Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Red Road Commons

This is a brand new apartment homes (that's what they are called) complex that is getting ready for occupancy. The construction went on for quite some time and I thought it would never end. This location is on Red Road, just north of South Dixie highway. This is quite a large complex as there are several other similar 4 story buildings on the left that are not in this photo. With this bad economy going South, hope for leasing these is not very high.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Golden March

Like clockwork, Miami is golden at this time every year. All the Golden Trees (Tabebuia Chrysantha) are in astounding bloom, just like last year, and the year before last...

The large containers you see at curb side are the recycle bins. The city of Miami collects recycle material twice a month and today is the Monday scheduled for pick up.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Greener Pasture

Two months ago, this field looked terrible. Now, after only a few short rainfalls, it looks much better. We are still technically in a drought in Miami, but it doesn't take much for the grass to grow, and grow well. Don't you wish $ grows as easy as this? In the US, it's green too! Imagine, put a few in the ground and wait for the rain.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Launch Me, Please!

Miami-Dade Parks & Recreation operates six marinas in the Miami area and many boat ramps where private boats can be launched. Of course, there is a fee to launch a boat. To enjoy the boat, one has to know a lot and also pay a lot. You need to know the boat, where is the bow, where is the stern etc..., how to tow it (safely,) where to launch it, how to launch it, how to drive it in the ocean, how to fish (or dive or whatever you do with a boat,) how to un-launch and how to tow it back home. That's too much work, don't you think?

That explains the proverbial joke about boat owners: "The second happiest day of my life was when I bought a boat. The happiest day was when I sold it."

Friday, March 27, 2009


BBQ food contributes to your cancer risk. So does anything charred, like seared steak or hamburgers from the grill or even burnt toast. The carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) is mainly benzoapyrene, though other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are present and can cause cancer, too. PAHs are in smoke from incomplete combustion, so if you can taste smoke on your food, expect it to contain those chemicals. Most of the PAHs are associated with smoke or char, so you can scrape them off of your food and reduce your risk from them (though that kind of defeats the point of a juicy burger.) HCAs, on the other hand, are produced by a chemical reaction between meat and high or prolonged heat. You'll find these chemicals in fried meat as well as barbeque. You can't cut or scrape away this class of carcinogens, but you can limit the amount that is produced by cooking your meat just until it's done, not blackening it into oblivion.

OK, enough lecture in chemistry, let's devour these yummies, smoke, char and all. Don't worry! Be Happy! Calories, cholesterol... here I come! Where's my A1 sauce? By the way, the smoke smells and tastes terrific!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Barbecue or Barbeque (with abbreviations BBQ, Bar-B-Q and Bar-B-Que, abbreviated form Barbie, used chiefly in Australia, and called Braai in South Africa) is a method and apparatus for cooking food, often meat, with the heat and hot gases of a fire, smoking wood, or hot coals of charcoal These modern barbies are mostly gas grills costing upward in the thousand of US $. Not for me! I strictly use good old fashioned charcoal bricks BBQ for two. If there is a good location to "slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for you," it's here in Miami. May be I'll show you how I do it tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Job Seekers

Spotted outside the Home Depot on Kendall Drive today are these young men who stand outside waiting to hopefully be picked for any job they can find. Home Depot is the supplier of choice for home construction and building material. Contractors come here for supply and many of them look for cheap labor to man their job sites.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Apparently school is over for today so this student is ready to hit the road. He even took the time to pose for this photo. I should have asked him if it was his bike that I saw exeactly one year ago at Tropical park. There can't be too many of this type of Honda "Superbike" CBR around Miami.

Monday, March 23, 2009


This is the Ochna mysterii in the process of procreating, making seed pods.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

7 Ducklings

Do you know that only female ducks quack? Worldwide, ducks have many predators. Ducklings are particularly vulnerable, since their inability to fly makes them easy prey not only for avian hunters but also large fish like pike, crocodilians, and other aquatic hunters, including fish-eating birds such as herons. Ducks' nests are raided by land-based predators, such as foxes, or large birds, like hawks or eagles.

Miami has many ducks living among people... I am not sure what eventually happens to all these ducks. It's a good thing dogs and cats are never let loose outside. If you think you are vulnerable, take a look at these 7 ducklings. All they have is their Mom here... and for how long?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Follow the Sun

The sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is an annual plant in the family Asteraceae and native to the Americas, with a large flowering head (inflorescence). The stem can grow as high as 3 meters (9 3/4 ft,) and the flower head can reach 30 cm (11.8 in) in diameter with the "large" seeds. The term "sunflower" is also used to refer to all plants of the genus Helianthus, many of which are perennial plants.

What is usually called the flower is actually a head (formally composite flower) of numerous florets (small flowers) crowded together. The outer florets are the sterile ray florets and can be yellow, maroon, orange, or other colors. The florets inside the circular head are called disc florets, which mature into what are traditionally called "sunflower seeds," but are actually the fruit (an achene) of the plant. The inedible husk is the wall of the fruit and the true seed lies within the kernel.

The florets within the sunflower's cluster are arranged in a spiraling pattern. Typically each floret is oriented toward the next by approximately the golden angle, 137.5°, producing a pattern of interconnecting spirals where the number of left spirals and the number of right spirals are successive Fibonacci numbers. Typically, there are 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in the other; on a very large sunflower there could be 89 in one direction and 144 in the other. As you can see, the bees have destroyed the mathematical pattern of this flower and the insert is to show how it looks when undisturbed.

Sunflowers in the bud stage exhibit heliotropism. At sunrise, the faces of most sunflowers are turned towards the east. Over the course of the day, they follow the sun from east to west, while at night they return to an eastward orientation. This motion is performed by motor cells in the pulvinus, a flexible segment of the stem just below the bud. As the bud stage ends, the stem stiffens and the blooming stage is reached. Right now, this sunflower in bloom is not heliotropic anymore. The stem has "frozen", typically in an eastward orientation. The stem and leaves lose their green color.

Follow the Sun with the Beatles! Click to play.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Red Swarm

This sight, that of a swarming fire ant hill is quite rare in Miami these days. "Fire red" ants were everywhere in Miami and they made life miserable for homeowners and gardeners and caused billions of dollars in damage every year. If you have been stung by these guys, you'll understand why we call them "fire" ants! In the early 2000s, the United States Department of Agriculture discovered that the phorid flies of Brazil and Argentina can help keep the ants under control. A biological warfare was launched pitting the phorid flies against the red ants. The theory is worthy of a horror science-fiction movie script: "The flies hover over ant mounds before darting down and injecting a torpedo-like egg into the ants. After the egg hatches, the maggot decapitates the ant by eating the brain and other contents of the head. The maggot later turns into a fly and the cycle is repeated."

This seemed to work because I have no more red ants around my yard...but I found this hill today (not in my yard, thankfully!) All you have to do is step on the hill once. Instantly, red ants swarm from nowhere like lightning, as if these individuals just sit in their nest all day to wait for some one to step on them. Then they'll be busy sending out sentinels to do battle with the intruder and running around the hill top doing I don't quite know what. It takes these fellows a while to calm down and retreat to wait for the next battle. It's a fun way to spend about 20 minutes.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

No China Wall

This is no China wall or Berlin wall either, but it's the 878 wall nonetheless! The work is almost finished along this stretch of highway. It looks pretty straight to me. How do they do that? With a plumb line?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ramp Closed

There is quite a bit of highway construction/renovation in Miami during this time. This does create a bit of inconvenience in traffic not to mention all the dust. But the end result is good because we can enjoy very good and safe roads to travel on. Remember that one cannot live in Miami without a car (or two.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Green Beer Day

Today is St. Patrick's Day. It is an annual feast day which celebrates Saint Patrick (circa AD 385–461,) one of the patron saints of Ireland, and is generally celebrated on March 17. The day is the national holiday of Ireland. It is a bank holiday in Northern Ireland and a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Montserrat. That doesn't prevent Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and especially the United States to chip in for the beer drinking celebration. It is widely celebrated although not an official holiday. You want proof? Look at the photo showing the crowd lining up for beer tonight. It's green day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Slow X

I often pass in front of this business, making a left turn to catch SR 878. Never see any traffic through its door and the parking in front is always empty. This is the first time I see some kind of visitors. I guess competition with the open internet is tough.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Inside a poor man's car wash. This touchless car wash costs only $6 (provided you fill up your tank first.) This beats the other "deLuxe" car wash that costs four times more or hard manual labor with a hose, bucket, soap and sponge.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Yearly, the Special Olympics organization hosts sporting events when Special Olympiates compete in different sports such as soccer, bicycling, swimming, softball etc... There is always a large crowd of volunteers to help out. The volunteers are registering, getting instructions and assignments to work at this event this morning. It's very rewarding time to spend reaching out a helping hand.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

College students hanging around between classes. These are having a music jamming session with a guy playing the guitar. As I took this photo, the guy in the white shirt moved in front of the guitar player! These people are happy because it's "Thank God It's Friday (TGIF.)"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Only $7,995

Here is a "Come on in" type of enticement: It's only $7,995. But the fine print is "Ask for Details." Don't believe you can get these cars for US $7,995, even in this economy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

All Alone

Every March, these babies come to life. How alone it must feel here with no others around.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Merremia tuberosa

Woodrose Vine (Pilikai) is a tropical native with tuberous roots. The wood-textured flowering vine with soft woolly leaves is so named for its light brown fruiting capsules which resembles a wooden rose. The dried woody pod is popular in floral arrangements and will last for years. Vines can reach 10' or more in one season. This very aggressive vine is climbing all over the place here on top of the Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata) tree.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Walking around any American university campus and you will see a battle between Windows and Apple. Here, Apple wins!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Jobs Jobs Jobs

One of the many construction jobs on Miami's highway system. The money may have come from the stimulus bill that is trying to revive the dying US economy, creating jobs repairing or improving the country's infrastructure.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cut Cut Cut

This should have been done a couple months ago, but no one had the time... This is a Wrightia religiosa that is supposed to begin flowering right now.. but not doing so well... So a late "root surgery" is in order. Don't worry, it'll live but it will miss flowering this time.

Friday, March 6, 2009


This intersection is of NW 12th Avenue and 14th Street, the Southwest corner of the huge University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Medical Center. The Cedars medical center is seen with one of its two large parking garages. Further down the avenue is the VA medical center. To the right (East) is the other buildings making up the entire medical complex. It's huge and it lives and breathes as a city within the city of Miami. The big directional sign you see is quite confusing to the drivers, to say the least, wouldn't you say? Do you go straight, or do you turn?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Miami Bus

Miami public transport systems have the Metro Rail and bus. They do interconnect so commuters can get around. However, it's almost impossible to live here without a car.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Homeward Bound

State Road 836, locally known as the Dolphin Expressway (to commemorate two consecutive national championships of the Miami Dolphins football team,) is a 16-mile-long six-lane divided tollway. Curiously, toll is collected only in the East bound direction. This is West bound, at the end of a workday. The traffic jam is always bad at the Miami International airport to the right where you see the control tower. Of course, all takeoffs and landings are in the West-East runways at this time so pilots do not have the sun in their eyes. That makes sense.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Busy Bee

All the longan trees in Miami are in full bloom and the bees are hard at work. Here is one at labor pollinating the flowers of this longan tree. You should come here in June-July to see the result of these workers. Spectacular!

Monday, March 2, 2009

To Pawn or not to Pawn?

This is a pawnshop in a less affluent neighborhood of Miami, in the downtown area. In case you do not know what this is...
Pawnshops and pawnbroking have been around for thousands of years. The basic idea behind any pawnshop is to loan people money.

It goes like this:

1. You bring in something you own and give it to the pawnbroker as collateral for a loan (this act is called pawning).
2. The pawnbroker loans you money against that collateral.
3. When you repay the loan plus the interest, you get your collateral back.
4. After the term, usually 180 days, if you don't repay the loan, the pawnbroker keeps the collateral.

It's 10:30 Monday morning, and this place does not seem to be opened for business yet.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Through The ...

Where are they? I can never find them... These are my spare glasses and I can't read without them. I buy these cheap ones at drugstores, 6 at a time. They are great to read. I lose them about once a month either because they break, or because I can't find them.