Subscriber Services

Friday, February 29, 2008

Reading, writing and safety

Years ago, when my daughter became the first one of my children to enter high school, I was mortified that the principal spent most of his orientation speech talking about safety. What about academics? I wondered. What about learning and critical thinking and college?
Obviously the guy knew what he was talking about. Shootings on campus -- college or otherwise -- are not rare anymore. This week we've had two in two days at local schools. What the hell is going on with our kids? Are they simply a reflection of the society at large?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What would we do without electric juice?

Since I work mostly from home, I was one of that million without power during FPL's power outage yesterday. Once again I was reminded how incredibly dependent we are on electricity.
But just in case I needed reinforcement, we were part of a 16-house grid that didn't have electricity AGAIN most of the night and now until mid-morning.Felt like the aftermath of a hurricane.
Gotta admit something, though. For all the inconvenience caused by the outages, FPL's people were courteous, prompt and attentive. Wish all my interactions were the same.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Buying up foreclosures

Foreclosures are high high high in Florida. Wouldn't you love to have the big bucks to buy up these properties at bargain basement prices, wait out the market for a while, then sell 10-15 years from now at a nice profit?
That's certainly what I would do. Unfortunately, I -- like most people I know -- don't have that kind of money. This is a perfect example of how the rich get richer: they have the deep pockets to seize opportunities.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The more things change...

...the more they stay the same. Raul Castro, who has taken over for brother Fidel, has appointed a couple of military brass to top posts in the government. His #2 guy is a communist hard-liner.
I don't know why anyone thinks that the younger brother will be substantially different.

Friday, February 22, 2008

What's with all the babies?

Everywhere I turn there's news about celebs having babies. The latest: Jennifer Lopez just had twins. These celebs then turn around and sell pictures of the babes to magazines and other media. What kind of society are we that we prize such photos to the tune of millions of dollars?
I'm hoping these celebs, who don't need the money, are at least donating those millions to charity.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sticking it to us

Government officials and Marlins reps are very close to a deal to get a new stadium built. In this particular contract, the public's tab has gone up.
Why should my money go to fund a home for a wealthy owner and his team?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Who will return to Cuba?

At the gym this morning I was asked if my family would return to Cuba now that Castro is resigning from his post. The question itself implies there will be real change in Cuba, which I doubt, particularly if Raul Castro remains in power.
But the reality is that I am Cuban by birth and by culture. (In fact, the latter may be a stretch, since both sides of my family hail from the region of Catalonia in Spain and that's where the majority of my relatives still live. My mother moved to Cuba as a 10-year-old, after the Spanish Civil War.)
I am an American, raised mostly in Miami. I would feel totally out of place in a country I last saw when I was a toddler.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Say it ain't so...

Zach Thomas released? How could the Fins do that? Everybody loves him. He's likable, fun to watch, and a good linebacker. (I'm partial to linebackers because my son plays middle linebacker for his high school football team.)
Then again, sports is a cold, cold business. Maybe next time we complain about the players' salaries, we'll remember that there is NO job security on the field.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Who cares?

So this is what passes for news these days. We're supposed to care about O.J. Simpson's girlfriend's injuries .
Of course this isn't the only example how the news business I entered almost 30 years ago has been turned on its head. Earlier this week NBC's Today show spent about 10 minutes on Britney Spears' latest crisis. Who cares?
Well, apparently somebody does.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Teachers deserve better

What does it say about our society when we pay our teachers so poorly that they have to take second jobs to make ends meet? On the other side of the spectrum, we have athletes and entertainers pulling down hundreds of thousands of dollars for an appearance. Are their contributions any more important?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Auctioning off the Orange Bowl

Piece by piece, bit by bit, the Orange Bowl is being dismantled. Everything is being sold in auction. We bought a bench of seats -- an uncharacteristic splurge that I know we will treasure long into old age.
But hubby and I are wondering what will happen to those large mosaics on the side of the bowl. Did somebody buy them? Are they going to a museum?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Too many guns

There are daily reports about senseless killings perpetrated by gunmen. The latest two: One guy killed his neighbor during a feud over his front lawn. The second left six people dead in Missouri during a city council meeting.
If guns weren't so easily accessible, would these murders have happened?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Real estate killing

We have so many foreclosures that the court can't keep up with the backlog. Were these people cheated by brokers? Or, are these the same people who two or three years ago were crowing about the killing they were making in real estate?
Should I feel sorry for these homeowners or should I think they got what was coming to them?
It's got to be a pretty horrible ordeal to lose your home.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

People are talking politics

The pundits predicted Super Tuesday would settle the candidates for November's presidential election, but it looks like it's going to be a long race to the nominations. I've reached the conclusion that this is good. Very good, in fact.
For the first time in years I'm hearing people discuss the elections, the issues and the candidates. This has been particularly true among the young voters I know. It might be because of the historic consequences of '08. The top Democratic candidates are a woman and a black man.
But whatever the reason, it's great to see an engaged electorate.

Monday, February 04, 2008

1972 Dolphins remain on the pedestal

As usual, we crossed the street to go to my neighbor's Super Bowl party, a tradition we've maintained for years. Usually the star attraction is the food. This time, the food was great, sure, but that game -- wow!
The best part about it: Everybody -- along with the rest of Miami -- was cheering against New England. Those of us who remember the euphoria of the 1972 Dolphins' perfect season didn't want that record upset, and certainly not by the Pats. (Remember the snow plow incident?)
New England's loss just goes to show what an incredible feat that perfect season is.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Pretty cool pad

I don't know if it's envy or plain ole curiosity, but I've always wanted to check out how the other half leaves. If I had the extra $25,000 hanging around to buy me a ticket into the auction, I'd go check out the Dan Marino homes for sale.
I'd have to adjust my expectations and frame of reference, of course. Anytime I see a huge mansion, I worry about the time and sweat it would take to clean it. But come on, if you can afford a pad like that, you aren't brandishing a feather duster.