Take the map."
Before he could say, "What map?" a piece of folded paper inched forward out from beneath Thelma's side of the bra.
"TAKE IT!" Thelma snapped.
Sir Manny jumped and before he knew it, had his hand on the map and was ready to pull it away when the once gentle sweater puppies turned on him and snipped at his hand. Sir Manny screamed and fell back onto the rocky road beneath the bridge and looked up at the barking boodoos.
"WOOF! WOOF!" the bra buddies barked and then growled and then laughed so hard they almost popped out of their Vickies, nearly exposing their secrets to the world.
And then, without so much as a good-bye, the jones inducing jugs of pain and pleasure disappeared like a spent balloon zig-zagging back and forth across the night sky before vanishing on an echoing laugh.
Sir Manny could feel his heart racing beneath his chainmail and thought maybe he had just awakened from a dream. When he raised his hand to his heart and saw the map in his hand he knew he hadn't been dreaming and that he wasn't in Kansas anymore or even in Oz because no one has ever spoken to Totos (except for maybe Dorothy) and Totos have never spoken back.
"Alas," he said with a sigh, "I'm back in Miami on another quest where Manchesters mouth off and a goddess wants a bra."
(To Be Continued)
When: Tuesday morning June 5th at 8:30AM
Where: Uva69, 6900 Biscayne Boulevard
(Everyone is responsible for their own check)
Speaker: Marcus Aurelius James, Project Manager, Department of Economic Development, City of Miami.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
MVB has been worshipping at the Elita Loresca Hurricane Protection Altar since the beginning of last hurricane season. Used in conjunction with an audio omming device (see above), it seemed to work. Although we make no guarantees, we're offering it up FREE to our loyal readers just in time for hurricane season!
"Dude," Boss Poop replied, "Winton was on my 'Wall of Shame'."
"Poop," Verticvs said, "who are we to judge? Remember, the poor bastard got sauced waiting at a bar because of a delayed flight. Spending any inordinate amount of time at MIA is grounds for getting drunk."
The MVB staff offered toasts in agreement.
"And who hasn't wanted to punch out a hardass cop?" Verticvs asked.
Again, more toasts were hoisted to that thought.
"Winton," Verticvs continued, "really is my kinda guy. He's basically untainted by corruption and you'd have to look long and far to find some politician like that."
"That's for sure," Bobby Bermudez responded. "Hell, I'd take a drinker and a brawler any day over some low-life thieving bastard." The rest of the MVB staff nodded their heads in agreement.
"And he's for developing downtown Miami," Verticvs continued, "and is much more open minded and forward thinking regarding the Manhattanization of downtown than that nimby guy now occupying his seat."
"You talking about that song and dance man?" Basel asked.
"That's right, Lincoln. Sarnoff is still dancing around my question about the Marine Stadium. It's closing in on two months and he can't or won't tell me if he'd vote to save it if it proved to be salvageable. I betcha Johnny would save it."
"Yeah, but who'd vote for him?" Sir Manny Mojito, King of Little H, asked with a mixed-up British/Cuban accent that could only be invented in Miami. "From where I come from, we have no problem electing drunks to Parliament but I suspect you righteous Yanks are less forgiving."
"Bullshit!" Father Al yelled. "America's all about forgiving."
"Unless you're gay," Basel replied. "Or a Muslim."
Father Al pointed his finger at Basel. "Don't go there, you mincing--"
"Whoe, guys!" Verticvs jumped in between the two. "Let's stop our finger pointing and start embracing everything that makes America great. Johnny's been humbled. He's a changed dude. Let's forgive and forget and get Johnny back into his seat."
"Unless," Bobby Enzyte interjected, "he's against saving the Marine Stadium."
"You got that right."