Monday, October 31, 2011


It's here! The fateful night they call Halloween. You see ghosts everywhere you go in Miami. I am staying put inside. Not taking any chance to run into these fellows. If you live in the US and you do celebrate, Happy Halloween! If not, happy day, where ever you may be. If you want to be scared tonight, watch this, and this.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pink Boy

I returned to visit the Victoria amazonica and happy to see that the flower is now fully opened. It is of the pinkish color so the hocus pocus might have happened last night when it opened for the first time and supposedly white. I am pleasantly surprised to see it open during day time, which is 2:11pm when this photo was taken. Books say this flower only opens at night... unless this is not the amazonica species, the books may be wrong. This is interesting and I wish I could get to the truth behind this... some day and certainly not today.
V. Amazonica

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Known as "A Genuine, Original Florida Establishment, Virginia Key, Miami, Florida USA," this is Jimbo's Place. It is said that his is "simply the last place at the end of the road where everyone is welcome, from kings and politicians to working folks and the salt of the earth."

I come here once in a while, and today's a special day which is Frankenstock Halloween Party at Jimbo's place. This place is boasted to be the most popular location in Miami where music video shoots, models and photographers, television shows and motion pictures are shot on location; such as Porky's II, Ace Ventura, True Lies, 2 Fast 2 Furious; Flipper, Miami Vice, CSI Miami, Burn Notice; JayLo, Who Let The Dogs Out, Sugar Ray and photo of Maria Carey's first album cover... You get to meet quite a few exotic characters who frequent this place. For instance, I got a nice photo of Jamaican Paul and he said he wouldn't charge me a fee for that. Lucky me! Look him up.

Jimbo himself was here and I got a couple of nice photos of him... but he is so well known already and I am sure he wouldn't mind that he didn't make it to my today's blog. But... less well known is Jimbo's Jr. and here he is... Bubba (James "Bubba" Luznar Jr.)! Bubba is Jimbo's son and, like everyone around here, also very friendly. He gave me a Halloween mask without me asking for it. Thanks, Bubba!
Chez Jimbo

Friday, October 28, 2011

Don't Hug Me!

If you do not like to be hugged, be like this.
This is a Pachypodium lamerei, which is a stem succulent and a species in the family of Apocynaceae from Southern Madagascar. It has large thorns with leaves growing only at the top of the plant and bears large, white fragrant flowers, which is rare for plants in the cactus family. This species is one of the best known pachypodiums in cultivation because it is relatively easy to propagate and grow. Propagation is by foot long pods the size of cucumbers that bust open when ripe to disperse its seeds to the surroundings.

Do you see a large colorful lizard on the top? How did it get there? It must have followed the spiral pathway between the thorns, right? How else?
No Hugging

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Halloween (or Hallowe'en) is an annual holiday observed in the US, and many other countries in the world on October 31, which commonly includes activities such as trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, carving jack-o'-lanterns, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films. The carving of jack-o'-lanterns originated from Ireland and Scotland from the souling custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory. Immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin, which are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips. The American tradition of carving pumpkins is recorded in 1837 and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century. Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" refers to idle "threat" to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. Unfortunately, there is real danger of poison-laded candies given out and that practice is all but abandoned. However, traditions die hard and many houses in the US put up Halloween decorations to celebrate. This house looks beautiful with the mockup cemetery in its front yard.

Every Halloween night, I plan to watch "The Shining" but too chicken to have it done. That movie is just too creepy for my sensitive soul. If there is a scene I would blog, that would be when Wendy sneaked up to read Jack's book. The entire novel he wrote only contains one repeated phrase. Do you know what that is? Do you think I will watch that this year?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lonesome Bird

I was walking alone this morning on Sunset Drive when I spotted this lonesome bird perched on a large aerial tree root at this canal. Without a good reference, I can't tell its gender but pretty sure it's a falcon, a species of raptor in the genus Falco with about 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. These birds are also sexually dimorphic.

In Miami, you can sometime see flock of birds of prey flying high looking for food. If this is one of those birds, it is a kestrel, which hovers while hunting. One species, the Peregrine falcon has been recorded diving at speeds of 200 miles per hour (320 km/h), making it the fastest-moving creatures on Earth. Being birds of prey, falcons have exceptional powers of vision; the visual acuity of one such species has been measured at 2.6 times that of a normal human. This thought brings me back to the reason why I am walking this road... I am visiting my ophthalmologist to log a complaint of why I can't see as well as a falcon.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


There is a burial at the Woodland Park Cemetery South, also known as the Caballero Rivero this morning. This is a large 60 acres cemetery on SW 117th Avenue and 116 Street and it is a nice final resting place, for some. Others choose to be scattered with the wind and not leave any trace. That lead me to think about the different ways the finality of one's life can be dealt with, such as...

Air burial - Mongolia - body is left on open ground for natural predators.
Sky burial - Tibet - Body is dismembered and left outside to nature's course. This is because Buddhist's Jhator believes the body is worthless, only fit to be used to sustain birds of prey such as the vultures.
Viking burial - Scandinavia - Body is left inside dragon ship and burned with ship.
Fire burial - Bali - This is a Hindu way relying on fire for cremation.
Workplace burial - Southeast Asia - Bodies are buried in the fields where they lived and worked. Stone markers are used to mark the locations.
Cave burial - Hawaii - Bodies are bent and tied, covered with tapa cloth and buried in caves. This is similar to the Incas and Egyptians' mummies.
Ocean burial - Bodies are placed in burlap bags and weighed with stones to sink, a la 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Jules Verne.

There are many more ways to dispose of the dead bodies and sometimes painful memories linger on. Any memorial can prolong the memories and with it the sadness so for me... I like the Final Frontier mode - Bodies launched into space aboard a private commercial satellite to a permanent orbit around the earth. That's still too close to earth, I'd prefer a higher escape velocity and my capsule will sling shot to escape the solar system into deep space, never to return... orbiting the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Please, would you please lighten up! Not you, you, that's me talking to myself.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Love Graffiti

In Paris, there is a wall named "Le mur des je t'aime." The wall is a monument dedicated to love erected in the romantic garden of the Square Jehan Rictus Place des Abbesses in Paris Montmartre. With over 311 written declarations in 250 different languages, I love You : The Wall has become a meeting place for lovers. I saw it in Paris but can't blog it because this is not Paris... but... Love is here in Miami too. Here are some great declarations of love expressed in graffiti and posted in a very unique and beautiful place: the trunk of an Albizia niopoides, which is the largest and most elegant of about 150 species of the Albizia trees, which is related to the Rain Tree. This one is in Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, and although pretty much forbidden, lovers have found the way and the courage to carve their love declarations on its trunk. If you can find your name here, you know that someone does love you deeply. Click on the photo to enlarge it. You can never tell what you can find.
Les Je T'Aime

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In Full Bloom

As predicted on August 20th this year, the Alstonia scholaris in lot 57a at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is in full bloom today. This is the absolute peak of this tree. It is fully covered head to toe of dense clusters of flowers and they are all fully opened, except very few isolated clumps that are late. During day time, there is a lingering scent but at midnight, this tree lives up to the description in literature that serenades the sweet and subtle nightly scent. Downwind of this near midnight, you can't get enough of this perfume. During the day, this tree attracts many small butterflies and bees that pollinate the flowers to produce seed pods in about a month.

The purple flowers you see in the foreground is from the Lonchocarpus violaceus tree (Balché Tree) of the Fabaceae family from West Indies and Columbia. This tree smells very good during the day but it is no match to the Milk flowers at night.
Alstonia scholaris

Saturday, October 22, 2011


If you are tricked to this page because of the title I used, shame on you. It's not what you think. We Miamians live for this crisp, cool, blue sky, white clouds, extremely pleasant weather about this time of the year. This is when the snow birds flock to Miami to partake our nice weather and flood South Beach. As if given a secret signal, all convertible cars go topless. Here are two among the many roaming the streets of Miami. I think that if you own a convertible in Miami and you drive around town with the top of you car still up in this kind of weather, you would be considered "gauche." And you know what this means? Your car has to be in tip top shape. You push a button, the top goes down... you push it again, the top goes up. I saw a man who didn't even have to push any button. He clapped his hands, instant topless!
Top Down

Friday, October 21, 2011

Queen Victoria

This is my third favorite spot in Miami's Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden. When I am lost, and do not know what to do or where to go, you can find me here. This is the Sibley Victoria amazonica pool built in 2004 to be the home of the queen of the waterlilies: the ‘Giant Water-Platter,' discovered in 1801 as the genus Victoria. It was named Victoria regia for, yes, Her Majesty the Queen of England. It was later renamed Victoria amazonica. This giant waterlily is native to Colombia, Guyana, Venezuela and Peru equatorial, and to Brazil where it grows in calm waters along the mighty Amazon River. Its gargantuan glossy green leaves can grow to seven feet in diameter, although not so large here, with a pronounced maroon lip around the circumference. The lip is notched in two places to drain rainwater.

You can spot a flower bud among the 5 leaves on the left side of the photo. Unfortunately, the lush, 12-inch flowers only open at night, emitting pineapple-like scent to attract the scarab beetle pollinator (Cylocephata castaneal) for a nightly cycle of hocus pocus when the flower gender changes from female (white) to male (pink) in the morning while trapping the poor beetle inside. Let me tell you one thing, if I were that beetle, I would be shocked! You must be joking... I was visiting a girl and all of a sudden, she became a guy? Get out of here!
V. Amazonica

Thursday, October 20, 2011

You Can Name Me Now

Tonight is the night that the University of Miami basketball teams get together to have a fun scrimmage so that their coach can introduce the players to the fans. De facto-ly (does this word exist? But you know what I mean, I hope,) the fans are all UM's students, faculties, UM's employees and families. It's all show and tell and fun and game inside. This event took place at the BankUnited Center which is a 8,000-seat multi-purpose arena on the campus of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The arena opened in 2003 as the University of Miami Convocation Center, and is home to the Miami Hurricanes Men's and Women's basketball teams. This venue hosts concerts, family shows, trade shows, lecture series, university events and sporting events, including all University of Miami men's and women's basketball games.

In 2005, BankUnited, the largest bank headquartered in Florida, entered into an agreement with University of Miami to name the building in honor of the company. Currently the fate of the arena's naming rights, which are held by the failed BankUnited, is in question because it was sold by the FDIC to a private equity group after seizure on May 21, 2009. If they ask me, I would give them the name I have in mind that is just perfect for this arena, but they have to ask nicely.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cold Front A'Coming

Finally, the cold front that caused so much wet misery in Miami is punching through. Listen to this: "Mostly cloudy in the evening then becoming partly cloudy. Isolated showers. Much cooler. Lows in the lower 60s. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 20 percent. " That's the forecast for tomorrow, Thursday. Then it will be clear Friday with only some clouds for the weekend. I am going to love this weather. Here is today's look at the wet, wet, wet Miami representative of the past week. It has its charm, but that's enough already. So long, rain!
Wet Montgomery

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ferocious Cycad

It has been wet, wetter and wettest in Miami the past week, and there seems to be no end to this interminable rain! It rains and rains every day, and night and the next day, and the next night... ad infinitum. I braved the rain and was rewarded by this amazing sight, two incandescent cones. You can see how wet the ground is. The rain just stopped temporarily after a heavy downpour... and these two cones shine like two gems. This is an Encephalartos ferox, a very popular cycad since it can be grown fairly easily as long as there is plenty of water, well-drained soil, and moderate temperatures. All these conditions are met here. Plenty of water is an understatement.

E. ferox, a member of the family Zamiaceae, is a small cycad with about 35 cm wide subterranean trunk. It gets its name from the Latin word ferocious, likely from the spine-tipped lobes on the leaves of the plant. Trust me, you don't want to touch them. It is found naturally on the south-eastern coast of Africa where it has been used by local people for its starch content. It is considered to be one of the most popular cultivated cycads. E. ferox is found along the southern coast of Mozambique and in northern Natal and can be found very close to the ocean on white beach sand, often growing near other vegetation on the sand dunes. It is also found in evergreen forests. This one was collected from Mozambique, where this species was first described in 1851.

This species reproduces using cones that are of a dark salmon color. These are female cones, and I am not sure if I can be lucky enough to find one with male cones this time around... but the male guys offer a sight and size to be reckoned with. While the female cones are about 25 to 50 cm long, 20 to 25 cm wide, and sessile (having no stalk or peduncle,) the male cone is a 40 to 50 cm long cylinder that is 7 to 10 cm wide with a peduncle that is up to 2 to 3 cm long. They look really formidable! Now you know that these cones are sexually dimorphic! I am in a good mood, so I am not going to leave you aghast, wondering what the heck that is. Sexual dimorphism is a phenotypic difference between males and females of the same species, especially in ornamentation and coloration. Excellent examples are difference between peacocks and peahens; and many spiders species displaying typical sexual dimorphism differences where the male is dramatically smaller than the female. If you think deeper, human species tends to exaggerate its natural sexual dimorphism and plastic surgeons can't wait to oblige!

Rain, rain... would you please stop coming down? My shoes and I can't take this anymore!
Cycad Feroce

Monday, October 17, 2011

Modern Life

There are two things now that you can see almost anywhere you go, especially in the US, and certainly in Miami: a cell phone and a debit/credit swipe device. Many, if not all doctors' offices now must improve their cash flow. Besides posting a disclaimer in their office saying they are not carrying liability insurance (meaning you can sue me, but you won't get much,) they all are requesting patients to pay their shares up front before they are seen by the doctor.

Here is the desk of a typical medical office clerk. They can take your money in no time with the card swiping device that charges your credit card or directly debits from your bank account. The pink object is the ubiquitous cell phone. I challenge you to leave me a comment if you do not have a cell phone. I expect to have zero such notes. Please be truthful.
Pay Now

Sunday, October 16, 2011


It's a rarity to see this logo in Miami. That means either not too many Harvard's alumni live here... or they are so modest, they do not often if ever display their banner. This must be a rare exception where the logo with the Latin inscription "VE" "RI" TAS" is seen here.

Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States. The University, which is based in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, has an enrollment of over 20,000 degree candidates, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Harvard has more than 360,000 alumni around the world.

Do you know who was the most famous Harvard's alumni? Bob Hope! Really! Did you see the movie "The Son of Pale Face?" If you want a good laugh, get that movie, you'll see Bob Hope, the son of pale face, in his outfit with a giant "H" logo proudly proclaiming that he is an alumni of that illustrious university. I love that movie and the first one, "The Pale Face," especially the scene when Painless Potter Bob Hope, the father, used the laughing gas and extract using a pair of pliers the wrong tooth from a grumpy cowboy.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Not In Miami

I have a few photos taken in Miami today, all of which are quite uninspiring so, let's leave Miami for a day and let me show you a photo taken a bit more northerly, at a hockey game tonight between the Florida Panther and the Tampa Bay Lightning. This ice hockey stadium is in Sunrise, about 30 miles North of Miami International Airport. I did not mean to imply that this photo is inspiring, but we had some fun watching this game, primarily because we didn't have to pay for these tickets, which must cost a fortune because they came with free food and free drink with even a private bathroom. As a huge bonus, the Panther won the game after a tie that forced a shoot out, so it was all and all a fun night. I do have a complaint though: this is a tough game to watch because I had a real hard time to know where the darn puck was all night. Look at the referee, I think he was looking for it himself. Where's the puck? Where's the puck?
Hockey Game

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fast... Fast... Fast

This is super fast... This space just emptied out very recently and before the ink dries, it is occupied in a hurry and now open for business. The entire space that was Borders Bookshop is now part of City Furniture, that has its retail store just next door.
City Furniture

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Wish...

Rome has the Trevi fountain where you can make a wish by throwing a coin the right way into the water (you've got to turn your back to the fountain and throw the coin over your head. I didn't do it right and my wishes there never came true!) In Miami, you can make a wish in the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, at Yoko Ono's Wishing Grove. In case you do not know, Ono is the widow of famed Beatles' John Lennon. The Wishing Grove at Fairchild is a late entry in the year 2010 of a series of Wishing Tree creations that began in 1966 and sponsored by Yoko Ono. To make a wish, you get a small paper tag on which you write your ardent wish that you wish would come true. Then you tie it to a string or piggy back yours on the strings of other tags. Periodically volunteers remove the messages for storage in a clear plastic container in the Visitor Center of the garden, before moving them to permanent storage at the Imagine Peace Tower on Videy Island, Reykjavik, Iceland. Not sure what they do with them after that. Hope they don't plan to send them all to Santa.

The tree that was selected to be the wishing tree here is a Ficus racemosa which is a species of plant in the Moraceae family. Popularly known as the Cluster Fig Tree or Goolar (Gular) Fig, it is native to Australia, South-East Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Its figs grow on the tree trunk where you see the dark blotches now that the fruits are gone. In India the tree and its fruit are called "gular" in the North and "atti" in the South.The fruits are a favorite staple of the common Indian macaque. In Vietnam, it is called sung. In northern Australia, this fig is the regular staple of the caterpillars of the butterfly the Two-brand Crow (Euploea sylvester.) Historically, Hindu and Buddhist ascetics, on their long trek to Taxila for pilgrimage, travelling through vast areas of Indian forests, used this fruit for food. A major problem of eating this fig is that it is always full of the fig wasps. Gular fruits are almost never sold commercially because of this problem. Did you know that these figs are used to fatten geese for the production of a precursor of foie gras? Yuk!

OK, my several wishes are on this tree today. If you could zoom in to find and read mine among the thousands on the tree, you'd know what I was wishing for. Don't you wish you knew?
I Wish...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Harvest Moon

All full moons rise around the time of sunset, about 50 minutes later each day. The Harvest Moon and Hunter's Moon are special because, around the time of these full moons, the time difference between moonrise on successive evenings is shorter than usual, about 20 - 30 minutes, depending on your latitude on earth. Miami's latitude is 25.78 degree North at Miami International Airport. During Harvest and Hunter's Moons, there is no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise. Farmers (good for crops) and hunters (bad for hunted animals) have moonlight to see after the sun has set so they can continue with their chores.

The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. About once every four years, it occurs in October in the northern hemisphere. This year, the latest possible Harvest Moon is on October 11, and this photo was taken at 7:03 PM last night. What you see in the low Miami horizon is the Harvest Moon. It is spectacular with the naked eyes because the moon seems to be bigger, brighter and more colorful than other "regular" full moons. To the naked eyes (like that I have) we see what is known as a Moon illusion, that is the moon appears bigger than when it is high in the sky. That is why the moon looks not as spectacular in this photo as it appeared to me because camera lens cannot see illusions. Besides, this is an iPhone 4, what can we expect? This is no SLR Canon camera! But it was truly a beautiful full moon, this Harvest Moon of last night. Wish you were here! I write this earlier than usual today so you have a chance to go out and look at the still beautiful near perfect full moon tonight, about a half hour after your sunset.

The Harvest Moon is also known as the Wine Moon, the Singing Moon, "Blue Corn Moon", and the Elk Call Moon. I always find a deserted place and practice my howling to lure my magical foxette. And I did that last night, really! It's similar to the Indian Love Call (The Call) in Rose Marie's musical, a 1924 operetta-style Broadway musical with music by Rudolf Friml and Herbert Stothart. You want to hear what it's like?
Harvest Moon

Click on the player to hear Indian Love Call ( Rose Marie) by Cuban opera singer Hortensia Coalla

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Golden Beauty

I have a confession to make. I always love yellow convertible cars. Naturally, when I saw this beauty today, I had to stop to take a whole bunch of photos. The owner got nervous and watched my every moves from afar, a female person. Vroom vroom... a beautiful driver driving a beautiful sporty Porsche Boxster. What a sight, don't you love to see it? Even better if it's yellow which is my true love color.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Like Paul McCartney of The Beatles said in their 1968 album The Beatles, "Life Goes On!" Here is the building that was the home of the once-huge but now defunct Borders Bookshop. But life goes on... On the left is a makeshift desk and chairs seemingly designed to start a new business. The red and green neon reflections you see are from the Shorty's BBQ place across US-1.

The tag line "ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra" was an expression used by a Nigerian conga player Jimmy Scott-Emuakpor, who was an acquaintance of McCartney. To me, it means "Life Goes On!"
Life Goes On

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Black Cherry

This is an ornamental plant of the Allamanda genus in the Apocynaceae family, one of the two Allamanda blanchettii vines that I have grown for may years. They bloom profusely all the summer months and well into the fall. The flowers are large and have the color of dark burgundy. Its nicknames are Purple Allamanda, Violet Allamanda and Allamanda Black Cherry.

This is the first time ever that I see a seed pod on this plant which is this thorny ovoid pod in the foreground. There is only one such pod in these very large plants so it must be much easier to propagate this vine by other means than by relying on its seeds. Knowing that its sap is poisonous, I am not going to touch this strange hairy thing because as far as I know, it may have come from outer space!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

How I Did It

Finally I did what I set out to do a few years back, learn the answer to: what does a "Milk Flower" tree in bloom smell like? Legends say it's sweet and romantic... it's pungent and overpowering... people love it... people must close all windows to keep out the nauseating smell... I didn't know what to believe so I gave myself a mission to find out. It's done! First, it wasn't easy to find its scientific name... then I found the wrong species (Devil tree) that didn't have any scent... The real "Milk Flower" tree with the legends is the Alstonia scholaris (Dita bark) and the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has two of them. These are the only two I found in Miami, so far.

These trees bloom in mid October. This year, one has about finished with the flowering stage and is busy making seed pods. The second smaller tree is in its flowering peak right now. These tiny milky white flowers do not have any scent during day time. Easy problem to solve! I managed to get to the trees last night (with full permission, mind you, so I didn't have to break any law) getting wet because of the heavy rain. The tree you saw before, at night, has the sweet and seducing scent, at least to me, and not overpowering at all. At about 8:30 PM, you have to seek it out to realize it's there because of its subtlety. With only one branch in a vase, it's pure perfume when it gets closer to midnight. I would place this scent quite close to Chanel No. 5, but that's subjective. You may disagree, but you'd be hard-pressed to get a chance to experience this to compare notes. It was a lot of work to get to this end. My guess is this can be overpowering if you put a lot of these trees together.

Talking about Chanel No. 5, another legend says it contains essence from the Ylang-Ylang flowers. I would bet you a cookie that it has A. scholaris in it. Perhaps this is a secret of the perfume maker?

So... What's next? I want an A. scholaris tree for myself. Is it too much to ask?

Mission Accomplished

Friday, October 7, 2011

All Alone

Homelessness is a sad affair anywhere. Here in Miami, you can't help to take notice of these poor people, both physically and spiritually. I can't imagine how such a person must feel. The woman sitting at the yellow bench is somehow living in the streets of Miami. I spot her here and there, always cloaked in several coats of black clothing. Most of the time, she is occupying the bench that used to be the home of a man, who since has vanished into thin air. On the right is the Michaels store at the Dadeland Station close to Best Buy, Target, Sports Authority and Bed Bath and Beyond. It is gearing up for the fast coming holidays in the US... First Halloween, then Thanksgiving and Christmas. Do you know that this is also the peak season of suicide in the US?
Buffalo Wings

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Nice Patio

Here is another angle to look at the new Buffalo Wings that just opened its doors in Miami's Sunset Place. It has a small outside terrace in the open court yard in the back side and they call it the "patio." To attract new customers, this place is having special discounted prices of US $.50 for each chicken wing they serve. Years ago, chicken wings were not easily found anywhere in the US, but nowadays, it's the "in" dish and every restaurant has that in the menu. Me? If you want to be on my sweet side, just give me a few wings and I'll love you to death. But you need to know just how to prepare them... not like the ones they have here.
Buffalo Wings

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sapodilla Gone

Just to make sure that I am right, I returned to the UM construction site for the new student activities center. All the sapodilla trees have indeed been removed! UM is trying to collect all memorabilia pertaining to the old Rathskeller. They are welcome to use my photo of the trees here.
Trees Gone

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


The Miami-Dade County Police Department (MDPD), formerly known as the Metro-Dade County Police Department (1981–1997), Dade County Public Safety Department (1957–1981) and the Dade County Sheriff's Office (1836–1957) is a Limited Service County Police Department serving Miami-Dade County, Florida's unincorporated areas. The MDPD is the largest police department in the Southeastern United States, with approximately 4,700 employees. The Department is still often referred by its former name, the Metro-Dade Police or simply Metro. Miami-Dade Police officers are easily identified by their taupe/brown colored uniforms. Miami-Dade Police vehicles are identified by their green and white livery. MDPD officers carry silver badges, while officers with the ranks of sergeant and above carry gold badges. The Department's headquarters are located in Doral, which is really an annex of Miami, here:

Police Department
9105 NW 25 ST
Doral, Fl 33172

To get to this location in Miami, you've got to brave the heavy traffic on NW 25th Street where it is always full of huge 18 wheelers going in both directions feeding the nearby big shipping business and the Miami International Airport.

MDPD officers drive Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors and they always instill a blue fear in me whenever I see them. I think they keep me honest and well behaved. Miami-Dade Police is often depicted in quite a few television shows, films, and video games: notably, Miami Vice and CSI: Miami. I do not watch these shows, but I know Miami Vice featured two of my very favorite Miami locations: Jimbo's and the now defunct Stiltsville.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Now Open

The new Buffalo Wings is now open for business. Does this mean I will have to pay for more bad food again because I know I won't be able to resist testing this one out? I got a new idea! How do I get myself a job to become an anonymous food critic? Why didn't I think about this before? Free food... Day in and day out! What do you know? If you ever Google "job listing," it will return "About 32,500,000 results in 0.21 seconds." I'll be busy looking through this listing for a few days from now on... I'll start with

This view of Sunset Place is from the North, where it borders SW 57th Avenue which is Red Road.
Buffalo Wings

Sunday, October 2, 2011

So So Dim Sum

The name "Hakkasan" pays homage to the ‘Hakka’ people from the New Territories of Hong Kong while ‘san’ is the respectful Japanese form of address. Hakkasan is now open for Dim Sum lunch every Saturday and Sunday from 12 PM - 3 PM, for $28++ per person. Menu items include congee, stir fry, soups, vegetables and dumplings that are seared, deep fried and steamed. That's what the ads say. Nothing but rave.. That's where I was for lunch today. Dim sum was supposed to be, according to Zagat, rated "top-of-the charts!"

There are only 2 choices: Dynasty and Emperor. We had Emperor... Regret to say, I beg to differ with Zagat... and the Emperor seems to wear no clothes for my taste. Here is the view from its window inside the Fontainebleau hotel. You see the Atlantic ocean off Collins Avenue on Miami Beach. Even the ocean is bland! So I complained and got a free bland dessert. Sorry! I think South Miami offers better food, much better! If I were a food critic, I would rate this 3 stars out of 10! OK, Four stars!
So So Dim Sum

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mysterious Object

It's the first day of the month... and the monthly theme is "Mystery Object (sic)." This object of mine is so mysterious... If you can tell me unambiguously what it is, you'll be awarded a first prize. Go ahead, guess away! Hints: The color scheme... the letters (if you can make out what it says,) and my alma mater.
What's This?