Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Tuesday Afternoon Update, Second Week of My Miami Beach-Based Internal Expat Life

A man plays his trumpet in the balmy breezy tropical setting of South Pointe Parke, Miami Beach, Fla., 4:05 p.m. March 28, 2021

The pictures in this entry were taken on Sunday as I spent time down in and around South Pointe with a young couple I met the night before at South Pointe Tavern. Fun-loving and nice, they're also politically conservative -- and so part of a non-trivial number of such internal U.S. expats living down here in this part of South Florida.

*******

Looking north, South Pointe Pier, Miami Beach, Fla., 3:48 p.m., March 28, 2021.

There is a pier in this location that parallels one of the two nearly half-mile long jetty-like structures forming the "Government Cut" channel.

*******

This is just an interim entry this Tuesday afternoon to note that I haven't posted any entries in several days, and while I'm in the process of composing one, it is -- despite my own desire -- super political.

That's due, of course, to the disgusting time in which we are living with Illiberal leftwing lunatics run amok through the vehicle of the Democrat Party and its tissue-thin "majority" combined with Big Media and Big Tech, all of which are fanning racial division, Maoist Cultural Revolution, and general society-wide social and political destruction.


Honestly, though, I don't want to spend large amounts of time posting angry political-themed entries -- diatribes -- about the current situation in the country. It's enervating, pointless, and, ultimately, self-destructive. It also defeats the whole purpose of why I am a sort of internal "refugee" -- or maybe just an expat -- down here from the unlivable D.C.

The pastel-hued Portofino tower, Miami Beach, Fla., 3:34 p.m., March 28, 2021.

*******

About that move here to Miami Beach, I'm now into my second full week living down here at the eastern bottom of the country in the strange and captivating tropical seaside half-American city /half-resort that itself is part of the greater Miami-Dade area.

The twin "Continuum" towers at the very southeast corner of Miami Beach, Fla., 3:46 p.m., March 28, 2021.

*******

Of note, the wildest of the spring break frenzy definitely seems to have passed and, hopefully, by the start of May, it will just be tropical, slow, and quiet down here.

As for me, I'm fine although very tired today. And I'm still trying to feel my way around here.


Above: The dog belonging to the couple I met (lady pictured) on Saturday night and with whom I spent Sunday afternoon being shown the nice spots where locals congregate around South Pointe Park including Monty's and Smith & Wollensky.

*******

Right now, I'm taking a break from my workday -- yes, fully and permanently teleworking while I have my job based back in D.C. -- and I'm going to go the short distance (i.e., 5 minute walk) to the beach and jump in the turquoise / aquamarine ocean for a short swim, or rather, splash about before coming back.

The channel known as Government Cut with ultra-rich Fisher Island visible from South Pointe Park, Miami Beach, Fla., 
3:42 p.m., March 28, 2021

*******

I need to grocery shop today, too, which involves walking the mile to the Publix. My intention is to post another entry tonight while watching old TV shows.

--Regulus

Friday, March 26, 2021

Slowly and Unintentionally Uneasily Into My New Miami Beach Natural & Human Eco-System and Other Unsolved Mysteries of Life, Televised Or Not

(Cuban or Florida) Royal palms (Roystonea regia) growing in a yard on a sidestreet in South Beach, Miami Beach, Fla., 6:24 p.m. March 24, 2021

*******

Upfront let me say that I wrote about half of this entry last night. I didn't complete and post it until Friday mid-to-late afternoon.


Above: The same cluster of royal palm trees -- correction, MONOCOTS -- as in the lead image. I think these royal palms are the visually lovely. I find it amazing that so many types of palms can grow in both South Florida and Southern California despite a six to twelve times difference factor in annual rainfall. These include the royal, the king, the queen, and the Mexican fan.


Only the coconut palm -- pictured above along Ocean Drive in Miami Beach's entertainment / Art Deco district at dusk -- seems to require a lot of rainfall, or at least a warm and humid climate. They are highly intolerant to cold.

*******

Not feeling well tonight.

This is due to a combination of excesses, in particular, drinking, in this new Miami Beach climate and ecosystem -- human and natural -- that in many ways is a different planet whence so recently I came.


Today (Thursday) was actually the first day in my new Miami Beach life in which I lived about as normally as I would have back in D.C.

It was a day that involved working from what now is my home office, going to the grocery store (a Publix about a mile away), doing a load of laundry, and retiring early and inside in a dimly and softly lamp-lit, air conditioned small apartment in Miami Beach.


Yes, Miami Beach's South Beach area / Art Deco district located intrinsically incongruously just a few hundred feet from Miami Beach's Ocean Drive entertainment district, maybe 1,000 feet from the beach, and no more than 1,400 feet (perhaps a bit less) from the ocean itself.


The past week has been emotionally intense in a rollercoaster sort of way for me. It also featured on my part out-of-control spending on far too much drinking and, ironically, insufficient eating and hydrating. Indeed, I pretty much got sick last night and was whacked out in a headachy, queasy daze today.


Tonight, I've gone through three cans of the cherry-flavored Bubly sparkling water tonight not to mention two of those small cans of Dr. Pepper. As an aside, Seltzer (fizzy) water drinks with interesting flavors has been one of the better developments of this unhappy era.


All the brilliant sunlight, heat, sand, and salty water -- i.e., the radically different natural ecosystem down here than in WOKE-fundamentalist, pole-up-your-ass D.C. -- didn't exactly help, either. However, that too is significantly the fault of the drinking.


Above: A picture of the Great One himself, Jackie Gleason, taken in 1964 here in Miami Beach. This picture was on the wall outside the hotel room in the Majestic where Gary stayed earlier this week.


Above is a better image of the same picture. It was taken outside the venue where The Jackie Gleason Show was filmed for a period of time. The venue -- formally known as The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater -- is part of the Miami Beach Convention Center complex. It located at 1700 Washington Avenue about seven blocks from where I live.

*******

I've been worried how last (Wednesday) night ended -- not because anything identifiably bad happened (well, it wasn't ideal, either) the short distance from here down by South Pointe but because I am loaded with fear and worry that I will simply repeat all the crap that made my D.C. social life such shit in all the pre-Covid years gone by.

Look at him: Tim Conway couldn't have fallen up a flight of stairs better than this. And that cackling you hear is Kwanzaa Kamala.

*******

So, here I am tonight in my strange new little home in a strange new place, ensconced inside in the dimly lit, air conditioned whirling darkness, overloaded with emotion and a strange empty feeling, while watching television.

I will be visiting my dad -- who lives about 200 miles north of here just north of Flagler Beach -- in April. As for my mom, well, I may never see her again.

As for television, well, alas, I simply cannot get MeTV or Antenna TV no matter how many scans I run with my Samsung television (the big one that came with the furnished apartment) using that little digital antenna that I took with me from D.C. This means no more Perry Mason unless I can figure out how to get MeTV.

Of note, MeTV has an online streaming version but you have to download a special kind of browser or browser extension called Wave, and I can't really risk that since this is my work computer. Antenna TV doesn't even offer that option.

However, I can get Cozi-TV (local over-the-air channel 6.2 in Miami), so that's one-third of what had been my trio of loved night-time TV networks.

That being the case, I can still watch The Munsters, Frasier, The Nanny, and Will & Grace.

I was able to get 22 over-the-air or digital-over-the-air channels with the scan. In addition, because I have internet, Samsung TV Plus provides what I counted as about 160 channels -- the vast majority of which I would and will never watch. Among this melange of channels is Channel 1078, FilmRise - Crime (or TrueCrime).

Again, that's not really my cup of tea, but it does show the series Unsolved Mysteries, specifically, the "classic" episodes during its original ten-year run between 1987 and 1997 on NBC.

Of note, as based upon what The Keeper of All Knowledge states, Unsolved Mysteries is now in its fourth incarnation as follows: CBS from 1997 - 1999; Lifetime in 2001 and 2002; Spike TV between 2008 and 2010; and following a decade-long hiatus, on Netflix since 2020 in what is notionally season 15.


Robert Stack really was an excellent host / narrator -- playing up the film noire raincoat-clad detective in an earnest, gravelly baritone voice that was also ever-so-slightly campy, and the whole effect just worked so well. I miss him.


Interestingly, Raymond Burr (of Perry Mason legendary fame) was the original host when the show debuted on Jan 20, 1987 in what was a seven-episode set of specials running intermittently until May 1988. (It's amazing in how many TV cultural elements from Godzilla to Perry Mason to Unsolved Mysteries does the great Raymond Burr have a role.)

From what I heard elsewhere, apparently, Burr was too expensive to keep as the host / narrator, so the show went to Karl Malden for the next two specials -- aired on May 25 and Sept 24, 1987. Thereafter, Robert Stack became host for the fourth special aired Nov 29, 1987.

Unsolved Mysteries' regular weekly run -- listed as season 1 -- started in 1988 with Stack, who stayed with the show until its Lifetime run before he passed away in May 2003. His co-host for that run was actress Virginia Madsen, who I last mentioned in this blog just about six years ago in a Dune-related entry that has proven rather popular (in terms of random visitors).

The Spike TV incarnation was hosted / narrated by the late Dennis Farina, a long-time Chicago police officer-turned actor. In the latest incarnation, there is no host and no actor reenactments, which sort of totally ruins the show even if it is sparking useful tips on long-dormant cases.

Also according to Wikipedia, there have been to date 593 episodes including the pre-season 1 specials with the most recent on Oct 19, 2020 (part of a set of six episodes released that day).

One of the episodes I watched tonight was from season 2 (1989-1990) first aired Feb 14, 1990 and included the segment on the still-unresolved murder of a very young, rookie police officer named Stephen (Steve) A. Sandlin in the small and impoverished New Mexico town of Mountainair in May 1988. Mr. Sandlin is pictured at left frozen in time forever young from circa 1985.

Originally classified as a suicide, his death was later reclassified a homicide, but it remains unresolved. Patrolman Sandlin was only 21 years old -- and had been an officer for just two months. His parents were extensively interviewed for the episode, as was the then-police chief, who was a problematic figure in the case.

I think I prefer the paranormal stories rather than the unsolved murders.

The actor who portrayed Sandlin was actor Brett Kamerman, whose IMDb page is limited and who has, I think, this YouTube page featuring various old clips of him from the 1980s and early 1990s.


Above: Screenshot from some a local TV show in New Mexico (Albuquerque?) called "PM Magazine" probably circa 1985 featuring Brett Kamerman as the young, tall, handsome fellow who had won the show's "Best Looking Man in New Mexico" contest. This is the man who would later play Sandlin in the Unsolved Mysteries episode...Yeah, there's a lot goin' on in that picture.


I mention all of this because I liked Unsolved Mysteries back in its 1987 - 1997 run. I also recall that my mom really enjoyed the show, which got me interested in it, in particular, the paranormal segments.

Looking back across 25 to 30 years, today the show just reminds me of that vanished teenage and 20s period of my life spent, variously, in New Jersey and Maryland. And the electrifying, chill-up-your-spine highly synthesized soundtrack of the show now is more poignant to me than anything else.


Oh, and I still have a copy of the old Mad Magazine's frickin' hilarious spoof ("a dog barks for no apparent reason") entitled Unsolved Miseries. It is now with my uncle in South Amboy in a box of photos and other family memorabilia that I sent to him before my move.

OK, I'm going to wrap up this entry.


Above: The headlines in the New York Post online this afternoon. Note the ones on the Miami Beach Spring Break situation. The article link is here. A few comments on this ...


Actually as I am actually down here living right in this spring break party zone, I can clarify a few things: One, the curfew is 8 p.m. to dawn on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Two, it is only in the "Entertainment District" between 5th and 16th Streets and from the beach west three blocks, i.e., Ocean Drive, Collins Ave, and Washington Ave. Third, it is dramatically quieter than it was when I arrived a week ago. I think I arrived at Peak Spring Peak.


So, yes, there was much bedlam and mayhem -- and, yes, some of it quite ugly, completely feloniously illegal, wholly unacceptable, and requiring serious punishment. HOWEVER, the impression being given that the entire City of Miami Beach is engulfed in this is simply a Big Media lie designed to inflame and partially driven by that totalitarian-mindedness of the Illiberal Left that can't abide the loss of Covid control.


Picture Anderson Cooper's unctuous smarmy bespectacled mug or a peacock preening Scott Pelley, both nothing more than performative artists in a post-modern, post-factual era.


And since I brought up Covid -- and the societally and human relationally destructive reactions to it, especially in ostensibly "liberal" places such as D.C. that personally forced me out of there and into this new Miami Beach life -- I would like to post directly above and below two sets of Alex Berenson tweets on where things stand with Covid and the vaccines.


Let me be clear, though: I fully intend to get whatever of the three vaccines is offered by Miami-Dade's health department once I am eligible. I've already signed up for its email list.


OK, now I am going to wrap up this entry. My next planned entry probably won't be until Monday or Tuesday night.

--Regulus

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Second Entry from My Nascent Miami Beach Life: Not Quite Yet To a New Normal

The pastel-hued, 44-story Portofino Tower near South Pointe Park, "SOFI," Miami Beach, Fla., 1:55 p.m., March 21, 2021

Early afternoon update as I just wanted to update the blog.

Tuesday morning in what is my first full week living here in Miami Beach. Gary is still here for the time being. He returns to D.C. tomorrow. Thereafter, I will be here by myself in my new normal life.


To clarify, Gary is staying at the nearby Majestic hotel while I'm living here pretty much at Ground Zero of the "Entertainment District."

Andrea departed on Sunday and Tim left Monday morning, although it appears he will be selling his condo back in Alexandria and moving down to South Florida -- probably in West Palm Beach, so about 60 miles north of here.


Above: Group dinner at Spiga, Miami Beach, Fla., March 20, 2021; Left-to-right: Gary, Andrea, yours truly, and Tim

*******

Gary and I have been having a nice time going to the beach and going to restaurants and bars. These have included a trio of places in the South Pointe section of Miami Beach -- easily walkable from where I live by 10th and Collins. Specifically, we have gone to South Pointe Tavern (a place I would like to make one of my regular spots), the Lobster Shack, and the bar at Prime Italian (the restaurant in the Hilton Bentley hotel at the corner of 1st and Collins).


About the chaotic situation in Miami Beach, 8 p.m. to dawn public curfew has been put in place through April 12th to tamp down on the excesses of this year's extra-wild spring break (I think it is called "spring bling").

The curfew is just in the Entertainment District -- 5th St to 16th St and three north-south blocks to include Ocean Drive, Collins Ave, and Washington Ave. Beyond that, things are mostly normal -- or rather, as normal as anything is in the screwed up time of Covid that is the principal reason that brought me here.


Having said that, the spring bling was spiraling out of control with swarming mobs, and many fights / brawling, arrests, and sundry crimes to include, reportedly, walking out on big bar and food tabs.

Then there is the general sensory-assaulting offensiveness of the pop culture in terms of blaring music with thumping base and beyond vulgar lyrics, rampant outdoor marijuana use, dangerous road conditions to include that wheel-screeching drag racing-style engine revving, and other manifestations.


That aside, I should note that yesterday was much quieter either because it was Monday or because of the curfew, or some combination thereof, and I suspect that this year's spring break will end early down there because of the three-week curfew.


The malevolent, illiberal, totalitarian-minded, control-obsessed, fear-mongering hydra of America's Big Media / Entertainment Complex has created a narrative that everything is wildly out of control down here, which is simply at variance from objective reality (yes, assuming that even exists). The worst is, of course, CNN-DNC and PMSNBC, although Fox has gotten in on the action.


Again, though, the curfew is just in the aforementioned narrow rectangular zone and outside of it, things are pretty much normal. And last night, as I walked back to my apartment around 10 p.m., it appeared that even in the Entertainment District, the curfew was being much less strictly enforced.


My next entry will be in a few days. About these entries, honestly, I'm almost of a mind to stop keeping up this blog.

I'm no longer in Washington, D.C., having left that life behind save for the one topic I seldom discuss on the blog, namely, my job. That is, I have (insofar as I know) kept the same job, but I'm just doing it from down here. Everything else is different, though. And I don't see writing political-themed entries or other such screeds.


OK, that's all for now. Today, it's beach / ocean surf time ... Then drinks and going out for more drinks. My new normal schedule should begin by Thursday.

--Regulus

Saturday, March 20, 2021

A Maiden Posting from My New Miami Beach-Based Life with Brief Synopsis of Past Four Days

Miami Beach welcome sign on, I think, the 79th Street NE Causeway, 6:39 p.m., March 18, 2021

Just FYI, we exited the District of Columbia via the 14th Street bridge and precisely noon on March 17, 2021.

*******

My first blog entry from my new Miami Beach-based life.

To be clear, I cannot write a lengthy and image-filled entry right now. I have a lot going on this weekend as I try to settle in even while I have a sort of mini-vacation here involving Andrea -- without whom I could not have made this move -- and also Gary, who is flying down today from D.C., and Tim, who is down here looking at various real estate properties.

We are supposed to have a group dinner tonight at Spiga.


So, in lieu of a detailed entry, here are the highlights from the past four days ...

The Amtrak auto train journey down here -- or rather, from Lorton, Va., to Sanford, Fla. -- was a long-ass one with some delays and decreasingly comfortable as time went on. And the young guy who worked in the cafe car was an arrogant dick to the point I almost feel like complaining about him. But I won't.

The train ride lasted about 18-1/2 hours rather than the scheduled 17, primarily because of a computer switching problem outside DeLand that added 45 minutes and then an impossibly long wait to detrain at Sanford that added another 45 minutes.

The drive from Sanford down to Miami -- via Rt 46 to I-95 near Mims and thence down I-95 -- with a detour for lunch in Jupiter -- was difficult in that there was heavy, stop-and-go traffic. But Andrea got both of us and all my stuff here safely.


Miami Beach is presently in a sort of orgiastic, frenzied spring break with a fuck Covid attitude, although some of the young people are incongruously masked up.

It's as though I moved into the French Quarter at the height of Mardi Gras. For any D.C. reader, it's like Adams Morgan (not in the time of Covid) on the most frenzied Friday or Saturnalian Saturday night, except moved to a tropical seaside location.

The move-in was stressful because I am basically at ground zero of this young American Dionysian revelry, and the building into which I moved is old and there was no ready-made access or deliery way. It involved multiple "steps" in terms of moving all my large plastic bins of stuff plus other items we had to carry. And I'm not young, nor am I in especially good shape at 51.

But we moved me in -- and, again, I could not have done it without Andrea's help.


The apartment is fine and on the quiet side of the building, overlooking a small courtyard (southview) with tropical vegetation, hemmed in by a nearby building with coral or peach-colored spanish roof tiles. I am very glad I got a furnished unit.

I had one minor glitch with the living room a/c this morning in that it was set to "heat" mode and started smoking, and the smoke detector went off. A call to the maintenance man, who only speaks Spanish but his son translated, revealed the problem, and now it is fine.


The Florida Broadband technician fellow who came yesterday was wonderful in that he set up not only my internet but spent, like 45 minutes helping set up my digital antenna and, because the apartment comes with a large Samsung TV, the internet-based Samsung Plus channels. Alas, of my three networks I've watched so much of in the past several years -- Cozi TV, MeTV, and Antenna TV -- I can only get one of them (Cozi TV) on channel 6.2. However, I do not need cable.

Yesterday, Andrea and I took a walking food tour of Little Havana. And I even bought a white Guayabera shirt, 100% linen, made by Cubavera. To clarify, my wardrobe is SO not Miami Beach appropriate. It's more appropriate for Cleveland or Buffalo on a gray, chilly day.

OK, I really need to wrap up this entry. I have a lot to do today including, right now, getting lunch and going into the ocean. Gary is supposed to get here around 4:30 p.m., and our dinner with him and Tim is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Gary is actually staying here tonight and then in a hotel for a few days.


Things shoiuld start to get into a regular schedule / groove in my new Miami Beach life by about Tuesday.

And that's about when my next planned entry will be.

--Regulus