Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pizza Gone

To appreciate the deep economic woe of a huge metropolitan city like Miami during this very tough time, you only have to visit the multitude of small strip malls where the small business dwell. At this time, you will see many small business close their doors because they go broke. Here is one on Kendall Drive.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Depression No. 16

Out of nowhere, without warning, Tropical Depression 16 has become better organized and has intensified into Tropical Storm Nicole, with maximum winds near 40mph. At 10:45 AM today, TS Nicole was located 222 miles south of Miami, Florida. And she is already here! All day, we have been enduring this lady with non stop raining and street flooding and of course car accidents. Forecast says that Nicole will move northeast and exit away from the Florida coast early Thursday morning. That, my friends, is yet to be seen because we are soaked and who knows what tomorrow will bring.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Baby Back Ribs

Tony Roma's is a casual dining chain restaurant specializing in baby back ribs, which, I believe you can't find in Muslim countries. The first location was established in 1972 right here in North Miami, by its founder. Today there are roughly 260 locations in 27 countries comprising 32 territories. Tony Roma's slogan is, "Famous for Ribs," "Famoso por Costillas," or "Fameux pour côtes levés," depending on the language.

This one is on US-1 at SW 67th Avenue.

Baby Back Ribs

Monday, September 27, 2010


Let me tell you one thing... Life is getting to be so much more exciting... and thus quite dangerous with all the new gadgets your money can buy. First of all, anywhere you go in Miami, you see what seems like everyone is playing with a small marvel that is an electronic hand held device, a cell phone. Secondly, these things ring at any moment with different "ring tones." I hate that, especially if the music taste is in the owner's mouth. Thirdly, you get to hear all about their personal life's saga etc, etc, etc...

So, you ask me, where is the danger? Well, I am holding it in my hand, my own cell phone. Pretending I am texting or getting email or surfing the internet, the people in front of me have no idea, and would be petrified if they knew I could be recording all their movements in high definition 720p digital video, or taking 5MB photos of them.

Of course, this lady is too busy texting to pay attention to her surrounding. Of course, I am a nice guy and won't do anything that is dangerous, of course, of course. Have no fear.


Sunday, September 26, 2010


There is a new phonomenon in Miami... "Toll-by-plate." Many toll roads now have no more need for human beings to collect toll at special gated stations. It's all done electronically via what we call "SunPass." You buy a sticker for your car's windshield, let it automatically empty your bank account when it thinks it needs money to spend... and you are free to speed through the electronic eyes high up that watch your every move and debit your account magically. You can't pay anymore with the cash you have jingling in your pocket. If heaven forbid you don't have a sticker or your bank account is dry, you will be billed by "plate." Their cameras, in tight cooperation with the automatic money grabber that did not sense your sticker will take a snap of your license plate and send you the bill fattened with surcharges for processing. There you go... You can't win in this game of life, take it or leave it.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Politically Incorrect

Driving around Miami, and you won't fail to notice that many a streets have multiple names. That really bothers me because I think no one ever pays attention to the new addition of names that perhaps only a few individuals in the world would know about. The thing is... there is a cost involved into making these special street name signs. Here is an example... This professional office is at 7311 Paul Tevis Road. Huh? Let's look it up on the ultra know it all Google map. Nope, can't find this address... Don't know where it is... But if you specify 7311 SW 62nd Avenue, Miami. Bingo, it's found in a millisecond. I wonder how much it costs to make these multiple name street signs and whether the post offices care about them.

Relativity and such things...

Friday, September 24, 2010

MC 2

During September – October of 2010, all campuses of Miami Dade College (MDC) participate in its 2010 Art Faculty Exhibition.

Art Gallery System and the Arts & Philosophy departments of Wolfson, Kendall (South,) North, InterAmerican and Homestead Campuses are hosting the opening of Manifestations on different dates during the month of September at each of the campus galleries. Manifestations includes drawings, paintings, photography and mixed-media art works. Here are two famous persons that everyone knows: Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci.

Relativity and such things...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Twin Tower

This quite old work of art is still seen in the stairwell to the library of Miami Dade College (MDC) South campus. You can tell that it was painted pre September 11, 2001 because New York at that time still had the famous twin tower that were as emblematic to the big apple as its statue of liberty in Ellis island.

Twin Tower

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


This is the marker of the main entrance of South Miami hospital/Baptist Health on SW 62nd avenue close to US-1. Baptist Health's logo is the pineapple. Here is its history...

The pineapple became a symbol of hospitality in Europe during the Italian Renaissance period. American inn-keepers later adopted the European custom of putting pineapples on their doors, and visitors to these inns found themselves in friendly and comfortable surroundings.

When Arthur Vining Davis donated the land and funds to build Baptist Hospital, the magnate specified that a pineapple fountain greet guests at the front door. Guests would thus know that service here would be warm and friendly, such as in a good hotel. This pineapple fountain still exists today which is at the Baptist hospital on Kendall Drive.

Upon completion of their orientation program, all new Baptist Health employees receive a pineapple pin to attach to their hospital identification badge as a symbol of commitment to hospitality.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010


The giant gas planet Jupiter is at its brightest tonight, and it has been in view all night for a while. It looks like a brilliant ivory star. Tonight, it is low in the east at nightfall, to the lower left of the Moon. The moon today is called "waxing gibbous," and it is about 98% full. The autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere falls on September 22 or 23 each year. Therefore, the Harvest Moon will occur on September 23rd, in two days. Harvest moon is the name given to the full moon that occurs closest to the equinox in September. You need to click on the photo to see the little spec that is Jupiter. It is on the line drawn from the moon to the lower left corner of the photo. There is another spec of light to the right of Jupiter. That was a mere commercial airliner.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed his Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551, on 10 August 1788. It was his last symphony. That work was nicknamed the Jupiter Symphony. This was indeed a symphony worthy to be named "Jupiter," by far the giant of our solar system. I may blog this great symphony one of these days on my other blog.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Trash

In my neighborhood, trash is collected on Mondays and Thursdays. This is how it works, automatically with only one driver and a big truck. This service used to employ 2 or 3 big persons riding the truck going after the trash cans to manually empty them in the truck... but it no longer is the case.

Trash Collection

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Free Sweet

I finally found an excellent use for the longans that still fall from the trees. Feeding the red ants. These fellows love them and here they are hard at work with a banquet from heaven. In a while, the only thing left is the shiny black seed.

Free Sweet

Saturday, September 18, 2010


The internet and wireless communication are two services that generate tons of money very fast so big companies go all out to fight for customers. Here is the new cable system laid by AT&T to carry their new Uverse service that bundles telephone, internet and television in one big bill. The service is delivered to the homes from these boxes via co-ax cables. Pronto, new money making machine rolling non stop.


Friday, September 17, 2010

$10 Phalaenopsis

I saw this micro flower enterprise for some time at this spot and finally had a chance to take a snapshot today. This is probably illegal so the owner was very worried when I took the photo. I could not talk to him because he only understands Spanish. I can tell you one thing.. his Phalaenopsis are truly beautiful and very healthy. You can't find these anywhere in town at this price. To protect his privacy, I won't tell you where this is.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

River of Grass

In Miami, we have the luxury of having yards where grass make their home. But if you do not take care of them regularly, you get something like this... a jungle of grass that can grow as high as this, perhaps 2 to 3 feet in height. It will be a nightmare to mow this down.

Grass river

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Emergency Response

This looks like a serious accident and it tied up traffic for a while today on US-1 and SW 144th street. Usually, when you see many paramedics converging to care for a person, it's a good chance there is some kind of medical emergency, like a heart attack or something life threatening.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010


This White Stork, Ciconia ciconia, is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It is at ease and at home here at the Zoo Miami. It is free to roam and does not seem to be afraid of the human visiting the zoo.

White Stork

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wavy Smiley

South Miami homes always have discreet charms to offer... that is if you look, you'll find treasures here and there. This sculpture would make a nice "Jack-O-Lantern" for Halloween with the addition of a candle at nights. And do you know what? In the US, Halloween is arriving soon... at the end of October.

Private Smile

Sunday, September 12, 2010


The American bulldog is a breed of domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris). Though larger in size, they are the closest surviving relative of the Old English bulldog, because American breeders did not change their appearance as much as their European breeders. There are generally considered to be two types of American bulldog, the Johnson type and the Scott type. These types are named after the breeders' names, John D. Johnson and Allen Scott. These are more commonly known as Classic, or Bully type, and Standard, or Performance type.

Meet Precious, a 3 month old female Classic Johnson darling.

Precious Johnson

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Miami Rat Patrol

The cat (Felis catus), also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felines and felids, is a small domesticated carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and ability to hunt vermin and household pests. Cats have been associated with humans for at least 9,500 years, and are currently the most popular pet in the world (well, some say that dogs come before cats, I would call it a tie.) Owing to their close association with humans, cats are now found almost everywhere on Earth. Do you know that there is not a country on earth that does not have cats?

Their adaptability and predatory instincts make them effective hunters. In some locations, cats have affected indigenous animal populations; this has led them to be classified as an invasive species in some areas. In my neighborhood, this lady and her companions keep all the rats off limit.

Miami Feline

Friday, September 10, 2010

Grilling Burgers

This is what the cooking (kitchen) area looks like at Betty's Best hamburger place. The food is prepared here and placed on the counter, then customers are called by name to "come and get it."

Betty's Best

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Big Ad

The Dominican Republic (República Dominicana) is a nation on the island of Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries. Both by area and population, the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation. It is going all out on an advertising campaign in Miami and you see many huge advertising billboards like this one at the Dadeland Mall. The advertised web site seen here has all it takes to book you on a vacation tour there.

Matheson Hammock

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reflection Pool

Early morning relaxation at Matheson Hammock. This is near the entrance to the park.

Matheson Hammock

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I had a couple of hours to kill today so I went inside this blood mobile to relieve my veins of a pint of blood... just in case that can help somebody someday. It was quite painless. They gave me a T-shirt, a coupon that I won't use, and at the end, a cool drink and a very bad Subway sub. Instead of blogging here a "crappy" self portrait of myself with a huge needle in my arm, I decided to use instead the photo I took of my neighbor blood donor... Kevin, who is a student at Miami Dade College. The students really responded well to the blood drive today and the blood mobile was full of young blood donors. Thank you, Kevin!


Monday, September 6, 2010

"Pre-Owned" Collection

If you are super rich and want a set of fancy wheels to drive around in Miami, you go to the Collection. But if you are just so so... but still want the expensive babies to cruise the streets with.. you come here, to the "pre-owned" Collection. It's not brand new... but who's to know by just looking at you in your shiny Maserati?

Pre-Owned Collection

Sunday, September 5, 2010


As I have mentioned before, selling medication via doctors' prescription for health care is one of the best cash cows in the US. For this reason, stores with built-in pharmacies appear like mushrooms in Miami. Here is a new one to materialize out of thin air very soon at the corner of Sunset Drive and SW 117th Avenue. Of course, competition is fierce. At the other three corners are Walgreens, TJ Max and the Snapper Creek Plaza on the West side as seen in this snap shot.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Last Longans

OK, OK... I know... My blog has become quite boring with the domination of the longans kind. Today's is the absolute last one... just to document that this assault finally came to an end... The fruits are left on the tree to fall on their own time. This photo shows the size these Kohala longans can attain and they can get quite big. The biggest one here is about 1.5 inch in diameter as you can see by comparison with the US quarter which is about 1 inch in diameter. These longans have tiny seeds so the meat is quite substantial. The End!

The Last Ones

Friday, September 3, 2010

Astronomical Bucks

Quote from news ads: "Beginning this fall, Starbucks introduces four flavors to the Starbucks VIA® line. These delicious and aromatic blends are inspired by some of Starbucks most popular beverage flavors: Vanilla, Mocha, Caramel and Cinnamon Spice. Each packet makes a wonderfully balanced cup of coffee and is ideal for life-on-the-go. Starbucks VIA® Flavored Coffee is a blend of 100 percent arabica instant coffee and rich flavors, and is sweetened with natural cane sugar."

All this sounds like Greek to me but this location on Sunset Drive and SW 87th Avenue is always busy with customers buzzing around like bees. My curiosity pushed me to try a $3.69 cup of tea. That clearly was not my cup of tea at all. I hope that wasn't the arabica type because whatever it was, I didn't like it. Can you believe that this brew costs a lot more than gasoline? Unbelievable! I now know what the Bucks mean in the Starbucks name: astronomical!

Astronomical Bucks

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Venus... Goddess of Love

Fiery Venus is a wonderful planet to look at, but you wouldn't want to live there! During the "Golden Age of Science Fiction" in the 1930's and 40's, Venus was a frequent setting for space adventure stories. After all, cloud-covered Venus is nearly the same size as Earth and it's only a little closer to the Sun than Earth is. Readers and writers alike fancied Venus as an enticing safari planet -- a steaming world-wide jungle filled with unknown and exotic creatures.

However, know that its surface temperature is about 860 degrees F (460 degrees C,) hot enough to melt lead! The atmospheric pressure is about 90 times that of Earth. You'd be crushed! And it rains sulfuric acid there. But here, from our Earth, we can see this beautiful sight safely from afar, looking due West. At this time of the year, it's the brightest star in the sky. This is about 8:30PM and this photo from my iPhone 4 does a decent job capturing this planet. If you click on the photo to look at the high resolution, you should also see Mars clustering to the left of Venus. Venus is setting about now, the time I publish this blog, at about 9:40PM.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Too Hot

Sorry to disappoint you. In Miami at this time, a typical open air market like this Norman Brothers has not much to show outdoors. It is simply still too hot to torture the fruits and veggies putting them outside. Besides, no one will endure the heat to buy them. So... all the goodies are moved indoors where A/C reigns. The only thing I see today out front is this crate of avocados. If for any consolation, they are certified "Organic Locally Grown," these Bernecker Avocados, and they cost US $1.45 each. That's a bit too rich for my cold blood. I don't like avocado anyway, and if I want them, I can hit tog free of charge for the ones his squirrels don't take.

Too Hot Outside