Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Killing Fields

This little fellow was lying dead on the sidewalk after a recent rain shower. I'm sure that it wasn't the rain that killed it.
When I first moved to Miami the common lizard was the green anole, which could change color to brown depending on the color of what they were sitting on. They're anoles, and not related to the African chamelian.
Over the years the green ones have been replaced by brown Carribean and Bahamian anoles. They snuck into the country in fruit, freight, whatever, but they seem to be better able to survive here than the native ones. They either are better at catching bugs or at eating the young of other species. Even the scientific community isn't sure exactly how many species there are on all the islands, or how many varieties might just be suspecies, or even just varieties! At any rate we like the cut little things, and most of us don't mind having then living in the house. They keep the bugs under control. It beats using poison!

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Leica ~ The Way It Was, And Pretty Much Still Is

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Bullet Factory ~ Because I'm Cheap

Almost every weekend we were visiting the Tiger family on the Miccosukee Indian Reservation on the Tamiami Trail and Spencer and I were putting a lot of bullets through Pepsi cans. That quickly starts to run into some serious money, even when you stock up just before hunting season to take advantage of the sales. Time to start reloading my own ammo!

For perhaps $25 you could pick up a Lee Loader for about any size round you wanted to reload, a pound of powder, and a package or two of primers. The hardware would last you forever and a few pennies worth of powder and a primer and you were almost in business. You still needed the bullet itself, the projectile that would put the hole in the Pepsi can.

One of my other old buddies, Norm Nilsen, reminded me that his wife Jill worked in her family's print shop, The House of Jones, and that linotype metal would turn out some great bullets if you had the bullet mold. Another order to Lee Precision and I had a mold, lead pot, and ladle. I also got a supply of bullet lubricant and a sizing tool so my bullets would be exactly .309 inches in diameter.

The top scan shows the mold's box and the wooden handled mold. The second picture shows part of the leaflet that came inside the box with the mold. There were the expected warnings about the danger of working with hot molten lead, and that it wasn't a really great idea to be breathing the vapors. I'd heard stories about old time linotypers at newspapers being a bit daft after forty years breathing those lead vapors, but hell! I knew daft brick masons and postmen and about anything else you could imagine. Maybe it was just their age? The boredom?

I started casting my own bullets. The Jones's retired and Jill didn't keep the shop going. Printing was rapidly going from letterpress, "hot type", to offset lithography, "cold type". Norm and I split up the treasure trove of brand new ingots of linotype metal as well as all of the pieces of already molded stuff that would have been remelted and reused anyway. We'd remelt it and reuse it.

In addition to making bullets I still use it for casting jig heads for fishing lures. It's really kind of a shame to use an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony for fishing lures when cheaper plain lead would suffice but I have the stuff already. I haven't cast a bullet in years. I probably have a few thousand around here someplace, and I've cast lots of jig heads in the past few years. Now that Flo gave me Spencer's Winchester 94 I'm thinking about doing some shooting again. It's been over thirty years.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ready To Return Fire

Forgive my laziness please. This is a direct scan of the carbine itself, my 30-30 Winchester model 94. It had belonged to my friend, the late Spencer Tiger, and a few months ago Flo, his widow, brought it over to my house with a "Here, Spencer would have wanted you to have this." The day he bought it I was visiting the Tigers on the Miccosukee reservation and managed to put a bullet through the same hole that Spencer had just made. We knew that I'd succeeded because the far side of the can had two exit holes. That was shooting with open iron sights. Spencer bought the scope later.

About 4 PM today I was sitting here at the computer, the windows closed and the AC humming, when I thought I heard shots coming from out back. The shots themselves weren't all that loud but I could hear the projectiles hitting the back of the house I grabbed the gun as I speed dialed the police and cautiously peeked out the back. I saw two young teenage boys through the bushes. They were firing at a can perched on their back fence across the alley from my house.

At that point I'd already chambered a round, ready to go! Once outside I could tell from the sound that it was a pellet rifle powered by a CO2 cartridge. The cops came and had a talk with the boys. Later I went back there and looked at the bullet riddled can. It was a 22 caliber pellet rifle, able to do some serious damage. They're lucky that I could see that they were young teens, and that the police arrived so quickly. I could easily have claimed that I had a "reasonable fear for my life" and shot the both of them.

I emptied the round from the chamber, went back in the house, wiped down the gun with an oily cloth, and put it away again. I don't want to kill anybody but I suppose that I'm ready.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Nikon SB-12 Flash, 28mm Lens, Other GOODIES FOR SALE !

Yup, this isn't my usual type of posting but a fishing buddy of mine was being a good obedient husband and cleaning out the closets of orphaned posessions. The Nikon film camera was long gone and all of the goodies that looked like they'd be fun to buy but would never get used needed to go! Go FAST!
Call good ol' Al, the photographer! He'll know what to do with them. He'll find nice loving homes for these poor little orphans.
I honestly don't think that any of these things ever saw (or felt) more than a preliminary fondle. Since then they've been just sitting someplace. The original boxes and instruction sheets are still there in the boxes. The only box that's ripped is the one for the 28mm lens. The foam insert is an extemely tight fit with that one.
Buy the whole lot or make offers I can't refuse on the individual items. Thanks! preacherpop42@aol.com

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Really Sweet Test...But Only A Test

This picture of the Splenda packets was a testof using the scanner as a camera substitute. I just laid them down on the scanner's glass and pressed "scan". My plans were to do a few more important projects this way. One thing that I discovered is that the subject has to be really close to the glass or it isn't very sharp.

The picture of the Nikon accessories on the next post kind of pushed the limits of the technique but I was pretty much using the entire area of the scanner. Had I tried to magnify one small section the sharpness would have been dissapointing.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

They're Just Some Cuts And Bruises

I scanned this off of a little 2x3 inch print that I have tucked in front of the glass of a small mirror on the wall above my computer.
I think it will be three years in January since my son Jonathan did this lovely "portrait" of his dad. It'll be three years in January that this happened.
The occasion was that my crazy next door neighbor who never pulls a permit for anything had a well drilling truck pulled into his yard and I asked the driller if he'd pulled a permit. Rather than answering me he ran out into the street where I was standing and attacked me, knocking me to the ground and I ended up looking like this. Eventually some neighbors pulled him off of me.
The down side of the experience is that now I know I can live through something like this, and I get a bit confrontational at times with young punks who insist on blasting their car stereos as loud as possible. First I politely ask them to turn it down and usually get a reply of "Why should I! What are you gonna do about it?" I offer them my face, saying "I never throw the first punch. You hit me first!" at this point I'm about a foot away from them. "...and then I'm going to beat the shit out of you!" I guess the idea of a grizzled old guy showing no fear makes them think twice. They always just drive away as their buddies laugh at them. So far I've never been hit.
So yesterday my neighbor is outside. He must have had a mirrored wall in the house that he was tired of because he had all these 2x6 foot sections of mirror that he was tossing over his wood plank fence into the narrow space between it and the old chainlink fence seperating our yards. The mirrors were shattering, making a mess that wasn't visible from his side of the solid wood fence but certainly was from my side through the chain link. I got pissed BIG TIME! I suggested that he could squeeze in between the two fences and pick up every big or little piece of broken mirror that was there and to DO IT NOW. He did.
Well, I didn't get a picture of my grin yesterday so I'm using this old shot again.
Actually it makes me wonder. Should I run for mayor in the upcoming May city election? Can you envision "Elect Al Kaplan" signs all over North Miami featuring this photo? It sure would get some publicity!

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Oh Me Oh My

Monkette cavorted on the rusty beat up chain link fence for awhile but this is supposed to be a bayfront park. She wanted to go out on the pier, walk on the board walk, watch the gulls and the pelicans, not climb on the fence and gaze out at weeds and trash. She's really hoping the City of North Miami will get on the ball and restore the place to what it once was and what it should be.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

"North Miami Parks Should Be Cited By Code Enforcement!" Says Monkette

Monkette and I, and a whole bunch of other people, used to come here and watch the pelicans begging for a handout, the seagulls and terns catching pilchards and sardine while mackeral, jacks and even big tarpon would be chasing the baitfish. Many years ago, during the 50's and 60's, this was Helker's Yacht basin next to the Broad Causeway. A drift boat by the name of Lady Lou, a few charter boats, and and three or four private boats used to dock here. There were rowboats for rent, a gravel launching ramp, gas pumps, a bait shack that also sold cold sodas and hot coffee. One-eyed Jack ran that operation. Eventually George Helker decided the time had come to move on and the cty came by some grant money to create more parks.

Mike Rozos was parks and recreation for the city and within a few short years we had a beautiful set of public parks throughout North Miami. One of them was the former Helker's Yacht basin and they built a board walk the length of it, a nice place where people could fish. They even took a bunch of rocks and made a little reef maybe one hundred feet offshore to atract snapper and grunts and grouper. Mike Rozos eventually moved on to a job elsewhere, Lou Schick became the department director, and managed to hold the fort, but he too moved on.

Whether it wass mismanagement or a parsimonious city council, things were allowed to deteriorate. The fishing pier was closed, falling apart from lack of maintainance. A chain link fence with a locked gate greeted you when you aproached the pier. What reall pisses me off though? The overgrown weeds, the broken wood that was once the pier railing scattered on the ground behind the fence along with a collection bof broken bottles and beer cans mixed in with the weeds and rotting boards, no effort at all to keep things tidy. If my yard looked like that Code enforcement would fine me into bankruptcy.

Without a doubt it saved the city some money, but it was by depriving kids and retirees alike their place to fish. Could that be the source of the money that the mayor and council tapped to give themselves the generous retirement benefits, obscene raise, and a medical plan fit for a king? Even Monkette wonders that. She's planning on working on some council campaigns for the city's May elections, campaigns to get some new caring people into office, people working for the citizens of North Miami, not people just lining there own pockets. Go for it, Monkette! You did a great job running Mayor Kevin Burns' campaign two years ago. Too bad the city charter won't let him run for a third consecutive term.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Monkette Told Obama Not To Call Her During The Meeting! (Then her cell phone rang.)

There wasn't much else exciting going on in North Miami the other night so Monkette suggested (more like insisted!) that we should head over to the Griffing Adult Center where the Central North Miami Homeowners Association was holding its monthly meeting. The topic for the evening was to be Mortgage Modification.

I pointed out that our house was paid for, no mortgage! Monkette pointed out that since I was too cheap (I call it parsimonious) to have a TV, and that they always have munchies at the meetings we should go. Then she pointed out that I'm often the only straight guy in a room full of civic minded women...what the hell! "Let's do it!"

Sitting next to us in the black skirt and heels is Michelle Garcia. She's a new appointment to the Board of Adjustment, I've been on that board for about six years, and the black hair above the black floral jumper belonges to Carol Keyes, a real estate attorney who chairs our board. Dang! We were only one person shy of having a quorum if it had been a board meeting!

Michele has been showing up at about everything happening around town these days. She filed to run for the District 3 seat on the City Council. The city election is May 12th so she doesn't have much time. I'm not in her district, but having been to a few meetings with her I can say that she'd have my vote If I could vote for her. We need some new blood on the Council.

And that call that Monkette received during the meeting? It sure put a big smile on her face, but she wouldn't tell me who had called!

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Dreams and Nightmares

I came out of the post office just in time to see this spiffy fully restored and freshly painted Mustang convertible pull up to the curb, parking in a handicapped space. The elderly driver got out and haltingly walked to the rear of the car, holding on as he shuffled along. He opened the trunk, took out and set up his walker, closed the trunk, and slowly proceeded to go into the post office.
I envisioned him forty-odd years ago wishing that he could have afforded that convertible, picturing himself picking up chicks and tooling around town the envy of his friends. Now at last he has the car and his memories.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MICHELLE GARCIA, Monkette's Choice For North Miami City Council

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Frank Wolland Has The EXPERIENCE To Be North Miami MAYOR

For one thing, he's been mayor before. That convinced Monkette to back him! Two years ago she got involved in Mayor Kevin Burns' re-election campaign and she must have been doing something right!
Day after day, throughout the whole campaign, if you Googled things like North Miami Mayor, Kevin Burns, or any similar group of words there it was: Monkette's coverage of the race above the Miami Herald's story. That's right! The Price of Silver was getting more hits than the Miami Herald's on-line edition! But Kevin can't run more than two consecutive terms.
So Monkette and I put our heads together and decided to back Frank Wolland. He and I spent a few years working together on the North Miami Planning Commision, and he went on to become a city councilman followed by sitting in the mayor's chair. He was a good and effective mayor, and he and I pretty much think alike on most issues. I told Monkette "Hey! Go for it!" I'm not sure exactly what her motivations are, though. Banana plants in every yard? The ego trip of writing blog posts that beat out the Miami Herald website for readership? The thrill of running another successful political campaign?
When Frank stopped by here yesterday she was thrilled to put one of Frank's yard signs in the front lawn. She set it at just the right angle so it's visible to cars regardless of which direction you're driving on either N.E. 14th Avenue or N.E. 133rd Street. Tuesday night she's dragging me over to the Central North Miami Homeowners Association meeting. That girl has some serious politicking planned! Her candidates ALWAYS win. She has a 100% track record!

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Elect FRANK WOLLAND for North Miami Mayor

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Komaflex-S A 127 Dead End

Back in the early sixties there were a number of cameras that used 127 film. A lot of them made twelve square negatives, 4cm x 4cm, and they were popular because the "super slides" fit standa 35mm slide projectors. Rollieflex, Yashica, a Ricoh made twin lens reflexes and Kowa came out with a single lens reflex, the Komaflex-S.

I made the mistake of buying one. It was smaller than a Hasselblad and had a very good quality lens. It lacked interchangeable backs and interchangeable lenses though. It was the insides that were the problem. The camera had a bad tendancy to jam. Within a year it was completely broken. I bought a 35mm camera.

A few years later Kowa came out with a 6cm x 6cm camera, the Kowaflex, which had interchangeable lenses. It also seemed to have solved the jamming problem. I knew a lot of people who bought them and they seemed quite happy with them. They were certainly a lot cheaper than a Hasselblad, but "once bitten, twice shy" as the saying goes. I'd never feel comfortable using one. I knew that! I saved up some money and bought a used Hasselblad along with a couple of extra roll film backs, a Polaroid back, a prism finder, and a couple of extra lenses. When I sold that kit I didn't lose any money. Live and learn. Sometimes the least expensive turns out to be the most costly in the end.

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Ansco Memar ~ My First "Miniature Camera"

I was 12 years old and wanted something better than a box camera. I was looking for something with some basic controls and a lens that would focus. My dad had a Retina that he bought in the late 1930's, but while he was stationed in hot humid India during WW-II fungus had gotten to the lens.

I don't think that desert had ben served as yet at my Bar Mitzvah reception when I snuck out with a pocket full of gelt (Yiddish for "money") and headed up the street to McGee's with plans to buy myself a Kodak Pony. The salesman convinced me that the Ansco Memar was the better buy, metal rather than plastic body, and a much better lens. It was made by Agfa in Germany and I used it until I turned 18, got seriously interested in photography, and bought a Komaflex-S. I don't know whatever happened to the Memar although I recently got another one "just because".

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Spartus, a REAL Flash Camera!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Elena Kaplan Wearing Her Miccosukee Indian Skirt

My daughter Elena was about four or five when this photo was taken here in the back yard. She loved going out to the Miccosukee Reservation on the Tamiami Trail every weekend, and playing with the kids her age and watching the birds.

One of Louise Tiger's relatives made this skirt as well as one for my wife Stephanie, and Stephanie and I each got shirts as well. Elena loved wearing that skirt to school. Compared to the other kids she'd lead an exciting life, spending time on Indian Reservations and the inner city black ghetto, meeting governors, senators, and even a couple of presidents and presidential candidates.

She spent quite a bit of
time in the black section of Miami staying with one of her teachers from the day care center she was attending. She spent a day at Hair Styles By Mr. Ralph where she spent over an an hour getting her hair plaited into cornrows with long Bo Derek style braids complete with beads on them.. It was mostly the other mommies at the elementary school who were jealous. I don't know if they were just afraid to go into that neighborhood or unwilling to spend a couple of hundred bucks getting their hair braided. I took pictures of her getting it braided and posing with the finished hair do. Mr. Ralph was thrilled with the photos, which he used in his advertising. A cute blonde hair white girl with a very much typical black hair style was an attention getter for sure. She loved posing for the camera. Now I'm wondering whatever happened to that skirt. Elena now has a niece Gabriella that's about a year younger than Elena was in this photo. I bet she'd look cute wearing that skirt.

Tech data on the photo. The scan was made from a 5x7 print that's been filed away for thirty or so years. The camera was a Minolta Autocord loaded with Kodak Ektacolor CPS film in hazy sunlight.

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Evil Woman (Not The Song)

Well Robin isn't exactly an Evil Woman. That's a song by The Electric Light Orchestra, really a rock group in case you have visions of an audience filled with women dripping in jewelry and wrapped in fur stoles over their evening gowns, bored husbands in tow, listening to mellow drums acompanying a huge string section, flutes, acoustic piano, etc. No this was a Rock Group without a doubt, who had a big hit with Evil Woman back in 1975, and it's still a popular song.
I'm talking about Robin, a self proclaimed hillbilly from the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. She's not really evil. Persistant perhaps, tenacious without a doubt, and posessive to boot. I'm the object of her desires. She's learned my favorite dishes and become more than adept at making them just the way I like them. When she's out of town she calls me every evening, just "checking up" on me. She knows enough not to rearange piles of junk in my house because she realizes that if she did I'd never be able to find a damned thing.
So when I mentioned last December that I couldn't find a pocket planner the next thing I knew she gave me one! The coffee mugs on the cover reflect our mutual love of the brew, and the two year life span of the planner tells me that she's planning on keeping me around for awhile. Maybe she's not so evil after all.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Miccosukee and Seminole Indian Patchwork Clothes and How They're Made

It's really kind of amazing the way the Indian women make these items. They used to live in thatched roof chikees, which are a thatched roof on cyprus poles, no walls! They used old Singer treadle sewing machines because they didn't need electricity.

Most people today call these a Seminole jacket but the Indians refer to them as shirts. The traditional mens' garb was a "long shirt" down to about the knees, but eventually jeans and T-shirts became popular and the patterned "shirts" became shorter. Women wore ankle length full skirts with the patchwork bands. The skirts were gathered at the waist and had a waistband. Many of the women wore a top that was more like a cape, except that it hung down to the waist in the front as well as the back. There were no seperate sleeves; it went over the shoulders and hung down over the arms. Womens' skirts and mens' jackets had the patchwork bands. The womens' tops usually didn't, and before jeans came along the men didn't wear pants under the long shirt.

The brightly colored cotton fabric was cut into strips and sewn together to make long strips of striped material. This was then cut crosswise, either straight or on the diagonal. They were then sewn back together with the colors offset from one another, or every other piece might be turned upside down before being sewn in place. You'd end up with a long strip of cloth with the pattern. These were then sewn lengthwise with strips of solid color fabric. Various colors of rick-rack would be sewn on the solid color bands.

Usually, if you wanted the shirt to fit correctly, you'd let the woman have one of your ordinary shirts and she'd make your Indian shirt with the same dimensions and sleeve length. With all the money pouring in from casinos, bingo, and tax free cigarette sales, this is a fast dying art. Now it's just so easy to drive the SUV into town and buy a skirt at Saks or shirts at Brooks Bros. This particular shirt was made about 1974.

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Nicotine Is Good For Your Brain

Yup, it increases cognitive abilities and delays the onset of Alzheimers syndrome. The medical establishment keeps harping on the fact that it causes heart attacks and lung cancer while clinical researchers are discovering all the good things it does. The choice comes down to having a healthy body while turning into a babbling idiot or retaining your thinking abilities as your body falls apart. Thrillng, huh?

Of course the government uses all of this as an excuse to tax the hell out of cigarettes. "It's to pay for the extra health care costs" they tell us. If it was really that much of a killer they'd encourage smoking! Less Social Security costs that way.

Well, I just roll my own! Somebody in government must have come up with the concept of a lower to middle income tax break. Bulk tobacco is taxed at a much lower rate than ready rolled cigarettes. I just love tax breaks, don't you?

It gives me something to do in the morning before I wake up enough to read the Herald. That and drinking coffee, another thing that increases cognitive abilities. No wonder I'm so damned smart!

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Friday, March 06, 2009


Click on the image of the letter and it gets big enough to read easily. I wish that I could click on a picture of my check and make it big enough to be worth the time.

Notice how Jackie made an effort to cover up the words "Finance Department" with White-Out on the envelope. I guess that she didn't want to be connected with this underhanded scam by Mayor Kevin Burns and the rest of the North Miami City Council.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Cheap Little Flag, Cheap Little City

It seems like at every patriotic holiday the City of North Miami
gives out these cute little flags. They must buy thousands of them every year. They're just the right size for Monkette to hold so often I get a picture of her holdiong one. I also keep a couple of them in the truck next to the rear view mirror. This photo is actually a direct scan of he flag, no camera involved!
But I'm going to tell you about how the North Miami mayor and city council conspired to shaft the members of the city advisory boards. One of my other posts this week tells about how city staff can't even get their shit together to get our checks out in a timely fashion, but this is more insidious. People in politics should be honest, the "My word is my bond" kind of thing. But not Mayor Kevin Burns and the North Miami City Council who gave recently themselves a ten-fold increase in pay, generous retirement benefits, expense accounts, and lifetime health insurance, followed by an attempt to increase the utility bill WAY up there. They claim it's to pay for a new water plant, but if you look at their row of brand new ultra deluxe SUV's parked behind city hall it kinda makes you wonder. The city manager has one too!
The council chambers were packed with angry taxpayers. The council backed off on the utility bill increase. I hope they can afford to make the payments on those big fancy SUV's because without the new water plan there's no chance (not that I'm implying anything here) for getting kick backs from whatever contractor would be awarded the multi-million dollar contract.
I spent a dozen years on the North Miami Planning Comission and six or so on the Board of Adjustment, my current position. Our pay is a token TEN BUCKS a meeting, the same as it was in 1961, and we pay for our own gas if we drive around looking at the properties on the agenda. I actually do drive around and look at them. I was dumbstruck a few months ago when our chairwoman said that she doesn't bother.
I've been lobbying to at least bring it up by the amount of inflation over the years. Of course the city has grown from maybe 20,000 to over 60,000 since 1961. The boards have a lot more work to do these days. I presented the council with a figure of $85.00, which is about what 1961's $10 became due to inflation. A raise was passed at last. Then when I didn't receive the check two months running (see the emails in another blog posting) I was starting to get major pissed. So was my girlfriend Robin because I'm no fun to be around when I'm pissed. She kept telling me that at a party around Christmastime Mayor Kevin Burns told her that we'd be getting $85.00 a meeting.
Was I ever surprised when I finally got my check for the two meetings. It wasn't for $170.00. It was for a lousy $40.00. TWENTY BUCKS A MEETING. It still doesn't pay for the gasoline! Mayor Kevin Burns lied to Robin. Yup, Kevin Burns lied to a lady! My mommy always told me that was a no-no! The entire North Miami City Council screwed us. Well, somebody has to pay for those big fancy SUV's , right? Please call (305) 893-6511 and tell Kevin what you think about this underhanded dealing. Monkette would be grateful too!
...and Kevin, remember Mayor Howard Neu! He got me pissed once too. Once is enough!
(But that's a story for another day!)

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Drugs? What Drugs Officer? No Drugs Here!

Back in the late sixties every Sunday there was a Love-In at East Greynolds Park and whatever major rock group was playing at Thee Image that weekend would put on a free Sunday afternoon concert. It would atract hordes of young people and everybody knows that rock music sounds best when you're stoned, so it also atracted the attention of the county cops. All the cars and vans got searched. Few arrests were made but a fair amount of pot was seized. Everybody wondered justy how much of the stuff got turned in to the property room. After all, no arrest had been made!

The pot was the mellow natural stuff from Jamaica, Colombia, and Panama. It would be a few more years before the Vietnam vets, who learned about the joys of pot smoking while in 'Nam came back to the States and used their G.I. Bill scholarship money to major in agriculture. With all that knowledge on the finer points of selective breeding, hydroponic growing, maximizing yields and so on , domestic pot soon became more potent than the finest Colombian Gold or Panamanian Red.

These days it's the biggest agricultural crop in the state of California. Since everybody knows that it's a harmless high, nowhere near as bad as booze, the state government is seriously giving thought to legalizing it. Why? Because they see it as a great source of tax revenue! California farmers could supply the whole country and do away with all the other state taxes. They'd still have money left over! Maybe they could do away with the city and county taxes as well.
All those kids in the picture today would be ticketed for not wearing seat belts and carrying more people than there are seats. They don't even make convertibles anymore. "Unsafe at Any Speed" as Ralph Nader put it.
What happened to all those pot smoking hippies? The ones who were supposedly "going to hell in a handbasket" for smoking the evil weed, breaking the law, and grooving to the music? Now they're doctors and lawyers, business executives, accountants, investors, mayors, senators, judges, you name it. And the cops? Today a lot of them admit to having smoked it back then, but that was before drug testing came along. I think that Florida could give California a run for its money. We have the room for the farms! We sure could use the tax revenue!

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A Time For Prayer ~ The City Of North Miami Must Be Broke

This is a series of emails, funny as hell but all too pathetic, a great example of the caliber of people who staff our government offices. It started out when I didn't get my check for attending the January Board of Adjustment meeting (I'm on the board), and they only recently increased our stipend to $20 from the $10 they instituted way back in 1961 (Yes indeed, that's NINETEEN SIXTY ONE!!!). At least it (barely) covers gas for my truck when I drive around town looking at the properties seeking zoning variances.

A bunch of emails got me noplace, then the February meeting rolled around. Still no check! I was getting a bit miffed, and involved Councilman Scott Galvin, the councilman who had appointed me to the board. Still no check. Lots of excuses but no check. I was quickly getting a bit more than just miffed.

This series of emails between me, the councilman, and the woman, Jacqueline Y. Gonzalez, director of Building and Zoning, who should have taken care of this back in January but didn't. Actually the series starts several emails before this exchange, but this should give you the gist of the problem. This rediculous debacle probably cost the city's tax payers at least $1,000 in wasted staff time and wasted at least 4 hours of my time. The check did arrive though. Thanks (I think) Jackie. It's safely in the bank now. MY bank, NOT the city's.

Scroll down to the bottom of the emails to read the first one first. I was too lazy (and PISSED) to change their order. Please forgive me.
I certainly understand..and am so sorry about the mess up…glad I will not see you panhandling at City Hall! Take care and I am certain to see you soon.

Jackie G

Jacqueline Y. Gonzalez, Director
Department of Building and Zoning
City of North Miami
(305) 895-9820 ext. 12253
(305) 895-9822 (fax)

"Be the change you want to see in the world"

From: preacherpop42@aol.com [mailto:preacherpop42@aol.com?] Sent: Wednesday, March 04, 2009 4:22 PMTo: Gonzalez, Jacqueline Y.Subject: Re: Al Kaplan - Check

Good timing! I was just heading out!Us poor retirees scraping and scrimping on Social Security need every penny we can get. At least now I won't be having to panhandle at City Hall before board and council meetings.Cheers,Al -----Original Message-----From: Gonzalez, Jacqueline Y. <jygonzalez@northmiamifl.gov>To: preacherpop42@aol.com; scott@scott-galvin.comSent: Wed, 4 Mar 2009 4:11 pmSubject: RE: Al Kaplan - Check
Thanks Al. Guarantee that it wont happen again. Have a lovely evening.

Jackie G

Jacqueline Y. Gonzalez, Director
Department of Building and Zoning
City of North Miami
(305) 895-9820 ext. 12253
(305) 895-9822 (fax)

"Be the change you want to see in the world"

From: preacherpop42@aol.com [mailto:preacherpop42@aol.com?] Sent: Wednesday, March 04, 2009 3:17 PMTo: Gonzalez, Jacqueline Y.; scott@scott-galvin.comSubject: Re: Al Kaplan - Check

Thanx. Got it. Hope you guys get your house in order.~ Al-----Original Message-----From: Gonzalez, Jacqueline Y. <jygonzalez@northmiamifl.gov>To: scott@scott-galvin.com; Hansraj, Maureen <mhansraj@northmiamifl.gov>; preacherpop42@aol.comCc: Patterson, Clarance <cpatterson@northmiamifl.gov>; Loperena, Anne <aloperena@northmiamifl.gov>Sent: Wed, 4 Mar 2009 12:03 pmSubject: RE: Al Kaplan - Check
My assistant Anne Loperena will deliver the check today.

Jacqueline Y. Gonzalez, Director
Department of Building and Zoning
City of North Miami
(305) 895-9820 ext. 12253
(305) 895-9822 (fax)

"Be the change you want to see in the world"

From: Scott Galvin [mailto:scott@scott-galvin.com?] Sent: Wednesday, March 04, 2009 10:37 AMTo: Hansraj, Maureen; preacherpop42@aol.comCc: Gonzalez, Jacqueline Y.; Patterson, ClaranceSubject: Al Kaplan - Check

Hi, Clarance and Jackie,
Will you kindly let me know when you expect to be able to deliver the check to Mr. Kaplan today?

scott--- On Wed, 3/4/09, preacherpop42@aol.com <preacherpop42@aol.com> wrote:
From: preacherpop42@aol.com <preacherpop42@aol.com>Subject: CHECKTo: mhansraj@northmiamifl.gov, scott@scott-galvin.com, preacherpop42@aol.comDate: Wednesday, March 4, 2009, 10:20 AM
Oh yeah! Drop the check in my mail slot by noon today. No more screw-ups please. I'm growing weary of dealing with inept city "employees".Al

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If Smiles Could Smile ~ Marilyn Davis

I guess this was about 1971 or thereabouts and Marilyn live down the street a few houses the other side of 14th Ave. She was a pretty girl of perhaps 18 0r 19 and wearing her hair in the then fashionable "shag". My living room today doesn't look all that different than it does in the photos. I still have the lamps but at some point the silk shades got too tattered and were replaced. Same thing with the drapes. The sofa in this photo had been my mom's before she died about fifteen years ago, and ours had seen two toddlers turn into young adults. In other words it had seen better days.
The balls were a popular toy of the day. The idea was to rythmicly raise and lower your hand to keep the balls bouncing off of one another. The person who could do it the longest won! Marilyn was good, very good. Then at some point they moved. I haven't seen her since. I miss that smile.
The fish-eye lens was an inexpensive one marketed by Spiratone. I think it was only about $39.95. It made a circular image a bit too big to fit the entire circle on the negative, and it was most likely mounted on a Pentax. It was really a very sharp lens! I probably used bounce electronic flash to freeze the motion of the balls. I shot it for a newspaper story about this latest craze. The scans are off of prints that had sat in my files since 1971.

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The Embroidered Leica Jeans Jacket ~ 1974

I had nothing better to do one day and my wife had been doing some embroidery of late. "Gee, I can do that!" I thought.
The jeans jacket had already been tied up and soaked in a weak bleach solution to achieve that neat mottled look.
The Leica logo was soon emblazoned on the back of the jacket! Maybe I should have made that "Leica MC"?Anyway, a few months later there was also a big scorpion back there. I'm a Scorpio.
Then about a year later somebody stole my damned jacket! I still have the photos and that little Norfolk Island pine behind me is at least 100 feet tall now.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Barry College Library

Barry College Chapel on the cover of their alumni magazine Barry Mark