Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Freedom Tower

This is the Freedom Tower as seen from NE 5th street, just West of Biscayne Boulevard. It was designed by Schultze and Weaver, and currently used as a memorial to Cuban immigration to the United States. The Freedom Tower is located at 600 Biscayne Boulevard on the Wolfson Campus of Miami Dade College.

On September 10, 1979, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places; and then designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark on October 6, 2008. On April 18, 2012, the AIA's Florida Chapter placed the building on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places as the Freedom Tower Building.

Originally completed in 1925 as the headquarters and printing facility of the newspaper The Miami News, it is an example of Mediterranean Revival style with design elements borrowed from the Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain. Its cupola on a 256 foot (78 m) tower contained a decorative beacon.
Freedom Tower.

Monday, November 5, 2012


In 2008, CompUSA went into liquidation and was purchased by Systemax. All CompUSA stores in Miami retained its name until now. Tigerdirect.com has now replaced the COMPUSA name and this is how the store across from Miami's Dadeland Mall looks today.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I'm Stumped

I know this IS a Sabal causiarum.

But when I look it up, a source I trust says this: "One of the most striking Sabal species is Sabal causiarum, the Puerto Rican hat palm. This palm is distinguished from other Sabals by its massive smooth gray trunk which can grow up to 4 ft (1.2 m) in diameter! Most Sabals retain their old leaf bases on the trunk, creating a textured crisscross or "cabbage leaf" pattern instead of a smooth trunk."

I don't know what to say. This S. causiarum certainly has the old leaf crisscross pattern and not smooth trunk at all. Is this a Puerto Rican hat palm? Or is it not? You tell me!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Early Voting Line

Today is the last day to cast a ballot early for the 4-year cycle general vote in the US. It's time to vote for the US president, which is the most important and the first item on the ballot. After missing the absentee vote by mail and earlier dates for early vote, today is the last opportunity for me to vote before Tuesday next week, which will be the official voting day.

I was in this line for 5 hours, from 2 PM to finally get to the voting booth at 7PM. The crowd was very jovial and civil. No one was complaining. The kids were having a grand time climbing the huge banyan trees lining the streets surrounding this early voting place that is the Coral Gables library. If you look closely, you can see a few kids in the crotch of the tree on the right.

If you have never known the voting system here, you are lucky. I can tell you that the political languages that, after months and months of battle, got into the ballot is so convoluted you never can tell what you have voted. If I voted Yes, was it a No for what I don't want? Or was it a Yes for what I want? If you are confused, you are not alone... So am I. Please don't ask me whom I voted for, or what I voted for. I am not sure myself! But I did vote today! Yeah! What a relief!
5 Hour Wait

Friday, November 2, 2012


Here is a Veitchia spiralis, a species of flowering palm in the Arecaceae family. It is found natively only in Vanuatu, which is a remarkable fact. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN, headquartered in the UK) Red List classification of plants by conservation status as follow:

LC = Least Concerned
NT = Near Threatened
VU = Vulnerable Species
EN = Endangered Species
CR = Critically Endangered
EW = Extinct in the Wild
EX = Extinction

The V. spiralis is assigned the status of NT, which is threatened by habitat loss. You may wonder where in the world is Vanuatu? Here is the answer: Vanuatu (French: République de Vanuatu, Bislama: Ripablik blong Vanuatu), is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The volcanic archipelago is about 1,750 kilometres east of northern Australia, 500 kilometres northeast of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea. V. spiralis trees you see at other places like this one here must have been collected from this island and from nowhere else.

Talking about extinction, do you know that of the various species partitioned into: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, molluscs, plants, all have some percentage of population that are critically endangered... all except, you guessed it: the insects. Now, just think about this... us, human beings (well, at least the majority of us) belong to the mammal group... and we do have a finite probability of suffering extinction as a species sometime in the future. Let's hope that future is not coming too soon.
Near Threatened

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Haves

Every four years, the US population votes for a president and it's that time again. Somehow, this year it's more subdue than four years ago when it was the talk that was on everyone's lips. This time it's the contest between the current US president Obama vs former governor Romney. I watched all three presidential debates and already made up my mind so no matter how often both parties call my home phone and trying to change it, they are only wasting their time. Driving around town, I muse myself conducting a casual survey from the political signs posted in front of houses.

Today, my tabulation came out to be: Romney 11, Obama 0. But I need to tell you that I drove through a section of population that can safely be classified as "the haves." From this photo, you can count one vote for former governor Romney from the sign posted in front of this house. I understand this house is worth about US $8.5 Million. I need to find a different section of town that is more representative of "the haves not" for a more balanced survey... coming soon.
Vote Now