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Monday, March 23, 2015


     We spent last weekend camping in the Florida Everglades. It was beautiful but we didn't see any of the marsh rabbits we enjoyed there years ago. Twenty-six of them were recently released in the national park fitted with radio tracking devices. 
    When scientists began hunting them down they found 17 of the devices beep-beeping inside Burmese pythons. The huge snakes have taken over Everglades National Park with a population exceeding 10,000.  

Burmese Python and Other Invasive Species Wrecking the Ecosystem
                                                                           It's a sobering thought, 95% of the small mammals have disappeared since people started setting their pet pythons free in  South Florida years ago.  We never see raccoons, possums, or rabbits  when we go there now.  
   We don't see snakes either. Last year the park superintendent told us, "They're all over but they know how to hide. Holding a tracking device, I can be standing four-feet from one and still not see it in the brush".   
    2014's much publicized  python hunt only yielded fifty.  Unfortunately there is no remedy in sight.
    Last Saturday we hiked through a dense hammock keeping the kids close. A 65-pound deer was found inside an 18-footer two years ago. The slithering creatures are ripping up the park's food chain and will soon head north. 
   What's next on python menu? Maybe Mickey Mouse.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

OUR BIG BLUE ELEPHANT (Go Home Kevin Spacey)

      Thanks Kevin Spacey... but the Coconut Grove Playhouse doesn't need your celebrity to save it.

It died seven years ago. Too large for the times, financial problems forced it to shut down. The big, blue elephant is now a city block of rot on the Grove's main thoroughfare.

    Once a symbol of our village's popularity and creative spirit, it is now an icon of failed politicians, leaders who take us nowhere while the elephant decays.

      We finally saw light last year. Working with Florida International University, local theater company, GablesStage, offered a well thought-out plan to build a smaller regional theater to replace the shuttered hulk that shames our town center.  Their ultra-talented artistic director, Joe Adler, lead this effort. 

     I like the idea of Joe's 300-seat theater. It fits the scale of the Grove, a "small town in a big city". It does not bring with it the traffic/parking problems that a larger theater would.
    I have known Mr. Adler since the late 70's. He is an outstanding leader, a dynamo of creative energy. Unlike most of our politicians, he gets things done.

     Just when it seemed we had a realistic plan to get us out of this mess, a few local leaders screwed it up. One of them contacted actor Kevin Spacey who was here last December basking in the Art Basel sun. When asked, "Can you offer suggestions on how to revive our Grove Playhouse?", Spacey unfortunately said, "Yes".
 He said, "Build it bigger!" (something more "spacey"), as if he knew what our community needs.  As a result, people with clout are now ga-ga over the possibility that Kevin might visit us occasionally and offer suggestions. This will happen only if we build a bigger playhouse, one that will accommodate his considerable talent and ego.
     At an important County Hall meeting last Thursday, our leaders heard two hours of discussion on whether we should go ahead with the sensible GablesStage plan or pump it up to create a Kevin Spacey R Us 700-seat venue.

      Rather than give the Grove what it sorely needs, the County Commission voted to consider both plans, one that would give us (I'm not making this up) two theaters.  Our leaders stand mesmerized by Kevin while the elephant rots. 

     We don't need two theaters. We don't need Spacey's big bundle that will be hard to fill and make the Grove's traffic worse. We don't need the influence of a Hollywood star that has said he is "interested" in our dilemma but has committed to nothing. 
    Remember when Madonna and Sylvester Stallone moved to the Grove? All we got from their two-year visits were "Stallonegate" and  the material girl posing naked on the bay in her book,"Sex".

     Wipe the stars from your eyes Coconut Grove.  Here's a chance to create something outstanding for our ailing artistic community. Send Kevin back to his house of cards and support the hometown boy.  Joe Adler and his group offer us the best chance to revive the Coconut Grove Playhouse.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Our dog, 3.1415 (a/k/a "Pi")  wishes you the best on this The Ultimate Pi Day, 3.14.15 .