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Sunday, May 21, 2017

MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO

       My brother Clay loved gardening. He also loved how Monsanto's weed-killing product, "Roundup", made his life easier. In his mid-50's he was diagnosed with the cancer that eventually killed him. I blame it on the wonders of chemistry.
 
 A family gathering in Clay's final days


    Several other people I know who grew up around agricultural products have similar problems. Monsanto Inc., the world's largest purveyor of these chemicals, has a death grip on the world. 
 
  
    For five years South Floridians who want  a healthier planet have staged annual protests. Yesterday we met near the Arscht Center for another March Against Monsanto.

 
 
The Monarch Butterfly Brigade

      Marching for a mile along Biscayne Boulevard we told the world, "We want a healthier,more natural world for the bees, the butterflies, and our children".
            __________________________

Saturday, May 20, 2017

ROXY LADY

           How many of us could get a Coral Gables mayor to sing at our funeral? Roxy Bolton made it happen this morning. 
 
 Former Gables mayor, Jim Cason, singing "Country Road", accompanied by John Denver on his I-phone
 
The tireless activist/feminist had made it to 90 when she died Wednesday. Ms. Bolton left a script for today's funeral and her friends followed it down to the parting words, "Carry on the important work I have dedicated my life to".
         Roxy was known for standing up for women's right and the downtrodden for sixty-five years. The list of her accomplishments is long.  She started the country's first rape treatment center here, help form the National Organization of Women and and was a thorn in the side of every politician "who needed direction". 
           I had admired Ms. Bolton from afar when I thought, "Why not make this local hero our honored guest in the 2006 King Mango Strut?".  I gave her a call and she invited me over for tea. We hit it off right away. 
     She was loved by thousands who saw her pass by in the parade.  They chanted "Roxy, Roxy...with love and admiration. 
      Those same feelings pervaded the many stories I heard at her funeral today. 
      Afterwards I stopped by the Grove's This n' That thrift shop. I use to see Roxy there a lot. The store manager told me she will miss her weekly visits to buy blankets for the homeless. 


   It's up to us now to carry on her work.
                        _________________






THE  GROVE'S  GOIN'  BRICKELL!
 There's Good News for Grovites tired trees, jungled houses, and quaint shops in their sleepy bayside village. CocoWalk is over all that, it is going to be Brickellized with soaring glass and steel.  I saw this in yesterday's Herald...


                         COCOWALK'S NEW LOOK
No more Tu Tu Tangos. Tearing down the old and building the new is expected to take two years.
                         _________________

Sunday, May 14, 2017

MIAMI'S MARCH AGAINST THE PRESIDENT

         Last January a million of us marched to the White House, the home of our new, deranged president. Yesterday, a large group of us marched to Miami's closest thing to it, Trump's golf course in Doral.  Both protests expressed widespread disgust with 45's multiple failures as a politician, a leader, and as a decent human being.


       The City of Doral is new, big, and boring. It did all it could to make our well-planned, polite protest difficult. We were forced to park a mile away in the far corner of a desolate park. In July-came-early heat Miami Beach commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez gave us a pep talk.
Afterwards we wrote messages to the President on golf balls.

     Finally, we began marching in a long line to Trump's place escorted by wary Doral police officers. They did nothing to keep a five-year-old from coming at us repeatedly in a  high-powered go cart. Every three minutes he'd loop around and come at us on the sidewalk before veering off into the grass.
     When I complained to the city official following us he told me, "His parents have assured me that he is a very good driver". Any other city would have stopped the kid cold.  I assume he was the mayor's son.

 
 This young man was proud of the sign he had made.  His mother told us that before Obamacare she could not afford help for her autistic son.  She is afraid he with lose his Medicaid benefits under 45's health plan.


     After trudging through the heat we finally reached the Trump National. We had a grand time chanting things like "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go!",  "You're a traitor, you're a spy. You can't stop the FBI" and my favorite, "Pants on Fire, Trump's a liar!".  

     The protest was produced by the Miami resistance group, Indivisible Miami. They did a great job  covering every detail that kept us from being arrested in up-tight, conservative, culture-less, Doral. Their leader, Mike Williams, gave a bucket of our Trump-hating golf balls to one of the golf course security guards. The rest are being mailed to congressional leaders.


     March we must; protests are essential.  We have more reasons than ever to protect our country from the fascist apprentice. The next protest will take place at Government Center on Wednesday, May 17th, at 12:30 pm. Our "Die-In" will protest Republican efforts to take decent healthcare from the citizens who need it most.  
    See details on the Progressive Miami Facebook page.  Join us if you don't mind being temporarily dead for a good cause.
     

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

IAN WALKS THE WALK

        Last Friday we drove five hundred miles to see our son, Ian, walk fifty feet.  He and 2200 other undergrads quickly crossed a FSU auditorium stage to pick up their college diplomas. Eight thousand of us watched while one man read a name every three seconds for two hours. This process was repeated at four other ceremonies so all of the 9000 graduates could have their three seconds of glory. 
      Sharing this happy occasion with our son was  thrill enough. I'm glad we didn't do what one parent letter had suggested, "It's going to be crowded so why not stay home and watch your child graduate online!".   
      Jeez.  I hope everyone ignored this suggestion.

      I like crowds. We saw our boy's years of hard work pay off in person. 
 
Ian with his big brother and four parents

Ian graduated with magna cum laude honors designated by colorful little ropes he wore proudly around his neck. 
     Here's to you, son, and your bright days ahead!


That's our Ian, the tiny dot under my finger, sitting with his fellow graduates. We stayed in touch during the 3-hour ceremony using cell phones and frantic paper waving.
                       _________________________________

ELIZABETH AND THE KING

      What would happen if President Trump hired Elizabeth Warren to raise his kids in the White House?  That's the basic premise of the "The King And I", the popular musical now playing at Miami's Arscht Center.  Things would get very weird the moment Liz started unpacking her bags. 
The show opened last night and plays through May 14th.

    Francesca and I enjoyed this latest version as the original was a Big Thing when we were kids. Yul Brenner, of course, played the King of Siam when it opened in 1951 on Broadway.  He returned to the role in occasional revivals for 34 years.
    Coconut Grove's Steve Dloogoff attended Brenner's final performance on September 30,1985. He told me it was an incredible evening.  Everyone knew lung cancer was about to kill him. Two months later the man who will forever be king was dead.

     Jose Llana plays the role now coming off Tony-award winning performances at Lincoln Center. Laura Michelle Kelly was excellent last night as the English governess, Anna.
The show is filled with lavish costumes, sets and music.  The Siamese version of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (a ballet) is worth the price of admission alone.

    




  My wife and I grew up in houses that had The King and I soundtrack playing incessantly.  We couldn't get "Getting to Know You" out of our heads if we tried. We know Anna and the King quite well and
enjoyed seeing them spar (and later dance) once more.
    You can see them too by visiting www.Arscht Center.com .  Tickets start at $29.  Tell the Donald and Elizabeth that the Grove Guy sent you.
                    _____________________
     

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

ONE TOWN IN MAINE

       I'm still thinking about Belfast, Maine, the colorful coastal town I visited last week. Getting there took longer than expected because a moose was blocking the bridge leading to it.


      They pack a lot into this little place. If I had been there last Sunday I could have seen the 1927 silent film, "Metropolis", accompanied by a live, five-piece band. It was playing at the Colonial which has been showing movies since 1909.
 

     Perhaps I could have sat with Batman. I ran into him and his buddy, "Bad Spiderman"
last Tuesday afternoon. The three of us could have followed up with dinner at Chase's Daily with fresh food so spectacular you forget its vegetarian. 

   A week ago I attended an "Empty Bowl" charity event.  Local potters donated beautiful bowls. For fifteen bucks you could pick out a keeper, filled it with soup, and enjoy dinner while a local band played.

    The next day the Waldo County hospital invited everyone to tour a "giant inflatable colon".  The announcement read, "learn more about the world of colo-rectal cancer and polyps" and I knew I had to be there. 
    I'm a sucker for anything "giant".  Oregon's 50-foot taking Paul Bunyan was probably the best.
   Sadly, by the time I arrived (late) it had taken on a new form, "Not-so-big deflated colon". It was in the process of being rolled up.


    Like many small towns, Belfast still has its opera house. I took the tour and while it hasn't put on a show in sixty years, it is still an amazing space waiting to be renovated. 


 For now, you could let the audience relax in bean bag chairs. 



 
  I visited possibly our country's only bean bag chair emporium in Belfast. You pick the fabric, they sew and fill it with beans (which, I learned, aren't really beans). 
     
   

 Lots of artists, craftsmen, and boat builders live there. I went with friends to visit a wood turner one morning. He loves The Pine State and the fifty-years-in-the-past feel of his woodsy neighborhood.

 


      My buddy Paul bought a truck garage last month with a bay view.  We decided it would make a fine yacht club. I made a sign and we put it up that afternoon. Within 24 hours twenty-five people had paid the $2 charter membership fee.


      
  A few days later I was waiting for an airport bus to take me home. I met this young lady in red, "Lily", who got me in a Miami state-of-mind. 
  She sells plumbing fixtures in a big city. I asked the obvious question, "What's your most expensive toilet?"  Without any hesitation she said, "The $10,000 one. You don't have to do anything but sit". I pressed her for details and after hearing them I was ready to return to the land of Lamborghinis.    


 













Monday, May 1, 2017

L. RON'S IN D'HOUSE

    Check it out, the galactic headquarters for The Church of Scientology opened on 22d Ave. & US 1 in Coconut Grove on Saturday.



We saw hundreds of devotees taking a lunch time hike to McDonalds when we passed by.  Channeling L. Ron Hubbard just got a lot easier.
                 _________________________

PS:  Check out www.theonion.com for more on this

Sunday, April 30, 2017

PLYMOUTH'S 100th BIRTHDAY

     Our neighbor, Plymouth Congregational Church, celebrated its centennial today.  



Guy Lewis drove up in his 1917 Buick to help celebrate the occasion.

 
 Inside they had a grand service and afterwards, a celebratory luncheon. 

I overheard these two gentlemen reminiscing about what it was like to to drive a Model T Ford, (like this) 75 years ago. 

 Happy Birthday, Plymouth!

               ________________

SIGNS OF THE TIMES, Yesterday's Climate Change March



    A thousand of us took to the streets yesterday to protest having a fool for a president who denies climate change. 


 Here are a few few photos from our march. 
 
If enough of us stand up to the embarrassing Cheetohead, the good people -the ones who care more about healing the Earth than making money- will regain control of our country.




We ran into Ishmael there.  You may remember him as the Native/Cuban American who lives in the only house remaining in Brickell. It is surrounded by huge condos as he steadfastly refuses to sell.







As we marched two-miles in July-like heat, this sign summed up our feelings best,
                 

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