Thursday, May 31, 2007

Political Consultant Monkette Gets Congratulated At Mayor Burns' Victory Party

I had a lot of fun on THEPRICEOFSILVER during Mayor Kevin Burns' re-election campaign, using Monkette in many of the photos and treating her as if she was a real person in the captions. By carefully choosing the right "key words" (Thanks for the tips about Google, Jon Sinish!) anybody googling for election information usually got this blog in the top three listings, often beating out the stories in the Miami Herald.

What never occurred to me was just how many women here in North Miami stumbled across Monkette's adventures and passed around the name of the website. When I showed up at the victory party I was greated with a resounding "Where's Monkette?" A quick trip out to the truck and she was at the party complaining, as usual, about the poor planning by the caterer...NO BANANAS.

After making the rounds and congratulating Mayor Kevin Burns she decided to sit at the kids' table with Kevin's daughter Autumn and her friends. Monkette had produced a succesful media campaign on the internet and needed to unwind a bit. It was play time!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

John B. Anderson ~ Traveling The Middle Road Or Swimming Against The Current?

It was 1980 and John Anderson did the unthinkable. He was a liberal Republican wanting to run for president, but he was much too liberal to ever get the party's nomination. It was obvious that a lot of folks thought he was presidential material, though. People encouraged him to run as an independant, contibutions flowed in, overflow crowd showed up to hear him speak. He was a brilliant public speaker and a good conversationalist.

The feeling was that just maybe he could drum up enough votes from both liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats, plus the people who otherwise wouldn't have voted at all, to actually pull it off. He got lots of press coverage, and to many he seemed like the only candidate with with more than the average compliment of brains. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to impress a lot of people. Just look at who's heading the country now. George Bush Jr. not only got elected, he got RE-elected.

I think that I was using a 50mm Summicron on a Leica M, probably loaded with Tri-X at 400, at nearby Barry University. I was using the existing light back stage in the auditorium before the program started.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Movers And Shakers ~ Walter Mondale And Nick Buoniconti

The Walter Mondale shot was taken back when the Miami Dolphins didn't yet have their own stadium and still played at the Orange Bowl. Dolphin linebacker Nick Buoniconti had an office in downtown Miami. Former North Miami mayor Mike Colodny called and wanted me to meet him at Nick's office to shoot some pictures. Mondale was there. It was a strategy session for the South Florida aspects of the upcoming presidential campaign. At the time there was a bunch of brand new construction in downtown Miami replacing older buildings from the thirties and forties and we decided to go on the balcony outside of Nick's office to depict this in some of the photos.

At that time I was mostly using a Leica M4 and still hadn't given up my black paint Wetzlar 8 element 35/2 Summicron to a drooling collector. It was shot on Tri-X. Mike Colodny used to encourage me to stop dressing like a hippy, cut my hair, and buy some quality suits and ties. It did make a difference! Thanks Mike.

Nick Buoniconti was a Hall of Fame linebacker with the Miami Dolphins.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Tip O'Neill ~ Former Speaker Of The U.S. House Of Representatives

I was the photographer for Barry University back in the 1970's and '80's when it was still called Barry College. During the twenty or so years that I did their photography what had been a small Catholic girls college admitted its first male students, and then its first black students. Today it's a sizeable and still expanding institution.

This shot of House Speaker Tip O'Neill adressing a graduation class really captures his personality. I wish that back then I'd started getting photos of myself with these famous people, shaking hands or just chatting. We're both from Massachusettes so that gave me a good gambit for starting a short conversation as we shook hands backstage before the graduation ceremonies got underway.

In this shot I was standing fairly close to the stage in the auditorium, using Tri-X film in an old Leica M3 equipped with an 85mm f/2 Nikkor lens.

The intensity of the look on his face matched the forcefulness of his speech. He was a powerful and convincing speaker. He had the audience enthralled. Even though he was a liberal Democrat he managed to find something to say that would appeal to anybody. He was very much against the war in Viet Nam. If he was still around today he'd be making life miserable for George Bush and his Iraq war built on lies and deception. Tip would never have put up with it.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

President Jimmy Carter and Mayor Howard Neu

By the early 1970's I'd given up on my long hair and the hippie look for suits and ties, and I wasn't so much travelling with a different crowd than when I was shooting for the paper, but I was becoming accepted by that crowd as one of them. The mayor became Howard (on the right in the photo) and his secretary called me Mr. Kaplan. In the next election this ex-hippie was Howard's campaign chairman. He won.

I forget why the president was speaking that day at the community center, but the place was packed. The Secret Service guys checked out my cameras and lenses but didn't really give me a hassle. My daughter Elena went with me. Her "job" was to guard my camera bag while I was shooting. She was maybe 4 or 5 years old a the time. After the speech I got to take the usual "grip 'n grin" shots with everybody shaking the president's hand. Then he got down on one knee and tried to get Elena to come close for a photo with him. Elena had this horrible irrational fear of older men who were turning grey and wouldn't go anywhere close to him.

Last year Elena, now an attorney, ran for house district 58 in Atlanta. In her campaign literature she mentioned that she got interested in politics as a young girl from going to city council meetings and such with me. I keep thinking that she might have won that election if only she'd had a photo of herself sitting on Jimmy Carter's knee.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Autumn In The Springtime

For some long forgotten reason North Miami has elections in May. This was shot at a party a week or two before the election, with Mayor Kevin Burns, hands on hips, chatting with some of his loyal supporters as his daughter Autumn is engrossed with a little electronic game in her lap.

There were good munchies, no drink stronger than sangria was served, we got to hear various people heaping well deserved accolades on the mayor, and we got to hear Kevin's plans for the city's future during his second term in the mayor's seat.

I really miss the old days when I shot pictures for the newspaper. Since I was really "covering" the elections back then I got to attend all of the candidates parties. This year the two incumbants on the city council ran unopposed, and since I was openly backing Kevin I couldn't very well go to his opponent's functions. Not at all like when I'd get to attend three or four or more parties a week, for weeks on end, stuffing myself on goodies in between shooting photographs. No, this year, for weeks on end, I actually had to pay for almost everything that I consumed.
Congratulations on your re-eletion, Kevin! The city is going to be in good hands for two more years.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Just a Sweet Little Puppy

I'm used to finding Gloria at Starbucks with her tiny little purse sized grey poodle Sophia but on this particular day I ran into Petr with his friend, who was there with his dog. The dog seemed friendly enough as I first let him sniff the back of my hand, then he checked out the cuffs of my jeans to see what other dogs I might have been with. I petted him on the back of his head and tickled him under the chin before moving on to another table. The two men were chatting in German. The dog was content to lie down and doze off. Sophia is more fun. Gloria is more interesting to talk with. I read the morning paper. When I looked back over at the other table a few minutes later the dog and both of the men were gone.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Look Of Death

I was walking across the plaza towards the "Showmobile", on the right in the background, looking forward to the night's jazz concert, when I noticed this fledgling bird. It must have fallen out of a nest in one of the palm trees. The ants had already eaten the eyes, and about all else that was edible under the feathers also. In the fast fading light I got down on the ground and quickly fired off a few shots.

My first thought when I looked at the pictures was to crop this one on the right and on the bottom, but then I decided that I liked the pattern of the stones, the sweep of the curving lines, just as it is. I'm holding a rolled up concert program in my hand.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Czech Out A New Day

Petr is dressed for work, not tennis, for a change. Notice the tie? As usual, the conversation started out with the latest screw-ups by President Bush, and then it gravitated to just how rich he'll be in another couple of years, living on his social security while enjoying the the much lower cost of living and the free medical care back home in the Czech Republic. The big question, though, is when. Should he hold out for the extra money he'll get if he works through until age 65, or perhaps retire one or two years earlier? Every day his answer is different. Sometimes I'd almost rather listen to him ranting on and on about Bush.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Art Museums Ain't What They Used To Be ~ MOCA North Miami

Between Norh Miami city hall and Starbucks is our art museum. They have their own website, where they actually PAY people to write the copy, so even though more people world wide will probably find the Museum's site through this blog posting than from anyplace else...oh well! Anyway, it's another one of my 15mm self portraits, but I tilted the camera a bit to better fit in with the crazy angles of the building.

If you're in the south Florida area and want to check out the place it's on 125th St. Get off at the 125th St. exit from I-95, or if you're on the Beach go west on 96th St. and across Broad Causeway which becomes 123rd St. on the Miami side, which then turns into 125th St. (don't ask!!!) Not quite a mile west of U.S. 1, also known as Biscayne Blvd. the Museum is on the left. Their web site is chock full of info about upcoming shows, the artists, and the usual useless trivia. Me? I'm just standing around, enjoying my morning coffee, and trying to look jaded...

Monday, May 21, 2007

"A Little Off The Sides..."

Dawn keeps saying that when a man has a head of hair like mine at 64 he should flaunt it, not cut it, but the beard was getting kind of unruly looking, and just a bit of trim around the ears seemed in order as long as she was doing the clip thing. Hair is rich in nitrogen, plants like nitrogen, so doing the trim in the yard is good for the environment. It keeps the lawn looking lush.

A few weeks later I got talked into getting a "real" haircut (at a barber shop, no less!). I don't like the new look and others seemed to agree with me. Then a couple of days ago the duppies (sp?) got ahold of me and the next thing I knew I was standing by the sink in the bathroom, razor in hand, but I saved the whiskers in a zip-lock bag. I'm going to present it to Penny Valentine at the Chamber of Commerce. She's been yelling at me for months now "Shave that damned thing off already!" and Penny is a Lady of the Old School and she doesn't throw the "D" word around lightly!

I might keep the face bare for awhile but the head hair has started to grow back. I happen to like the way it looks, I just love the way older women admire it, and how they ask if they can run their fingers through it, but best of all is seeing the expressions on their bald husbands' faces when the do it. And my secret? DRUGS! I been doin' Finasteride for about 15 years now, 5mg every day!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Thank You Todd Frederick

Yup, a nearby bolt of lightning fried a major phone cable and I was off line for a couple of days. What's going on here is my beloved, Dawn (on the far left) and I stepped outside this classic 1949's style diner to joinn the waitress for a cigarette break.

Todd did a great job holding the fort while I stared at my nonfunctiing computer. Here's what he wrote:
"Al is suffering from "connectial dysfunction" at this time due to Florida's awesome and unpredictable climate. I am Todd Frederick (world famous photographer), and I post Al's blog photos on his behalf. Al asked me to let you know that when the phone lines are on again he will write text for the photos. Until then, feel free to visit my blog which is desperately in need of up-dating here: I am much more into experimental (weird) photography than Al is and I like to play around with ways to manipulate the image in the camera. Enjoy and Blessings. Al will return very soon, but the photos will continue!"

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Unexpected Links To The Price Of Silver

Occasionally I'll do a Google search of some of the things I've written just to see where they rank compared to perhaps a Miami Herald article on the same subject. I've become quite adept at picking and using "key words" so I tend to get high rankings with Google's search engine. Last night, just for the hell of it I tried using the Germanic spelling of photography, fotografie, along with my name, just to see what the search might produce. It came up with these two websites. Ain't life exciting?
04 august 2006

Al Kaplan's blog
Al Kaplan er en prominent bidragsyder på Leica Photography forum. Al har sin egen blog The Price of Silver som nyligt blev fremhævet af Yahoo Picks. Jeg anbefaler at du ta'r et kig.
Etiketter: , ,
posted by Niels H. S. Nielsen @ 09:44 0 comments
Med en 15 mm får fotografen plats själv i bildenPublished July 2nd, 2005 in Foto
Al Kaplan har fått upp en ny bildsida: amerikansk socialrealism med cigaretter och fotografen själv i bild. Bra användning av 15 mm:s vidvinkel. Fler bilder här.
If you prefer Spanish then here's another link that I found:

Friday, May 18, 2007

Not The Same Old Cop Shop ~ Policing On The Wireless Web

Sit here long enough and you're bound to run into some police. The strip plaza is strange because the southernmost few shops are in North Miami. The rest of the plaza is in North Miami Beach, with a little alley seperating two buildings and two cities. County cops, Florida Marine Patrol, Fish & Game officers, cops from nearby Biscayne Park and Miami Shores also come by for coffee, and often as not get out their laptops to take advantage of Starbucks wireless web. Plenty of police presence for sure.

We're sitting perhaps 200 feet away from Arch Creek, site of an early white settlement after the Spanish enslaved the Tequesta Indians and shipped them off to Cuba. During the 1920's, during Prohibition, lots of
rum from the Bahamas made its way up the creek, to be offloaded at a house in the woods that's still there. Now it's the Czech-Slovak Social Club, noted for its great food.
In the 1960's and 1970's it wasn't neccesary to run drugs that far up the creek. The part closest to Biscayne Bay had been deepened, straightened, and now ran through the Keystone Point neighborhood of North Miami. Cigarette style ocean racers were common, and plenty of pot was imported as the drug business paid for the development of ever larger and faster offshore powerboats. North Miami developed quite the boat building industry! By the mid 1970's the money started coming from cocaine and the boats stayed busy.
When they were being chased by the Coast Guard or Marine Patrol they'd throw the drugs overboad, big bales of drugs wrapped watertight in plastic. Fishermen finding a bale or two referred to then as "square grouper". One time I asked the police chief how come sometimes you read in the paper that some poor fisherman got busted for having one on his boat and another time a fisherman would be congratulated for finding one. He said that if I find one I should head straight back to the dock. If I saw a Coast Guard or Marine Patrol boat then I should head straight towards it shouting "Hey guys! Look what I found!" If I didn't spot one just go home, call all my friends, and have one big old party!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Annual Trip To The Vet

A few weeks ago it was time for Claudia's two dogs to get their annual check-up and their shots. They've both known me since they were little puppies so I get drafted to go along, each of us with one dog on a leash. Somehow they seemed to know where we're going even before I started to drink the coffee that Claudia had poured for me, and they got all nervous and hyper. They really didn't want to go!

Here we're in the examination room. Claudia is looking over at the dog that I'm trying to keep calm, the vet is scribbling on the other dog's chart, while the guy by the window is doing his best to restrain the dog on the table. Neither dog had worms and they both checked out healthy. They got their shots and shiny new tags for their collars. They sure were glad to get out of that place!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

President Bill Clinton Got To Shake Al Kaplan's Hand ~ Florida Governor Charlie Crist Didn't

This photo was taken at a fund raiser for Congressman Alcee Hastings about six years ago. Mr. Kaplan had been photographing a lot of the big contributers shaking hands with President Bill Clinton, then handed the camera off to somebody else to get a shot with himself shaking Bill's hand.

He'd planned on doing the same thing a couple of nights ago with Florida Governor Charlie Crist when he was in North Miami for a Town Hall Meeting, but some cop with an overly inflated ego must have mistaken Mr. Kaplan and a bunch of other influental members of the community for terrorists or something, and denied them entry. (See yesterdays post immediately below.)

Anyway, if you happen to notice that there's no framed photograph of Al Kaplan shaking hands with Governor Crist on the wall the next time you're in the Governor's office blame that cop. Mr. Kaplan is a an easy going likeable guy, and he even allowed a Republican, Governor Jeb Bush, to be photographed shaking his hand on two seperate occasions a number of years apart.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Rogue Cop Terrorizes North Miami Area Residents, Sabotages Governor Crist's Town Hall Meeting

I got the Email notifying me about last night's town hall meeting:

"From Scott Galvin (just received it)>Governor Charlie Crist>> Property Tax Town Hall Meeting>> Monday, May 14> 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm>> North Miami Senior High Auditorium> 800 NE 137 Street>> Free and Open to the Public!"

When I got over there I parked on N.E. 9th Ave. next to the small parking lot outside the auditorium. As I tried to walk into the parking lot a cop at the gate snarled (yes snarled!) at me with a "Where do you think you're going?" When I told him that I was heading for the town hall meeting he told me I wasn't going to get in there. I told him that I'd been invited and he said he could care less, he wasn't going to let me in. I said that it was supposed to be open to the public. He said he wasn't letting anybody in. As I walked back to my truck I noticed all the "Town Hall Meeting" signs along the fence. Then my cell rang. It was Rudy telling me that he was having coffee at Starbucks and Governor Crist was having a cup at the next table.

I went home, trying to find out who this uppity self important guy in blue represented. It seems that four police agencies were involved in security. North Miami, Miami-Dade County, the school police, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Nobody is willing to fess up and say who put this guy there. If you give a specific time and location of the whereabouts of an officer you'd think that somebody assigned him there. But WHO assigned him? Just lots of tap dancing on the part of the various departments.

I notified the Miami Herald, exchanged a few Emails, got called back from a reporter wanting more details, and then I sent an Email to everybody that had gotten the invitation Email that I'd received, saying what had happened to me. Soon I received an Email from a woman at nearby Barry University. She too had been denied access at the same gate as I tried.

This morning I found out that the actual turn-out for the meeting was only about fifty people at most because nobody could get into the school via the entrance next to the auditorium, the logical entrance to use. The high school had gotten students out of the night school classes and away from their studies to fill the auditorium.

I guess if Monkette and I had just gone to Starbucks as usual...Oh well, Governor Charlie Crist really doesn't need a framed 8x10 photo on his office wall shaking hands with Monkette, does he?

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Drive-Thru At The Bank

There's really not a hell of a lot to do while awaiting your turn at the drive-up window. I always have my checks endorsed and the deposit slip filled out before heading for the bank. I decided to try to get a photo of myself reflected in the outside rear view mirror as I waited for my turn.

It turned out that it's really not all that difficult. You align the camera so that your view of it in the mirror appears straight on to the front of the camera. The way I'm holding the camera here is a bit different than I use when holding it out to my side, and I found it awkward to wind the film in this position, using just the one hand. It doesn't really show here but I always have a couple of wraps of the neckstrap around my wrist just in case I lose my grip.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Who Wields The Real Power In North Miami?

She manages to get invited to all the right parties, gets to sit front and center at political functions, and all the voters absolutely adore her. Nobody else in town gets driven around in a chauffer driven shiny big black SUV. Nobody else has the mayor for a chauffer!

Of course five year old Autumn is also the only girl in town who gets to call the mayor Daddy. That helps! I congratulated him again on winning his re-election and he wanted reassurance that I was indeed growing back my distinctive messy mop of profuse curly hair. We exchanged a few more pleasantries and he went back to being Autumn's chauffer again.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Grey Bearded Guys And Their Toy Monkeys

Doug was leaving Starbucks for his usual daily bicycle ride of forty or fifty miles and Monkette was getting sick of hanging around waiting to see if the mayor would show up for another photo op with her to hopefully boost his ratings a bit. The election was just a few days away but Doug offered to take her with him on the bike, a first for her. She'd never been on a bicycle before. After a bit of discussion we reached a compromise. Doug would take her on a whirl around the parking lot and the Big Ride would be another day. Doug left and we enjoyed our coffee.

A few days later I started thinking that we might really be on to something here. I discovered this article on the internet:

Will Chimp Life Get Human Rights?
By Barbara Ehrenreich, AlterNet. Posted May 11, 2007.

"Hiasl, a 26-year old Austrian-based chimpanzee, is petitioning the courts for human status, and let me be the first to extend him a warm welcome to our species."

Well, that's Austria, not the United States, but once the human rights groups and the United Nations start waving the banners it's only a matter of time. Mayors that campaign with toy monkeys will soon be courted by the major political parties, and perhaps in just two more election cycles we'll have a chimpanzee in the Oval Office. What an improvement THAT will be!

Friday, May 11, 2007

My Former Frau

It's probably twenty years now since Claudia and I split up and she bought her own house, all very civil of course, and she didn't move out until she'd closed on her house. After a few more years we actually did get a divorce, but we're still best friends and her two dogs consider me Daddy, getting all excited when they hear my truck turn the corner on to her street.

Well, on this morning they'd gotten all excited, I played with them a bit, then I had a cup of coffee and some home baked goodies, and off we went to Home Depot. I have a pickup truck and that was the reason for my being so welcome. Claudia wanted to pick up some bamboo stakes and some four by eight foot lattice panels for the garden in her back yard. She wanted to get the project completed before her annual trip to visit her parents in Karlsruhe, Germany. Here she's carrying the bamboo in the garden shop, then we went into the main store to get the latice panels.

Yesterday she called to tell me that she was safely back from Germany. I stopped by this morning for coffee and to say "Hi" but the dogs were so happy with her being home that they ignored me. Completely ignored me!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Jig Is Up! Let's Catch Some Fish!

It was one of those times when I got a desperate late afternoon call from the South Florida Fishing Club. That night's speaker had just cancelled and could Captain Al Kaplan (that's the other hat I wear) please put something together in the way of a program? And be ready to speak in an hour and a half? I grabbed an assortment of 1/4 ounce bucktail jigs (above) and hightailed it over to the nearby N.M. Chamber of Commerce office and...LOL...photocopied them. I made about 30 copies to hand out at the club meeting, and also brought along a bunch of actual jigs and a rod and reel to demonstrate techniques to use them.

I make my own jigs, from molding the 1/4 lead heads on the size 1/0 hooks to painting the heads and tying on the bucktail hair. I've developed some unique ideas about what I want in a jig, and I can't buy them ready made the way I like them. First off, commercial jigs are too bushy. I like them long and the hair relatively sparse. I put in a few strands of gold mylar tinsel, but it's tied inside the hair, not outside, so it flutters on the retrieve, banging into the hollow bucktail hairs. I assume this gives off a sound for the fish to home in on. Anyway, it works!

After lots of experimentation I've concluded that in clear water I like to tie in a bunch of either pink or chartreuse hair on top of the white. Some days one works better, sometimes the other. One club member gets me to make brown over white. It works for him but I've never had much luck with them.

On dark days and/or muddy water a dark color seems to work best. I make some that are all black. They're really effective with fresh water largemouth bass. In the bay I like dark purple hair with a dark pink head, still using the gold mylar tinsel inside the hair. Bucktail jigs seem to catch about anything that swims in fresh or salt water, in the bay or in the ocean. I even have a mounted sailfish on the wall that I caught on one!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Oh YEAH! We Really Showed 'em, Didn't We...

Monkette was excited this morning. Hell, last night was exciting! She'd never been to a mayoral campaign victory party before, let alone attending as a succesful political consultant! On the down side, the munchies were Italian food, and I'd assured her that I'd never EVER attended one of these functions where there wasn't a fresh fruit plate. Oh well, first time for everything. She sipped some Coke, and I had a baggie of raisins in my belt pouch. I promised her that next time I'd stick a banana in there along with the film, just to be on the safe side.

This morning we noticed a "THANK YOU" sticker on the big "Re-Elect Mayor Kevin Burns" sign by the street in front of Starbucks. Just look at that big Smile on Monkette's face! One happy girl there, for sure.

Our coffee sipping was interupted by a familiar beep-beep from the drive-through lane. Kevin called out his usual "Hey Al!", adding "Let me park and we can shoot some pictures in front of the big sign with the monkey." A few minutes later we did just that. Yup a good start for a great day.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Waiting for The Election Results...

The wind was from the west, just a gentle breeze really, but enough to blow the smoke from the peat fires in the Everglades over the city. I was having a coffee before picking up Monkette at the house, and then we headed over to city hall for the ballot counting. After all the campaigning she did on Kevin Burns' behalf she wasn't about to miss that for anything. No way!

With Kevin defending his seat as mayor against a former city councilman, Jean Monestime, a Haitian, the city was unfortunately polarized along racial and ethnic lines. The city council chambers where the votes were being counted was standing room only, and the overflow watched it on TV monitors in the lobby just outside the chambers. There were a few blacks wearing Burns T-shirts and vice-versa.

The final tally had Burns winning 3415 to 2955 after seesawing back and forth as each precinct was announced, sometimes putting one ahead by a few votes, then the other by a few votes. A solid showing for Burns in the absentee results clinched it.

Monkette had a great time at the victory party, and I have pix of her with the mayor, with his daughter Autumn, and several other people who requested the privilege. Also pix of me with the mayor and Monkette and a few other notables. A LOT of the ladies had found this blog recently, or been told about it, and just love my having Monkette campaigning for Kevin like that. Most of the men think I'm daft...LOL

One of the women has actually been going back through the entire thing, all of the nearly 500 entries, reading it all and looking at the photos. She remembers going to Joan Baez and Bob Dylan concerts and love-ins in the park. I guess she was a really hot chick back then. She's still not bad looking forty years later, and she has a gorgeous full head of longish red hair.

Monday, May 07, 2007

North Miami Mayor KEVIN BURNS Needs YOUR Vote

We're down to the wire now with the election on Tuesday, May 8th. There's only one contested race, which probably means a smaller than usual turnout. A lot of us already voted. They had early voting at the North Miami Public Library and mail-in type absentee ballots were widely distributed by about every civic organization in town. Monkette and I have been driving around town trying to convince people that their vote is important even if there's only one race on the ballot.

The choice comes down to re-electing Mayor Kevin Burns who's done a lot for the city during his two years in office and has a vision and plans for the future, or electing Jean Monestime whose strong point is finding fault with everything that Kevin has done or plans on doing. Jean lost the last time and we're hoping that history repeats itself. Vote for Kevin Burns. You'll be glad you did. If you want more details read my last few days postings.

Now on to a new subject. The silver and turquiose bracelet with the two bear claws that I'm wearing in the photo has become a conversation piece since I started wearing it again. The ladies seem to really notice it! Even women I've never met before, strangers really, remark to me about it and tell me how beautiful it is. I end up in long conversations with them about it. Here's the story about the bracelet.

I bought it on a vacation to the southwest in 1973, and I wore it for a year or two until I cut my shaggy hair, bought some suits and ties, and said goodby to my hippie days. Since those huge Social Security checks started rolling in a bit over a year ago I've grown a beard, let my hair resume its curly state of disarray, and swapped suit and tie for rumpled fishing shirts and faded jeans. What goes around comes around. And as I was cleaning out the clutter I found the bracelet after its 30+ years of hiding. I figured "What the heck!" and started wearing it again. Since then I've been feeling better, I have more energy, and I have no complaints about all the women flirting with me either. It must be the spirit residing in the bear claws.

A final reminder! Don't forget to vote for Kevin Burns. Let's keep the momentum going. Let's make North Miami a better city.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Please Vote For Mayor Kevin Burns ~ He's My Daddy.

Kevin's adopted daughter Autumn is an old hand on the campaign trail. She was right there beside him two years ago when he first ran for mayor of North Miami. Now, once again, she's asking everybody and anybody to please vote for her daddy.

She wasn't the least bit shy about getting up there in front of the crowd at his campaign kick-off party. She's not the least bit shy at all when it comes to campaigning .

In this photograph Kevin is talking about his vision for the future of the city. Sure, he talks about all the things that have been accomplished during his first term as mayor, but he's not resting on his laurels. We have a new school in the city with three more under construction. He also has plans for improving the parks, enlarging the library, increasing code enforcement, making the police department more effective, simplifying the permitting process, all things designed to make North Miami more "user friendly" for our residents.

Please take Autumn's advice on Tuesday. Vote for her daddy. Touch #60 on the touch screen voting machine. She doesn't want you to forget! And she thanks you.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns Needs Your Vote To Get Re-Elected!

In the forty or so years I've been following local politics one thing has become painfully clear. This penchant for holding local elections in the spring benefits nobody. Even worse, the various cities and towns can't even decide on the same day for elections. At least if North Miami, Miami Shores, Biscayne Park, and North Miami Beach all had the same election day the newspapers and TV stations would treat it as a bigger deal and perhaps motivate more people to go to the polls.
In the election next Tuesday we have a choice of re-electing Kevin Burns for two more years, or electing Jean Monestime. I have two big problems with casting my vote for Jean. Number one is that noplace in any of his campaign literature does he say what he plans to do for the city. The man is seemingly without any dreams or desires that go beyond getting himself elected. Number two is the racial and ethnic devisivness of his campaign, pitting his Haitian constituants against everybody else, even other blacks. The main thrust of his literature is spewing half truths about everything that Kevin has accomplished.
I got the little American flag at the Fourth of July festivities last year. When I noticed that Kevin's bumper stickers were "poster sized" in relation to this little toy monkey I thought "Oh wow! What neat photographs I could make!" I'll probably post a few more in the next several days, and I'm planning on taking that little monkey to Kevin's victory party Tuesday night. It's up to you to make sure that there is a victory, so get your friends and neighbors fired up and enthused enough to join you at the polls come Tuesday. Your vote really does count! Thanks.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Re-Elect North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns

The election is coming up on Tuesday and Monkey is goofing off in the San Francisco area, visiting a couple of lady photographers and seeing the sights. Fortunately Monkette stayed at home and has been helping me distribute campaign literature. She's been waving her American flag and carrying around a Kevin Burns bumper sticker.
Kevin is winding up his first two year term, and he's worked hard for the city and its residents. For the first time in fifty years we're getting a brand new high school, middle school, and elementry schools. We're getting a new olympic training facility. Downtown has been spruced up with new facades and landscaping on all the stores and offices, and money has been made available to lower income homeowners to repair and repaint their houses. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is expanding. The property tax millage rate has been reduced while roads and parks have been improved. All in all a good and effective leadership for our city.
I was shocked when I read this morning's Miami Herald. There was an article about the guy who is running against Kevin. Jean Monestime served one term as a city councilman, but during the couple of years since then I haven't seen that much of him. In the interview his biggest issue was that the Haitian community needs to show just how powerful it is by electing him to office. His campaign literature make no mention of anything he's done for the city. It makes no mention of anything he's planning on doing. Instead, it concentrates on finding fault with everything that Kevin has done.
We live in a multi-ethnic community where everyone seems to get along just fine, but Jean seems hell bent on stirring up racial and ethnic devisivness. We have Haitians on the City Council, we have a black female police chief and a black city manager. City hall, public works, the library and the police department all have a mix of people getting along quite nicely with one another. If it ain't broke don't fix it. My vote goes to Kevin.
(Monkette is too young to vote.)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Last Reminder Of The Miami News Photo Department

That corner building on West Dixie Highway in North Miami became Jaybo's after the Miami News shut down. Jay Spencer had been their chief of photography and decided that North Miami was a good location to open a custom lab. At the time he was right. We had a bunch of commercial photographers nearby, plus a growing motion picture industry needing publicity photos and actors needing head shots and composites.
Jay bought the building, and a couple of years later expanded by adding a partial second floor. A little house out back was rented to Mike and Penny. Mike was also a photographer. Jay offered complete black and white services as well color, both negative and transparencies. I think he was one of the first labs around to offer two hour E-6 Ektachrome processing, and that was for mounted slides. If you just wanted your roll sleeved, or were getting sheet film processed it was faster.
He gradually expanded into selling film, chemicals, paper, cameras, and studio flash equipment. It was really nice having a place half a mile away where you could pick up a 20 roll brick of Tri-X or a 500 sheet box of 8x10 Ilford Multigrade paper. Even nicer was dropping off a few rolls of Ektachrome and going across the street to Jimmies Place for lunch ,maybe killing another half an hour chatting with Carl at his shoe repair shop, then picking up the morning's shoot.
But eventually C-41 replaced C-22 color negative, scanning replaced traditional color printing and nobody shot E-6 transparency film anymore, and black and white priced itself out of the market thanks to the Hunt brothers speculation in silver futures. After the bubble in silver prices burst the nature of photography labs had changed forever.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Al The Antenna Head?

The cardinal rule of photography is "don't have things in the background look like they're growing out of somebody's head!" That's the cord to a hanging lamp growing out of my head in this photo. Oh well, I can usually manage to come up with interesting compositions when l work with a camera held out there someplace in my outstretched hand, but it isn't always perfect.
Lumumba seemed happy enough to see me, a big grin on his face. He even insisted on buying my coffee. His hair, as usual, looks like he'd just stuck his finger in an electrical outlet, with all those little dreadlocks standing up at crazy angles to one another. So why the big grin? He was about finished with the job of painting a bunch of warehouses and the last time we'd chatted over coffee he was concerned that things were slow and he just might have to go back to Gloria's place and finish painting it. (That's a whole other story...LOL)
Anyway, he was ecstatic! He'd just picked up another warehouse job, bigger than the first one, so he and his crew will be painting through mid May and perhaps Gloria will find somebody else to finish her place. That would really give Lumumba something to grin about!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Getting Ready For The Day

Doug will sit with me if I'm reading the Miami Herald, or invite me to join him at a table, but he's a New York Times kind of guy, buying a copy every day. He likes his world and national news in depth, and he feels that the Times slant on most things is a better match to his outlook on the news. He's definately a Democrat and he can never find a good thing to say about George Bush.
He gets around on a grey finished hi-tech bicycle with lots of gear ratios and fancy brakes. He probably could have found a car for less money, but he prides himself on his bike riding, claiming that it keeps him in shape. He's up there in his seventies and still pedals all over, from South Beach and Coral Gables to Fort Lauderdale and beyond. He does this rain or shine, and regardless of the wind. Twenty-five miles each way is nothing to him.
I guess this was a Saturday because Lumumba is neatly dressed, not covered with dirt and paint spatters. On the sabbath he doesn't work and he always appears tidy and neatly dressed. He hails from South Africa but he traces his lineage to Ethiopian Jews, the "lost tribes" as he calls them.
After we agreed on the best way to solve the world's problems and finished our coffee Doug headed off to South Beach, Lumumba went to where ever, and I headed to Publix to do some grocery shopping. As I drove away I was thinking how much better off everybody would be if only George Bush started joining us for Saturday morning coffee and took a bit our advice.