Friday, September 28, 2007

The Erectvs Equation: Dark Energy is Irony

Verticvs S Erectvs, publisher of MVB, is, among other things, one of the world's-- some would say the world's-- most important astrophysicist living today (although some would argue of all time). Portions of his October interview in the prestigious Science magazine are posted below for our limited but very worthy readers:

Science (S): Professor Erectvs--
Vert (V): Call me "Vert."
S: Okay, Vert, many consider you a renegade astrophysicist. Your theory that dark energy is actually irony is causing quite a stir among scientist all over the world, living and dead.
V: Living and dead?
S: Yes. There have been reports that Einstein is spinning in his grave.
V: Really? Of all people? I would have thought he would have "gotten it" before anyone. After all, isn't he the one who said, "If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts"?
S: Yes, but he was drinking at the time.
V: Hey, that's where some of our best ideas come from. Mine come from mojitos.
S: I'm sure. Anyway, its been over ten years since scientists discovered "dark energy," the invisible substance that has shaken the fields of physics and astronomy. As we all know, that discovery confirmed that nearly 75 percent of the universe is made up of an invisible substance called "dark energy." Only a tiny tiny fraction of the universe is made up of atoms because the last 25-or-so percent seem to be made up of "dark matter"-- enormous amounts of even tinier particles that still haven't been identified.
V: Tell me something I don't know.
S: In fact, "dark energy" seems to be winning a "tug of war" with gravity. In the last five billion years, "dark energy"-- a sort of "negative gravity" or "repulsive force"-- has overcome gravity and is driving galaxies apart at an ever-increasing rate.
V: It's not a pretty picture. It could drive lesser men to drink.
S: And now you come along with what your detractors call the "cockamamied calculation":
DE=MC² :)
V: They're just jealous because they didn't think of it first which, in itself, offers proof of the equation.
S: Others are calling your discovery the "Erectvs Equation," as if it was the most important discovery of all time.
V: Now those are people who know what they're talking about.
S: Speaking of the equation, it seems to be a blatant rip off of Einstein's, which most people will agree is the most famous equation of all time.
V: Famous-shamous. It's all relative.
S: Right. Anyway, as we understand it, "DE" stands for "Dark Energy"--
V: Something Einstein didn't even know existed.
S: Maybe. In any event, the equation continues with "MC²:)". Scientists all over the world-- and a few drunks and lonely men without girlfriends-- want to know what the hell does that mean?
V: In layman's terms it means: mass times the speed of light in a vacuum squared times the "smiley face" which I use to represent "Irony," the invisible factor tearing the universe apart.
S: We're surprised to see you choosing a "smiley face" to represent such a dark ending for life as we know it.
V: Well, that's what makes it so "ironic."
S: Vert, you're not really that deep, are you?
V: Why, what do you mean?
S: People are suggesting that you're merely in it for the money.
V: What people? I want their names.
S: They say this is nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt on your part to bring attention to your real motive: selling t-shirts on
V: Hey, if Einstein was alive today, he'd be doing the same thing. T-shirt sales help offset my meager scientist salary.
S: They're saying you can't even balance your checkbook much less solve the mystery of the universe.
V: But when you do balance your checkbook, the feeling of discovery is just the same.
S: You really are quite insane, aren't you, Vert?
V: They called Copernicus insane, so what?
S: Worst yet, your "cockamamied calculation" implies that there is a loving, caring God what with the stupid "smiley face" you worked into the formula.
V: Hey, you can read my formula anyway you want to for all I care. As a scientist, it captures the beauty of Newton's theory that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. My "smiley face" might look like God peeking His Head through a cold calculation, but it's also the Yin's Yang to "Dark Energy." In other words, it symbolizes "Dark Matter" and balances out the equation.
S: Tell us, Vert, how did you come up with this ridiculous idea? Were you drinking at the time?
V: No, I was stuck in traffic on the Palmetto.
S: The "Palmetto"?
V: An "expressway" in Miami-Dade County. For me it is the "irony conduit" for my theory. Every day thousands of people use it to "rush" to and from work at an average speed just above jogging. It's a joke. A cosmic joke brought on by ourselves because committing to commuting, no matter how long or slow it is, is the means to acquiring things that will insulate you from seeing the world for what it is.
S: And that is, we're afraid to ask?
V: Ironic.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Miami Madness Strikes Again: Carnival Center CEO Gets 42 percent Pay Raise

It costs $26 million a year to run Miami's Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, so giving its CEO Michael Hardy a 42 percent raise today that will bring his base salary up to $326,255 a year may not seem so out of line until you consider what this well-paid "professional" has done to earn it:
  • Among other things, the man under estimated electrical expenses for the PAC's annual budget by basing air-conditioning costs on square feet instead of cubic feet which led it to beg for another $4 million from the county-- in the first seven months of opening its doors.
  • He closed the PAC for the summer to save money since no shows were booked.
  • Despite being on the job since 2002, Hardy only now is trying to figure out what Miami wants and what price it is willing to pay to see it. In other words, he's putting together a marketing survey more than a year after opening.

Any other "professional" would have been fired. Not here in "Bizzaro World" where everything is opposite of what you expect; where the "code" is "Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World."

As we have stated before to our two readers, Hardy has to go. As for PAC programming, again our solution for this unique community is: "Less Bach, More Batista".

UpDate (10/11): No Bonus For You! According to the Miami Herald, the trust that manages Carnival Center, "already 10 days late on a $1.5 million debt payment for construction costs, has decided against awarding" Hardy an annual bonus up to $57,000. And, Commissioner Javier Souto has scheduled a public discussion of Hardy's pay raise for October 16th. Regarding the 42 percent pay raise Hardy got, Souto said he would only raise him "50 cents so they can drink some coffee and wake up about how people feel about the PAC."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Remembering Mr. Bloch

Mr. Bloch was my sixth grade teacher. I hadn't thought about him in quite awhile. Not until yesterday when the Miami Herald ran an obituary about Ruben Blumstein. Blumstein taught Spanish in the Miami-Dade County Schools. He was one of those rare kind of teachers who really enjoyed what he was teaching and made every effort to make sure you did too. He was 81 when he died.

Mr. Bloch was 83. I went to his funeral because he inspired me to greatness. Also because of guilt. I screwed up the class photo because I thought it would be funny to slip a Mad magazine into the picture at the last second. You can tell who knew what was going on. When Mr. Bloch saw the picture he blew a fuse. This really hurt me because we had set up this unique relationship. Every morning I would meet him in the school parking lot to get his keys to open the classroom. It was a great honor for me because I truly looked up to this man. He was so cool. And funny. He was also my first Jew. He was the closest thing in unincorporated Dade you could find at that time who was not only Jewish but also, thanks to the Ed Sullivan Show, my family's favorite comedian: Myron Cohen. One of Mr. Bloch's running gags was reminding the class that no matter how bad his car looked, it still had a few years to go before it officially became an antique and would appreciate it if they treated it with all the respect it deserved. He also introduced us to isometric exercises which was something entirely new back then. And Jewish humor and the art of self-deprecation. I loved that guy. So when he lost it over the official class picture, it really hurt. I stopped being his go-to-boy that opened the classroom and the windows and made sure everything was ready. In fact I stopped speaking to him and refused to buy the picture-- even after he tried to make amends.

Years later when I'm married with kids of my own, our paths crossed in a supermarket. I reintroduce myself and apologize for being such a dipshit a quarter-of-a-century before. He treats me like a long lost friend. Over time, my family becomes his family and one day he gives me the photo that started it all.

He left teaching to become a guidance counselor and when he retired, this former World War II soldier spent his summers in Israel volunteering on archaeological digs. His wife preceded him in death and his children buried him nearly ten years ago in the far reaches of Broward County. So, although he is gone, he, like Mr. Blumstein I'm sure, will never be forgotten.

Friday, September 21, 2007

MVB Welcomes Condo Vultures

There's a new south Florida blog called Strategies of the Condo Vultures which we highly recommend for anyone thinking about buying a condo in "paradise." It's part of a larger realtor website offering a heads-up on condo deals, financing, and insider information on the south Florida condo market. We think it could be one of the best tools out there for someone searching for their own little piece of domestic bliss in "paradise," aka south Florida. In fact, we think so highly of it, we've made it a permanent click through on our sidebar.

New Mexico continues to forge ahead with the world's first civilian spaceport while Florida and Miami...

Well, New Mexico is proceeding with the world's first civilian spaceport as Florida sits idly by and allows that upstart little state to usurp our rightful place in history. Recently Spaceport America selected the architectural firm of URS/Foster + Partners to design the main terminal and hanger building in that state's godforsaken desert (follow the link to some amazing conceptual images right out of the future). MVB has been advocating from nearly the first day of its inception to use south Florida's existing infrastructure to get the jump on those pesky New Mexicans. The Virgin Galactic approach to spaceflight involves taking off and landing on a runway two miles long. We have one 35 miles west of Miami smack dab in the middle of the Everglades. It's been sitting idle since Congress killed the U.S. supersonic passenger jet program in the mid-seventies (the runway once known as the "Jetport" was built out there to diminish the impact of the sound of the jet engines which experts feared would create quality of life issues). Only one person in government showed any interest in the site. That guy, under former Governor Bush, was given the job of getting a civilian spaceport off the ground. In his email back to us he said he never knew the runway existed and wanted more info. We sent him a picture of it and its history. Never heard from him after that. But at least we tried.

In the same press release, it was also announced that Northrop Grumman Corp has invested "100 percent" in Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites which designs and constructs the spaceship. That investment of money and brains can only help speed up the arrival of the day when ordinary-- albeit rich-- people will be able to fly into space on a daily basis. Oh, yeah, we were also informed that Sharaf Travel in Dubai has been designated the world's first travel agency specializing in spaceflight for the masses. Oh, please!

Still, it may not be too late for Florida to reclaim its destiny with the cosmos because, believe it or not, Scaled Composites has some competition. The Paris based European company EADS Astrium is developing a much simpler approach to getting people into space and maybe, just maybe, a state or local governmental official with just a little vision might want to offer our nearly forgotten artifact of past visionaries as a future testing site and spaceport. Not having to construct a two mile long runway will save EADS Astrium millions and effectively advance their program along at a much more rapid pace.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

MVB's Inflatable Miami Finger Monument

In the course of human events when it becomes apparent that no matter what you do the world continues its downward slide into the shitter, we dedicate this monument to those who could have made a difference but didn't. Although inspired by the cowardly lunatics and myopic nincompoops sitting on the Miami, Miami Beach, and Miami-Dade County commissions, this monument owes its singular inflated importance to the one and only, the Grinch who stole Hope: Miami-Dade commissioner Natacha Seijas. At first her suggestion that the proposed Bay of Pigs Garage & Museum land grab behind the American Airlines Arena would become a world renown landmark rivaling the Sydney Opera House made us want to end it all in a flurry of mass suicide. Instead, we decided to create this monument. Made of green vinyl, the inflatable edifice to those who gravely disappoint and make us want to puke, is available for rental for those equally frustrated by the incompetence and impropriety of their elected representatives.

Please note: This monument is also dedicated to the private sector, all nimby's and in particular those who had no problem with turning the Noguchi designed Pepper Fountain in Bayfront Park into the base for a balloon ride.

UpDate (5/24): Sometimes you have to look for signs that there is justice in the world. Usually it's on the back page or buried in a newspaper. In this instance, it was the last item in a column in Miami Today. Bayfront Park Management Trust (two misnomers if there ever were) has requested legal help to hire an outside attorney from the Miami City Commission to get their money back. SkyLift Holdings defaulted on about $103,000 in payments due to the "Trust" before filing for Chapter 11 reorganization. For the record, the bureaucratic bozo behind this cockamamied scheme: Trust Executive Director, Timothy F. Schmand.

Monday, September 17, 2007

MVB True Believers Club: Things that give us hope...

despite living here:

The electric car. CBS' Sunday Morning show had this exciting and hope inducing story on next generation electric cars. GM's Volt looks so promising and we wish them and the entire American auto industry luck.

Because the Republic of Singapore experiences one of the worst traffic congestion problems in the world, it has come up with an enviable solution that portends what other governments may find themselves doing in the near future to reduce the number of cars on the road:
  • Anyone who wants to buy a car must bid for a "Certificate of Entitlement" (COE). Bid prices vary depending upon the number of units available for bidding and the size of the car. Unless someone can show proof of owning a COE, that person cannot buy a car. The COE is valid for ten years and the bidder pays the lowest successful price for that category. COEs are not transferable. COEs can be re-evaluated after ten years for an extension of another five or ten years. However, if one bids and wins an extension, no further extensions will be entertained, i.e., after the extension, the COE no longer becomes renewable. You can bid for a COE via an ATM, phone banking or online banking facilities at participating bank and new car dealerships. The money raised by selling COEs helps fund public transportation-- from building new mass transit lines to maintaining and improving infrastructure. There are three car sizes.
  • Category A: Cars up to 1600 cc.
  • Category B: Cars above 1600cc.
  • Category C: Used cars.
COEs are further broken down into:
  • Regular (365 days)
  • Weekend
Price then for a COE is determined by the size of the car, the number of units available, market demand, and length of use. But this creative funding model for public transportation doesn't stop there. Singapore also imposes an ANNUAL ROAD TAX on every car based on the size of its engine:
  • 600cc = $400.00
  • 601-1000cc = $400.00 + 0.25 cents for every cc above 600 up to 1000.
  • 1001-1600cc = $500.00 + 0.75 cents for every cc above 1001 up to 1600.
  • 1601-3000cc = $950.00 + $1.50 for every cc above 1601 up to 3000.
  • Over 3000cc = $3050.00 + $2.00 for every cc above 3000. As an example, if you own a big monster with 6000cc (366 cubic inches), you pay $3,050.00 PLUS $2.00/cc above 3000 which is an extra $6,000.00 or $9,050.00 PER YEAR. The fabled American muscle car 427 engine (7,000cc) would set you back an extra $11,050.00 PER YEAR.
We like the idea of taxing drivers to pay for mass transit. Using a graduated scale based on engine size and the amount of use seems fair and appears to be viable proven way to wean Americans off the car while raising money for mass transit. Now if we could only come up with a way of taxing rude drivers. Since we live in a community recognized as having the rudest drivers in the U.S., its incomprehensible how much money could be raised for local mass transit projects such as the... Baylink monorail.

UpDate (9/19): According to today's Miami Herald, south Florida drivers spend over a work week (50 hours) each year idling in rush hour traffice, costing the local economy $2.7 billion in lost worker time, etc, or $903 per driver in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Florida Man Turns Water Into Fire

Yeah, it would be "something." In fact, it would be, in another choice John Kanzius word, "neat." Although the Miami Herald picked up this story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, it attributes this most amazing discovery to a Pittsburgh man when in actuality, Mr. Kanzius is a semi-retired modern Prometheus living on the west coast of Florida. It seems one day when Kanzius was trying to discover a way to fight cancer and desalinate sea water with an RF energy field in his garage, he accidentally set the water on fire. To see water turn into fire and to learn more, please click here for the most amazing science lesson of your life. Kanzius rockets straight to the top of the field as a nominee for MVB's most prestigious "MVB Big Idea of the Year Award." Way to go, John Kanzius! And remember this: the idea that saved the world came from a guy who lives in...Florida.

The thought that Kanzius might have actually stumbled onto something that may save the planet makes us want to get up and dance. It also makes us think about Arthur Brown-- a Brit rocker we're sure Kanzius danced to when he was a much younger man. Although he was a one-hit wonder, he influenced bands like Kiss and Alice Cooper. His sole hit was way back in '68 called "Fire" and, thanks to modern science and YouTube-- the same kind of alchemy Kanzius is working with in his garage-- we get to see it in all of its surreal weirdness. If you're like us at MVB, we will use any little positive sign that things are going to get better for an excuse to dance, so please, get up and shake your thang.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Miami: White Trash City, U.S.A

MIAMI-- In order to promote Miami's attitude towards its architectural, artistic, and cultural treasures, the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce unveiled its new ad campaign aimed at attracting those who don't need culture and won't miss it. Called "Miami: White Trash City, U.S.A." the campaign's message will be delivered in English and Spanish. The official band for the new campaign will be Southern Culture on the Skids.
When asked why old white guys were used as models, a spokesman for the Chamber said, "We couldn't use women or minorities because they might sue us for depicting them in such a manner so we went for the next best thing: the aging white male good-ol'-boy population. Since few of them still reside here, the likelihood of getting sued is much less-- especially since they'll probably think it's some sort of compliment."

Miami: The White Trash City

One of our favorite local blogs, Boom or Bust: Miami, recently posted some great shots of the new balloon ride getting ready to launch in downtown Miami. We have been looking forward to seeing that new attraction get off the ground for sometime now but were surprised to find where the City of Miami allowed it to set up shop: right on top of the Claude and Mildred Pepper Fountain. The fountain and Bayfront Park as we now know it was designed by famed sculptor and landscape architect the late Isamu Noguchi beginning in 1979. Over the course of a decade, Noguchi and the city grew the park from a non-descript collection of bad architecture (a public library now demolished) and a hodgepodge of trees and perverts into a world-class park. Part of the design included a laser tower which bounced laser beams off buildings all around downtown. The laser tower and the fountain have been non-functioning testimonials to good ideas gone bad in the hands of the visionless for many years.

And what a shame. The lasers were removed years ago and the bottom of the tower was turned into a cheap kiosk. The fountain, because of its design-- at one time the city estimated it cost over $300,000 a year to operate and maintain (the electric bill was humongous because of the power needed to run the giant pumps to create the illusion of waves)-- eventually was shut down due to operating costs and maintenance problems. A quick Google search shows the Claude and Mildred Pepper Foundation is still working to get it up and running consistently since it lists a recent grant to the Bayfront Park Management Trust, a misnomer if ever there was one (in 2004, minutes of a City of Miami meeting show resolutions to fund maintenance of the fountain and acceptance of a proposal for the balloon attraction). We wonder if the Foundation knows of the fountain's fate?*

This is just another example of MVB's take on local government: Miami is a white trash city where we prop up balloon rides on the work of one of the planet's most visionary and influential artists. From the sad state of the Miami Marine Stadium to the forgotten and discarded genius of a world class artist and his esteemed memorial to one of this region's few politicians who wasn't in it for the money, Miami is a white trash city where our best ideas end rusting and neglected up on blocks in Miami's weed infested front yard.

*UpDate (7pm): MVB, your activist blog, sent an email to Tom Herndon, chairman of the the Claude and Mildred Pepper Foundation this afternoon. We got a response a little after five today. It appears not only did he not know about Miami using the Noguchi fountain for a base to launch balloon flights, he is discussing it with the board. We also emailed every TV station and the Miami Herald and Miami Today. The Herald got back and spent nearly 80-minuets on our site gleaning information-- and hopefully some indignant attitude. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

UpDate (9/14): The Miami Herald ran a story today in the Business section touting the attraction. Nothing about building it on top of the Noguchi fountain-- although a huge color photo shows just that. I guess we don't have as much influence as we thought we had.

UpDate (10/11): Miami Today joins us a month after this post in condemning this asinine project in an editorial by its publisher Michael Lewis titled: City's centerpiece of beauty and history gone with the wind. It's a great read and provides a deeper history regarding the fountain.

UpDate (4/18/08): Sometimes you win by attrition. Miami Today announced that the balloon ride is kaput. Couldn't find enough riders to make a profit. A $67,500 deposit by the company will be used to restore the fountain. Too bad the fountain's fate rests in the hands of its Trust. Never heard from Mr. Herndon regarding this matter after he was initially informed about it-- he learned about it through us-- at least officially (who knows what goes on behind closed doors in this town). We wonder what kind of effort he made to scuttle the plan in the first place. It appears that he allowed the cheap balloon ride to fester for 7 months. What if the attraction had become a success? If this is the kind of watch guard the fountain has, good luck to us all-- or to at least those who aren't easily impressed with cheap thrill rides.

UpDate (4/27): The balloon company has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy saving itself from its creditors in order to find funds to pay them off. Which is to say, the "ride" isn't going away anytime soon.

UpDate (5/24): Sometimes you have to look for signs that there is justice in the world. Usually it's on the back page or buried in a newspaper. In this instance, it was the last item in a column in Miami Today. Bayfront Park Management Trust (two misnomers if there ever were) has requested legal help to hire an outside attorney from the Miami City Commission to get their money back. SkyLift Holdings defaulted on about $103,000 in payments due to the "Trust" before filing for Chapter 11 reorganization. For the record, the bureaucratic bozo behind this cockamamied scheme: Trust Executive Director, Timothy F. Schmand.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Miami: Hobbled by the visionless since 1981*

Today's Miami Herald ran a story on its front page called "Where Art Thou?" It's about the county's missing art in public places. At least 20 works valued at over more than $860,000 are damaged or missing. 10 percent of the collection (87 pieces) are missing outright. Without any major sleuthing on the reader's part it appears to us that the answer to the Herald's question can be traced to two people: husband and wife Ivan Rodriguez and Vivian Donnel Rodriguez. Mr. Rodriguez is the current director of Art in Public Places, assuming responsibility in 2000. His wife was the public art director from 1991-2000. In any other community this kind of blatant nepotism might raise an eyebrow or two. Not here. It appears that the merits for many top county jobs are not based on competency, but rather upon who you know. Regarding Ms. Rodriguez' competency, Mayor Calros Alverez forced her to resign from her most recent county job as its parks director. It also appears nothing came up missing in our public art works until Ms. Rodriguez assumed command because, according to Cesar Trasobares, director of the program from 1985-1991, he couldn't "remember art ever missing from the collection."

Until Hurricane Andrew. The Rodriguez' blame our lost art on the hurricane and an incomplete electronic database Trasobares created upon leaving office that "crashed." Ms. Rodgriguez is quoted as saying she had inherited "an inventory that was on some sort of disc."

The article raises a few questions and memories:
  • We don't remember that many county offices getting damaged during Hurricane Andrew, so why blame the loss of our public art on it? We suspect somethng else is up with the missing stuff.

  • Didn't Trasobares keep a back-up disc as insurance against incompetence and natural disasters?

  • Has anyone checked the Rodriguez home? (Not that they would abscond with the art, perhaps they are just borrowing it for awhile and plan on returning it before Ivan retires this year and forgot about it).

  • And what's with Cindi Nash, chairman of the independent Public Art Trust which approves artwork and expenditures? What does she know that we and the county don't know? Depite a county audit to get to the bottom of the missing art, she is "satisfied that missing art is no longer a problem for the program." She says they have it under control now, that "things haven't gone missing in a lot of years."

  • In the article, it briefly mentions the 1982 brouhaha created by then Eastern Airlines CEO and ex-astronaut moon orbiter Frank Borman who nixed the county's plan to buy James Rosenquist's huge (17' x 46') mural Star Thief for a new MIA wing because he hadn't seen anything like that in space. We like his more succinct response we remember from TV, perhaps the world's first sound bite, which was not quoted in the Herald: "That's not what space looks like, there's no bacon in space." Bowing under the supreme spaceman's pressure, the county decided Frank knew best and passed on forking out the $285,000 asking price. In 1997, Star Thief was auctioned for over $2 million and now resides in the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. What piece of our public art can be said to have increased in value like that? Hell, with enough Rosenquists, we could have paid for the construction of MIA's south wing.

  • The article also mentions Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen's Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels but doesn't mention part of its history. After its installation, it had to be shut down because it turned out to be a hazard to the blind (potential impalings) and handicapped. It remained shut down for years and was left to deteriorate until its recent "rediscovery."
  • And, of course, how can we forget the most recent Art in Public Places guffaw when developer Raúl Masvidal tried to hoodwink the county by slipping in a $150,000 sculpture he kept for himself while ostensibly purchasing another for the public housing headquarters he never built. By the way, the names of the sculptures have something in common with the Rosenquist piece: their titles are all space related. Masvidal's "official" piece, a towering painted bronze sculpture of tea cups, is called Space Station. The "unofficial" piece (the giant watermelon slice earmarked for his backyard) is called Mars. Perhaps this should be taken as some sort of omen for artists submitting to Miami-Dade county: what ever you do, never ever name your work after anything space related because it will only bring misfortune and public disgrace.
UpDate (9/1/08): Mars, that $150,000 21-foot slice of bronze watermelon by famed artist Julio Larraz, is sold at auction for...$100. Arizona Federal, who loaned money to Masvidal, forced the auction and was the only bidder. We can only hope the fruit's new owner will donate the piece to the county so that it can be placed in the lobby of our Government Center as a reminder to bureaucrats and politicians alike that there is a price to pay for dining at the public trough. Well, financially it might just be a slap on the hand, but your name will long live in ignominy for any appetite for getting rich off the sweat of the common man.

*Officially for this posting but probably much longer.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

MVB Man flies high over the Florida chain gang

Man on Captial at Brickell Bldg (MoCaB): Look! It's MVB Man!
Woman on Capital at Brickell Bldg(WoCaB): MVB Man?
MoCaB: Miami Vision Blogarama Man! He's got vision!
WoCaB: X-ray vision?
MoCaB: No, vision-vision! He sees things the way he wants them to be and they become just that!
WoCaB: Really?
MoCaB: Really. A while back, he wanted Florida to bring back the chain gang.
WoCaB: The chain gang?
MoCaB: The chain gang. Now the Miami Herald reports Florida's Dept. of Corrections Secretary James McDonough wants to do the same thing!
WoCaB: And you think he had something to do with that?
MoCaB: MVB Man's got a blog and he knows how to use it.
WoCaB: A blog? But what's that got to--
MoCaB: He uses it to affect change.
WoCaB: How's he do that?
MoCaB: He's got a secret weapon.
WoCaB: A "secret weapon"?
MoCaB: Email. He sends anyone who counts emails linked to his latest posting and urges his two readers to do the same.
WoCaB: Are you one of his two readers?
MoCaB: Damn right. And proud of it.
WoCaB: Oh, you are so worthy.
MoCaB (fending off her amorous moves and pushing her toward the condo door): Not here on the balcony. Let's go inside.
WoCaB: What difference does it make? You live in a freaking glass condo!
MoCaB: But the balcony doesn't have air-conditioning.
WoCaB: Ha! You're worried about MVB Man seeing you, aren't you?
MoCaB: Trust me, MVB Man has better things to do than watching me make love to you.
WoCaB: Oh yeah, then why does he keep circling your condo?
MoCaB: What?
WoCaB: Ha! Made you look!
MoCaB: Oh, you little minx! (Slaps her tight little SoBe toucas) Wait till I get you behind these floor-to-ceiling glass walls!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Copy we wished we had copped from our local blogs: Habla Mierda on driving in south Florida

"One thing that I don’t think I blow out of proportion is the state of driving in South Florida. If anything will completely devastate your outlook on fellow man, it’s having to drive a car here. If anything would turn Mother Theresa into an orphan-slaughtering crack-smoking homeless whore it would be to share the road with fellow South Floridians while you’re on a motorcycle."
--Habla Mierda, 9/6

There is Rejoicing in MVBville Today! The Florida Supreme Court Slaps the Hands in the Public Cookie Jar

In what the Miami Herald describes as a "stunning decision," the Florida Supreme Court yesterday made it more difficult for local government to rob Peter Public to pay Paul Megaproject. Instead of leaving it up to the whims of city commissions to decide whether or not public projects costing hundreds of millions of dollars should tap into community redevelopment agency (CRA) funds-- generated by property taxes within a specific blighted community slated to be used for improvements there-- now the state requires voter approval. This means that projects like the Port of Miami tunnel are in jeopardy since the city of Miami couldn't' figure how to contribute their $50 million share of the $1.2 billion+ project without tapping CRA funds-- which is a good thing from our point-of-view. Now, maybe our elected officials will consider a less costly alternative MVB has been advocating since day one: reviving use of the already existing rail line running into the port. Also, that extra $50 million burning a hole in the Omni CRA pocket can now be directed towards a BayLink monorail-- which actually serves the people and runs through the Omni CRA.

UpDate (10/11): The port tunnel project gets a reprieve from its developers. Instead of cancelling the project because of the missed September 30th deadline, they will now extend the deadline indefinitely until closing. This extra time will allow the City of Miami to find the $50 million needed to make this a go.

UpDate (12/13/08): Christmas comes early with the announcement that the tunnel project succumbs to a well-deserved death when the state and Bouygues Travaux Publics can't agree on terms. Hurray!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Driven to Fantasies of Civil Disobedience by the Bay of Pigs Museum

You awake with a start knowing the Miami-Dade County Commission of Clowns has done it again. Two days ago this Senate of Stooges voted unanimously to explore the feasibility of building a Bay of Pigs museum on one of the last parcels of bayfront land, land promised to voters that would remain park land in perpetuity. "Perpetuity" is Miami's version of a "New York minute": it's a lot shorter than you think.

So you awake in a cold sweat knowing your impotency and not like being reminded of it. In your fevered mind, you wish someone would firebomb the collection of yellowing photographs, a frayed rope and an old shoe in a building in Little Havana that basically makes up what is now a museum to that lost cause 40-years ago, making the whole question about museum building moot.

But you know you can't. There are laws against inciting that kind of civil disobedience. So you get up and go to your computer and post another missive on your blog thinking you're a modern version of Howard Beale, the insane protagonist of Robert Altman's "Network." Instead of urging your readers to throw up their windows and yell that they are "mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore!" you sit down and type out a call for them to email their commissioners an earful of anger, frustration, and threats to vote them out of office if they betray your trust one more time. In that regard, please feel free to copy and paste the following email addresses into your favorite email program to let them know how you feel:

Mayor Carlos Alverez, Chairman Bruno Barreiro, Barbara Jordan, Dorrin Rolle, Audrey Edmonson, Sally Heyman, Rebeca Sosa,
Carlos Gimenez, Katy Sorenson, Dennis Moss, Javier Souto, Joe Martinez, Jose "Pepe" Diaz

Natacha Seijas is the only commissioner who doesn't have a simple email interface. You will have to go to this page to open an email form:

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What's worse than a hole-in-the-head? A Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami

The last thing Miami needs is a Bay of Pigs museum. County commissioners voted unanimously yesterday to study a proposal to build one on bayfront land that was promised to be held in perpetuity as an open space park to voters. Now there is talk about building not only a museum to a lost cause and one of America's most embarrassing moments but also a multi-story parking garage which the museum would sit on. This monstrosity to bad taste and broken promises would be built behind the American Airlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat. MVB understands how this could happen what with the political pressure exerted by the exile community, but it still disappoints us to no end when we see not one elected official question the merits of such an asinine plan. Someone representing the "other public" should have said "No way, Jose! Build it in Cuba at the original site when you get around to freeing your homeland. Leave what's left of our public bayfront land to us."

Monday, September 03, 2007

Is it just me, or is there something wrong with this picture?

  • Miami Today writes about the Miami Parking Authority's proposal to tear down and build a new garage in downtown Miami. The "Authority's" plan is to tear down the Courthouse Center Garage and build a bigger one in its place. What we don't understand is why don't they include affordable housing above it? Yes, the plan shows some forward thinking regarding ground level retail, but why not ten or twenty floors of affordable housing above it in a joint venture between private and public enterprise? More than another parking garage, downtown needs affordable housing.
  • The Miami Herald writes today about the Downtown Development Authority getting criticism from all sides regarding its role and how it spends its money. Many, like MVB, think it should spend more time in the trenches downtown instead of in its lofty 29th floor where its annual rent is $250,000. May we suggest they take up Mayor Diaz's suggestion of becoming more grounded, i.e., moving into a storefront location where the sidewalks are cracked and the pedestrians are on crack. That 29th floor panoramic view the DDA claims it needs to sell downtown can easily be bettered when necessary by taking the express elevator up to the 55th floor of the Miami City Club where they already are a member. BTW, one of MVB's heroes, the elusive and modest City of Miami Auditor General Victor Igwe suggested the DDA get real nearly five years ago when he told the City Commission the agency could save up to $91,000 a year if they moved to cheaper digs.
  • What's with India? They're planning on selling a $2,500 car there early next year. It's called a Tata and it's being labeled as the "world's cheapest car." Making it possible for India's emerging middle-class to own a car seems like madness to us. By 2025 more than 500 million people will be able to afford a Tata. What's wrong with improving mass transit? The gasoline burning car may well be the death of us all. We keep hearing the death knell as a Marx's Brothers exit line with Groucho tapping his cigar in his trademark crouching lope while leading his brothers and us over a cliff: "Ta-ta! The trailing screams are punctuated with Harpo's honking horn; so, so apropos for the automobile.
  • Finally, to sum up this posting, for lack of oxygen the patient died, for lack of vision the world died. Erectus 9:3
*The first correct answer gets a "winner's dinner" with Verticvs S. Erectvs (or a reasonable facsimile) sometime in the distant future at a restaurant TBD. The answer must include the artist's name (so easy) and the painting's name. Any reference to the actual topic counts for something too. We just haven't figured out what that will be yet.

UpDate 2/16/08: Dana Nottingham, the DDA's director, finally gets the heave ho with a $180,000 severance deal.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

MVB True Believers Club: What We Believe!

You believe Miami will get a baseball stadium where it belongs, the mainland will be connected to the beach by a monorail, and, despite what the government says,
astronauts have been known to tip a few before a launch,

and space aliens exist.

Your only question is,
Did Orestes sabotage the missile?
(T-shrits with slogan available at