Monday, June 30, 2008

Proposed Changes And News About The Blog

With the help of Todd Frederick this has been a very successful blog. He's the one who posts the photographs, and in many cases he's used his Photoshop skills to restore the color in some very badly faded color slides from forty or more years ago.

When The Price of Silver first started several years ago it was all old B&W photographs, everything from politics to rock & roll, with a few personal pictures as well. From the begining there were a few paragraphs of copy with every photo, sometimes serious, sometimes tongue-in-cheek. At some point I started with the self-portrait thing when I discovered it was possible to do it with a 15mm ultra-wide angle lens. We then switched to mostly all color. I was hardly going in the darkroom anymore. Todd was getting on my case about that, and Monkette was threatening to cut off my banana supply.

A few weeks ago I met the owner of a new gallery here in North Miami, showed him some of my work, and it's looking like I'll have a bunch of my prints hanging in a group show starting July 12th. I'll post more details in a few days.

As I thought about what to show at the Suyu Gallery I decided that I wanted to stay with black and white prints, but I also wanted to show something more recent than the 1970's. Last night I was mulling things over in my head, what to do, what to shoot, how to do it. I decided that I wanted to show both new and old work. The new work would be based on older photos but printed up with some new techniques. They'd still be traditional silver gelatin prints of course.

In the meantime here on the blog we have a few months supply of those 15mm color shots on hand, but they'll likely be mixed in with the experimental black and white photographs. We'll also be likely to cut back to three or four blog entries a week instead of the killer daily pace. As best we can tell we've already set a record for photography blogs, both as to longevity and for consistancy of posting on a regular basis. If you visit us and there's nothing new that day you can be sure that there will be the next day, so stop back.

Lastly, thanks for your kind comments and emails. Keep them coming. They make all this worthwhile! Todd, Monkette, and I thank you.

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She's given away too many pieces of her mind...

Back when North Miami's Museum of Contemporary Art was still in the planning stage Alexis had the foresight to rent a storefront directly across the street and open the Lunastar Cafe. It's very much your traditional bohemian type coffee house, with art exhibits on the walls, live music, mostly folk and blues, on weekends, and a light menu of delicacies to go with the usual assortment of coffees and teas. She's also managed to harangue the city council into giving her first a license to sell wine and then beer also. She even succeeded in getting them to allow tables and chairs on the sidewalk out front.

Well, some art galleries moved into some of the stores on the block. MOCA, the art museum, opened across the street, and the city not only paved the sidewalks with brick but created a brick plaza where the street had been in front of the museum. Now the city has outdoor Jazz and Rock concerts on weekend nights, but they don't run late. People want a place they can go to afterwards. From where they'rs sitting they can see the Lunastar beckoning. The one fly in the ointment is that Starbucks opened a place across from the Lunastar also. Still, it lacks the atmosphere. All the nearby activity means that there are more than enough people to go around. Alexis still likes going to city council meetings. Generous to a fault, she'll give a piece of her mind to anybody who'll sit still long enough.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ex-wives...And He Stays Friendly With Them!

Al dragged me along to Claudia's house. She wanted him to take some pictures of her amarillis blossoming. I fugured "what the hell she always has some good homemade fruit cake", Al likes her coffee and he enjoys playing with her two dogs. He's known them since they were pups. Best of all, they seem to like me! Well, so does Claudia. She says that I keep him out of trouble, that I watch out for him. She just wishes that I agreed with her and Vivette about Al's shaggy mop of hair and just how much it needs, at the very least, a trim.

Hey Girl!, Al's MINE now. Ya hear me? I live with him. You guys are history ~ maybe good friends, but not a couple anymore, no way! And he better stay mine too!

Still, he worries me. Lately he's been spending way too much time on the computer, WAYYYY too much for my likings. Some chick out of his past name of Robin. They're always IMing one another and exchanging emails and chatting on the phone. At least she doesn't live in the Miami area, so maybe it's harmless. It BETTER be!

Oh yeah, in case you didn't guess from the low angle? I shot that photo of Al looking at the flower. Pretty good photograph, wouldn't you say? Nice composition, good exposure, great color!

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Just Another Two-Timing Little Bitch

Hi there, it's me again, Monkette, writing the blog today. (This is fun!)

It better be fun to make up for all the indignities that Al subjects me to...LOL. On this particular afternoon he insisted that I sit out the fun and games locked up in the truck. Gloria was having her afternoon coffee at Starbucks when we arrived and her little grey poodle, Sophia, simply loves Al to death. She gets all excited when his truck pulls into the lot and can't wait for Al to pick her up and put her on his lap. She dances around in circles on just her hind legs until he does! Then she stands up, putting her little paws on Al's chest, licking his neck and face and giving little yips of joy.

Gloria is always afraid that Sophia will get insanely jealous if she were to spot ME on Al's lap. Hell, she just might be right! She's afraid that Sophia might attack me, bite me, maybe even tear me limb from limb. She doesn't give a rat's ass about MY feelings, stuck in the truck watching the two of them carrying on like that for all to see. When Peter arrived Sophia jumped off Al's lap and ran around to the side of Peter's chair. She knows which side too. Peter always pets her with his left hand, leaving his right hand free for his coffee cup.

Al soon got pissed with Sophia paying all that attention to another man. He got back in our truck and let me ride home sitting on his lap. He's never let Sophia do that, although he probably dreams of having Gloria sit there! Not on MY watch! No way!

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Art Museum Camouflage

Al has been doing much better the last few days, adjusting to the bigger dose of anti-seizure meds. I think he looks much better without the beard also. What do you think? It's his wardrobe that always has me upset. Tattered faded jeans. Rumpled fishing shirts full of coffee stains and cigarette burn holes. Topsider boat shoes that should have gone in the trash halfway through the Vietnam war. Does Al notice? I suppose not. He certainly doesn't care.

Now, about his hair. I happen to agree with Mayor Kevin Burns. It looks great! It's really HIM! It fits his character to a "T". His ex, Claudia, hates it. I told her "Look sister! He lives with ME now, not you, and I LOVE his hair!"

I got him to drive up to Outdoor World. They had a big sale and Al got new Topsiders, new jeans, new unrumpled fishing shirts without stains and holes, and then as we walked to the check-out line I spotted a clearance rack. Hey, us chicks can't help it! There was a gorgeous reddish orange rayon sport shirt, and any chick will tell you that rayon drapes and feels like real silk! Then I spotted this shirt! It IS pure silk!!!! And the two shirts together were less than twenty bucks! Can I shop or what, huh?

Next morning I dragged Al over by MOCA, the art museum. I climbed up on a bench, but compared to Al I am a bit on the short side...LOL I remarked "Look at how nice that shirt looks against the palm trees. The palm fronds on the shirt, the palm fronds against the sky!" Al replied "Let's walk across the plazza and do the Starbucks thing first". We did, Al got his coffee, I got my picture!

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dragging Al to The Doctor's Office

Hi there, this is me, Monkette writing. I really enjoyed writing a blog post a few days ago but I really had to fight with Al to let me write more. Al hates going to the doctor but I insisted. He'd been acting a bit strange (Claudia, his ex, says that he ALWAYS acts strange.) Anyway, I called up and made an appointment for him to see Dr. Katz (Al calls him Larry) and Dr. Katz likes me. He's always asking Al how I am and why doesn't he bring me with him more often.

So I made an appointment for early in the day, Dr. Katz's second, because Al doesn't like to wait, and truth be told, Larry, as Al calls him, has a largely geriatric practice (read: old ladies) so there are no mini-skirted young lovelies to ogle. Also, there are never any magazines to read and he hates watching the TV. He'd rather sit there and look grouchy. He's got that part down pat. We only waited about 15 minutes. Dr. Katz said that everything checked out fine and Al could easily expect to be around for another thirty years. Al was so happy that he went home and shaved off his beard. (That doesn't make sense, does it?)

Well, a few days later Al had another grand mal epileptic seizure in his sleep, the first in several years. He has an appointment with his neurologist in a week or so but in the meantime we upped his doseage. Other than acting stoned out from the drug and disorientated from the seizure he seemed OK. A few days later KABOOM!, another seizure as he took an afternoon nap. I really put my foot down, yes indeed! "AL!" I said, "I'm writing the blog AND taking the photos until you get your shit back together!"

One of Al's photography buddies told him that he needed to become more of a Believer, not so much of an agnostic, and he turned him on to a really cool book - The Church of the Latter-Day Dude and Al has been reading it. Until Al gets back on his feet I'm going to be doing the blog so all of our fans don't jump ship, or even worse, become Dudists themselves.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Your Tax Dollars At Work (At Last)

The very first day of the month you turn 65 you're suddenly covered by America's version of socialized medicine, Medicare. If you join an HMO you discover that even the co-pays are minimal or non-existant. My "primary care" doc even suggested which HMO to join. Decisions such as this are likely based on such important medical considerations as which HMO lets him see me the most often for a minor chronic condition or which HMO has the largest roster of his golfing buddys on their roster of approved doctors.

Within days of the start of that Magic Month I was suddenly getting referals to get every possible medical test known to science as eager doctors and medical testing labs seemingly came out of the woodwork, buckets in hand to milk the Cash Cow. I think that the only thing that they overlooked was whether or not I might have a propensity towards ingrown toenails (I don't). For a couple of months the week didn't go by when I wasn't subject to a test or two, or off to see a specialist.

Going from seeing a doc once or twice a year, mostly because I really HAD to, to becoming such a fixture in their examination room that we're now on a first name basis sure is different, as is discussing whether or not the knockers on the new receptionist are really that high and firm sans bra. I've also discovered that doctors, male docs anyway, are constantly kvetching about sex, or lack there of. "My wife never puts out, but if I divorce her she'll take me to the cleaners!" is a common refrain. Another frequent complaint is hair, or lack there of. It seems that a lot of guys in the medical field start losing it early. They look longingly at my big mop of the stuff, and they never fail to inquire about my secret. I tell them "Hell, you're the doctor! What do I know! I dropped out of college in the first semester!" Then I try to make them feel REALLY bad. "The secret to having a full head thick curly hair at age sixty-five is to screw lots of young chicks on a regular basis" I tell them.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

THE SOUL SNATCHERS (See? No Photo Even!)

Well, there WAS a photo here. One of the sexy young ladies over at Starbucks didn't like being in a photo on my blog. Maybe she was afraid that the guys would think that she wanted to snatch their soul? The photo had nothing to do with this text, but I used it to segue into what I wanted to write about.

The Soul Snatchers is a new book by my old friend Robert W. Morgan. We've known one another since about 1973 when we were both doing some research to see if there might be some truth behind the local Miccosukee Indian legends of a big hairy hominid, usually called a skunk ape, living in the Everglades. From time to time various people have claimed to have seen one, caught a brief glimp really, while slogging through the swamp on a hunting trip or collecting wild orchids, maybe photographing the birds. He and I both became friendly with the Tiger family ~ that's how he an I met ~ and I still stay in touch with one of the Miccosukee Indians who gave up the Everglades for living not too far from me.

I have also stayed in sporadic touch with Robert W. Morgan. He's an author and a film maker. Early next year he's hoping to start filming a new movie. It's set in the Everglades. We've been emailing back and forth about the project. He wants me to shoot the stills, and I might also get a bit part. In the meantime he's written another book, The Soul Snatchers. I'll be published and available in a few weeks. Check with your local bookseller or Amazon and pick up a copy!

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Few Words From Monkette

Hi folks. I'm taking over writing the blog for a day or two. The only thing that this photo has to do with what I'm going to say is that it was shot inside of Vivette's Ultimate Hair Design and I won't let anybody but Vivette get anywhere near Al's hair. It's also a pretty cool shot of me, don't ya think?

Anyway, Al has been a bit under the weather the last few days and he got a bit behind with his writing. He will get caught up I'm sure. Yeah, he went to see his buddy Doctor Larry Katz. Larry told us that Al is good to go for another thirty years at least. His heart, lungs, blood pressure, etc. are all just fine (but he said my blood pressure was dangerously low!).

Some of you probably already know that Al will be showing some of his photographs in a group exhibit opening July 12th. The gallery has another show opening on June 27th, and we need to show our support of any gallery that shows photography on a regular basis. Here's the announcement:

Hello Everyone,
Now, Suyu has rootz!
Suyu Cultural Affairs invite you to be a part of our newest Gallery Opening # 7 at rootz our gallery of art and photography.
Sculptures, Photography, Paint, Installations, music, dance, 16 artists, 10 countries. Everything in one place, can you believe it? . We need your moral support- it is the only way to make a change. Come join us for a night of art appreciation, good company, two beautiful live performances with Teresa Wangeman (dance chorography, with a group of 4 girls) and Marydena (Peruvian singer of neo-classical andean music). Ah!, some food and wine.
Same place same time, hope to see you there !
12399 west dixie hwy
north miami
fl 33161

Thanks. Al and I are looking forward to seeing you there!

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

What Might Have Been

Life is full of "ships passing in the night" as the old saying goes. Missed opportunities. Opportunities that we wished had really been opportunities, but for one reason or another the timing just wasn't right. I met Brenda on line at a time when she was caught up in the death throws of a dying marriage. Everything looked promising but at the time she couldn't bring herself to take that leap of faith to what might have been been a more fulfilling life.

In the meantime I got involved again with a woman out of my past, but I was being scammed, as it turned out. For that woman I made a great fantasy, I suppose, but the reality wasn't to be. I wasted a year and a half of my life waiting for the move that didn't happen. While I was believing the old flame about the life we'd share together Brenda finally divorced her husband. A free woman at last, and here I thought that I was spoken for.

Today, for the first time in ages, Brenda IM'd me. She's getting married next weekend. She wanted to tell me the good news. She didn't sound like the excited bride to be...not at all.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

A Photography Exhibit At MOCA, North Miami's Museum Of Contemprary Art

It wasn't all that long ago that museums rarely exhibited photography at all, and then only the work of long established photographers, or at least somebody who already had the right credentials in the art world. Few and far between were people who collected photograhic prints as art or displayed the pieces in their homes or offices. All that has changed in the past few years.

North Miami's Museum of Contemporary Art had their opening patrty for a group photography show and I decided to check it out. There was a large variety of work shown, arranged so that each exhibter had their own space on the walls. Some of them liked to print large while others preferred smaller more intimate style begging you to get close to admire the prints. They were mostly silver gelatin prints but one of the photographers showed platinum prints. One showed prints mounted on aluminum, but conventional matted and framed pictures dominated the show. The food table seemed to be getting the most attention.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

It was the NEW TIRE STORE 40 years ago!

Nearly forty years ago I was the photographer at the North Dade Journal newspaper and our office was a couple of blocks up West Dixie Highway from where they were building this tire store. Marilyn, the cute young blond woman who was our advertising sales person was all excited. Goodyear was a big company with money to spend and was going to start an advertizing blitz to get the store up and running. She was going to make some big comissions!

Over the years they've kept up the new looking appearance of the building, but in addition to selling tires and fixing flats they've gradualy expanded into a full auto repair shop as well as a good place for a fast oil change. A few years later a brand new Publix Supermarket opened a block away. The North Dade Journal got folded into the Miami Herald as the twice a week Neighbors section. The local newspaper office was no more. I have no idea what ever happened to Marilyn.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Can Tony Roma Kill A Fishing Club?

This is the South Florida Fishing Club, or at least what tattered remnants remain of it. One guy, a relatively new member, pounded the nail in the coffin when he said that he didn't want to be in the club if we didn't meet at Tony Roma's on Collins Ave. in Sunny Isles Beach. Does he get a kick-back? The membership had already dwindledto the point of iffy viability.

The restaurant does have a nice private meeting room, but traffic during high season in Sunny Isles Beach is absolute gridlock at times. The valet parking isn't mandatory, but they give you a dirty look if you park yourself and it's a big hike from the back of the lot. The food is mostly barbeque, and they're noted for their ribs, but for what it is it's expensive.

Little by little the guys with smaller boats dropped out as club tournaments became less a days fishing within a dozen miles of the launching ramp and more a long weekend at a top hotel in Acapulco using a charter boat. The kids division dissapeared, along with the moderate income anglers that had formed the backbone of the club for years. Just a bunch of rich grandpas sitting around bitching about how much the marina charges for a hundred gallons of fuel. They can keep their damned club!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cute Little Puppy Dog, Cute Little Kids

The dog had a towel so he didn't have to lay on the hot dirty concrete. The kids came along and wanted to pet the dog although the dog didn't seem too interested. Starbucks will gladly supply a free glass of water for dogs. Nobody thought to ask. I just watched.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Jazz, Jazz, And More Jazz

The showmobile was set up for Jazz At Moca. It was the last Friday of the month. I was early as usual. I remembered back to when I was a little kid and my dad had a big collection of 78 RPM records, big Band Swing it was called and when you'd see jazz being played in a movie the guys would be wearing tuxedos, and it was like they had an entire orchestra playing. Of course that was before electric amplification took over.

When I took an interest in music in the late fifties Modern Jazz was the name of the game and electronics had allowed the shrinking of bands down to quartets and quintets. Tuxedos have way to suits with narrow lapels worn with skinny ties. At home, instead of a pile of 10 inch 78's with one song to a side we had 12 inch LP's turning at 33 1/3 RPM with perhaps 15 or 20 minutes of uninterrupted music per side. Soon monophonic was replaced with stereophonic, but people still "dressed" to play live.

Some part of my brain got jolted a bit as a group of guys wearing shorts and faded jeans under untucked sport shirts sauntered out on stage and started tuning up and doing sound checks. What the hell. It was a hot and humid Florida evening and we were thankful that rain wasn't in the forecast. The music was superb! (But I'll bet that everyone of them would tell you that an analog vinyl disc sounds better than a CD!)

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

When ya ain't got no wheels THIS is exciting!

As lively as this town can be at times it amazes me as to just how dead it gets at other times. My truck's been in the garage getting major surgery done to the transmission. I'll never ever get another automatic! So I've been spending a lot of time, way too much time, at home.

My ex Claudia and my good friend Lee have been helping out with rides when l need them, but I don't like to impose, and I'm so damned used to having the freedom to just go as I please, where I please, andwhen I please. Shit! Walking distance ain't what it was back in my twenties fer sure! It's at the point where even running into a grizzled drunk bumming a cigarette could be considered conversation. This just wasn't one of those nights.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Boundless Energy, Where Does It Go?

I was reading the paper and drinking my coffee, lost in my thoughts, when suddenly I heard the happy shrieks of children at play. The girl in the red blouse was running in circles as the oldest boy "stalked" her, doing his best to immitate Frankenstein's gait while making low pitched grunting sounds. They just kept going around and around, never getting out of breath. Mom just stood there watching, probably feeling the same amazement that I was experiencing. After awhile either she felt rested enough, or thought that the kids had expended enough of their exuberant energy to behave while going shopping with her, and she called out to them. It took another circle or two before they slowed down their pace and walked over to Mom.

They still weren't out of breath. I suspect that Mom was as envious of all that energy as I was. It brought back memories. Memories of my kids doing the same thing and memories of the high, the mental rush it brought on way back when I was doing it. Today it would just make me concerned about giving myself a heart attack!

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Friday, June 13, 2008

City Planning Running Amok

Well, first off, I'm hijacking my own post here. It was supposed to be talking about Mario's new art gallery and photo studio, how it's located where Jaybo's Photo Lab stood for perhaps twenty-five years, eventually expanding into a complete photography shop, everything from film, paper and chemistry to darkroom equipment and high end cameras such as Leica and Nikon. Be cool Mario! I have more photos, I'm impressed with your place, your work, and your plans, so I'll be revisiting you in upcoming blog posts.

What has me upset is the state and county road departments coming into North Miami and revamping our street system, creating a can't-get-here-from-there maze of one way streets and right-turn-only intersections. The on-street parking along here? Gone! Instead there's a small lot in back and a shiny new back door that looks like a front door. If you can find the place! Of course back doors along alleyways usually are massive ugly burgler proof things so a bad guy lurking in the shadows won't break in with ease. Now they expect the shop owners to have nice pretty glass doors in the alleys? Get real!

They may well be state roads or county roads, and they're the ones paying to upgrade them, even adding landscaped traffic islands, but they have no concept of reality. They're not doing the business owners, or the citizens trying to find their way around, any favors!

As for the term "running amok"?

Running amok - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Running amok, sometimes referred to as simply amok (also spelled amuck or amuk), is derived from the Malay/Indonesian word amuk, meaning "mad with rage" ...

There are plenty of people trying to find their way around, or just a place to park, and they're mad with rage!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Flying Old Glory with Pride

This is a season filled with flag flying. Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence day which is also called the Fourth of July. My friend North Miami City Councilman Scott Galvin decided that we should all have flags flying on July Fourth and he's come up with a plan. This is an email he just sent out:

North Miami residents....I hope you'll come get your flag!
Councilman Galvin's
'Grand Old Flag Giveaway'
June 14 - July 4
This is an historic year in American history. Thousands of our soldiers are fighting overseas. In November, we will continue the world's longest tradition of democracy by electing a new President.

In honor of our great country, I'm announcing my first-ever "Grand Old Flag Giveaway!"
Starting on Flag Day (June 14) and ending on Independence Day (July 4), I'm going to give away hundreds of 3' x 5' American flags to North Miami households. Everyone should fly Old Glory, and this is your chance to show your patriotism!

"Grand Old Flag Giveaway"Kick-Off Event

Saturday, June 14, 2008 10:00 am

Griffing Park "Bicentennial Fountain"
123 Street and West Dixie Highway

The "Grand Old Flag Giveaway"... Here's How it Works

Get Your Flag Kit! The kits being given include a pole, bracket, and a 3' x 5' USA flag (made in the US). This promotion is sponsored by Councilman Scott Galvin and Freedom Flag & Banner. Flag Kits will be available at North Miami City Hall, 776 NE 125 Street, at the Second Floor City Council Office. While supplies last, Flag Kits will be given away starting at 10:00 am on Saturday, June 14, 2008, and ending at 9:00 am on Friday, July 4, 2008.
Eligibility. Only North Miami residents are eligible to participate. When picking up your Flag Kit, a valid ID with home address must be presented (e.g. Driver's License, Utility Bill). Only one flag per household. Residents may not pick up a flag for their neighbors.

Don't forget to join North Miami's July 4th Celebration!

Independence Day By The Bay, Saluting Our Heroes. Location: FIU - Biscayne Campus, 3000 NE 151 Street Time: 6:00 PM FREE Admission. Gates open at 6pm. Fireworks at sundown. Bring your family to enjoy children's games, live entertainment and a spectacular fireworks show! Music, food & more!

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Suddenly Everybody's a Smoker

OK, I smoke. I smoke cigarettes. I admit it! Everybody is always getting on my case about it, chewing me out, telling me how bad it is for my health and so on. But I still smoke. I remind them of research, legitimate medical research as reported in medical journals, showing that nicotine enhances cognitive abilities and delays the onset of Alzheimers. It also appears that the tobacco smoke gives your lung tissue the equivalent of a sun tan, protecting it from getting "burned' from exposure to the more harmful pollutants found in the air.

Years ago I ran across an article in a medical journal suggesting that it was better to smoke full strength unfiltered cigarettes. We're going to smoke until we satisfy our nicotine craving and we can do that faster and easier with an unfiltered Camel and get less of the harmful crap in the process.

It's getting difficult to find unfiltered cigarettes these days. I started rolling my own. A can of Bugler tobacco, which has a very similar Turkish blend to the tobacco in Camels, cost me about $13.00 and makes about 11 packs of cigarettes, which is a BIG savings! For about $10.00 each I've bought two snazzy 1920's vintage art deco silver cigarette cases at antique shops. One is sterling and marked Tiffany. I'm not sure if the other is sterling, but it tarnishes like silver and it has no makers' mark on it.

They both attract attention and a lot of non-smokers want to look at them, ask me if I use a machine to roll them (no), and invariably want to try one. It's simply amazing how many non-smokers will use that as an excuse to cadge a smoke, and then have the nerve to do it every time you run into them. It must be the need for nicotine to enhance their cognitive abilities.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Jazz at MOCA ~ The Best Seats

They're not so close that it's difficult to see up on the stage, and it's right next to the center aisle. We all got there early, supposedly just for that reason. I suspected, though, that Jeff also wanted to show off his new lady friend. When I first started dating Vivette back in '91 she and I really stood out when we went someplace together. Nice Jewish guys just weren't suppposed to be seen cavorting around town with a brown skinned beauty. These days you see all kinds of combinations, hear all sorts of accents, and often there's a kid or two that obviously isn't the guy's. Nobody cares anymore. They just accept it.

My original plan was to sit with them but I spent too much time wandering around taking pictures and shmoozing with people. A group of elderly people took up the rest of the seats in that row. They asked first at least. I ended up sitting in the back. The weather was delightful and the music superb!

Between the monthly Friday night free Jazz at MOCA concerts, and the new Saturday Night Live festivities featuring food and live music along West Dixie Highway, North Miami has become an ideal place to enjoy an inexpensive date, complete with plentiful free parking. Now I just need to get me a lady friend!

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

More Fishy Business Going On

The average American would be just as happy if he never ate fish. Maybe a tuna salad sandwich once in awhile. Our Moms always told us "Fish is good for you!" and called it "brain food". "It'll make you smart!" they told us. Compared to meat fish was cheap. The Catholic Church for years said that you couldn't eat meat on Fridays. The schools served tuna glop over rice or the reviled tuna salad sandwich for lunch. Mom would follow up with frozen fish sticks for dinner. Yuck!

The average American wants white meat bland tasting fish. Neighborhood fish markets closed up as the first generation European immigrants died off and their daughters discovered canned tuna and frozen fish sticks. They didn't have to go in a smelly market and see all those glazed-over eyes staring back at them out of the bins of crushed ice, no watching the guy eviscerating their cold little bodies, cutting off their heads, slicing the remains crosswise into steaks, or perhaps cutting the meat from the bones, trimming off the skin, and ending up with a nice pair of boneless fillets. Best of all they didn't have to do all this yucky stuff themselves. Supermarkets took over the fresh fish trade, but it was rarely really fresh, certainly not caught that morning, and likely not caught any more recently than three or four days ago. Fresh fish doesn't taste fishy. Supermarket fish tastes fishy.

You could always drive over to the Haulover Marina docks when the charter boats and head boats come in and buy fresh fish. Some days, of course, the fishing was lousy and there were no fish. A wasted trip!

North Miami was getting an increasing percentange of new residents, mostly from the Carribean, and Captain Jim Hanson saw opportunity knocking. Thousands of families were moving into the area with a tradition of eating fish, not beef. He opened his Seafood Market on West Dixie Highway. Fresh fish were back. Really fresh fish.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Happy ??th Birthday, Elena Kaplan

Yes, I know. I used the same picture last year. And why not? The pony rides are still there, it's only a few blocks from the house, and I drive by it several times a day. It's on my way to the post office, the supermarket, the Target store, and the neighborhood Starbucks. A constant reminder of the cute little girl that used to love going to the pony rides.

Now she's an attorney in Atlanta, involved in politics just like her father, and hopefully next time she runs for office she'll enjoy a landslide victory. I never did. However, she'll discover that the very act of running in itself, rallying a bunch of people together, organizing a campaign, gives you a level of respect and credibility in your community. You don't have to win to "win".

She's reaching that point in life where most of us stop looking forward to getting another year older. It makes me stop and think, too! "Damn! I have a daughter THAT old?" But she's brought a lot of joy to my life. Thanks, Elena, and have a Happy Birthday! You've finally reached the point where you don't have to try and blow out all the candles in one breath! Just enjoy the day.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

This Is Not Your Father's Motorcycle!

My title for the post is a take-off on a highly unsuccessful adveritizing campaign a few years ago. Oldsmobile was trying to appeal to a younger demographic group. It failed. Twenty-somethings just won't buy an "old man" image of a car.

At the other end of the spectrum a lot guys in my age group are wearing ratty looking jeans to the office, growing beards, and sporting ponytails half way down their backs. Not only are they dressing exactly like their mothers wouldn't let them dress when they were young, they're buying and riding motorcycles. They probably smile inside, remembering Mom's hysterical screaming. "NO! You can't buy a motorcycle! You'll KILL yourself!"

They might have once dreamed of bikes with names like Triumph, Ducati, Jawa, Harley Davidson, Indian, Moto Guzzi, all American or European machines that their dads before them had learned to love, often while stationed in Europe during and after WW-II. The Japanese invasion, the names Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Kawasaki, were still off in the future back in those days. But the day came when my own mother got the opportunity to scream "You bought a WHAT? A motorcycle! You'll get killed! Mark my words. You're going to KILL yourself.

Well, I'm still here, although my best friend about 35 years ago killed himself on his brand new motorcycle.

I don't know who owned this machine. I don't know who made it or where it's from. It sure didn't look like the motorcycles of my younger days. I was intrigued by the styling, trying to compose absract patterns of the red and the black, both intense colors, against the pastels of yellow. blue, and pink. I had no desire to ride it.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Memorable Nights, Good Years

Back in the days (nights?) when Saturday Night Live was on television it was like the entire world stopped! Just about everyone that I knew was either at home watching it or with a group of friends watching it. Refreshments, perhaps some beer or wine, a few tokes from a joint being passed around, that was all part of the Saturday night ritual. That and laughing your ass off.

The skits, the jokes, the one liners were topics of conversation for days afterwards. Of course a lot of the humor was based on world events then current, and without knowing what we now refer to as the "back story" many wouldn't be the least bit funny. At the time, though, they were hilarious!

So the City of North Miami started some free outdoor concerts on the last Friday of the month, called Jazz at MOCA, and bought a portable stage and tons of lighting and sound equipment.

The next step was to do something similar, yet different, along a stretch of West Dixie Highway a few blocks to the north. It's an area with a number of West Indian restaurants and stores. It was decided to hold it every Saturday night, at least through the summer, and from 133 Street south to about 128th Street there's music at every intersection. Some is live and some is with a DJ. Some fantastic reggae! Most of the shops are open, as are all of the restaurants. You're not likely to see men with longer dreadlocks anyplace else in the United States.

There's fresh barbeque wafting enticing its enticing smell down the street, ribs and chicken, and if you're adventursome you can find some curried goat. It's really good. The Jamaican cuisine leans towards curry while the Haitian is mostly just really spicey hot (and I mean HOT!) and peppery. There's also a sampling of Cuban cooking, along with delicacies from other parts of the Carribean.

I was chatting with Councilman Jacques Despinosse a few days ago about ways for attracting more people. There's no shortage of nearby parking and it's easy to get to from the Beaches and I-95. Most of the people I see there are island folks who make their home here in North Miami. The local whites seem to ignore the opportunity to enjoy the food and the music just five minutes from where they live. The exact same people who spend piles of money on Carribean vacations and cruises so they can eat the same food and listen to the same music as we have right here. Crazy, huh? I always have a great time. I always eat too much also.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Look How Beautiful

I guess that you could say that we're old friends, me and Dr. Howard G. Rosenberg, D.D.S., after using him as my dentist for about forty years. I was almost finished with the most recent round of getting my teeth in order, and we talked about what the kids were up to these days, joked about when he insisted that he wasn't a pediatric dentist years ago but agreed to work on my kids "if they behaved", but we recently concluded that he was the kid because I'm a few months older than he is.

Here we're checking out how my new lower partial feels and looks. When he did the impressions a few days before he'd said "Here, why don't you drop these by the dental lab. The lab guy won't pick them up until this evening, and this way he can get started on the partial sooner. As long as you're going you could give him these too" as he handed me a bag. A couple of days later his wife Maura called with a "Doc (she always calls him "Doc") said the lab has your partial ready. Would you mind picking it up? Then he can squeeze you in about two if you're available." I doubt if he has any other patients he'd try that with.

A tiny bit of "adjustments" in the way of grinding off a bit of the plastic were needed. They still were a bit uncomfortable, but I knew that if Howard ground off too much they'd be too loose, and my mouth would soon get used to them anyway. Best to put up with the intitial discomfort and have a good fit later. I still had to go back in a few days for a tiny filling and he could always fine-tune things at that point.

They looked great and felt OK. Now a few weeks later they feel just great. This was a strange photo to take. I was trying to get the mirror to rflect his light onto my mouth area, but that meant that my view in the mirror was elsewhere and I couldn't see my face and what the light was illuminating. This was very much a b'guess & b'gosh shot both for the composition and for the lighting.

I headed around the corner to Jimmy's Place. It was time to try out the new teeth on a corned beef and rye. I could bite and chew again!

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Monday, June 02, 2008

City Planning At Its Worst / Little Ticky Tacky Strip Malls

"RK" is a name that shows up on strip malls all over South Florida. I don't know if they build them or just buy up existing ones, but they end up all looking the same. Now the City of North Miami (as well as other municipalities) has taken to encouraging (mandating?) that existing blocks of shops get new uniform facades with uniform colors. Strangely enough the new look pretty much copies the "RK look".

Uniform lettering above each store shows the shop's name, but gone are the distictive signs of yore. Neon is verboten. It's either too distinctive, too gaudy or too 1940's old fashioned for today's planning commisions and city councils. Even signage inside the store windows has to conform to the rules. It seems that only a national chain with big bucks to spend can buck the trend, and then probably only if they construct a free standing building of their own.

Those of us who are old enough to remember when 1984 was still off in the distant future probably remember a book by the name of "1984". It was science fiction, but the main theme was Big Brother Is Watching. Well, folks, Big Brother is here now, painted beige!

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

...But Is It Art? It's In The Arts District

When I was a kid they didn't have cool inflated vinyl things like this to play on. Hell, vinyl had yet to be invented and "cool" still just meant somewhere between hot and cold. Now I'm just trying to figure out why "cool!" and "that's hot!" mean essentially the same thing.

Anyway, the city in its infinite wisdom had blocked off some streets and was holding a festival in the heart of what they're billing as The Arts District, and when I first spyed this over by the art museum my first reaction was that it was a welcome change from the huge metal sculptures that I usually see over there. Then I realized that it actually was a kids' toy.

So while we're discussing art I'm going to do something a bit out of the ordinary. I post a lot on internet photography forums and sometimes I get asked for advice by younger photographers (hell, it seems like they're ALL younger) so it makes me feel really good when this ends up as a true friendship and not just a brief exchange of a few emails. Jennifer Durand is one of those people. She lives in England and they seem to have different terminology for things over there. I'm assuming that a "Degree Show" is where the graduating students get to show their work. Well, she sent me a very nice email with a link to her work on her website. Please check it out. I was impressed! Here is the link :

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