Monday, December 17, 2012

Oriental massage in the Miami area

Is this a problem that should concern us?

I do not know, I have never been to one of these places. The fact is that in the last few months, they have been springing about all over the place, in locations where they have never been set up. For instance, one has just opened at Collins in the mid 70s, another one in 71st Street, nearby Normandy place.

According to some, these are legit businesses, where an over stressed individual can obtain relaxing massage for little money. According to others, including Hollywood, I mean, film, Oriental massage places are nothing more than prostitution fronts, or prostitution light, if you may, where you can get massages with "happy ending".

Who is to judge? The fact is, I had to use massage therapy in the 90s for a condition. I used a few massage therapists, most of them were men, not very nice looking or sexy, and when I had to resort to women, they were not young and sexy as well.

The ads for all of these places show very young Oriental girls, leading me to think that perhaps there is more than muscle relief and therapy in mind.

Just a while ago, these places seemed to be hidden in strip malls at US 1 and other roads, and as I say, now they are sprouting all over residential neighborhoods.

It is nigh time the New Miami Times do an expose on the matter. The newspaper seems intent in unveiling all type of scandal and corruption scheme in South Florida, so maybe, it should do a story to elucidate the public.

The suggestion is made, however, I am not holding my breath. The newspaper that seems to want to moralize an overly corrupt South Florida has, after all, tons of Oriental massage places as advertisers in the back section of the paper. Most of them, again, have pictures of very young, sexy Oriental girls, not a single fifty-something, experienced masseur or masseuse, and offer things such as "table showers".

Thus it seems that the New Miami Times is highly unlikely to rock the boat with its dozen of Oriental Massage advertisers. That is, considering there is some type of sex-business angle involving them. If there isn't, then such a report might actually benefit the advertisers. If all they do is only provide soothing massage, with no ancillary "services" at hand (pun intended), then I might even become a client.

I would not dream of entering one of these places only to be faced with MB Police doing a raid, if you know what I mean.

If, on the other hand, the local press is not intent on discussing the matter for commercial reasons, then I have this to say. Corruption has several different guises, besides political.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The new Publix at North Beach

Call me grumpy.

I am not going to criticize the new Publix at North Beach, right in front of Canyon Ranch. No, it is a great market, clean, spacious, with great selection. Publix prices, you know, not the best, in spite of what they say. The local hispanic markets and the market at Collins and 75 have way better prices, but less variety.

Everybody, it seems, had been waiting for the market to open. Supposedly, it has more parking spaces than the old market, but apparently, at least in the first days of operations people from as far as Tallahassee are coming to shop here! The parking lot is mostly congested, and although sometimes there is a police car parked in front of the market itself, there is no one to guide traffic.

There lies the problem. The market causes bits of traffic jams, because there is only one entry and one exit. The architect who designed this should have designed an extra exit-entry, but nooooooooooo, there is a single one!! So there is a whole lot of impatience, horn blowing, and a few middle fingers and name-calling going on. Holiday spirit, Miami Beach style.

I wonder if once the novelty wears off, the problem will go away. I am not keeping my hopes up. I think this is a new problem we have to deal with in Miami Beach. 

A funny thing. Again, it deals with parking, always bloody parking...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Place - not to be

I should have known better - I have lived in Miami Beach for a while.

I wanted to eat a burger, so did my wife. We decided to go to Ocean Drive, name to News Cafe, where we have enjoyed quite a few meals.

On the way, I saw a burger that looked very nice, at a place called - you guessed it - The Place. At 720 Ocean Drive.

The rest of the food looked wonderful, but I really wanted a burger, so did my wife. The price was 13 bucks and change. I ordered a lemonade and she ordered a diet coke.

The food was good. Good ingredients, nicely cooked, good presentation etc.

The big surprise was the bill. The drinks - served a single time, with no alcohol, cost a whopping US$12.00!. Yes, you read it, 12 freaking bucks for what amounts to sweetened water!

I suppose that if The Place,  at 720 Ocean Drive, needs a slogan it should be


First and last time I go there.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


How about Miami Beach's elderly,  small children, and small animals...There is a gym on 71s Street, near Collins Avenue, called CrossFit A1A which uses the sidewalks as its private race track. Part of the training, I suppose, is racing around the block once.

This is another accident waiting to happen. These people run, sometimes carrying weights, with no regard whatsoever for the people who are walking on the street. At the corner of Harding and Seventy First, they race very close to the wall when making the turn (see the picture below, taken from their own site!), and I have nearly been hit a few times. Some of these dudes are huge, and getting hit by one of them at full speed, carrying weight, is similar to being run over by a small truck!

Additional trouble is, there is a store at that corner, and I can surely envision another elderly lady carrying groceries being stampeded by people who care much for their bodies, little for anything (or anybody) else.

The restaurants at Collins Avenue, which, by the way, pay an arm and a leg for rental, must also love the sweaty, high speed people almost crashing into their patrons.

I could understand if this were a neighborhood without parks, or proper venues to practice sport. But the fact is, one short block away from the gym, there is a wonderfully wide  promenade built for running, which could be used by these folks without endangering the lives of old folks, small children or just regular adults.

Will anything be done? I don't think so. I have written the gym about, got a nice reply, that said the issue would be discussed during a meeting. The problem stopped for a few days, now it seems to have blossomed. I wonder who will be responsible for an accident, if it happens on the sidewalk.


Incidentally, the same gym parks a car, with plentiful of identification that parks for hours on end, in an area clearly marked "Unloading area - Tow away zone". Guess what" It never gets towed, and never gets a ticket. The gym has been written about it, same spiel, nice reply, stopped for a while, and the car can be found parked there illegally, for hours. 

Strange things happen in Miami Beach.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Parking in Miami Beach again

I hate to sound repetitious. But Miami Beach does have parking issues. However, let us praise when something works right.

I had my car at a lot today from 9:37 AM until almost six. A lot full of cars. I overstayed a few minutes, guess what, I got a ticket. Yes, parking enforcement is efficacious in Miami Beach, although not so much when it comes to fining business owners who park in unloading zones for hours on end. I don't know why that is.

But they were sure efficient today, giving my US$18.00 ticket, because I overstayed a few minutes after paying 8 bucks.

I do understand the need to make revenue for the city, however, I believe parking enforcement should also make sure that those sun-powered parking ticket dispensing machines work. FOR MOST OF THEM DON'T. At a day and age when carrying cash seems to be an evidence of criminality, and most ATMs basically charge as much as 10 % a day interest on your money, it seems that these stupid machines should be accepting credit cards at all times. I had to go to several machines today to get the one ticket that got me a fine. For it said "Full time allowed" which let me to think I was good until next morning.

Sure, I know nothing will be done, so I am not going to Court to dispute this, but at least I got this off my chest. Until the next ticket.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Area Code 55 Churrascaria

Brazilian style churrascarias have become quite famous in the USA as of late, basically due to the success of the Fogo do Chao and Texas de Brazil chains. A few other restaurants of the type have appeared all over the country, in cities where probably no Brazilian individual has ever set foot.

I suppose they are filling up with non-Brazilians as well. Americans love them churrascarias.

The only problem is that although they are "All you can eat" affairs, Churrascarias have become awfully expensive for what they are. 50 bucks a pop to eat beef dressed only by kosher salt seems a tad out of the realm of reasonableness.

Sure, they have wonderful salad bars (most of them do, anyway), and some even offer sushi. However, if you eat too much from the salad bar, there goes the room for the beef. And you end up paying 50 bucks to eat salad!!!

There are people that can put away huge quantities of food, of course. That is why here in the good ole USA we have the largest number of fat people on the world. Really obese. Pros!

If you do not put away industrial loads of food normally, you end up over-eating at the the churrascaria, to compensate the huge tab, and if the meal has taken place at night, you will definitely need about 10 omeprazoles. Or sleep sitting down.

If you have a couple of drinks, a dessert, and coffee, the bill can easily border 100 bucks a head, after taxes, tips and whatever.

I am not an attorney, doctor, entertainer, CEO or professional athlete, so I basically cannot afford dinners at  Fogo do Chao and Texas de Brazil anymore.

Area Code 55 actually offers a good option, which is reasonably priced meals for about 20 bucks for lunch, including on Saturdays until 4 PM. The old owners ran the house down, at one point serving copious amounts of bread on skewer, instead of  meat, but Area Code 55's owners have restored the place.

I still find Brazilian churrasco better than the Argentine, multiple cut all you can eat equivalent like The Knife (the one at Bayside is terrible), and of you take the day time offer, much less expensive. Plus, you will be able to sleep at night, without the 10 omeprazoles.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Unreliability of internet tools

It is a bit frustrating that internet tools, which purport to be reliable, robot, real time driven, are so flawed.

Take Alexa, for instance, which ranks sites according to popularity. The information there is basically all bogus. Either that, or it gets updated every six months. Which makes one wonder about the efficacy of such a tool, given the internet world is supposed to be ever changing.

One thing is for sure. People believe Facebook is such a wonderful place to make blogs and such popular. This is also bogus. I have over the limit of 5000 friends in FB, and whenever I post a new blog entry, I might get 2 or 3 visits, tops!

Plus, links in Facebook do not do anything at all for one's google ranking. The system is closed, so whatever you get from there, that is it.

There is so much baloney going on the internet (and it has been so since day one), that it gets disheartening sometimes.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Street owners

The streets are supposed to be public places, and the rules should apply to everybody.

Yet, here in Miami Beach, it seems some people think they own the street.

Owning a business, no matter how big it is, should not entitle one to privileges. Any type of regulation concerning public areas should look after the public good. Yet, some people think because they own a street level business in Miami Beach, that entitles them to special favors.

Worse yet, they seem to get the special favors!

A few business owners simply park their cars in front of their establishments for hours on end, in spite of yellow lines, and clear signs indicating LOADING ZONE, TOW AWAY ZONE.

The repetition of the misdeed is outrageous, for this is often done all the time, day after day.

LOADING ZONES do not belong to the business owner, and should not be used for parking of any type. That much is clear to me.

The arrogance is such that some of these business owners go as far as parking their cars with logos splashed all over, sure of impunity.

Adding insult to injury, MB PARKING ENFORCEMENT, which is always so eager to dispense tickets in public parking, a few minutes after expiration of meters, or calling TREMONT or BEACH TOWING to tow vehicles that are in clear (or unclear) violation of parking rules, does take this type of LOADING ZONE violation very lightly. Extremely lightly.

Food for thought.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


There are things that look nice, as if the government is thinking and taking care of us, but once you analyze it deeply, you can see it was (or is) just a waste of time and money.

The problem is not always the government, but the poor mentality of the users. For instance, the people that live or cut across Miami Beach everyday.

I suppose drawing bike lanes on 71 Street did not cost millions of dollars, however, I bet it has cost more than a person's yearly salary, considering the high price of public contracts. I remember the street being closed, trucks here and there, tons of possibly highly paid slow workers, police, inconvenience and all that. This deployment of equipment and people does cost money, taxpayer's money.

The idea is excellent, however, most of the people that do use bikes as a mode of transportation in Miami Beach do not use such lanes. They continue to ride their bikes at full speed, on the sidewalk.

When the sidewalk is wide, as in front of the theater, I reckon sharing it with a racing bike is not a problem. The trouble arises when you are leisurely walking on the bridge after Bay Road. The sidewalk there is narrow, and cyclists seem to love startling passersby. They will certainly curse and wave their hands at you (or give you the finger) if you point out there is a bike lane.

Maybe they have not been properly educated, or they fear being hit by a car. However, I have walked on that bridge many times, and have seem elderly folks, often carrying groceries, working through the bridge. Plus small children and small animals. One of these days, a raging Lance Armstrong wannabe will definitely hit an old lady and throw her down the bay. Then what?

Is the use of these bike lanes optional? If not, I suppose the police should start looking into these bikers, lest the city be hit with onerous lawsuits from injured pedestrians. Because that is what is going to happen

Talking about the elderly,  small children, and small animals...There is a gym on 71s Street, a cross fit gym near Collins Avenue, which uses the sidewalks as its private race track. Part of the training, I suppose, is racing around the block once.

This is another accident waiting to happen. These people run, sometimes carrying weights, with no regard whatsoever for the people who are walking on the street. At the corner of Harding and Seventy First, they race very close to the wall when making the turn (see the picture below, taken from their own site!), and I have nearly been hit a few times. Some of these dudes are huge, and getting hit by one of them at full speed, carrying weight, is similar to being run over by a small truck!

Additional trouble is, there is a store at that corner, and I can surely envision another elderly lady carrying groceries being stampeded by people who care much for their bodies, little for anything (or anybody) else.

The restaurants at Collins Avenue, which, by the way, pay an arm and a leg for rental, must also love the sweaty, high speed people almost crashing into their patrons.

I could understand if this were a neighborhood without parks, or proper venues to practice sport. But the fact is, one short block away from the gym, there is a wonderfully wide  promenade built for running, which could be used by these folks without endangering the lives of old folks, small children or just regular adults.

Will anything be done?


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Whatever happened to you are welcome?

Funny times we live in.

One of the most beautiful expressions in the English language is replying "you are welcome", when somebody thanks you. You can embellish if a bit using "quite", "very", "very much", between "are" and "welcome". It shows appreciation, deference, respect to your fellow being, even love for humanity. All positive things, things that could make society better, if practiced on a daily basis.

Yet, I noticed that the respectful, loving, appreciative "you are welcome" is now being replaced by a nasty "no problem", and variations thereof, such as "sure, no problem", etc..

It seems that the generation of LOL, omg, lmao, believes that "you are welcome" is a cheesy, old style, unassertive response to thanks, and has replaced it with the now ominous "no problem". This "no problem" seems to me a tad passive aggressive, and even worse, it gives the person who utters it an air of superiority. In other word, the very reverse of "you are welcome". It seems to be short for "no problem this time, but don't try me".

If "no problem" were used with a smiling face, that showed some physical semblance of appreciation where words fell short, ok.  However, people who use this expression have an air of arrogance that would make Madonna and Lindsey Lohan blush.

I wonder if they are being taught this is good customer service?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Facebook, the new twitter, a whole lotta sex and celebrities

I do not hide my dislike for twitter. To me, it is the greatest waste of time EVER. Sure, there might be some good uses for certain businesses. By and large, though, it is full of celebrities, or celebrity wannabes, offering little or no content of real interest to humanity.

A lot of titillation, sexual innuendo, waste of grey matter. No real interaction is offered. And people are deceived into thinking that most celebrities are actually posting things, when it is really PR people. What a waste!

The problem is that Facebook is becoming the same.

A few years ago, before twitter began to be promoted as the "next" internet thing, Facebook was a place where there was true interaction among real people.

The problem is that now it is cluttered by a celebrities galore, some true, others fake. Plus the hundreds of thousand (millions?) sexy profiles that were supposedly prohibited, but spring about all over.

People are so silly. They believe that the celebrities are really posting things, when in most cases, it is PR people. Silly, silly, naive people! Celebs are out having a ball with the money you give them, not interested in what you think about their supposed latest action!

When a celebrity "writes" an update in Facebook, immediately, dozens if not hundreds of likes, comments and shares ensue.

If you are a nobody, forget it, unless you put a silly picture, a baby, animal or sexy woman photo, you get no feedback.

Thus, celebrities have by their sheer volume, destroyed another good Internet platform.

It may be time for me to just walk away from the thing.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Not complaining, Miami Beach parking woes

I like living here. Sure people are not extremely professional, things take a long time to get done. Some say it is the smell of the ocean, others the heat, Southern living. Whatever, residing in Miami Beach is basically a nice experience. But for parking.

There seems to be a nasty parking related surprise all the time.

The old style meters, which by the way, never really matched the speed of my watches, have basically been replaced by solar powered ticket dispensing machines. Nice, new technology, solar and all that. Except that sometimes you have to try as many as five of them to get a ticket, because they emulate the working habits of many folks around this town. They don't like to work.

Then, the parking lot at Collins between 72 and 73rd, which every once in a while gets very busy on Sundays, now has tons of designated valet only parking spaces. Most of which seem to be empty.

Sure, it might be a good deal to get paid an ~x~ amount by a valet parking operator, who, if lucky, might a 5-fold return on any given day, charging clients much more than the 1 buck an hour deal provided by the city lot.

For the life of me, though, I don`t see any place around 72, 73 that might require valet parking. I have looked, and have not found it. Is it underground?

Thus, it seems to be just another parking related nuisance.

I am seriously thinking about walking to the beach...  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Aroma in Sunny Isles, 163rd Street anything but

Sure, Aroma does look cool. It is spacious, well lit, looks comfortable.

However, if there has ever been a misnomer for a restaurant, there you have it. Calling Aroma by that name is like calling McDonalds Nofat!

Nothing in Aroma is aromatic. Not even the coffee really has a strong aroma. The food is basically very forgetful. Sure the salads are very healthy, but they are tasteless - and without aroma.

I am not being unreasonable. I have given the place a few shots, for I have so friends who insist that is an "in" spot. I suppose it is "in" if you don't like food.
The least they could do is offer a variety of sauces, to see whether the salads can be slightly turbo charged.

The whole thing seems very pretentious. I reckon it might be a good place to flirt, but since I have not done that in a few decades, it is not for me. Actually, a lot of women and men who frequent the place seem to go there to find a new boyfriend or girlfriend. if you catch my drift.

The free small chocolates they give are OK. By and large the only OK thing in the place.

I have not tried the soups, people say they are OK. Somebody says it is over seasoned.

Thus, if you like food, avoid this place at all costs. Spend your money wisely elsewhere.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Reckless driving

It kinda occurs to me that the one most dangerous thing one does in traffic, which is reckless driving, does not get punished enough.

It does not take much to find reckless driving. Go to I95 in South Florida, any time of the day, and you realize that a lot of people are using their vehicles as weapons. They should have their licenses revoked, some should go to a mental institution, or get locked up for good!

I understand that it is easier to fine people crossing red lights, blocking intersections, or overstaying in a parking space one minute. Or doing 36 mph in a 35 mph zone! It is easier and safer.

If you bother to read Census bureau statistics, you find a curious fact. A lot of law enforcement deaths are not caused from shootings, as people normally think, but rather, traffic deaths. The death of a human being at work is tragic, no matter what.

So, I suppose that trying to keep up with a motorcycle cutting across traffic at 120 mph, or  chasing a heavy SUV driven by a crazed Jeff Gordon-wannabe is not good for the health of any p.o..

On the other hand, there is so much technology taking pictures at quiet corners, transponders collecting toll, video cameras, and helicopters galore, it does not seem to me so difficult to devise means to get some of these folks out of the highways.

I do not know if statistics bear what I will say, but I bet you that reckless driving even beats drunk driving as the number 1 source of traffic deaths. The cost in hospital stays, deaths, loss of work days, etc., is staggering.

Maybe some day, emphasis will be placed on the difficult. 

Punished for success by Facebook

One is supposed to be rewarded for success.

When there is money involved, such might be the case. When there isn't, you get punished.

Anybody who had close to the 5000 Facebook friends had a surprise a few days ago. Suddenly, the number of friends of increased by a few hundred.

It took me a while to figure out this sudden increase in popularity.

It seems that FB has done us the favor of including in our list of friends people who had closed their profiles, a few quite a long time ago. These were revived as friends, although they don't even exist in FB anymore, at least not in the guise of the former profile.

That would not be so troublesome, except that I cannot add people I want to add anymore, until I remove these five hundred deceased profile friends.

Additionally, doing it in timeline involves a lot of work. After one month, I think I managed to remove about 60. You have to go through the whole list, and find the closed profiles.

I suppose a lot of latte can do this to you.

So much for details.

For the sake of argument

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that somebody invents a miracle anti-death drug. In a weird twist of events, let us say that the national association of funeral homes has a final say as to whether or not such drug can be brought to market, although it does not own the rights to it. Sounds preposterous? Well, this is all hypothetical, but I don't think this miracle drug would ever make it to market under these circumstances.

The idea above might sound silly. Well, let's try another one, closer to home and reality. Let us say cancer vaccines are developed, which obviously, have to be marketed by drug companies. We all know that drug companies make billions of dollars a year selling oncologic drugs. Do you think these vaccines would be easily brought to market and kill the golden egg goose? I don't think so.

Lastly, how about private prisons? I do believe government should stay out of most enterprises, but here is one area that I see private intervention with suspicion. Sure, normally private companies are more efficient, however, once you start turning the prison population into market share, profit centers and things of that sort, there will be another force in society which aim is the expansion of crime. The more crime, the more convictions, the greater demand for prisons etc..More lobbying, pressure on prosecutors to come up with more "clients" for the private jailers.

This sounds like an altogether stupid idea.

No price tag should be placed on certain things.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Popularity and revelance not the same thing

Says who?

Well, it seems that search engines (and the internet in general) mix up both concepts.

Let us say you are looking for information on a term, phrase, that happens to be the title of a song. Forget it. You might find the information you want in the 395th result of your search, the first 394 dominated by the song, which, sometimes, was not even a huge success.

I have got nothing against music, I love it. However, the relevance we place in it, within the context of society, is astounding. Especially because tons of lyrics have no social, poetic, historical, philosophical, esthetic, political relevance whatsoever.

Funny that the engines do tweak results, when the term has a wikipedia entry. Don't tell me this is all done by algorithms, I do not believe so. Likewise, the song lyric results could be pushed a bit further down the list. After all, if you want the lyrics to a song, you normally write lyrics after it. I do.

Thus, we are left to live life to a soundtrack, often not knowing the meaning of what we are singing.

When the punishment far exceeds the violation

Driving around South Florida is getting dangerous. Not only because people drive like nuts, without a single shred of courtesy or decency. But rather, because all types of costly fines, violations, hidden tolls spring about seemingly every day of the year.

I understand that the only way to make people drive more sensibly, and obey traffic laws, is to make the pocket hurt. However, people's pockets are hurting and they are still driving dangerously, like maniacs.

A fine of US$500 for blocking an intersection in Sunny Isles seems to a tad too much for the violation. Let us face it. Sunny Isles is not a hub of tourist or business activity, any time of the day. The plans for the city didn't quite pan out, and the mammoth buildings that line up the shore remain basically empty. There is no justification for charging such a hefty fine, besides the principle of hooking the careless fish every once in a while.

On the other hand, the levying of such fines do nothing to upgrade the standards of driving in the region. Driving around I95's southermost section is a humbling experience. You feel like Evil Knievel, danger looming in every nook and cranny, with huge SUVs swerving in front of you at 100 mph, motorcycles with helmetless drivers flying at 120 mph, and huge tractor trailers tailgating small cars.

Walking and sticking around town sounds like a good proposition by the hour.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Daddy, can I have some money?

These days, having cash is a sign of criminality. If you are carrying a lot of cash, it means you are a criminal. Unless, of course, you operate a towing company in Miami Beach, which basically only takes cash.

I suppose there are several advantages to this, one or two which benefit us, the consumer. By and large, the advantages benefit banks, retailers and taxation authorities.

The real problem is the outrageous fees charged when you attempt to get your hands on some cash. You either go to your own bank - God forbid you bank with a small institution - or you are in for a nasty surprise.

Places like Walgreens offer US$20.00 cash without fees. I think Publix does too. The rest, well, the rest. They ask you whether you want cash, you might be stupid enough to say yes, then you pay $2.00 or more to get a mere US$20.00! You just paid 10 % interest on your own hard earned money!  What a concept!

Additionally, you might have a ton of money in the bank, but they determine how much you can spent. Yes, siree! I have to ask big daddy to spend my own money - which, by the way, they charge a fee to retain (unless you have US$75,000.00), while making money on top of it. I cannot withdraw more than $500, and can only spend US$3,000 on my debit card per day.

In other words, I cannot go crazy with my money. BUT IT IS MY MONEY! If I want to go crazy with it, I should be allowed to! However, I have to ask big daddy to spend my cash.

I suppose that as long as I can withdraw US$500, and Beach Towing and Tremont Towing do not raise their already outrageous fees to release MY car, then I will be OK...

Still beats being arrested for carrying suspicious cash.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Vomit, the new sex

Film and TV are in love with vomiting. It's the new "conquest" of the media.

At one time it was taboo to kiss on the lips. Then came  pseudo nudity, bust nudity, frontal nudity, male nudity. From this to almost explicit sex, it took little. All this straight sex, by the way. Over time, came homosexual sex. Male, then female. Today there are more lesbians in movies than on the streets. Every woman is a lesbian in Hollywood's perspective.

All this was accompanied by great achievements in gibberish. Four-letter words gained a lot of space. Today "ass" is said without hesitation on American TV. Great achievement of society, able to say "ass" on TV unimpeded. After this, to achieve perfection all we need is to eradicate world hunger and find a cure for cancer.

By the way a lot of movie scripts are written around the "F" word these days. I guess the way to do it is write the "F" word about 5000 times, then insert other conversation around it. Voila. You have a movie script.

As there is little left to invent, for comic flatulence has been reigning free for years, now Hollywood has discovered vomiting. Amazing how much vomiting there is in movies today! Copious rivers of noisy regurgitation are displayed inside and out of context. Police, teens, elders, women, youth, children, drug addicts, drunks, lovers, sick, healthy, rockers. Everyone vomits! At the hospital, restaurant, street, in the bedroom, living room, school, playground, soccer field, at weddings. Everything is an excuse for a delicious puke.

All with different colors, too. After the famous green vomit displayed by Linda Blair in the Exorcist, a milestone in cinematic vomiting, the more photogenic yellow is now the rule. There is also brown, with various consistencies and viscosities. Sometimes even the dreaded black. But it is always explosive vomiting, phreatic, generous, large and extroverted. High impact puke.

They even say that young actors are putting on their resumes the ability to vomit on cue as a special skill. Many people have got important roles because of their vomiting abilities. Control vomiting is a challenge!!! The big drama schools spend more time teaching students to throw up than cry. In short, if you want to be an actor in Hollywood, start vomiting on the side.

Start early, too. Even in those corny young girl pageants, here and there a little girl's presentation consisted of vomiting. Word is that this is a crowd and judge pleaser.

I would not be surprised at all if vomiting makes it as a competitive sport as well, and in a few years, is adopted as an Olympic category. I heard the ancient Greeks fancied vomiting as well, so here is a great connection to the origin of the Games.

All this depresses me because I threw up less than ten times in my life. I am now in my fifties. Once again, I'm out of fashion.

I am a failure!

If visiting Miami Beach, beware

Every once in a while, one reads in local newspapers about people that came to Miami Beach to have a good time, only to be drugged or seriously inebriated, and then either raped or robbed.

Honestly, I do not have that much sympathy for people who abuse substances. Not that I have never drank more than I should, but I quit that practice a long time ago, having seen the foolishness of destroying most organs on the long-term, and on the trot, losing consciousness on the short-term.

Notwithstanding, two wrongs don't make one right, and I believe it is an atrocity that people abuse others in any shape or form. I insist though, that if you abuse substances, you are looking for trouble, and eventually, you get it. Sometimes big trouble, sometimes tiny trouble.

This post is about dangers that can affect Miami Beach tourists who have not had a single puff of a joint or a single drop of  alcohol. That can make your trip to "paradise" hellish or at least unpleasant.

A few days ago, I ate a local restaurant. One day later, a couple of charges for full tanks of gasoline appeared on my debit card. You guessed it, the debit card was cloned. However, being a debit card, the crook could only use it for gas, where PINs are generally not required in Florida, but zip codes are. This tells me that however stole my number did from a local restaurant, and probably knows I go there a lot, and assumed my zip code - correctly. I have a very good idea where this happened, but I will not be vain and tell you. This would be libelous. However, let me tell you, I have eaten there dozens and dozens of times, and it is not a place where you would expect this type of thing. In other words, check your debit card online constantly, if you come to visit Miami Beach.


Then, stores here in Miami Beach seem to be very liberal when charging things, the cashiers seem to be the ones on vacation. We recently went to a local store, that could be characterized as a "tourist trap", and made a $30 purchase (including tax). My wife paid with a credit card, except that the guy ran US$35.00 on the card. We caught it on the spot, the clerk semi apologized and gave us US$ 5.00 back. I wonder if he did this to all tourists.

At a major restaurant, we had a US$60.00 bill turn into a US$90.00 debit card charge. This is how this financial "miracle" happened. The waitress brought the bill, I gave the debit card, and when they brought back the receipt for signature it was for a US$90.00 charge. Again, we caught it in time (no alcohol or drugs in our brains), but then they reversed the US$90.00 charge, then charged US$60.00 separately. For a while, I thought the problem would linger for a long time, for it took a while for the reversal to post to my bank account.

This got me thinking. They probably have one credit card for reversals, another for charges. They close the reversal's batch every "x" days, while the charges they close everyday. That way, they build a "float" of a few thousand dollars. Therefore, maybe it was not an honest mistake at all. I know because I am a credit card vendor myself. When I reverse a charge, it IMMEDIATELY posts to my account, if I close the batch immediately. ALWAYS READ CAREFULLY BOTH YOUR BILLS AND THE CREDIT-DEBIT CARD RECEIPTS FOR SIGNATURE.


Driving through Collins Avenue, in Bal Harbour, is very pleasant. You can enjoy the broad boulevard, beautiful trees and open spaces and gardens of that particular borough. The lights at night make it even more pleasant. However, if you are a visitor to Florida beware.

There is a traffic law in Florida, which I consider a good one, that calls for drivers to reduce the speeds of their cars when approaching a parked emergency vehicle with lights on. This is meant to protect the emergency workers, such as policemen, paramedics and firemen, as well as the people they are attending to. As I say, it is a good law, when emergency vehicles are actually serving the public in an emergency.

However, the local police likes to place on the southbound lane two police cars with lights on, which are not attending to any emergency. An officer might stop your car way before it even approaches the emergency vehicles, flagging you with a flashlight. Guess what? They will tell you that you are supposed to reduce the speed upon approaching/ passing an emergency vehicle, and give you a hefty $106.00 ticket. This has happened to me.

There are two things wrong with this scenario. First of all, it seems clear that the law calls for the vehicle to reduce its speed upon approach and passing of the emergency vehicle. If you are a couple of blocks away from the police car you are not yet approaching the emergency vehicle. The violation would take place if the driver passed the emergency vehicle without slowing the speed, not way before reaching the police car. The driver must be given the opportunity to violate the law, before being stopped and given a ticket.

The second wrong scenario is that this law exists to protect emergency personnel and victims, in actual emergency situations, not to make revenue for the city. Placing two emergency vehicles which are basically doing nothing, but giving tickets, erroneously amounts to a light version of an immoral sting operation.
I suppose out-of-towners end up getting most tickets, and I really have no idea whether these ever get paid. Locals mostly dispute these in local Traffic Clinics.

I do believe that with the current real estate market debacle this type of practice might be even more pervasive. Thousands upon thousands of real estate properties are going on the auction block, foreclosed, and who knows whether real estate taxes are being paid on time. I guess they are not. As these constitute the brunt of taxes collected by local communities, there will be strong revenue shortfalls across the board, most specially in South Florida, where real estate speculation ran rampant in the last few years. Thus the need to make up for the revenue shortfall somewhere...


Do not ever park at a store parking lot, if you are not going directly there. And do not go elsewhere, in fact, do not even talk to anybody, or pick up a newspaper from a box, until you get back into your rent a car. That is because a couple of towing companies, with a mandate from the city, make huge amounts of cash towing cars from these parking lots, left by innocent tourists who do not know any better. Don't believe the towing companies are simply called by the stores. Actually, they might get tips from some folks that should be doing something else, besides getting involved in private matters (for parking in store parking lots is a private, not a public matter). I am not going to tell you who these are, but you probably guessed it... These towing companies prey upon tourists, driving by these parking lots constantly, looming around corners looking for suckers. This can cost you as much as 300 bucks, and they pretty much take only cash, no credit cards. It will definitely ruin your vacation. Any MB resident has horror stories from these two towing companies, that behave as if they are "authorities", cutting through red lights, driving against traffic, etc...

I am not even going to talk about petty crime.

Thus, there is more danger to MB than getting plastered and then raped.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Barnes and Noble, naughty naughty

A couple of years ago, I went to buy something at BN. When I went to pay for it, the cashier had extremely bad  breath, and began to tell me about their reward program. Enrollment was not free, though, it was US$25.00 a year.

I suppose to get rid of the smell that seemed to be entering the depths of my soul, I agreed, although my experience with most such programs is not the best.

I used the card the first year, and got some discount. Not enough to justify paying 25 bucks, but I got it.

I buy lots of books, but normally when I travel overseas. Some of them are highly specialized books that I buy on the internet, not from BN.

I kinda forgot about it, until I found  one year later, that US$25 had been subtracted from my account for renewal without notice. And once renewed, no refund would be given.

Then I promised myself I would cancel the thing this year, for again, I did not enjoy the promised myriad benefits of membership.

I got an email from BN, saying that renewal was up, and again, I would be charged. I reckon a few people complained about the absence of notice, so they sent the email. I immediately went on the site provided, looking for ways to cancel the thing. There were all types of links, except for cancellation. The email did not have an opt-out of program link.

I was very frustrated, put this in the back of my mind, saying to myself I would do it, one way or another.

Then, I was charged again for one more year of wonderful "membership". Yes, US$75 thrown down the drain.

I suppose there should be a law prohibiting automatic renewals of such things.Companies apparently prey on people, such as me, who are very busy, and adding insult to injury, do not provide proper facilities for cancellation of membership in these "wonderful" programs we cannot live without.

So unless there was link on the site, which I did not see, a big shame on you, Barnes & Noble.

Shades of New York in Miami Beach

I lived for a short while in the Village, in New York. It was nice, a lot of fun, except for a few things. One of the things that bothered me the most (and any resident, I guess)  was the frequent movie, TV and photo productions taking place in the area, which caused major disruption to daily living.

You see, the theory is that being the site of photo shoots, TV or movies is good for the image of city, brings tourists and money. Nice theory, except that given that most movies these days have tons of crime, blood, crazy people, vampires, mosters and death, I have no idea of what type of tourist is being drawn to these cities. Maybe that guy from Colorado...

That is just a detail. The nastiness of it all is that whole sections of the city were often blocked for days on end. You could no go through a "production" area, not only by car, but also walking. Exceptions were made if you lived in the block.

What bothered me was the truculence of the people who worked in the productions. They behaved as if they had just bought the block and you, the taxpayer, were trespassing it.

If you see a motorhome parked anywhere in Miami Beach beware. Do not even think of parking near it. It is likely to belong to one of the several hundred (dare I say thousands) of photo, TV and film productions that use the city as backdrop. Some of them bogus, by the way.

I can't believe I will say this, but I actually miss the truculent production people in New York, because at least they warned,  in very certain terms, what was going on.

It seems that anything dealing with parking in Miami Beach is shady.

There was such a production with motorhome and  all, nearby at the beach parking lot at 75th street. However, you had to guess it was a production and that you could not park near the bloody thing. No sign, no truculent guy (or gal, for that matter), or MB's finest.

However, they were quick to tow my car. Makes me wonder if the absence of  notice was intentional.

The "production" cost me almost 300 bucks! I wonder how many tourists it will bring the city, at the end of the day.

So follow my advice. Stay as far away as possible from motorhomes parked in public parking lots. Or else, you might be the next sucker to fall for the ever hungrier MB parking money machine.

Monday, July 30, 2012

I was going to feed my hand to an alligator, now I know I should not!

Every once in a while, a news report appears which is frightening, given the sheer level of stupidity shown by some corners in this land of ours, supposedly a first world country.

I am not talking about the latest Lindsey Lohan run with the law or Tom Cruise's Scientology travails. I am taking about something indicative of a danger in our society.

The story is this. A boat operator in the Everglades had his hand eaten by an alligator, while taking some tourists on a tour. For some reason, his hand was in the water and the gator gobbled it up. Literally adding insult to injury, he was arrested, charged with feeding the gator (a misdemeanor) and had to pay  $1,000  bail and is going to Court.

A few years ago, I was astounded that the city of Naples, Florida, has an ordinance (another word for law, btw), prohibiting feeding ducks, or other "nuisance animals". So, I suppose that feeding of wild animals is basically forbidden in Florida.

Well, let us suppose I am eating a sandwich, and a duck grabs it from my hand and walks away happy. Or comes next to me to eat falling crumbs. That means the duck was fed.

I suppose only a very narrow minded (or plain stupid) individual would consider this voluntary feeding of the ducks. Thus, no violation of the Naples ordinance would have taken place.

Just how well trained are individuals who charge others for crimes or violations is beyond me. For there is an obvious distinction between voluntary and involuntary feeding. I do not think I have ever met anybody in their right mind who willingly wants to lose his hand. My hands are very useful to me, and everybody who has fully working hands concurs with that statement. The hand is not an unloved part of the human body.

Thus, it seems obvious to me that the man was not giving his hand to the reptile for a yummy meal. If the gator was fed, it was obviously involuntary.

There are two plausible options. The person who charged the unlucky boat captain is utterly unqualified to discern the difference between voluntary and involuntary, in which case he should be fired, or the law is flawed, making no such distinction, or worse yet, considering both voluntary and involuntary to be the same thing, in which case the legislators who created such law should be brought into scrutiny.

Either way, it is scary, for we are often in the hands of people who interpret such laws (no voluntary pun intended), and can cause us great loss of reputation, money, time, etc, etc. While they spend years and years messing up, with a warning here and there, if at all.

So now I know. I really had in my list of ten things to do before dying feeding one my hands to an alligator, now I know it is against the law...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Service with kindness

You would certainly expect this type of slogan from an entity such as the Red Cross, or any NGO helping the homeless, abused children or even animals.

However, it is used by a towing company called Tremont Towing in Miami Beach.

I suppose once in a year or so, Tremont and Beach Towing, the two much unloved towing companies of Miami Beach, do service that would make any grandmother proud, such as helping an old lady move her junk car out of a bad and unlit neighborhood at a very late hour.

However, most of the time the two companies spend their days in activities that some describe as unfair, others as a rackett. Not my words. Just google them, and see for yourself.

Be that as it may, one would question how come towing a disabled car costs so little, and towing a car that has supposedly violated a parking privilege (and sometimes has not, but that is a topic for another post, or book), costs so much. No, it is not the fine. The fines are charged separately.

I suppose whoever concocted this slogan is either very cynical or totally nuts.

Friday, July 27, 2012

All things to all people or a whole lotta hypocrisy going on

One of the most ridiculous and defining moments of the nineties was when Bill Clinton attempted to convince the world that oral sex was not sex, only penetration was. I suppose he was successful, thus, we have been since then redifining sex, marriage, underage, consent, sex act, and a number of other things.

In the 2000's, it is no secret that many websites that emerged might entertain monopolistic intentions, thus, becoming a one-stop shop, all things to all people. You know, where you check the news, the weather, find information, photographs, sounds, movie information, sex and violence. Ooops! Yes, sex and violence.

No one wants to admit, but our society (maybe all societies) is simply fascinated by sex and violence. And given our fascination, we attempt to redifine what constitutes graphic or written representation of sex and violence, moreover, what is legal.

Yet, there are things such as nice and bad neighborhoods on the internet. A lot of hosting companies do not accept sex sites because they can make their servers be tagged as "bad neighborhoods". Yet, sex sites continue to spring about all over the place, and sex text and pictures still drive most of the traffic on the web.

Thus remains the question. To be all things to all people, you cannot leave sex (and violence) out of the picture. Yet, to be all things to all people, you have to protect the children against sex (and violence) as well.

What to do? Simple, I suppose write a few policies to make believe something is being done about the matter, and then, don't do anything.

Facebook, the most successful social site of the world, has policies pertaining not only to portrayal of sex and violence, as well as hate speech, trade mark infringement, impersonation and a host other naughty things. And it has a mechanism for reporting such infringements, including sexual content. 

Do not waste your time reporting, you might be frustrated. Let it be, let the children be exposed to these things.

I have written a few posts about the Subscriber Suggestions that are fed to profiles daily. I visited quite a few of the suggestions, to check whether there was anything interesting, and came to the conclusion that a vast number of these profiles are not real people, rather, simple mini Light Porno sites. I reported a few, to no avail. I suppose the resourceful profile owners decided to place the naughty pictures inside albums, rather than the cover, and there is no place to report albums. As the covers are OK, the profile is deemed OK by the latte-drinking individual who is quickly reading the nuisance report and getting ready to check his iphone for any text messages for the 100th time in the day.

Then yesterday I got this suggestion, and it looked from the profile photo that this time I could probably get one of these removed. It became a matter of honor to me, getting at least one of them profiles removed. The picture portrayed a woman, with the camera focusing on her behind covered by a tiny thong. 

Then there was the cover photo.

Two almost fully unclad women, one on top of the other. The one on top held a bare breast of the one laying down, who had this orgasmic face and a finger inside her mouth. For sure they would consider this risque.  

Guess what, I got a response from the site saying nothing was wrong with the picture, I suppose for them this is not sex, it is a pic-nic in the park! In fairness, they provided me a chance to state my case further. Which I did.

I invited them to look at the only album on the profile, the cover photo album! There was a picture of a machine gun (see, violence there somewhere), and a lot of cash thrown all over. The rest were all pictures of women in different stages of disrobing. In one picture, three women are shot from behind, wearing teeeeeeeeeeeeny thongs, and you could clearly see their anuses. In another, two women hold each other, with huge breasts allowing partial view of their nipples. Another picture portrayed a woman wearing purple tights, shot from the bottom up, with her finger clearly up her you know what. These were the most blatant cases, but the rest of the pictures where all sexy, and you could see enough of the women's private zones, plenty of shades or outlines of nipples and pubic hair to qualify these as sexual content or nudity.

Guess what again. The profile is still up.

I suppose for FB sexual content has to involve a man and a woman having sex (funny, marriages don't require that anymore, but the definition of sexual content does). Clear rectum shots are not sexual, nor is shooting pudenda covered by tights, clearly depicting female masturbation, or hot women fondling each other's bare breasts. So I suppose, the Clinton doctrine as to what constitute sex applies to FB as well.

I am not the Beatles' "Mean Mr. Mustard", always shouting at something obscene. If you want to see pornography and women (or men) in all stages of nakedness on the internet, there are tons of sites to see, perhaps millions, who knows. Facebook is supposed to be a safe zone for children, in fact, any child can befriend this profile, and be feed these titillating pictures.

The hypocrisy is having the so-called policy in place and a mechanism for reporting. 

I for one, will no longer waste my time. I've had it. My attempt to block the subscriber suggestions was unsuccessful, for I suppose, there is no such a thing. In that sense, the ball is in my court, I will simply ignore the suggestions henceforth. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Understanding Facebook subscriber suggestions

I am sorry. I am old school, I like to understand things. I still believe that things are done for a reason. Are we not in the age of reason and knowledge?

Apparently not.

I would like to understand the criteria used by Facebook to suggest people (?) I should subscribe to.

I suppose the subscription deal is supposed to work like a twitter. I am no big fan of twitter, in fact, I find it the worst waste of time ever. We are made believe celebrities are actually writing most of the stuff, when handlers, secretaries, public relations actually do. It is mostly planned, folks.

So, I have no use for twitter. Facebook theoretically offers interaction.

The worst thing is, who are these people? I get something like dozens of suggestions a day, I do not know a single one of these persons. Why I am supposed to be subscribing to them?

No rhyme and reason. Curious that I am, I began to look into these profiles, and again, I saw no rhyme and reason.

Some of these people have not visited their profile for more than two years.

Some of them have 30 friends!

A lot of them are no more than soft porn profiles, with women (and men) clad in skimpy outfits, or totally nude but covering strategic parts with hands, toothpicks, some of them covering almost nothing. The idea is to portray huge silicon infused mammaries, or photoshop treated derrieres barely covered by thongs. Some of them are clear violation of FB's own policies, but upon writing them, they say the infringing profiles are OK!

Not only that, some of these profiles contain sexy pose photographs of girls who are obviously underage, and others refers to external sexy sites.

One of them actually promoted "encounters" among the adult members.

A large number are not even people, they are clearly companies, which, again supposedly violates FB policies. Others have pictures of celebrities on the cover photo, another policy violation.

At the end of the day, nothing makes sense. These sites supposedly have algorithms that service ads, suggestions, etc based on my interests, and what I have been serviced thus far are things I am not interested on.

Therefore, if this latte-ecstasy fueled idea is to create a twitter-buster, I suppose the company should fire whoever thought of this "gem".

It is definitely creating a more negative FB experience...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On music and celebrities, tête-à-tête

This modern world is quite something.

Facebook (and before that, Myspace, does it still exist, btw?), with all its flaws, has allowed me, and I suppose many others, to make contact with people I never dreamed of. Granted that I am not likely to be a Madonna or Lady Gaga, a super-duper star fan, I like mostly things on the fringes, if you know what I mean. Even so, even these people B-celebrity musicians, athletes, actors, are rather difficult to every meet in person.

Honestly, I have met my share of celebs personally, and I was not impressed. I would rather stay on my side of the world, let them where they are, thank you very much. They have egos, some of them are downright aloof, others just plain nasty, while a very few of them I could see really befriending.

The computer screen is, however, a screen in more ways than one. Sure, it is where we see stuff, but it also screens in the sense that it creates a degree of separation between people. The connectivity is there, but even with digital cameras and whatnot, it is not a physical reality. This affords celebs a degree of safety, a safe zone. We don't get close enough to see the aloofness, the ego, nastiness, etc.

Well, having said that, I befriended quite a lot of my heroes on the Internet, most of whom are still unknown to the major public. As I am not here too name drop or embarrass anybody, moi included, so I will not mention names. Maybe you are a fan too. Small world, isn't it.

I am not much a music consumer anymore. A musician myself, sometimes I am reminded of a Pete Townsend song, I believe called "Too much", where he says "I think I heard too many songs", or something to that effect. Most extremely contemporary music leaves me cold. Actually, if I can sit down on the piano and easily play it, I got no use for it. Give me old Yes and ELP! So I spend my money elsewhere.

One of my FB "friends" is a singer whose work I enjoyed immensely in the 90s. In fact I still do. However, her two last albums were not very good.

And she just released another one.

So, every day she is putting news about her new album, I guess, she wants me, and her other FB buddies, to dish out a few bucks and buy the tracks.

I can be sincere with you, perhaps not with her. I am not about to do it. For some reason, 1 dollar to me has assumed  a relevance I did not ascribe to it 20 years ago.

I will keep dodging her postings, what is a man to do?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Walgreens in Sunny Isles ridiculous prices

I like Walgreens, I admit. So, I got no axe to grind against the company.

One night, my wife and I were returning from dinner at a restaurant in Sunny Isles, when I remembered we had run out of cat food in the morning. It was late at night, and although there is a Walgreens near where I live, we decided to stop at the one in Sunny Isles, at Collins Avenue.

Big mistake.

You would think that Walgreens is Walgreens is Walgreens. Some price variation here and there is expected, who knows, 10 %? That sounds fair, 10 %. However, I almost had a heart attack when I found that the cat food brand I buy, which normally costs $0.65 at MY Walgreens, was being sold for a hefty $1.49 in Sunny Isles' Walgreens!

As I was there, I decided to take a couple of cans for immediate use, while noting my displeasure to the cashier.

The lady did not miss a beat. She said things were much more expensive there because of the several five-star hotels surrounding the store. My wife quite intelligently reminded here that few, if any people, bring their cats to a beach vacation. I add now, that certainly the prices are not so high because of great demand, for these Sunny Isles five-star hotels normally have a couple of rooms lit any time at night, leading me to believe they are empty.

Even the deli nearby my office, which is awfully expensive, charges $0.85 for cat food!!

I will definitely never set foot on that store again.

They can wait for the 5-star hotel patrons to buy their cat food...

Lesson of that day. Not all Walgreens is Walgreens.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Facebook's ill advised suggestions

A few times, friends have reported that their Facebook profiles had been removed or suspended, allegedly because they had put some risqué photographs in their profiles. They all swear the photos were not sexy at all, so I suppose, Facebook's criteria for sexiness is rather strong.

Let me rephrase, was rather strong.

After reaching a threshold of 5000 friends, you can no longer add "friends".  FB changed what are considered friends (it seems that every LIKE I had ever put on FB became a friend overnight, and they are nowhere to be found), so I am no longer able to add people I do want to add.

However, I am able to subscribe to people.

Honestly, I do not see any reason for subscribing to unknown, uninteresting people with whom I will have no interaction. Actually, I don't see a reason to do it even with people most folks find interesting, such as celebs, artists, athletes and pols. For that, there is twitter, which I loath. For me Facebook is about interacting, and if somebody is not interested (and will not receive) my updates, I am not interested in theirs.

Call me grumpy.

Notwithstanding the fact that 80 people found "moi" to be interesting to subscribe to (wonder where they got that idea), I have yet to "subscribe" to anybody.

Which does not stop Facebook from suggesting tons of "people" for me to subscribe to.

Just for arguments` sake, I began to click on the profiles they were feeding me, to see what Facebook was suggesting I subscribe to. And I was amazed.

Most of the suggestions I am being fed are soft-porn profiles, which only obvious "raison d'etre" is titillation, barely hidden pudenda on display. In some cases, one can almost do gynecological examinations of the women portrayed. Downright nudity is rare, however, silicon-boosted tits hang about all over the place, strategically covered by an arm, and orgasmic faces are the norm. Shots of derrieres clad in skimpy thongs are all over the place. Even worse. Some of the bodacious "women" look extremely underage, so this might be very close to underage pornography.

Some of the profiles do contain suggestions to visit outside sites.

What exactly has changed? How come FB was so strict about this issue, and now, not only allows, but also promotes these profiles? Does the stock market floating have anything to do with this?

I am doing what I can, which is reporting as many of them as they are fed.

Whether anything will be done, there remains a huge question mark.

By the way, how about the no company profile regulation?

Why do I bother?

We are all equal, however, some seem more equal than others.    

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Some suggestions

Simply warning readers about bad customer experiences is not sufficient. Every once in a while, we should give kudos were they are deserved.

Manolo's is an old eatery in Miami Beach (it also has a location in South Beach. It serves good food at good prices. The orange juice is great! They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and the staff is friendly. Try the Choripan, a sandwich of Argentine sausage, served with fries, for under 5 bucks! The Churrasco is good for two. Don't come looking for seafood, few options.

A new automobile museum opened in Miami. The has European and American cars, plus Hollywood cars. is a place where you can obtain certified, notarized translations of documents.  serves pasta made with organic ingredients, and it has a beat the clock menu until 5 PM.

In South Beach, also has a beat the clock menu. It is one of the few inexpensive places on Lincoln Road.

More suggestions later.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Don't make this my problem

I lived in the North for many years. North of the USA, if you are wondering (or care), more notably, the Northeast.

I used to come to Florida quite often, escaping not only the cold weather, but also I what I perceived as people's coldness. I used to find people up there to be cold, selfish, and impolite. Whenever I came to South Florida, I found the going much easier, people eager to help and polite, etc.

After a while, moving to South Florida became a dream, almost an obsession. My stays in South Beach were a daily, sweet recollection, and changing residence became a goal.

Eventually I did move. In fact, I moved right after the last hurricane had wreaked havoc in the Miami area, so I guess, people were a bit edgy.

I had a bit of a problem with the phone company, for almost obvious reasons, so, for a while, I had to live and run a business through cell phones and depending on friends to run credit card sales from land lines.

I was relieved when I found an internet cafe nearby the apartment building. I needed to have internet access immediately, and it was a Godsend.

I began to make small talk to the person running the joint (the only one there). She was very curt and said, "DON'T MAKE THIS MY PROBLEM!!!!"

So much for a warm welcome!

I found out that quick holidays and frequenting good restaurants and shops in South Beach was one thing, actually living in South Florida, dealing with everything and everyone else, quite another.

I suppose the real estate crisis and ensuing economic woes made things worse. But the reality is, living here you have to deal with a lot of impoliteness, selfishness, coldness, in addition to incompetence and laziness, in addition to crazy driving at I95. I hate to generalize things, but this is more the norm than the exception.

Yes, the climate is great, no hurricane has come this way since then, but quite honestly, on a personal level, South Florida living is way different than a South Florida vacation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A city sponsored by sex?

For a few months, the parking tickets dispensed by Miami Beach parking meters had a very curious sponsor - a school for pole dancing!

I do not mean for dancing with Polish individuals. You read it right, the city's parking tickets were sponsored by a school that taught women (maybe men) to pole dance. One might give the excuse that the folks going to this school were learning pole dancing to entertain their husbands or families, but I don't think I have ever met somebody that has a pole in their house for such purposes.

Thus, it leads me to think that the idea is to get more local gals involved in a strip club career! So nice that the city thinks about the "professional" development of local "talent"...More ho`s for MB!

Now the ads have been replaced by Burger King, but I thought it would be nice to note the record for future generations.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I won a lawsuit against Google

Before you write me a comment explaining how times have been tough for your lately, the recession, unemployment, to convince me to donate a few million to the Obama or Romney campaigns, or requiring funds for some endangered species protection scheme read on.

I won something less than 6 bucks.

I am not frustrated at all, because I did not even know I had sued google. Insofar as I was concerned, our relationship was OK. However, our laws allow some law firm somewhere to file suit on my behalf, and I am not even being told by anybody what I am being protected from.

This is not the first, or last time I get one of these. Got these from phone, credit card companies, etc., etc., etc.

I am supposed to believe that this serves a grander purpose of keeping huge companies in check. They must have done something that made me lose money, and need punishment! Years ago, phone companies use to insert in their bills all types of bogus fees, some with the official word "federal" attached to it. Good ole` class action attorneys came to my rescue, to your rescue, and to my recollection, I got something like 30 bucks. On the top of my head, I must have paid a few thousand in bogus fees during the course of the years, but got a mere 30 dollars in "restitution".

The company vigilante role would be OK, except that such attorneys, who represent me, and whom I did not hire, take home a few million for their work in "settling" these cases.

So at this point, I wish there was a class action attorney to take on the class action attorneys out there, for companies continue to get away with all types of shenanigans and the barristers getting rich at my expense.  

And guess who pays the bill one way or the other - you, the consumers.

Friday, July 13, 2012


It is unbelievable how weak the economy is in Miami Beach, in spite of all types of good news emanating from the cheerleaders of the land.

Call this sample unscientific, but the fact is, there are so many businesses closing all over the place, it is not funny. Even restaurants, which basically do well.

Mind you, even a McDonalds closed nearby. They say it will be renovated, but it looks quite terminal to me.

Funny that people are still dreaming, and new businesses are springing about, from karate studios, to more restaurants to boutiques.

In the building where I work, the turnover in offices is tremendous. A guy next to my office beat the record, his office was open for four short months.

It is impossible to keep up with the new comings and goings, and I basically gave up. The landlord must be renting offices for peanuts now.

At any rate, business revival might be coming for some, but very few.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A little suggestion to Miami Beach authorities

New technology allows governments to increase revenue. That is fact. I am not going to discuss whether I like this or don't, this is not the point.

The point is, technology should be used properly, at the proper places.

The use of cameras to fine folks who pass through red rights is pervasive in South Florida. Who has not gotten one of them tickets in the mail yet, with the nice camera shot and all?

Well I am making a suggestion to Miami Beach that will surely fill the city's treasury with a lot of dough.

There is a red light in the corner of 71st Street and Indian Creek, Eastbound, which is totally disregarded by a large number of drivers. I walk through it twice a day, and have seen way too many people simply disregarding it, at the expense of poor pedestrians. Including elderly folks, women with babies and etc.

Why not install one of those cameras to catch these guys, rather than putting them in places where there are no pedestrians?

MB will probably make me citizen of the year, once they discover how many drivers violate that corner.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sakura Japanese Buffet, North Bay Village

Jumbo Buffet at North Bay Village was a proverbial dump. The food was decent, but the restaurant, an old nightclub, was a bit run down. It was not expensive, which was good. Then one day, it simply closed.

For a long time there was a sign announcing a new Japanese Buffet would open in its place. Soon we found out it would be named Sakura, but in spite of a lit sign, the eatery remained shut for some time. I know, because I drive by it at least twice a week.

It finally opened, and my wife and I decided to find out about Sakura in North Bay Village. Consider this a review.

From the entrance, we could see the place was fully renovated, decorated. It was not simply built up, they obviously used an interior designer to do the place. Some of the decoration was excessive, downright tacky, but nice enough, especially in comparison to good ole Jumbo.

From the start, they seemed a bit disorganized. Three people offered to sit us, but only the third host actually did. The staff was obviously not Japanese, rather Chinese. Don't get me  wrong. I am no bigot and I have nothing against the Chinese, I am no sinophobic. However, the Chinese tend to do Chinese food well, the Japanese, do Japanese food well. The way it should be.

The guy that sat us rushed a drink order, then a waitress came to take a drink order. In fact, I could see a lot of waitresses walking about in utter confusion, from the time we came in, until we left. I was surprised there was no waitress crash.

Then, the food. Call it growing pains, I suppose. The sushi trays were mostly empty. The pieces themselves were not well put together, falling apart. The fish seemed fresh enough, although the crab legs were simply served frozen. Maybe it was crab ice cream, I don't know. The Japanese food was not all that.

As for the Chinese food, the variety was not great, and at least one dish was extremely hot, when it should not be. I did not try the hibachi, so I will not render a judgment.The desserts were indifferent.

All of this for US$21.95, and expensive drinks on the trot.

I do not recommend it. Had I been charged 10 bucks per person, I might have found the pricing OK, but honestly, one can eat at much better Japanese (Chinese) buffets a few miles from there, such as Miyako in Sunny Isles (Collins Avenue) and Ginza at US 1 and 163 for less money.

So, it seems like this was my first and last foray at Sakura.

Don't say you have not been warned.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Stop payment

The world used to be a more straight forward affair.

Today, everything seems to be a game.

Here in South Florida, you travel on a road without toll booths, or signs indicating it is a toll road, a few days later you receive a notice indicating you need to pay a $0.25 toll, but because you did not have a transponder, a fee of US$10.00 has been added! Nice, this coming from the folks who are supposed to protect us and make sure there is a level and ethical playing field.

No wonder everybody plays games.

In the not so far old days, when you needed to stop payment on a check, you paid a fee and the check would be worthless henceforth, forever.

Nowadays, without your knowing or being aware, the stop payment "service" is renewed for many years, and a small fee charged accordingly.

It happened to me, and to be fair to my bank (I know not why I am being fair to it), assuming that every other bank is playing such monkey business, I will not say who they are. They might chase me, if you know what I mean.

So I suppose I am being forced to buy a transponder and pay a sizable amount of toll money in advance, to avoid surprise tolls, and stop using checks.

That is what it seems like.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

On being a realist

Writing a blog such as this, on this day and age, is a bit like journaling.  I might be the only one reading these words.

Yes, I know, blogs are posted publicly on the internet. Amidst millions, who knows, billions of other sites. A competitor I have has almost 80 individual sites, all of which say pretty much the same thing! Yes, I know, this violates google's design guidelines. In fact, he violates many others, this nasty little bugger, but no one seems to notice. So, potentially, if every person on Earth were to have 80 different sites, multiply that by 7 billion...

I know, that is silly. Poor people in Swaziland and Papua New Guinea, many of whom do not read or write, do not have sites. I am just saying... Look at Facebook. They claim 500 million users. Yet, there are so many fakes in there, that I suppose the real users are about 100 million.

Back to writing for myself.

I do not trust these pages here will launch a budding writing career. No sir. The whole notion that you can rise from nothing to somebody on the Internet, is a fable.

There are professional clickers in India, whose only work is clicking on Youtube videos. That is how a nobody can reach a viral magical number of 1 million views, most of the time! Videos are also spread illegally as SPAM. The very same people that write letters to D.A. offices complaining they got a SPAM message from a small company, spread these videos, sending the messages to their friends so on. Many of which contain hidden advertising, by the way.

The point being, those nice clickers in India make peanuts, yet, the company charges handsomely. It costs, good money is spent.

Sure, there are all types of software that does the work for free. However, sites seem to know robots, and block them. So they say. I am not sure of that.

Then supposedly there even professional clickers who charge to click on publishers pay-per-click ads, also illegally. Given that this involves money, not only free Youtube fame, things get more interesting, and supposedly this type of behavior gets punished right away. Money always seems to drive competence.

My point is, whatever the situation, unless you are extremely popular, and only very rich people are extremely popular, you had to have some money to get those millions of artificial hits on youtube. So it is always about money, one way, or another. Nobodies do not have tons of money.

Leading me to think that this is more of a psychological exercise than anything. Honing my skills? Maybe. Wasting my time? Quite possibly. But at least, getting it out of the system.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Donald Duck's tomato

It is really weird how an image from childhood sticks to you.

I remember reading a comic book story, a Donald Duck story, where my favorite duck was growing tomatoes for a contest of some sort. I don't remember the end of the story - most likely Donald had some type of problem, as almost always - but all I can recall is his happiness with the large creatures.

So I can't help, to this day, whenever I see a large, plump tomato, I think of Donald Duck and smile.

This was obviously a Carl Barks drawn story. I have sought it in comic books, in fact, bought a large part of the Donald Duck reprint collection, to no avail.

My soul will not rest until I find the Donald Duck tomato story.

Then again, I might stop looking. The whole thing might sound very stupid, today, and break the magic.

Let us give Donald Duck's big tomato the rest it is due.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hey and Um

I confess that certain things tick me off about movie scripts.

Take "hey".

Ok, people do say "hey" when they meet today. However, when you have a movie that is supposed to have taken place in the 60's, 70's, and people say "hey" when they meet, it sounds strange. The cars are right, the clothes are right, the hair is right. The "hey" isn't. Just watch any movies from the 70's, and you will not see (or hear) anybody saying "hey".

Then there is the "um".

I don't know if there is any new acting school that says that good acting is saying "um" every three words. Certain actors and actresses abuse the "um" so much, that it sounds as if their parts are written with 1500 "ums" intercalated with a few real words.

Get real!

One of those things

We live in the information age.

There is a big but. A lot of the information out there is either exaggerated, distorted, biased or simply untrue.

Yet, people swear by such pieces of information. Because most people do not know how to connect the dot, and can fall for anything.

Mind you, I am not talking about people who are high school dropouts. I am talking about people who have a lot of schooling, in this case I am talking about more than one masters degree, and have even written books. Yes, indeed.

I understand, people cannot know everything. To be honest, the more you know, the more you should be aware that you don't know. The real problem is when people say that something exists, matter of factly, when they are lies.

Somebody told me the other day that a certain fast food chain's burgers are made of snail meat, giant snails grown in farms. I think he believes it. On to something more serious.

Then I meet another person, who impresses me greatly with his culture, poise and reasoning. Then the guy starts ranting about the Illuminatti, then tells me that one family, the Rothschilds, has 50 % of the worlds money!!!!

I did not know the Rothschilds were Chinese or Saudis...

At any rate, this type of assertion might be fitting around 1642, but we are in 2012!!!

In a sense, I am relieved. Because I was just so fascinated with this individual, that it worried me. I like to have some critical sense when I converse with somebody, even if it does not result in an argument or long discussions. For internal use.

Now I need not worry anymore.

I still consider him intelligent, cultured, and all, but far from flawless.