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Wednesday, November 30, 2016


       We went to the Grove's own Great Gatsby mansion last night, Viscaya. The old, amazing estate was tricked out with art for its Art Basel show, "Lost Spaces and Stories of Viscaya ".
   You can't have a bad time at this Coconut Grove wonderland; the house, the gardens, there's  
nothing like it in South Florida.  There's even an outstanding Joy Wallace cafe.

     The "Spaces" exhibition adds  eleven local artists to the mix. Their sculptures, in both the house and gardens, will remain in place until next October.  There were performances, as well, as there will be on Sunday.


Mira Lehr and Yara Travieso performing their operatic/dance piece, "What This Place Does Not Remember", West Garden Mound. 


 The pool  was enhanced by floating furniture.


   Our visit was enhanced by the many friends we ran into. Here we are with popular Grove graffiti artist, Arturo Edgardo,

I've been going to Viscaya for sixty years and discover new, wonderful things every visit.  Last night, massaged by a strong, bay breeze,
 the magic is was even more enhanced.

    Stop by our Venetian villa for lunch or brunch and a tour that will both bedazzle you and Art Basel you.


Monday, November 28, 2016


       You run into some of the nicest people in Coconut Grove and sometimes others run into you.        - Glenn Terry, 2016

      I drove 11,000 miles across the country this summer. I had no car problems until I returned to Miami. Six Saturdays ago Francesca and I were waiting for the light at Grand and McFarlane. 
       In the middle of a quiet conversation,                                  W H A M ! 
a drunk's car smashed into the back of ours.
    It happened in less than a second. Our heads slammed back into our head rests. My Honda was shoved ahead ten feet, just short of car ahead of us.

       We looked at each other dazed, and realized neither of us was seriously injured. I climbed out my car to see what had hit us. It was this guy, driving a gold Prius.  

    He quickly asked me not to call the cops adding, "I'll give you $100 cash just to drive off".  I asked Francesca to call the police as I
surveyed my car's damage (over $2000 worth).  I took pictures of our cars, of him, and his license plate.  There was a woman in his car. She seemed angry as she made phone calls then walked away.

    The guy got in my face and blabbered on. He tried to make me feel guilty because his car's dents
were bigger than mine. 
I pointed out that he had caused all of them.

      The lush went on to try to sweet talk me as drunks are wont to do. He offer went up to $500 payable the next day. He smiled and added "You look just like Robert Redford in that baseball movie!".  
    Then I knew he was wasted and told him so, "You're messed up, dude". He shrugged and admitted, "Yeah, I'm drunk". There wasn't much more to say.

     Francesca called out, "The police are on their way. They want us to move our cars out of the road."  I moved mine and asked the guy that if he could move his. The boozer said he would if I gave him back his keys. I had not taken them.  Really drunk.
    By then a friend of his showed up to locate the boozer's keys and to help him move his Toyota. I told him I would hold back traffic while they moved the dented Prius.
      I guess they moved it a very long way because when I turned back they were gone. I never saw him -or his car- again.

       A police officer arrived 45 minutes after the collision. He ran the kid's license number so I soon learned who he was, where he lived, and that his car was insured.
      I've long had a fear of driving on Saturday nights knowing something like this  might happen.
Defensive driving would not have helped, I guess our number was up.
   We got away with sore necks and a car that has been in the shop for weeks. The guys lousy insurance company (United Automobile Insurance Company) has refused, thus far, to pay for my car or anything else. The Miami City Police, six weeks later, have still not called me -or returned my calls- regarding whether they would bust the guy who took off.
   Of course, it could have been much worse. The drunk could have been driving fifty instead of fifteen. Our problems are small compared to what they could have been. Slowly we're dealing with them.
     When you think about all the drunks and distracted drivers it makes you think twice about traveling.  Drunks are bad but cell phone drivers are the bigger problem now. It's enough for make you think, "How crazy can it get?", "Are there any answers?" and  "Let's make all cars driver-less today".


I play softball with Walter Harris, a South Miami city commissioner.  He is passionate about many things including the survival of South Florida.  Sea level  rise is beginning to destroy us (see photo below) yet our governor -and, the incoming President- choose to ignore the problem.

In short, we are screwed unless we do something big. Why not create our own state?  Sure, it's a long-shot but why not try? 
Here's what Walter has to say.  If you'd like to support the effort please use the link at the bottom to sign the petition.

South Florida the 51st state


South Florida is in a very precarious position.  Not only are we in harms way due to rising sea levels caused by global warming, but most of South Florida sits on porous limestone so sea water rises from beneath the ground causing saltwater intrusion into our freshwater supply as well as flooding.  Most of South Florida is only 15 feet or less above sea level and in  areas near the coast less than 5 feet.  

While virtually all scientists now agree that climate change is a reality, our governor Rick Scott and now our president elect Donald J. Trump, refuse to consider the reality of climate change.  In fact, our new president wants to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and even allow oil exploration, drilling and fracking in South Florida.  He even wants the United States to pull out from the new Paris accord on climate change.
For the reasons mentioned above I strongly advocate the separation of North and South Florida.

For South Florida, the issue is more than political, it is the very physical survival of the state.  Time is crucial.  We need to take control of our situation here in South Florida without the interference and bureaucracy of Tallahassee.
We are starting a petition and hope you will join us by signing and letting our voices be heard.  Please sign this petition and send it to your family and friends.
Thank you,


This petition will be delivered to:
  • Commissioner, South Miami, Florida USA
    Walter Harris

Saturday, November 26, 2016


    This town has been anxiously awaiting the headline above for fifty years. When news of Castro's death hit South Florida twelve hours ago we expected all hell to break loose, or at least, a million people doing the salsa in the streets.

   We drove to Cafe Versailles, ground zero for Cuban politics, to witness the tumult. Several helicopters hovered above waiting to show the world how Miami went wild.  This is what we found,

There seemed to be more news people than celebrators in Little Havana today. Maybe a hundred tops this morning.  Those gathered seemed to be waiting for something to happen. When nothing did, we went home. 
   While a few old men seemed to be relishing the moment, most people feel Castro died long ago.
    We live in a lively town that loves to party. No doubt, as the day rolls on more people will join the throngs on Calle Ocho.  Most have waited their whole lives to dance like Oz's Munchkins when their wicked witch died.



     As we pause to reflect on this morning's announcement of the death of Fidel Castro, we also consider the many good things to come out of our neighbor to our south, Cuba...
like outstanding Cuban musicians.   
    One of them, Elizabeth Caballero, is performing in Coconut Grove Friday night.  Here is information on her concert,

 S T. H U G H - S T E I N W A Y 
                         C O N C E RT     S E R I E S
                                           CO N T I N U E S   T H I S  F R I DAY 
       December 2, 8 P M   with

      Arias by Mozart, Verdi , Puccini , 
  Gershwin, Lecuona and Holiday Music
              S t . H u g h C h u r c h
3 4 6 0   R o y a l R o a d , C o c o n u t G r o v e , F L   3 3 1 3 3
 The St. Hugh-Steinway Concert Series continues its 2016-17 Season on Friday, December 2nd at 8 pm with a
recital by the renown Cuban-American soprano, Elizabeth Caballero, with Roberto Berrocal, Basque
concert pianist. 
Tickets are $45 and $30 are available online at , by phone at 305-318-5008 or at the door.
St. Hugh-Steinway Concert Series is entering its fifth season of vocal and instrumental concerts,
presenting four concerts each year of both classical and popular music. Each concert is followed by a free wine and cheese reception.
    St. Hugh Catholic Church is a great place to enjoy music. The intimate church has become a successful concert venue. 

Ms. Caballero has been praised by the New York Times for her “pearly tone, exacting technique and brazen
physicality.” She made her debut at The Metropolitan Opera as Musetta in La Bohème. 
 Elizabeth as Madame Butterfly   Come see her Coconut Grove debut Friday night.

Friday, November 25, 2016


     Over a hundred thousand people are coming to Washington to say "NO!" to the new President and the policies he represents.  It is the

   The protest is being organized by people who condemn his views on women's issues including workplace discrimination, abortion, and sexual assault. But  the gathering will address much more than that.
    The "Women's March on Washington" will take place on January 21, the day after the President-elect's inauguration.

  Francesca and I are going. Maybe you should too. 
It's a good place to be if you don't like having your country led by someone who,

-has said that climate change is a hoax,
-brags about assaulting women,
-plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act,
-has empowered hate groups. Hundreds of white supremacists gathered in Washington this week (in the Ronald Reagan Building!) to celebrate the Republican victory and to give Trump the Hitler salute. Really.

-despite his child-like, irrational behavior, will now control our country's nuclear weapons.  
-has advocated torturing terrorist suspects and killing their families.
-Spent years questioning the President's birth certificate.
-threatens to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency.
-supports the unhindered sale of guns.
-plans to change libel laws and restrict freedom of the press.

-has made Steve Bannon his chief White House strategist. Bannon spent years putting hate mongers on the national stage.
-is considering ending Medicare,
-will create a deportation force to arrest 11 million undocumented immigrants. 
-will restrict a woman's right to abortion services, 
-is now forming a cabinet that supports all of the above, and,
-is supported by the Ku Klux Klan.
You get the idea. My list could be five times as long.
     Most voters did not choose the Trumpster to be the next President. If you're one of them, consider this opportunity to protest his views on a multitude of issues that affect the future of our country.  
     We've got a lot of work to do. The march will draw attention to the important tasks that lie ahead.


     The event's Facebook page says it will begin at 10 a.m. at the Lincoln Memorial and conclude at 5 p.m.  The Memorial was the site of Martin Luther King Jr’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech before a crowd of  300,000 civil rights supporter.
     One of the Women's March organizers, Fontaine Pearson, said in an interview that, "The march is not a protest against Trump or the legitimacy of the election, but is to shed light on women's issues, including sexual assault and workplace discrimination".  
    I don't believe it. A racist, ill-tempered, misogynist is moving into the White House. We're protesting against Trump and all of the evil things he represents.

    I hope you can join us. There is a local group  forming to rent buses and to help find accommodations. They will also raise funds to help those who can't afford the trip. I will have more information on that later.  
     The Coral Gables Congregational Church has already acquired a bus to take folks to Washington. Call them for more information.
    Activists are making plans for local marches that will take place on the same day. One of them will be in Miami. Perhaps you can attend that,
but if you can,
     Come to Washington. Help take our country back.

   More things you can do:
(This is something I saw last week on the internet.  Unfortunately, I lost the name of the source)

    On Sunday evening's  “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver offered a list of organizations that defend the causes and peoples that will be most threatened by Trump's administration and suggested you volunteer your time and money. 
   I think that’s a great idea, so I pass his list on to you:
Planned Parenthood (; The Center For Reproductive Rights (; the Natural Resources Defense Council (; the International Refugee Assistance Project (, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (; the Trevor Project for LGBTQ youth ( and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund ( I’d also add The Southern Poverty Law Center ( and the American Civil Liberties Union (

  It’s time the majority that believes in a progressive, inclusive and compassionate America did more than just tweet about it. 
 Nothing's wrong with tweeting but forces of exclusion, hatred and rage have overtaken the highest office in the land, so it’s also time for some old school activism. Time to march. Time to assail lawmakers. Time to boycott. Time to stand and be counted. Enough is enough. 
     Hate trumped Hilary but more important, love trumps hate. Let’s stand up for our country's highest ideals.


  My neighbor, Lou, suggests that we get on the phone.
 He wrote,

Insist on a Vote Audit
    -Vote count inconsistencies are turning up and Hillary (for what its worth) is two million votes ahead. 
 Call the Department of Justice and ask that the election's votes be audited.   
  You can also call your U.S. representatives and protest Trump appointees, the White House regarding Standing Rock, and Paul Ryan's office to support Obamacare. 

 A couple of tips-   
  • It helps to prepare a little script since most of the the numbers automatically transfer to a voice mail comment line.  
  • When you call the White House situation Room number a live operator answers. Ask to be transferred to the Comment Line -- The operator told me that recorded messages the ones that are tallied.   It takes awhile-- apparently the comment line is jammed up but keep trying.   The message there is that POTUS should step in to condemn local authorities using violent tactics to contain demonstrators, and have the feds stand down.
  • The DOJ number goes straight to a comment line where  you can let it be known that you're calling to support an audit of the 2016 votes, a way to resolve evidence of hacking and mechanical vulnerability of voting machines.

  • house and senate staff members are recommending that when you get in touch with your reps that you call both the  local and DC offices-- the feeling seems to be that the local offices may be the most effective- but the DC offices have voice mail.  My messages there was that I fully support  their objections to Trumps appointees and to urge them to become more vocal and maintain their resistance.  
  • Paul Ryan's comment line focuses on reintroducing legislation to rescind The Affordable Care Act.  There is an option to indicate support of Obamacare.   I stayed on the line to leave a voice message but the mailbox was full -- I'll call back.
From the wait times on some of these calls I assume that there is a surge in public reaction.  Spread the word.

 I know this blog entry is long but so is the road that will lead us past Trump. If you hesitate to make phone calls to express your opinion, please try to make the effort.  Phone calls are much more effective in swaying opinion than e-mail (which are easily ignored).  That's what the experts tell us. Written letters are good too.

 (More tips from Lou)
Call Your Senators and House Representatives:
     There’s literally a reason to call every day, like in the ’90s when you had a crush. When you do you can,
–Ask them to firmly oppose the appointment of Steve Bannon as senior advisor to Donald Trump due to his racist, anti-Semitic views and mean face.
–Ask them to pressure Trump to remove climate-change skeptic and overall non-credentialed idiot Myron Ebell as the transitional head of the EPA.
–Ask them to condemn the addition of anti-Muslim extremist Frank Gaffney Jr. to Trump’s transition team.
–Per ACLU, ask them to ask Trump to “take a stand on the outbreak of hateful violence, and release a plan to combat this trend.” And resign.
The NSA Chief Says Russia Hacked the 2016 Election. Ask Congress what they’re doing to investigate and require a re-count.
–Demand that Senators oppose ultra-racist Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.
**Call the Department of Justice: (202) 514-2000; they’re tallying phone calls of those who want the 2016 vote audited. Bring back the art of the voicemail by leaving a message about how you want the votes audited and the nightmare to be over. Then call the DOJ again at (202) 353-1555 and repeat yourself. If it’s busy, be a mom and keep calling.**

How to make your congressperson listen: use the “telephone” feature on your phone, as calls are more effective than emailing. 

Confront your phone phobia today!
Call local offices first, and then the DC office.
Here’s Paul Ryan’s number: (202) 225-3031. He’s conducting a phone poll on the ACA (Obamacare), hoping to hear opposition to it. Not if we can help it. Press 2 to weigh in on the issue. There’s a brief recording about HR-3762, Paul Ryan’s heroic proposal to gut the ACA (Stay on the line during every awkward silence.) Press 1 if you support Obamacare.
Call the White House Situation Room: (202) 456-9431 to insist on immediately stopping the assault on the water protectors at Standing Rock. Call the North Dakota Office of the Governor: (701) 328-2200; the Morton County Sheriff’s Dept: (701) 328-8118; the North Dakota National Guard: (701) 333-2000. My friend Angela Markle’s script:
“I’m calling to demand an immediate stand down by local law enforcement on Highway 1806. There is no justification for the firing of hoses, tear gas, and rubber bullets on unarmed, peaceful water protectors. Please cease this activity immediately.”
   As the venerable Beth Montgomery, my high school European History teacher, posted on Facebook: “Tell Trump 'No'. Use your voices to say white supremacy in the the executive branch is not normal, is not good, is not acceptable.”

-Thanks, Lou-


Read more here:

Monday, November 21, 2016


                              FROM TRAGIC TO MAGIC   

   It first happened last June. We were driving into Charleston, South Carolina, passing an old, beautiful church with its sidewalk strewn with dying flowers. It hit us, "This is where Dylan Root murdered nine people because they were black". 
    Last Friday we drove to Orlando for a wedding. Approaching downtown on Orange Street we saw flowers for the dead again along with fading posters, banners, and notes of remembrance. It was Pulse, the nightclub where Omar Mateen killed 49 people because they were gay. The June 12, 2016 massacre was the deadliest shooting in U.S. history.
The place isn't that big, it must have been packed that night. On a main drag among other small businesses, the former nightclub is now surrounded by a plywood  memorial wall. 
   Everyday people come to pay their respects, pray,and look for answers in troubling times. Here are some things I saw yesterday morning,


Last weekend the mural below was painted on a bagel shop across the street.


    After the shootings a local newspaper started a weekly series profiling of each of the 49 victims. This week it described Juan Carlos Nieves' life cut short in his 27th year.
The series will continue for six more months.

      It doesn't help to know we just elected a President and Vice-President who support the proliferation of guns and  anti-gay sentiments. We have to deal with this and take positive actions.

       Saddened by our country's new direction we look to the future and wonder how to cope.
     When Mateen killed and wounded over a hundred people at Pulse, the City of Orlando rose magnificently to the occasion.

    They provided counseling for thousands,free medical care for the wounded,and offered funeral services and burial plots for the dead. 

A funding campaign, "OneOrlando", has raised over $23 million to aid victims and their families.

    The city's response was something we can learn from.  When bad things happen we need to stick together, slog on, and right what's wrong






  Life goes on and so did the Alex and Will's wedding. We put Pulse on hold long enough to celebrated their union.

   We had never visited Orlando before. The downtown area is quite remarkable,filled with lakes and glistening new buildings. On Sunday morning we visited their farmers market on the east side of Lake Eola. 
      Every time we enjoy a place like this I think, "Why can't Coconut Grove have this?  We're on Biscayne Bay but visitors can barely see it. We've got a farmer's market in a funky field filled with rocks and dust.
It would be so easy to do better."  While fighting the hate that the President elect spews let's be fighting for our local community too.

       Francesca and I never expected to find so many good things in Orlando. The city is so much more than garish theme parks. 
       We stayed in a beautiful AirBnB apartment. Here was our morning breakfast view. Our hosts even offered us a canoe to explore the lake.

   The pool was warm and the bubbly hot spa had us exhaling, "Ahhh..." with delight.

 The neighborhood was filled with lovely old houses surrounded by moss-draped oaks. All this less than a mile from Orlando's towering downtown.

Enjoying our weekend apartment with hosts, Tom and Gordy.

   Every other block seemed to face a swan-filled lake.  Watching them gracefully glide by took us to a temporary world filled with peace, beauty, and love. 
   We could all use more of that.