Sunday, November 30, 2008

Please Help

Miami's SR-878 (Snapper Creek Exwy.,) when it merges with US-1 is a popular but dangerous place for panhandling which is a controversial issue in some sense. Some say it should be discouraged: do not give... but I always give, even if it is my last dollar in my wallet. A Japanese proverb says "It is a beggar's pride that he is not a thief." I found a "how to" panhandle site here. This man holds a sign that says "Veteran... Please Help...God Bless You..." Before continuing his round, he had a brief interchange through the window of the police car on his right. I guess the police officer did not give him a hard time. This is after all the beginning of the US holiday season. He may or may not be a veteran, but it cannot be pleasant to stay here to get some change from strangers if there is a better alternative.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Glass Siding

It is hard to ignore this big building as it is growing daily. The TownCenter One as it is called is coming along nicely. Today, this glass siding is making its way past about half the height of the building. I always thought these were windows, but in close inspection here, I am not so sure they can be opened.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

The Friday after the US Thanksgiving is called "Black Friday." A LOT of American persons mob shopping centers to find bargain and stock up for the upcoming Xmas holiday. Everyone needs gifts. Particularly this year, when the economy "tanks" deeply, all predictions are bleak and retailers have deep worries. It is because this is the season that they expect block buster sales to turn their accounting books "black" as opposed to "red" as in bleeding to death! They need all the luck they can get because I think no one has any money nowadays. That includes me! Stores open at the wee hours and people line up starting at 4 AM. It is that crazy. One store employee was crushed to death today when the doors were stormed! Again, seen on US-1 is this "live person" ad for the local Max Muscle Sports Nutrition chain that peddles sports nutrition supplements.

Mad Friday

Thursday, November 27, 2008

No Gobble, Gobble?

In the US, today is Thanksgiving day when families gather to give thanks and have dinner together. Tradition calls for the obligatory turkey meal. Another tradition I follow is I pardon my turkey. No gobble, gobble here. Today is the day that I think the entire country of the United of America suffers indigestion. All troubles are momentarily forgotten, until tomorrow.

Come 'n Get It

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's Free!

This is a trend that is popular in Miami: personal advertising. I guess it is cheaper to hire a person carrying the ad banner in the street than to pay for a billboard. This European Waxcenter has this person standing in the middle of an extremely busy Kendall Drive at 117th Avenue to invite customers (mainly females) in for a free wax. There must be a catch, and I can't imagine what that is.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jingle Bell Is A Coming

It's in exactly one month: Christmas is December 25th. But business does not want to wait and this yearly Miami event "Santa's Enchanted Forest" has already started. The large park's trees where this event takes place are heavily decorated with thousands of multi-colored lights. The event is advertised along US-1 with other events by banners like this one. Christmas with palm trees under the blue sky! You know it's Miami!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Freshly Picked

The snow pea (Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon) is a legume, more specifically a variety of pea eaten whole in its pod while still unripe (Yuk! I don't like that!) It is one of the earliest-known cultivated plants, with evidence of having been cultivated in a region that is now along the Thailand-Burma border, 12,000 years ago.

It is speculated that the name comes from the whitish tint reflected from the pods. It also may come because of their tendency to grow at the end of winter, just before the last spring freeze. They can be covered with snow - hence the name - during these times, but still keep growing well. But not these, they are freshly picked in the farm land in the deep south Miami fields and being packaged to ship.

The green shoots can also be cut and served as a vegetable as is done in Chinese cooking. Especially stir-fried with garlic or shellfish such as crab. Now, that's what I like!

Snow Pea

Sunday, November 23, 2008


The stairs at this Target/Sports Authority/Best Buy complex are getting old and need to be refurbished. The rusted metal steps are being repaired. This is only one of the four sides that feed the upper stores and the work is long and no doubt expensive.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Down and Out

The despicable state of the economy in the US can clearly be felt in Miami so conspicuous it is. It is sad to observe the rapidly increasing number of homelessness interwoven with the well to do. That is not to say that the well to do is in very good shape because it can be quite illusionary. In a span of 5 minutes, I ran into a man so obviously hungry he begged for left over in a fast food restaurant while another with clear physical distress asked for handouts outside. This lonely man caught my eyes and he radiates loneliness. What a sad sunny and crisp Saturday in Miami.

All Alone

Friday, November 21, 2008

Jazz Tonight

The now annual Jazz Festival at this college in Miami takes place tonight. Tickets are free for students and faculty members and it's a sell out event. The stage is being readied for the show that commences tonight at 7:30PM. It's too cold for me so this is all I can show you.

Jazz Festival

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Green's In

Recycling reusable material and energy has been going on in the US for many decades but it has taken on a new life recently with all the talk about "living green." It's a big deal that generates endless debates about things such as global warming and negative impacts of societies on the environment. We routinely do recycle many things such as paper and plastic. Here's an example.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Green Fire

I was surprised to see this fire truck in this color. Green Fire! I wonder what is behind this decision to take away the fire red color that is the traditional color for these vehicles.

Green Fire Engine

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Croque Mort

The financial news nowadays in the US is rather depressing. Is there a business that is safe? You'd think that medical doctors would do well, but that is not true. The consumers of their service may choose to stay sick rather than to pay for care, unless of course it is a matter of life and death, talking of which, this funeral home in South Miami is also coping I am told. Rather than getting buried in high end caskets, many opt for cremation. Where is this world heading to?


Monday, November 17, 2008

Fire Cracker

This is my faithful Dtps. Fire Cracker. Its hybrid name is Doritaenopsis, which is an orchid cross between a Doritis and a Phalaenopsis. The flower spikes are multiple and with length up to 2 or 3 feet. The flowers are long lasting and they stay in bloom for several months. This is the last spike this year and the flowers have started to drop from above, but this spike will stay for at least another month..


Sunday, November 16, 2008

First Cold

Today sees the first cold snap arriving in Miami. The weather is beautiful and crisp. This is the time that convertible cars flood Miami's streets. The yellow car in the rear view mirror is parading with its top down. It looks brand new and may not be one of the usual classic cars seen locally. Sunny, with a high near 66 degree F. Breezy, with a north wind around 17 mph. My kind of weather!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Concrete

A new ramp finally opened a couple days ago, on November 12th that allows Miami commuters to get connected to the N-S Don Shula Expressway (SR 874) from a main E-W through fare that is N Kendall Drive. That is a nice fix for an oversight when SR 874 and 878 were designed decades ago. Of course, I've got to try this new segment. This brand new ramp rises high above street level and the new white concrete shines nicely under the Miami sun. No tire or oil marks yet! I can say this was a nice piece of work and this ramp seems to be able to support the weight of my car.

New Ramp

Friday, November 14, 2008

Helping Hands

In the US, there are several nationally prominent charitable organizations, one of which is the Salvation Army. One of its functions is to collect donations of all sorts (they got to be good, and not discarded and useless items) and redistribute them to needy causes. They also take cars and boats in good working conditions that the owners no longer want to keep. Some donations can qualify for income tax write off.

Here is one of their trucks picking up of some household items.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Double Trouble

First, the security guards got noticed. Then the police was called to intervene. These youngsters are getting some headaches with the local law enforcement. Not nice!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Free Sweet

A local university is recruiting for potential students to their campus in Miami-Dade county. They set up information tables with advisers to answer questions and as it is always the case, handing out free promotional material and the free cotton candy and popcorn that are very popular.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dadeland Today

This is today's look of the Miami Dadeland Village skyline. The building in construction seen on the right is the Town CenterOne office building. The windows are being fitted now starting from the lower level.


Monday, November 10, 2008


I missed my September annual blood donation this year so I stopped by this morning for a "feel good" moment. It was quite painless, and it's one of very few things we can give because we can manufacture it for free.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Teenager Bear

A new look of Bear. He has happily grown from a baby to a toddler to a teenager today, at about 2 year old (14 in human term.) As he matures, Bear is less turbulent and no longer dashes around like a bullet. This is what a happy life looks like.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pretty in Pink

Here is my faithful (as in blooming reliably) bromeliad growing totally unattended along a fence. Aechmea fasciata is an epiphytic Bromeliad from Brazil and there are about 150 species of them in the wild. This plant grows on trees in mountain forests at 1,800 to 4,000 feet above sea-level. Aechmeas are among the most beautiful of all Bromeliads for indoor decoration thank to their large, colorful blooms that rise high above the leaves.


Friday, November 7, 2008


November is a nice month to be in Miami. As soon as the weather cools, signs of the holiday season in the US start to appear. One that never fails is that showing charitable organizations seeking money to help those in needs. This is for the US veterans from all wars. They do need a lot of help.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Neo Miami Skyline

Here is the most recent look of the Miami skyline from the Rusty Pelican restaurant across Biscayne bay. The photo was taken at 1PM today. Many new high rises are dwarfing the older tall buildings. Economic downturn or not, they keep rising.

Miami Skyline

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's Barack!

I am sure all newspapers in the US have a similar front page as the Miami Herald's this morning: the US has a new President starting January 20th, 2009. The insert shows the US electoral map. The tally is not completely finalized but it scores electoral vote 338 - 163 in favor of the "Blue" team: Barack Obama - Joe Biden won big.

The US presidential election system keeps track of two scores: the popular vote (52% for "Blue" and 47% for "Red";) and the electoral vote which is the one that counts (338 for "Blue" and 163 for "Red".) The magic electoral number is 270 for a win. The result was known at 11:00PM US Eastern Daylight time last night, November 04, 2008.

Barack Obama

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ylang-Ylang II

This Ylang-Ylang tree blooms all the time. Every time I look, just like today, it shows perfumed flowers. The tree is full of these hard to see green flowers that permeate the surrounding air with fragrance.

Perfumed Ylang

Monday, November 3, 2008

Blue Wins!

OK. Instead of beating around the "Bush," here is my prediction for tomorrow's US presidential outcome. If you pay attention, you may notice that this sign is the same as one of that is used by tog . I think this prediction is in line with all the polls to date. It gives a feeling of inevitability. Get it over with, already!

Blue Wins

Sunday, November 2, 2008

No Luck

It's impossible to find a BIG "Red" political banner lawn sign in Miami so I gave up after some search! This may be a bad omen for the "Red" team this Tuesday. Instead, this is a shot inside Dadeland Mall of Miami. Not too many people there today partly due to rainy weather, but more likely because of the slow economy. I hope things are better in other parts of the world.

No luck

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I am converted many years ago to favor e-Books. The good side is that I can get thousands of e-Books free from the Guttenberg project on the internet. These are books that are in the public domain and there is no copyright to worry about. I convert these books to read them in my cell phone, a Nokia E62. Once in a while, friends would loan me their favorite books. That is when I grumpily carry around these heavy books with real paper pages inside them to read. So, what's the bad side? I do have to buy contemporary e-Books that are protected and I have yet to be able to convert them to my cell phone format. I can do it, but get the correct permission for transporting these paid e-books away from my lap top is a pain you know where. My books are GREEN (and mostly free.) There are hundreds of them in my cell phone, and they are all bookmarkable. I love it!

My e-Books