However you may have arrived here, this is the old Not Not Silly Newsroom.

It's a long story -- hardly worth going into here -- but after this place was declared a Brownfield Site, we abandoned it for the NEW! IMPROVED!! Not Now Silly Newsroom.

Feel free to stay and read what you came here to read, but when it's time to leave go to the new place by clicking HERE.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Javier Gonzalez Kicks Off His District 2 Campaign

Last night Javier Gonzalez officially kicked off his campaign for Commissioner of District 2. This is the Not Now Silly Newsroom report from the scene:

It was a relaxed, low-key night of mingling and talking for about 80 folks, who came out to give Gonzalez a hearty send-off. However, most people who arrived were shocked -- SHOCKED I TELLS YA!!! -- that he was wearing pants. Friend after friend would arrive, take one look, and make that as their first comment. This reporter even reminded the candidate of the promise he made early in the campaign, to whomever would listen, that the one thing he wouldn't do is dress up to run for Commissioner.

Foreground: Gonzalez in a tuxedo in the same pose as background
It suddenly seemed important to get to the bottom of this new District 2 controversy. Using my finely honed investigative reporter skills, I managed to confirm -- with photographic evidence no less -- that this was not the first time Gonzalez wore something other than shorts.

People know the real estate agent as a casual dresser, who shows off expensive houses in sandals, shorts, and Guayaberas. He recently resigned as Chair of the Coconut Grove Village Council in order to run for Commissioner, although he still retains his seat on the CGVC.

District 2 appears to be a gerrymandered district, a long, thin strip running down the coast, which encompasses many extremely different neighbourhoods that have little in common. Coconut Grove, South Grove, West Grove, Brickell, and Downtown, are as different from each other as cars are from apples. While Gonzalez talked about the other parts of District 2, he stressed that he's lived virtually his entire life in Coconut Grove and no candidate will fight for it as hard as he will. Watch:

FULL DISCLOSURE: While I have yet to endorse a candidate for District 2 -- and may not -- I can confirm Gonzalez's commitment to Coconut Grove due to the relationship we have forged over the last few years. Javier and I have never met to socialize, but if I have a problem getting info from the city, or have a concern about a West Grove issue, Gonzalez has always been there to smooth the tracks or to tell me I'm way off base. Long before he ever considered running for District 2 Commish, we've had each other on speed dial. On more than one occasion I've phoned him up with something I thought he should take a look at and he rushes right over to see for himself.

As all candidates must do, when they meet with potential constituents, Gonzalez addressed the money issue, which seems even more important this time around. According to Gonzalez, one of the candidates (whom he didn't name), could spend as much as $750,000 on the District 2 race by the time the ballots are counted. He said his team crunched the numbers and he believes he only needs $200,000 to get the job done. Then he put a very light touch on the assembled, asking them to contribute to his campaign.

Earlier in the day, before I left for the campaign event, I IMed a friend who is carefully weighing the candidates in District 2. I invited them to the Gonzalez Campaign Kick-Off. Here's how that convo went:

ME: I just wanted to let you know that Javier Gonzalez, who resigned as Coconut Grove Village Council Chair in order to run for Commissioner, is having a Campaign Kick-Off event today at 6:30 at Berries in the Grove. There will be free food & drink, as near as I can tell, and you get to meet another candidate for the office while he tries to hit you up for money.

I'll be there just to ask who picked out that colour scheme.

THEY: [R]eally, someone needs to talk about that color scheme.  It's a serious offense to the electorate.  Maybe see you there so we can both explore this in depth with him.

THEY [much later]: You know, I reconsidered that color scheme and it's far worse than I thought initially.  It's a threat to our very way of life, our freedoms, and our democracy.  Something has to be done.  Can we call out a drone strike on them?

Thankfully, I didn't see a single campaign poster with those colours and the ones scattered around the event were not quite so . . err . . . striking, sticking to teh time-honoured Red, White and Blue. Here are some other images taken at the Javier Gozalez Campaign Kick-Off event:

Headlines Du Jour ► Thursday, April 23, 2015

Howdy, Headliners. Today's birthday belongs to Roy Orbison. Among the other Headlines Du Jour of yesteryear include:
Here is today's Headlines Du Jour:









Headlines Du Jour is a leisure-time activity of Not Now Silly, home of the Steam-Powered Word-0-Matic, and your rest stop on the Information Highway. Use our valuable bandwidth to post your news comments in today's open thread.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Richard Nixon's Synchronicity In Death

On the day Richard Nixon died, 21 years ago today, I happened to be visiting the United States from my home in Canada. 

Coincidentally, I was wearing my blue jean jacket with my treasured Nixon pin on the collar. It was given to me by my dear friend Stephen, many decades ago, and I have treasured it ever since.

I was standing at the cash register in a K-Mart at Lincoln and Greenfield, in Oak Park, Michigan, waiting to pay for a cheap pair of sunglasses. I didn't yet know Nixon had died; it happened the night before. Suddenly the cashier started screaming at me about how rude and offensive I was. I had no idea why I was suddenly singled out and, for a brief moment, thought I was in the middle of a racial argument, since the cashier was Black and incredibly angry at a slight I didn't understand.

When I was finally informed that Nixon had died overnight, I apologized profusely for my accidental faux pas, removed the button, and have never worn it again.

Eight years later, to the very day, I was watching the news when it was blasted that Linda Lovelace, born Linda Susan Boreman, had died.

To me it seemed to be a cosmic joke. Linda Lovelace, famous for the movie Deep Throat, died on the same day as Richard Nixon, who was brought down by Deep Throat, the nom de guerre given by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to their secret Watergate tipster.

The book "All The President's Men," and later the movie of the same name starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, further publicized the connection between their whistle-blower and the movie that changed the erotic entertainment industry.

Three years after Linda Lovelace's death, and 11 years after Nixon's death, W. Mark Felt, former Deputy Director of the FBI, came out as Deep Throat on his deathbed.

Read: My exposé on Treason, Watergate, and Roger Ailes:
Did Roger Ailes Dupe James Rosen, Or Did Rosen Dupe 'Merka?

Animation created by author from White House press photos

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Headlines Du Jour ► Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hey there, Headliners! Today's birthday boy is fellow Detroiter, James Newell Osterberg, Jr., aka Iggy Pop and Iggy Stooge. Here are some of the other Headlines Du Jour of yesteryear:
Now for today's Headlines Du Jour:











Headlines Du Jour is a leisure-time activity of Not Now Silly, home of the Steam-Powered Word-0-Matic, and your rest stop on the Information Highway. Use our valuable bandwidth to post your news comments in today's open thread.

Monday, April 20, 2015

April Showers Bring Headaches ► Unpacking The Writer

Delray Beach Drum Circle - April 15, 2016
Here we go again! As long-time readers know, my Unpacking The Writer series is where I peel back the curtain to reveal the inner-workings of the mind of a one-man newsroom operation. 

The Wizard of Oz analogy is always appropriate since I once wrote under the nom de plume of Aunty Em and christened my haters The Flying Monkey Squad. But enough about those crazy MoFos.

I usually begin these Unpacking The Writer on the 15th of the month and spend a few days slapping down the points I want to make for the month. Then I use part of another day to kick it into shape, finally publishing the sucker under this rubric when it feels right. It hasn't felt right because I've barely had time to work on this.

I started putting this together in my head at Wednesday's Delray Beach Drum Circle. I'm still going to drum circles whenever possible. Over the last year I've developed some Drum Pals, and we either meet up or share rides to the event. I am generally the designated driver; not because anyone is drinking alcohol, but because I just love to drive. I am fascinated by my interest in Drum Circles. Why is this so important to me? I've never been a joiner, but find myself abandoning my inner curmudgeon to get together with other people so I can bang wooden sticks together.

People rocking out to the Delray Beach Drum Circle

I know there's a story of several thousand words in Drum Circles, but it's yet to find me and I have not found it, either. Like I used to tell my children when they couldn't fall asleep, "You can't go looking for the Sandman. He has to come find you." Same with stories I really want to write.

Campaign Carl helping me cement our great friendship. We're now like THIS!
The last week has been somewhat hectic. I went to the Marco Rubio campaign kick-off and managed to get 2 separate and totally different stories out of it. Three Stooges In The GOP Clown Car is my take for the Not Now Silly Newsroom, while Outside The Curcus Tent At The Marco Rubio Campaign Kick-Off was an EXCLUSIVE for PoliticusUSA.

However, the best part of last Monday was exchanging information with my new best friend, Campaign Carl Cameron, Chief Political Correspondent for the Fox "News" Channel. We had a few laughs over the fact that his bosses hate me, but he had to do a live pop for Cavuto (or was it The Five?) before we got around to discussing anything important, like "Is Hannity as crazy as he seems?" or "Does Loofah Lad Big Foot everyone in the Fox corridors, the way he does guests on his show?" However, there's always the next time. Call me, Carl. You have my business card.

Politically, NNS started this past moth with Cruzing Back To The '50s ► Presidential Politics Post, which tipped my hand as to how I plan to follow the GOP field of candidates. I'm not going to take any of them seriously until the field has been narrowed to the top 3 or 4, and then I'm going to start making fun of them.

This month also included A Passover/Easter Pastoral Letter, the latest in that series. While I have a great need to be exploring these issues, I'm not so sure Pastor Kenny shares my need. What has me puzzled is why Pastor Kenny doesn't sense my need and minister to me. No matter, because I am still making discoveries on my own, mining an area I call "The Trunk Lost In Transit."

The month ended with another campaign event (and my first real headache of the season, but I'll get to that eventually). Compared to someone running for POTUS, the Miami District 2 campaign is small ball. However, aside from the fact that the District 2 Commissioner is considered the most powerful in Miami, local politics is really where the rubber meets the road. Think globally. Act locally.

Lorry Woods in conversation with a voter in West Grove
Restauranteur Lorry Woods has been on what she calls a listening tour of her potential constituents in Miami's District 2. Because she held a Meet & Greet in the part of the district 2 that interests me the most, I drove down to West Grove and posted my day as Coconut Grove Is Not Out Of The Woods Yet. It was nice to run into so many people I knew at the BBQ and meet several new people.

That's where the headache comes in. I was fine when I left Coconut Grove, but partway home I started to get one of my debilitating migraines. By the time I got home, I could barely see straight and had to crawl into bed to try and nap.

I go through this every Spring. It's a symptom left over from when I had a vestibular disorder almost 2 decades ago. While the constant dizziness and vomiting eventually dissapated, 3 symptoms never went away: 1). When I am in a room with an awful din of background noise, I can't hear the person right next to me; 2). I have occasional attacks of tinnitus. These are not as difficult to handle as some people experience because it only ever lasts from a few seconds to a minute, tops, and then it fades away to nothing. Although, it's incredibly painful; like high-pitched feedback. Instructively I cover my ear it hurts so much; 3). And, massive headaches when the air pressure is changing rapidly from RAIN to FAIR. That tends to describe Spring and, to a lesser extent, Fall.

Sure enough, as I was driving home, the clouds rolled in and I could see lightening in the distance. When I finally got home and upacked the car, I checked the barometer in the kitchen. The needle had swung all the way over to LIE DOWN NOW!

The biggest news this month is that I have FINALLY reformatted the hard drive in my PC tower, after threatening to do it for so long. It kept the Not Now Silly Newsroom off the air for 2 weeks, but it was worth it. I'm now running WinDoze 8.1 and everything is a whole lot faster than it was previously. At the same time, to help facilitate the downtime without a RC tower, I bought a laptop, which is also running WinDoze 8.1.

The laptop and renovated tower will, hopefully -- because that's the plan -- make the Not Now Silly Newsroom more productive. With so many stories in the hopper, I should be busy for quite some time. F'rinstance, there's a whole new Trojan Horse Parking Lot story I want to write, not to mention a more recent story on a brand new way the City of Miami is trying to keep public information from the taxpayers. However, there's still some more research and a few interviews I want to conduct before that sucker's ready.

Meanwhile, I recently had a whole new idea to explore that has nothing to do with writing, politics, or Drum Circles. However, I can't tip my hand yet. Maybe by the next Unpacking The Writer, I'll have all the disparate threads on that tied up and can make an announcement on this new venture.

Until then, we take you back to our original Not Now Sill programming, already in progress.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Coconut Grove Is Not Out Of The Woods Yet

Lorry Woods had a great smile & a great idea to meet the voters in Coconut
Grove. The Not Now Silly Newsroom's Head Writer will get to it eventually
Headly Westerfield, Not Now Silly's Head Writer, was out on the campaign trail for the second time this week. This time he wasn't chasing Marco Rubio. Here's his report from the Lorry Woods BBQ Judging Meet & Greet.

It was a beautiful day in Miami that started with some cloak and dagger skullduggery. There's a person I have been pumping for information about one of the ongoing stories I'm writing about. At the same time they have a story about [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff that can barely be believed, but no one puts it past him. We'd been exchanging phone calls and text messages for a while and it was finally time to meet.

There's nothing I love better than meeting up with whistle-blowers and this one was providing a rare two-fer. [For now, that's all I''ll reveal.] This person wanted to meet out of their own neighbourhood, so that no one who knew either of us, would see us. I let them choose and it was Panther Coffee, in Wynwood.

I'll never go back there again, if I can help it.

To start with, one needs a credit card to park in that neighbourhood. It's all Pay by Phone, or Pay by Phone App. Either way, you'll need a credit card to complete the transaction. I was told there are some machines in the area, but I drove around several blocks and never saw them. However, I saw blocks and blocks of Pay by Phone only parking.

This is just another area of life where the Have Nots are screwed. If they don't have a smart phone and/or credit card, they're not parking their cars in Wynwood.

Panther Coffee is a tiny little place that's so crowded, that if one of the 4-seat tables is occupied, there's no room to pull out a chair at the adjoining table. Additionally, there's nothing in that room to baffle the sound. It bounces off every wall. The din was so loud I could barely hear the person talking right next to me.

Lastly, the Have Nots probably can't afford Panther Coffee, either.

People make fun of my Starbucks addiction, but I go there because I like the taste of their coffee. I pay $2.50 for "Biggest/Boldest," or a straight Venti brew. A smaller cup of coffee at Panther was $3.75. You read that right: $3.75 for a plain cup of coffee. Furthermore, I stood in line for 18 minutes, because I timed it, while the 6 hipsters in line ahead of me ordered complicated drinks and food from a more complicated menu. They need a COFFEE ONLY line, or find a way to speed up that whole process.

I repeat: I'll never go back to Panther Coffee again, if I can help it.

My whistle-blower had a lot to say about [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff. Of course, it all needs to be confirmed before I can print it. However, if only 10% of it is true, it becomes a game-changer.

From Wynwood I was going to a Lorry Woods Meet & Greet in Coconut Grove, dipsy-doodling the 7 miles along surface streets until I got to the E.W.F. Stirrup House. A citation on the gate alerted me to the fact that the house is now owned by a different company than had owned it previously. Previously the house was listed as owned by Stirrup Properties, Inc. Now it's owned by EWFs No 1 LLC. It will also take a bit of investigation to learn why there has been a change. The house is still in the Stirrup family, but one of the officers appears to have been removed. It's ironic that E.W.F. Stirrup, III, is no longer listed as one of the owners of the E.W.F. Stirrup House.

Donna Barnett, who lives across the street, poses at the fence
telling her she is on camera. This reporter has seen no cameras.
Next I visited Marler Avenue.

I've written about Marler before, in Where The Sidewalk Ends, Racism Begins; Chapter Three. In the 6 months since, the offending neighbours on Loquat have built a HUGE wooden fence just behind the property line, which is indicated by the picket fence on the extreme right in the picture left. (TO BE FAIR: It's a beautiful HUGE wooden fence.)

To remind readers, the picket fence is the remnants of the wall the City of Miami ORDERED to be erected to keep West Grove out of South Grove. Or, to put it into stark relief: to keep Black folk out of Whitey Town. Each chapter of Where the Sidewalk Ends documents another section of that wall built to circumscribe the lives of the Black folk living in West Grove.

Not a lot has changed in the many years since the residents of Loquat moved their backyards into the public Right Of Way that would have connected Marler Avenue to Douglas Avenue. Six months ago a neighbour on Loquat bumped out a portion of his fence 5 feet into the Marler Right Of Way. At the time I interviewed a number of residents about the new fence and they were all outraged that a homeowner would steal public land, just like in the old days. However, they were also resigned to the fact that no one would care.

I did what I could to disabuse them of that idea: "City Hall will definately care. Call them
 up and complain. Call up the NET office. Call the city inspectors."

Since then I visit Marler Avenue whenever I am in West Grove to see if anything has changed. This time some of the neighbours were outside and recognized me. "Hey! I thought you said we could get this fixed!"

But, it gets worse.

Donna Barnett, who I spoke to 6 months ago, told me a horror story about a recent incident. Apparently she mouthed off to the neighbour who built the [allegedly] illegal fence. Whether she was loud, or rude, is hardly the question, so I didn't ask. Next thing you know a cop is knocking on her door. The Loquat neighbour called the police on her, who were not so busy with actual crime they didn't have time to visit Barnett's house. Barnett tells me the neighbour is Latino and so was the cop who responded.

The cop threatened to arrest her if she exercised her First Amendment Rights again, by yelling at the neighbour, who is the one breaking the law. Then he commented on the condition of her property in a threatening manner, as if he could see to it that the property is cited for infractions. And then he got extra offensive, saying, "If I lived here, I'd build a fence, too."

TRANSLATION: This is a bad neighbourhood filled with Black folk and people were right to wall it off from polite society.

Lorry Woods meets with a voter
It was after this interview on Marler that I drove the few blocks north to the Lorry Woods Meet & Greet on Grand Avenue. It was held in the parking lot behind the Coconut Grove Collaborative Office.

I was impressed with Lorry Woods as an authentic person. She wasn't putting on airs. She wasn't telling people about herself, as much as she was asking questions and listening to the concerns of the residents. I overheard her in deep conversation with many potential constituents on a variety of topics.

I was more impressed by the idea behind the Meet & Greet. To draw West Grove residents, the Lorry Woods Campaign sponsored a BBQ Contest between Mango Man and Warren, a gent with a smoker on Hibiscus Street at Franklin Avenue who serves up delicious BBQ. The locals who wandered back to the campaign event would get a free plate of chicken. Then they'd vote on which BBQ joint they liked best. [FULL DISCLOSER: I didn't taste the ribs because I don't partake in campaign food & drink. I even bring my own water. I've eaten at Warren's, and have interviewed him as well. It all smelled delicious.]

To be perfectly honest, I didn't find out a lot when talking to Lorry Woods, but that's entirely my fault. During introductions I mentioned that I was researching the history of West Grove and the E.W.F. Stirrup House. She showed interest and asked a few questions, so I gave her a 5 minute capsule history lesson. Then, remembering I had just come from Marler Avenue, I gave her another 5 minute capsule history of that street, The Colour Line in Coconut Grove, and then brought her up to date on what I had just learned on Marler Avenue. By that time the voters started arriving, so we had to wrap it up.

I shouldn't really give a candidate advice, but what's the harm? Unless she's stupid, and I don't think there's a chance of that, she's already figured this out: Miami events need shade.

People were tucked up tight against the back wall of the parking lot, where there was only a small sliver of shade. The event could have used better signage, as well:

Couldn't you have, at least, put FREE FOOD on the sign? When people who walked by asked me what was going on, that's what I told them: "It's a BBQ judging contest with free BBQ." Everyone who heard that came to take a look. However, many people just walked past, unaware of the event at all, despite the signboard.

Those are nits to pick at this Lorry Woods picnic. It was a wonderful community event that brought many old friends together, some who hadn't seen each other for a while. Also in attendance was Thelma Gibson, the matriarch of the family for which Gibson Plaza is named.

Gibson Plaza, across the street from the Collaborative Office, appears to be nearing completion. A Grand Day For Grand Avenue ► Gibson Plaza Groundbreaking was published here just a year ago. I won't repeat how important a project this is for Coconut Grove, other than to say this is the first development in decades that was not designed to generate as much money as possible for developers.

Which brings us back to this election. Right now the developers and Big Money Boys have helped the wife of [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc. D. Sarnoff, Teresa, amass a war chest in the neighbourhood of $333,000, which is a damned expensive neighbourhood. It's magnitudes more than the other 7 candidates put together.

Candidate Lorry Woods owns Elwoods Gastro Pub on NE 2nd Street in downtown Miami. I have to admit, the lack of an apostrophe crawls up my back. The only thing that would make up for that is learning it is named after Elwood Blues, but that's not likely, considering all the British motifs in the pictures on line.

However, I'd like to know her opinion on Miami's runaway development, which is my opinion on it. A restaurant owner on 2nd Street would logically be pro-development. More people could only help their bottom line.

I'll also gauge Lorry Wood's interest in West Grove issues going forward. The people of Brickell and downtown Miami don't need a champion at City Hall. The Developers, who have held sway over City Hall for far too long, don't need a champion at City Hall. Even restaurateurs don't need a champion at City Hall. These are groups or individuals with resources, who can afford $3.75 cups of cofffe at Panther without flinching.

However, yesterday Lorry Woods saw with her own eyes some of the people in a neighbourhood disadvantaged by 120 years of systemic racism. Can she be their champion? As Trolleygate, Soilgate, and, now, Marlergate demonstrate: this racism is not confined to the past. This neighbourhood, and Overtown, needs someone at City Hall who will speak for them.

Here are several more of the pictures. I took yesterday:

Then I wandered down the street to the Kroma Gallery. The artwork is always changing and always wonderful and thought provoking.

I also walked past the Ace Theater, designated historical like the E.W.F. Stirrup House, but being better cared for even though it's boarded up. At one time the Ace Theater was the only movie house where Coconut Grove's Black folks could go. The Coconut Grove Theater, later the Coconut Grove Playhouse, apparently allowed the daughters of E.W.F. Stirrup to go inside, but they were the exception that proved the rule. And, the only reason they were the exceptions was because their father sold the land on which the Playhouse was built.