Friday, November 30, 2007

Here it comes, ready or not

Christmas season is here. Immediately after Thanksgiving, in Miami, tents start to spring up where Christmas trees begin selling. We still use a 30 year old artificial tree. Can't tell the difference when the tinsels are on it, and I don't have to worry about dumping the tree after December 25th.

Christmas Trees

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Spider Web

This could be the floor of a house that belongs to Spiderman, but it's not. This is the pavement in front of an upscale building in Miami. Pretty clean for a sidewalk.

Squeaky Clean Sidewalk

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Shadok

DP community, meet my Shadok. It lives in my office in Miami. I wish I had a Gibi to keep my Shadok company. I hope I can find a Gibi for sale some day.

Missing Gibi

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lonely Benches

Deserted courtyard on a slow college morning.

Concrete Benches

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ceiba Speciosa, The Sequel

Here is another floss silk tree in South Miami. This one has no thorns on the lower part of its trunk as the one you saw on November 8th. You can see that the branches tend to grow horizontally and what its flowers and leaves look like.

The Sequel

Sunday, November 25, 2007

No. 13

This is inside the Dan Marino's Fine Foods & Spirits restaurant in South Miami, inside the Sunset Place. Dan Marino was the famous quarter back wearing the No. 13 jersey of the professional football team Miami's Dolphins in the 70's when they were champions. His restaurant chain is also found in St. Petersburg (Florida, not in Russia,) Orlando and Las Vegas. I was pleasantly surprised that the food was very good. I expected to see a rowdy crowd of football fans and big screen TV games everywhere inside this restaurant, but its customers of today is mostly quiet family type and elderly people. There was only one medium size TV set on the wall. Can't figure why that is so. This shot was clandestinely taken just before the crowd arrived.


Saturday, November 24, 2007


This car dealership is on South Miami's US1. It always has a large supply of spanking new Chevrolet Corvettes, which are the American darlings of sport cars. They always blast horribly loud music to attract customers. This view is from the top of the Target/Best Buy shopping complex across the highway. Today, the new attraction is the 0% interest for 5 years. More debts, anyone?

Sporty Chevrolet

Friday, November 23, 2007

Amy Billig

This memorial is at the Peacock Park in Coconut Grove, a nice place to take a leisurely walk in a vast open space.


Thursday, November 22, 2007


Imagine that every one of these boats you see here has a turkey dinner being prepared onboard, if you are American or live in America. If not, this is a peaceful view of Dinner Key harbor, a favorite corner of mine in Coconut Grove. What a beautiful Thursday this is. Happy Thanksgiving, or simply, Happy Thursday!

Turkey Day

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

One-Armed Bandits

AKA slot machine, fruit machine or poker machine. They are called "bandits" because they are responsible for about 70% of the income for casinos. These are found on the Imagination cruise ship and they are the most popular gambling method on board. Because gambling is still illegal in Florida, these machines can only be operated after the ship is off the US territorial waters (12 miles and beyond off the coast line.)

Gambling Ship

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sweet Tooth

Sugar Canes, anyone?

Sugar Canes

Monday, November 19, 2007

Exotic Fruits

Shinko Apple-Pears (or Asian Pears) and California grown Persimmons fresh from the growers to the trucks to the distributors to the retailers. This is a load ready to get to the consumers via the van behind. The mark up is substantial at the consumer sites so there is a nice profit margin in this business.

Fresh Fruits

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday in the Grove

A glimpse at typical street scenes on a Sunday afternoon in Coconut Grove where life is good.

Good Life

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Yard Sale

In Miami, because the weather is so good, week ends are favorite time for yard sales. It is just like a ritual, Saturdays and Sundays see yard sales spring up all around the city. Here is a big yard sale in Coconut Grove. This one is a bit different than typical yard sales because it has many large pieces of furniture for bargain hunters. I don't know what they would do in case of rain, but again, this is supposed to be perfect weather here. You can see that all the convertible cars are coming out in force and no rain is in the forecast.

Bargains A'Plenty

Friday, November 16, 2007

Latin Jazz

A free outdoor concert night for students of Miami Dade College. Latin Jazz Festival week kicks off tonight to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the college. Miami is unusually chilly from a potent cold front and it was too much to wait for Arturo Sandoval to show up so I left early. Why do they always keep the audience wait so long for the main event? Too cold, sorry!

Arturo Sandoval, Not

Thursday, November 15, 2007


This shot taken today at the cruise ship terminal D in Miami again got me in trouble. A guard gave me a "no photos allowed here" hand signal with a severe hostile look. He even stopped his truck to watch me to make sure I fold my camera down. What are these people thinking? The terrorists will stroll around town with a Canon G5 to take picture of targets? Give me a break! That goes to show how smart the security leadership is. Pathetic! Single digit IQ! This ship is about to sail for a 4 day cruise. I went on board (through many layers of security check) for a brief time to inspect, but it did not meet my high standard for high sea pleasure. Sorry to say.

Carnival Imagination

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sunset Place

South Miami premier open air shopping mall at the intersection of Sunset Drive and Red Road.

Red Sunset

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

US Presidential Politics

In the US, presidential campaigns begin earlier and earlier every year. Although the election for a new US president is more than a year away, the debate starts to heat up as campaigns for the primary elections are kicking into high gear. The primaries are for the two major political parties to pick their best candidate they think can beat the other side in the general election in November 2008. It's more complicated than you think, and as can be seen on the poster in their campus, the University of Miami's students have begun to pay attention to the politics that will affect their lives for the next 4 years or more.

Political Debates

Monday, November 12, 2007

HAL 2007

Inside this reflective dome is certainly a security camera. This is one of many inside this Baptist South hospital complex. The photo shows the front desk of the medical imaging record department. They probably have a recording of my flash going off taking this picture today. This eerily looks like HAL of the 2001: A Space Odyssey fame, except that it is not red.

Big Brother

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Brunch

Croissants, donuts, bagels and industrial strength toaster for a Sunday breakfast at a major American hotel chain in Miami. Other goodies like fresh fruits, juices and bad stuffs such as eggs, sausages, cholesterol spiked potatoes etc... are also nearby. From the traumatic time that I encountered last night at the Orange Bowl, I feel like eating all the eggs, ham, sausages and especially potatoes I can this morning.

Final Curtain

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Pit

The final score board says it all: Game over, University of Virginia 48 - University of Miami 0! This is the worst Miami Hurricanes loss ever at home in the Orange Bowl. A shut out! Since this is the last game and the Orange Bowl will be no longer, this is the final curtain! This is the pit! The entire stadium was stunt and speechless. Good night!

Final Curtain

Friday, November 9, 2007

Collectible Mini

Here is a rare original Mini Cooper. I think the new Mini Cooper looks better, but this one is a classic. There are only a few in Miami and this is one of them. Once in a while, they come out to participate in the yearly Miami Orange Bowl parade. Sadly, that event is now defunct.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ceiba Speciosa

The floss silk tree (Ceiba Speciosa, formerly Chorisia Speciosa), is a species of deciduous tree native to the tropical and subtropical forests of South America. It belongs to the same family as the Baobab and the Kapok trees.

Resisting to drought, its trunk is bottle-shaped, generally bulging in its lower third. It is studded with thick conical prickles which serve to store water for dry times. In younger trees, the trunk is green due to its high chlorophyll content, which makes it capable of performing photosynthesis when leaves are absent; with age it turns to gray. The branches tend to be horizontal and are also covered with prickles. This tree is in its deciduous period and only a few leaves and purple flowers remain. You can tell this is a young tree because its trunk is green. Don't climb it, you'll be all red and wet!

Thorny Bulge

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Purple Hair

It's not too early to start planning for Mardi Gras. February arrives sooner than you think so here is the very early stage of gearing up for supplies. I like this purple hair and butterfly mask set. It would look fabulous in real life.

Butterfly Face

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Granny FeelGood's

A new restaurant is in the process of grand opening in North Miami, way North in the 205th street block off Biscayne Blvd.

The rate of restaurants opening and closing in Miami is very high, proving that restaurant is a real tough business. This one is quite large and I was attracted by the racket inside by workers to get it ready for opening.

Natural Foods

Monday, November 5, 2007

Wind Symphony Orchestra

Miami Dade College has a wind symphony orchestra that is composed of mostly students, plus faculties and professional musicians. This performance sampled the music of John Philip Sousa, Gustav Holst and others... A very nice way to spend an evening.

No Strings

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Miami Orange Bowl

This may be a last look at this historic Miami Orange Bowl stadium. It was built by the City of Miami Public Works Department. Construction began in 1936 and was completed in December 1937. The Orange Bowl was originally named Burdine Stadium after Roddy Burdine, one of Miami's pioneers. The stadium was renamed in 1959 for the Orange Bowl Classic college football game, which was played at the Orange Bowl following every season from 1937 to 1995.

Its future is now uncertain as the University of Miami has announced that they will move out of the Orange Bowl after the 2007 season and begin play at Dolphin Stadium in 2008 in a 25-year deal. The last UM vs. Virginia game will be played here next Saturday to a sold out stadium for the last hurrah!

Burdine Stadium

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Can't Win Them All

A group of University of Miami's alumni moving about during the football game today at the Orange Bowl. They wear their distinctive alumni overcoats. Must be hot in there under this tropical hot sun! Especially that we lost today's game that was very poorly played. Next week's game will be a very important event for Miami because it will be the last game played in the Orange Bowl. Come back here to see what happen then on November 10th. Go Canes, even when you lose!

Go Canes

Friday, November 2, 2007

Boom Boom

Every year, alumni of the University of Miami gather at this time to participate in the week long home coming. Tonight is the biggest night with parade, traditional boat burning (to intimidate foot ball adversaries,) firework and concert. UM's President Donna Shalala is seen here riding the convertible in the parade with UM's mascot Sebastian the Fighting Ibis. They both wear UM's traditional alumni overcoats.

Donna Shalala was nicknamed "Boom Boom" when she served under President Carter as assistant housing secretary. That is to say she is bold, determined and never stops until she wins at whatever she does. At 20 she was a Peace Corps volunteer, living in a mud hut on the plains of Iran and teaching the locals to read English-language agricultural equipment manuals. In 1993 President Clinton appointed her U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) where she served for eight years.

Donna E. Shalala became Professor of Political Science and President of the University of Miami on June 1, 2001.

UM's President

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Blue, Bleu, Azul, Blau, Blu, Xanh

This car is Blue, Bleu, Azul, Blau, Blu, Xanh. Photo not of today, but taken in June 2007.