Friday, September 30, 2011

The Rat's Gone!

The University of Miami has begun the construction of a new, state of the art, 119,000-square-foot Student Activities Center on its Coral Gables campus thanks to a lead gift of $20 million from the Fairholme Foundation. Fronting UM’s Lake Osceola, the new center (which is being built under LEED Silver classification, meaning it is built "green" and energy efficient) will include various gathering places, programming space, a student organizations suite, retail outlets and a new Rathskeller on the ground floor. The now gone original Rathskeller was demolished in June of this year to make room for this new structure. I used to hang out at the Rat for lunch and I am pretty upset that the new site under construction has resulted in the removal of all the sapodilla trees at the edge of lake Osceola.
New Rat!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Trash Removal

In the subtropic zone that we are, vegetation grows faster than a speeding bullet. In the blink of an eye, your trees have limbs bigger than your chain saw can cut. Trimming the trees is already tough, but it is even tougher to dispose of the large pile of limbs that you cut. Short of hauling your trash to the local dump yourself, in which case you need a SUV or a pick up truck, or have friends who have them, you request trash removal service form the county government. Homeowners are entitled to two free pick ups each year. You start your pile and you schedule for a pick up. A big truck will come with a mighty heavy duty jaw to scoop and remove what you placed out on the street. However, you'd be amazed to observe that your pile grows larger magically while it sits waiting for the pickup. That is because there are many who have debris from their yards, but they simply want to freeload on your pile to save their two free pickups for later use. Don't you hate that?
Trash Removal

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Broken Heart

In the US, and thus in Miami, when you walk into a doctor's office and in the exam rooms, you always can tell what kind of disease that doctor is specialized in. I had a choice to show you either the display in a urologist's office, or this. Guess what I picked: This!

The plastic model illustrates a condition called Atherosclerosis (also known as arteriosclerotic vascular disease or ASVD,) a condition in which an artery wall thickens as a result of the accumulation of fatty materials such as cholesterol. It is a syndrome affecting arterial blood vessels, a chronic inflammatory response in the walls of arteries, caused largely by the accumulation of macrophage white blood cells and promoted by low-density lipoproteins (plasma proteins that carry cholesterol and triglycerides) without adequate removal of fats and cholesterol from the macrophages by functional high density lipoproteins (HDL.) It is commonly referred to as a hardening or furring of the arteries. It is caused by the formation of multiple plaques within the arteries.

The following terms are similar, but they are distinct, in both spelling and meaning, and it is easily confused: arteriosclerosis, arteriolosclerosis, and atherosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis is a general term describing any hardening (and loss of elasticity) of medium or large arteries (from the Greek arteria, meaning artery, and sclerosis, meaning hardening;) arteriolosclerosis is any hardening (and loss of elasticity) of arterioles (small arteries); atherosclerosis is a hardening of an artery specifically due to an atheromatous plaque. You've got to figure out for yourself which of your arteries are small, medium or large.

Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease that remains asymptomatic for decades. My recommendation to you is to pay a visit to your cardiologist. You wouldn't know if your heart's plumbing may be clogged up because you'd feel nothing at all. On the other hand, if your love ever decides to leave you, you, the leavee is left with a heart that may resemble this. It's broken! How do you mend a broken heart? Don't ask a cardiologist because he/she has no clue about this heartache!
Broken Heart

Click on the player to hear Al Green asking the same question:
"How Can You Mend A Broken Heart"
Written by Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb
Performed by Al Green
This recording appeared in the movie "The Book of Eli" starring Denzel Washington.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Norman Brothers

This is Norman Brothers Produce on SW 87th Avenue just South of Sunset Drive. This is a popular place for fresh fruits, deli and vegetables. This recent new addition is also getting a lot of customers in front of the market. A one-pound slice of prime rib would set you back about US $20 here. I do have a hard time to tell the difference about the freshness of the fruits found here when compared to those from other good quality grocery stores around town. But I always come here for a gift fruit basket when I need it, and I don't try to understand why.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hoa Sữa

My persistence (read obsession) finally paid off. Here is the elusive Alstonia scholaris in bloom. It is a bit earlier than I thought. This is not the same tree as the one I showed previously. It is the second such tree in the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and it is a lot bigger than the one referenced above. This tree has a large number of flower clusters, many of which not yet opened because it is still early. There is a small branch so loaded with flower clusters that it brushes the ground as seen on the left side of this photo. The ground is littered with the small milky white flowers (see insert) that steadily drop like raindrops in slow motion. This tree is nicknamed the "Devil" tree in India, but its Vietnamese name of "Milk Flower" tree is much more romantic, and it figures prominently in Vietnamese Northern literature. Many a love blossomed (some died) under this Alstonia species, which prompted me to see what kind of magic it harbors. My task is still unfinished because I need to see when this tree is going to live up to the reputation of its powerful nightly Proustian scent. I can tell you that is not going to be an easy task because I have to figure out how to come in here at nights when it will be pitch-black. If lucky, I can smell my way to this tree. If I wait for moonlit nights, it will be eery and I am afraid to run into ghostly creatures. What to do? What to do?
Alstonia scholaris

Click on the player to hear a Vietnamese song serenading in a sad way the "Hoa Sua" of the Alstonia scholaris. The vocalist is a North Vietnamese singer named Thanh-Lam. She is heart broken and saying...

"I have been waiting for you... like the flowers awaiting the the wind searching for the Casuarina equisetifolia (Australian Pine... sorry to be so darn technical, but that's what the words say, kind of ruining the poetic flow!) .. like the firmament awaiting the white clouds... You have been waiting for me... in the familiar streets... with moving songs echoing... and sweet scent permeating the air... Memories of bygone days... Still lingering here and there... of our shared friends... of the narrow streets... The nightly sweet milk flowers' scent still fills the streets... Is it possible that you have forgotten me... Is it possible that you have forgotten me?"

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Totally Electric

This morning, I was behind this car as we went to the same place, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami. The car's name is Tesla. You don't often, if ever, see one like this in the street. I naturally asked the driver, Jason, about his car. It's a Roadster 2.5 AC induction motor all electric car. It has a single speed gear box that can create in no time up to 295 lbs-ft of torque equivalent to 288 horsepower and this sport car goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. Now, that's impressive. This car is supposed to cover 245 miles per charge of its battery. Its top speed is 125 MPH and I am very surprised to learn that its engine red lines at a dazzling 14,000 rpm. Do you know how fast that is, 14,000 rpm? Motors turning that fast is the domain of racing motorcycles. I used to own a Honda car that red-lined furiously at 8,500 rpm and when pushed that high, it sounded like a cat. This Tesla must sound like a cat in heat at that regime. In any case, the battery is expected to last 7 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. My guess is 3.5 years/50,000 miles is more like it.

Because you need to charge the battery, there is a cost for energy to run this car. It turned out that the Tesla costs an average of US $3.6/mile driven, the same as an average sport car running on gasoline, given that you must pay about US $.11/Watt-hour of electricity.

Many think electric cars save in energy cost. That is not true for this Tesla. However there is the argument that is has Zero emission. Well, let's not talk about that because it's so controversial, and you don't want to hear what I have to say there.

This field is the overflow parking lot for the Fairchild garden. It's crowded here because today is Butterfly day. Unfortunately, the butterflies apparently were not invited properly so I only saw a few of them.
Zero Emission

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bus Stop

It's late in a Saturday in Miami. This is the South Dade metro rail station that empties into the bus stop underneath. It is crowded with people waiting to catch the bus to most likely go home after a busy day. Quite the contrary to some other countries I know, here in the US we are labor slaves. We work days and nights with very little breaks in between. Long vacations? Forget it! We've got to work! These people, for one reason or another, do not have a car so they use the Miami transit system. What we have here is not a very good system and it takes hours just to go from one place to another by metro rail or by bus. If you live in Miami, you'd better have a car, by hook or by crook. Else you spend a substantial amount of time waiting for public transportation. On the right of this shot is the very popular Shorty's for ribs and other good food that is bad for your body. Please don't ask me what I am doing here. I just feel too blue to cook on a Saturday at twilight.
Bus Stop

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tiny Merry Go Round

I have never seen anyone using this very beautiful baby Merry Go Round. This is Sunset Place and it is almost deserted. Business has been very slow around here and only the movie theater is able to attract patrons. I wonder how long this place will stay in business. But the Buffalo Wild Wings people is moving in... so they must know something we don't. May be the rent is free?
Tiny Merry

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Marjory Stoneman Douglas (April 7, 1890 – May 14, 1998) was an American journalist, writer, feminist, and environmentalist known for her staunch defense of the Everglades against efforts to drain it and reclaim land for development. Moving to Miami as a young woman to work for The Miami Herald, Douglas became a freelance writer, producing over a hundred short stories that were published in popular magazines. Her most influential work was the book The Everglades: River of Grass (1947), which redefined the popular conception of the Everglades as a treasured river. South Miami's SW 72nd street, aka Sunset Drive was also named Marjory Stoneman Douglas Drive in her honor.

Douglas lived until age 108, working until nearly the end of her life for Everglades restoration. In the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, a statue of her is found sitting here. If you could come close to her bench, you would see that she was a very petite woman and her statue is holding her famous book "The Everglades: River of Grass."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Web She Weaves

The golden silk orb-weavers (genus Nephila) are a genus of araneomorph spiders noted for the impressive webs they weave. Nephila consists of numerous individual species found around the world. They are also commonly called golden orb-weavers, giant wood spiders, or banana spiders. Golden silk orb-weavers are widespread in warmer regions throughout the world, with species in Australia, Asia, Africa (including Madagascar), and America. One species, N. clavipes, occurs in the United States of America, where it ranges throughout the coastal southeast and inland, from North Carolina to Texas. Nephila spiders are the oldest surviving genus of spiders, with a fossilized specimen known from 165 million years ago.

Spiders produce silken thread using several paired spinneret glands located at the tip of their abdomen. Each gland produces a thread for a special purpose. The last Nephila web I saw was here. It was built vertically, but they need not always be like that. The Nephila also weaves horizontal webs (sheet webs) that I am showing you today, but you really have to strain your eyes to see it.

The circular-orb portion of a mature N. clavipes web can be more than 1 meter across, with support strands extending perhaps many more feet away. In relation to the ground, the webs of adults may be woven anywhere from eye-level upwards high into the tree canopy.

During the process of making an orb web, the spider will use its own body for measurements. Many webs span gaps between objects which the spider could not cross by crawling. This is done by letting out a first fine adhesive thread to drift on the faintest breeze across a gap. When it sticks to a suitable surface at the far end, the spider will carefully walk along it and strengthen it with a second thread. This process is repeated until the thread is strong enough to support the rest of the web.

After strengthening the first thread, the spider will continue to make a Y-shaped netting. The first three radials of the web are now constructed. More radials are added, making sure that the distance between each radial is small enough to cross. This means that the number of radials in a web directly depends on the size of the spider plus the size of the web.

After the radials are complete, the spider will fortify the center of the web with about five circular threads. Then a spiral of non-sticky, widely spaced threads is made for the spider to easily move around its own web during construction, working from the inside out. Then, beginning from the outside in, the spider will methodically replace this spiral with another, more closely spaced one of adhesive threads. It will utilize the initial radiating lines as well as the non-sticky spirals as guide lines. The spaces between each spiral will be directly proportional to the distance from the tip of its back legs to its spinners. This is one way the spider will use its own body as a measuring/spacing device. While the sticky spirals are formed, the non-adhesive spirals are removed (actually, eaten and recycle the protein they lost during the construction) as there is no need for them anymore.

To take this photo, I had to lay flat on the ground,looking up into the zenith. This lady spider is quite large but she is so high I can't get a better shot without special camera and lens. You can't see much of the orb web, but it's there to support her in mid air. Not sure if she is ready to eat, or to mate. Looking at this though, I am mesmerized and can't help to think of old and exciting legends. In Japanese folklore, Jorōgumo, a type of yōkai, is thought to be a Nephila (Jorō spider) which can change its appearance into a seductive woman. If that is the case, should I just lay here underneath this web to wait and witness the metamorphosis, or I'd better get out of here fast? What do you think is better?
Spider Lady

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Waning Day Moon

When I was a kid, not too many years ago if measured using eon scale, there was a saying to express hopeless incompatibilities. In other words, if you have this major problem between you and your flame, you are in very bad shape! And the myth was that the sun and the moon can never see each other. Nothing is further from the truth! So, if someone told you that you are like the sun, and she/he/she is like the moon, you still can have plenty of opportunities to see her/him/her once in a while, like today's sun is having a date with its moon in broad daylight. Did you know that you can never see a full moon in broad daylight? That is only possible at nights. During daylight, you can sometime see the moon in any other phases. For this month, full moon was on September 12th. That was a big day for festivities in countries like Viet-Nam and China when the full moon is greeted with tea ceremonies and moon cakes. Now the moon is waning and today, it is half way toward a new moon on September 27th. Waning Moon means the moon is decreasing in size, moving from the full circle towards the invisible new moon, but trust me, it's there.

Now, I am told that this is a time for spells that banish, release, reverse. This is a time to break bad habits or bad addictions, to end bad relationships. This is a time of deep intuition and a time for divination. At this time the moon represents the Goddess in her Crone Aspect, gives praise to Hecate, Morrigan or one of the other Crone Goddesses. I am not sure what to make of this teaching, but I would like to learn more about her Crone Aspect.

The nice elliptic-shaped leaves you see pointing to the half circle moon in the blue sky are that of my Ylang-Ylang. This view is due West and taken at 10am today. How do you like the deep blue of the Miami sky? This photo comes straight from my iPhone 4 with no retouch whatsoever.
Buffalo Wings

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Wings in Town

Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar is a casual dining restaurant and sports bar franchise in the United States that is known for its Buffalo wings. Originally called Buffalo Wild Wings & Weck, from which the abbreviation BW3 was created, the restaurant later became a franchise. Beginning December 2009, it had 652 locations (232 directly owned by the company, and 420 franchised locations) across 42 US states. The company later changed its name to Buffalo Wild Wings, but it still uses the short name BW3 on occasions. In 2010, the company announced an expansion into Canada. In February 2011 Buffalo Wild Wings reported $380 million in total assets. Their old logo had a buffalo and the letters bw-3 in red, but the new logo has a buffalo with white horns and white wings. I hope they are putting up the logo here today, at the Sunset Place where store # 3576 is opening soon:

Buffalo Wild Wings
South Miami... Opening Soon
5701 Sunset Drive, Suite B-13A

They are famous for the wild choice of sauce... In order of spiciness:

Sweet BBQ
Parmesan Garlic sauce
Honey BBQ
Spicy Garlic
Asian Zing
Caribbean Jerk
Mango Habanero
Blazin' - The hottest sauce on the menu.

Blazin' looks good to me and I can't wait until this place opens its door.
Buffalo Wings

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I'm in a BAD mood!
Well, actually, I should not be in a bad mood. You play with fire and you get burned. You see, I was testing a new theory that was true in my dream last night: that the city meter maids are very nice persons and they do not work hard on Sundays. Wrong on both counts! I was invited to a Miami Hurricanes woman basket ball game today on the University of Miami campus and I was here, parked my car and looked for my party. I should have put in this meter a ton of money but less than US $18! But NO... with the thought that my dream was real and there is no need to bother with such details, I did no such thing. Now look what I got, a ticket! I got until October 18 to pay the $18 fine for "illegally" parked. Else the price goes to $45 after that date. OK, not sure if I can rob my piggy bank to pay for this. I am sure I can get all my pennies to make $18 but not sure how they would react to that. I think that's a bad idea. I'll consult my dream tonight on what to do. Aaarrrggghhh !@#$%^&*(!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fresh from the Cantabric Sea

There is a new restaurant opening in the Dadeland Village, the third "Delicias de Espana." I have seen new signs leading to its new location, but have not had a chance to pay it a visit. This, as its name suggests, serves Spanish dishes for breakfast, special lunch, called a merienda which means afternoon snack, and dinner. It is said that they receive their seafood directly from Spain twice a week, from the Cantabric Sea! Now, that is the part of the Atlantic ocean bordered by the west coast of France and the north coast of Spain. The Cantabric Sea is known for its excellent white fish, anchovies and blue fin tunas. If you like the exotic stuff, its octopus are good too. How would you like squid in ink with onions and clam stew? I would like to ask if they may have that on the menu of their 3rd restaurant here when I find the time to come for photos. I think that's too risque for our taste in the US so I think we'll have to settle for something less erotic like a sea bass, and not an octopus. Did I say erotic? Sorry, I meant exotic!
Spanish Dishes

Friday, September 16, 2011

$250,000+ Loot

This huge truck is a sight to be reckoned with. But wait till you hear about what's inside...

Guinness is a popular Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness (1725–1803) at St. James's Gate, Dublin. Guinness is directly descended from the porter style that originated in London in the early 18th century and is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, brewed in almost 50 countries and available in over hundreds of countries worldwide. 1.8 billion pints are sold annually and this number goes nowhere but up. A pint of this liquid gold goes for US $8. The capacity of this truck is about 4680 gallons x 8 = 37,440 pints x 8 = about more than a quarter of US one cool Million bucks.

Pouring the pint of Guinness from its container is an art. On the way to the tap, the beer is passed through a chiller and it is forced through a five-hole disc restrictor plate in the end of the tap, which increases the fluid pressure and friction, forcing the creation of small bubbles which form a creamy head. The glass is then rested until the initial pour settles, and the remainder of the glass is then filled with a slow pour until the head forms a slight dome over the top of the glass. If you were the pourer, you've got to know that the time this takes must be 119.53 seconds, no more, no less! Furthermore, Extra Cold Guinness should be served at 3.5°C (38.6°F.) How do I know all that? I looked it up, of course. But seriously, every year, on Saint Patrick's day, I volunteer at an Irish pub on Miracle Mile to help sell this kind of beer all night. All volunteers are trained to pour this expensive brew correctly so the foam on the top looks just right. Of course, after a few pints, nobody cares anymore, pourers, pourees, drinkers all alike... I get drunk just talking about this brew!

Hey, big truck, you are blocking my beautiful Miami view, move along, please!
Pouring Beer

Thursday, September 15, 2011

To Clear One's Heart

I can't stay away from the Ylang-Ylang tree. The last time I talked about it is here. I have shown its flowers many times, but you have never seen the entire tree. So here it is.

As I said in 2007, hurricane Wilmar chopped its head off in 2005, and I thought that was the end of its life, but it came back miraculously all by itself. You can see the place where the new trunk resumed its growth. No surgeon I know could have repaired such severe a cut as nature has done here. Let's see, it's about 40 feet high now so it has grown 36 feet in 6 years. The growth was about 6 feet/year. It is not easy to get to the flowers higher up, but the scent diffuses and spreads around the tree's perimeter in a seductive way that makes this tree famous and romantic. It is well known that Cananga odorata, the Ylang-Ylang as that is its scientific name, has many medicinal uses. Do you also know that it is cooling and it can clear heat from the heart? I like that!
Hoang Lan

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quattro Rings

OK. Enough recession and misery talk already. Let me swing to the other extreme of the spectrum. Remember "Edgard?" I talked about his 007 car and that made William very envious. He said: "Hey you, how come you talked about the lowly Aston Whatchamacallit and not about my son's Quattro?" Yes, why not? That will get me in the mood to talk about excess and glamour and yes, bad drivers too. Here is William's new toy. Actually, this is not his, but his son's! William's real car is his pet car that sports the logo of a horse, and that's not a Mustang. His horse is a black prancing stallion on its hind legs on a yellow shield. Need I say more? It's racing name is Cavallino Rampante. So back to his son's new car here, it's a 2012 Audi R8 52 Quattro with a price tag, are you sitting down? of a mere arm and a couple of legs. Legends say that if you owe the mob about US $175K, they'll take one arm and two legs, leaving you with one arm for you to get the money to pay them soon later.

To be frank with you, I really do not like Audi much, but this baby is trying to grow up to be a Lamborghini Gallardo, and it is equipped with an engine that has 10 cylinders, 5.2 liter, that can run like 520 horses, as fast as 200 MPH, and get you from rest to 60 MPH in 1, 2, 3, 3.2 seconds! It will eat your gas like a real guzzler, 11 miles for each gallon. Not my gallons!

I would be interested to get Edgard and William into a drag match somewhere in Miami. That would be interesting to see. Did you notice the tag inside the windshield? Are you kidding me? Come on, William!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rainbow Seeds

After showing you a mature Rainbow Eucalyptus, I was lucky to find a juvenile plant that is growing "slowly" in a small pot. Not wanting to take any chance, I went looking for a "plan B" in case the only plant I have does not survive all the hazards that a young plant has to experience growing up in Miami. Here is what I found... Rainbow seeds. What you see on first glance are seed pods. You can only see the real seeds if you have eyes like that of Super Man! There are thousands of seeds in this plastic bag, but they are all but invisible! If I took this photo using a microscope, you probably can see them well, but not here. Use your imagination... the seeds are tiny specs that you may be able to see in this shot. According to the people who do research on this species "E. deglupta is one of the most difficult eucalyptus species from which to collect seed. The seeds are tiny, measuring approximately 2mm x 1mm. There are an estimated two million seeds per kilo, or 2000 seeds/g. Harvested seed of E. deglupta is inseparable from the chaff."

Commercially, Eucalyptus deglupta seeds are sold in 0.5g quantities, only about less than half is seeds, roughly thus about 300-400 seeds per packet, not all viable. It is expected that only about a third will germinate properly and many will not survive the younger stage. To give birth to Rainbow Eucalyptus, you sow thousands of seeds, and not one or two! So, wish me luck with these seeds.
Tiny Seeds

Monday, September 12, 2011

The End Is Near

I was curious about where the Borders bookstore stands, so I stepped inside today... It's a sad sight! What remains now is but a carcass of a great bookstore in its heydays. It's devoid of any books of values and most of the remaining bookshelves are empty. Everything is for sale, except the walls and the electrical fixtures of the building. My guess is that the end is very near... The few remaining books that are not sold will probably be donated to local libraries and the doors will be sealed shut to await the next commercial venture. I am sad to see this go away, but life is tough and like in the mighty jungles, only the fittest can survive.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


A few years ago, the Fuddrucker at this location ceased its operation. It became Betty's Best and Betty struggled to stay afloat. After a couple of years, clearly limping and reeling, it stays open until now... and the curtain has fallen. Without much fanfare, there is only this hand written notice pasted on the door to greet its customers today. No more bike nights and classical cars days. How sad!
Betty's Gone

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I couldn't wait to find out, now I just did and that's a relief. A few days ago, a police car was visiting a mobile orchid commerce and I was wondering if that may spell trouble. I am happy to see that my paranoia was totally unfounded. The proof is here in this shot. It is still in full swing, alive and kicking. Actually, it has gotten bolder and has more signs leading to its operation. This is the place you can get fairly decent orchid plants for a quite reasonable price: US $10 for a plant of your choice. To avoid any future trouble whatsoever, please do not ask me where this spot is. But... if you are really tech savvy, you can use this: 25.703167 - 80.312833. And if you think that's a telephone number to call, no one will be there to answer.
False Alarm

Friday, September 9, 2011

Miami Misery

What do you do when you are faced with this? It looks bad in this photo, but it is worse when this man lifts his face to look around. He has a hole the size of a golf ball straddling the left side of his nose and his left upper lip, probably from a hefty surgical intervention. I couldn't tell his age, but he must be old. He had no food, only an empty paper cup and just slumbering here all alone. I hesitated and did not dare to talk to him until he gave me a half smile when he glanced at me the third time. Then he immediately gobbled down the sandwich I offered him. What do you do when you are faced with this?
Face of Suffering

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bond's Wheels

I told you that Miami has two things going for it: expensive cars and bad drivers (in my opinion) in its streets, quite a lethal combination. Today, I think I insulted Edgard in a big way when I casually commented on his car: "Hey, I didn't think that Chevrolet can make a decent looking car like yours here!" That infuriated Edgard to no end! "This is no Chevrolet, buster, this is no less than a Bond's car: an Aston Martin!"

Exccuuuussseee me!

James Bond, special agent 007 was driving an Aston Martin DB5 in 1963. That car had a 4 liter, 282 HP and topping speed out to a mere 145 miles per hour (233 km/h) so Edgard's car here would leave agent Bond's car in the dust with his 2009 Aston Martin DBS coupe, 6 liter 510 HP, 6 speed manual transmission with a maximum speed of 190 mph (303 km/hour.) On second thought, this is Miami, and knowing how lousy the drivers are in my personal view, I would stay a thousand yards away from Edgard when he moves his car out of here. Besides, Edgard's no Bond.
Aston Martin

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cell Break

If you think you have a tough job, think again. How would you like to work as a flower seller in Miami? You are handed bunches of dozen assorted flowers, mostly roses of different colors. You stand in the street waiting for a car to honk its horn at you. You rush over to hand the flower bunch and collect the money before the traffic starts moving and you have to make sure those crazy Miami drivers do not hit you. You do that all day... it's hot, it's humid, and it rains on you. The man working here is having a cell phone break. Sometimes, I want to buy the flowers this way and it's not easy to get the money ready to get the flowers before I need to move again. It's much tougher than it looks. These flowers are cheaper than you can get at the local grocery stores or heaven forbid, the local flower shops, but they do not last as long.
Cell Break

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Down and Out

This is the first time ever that I see this in Miami: a young woman in the street with a sign asking for money. You usually see men panhandling, or clearly down and out women, but I have never seen a young and able looking woman holding a homeless sign asking for handouts. Are jobs really that difficult to find?
Down and Out

Monday, September 5, 2011

They're Back!

Whatever they are, they are back again. Early morning, these mushrooms look like this. In no time at all, they open and flatten up like pancakes and from afar, they really look like UFOs. A comment said they are poisonous. Really? They look so cute, but again nature's beauties are always lethal.
They're Back

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Oh oh...

This does not look good or bode well. This local mobile merchant has been operating from this location for a while, and I saw a police car with blazing flashing lights visiting it today. What could it be about? If this is a romantic officer trying to get some nice flowers, why would the lights be flashing? I do hope it's not to give a warning to this poor enterprise. You see... the city wants all businesses to pay for licenses and carry insurance and so on and so forth... You can't just set up a commerce and escape paying fees and taxes. I'll return here again to see what will transpire.
Oh oh...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

TR 3

Here is a second sighting of this classic import from the UK. It was seen before in this neighborhood. This time, the top is up. Do you know why? That is because it rains everyday in Miami. Sometimes two or three or four times a day. Wet, wet, wet. This car is a true sport car and it is not designed for comfort. I can imagine I would be miserable driving it around in Miami's downpour with water leaking from around me, especially around the windshield. I know, I've driven this car in Europe. And the noise from the engine! The noise... but it's all fun driving nonetheless. I wish I were the owner, but alas, I am not. This car can fetch up to US $15,000 + because it's a collectible item and quite well sought after.
Classic from the UK

Friday, September 2, 2011

Happy Fellows

Here is proof that regardless of how tough life is treating you, there are always happy moments like this one. These are men waiting outside a Home Depot on Kendall Drive and SW 127th Avenue. Many of them wait here with the hope that they will get a job for a day, or if luck smiles at them, a few days working at odd jobs. When they saw me, they wanted to take a few photos of me! Oh yeah? That's what I do for a living these days, so I responded in kind. I even told them they will be on the internet. I doubt though that they would have the time, the energy or even the capability to surf the net at nights. One has to survive in this economy of the US that is stuck in reverse while costs keep going up and jobs are scarce like hen's teeth. God luck, men. Hope you get some work later... or tomorrow and the next days too.
Happy Souls

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Miami Perspective

It is September already? Here we go...

"Oh, it's a long, long while from May to December
But the days grow short when you reach September
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
(Not in Miami, it doesn't)
One hasn't got time for the waiting game!

Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few
September, November...
And these few precious days I'll blog with you!
These precious days I'll blog with you!"

Sorry! That was the September song, but I need to do a September perspective shot. So here it is. My iPhone 4 has a real annoying habit to add a few distortions here and there to my composition, but they all look good to me. This is no Escher, but it's a perspective.

If you are curious, the September Song above was by Sarah Vaughn with the Teddy Wilson Quartet, New York, November 1946.