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Real Estate

May 30, 2005
Click Red

Blogoscoped has a fun game on his site called ClickRed. – It's very easy to play - all you need to do is click the red square (but watch out, it’s moving, and clicking anything else takes you back to the previous level).

Posted by Gus at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2005
Elton John at Jackie Gleson Theatre

Venue: Jackie Gleason Theatre
Address: 1234 Avenue of the Stars, Miami FL 33139
Phone: (305) 555-1212
Details: Elton John will berform live at the Jackie Gleason Thatre. Buy tickets online, here.

Posted by Gus at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

10% chance Miami Beach hit by hurricane winds

A report by the Insurance Journal says that hurricane-force winds are likely in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, Miami Beach and Naples, Florida.

"Cape Hatteras has a 10.31 percent chance of experiencing hurricane-force winds this year, followed by Miami Beach at 10.16 percent and Naples at 10.01 percent, based on an analysis of hurricane tracks during the past 154 years and of ocean and climate conditions for 2005."

That's a one-in-10 chance that your house will at least experience roof damage and that you could be sitting in the dark for several days. If you buy a lottery ticket every week for a one-in-several-million chance to get rich, doesn't it make sense to prepare for a one-in-10 or even a one-in-a-100 chance of something bad happening?

Don't forget about the Florida Hurricane Tax Holiday, June 1 - 12.

Posted by Gus at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2005
Memorial Weekend Miami: 2005 Party Schedule

Tonight at Opium and Privé is the Def Jam Memorial Weekend Party hosted by DMX, Redman, Ludacris and Nore with DJs Khaled and Funkmaster Flex. Saturday night Opium's got the Summer in Miami party hosted by Cam'ron, Mike Jones, and Paul Wall among others.

Saturday at Mansion the hosts are Jadakiss and Fat Joe.

On Sunday, Mansion hosts Busta Rhymes' birthday party and at the Marlin Hotel, Twista and the Speedknot Mobstas will host the Memorial Weekend Jump-Off from 3pm -10pm featuring a kissing booth, cotton candy machine, and lemonade stands powered by sexy Miami girls for guests to indulge.

Not so far from Miami Beach is Michael Tronn's Anthem Downtown Marathon on Sunday, featuring DJ Tracy Young from 10pm -4am and Peter Rauhofer from 4am - 10am.

This marathon takes place at Warehouse, yet another all night space near Space, at 90 NE 11th Street

More than 2,000 people are expected to join in the kinky festivities at the Fetish Weekend hosted by Fetish Factory and Strut in Broward County.

Did I miss anyone? Add a party in the comments

Also see:
Hip-hop talent agency opens in Miami (Miami Hearld)
Urban Weekend' Event A Growing Commercial Enterprise (NBC6)
Miami is still the palce to party (

Posted by Gus at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

Shaq tracks sexual predators on the internet

Injured Miami Heat star, Shaquille O'Neal was recently sworn in as a U.S. deputy marshal. He spent six hours on a Saturday afternoon with Miami Beach police investigators becoming familiar with the techniques and software that officers use to track down the predators, said Miami Beach Police Chief Don De Lucca. And he spends countless hours on his home computer, logging into the police network and learning the ropes.

This reminds me when Nixon made Elvis A Federal Agent.

Posted by Gus at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2005
Nude realtor in South Florida

For all you Carl Hiassen fans out there, take a look at this Miami Hearld artilce about a nudist realtor working in South Florida:

"Nudist Realtor's hook: low clothing costs

Jen Roberts, nudist Realtor, drove fast with her top down.

You could see her hair -- blond, tied up -- and shoulders -- glossy and tan. She was rubbing on sunblock with her free hand and taking the long route to Haulover Beach, where clothes are optional.

She drove south along the train tracks for a while and crossed into East Hollywood. The houses were comfortable but not ostentatious. The yards were big and shaded, and some were fenced for privacy.

If you were a nudist -- and even if you weren't -- it would be a nice place to live, if you had a lot of money.

''You can't even look at a place for less than $300,000,'' she'd said earlier, back at her Hollywood office. ``Prices are shooting up and I don't know where it's going to end. I hate to say it, but if you're going to get in, you'd better do it now.''

In this, of course, she sounded like all Realtors. But not when she talked about the hateful roughness of cloth on her skin, and how three of her first 15 sales were to nudists she met via the Internet.

Last year, her first in the business, she sold a small home to a young family of nudists for slightly less than $400,000, a preconstruction condominium to a single nudist man for $369,000 and an older unit on the Intracoastal Waterway to a nudist couple from New Jersey for $250,000.

Those people were ''in their early 40s, very cool, very nice,'' she said.

Nudists in general are a Realtor's dream, demographically speaking.

''They tend to be a little older, probably a little more settled, at a stage in life where they're looking to buy a home,'' Roberts said. ``And, of course, they like sunshine and the beach.''


They especially like Haulover, where the northern tip is designated as the only clothing-optional beach in Miami-Dade County. She claims the beach gets one million visitors a year, many of them undoubtedly nudists tired of throwing rent money down the drain.

Her own nudism -- she slipped into the lifestyle when she was 24 and is now 37 -- has been helpful in this particular segment of the market, because there's always something to talk about.

So she visits the beach when she can and always takes business cards with her. Naked people do not, as a rule, have pockets to keep business cards, but they often have beach bags.

Roberts stepped out onto the sand, but she was not nude this time. She wore a denim skirt and tank top and kept them on, though the afternoon was hot.

The place was full of nudists -- strolling nudists, chatting nudists, sunbathing nudists. It was strangely quiet. Even the nudists chatting did so in hushed tones, as if the absence of cover demanded manners to compensate.

She approached one Larry Fleischman and gave him her card. Larry does a fair bit of modeling, he said -- nude, obviously, though just now he wore a feathery hat and a sarong. He agreed that these are great days for nudist real estate; he himself just bought a place.

''Prices are going crazy around this beach,'' he said. ``Absolutely. What you need to do is do some advertising.''

''I've been meaning to,'' Roberts said.


She's working on a logo to stick on Frisbees and beer cozies to give away at the beach. She was quiet about what it would look like, but did reveal some tag lines:

The Naked Truth about South Florida Real Estate -- wordy. The Realtor With Nothing Up Her Sleeve -- an improvement certainly, but still annoying.

The last one was South Florida, Naturally, which sounded just about right."

Jen, if you're reading contact me. I want to option your story. We'll take it to Hollywood and make a bundle!

To post a casting suggestion for "Jen Roberts, Nude Realtor" do so in the comments. I'll start the ball rollong and say Julia Roberts. Some might Julia is too 90's. I say no way.

Source: Miami Hearld (registration required)

Posted by Gus at 08:27 AM | Comments (1)

How to beat jet lag

For anyone planning a long filight, here's some help to combat the effects of jet lag: The Anti-Jet Lag Diet, created by Chicago's Argonne National Laboratory, and tested on National Guard soldiers flying across 9 time zones. The diet takes a few days, alternating high-protein and high-carb meals, with some fasting and meal manipulation aboard the plane. For a fee, the site will calculate your diet for you.

Source: Infomaniac WeBlog

Posted by Gus at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)

NFL Super Bowl 2006 - 2010

The National Football League announced on Wednesday that Tampa Bay will be the host city of Super Bowl XLIII in February of 2009.

Super Bowl XL will be played in February 2006 at Detroit's Ford Field. Miami's Pro Player Stadium will host the game in 2007 and Glendale, Arizona is the site for 2008.

NFL owners voted in March to award the 2010 Super Bowl to New York, provided the Jets get final approval for a 75,000-seat stadium on the West Side of Manhattan.

Posted by Gus at 07:52 AM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2005
Florida Tops the Summer 2005 Travelers Wish List

The Travel Industry Association predicts a record breaking summer travel season. Despite rising prices, Americans will be traveling in record numbers with Florida as their their preferred destination.

• Florida - 34%
• California - 22%
• Nevada - 15%
• New York - 14%
• Hawaii - 13%
• Texas - 12%
• Colorado - 11%
• Arizona - 9%
• Tennessee - 8%
• South Carolina - 6%

Summer 2005 Highlights

Many trips will include children, with 37% of travelers taking kids on their longest trip. 6% will include a grandchild.

Traveling with one’s spouse is also popular (55%), as is traveling with other family members (19%) and traveling with friends (13%). 7% will travel with their parents and 8% will travel solo.

The top three planned activities are visiting friends and relatives (75%), going to a beach or lake (70%) and visiting small towns or rural areas (64%).

Rounding out the top ten summer traveler activities are: visiting cities/urban areas (54%), visiting national or state parks (47%), visiting historic sites (41%), camping, hiking or climbing (38%), fishing (36%), attending a family reunion (35%), or attending arts events (34%).

What else will summer travelers be doing? Most will be visiting museums (33%), theme parks (31%), gambling casinos (26%) or attending cultural events such as ethnic festivals (24%).

17% of summer travelers plan to use an RV, while 16% intend to enjoy an all-inclusive resort. 16% plan to travel outside the U.S. and 10% say they plan to take a cruise.

According to Dr. Suzanne Cook, senior vice president of research for the Travel Industry Association of America, every sector of the travel industry will be up, . Americans will take 328 million leisure person-trips during June, July and August 2005.

While travel prices are up in the first three months of 2005, this will not discourage Americans from taking trips, but they will be looking for deals and ways to economize their summer vacations.

Source: Travel Industry Association of America

Posted by Gus at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

Miami, Vegas: topless ladies permitted

Since the 1980's, girls in Miami have gone topless to the beach. Well, sun worshipers in Las Vegas are following suit. HotelChatter points out that the latest trend in Vegas is for ladies at some of the hotels on the strip is to lounge poolside topless.

Posted by Gus at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

Vulture Capitalism: How to make money if the bubble pops

Yahoo has an interesting story about Vulture Capitalism in regards to the South Florida real estate market:

"Some investors are waiting for the real estate excesses in Florida to start imploding on itself and they're building up "vulture capital" funds to start picking off property on the cheap."

"He believes a market downturn beginning next year will leave some speculators unable to close, buyers in bankruptcy or foreclosure and developers out of business. That's when the vulture capitalists will swoop."

"Some of the greatest fortunes were made in down markets," he said. "A down market sorts out the really savvy from the naive. The savvy will understand what opportunities are out there and the naive will suffer the consequences."

It's a good time to start piggy bank. I predict in 18-months, the vultures will swoop in for a killing. When they do, I'll break open the bank and have a nice down payment for that (affordable) waterfront condo.

Read more Miami real estate news.

Source: Yahoo News

Posted by Gus at 09:58 AM | Comments (1)

Harbour Island in the Bahamas

CaribbeanGirl posted about her recent trip to Harbour Island in the Bahamas:

"Harbour Island is 3-miles long and one mile wide, small enough for walking, or you can rent a golf cart. The locals call it "Briland" (say Harbour Island fast 5 times). The beaches are PINK (a result of conch shells turned to sand) and IMMACULATE and there are very few people enjoying them. The water is crystal clear and a mix of deep blues. I can see why the Travel Channel named this as one of the Top 10 Beaches in the world."

Here is Travel Channel's review of Pink Sands.

CaribbeanGirl also has a collection of Harbour Island photos on her travel blog.

Posted by Gus at 09:18 AM | Comments (0)

Cheerleaders Battle of the Beach

The Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders met the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders at the second annual Battle of the Beach in South Florida last week. CheerleaderBlog has photos of the event.

Posted by Gus at 08:47 AM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2005
Florida Hurricane 'Tax Holiday'

NBC6 reports the state's 6 percent sales tax levied by local governments will be lifted on specified items such as: flashlights, batteries, radios, coolers, generators and gasoline cans from June 1, the first day of the 2004 hurricane season, through June 12.

I see no mention of chocolate or Blockbuster DVD's.

Source: NBC6

Posted by Gus at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

Jennifer Alvarez: SDSU, summa cum laude

My cousin Jennifer just graduated summa cum laude with an emphasis in Public Administration from San Diego State University. Our hometown paper, Imperial Valley Press published a story (and picture) about Jennifer, and her commitment to get a college degree.

"When I start something I don't usually like to quit," said the 28-year-old El Centro resident. "So I just took it a little at a time. That inch-by-inch approach worked. On Thursday, Jennifer Alvarez donned a cap and gown and marched up to the podium to receive her San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus diploma."

"Alvarez also graduated summa cum laude from San Diego State University. The honor is bestowed on undergraduates who maintain an average of 3.8 to 4.0 grade-point average."

Way to go Jennifer!

Source: Imperial Valley Press

Posted by Gus at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)

Bermuda Triangle

After the recent UFO sighting, I figured it was a good time to bring up another spooky Florida phenomenon : The Bermuda Triangle. For a good summary of Bermuda Triangle events visit Beauty&Beast.

"On December 27, 1948, a commercial flight was traveling from Puerto Rico to Florida. NC-16002 radioed Miami that they were 50 miles out and ready to receive landing instructions. Miami radioed back the instructions and awaited a reply of confirmation. None was ever received. After 3 hours, a search and rescue team was sent out to find the missing aircraft. In calm seas and clear weather, no trace was found of the craft or its passengers."

The Bermuda or Devil's Triangle is an imaginary area located off the southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States, which is noted for a high incidence of unexplained losses of ships, small boats, and aircraft. The apexes of the triangle are generally accepted to be Bermuda, Miami, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Posted by Gus at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

Airport gyms

Kevin Gillotti hates wasting time between flights when he travels. A few years ago, he began looking for gyms around airports and now lists them on his website,

His site now lists more than 50 health clubs in the United States and Canada. Most of the gyms are a short taxi ride away and cost $5 to $15. A few are in airports or airport hotels.

I searched for a gym at the Miami International Airport. They show that there is a gym in the airport terminal at the Miami International Airport Hotel. I called the hotel to get the details, and they told be the gym was CLOSED untill next year :-(

If you're looking for a gym near MIA, I suggest checking our list of hotels near Miami Airport.

Posted by Gus at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

Catalina Hotel 25% discount. Expires 05/25/05

The Catalina Hotel in Miami Beach is offering a 25% discount on rooms throughout the summer if you book by May 25th, 2005.

"Complimentary airport transportation is available to and from Miami International Airport. A complimentary Continental breakfast is served each morning. Wireless Internet Access is available in public areas. Coffee is available in the lobby; also in the lobby is an Internet kiosk that provides access to the Web."

For rates and availability, go here.

Posted by Gus at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

Jennifer Lopez 's pilot for "South Beach"

For the record, Jennifer Lopez 's pilot for "South Beach" was picked up by UPN, MTV announced Thursday. The singer/actress is one of the producers of the hour-long drama, which will star Vanessa Williams and follow three young adults trying to get ahead in Miami.

Posted by Gus at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

National Geographic photo contest

The folks at National Geographic Traveler are holding their 17th Annual Photo Contest - with a free trip to Guatemala as grandprize. The photograph must give a good idea of spirit of place - people, character, events and the soul of the land. If you haven’t taken a photo that does your skills justice, get out and start shooting. You can enter up to four photos for four chances to win and the deadline is August 15, 2005.

Posted by Gus at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

Royal Caribbean shows come ashore

Royal Caribbean International has brought its entertainment to shore via Royal Caribbean Productions, the line’s in-house production company, now set to perform at land-based corporate events and private functions. For previews, RCI's new website also has info on how aspiring dancers, singers and comedians worldwide can audition to join company ensembles. Audition dates are on the site.

In 2001, the line opened the Royal Caribbean Productions Rehearsal Studios in Hollywood, Florida, where four shows can rehearse at any given time. Once perfected on land, shows head to sea, and there are now 42 in rotation, from “West End to Broadway” to “Can’t Stop the Rock.” The new web site features video montages and photos to give event planners a sense of what’s on tap. Performances can be booked for 10 minutes up to full-length shows, in full costume or concert style.

Posted by Gus at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

Defense says America West pilots not drunk

Remember the two America West pilots accused of being drunk in the cockpit. Well, their defense attorney says they are not guilty bceacuse they were never in control of the plane because it was being towed by a runway vehicle:

"Because the Airbus 319 bound for Phoenix was being towed from its gate at Miami International Airport, the steering was disengaged and neither pilot Thomas Cloyd nor co-pilot Christopher Hughes could operate the plane.

The driver of the tow vehicle was maneuvering the airliner, not the pilots, said attorney Daniel Foodman. The jet was inoperable at all times the two defendants were in the cockpit."

The pilots face up to five years in prison if convicted. They have been fired by the airline and have lost their commercial pilots' licenses.

Prosecutor Hillah Katz told the jury that both pilots had breath-alcohol levels above Florida's 0.08 percent limit after they were arrested. She said the argument that they were not operating the aircraft was ludicrous. "Operation is much more than flying that aircraft," Katz said.

Prosecutors say Cloyd and Hughes ran up a $122 bar tab and consumed 14 beers at a popular Coconut Grove sports bar after having dinner with drinks. They left the bar early in the morning, six hours before the flight was to depart.

The July 1, 2002, incident began when airport security workers noticed a strong odor of alcohol as the two pilots prepared to board the plane.

Source: ABC

Posted by Gus at 09:39 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2005
Real estate listings on the web

In an effort to resolve a dispute with the Department of Justice that has gone on for over a year and a half, the National Association of Realators will look into developing a single policy regarding the way property listings are displayed on the internet. Among the antitrust issues from the DOJ's standpoing has been whether or not agents could withhold their listings from some online websites.

"The NAR will try to develop a policy that is acceptable to both the NAR and the DOJ. The NAR has long held that real estate professionals should retain the right to control whether and how their own listings may be used or displayed by other real estate professionals."

The implelmentation of the NAR's Virtual Office Web site (VOW) policy has been postponed to January 1, 2006, in hopes that the two sides could reach an agreement on this issue.

Read more Miami real estate news.


Posted by Gus at 12:58 PM | Comments (1)

May 20, 2005
Hurricane Adrian projected path

Is it too early to be tracking Hurricane Adrian? The Flablog doesn't think so. Take a look at the map of Adrian's projected path.

Meanwhile, this juicy florida blog also says that that NOAA Hurricane website fans can chill about Sen. Santorum's bill threatening the site. It's still without a single co-sponsor.

Posted by Gus at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

South Florida: Spam capital of the world

I'm aware South Beach is the dog shit capital of the world, but I had no idea South Florida was the SPAM capital of the world.

The Sun-Sentinel recently published a story about how South Florida is home to more spammers than any other place in the world according to Spamhaus. The reason for this seems to be Florida's long history with dirty business. Among the interesting tidbits is evidence that the amount of spam worldwide fell for a while after last year's hurricanes.

Come to think of it, last year during the storms our DSL connection was down for a few weeks.

Apparently the FBI office in Miami is so overwhelmed with fraud claims that they can only look at the major cases.

Source: Slashdot

Posted by Gus at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

Airline food linked to illnesses

CNN has a story about airline food causing illness:

"Contaminated carrots served on several flights out of Honolulu likely caused 45 people to suffer food poisoning across 22 states, Japan, Australia and American Samoa, a state epidemiologist said Thursday."

My advice is to bring your own food. You know what you like to eat, and you’ll make new friends by sharing.

Source: CNN

Posted by Gus at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

Miami Velvet , and the hottest escort of the week

Gridskipper, writes a first-hand account about Miami Velvet, and chooses the hottest Miami male escort of the week. Their excuse:

"it’s near the end of the week and we’re just lookin’ for cheap and easy ways to entertain y’all"

Posted by Gus at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2005
Google Maps - Cheap Gas

Ahding made a Google Maps hack to find cheap gas.

Thanks Blogoscoped

Posted by Gus at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

Mandarin Oriental new sales and marketing director

The Mandarin Oriental in Miami has appointed Jill DeMone as director of sales and marketing for the luxury AAA Five Diamond city resort set on Brickell Key. DeMone joins Mandarin Oriental, Miami from The Drake Hotel in Chicago where she served as director of sales & marketing for six years.

Source: Hotel Interactive

Posted by Gus at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

Beaten man sues Beach Towing, wins

A man who was left with a broken nose, a skull fracture and a broken leg after he was beaten at Beach Towing was awarded $975,000 in a lawsuit against the company.

The events that led up to the civil case occurred on February 21, 2003, after Nasseer Idrisi had gone to have a beer with some friends at the Abbey Brewing Co. on 16th Street in Miami Beach. When Idrisi went to find his car on Alton Road, it was missing from its parking spot.

A friend took him to Beach Towing on Dade Boulevard, where Idrisi argued with Manuel Cabrera who was behind the counter. The cursing match escalated when Cabrera came out from behind the counter and punched Idrisi. Cabrera then kicked Idrisi as he writhed on the ground.

The behavior of the Beach Towing employee doesn't surprise me at all. They have always operated their business like a mini-mafia.

I hope that this is a wake-up call to City officials to end their relationship with Beach Towing and find a better solution.

I understand that illegally parked cars need to be towed, but Miami Beach is an international destination, and everyone needs to be treated with respect.

Source: Miami Hearld (registration required)

Posted by Gus at 08:15 AM | Comments (1)

Palm Beach UFO

Is that a UFO over Palm Beach? Take a look at the Google Maps satellite view of ZIP code 33409 (West Palm Beach, FL) which shows something very strange. Google Sightseeing posted the image a few days ago, and it has provoked over 300 comments, many from people who suspect it's just a weather balloon. You be the judge.

Posted by Gus at 07:35 AM | Comments (0)

Americans report not taking all of their vacation days

An survey reveals that American workers are estimated to leave more than 421 million vacation days on the table in 2005. In fact, nearly 31 percent of Americans reported that they do not always take all of their vacation days, despite admitting that they come back from a vacation feeling rested and rejuvenated.

For the first time, Expedia expanded its survey internationally to the working populations of Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, and the Netherlands to uncover how they utilized their vacations. Compared to other countries, Americans' vacation statistics definitely stood out. For example, U.S. workers received the least amount of vacation days (12 on average), were most likely to work over 40 hours a week (35 percent), and tied with Canada for giving back the most vacation days per person (3 days on average). This paints a very bleak picture that hopefully will inspire Americans to adopt the more healthy vacation habits demonstrated by the other countries included in the survey:

France wins for being the vacation champions, with each employed adult receiving an average of 39 days and with nearly half (45 percent) taking at least one 3-4 week vacation a year.

German workers are vacation lovers too, receiving an average of 27 vacation days, with 56 percent reporting that they always take all of their vacation days.

• Workers in the Netherlands receive an average of 25 vacation days each year, with the majority (62 percent) planning on taking at least one vacation lasting up to two full weeks.

• Adults employed in Great Britain may receive the least amount of vacation days in the European countries surveyed (23 days), but they definitely appreciate each and every vacation day…and then some, with 40 percent saying that they'd sacrifice a day's pay to get an extra day off.

• Employed Canadians receive an average of 20 days of vacation - easily beating out their neighbors to the South. And more than half (54 percent) use all of their vacation days.

So, when Americans do get around to vacationing, what do they do? According to the survey, it's all about the family: 31 percent say that they spend most of their vacation time traveling with their immediate family and 27 percent say that they visit out of town family and relatives. Plus, 38 percent anticipate using the majority of their vacation time for 2005 by taking one full week and then using the remaining days throughout the year.

Posted by Gus at 05:50 AM | Comments (0)

Florida visitors increase in Q1

According to the state's tourism marketing organization, tourism activity in Florida was impressively strong in the first quarter of 2005.

" From January through March 2005, Florida hosted 23.8 million visitors, an increase of 11.5 percent over the same period last year, or an increase of 2.5 million visitors."

Visit Florida says it tallied the visitor numbers from primary data at Florida's 14 major airports, which results in an estimate of visitors to the state by air. In addition, in order to estimate non-air visitation, Visit Florida subscribes to the Travel Industry Association's TravelScope data, which is used to develop the relative percentages of air and non-air visitors.

Posted by Gus at 04:51 AM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2005
Fontainebleau Las Vegas hotel

A newly formed property group, the Fontainebleau Resorts, announced today that they will build a $1.5 billion, 4,000 room jumbo-resort on the Las Vegas Strip and it will be named after the famed Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami.

The Fontainebleau Vegas hotel will be built on the north end of the strip, tucked between an old water park and the Riviera hotel-casino.

The Vegas project will have a condo-hotle element, thanks to an alliance between Fontainebleau and Turnberry, which has sold more than $2 billion in condominium projects in Miami and Las Vegas in the last five years. Turnberry has been a leader of the high-rise condo-hotel craze in Las Vegas.

Former Mandalay Resort Group President Glenn Schaeffer has signed onto the Las Vegas-based company as chief executive and president.

The founder, Jeffrey Soffer is also a CEO for Turnberry Associates which just bought the Miami Fontainebleau in January.

The historic Miami Hotel will get a facelift. Plans are in development to turn the Miami hotel into a high-end contemporary resort featuring distinctive restaurants, swank clubs, live entertainment venues, a world-class spa and dramatic poolscaping.

Fontainebleau the company will eventually will go public, according to Schaeffer.

The project is scheduled to break ground next year and open in the second half of 2008.

Links: Las Vegas Sun, HotelChatter

Posted by Gus at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)

$99 tickets from JFK to the Bahamas

JetBlue is currently offering a $99 one way special from JFK to Nassau, Bahamas special with remarkably few restrictions: Only a 7-day advance purchase required, tickets must be used during mid-week and no travel during the Memorial Day weekend.

Posted by Gus at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2005
Miami Beach online services

The City of Miami Beach's website offers several online services that assist residents, visitors, employees, and businesses from paying a utility bill to searching City codes. Check them out here.

Posted by Gus at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2005
Huge list of MP3 blogs

If you're looking for new music to take on vacation, Tofu Hut has published a huge list of blogs that have MP3s, arranged by genre.

Posted by Gus at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2005
King Tut exhibit in Fort Lauderdale

Three forensic teams studying CAT scans of King Tutankhamen's mummy recently spent months creating images of what he might have looked like.

So, the Egyptian pharaoh is back in the spotlight, just before a blockbuster exhibition of relics from his tomb begins a tour of the United States. The exhibit will visit the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art in December.

The exhibition opens in Los Angeles next month, and already they've sold over 200,000 tickets in advance.

Broward County just authorized $500,000 in improvements to the museum in order to get ready for the more than 400,000 visitors that are expected for the exhibit, putting Fort Lauderdale on the cultural map.

Tickets will go on sale to the public in October. Museum members can purchase tickets in advance.


Posted by Gus at 07:54 PM | Comments (2)

Rolling Stones to play Miami, Tampa

The Rolling Stones announce a world tour that will bring them to Miami and Tampa.

Seats go on sale Saturday for a show October 17 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. Tickets are available May 21 for the Tampa concert set October 19 at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Posted by Gus at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

Marineland: Eco-tour, Flipper fantasy camp

The Orlando Sentinel has a story about Marineland's big plans. Once the pride of Florida's Marine Animal Attractions, the park has suffered for the last few decades. Finally, Hurricane Frances gave it the knock out punch. Or so it seems. Now new investors are hoping to transform the park into an eco-tourism destination, a sort of Flipper fantasy camp:

"The best way I can describe it is to say it will be Dolphin Quest meets a university research lab meets a high-end destination property."

"Visitors will be able to swim with its dolphins, snorkel in its oceanariums and make educational forays into rich surroundings that include oak hammocks, marshes, estuaries, rivers and the ocean."

"There are tentative plans, too, for a resort hotel in which guests will be treated like big fish in a plush pond. I'd like to see the circular oceanarium rebuilt surrounded by a very small luxury hotel, so the suites and upper-end rooms look right into the tanks, and you can see large animals swimming by," he said.

Now that's the sort of hotel I like.

But it's going to take vision and support from the public for this little park that is dreaming big. So if you happen to be near St. Augustine this summer, stop by and send Nellie some love.

Posted by Gus at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2005
Miami in Top 10 for traffic jams

If you drive in Miami and think you spend too much time stuck in traffic, a new study says you are right.

In the most recent statistics available, an Urban Mobility Study showed that Miami commuters sat through 53 hours of rush-hour traffic delays in 2003.

Below is the list of the number of hours the average motorist was delayed during rush hours in selected cities during 2003:

• Los Angeles: 98
• San Francisco: 75
• Washington, D.C.: 66
• Houston: 65
• Atlanta: 64
• Dallas: 61
• Chicago: 55
• Detroit: 54
• Miami: 53
• New York: 50
• Boston: 48
• Phoenix: 49
• Philadelphia: 40

Cities with the lowest congestion levels were: Bakersfield, CA; Laredo, TX; Colorado Springs, CO; and Corpus Christi, TX.

Posted by Gus at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2005
iPod vending machines

iPod vending machines are coming soon to an airport near you.

"Apparently, when a customer inserts their credit card to acquire a music player on an impulse buy, a robot arm selects the device and drops it gently to the serving hatch."

Links: MacWorld, Pic

Posted by Gus at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)

JetBlue tops airline ratings study

Once again, JetBlue was ranked as offering the best service in an annual survey that also found five of the top six airlines are low-fare carriers.

Posted by Gus at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

Pawn Shop on the Hot List

Conde Nast Traveler's annual "Hot List." has hit the stands. The list of the magazine's picks for the world's hottest hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs appears in the May issue.

Among them are the Pawn Shop, 1222 N.E. Second Ave., in Miami, which has maintained the 1938 facade of the building's original incarnation as a pawn shop.

This is a super cool place. Inside the club, you can sip a cocktail while sitting in a vintage 1977 school bus, or the fuselage of a Boeing 727.

Posted by Gus at 10:21 AM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2005
Hotels in Downtown Miami

If you're looking for a hotel in South Beach during Memorial Weekend, serious ballers need only apply. I just did a hotel search for availabitly in South Beach from May 27 - May 29, and the rates have gone through the roof. 2-star hotels are charging over over $300 a night.

Here's a tip: You can save hundreds of dollars that weekend if you stay in Downtown Miami. The chain hotels are nice, and they're just 5 miles from South Beach. Here is a list of hotels in Downtown:

Clarion Hotel & Suites
Conrad Miami Hotel
Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay
Riande Continental Bayside
Radisson Miami Downtown

Links: Hotel Search, Miami Downtown Hotels

Posted by Gus at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

Specialized Search Engines

Search engines come in all shapes and sizes. For instance, Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. MiamiBeach411 is a local search engine that connects businesses, news, and events to the web.

This is a site you should know about -- ZabaSearch is a search engine that specializes in personal data. Here is what Wired had to say:

"A search for personal data on -- one of the most comprehensive personal-data search engines on the net -- tends to elicit one of two reactions from first-timers: terror or curiosity. Which reaction often depends on whether you are searching for someone else's data, or your own.

ZabaSearch queries return a wealth of info sometimes dating back more than 10 years: residential addresses, phone numbers both listed and unlisted, birth year, even satellite photos of people's homes."

I gave it a test and the results are very accurate.

Here are some other specialized search engines that aren't so scary:

Encarta, Wikipedia

Magazine articles:
AJR Newslink Magazines

Newspaper articles:
AJR Newslink Newspaper Index

Current news:
Google News

Radio stations:

Literature in the public domain:
OnLine Books Page, Search eBooks, Bartleby Library

Copyrighted books in print:
Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Google Images, Pics4Learning, Fagan Finder, ebay Postcards, Corbis

Images, sounds, videos of animals:

Images and info about any product of the last two centuries:


Primary source documents:
Library of Congress American Memory

Federal (U.S.) legislation:

Company information:
Thomas Register, Industrial Quick Search

Biographical Dictionary,, Biography-Center, Lives

Perry-Castañeda, Maptech MapServer (topo)

Country profiles:
CIA Factbook, Atlapedia, Kiosk: Journal of Geopolitics

Military information:

State & county profiles:
US Census Dept QuickFacts

Medical information:


U.S. Patent Office

Movies, actors:
Internet Movie Database

TV episodes:

Shareware & freeware:
VersionTracker, C|Net Download, Tucows

Even more:
Search-Engines2, Webquest, Search Engine Colossus

Did I miss anyone?

Posted by Gus at 07:00 AM | Comments (1)

May 05, 2005
Airbus A380 superjumbo plane

National Geographic has photos of the Airbus A380 superjumbo plane.

"The Airbus A380 "superjumbo" is the largest civil aircraft ever built. Designed to carry 555 passengers in a three-class arrangement, it has one-third more seating capacity than a Boeing 747. A planned stretched version would carry 656 passengers, and an all-economy-class configuration would be able to carry more than 800 passengers."

Check out the snazy onboard duty-free shop.

The new European-made plane has 49 percent more floor area but only 35 percent more seats.

Posted by Gus at 06:39 PM | Comments (0)

Inflatable travel pillow

Travel pillows are a must. I always kick myself when I forget to bring one on a trip.

The average travel pillow leaves much to be desired. Because of the fillers---usually styrofoam, microbeads, or buckwheat hulls---the pillows make strange crunchy noises everytime you move your head.

The good folks at Eagle Creek must have had these complaints in mind when they designed the inflatable Comfort Travel Pillow ($15). The pillow's self-sealing Air Flow valve allows you to inflate the pillow in three deep breaths, and because there's no filler material, strange crunchy noises have been eliminated.

Posted by Gus at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

Picture of the day (05-05-05)


This is a great picture of Miami Beach shot by Jon of Zombie Arcade:

"The next dawn, we found ourselves in the gator-infested port town of Miami. Ay, there ‘twas beautiful beaches and much booty to be had there. So much booty, that I didn’t even know where to start plundering!"

Here's the supersize pic.

Posted by Gus at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2005
Cinco de Mayo in South Beach

The holiday of Cinco de Mayo, the 5th Of May, commemorates the victory of a small, poorly armed Mexican militia over a well outfitted French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. This classic David versus Goliath story gives us all a perfect reason to celebrate at one of our local Mexican restaurants:

Señor Frog’s - 616 Collins Avenue
Señor Frog’s invites you to come and party like a Mexican at their Cinco de Mayo party, starting at 2pm, Thursday, May 5th and going on until the sunrise on the 6th! They'll be offering specials on drinks and Mexican beer with free prizes such as “I survived Cinco de Mayo” t-shirts, and a grand prize trip to Mexico. The music will be supplied by DJ’s & Mariachi bands.

El Rancho Grande - 1626 Pennsylvania Avenue
Come out to El Rancho Grande this Thursday from 2pm until 1am, for their annual block party on Pennsylvania Avenue, between Lincoln & 16th Street. The party features specials on Margaritas, Mexican beer, as well as live music and a DJ.

Paquito's - 16265 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami Beach
All the standards---enchiladas, burritos, tortilla chips---are masterfully prepared. More ambitious cuisine includes tortilla soup with cheese and sour cream; a zesty mole verde with chicken, pork, or beef; turkey meatballs in chipotle (chile) sauce; and dolphinfish (mahimahi) with tomato, capers, and green olives. 305-947-5027

Thanks, MBCC

Posted by Gus at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

MTV Latin awards say adios, Miami

As the MTV's Video Music Awards head back to Miami, their Latin American sister awards are moving out, and taking the show to Mexico City.

MTV Latin America launched in 1993 from offices on Lincoln Road. Last year's Awards Show broadcast live to 14.1 million cable viewers in Latin America and on MTV2 in the United States, with subsequent showings on other Latin American channels and MTV in the United States.

But the channel's real audience is in Latin America -- except for the awards, it is not broadcast in the United States. And MTV Latin America executives have long said they would like to take the event to its home base. More than one-third of their viewers, or 4.9 million, are in Argentina, followed by Mexico with 3.9 million.

The Latin VMA's face a crowded field in Miami. The media and celebrity blitz that accompanied the mainstream VMAs' Miami debut at the AmericanAirlines Arena last August cast a shadow on the lower-key Latin version less than two months later. Two of Latin music's four major awards shows, Univision's Premio Lo Nuestro and Telemundo's Billboard Latin Music Awards, are held here. The Latin Grammys visited Miami in 2002, but have otherwise stuck to Los Angeles.

Source: Miami Hearld (registration required)

Posted by Gus at 10:09 AM | Comments (1)

Student diagnosed with tuberculosis

Students and teachers at Miami Beach Senior High School will be tested for possible exposure to tuberculosis after a 17-year-old sophomore was diagnosed with the disease.

Health officials will test 149 students and eight teachers who had prolonged, repeated contact with the infected student.

Source: NBC6

Posted by Gus at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

Passport Update: Mo Money Mo Problems

If you're an American thinking of heading to the Caribbean next winter, keep in mind that under the new Homeland Security regulations you'll need a passport to re-enter the US on your return. Starting December 31 of this year, all travelers entering the US by air or sea from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Central America, and South America will need to show a passport. Likewise, a passport will be needed to enter the country from Canada and Mexico starting December 31 of 2006.

Other recent passport legislation includes the addition of a $12 surcharge on new applications and renewals. The surcharge will finance the department's high-tech upgrade of passports to include computer chips containing a scannable copy of the data page and photo.

The Department of State planned to introduce these new passports in late 2005 but that date has been pushed back due to continued research on the security of the proposed design.

The government had long maintained that the passport chips to be used could be read from only 10 cm away. But at least one test showed that a reader could read a passport chip from 30 feet away.

Because the government had decided not to encrypt data contained on passport chips, the chips exposed passport holders to privacy risks, such as skimming and eavesdropping.

Skimming occurs when an intruder with a reading device in the vicinity of the passport holder surreptitiously reads the electronic information on the chip without the passport holder knowing. Eavesdropping occurs when an intruder intercepts data as it's being transmitted from the chip to an authorized reader.

If you are applying for a passport or renewing your current one, be sure to use the most current forms, available on the department's website.

Sources: Wired, Fodor's

Posted by Gus at 08:06 AM | Comments (1)

May 03, 2005
Are cargo holds safe for pets?

The Department of Transportation estimates that more than 2 million animals fly each year in passenger cabins and cargo holds, but little is known about how they fare.

After years of mixed messages about the wisdom of shipping pets in the cargo hold of planes, pet owners will finally get a clear answer this summer, thanks to a new federal rule that requires airlines to report incidents of animal loss, injury or death.

Starting June 15, airlines must report such incidents to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which will make the data public through its monthly Air Travel Consumer Report, available online at:

It is estimated that 1% of animals (that fly) are lost, injured or killed.

The Humane Society discourages owners from bringing pets on planes unless absolutely necessary. They recommend going by car if traveling with pets (neither Amtrak nor Greyhound allows pets) or leaving pets at home with a pet sitter or at a boarding kennel.

Links: USATODAY, Pet Travel in the U.S.

Posted by Gus at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2005
Theme park prices then and now

1955: Disneyland opens: Admission $1; attraction tickets, 10-35 cents each.

1964: Universal Studios Hollywood back-lot tour opens: $2.50 adult, $1.50 children.

1970: Busch Gardens charges admission for first time, $1.25 adults.

1971: Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom opens: Admission $3.50, seven-ride attraction ticket book $4.75, 11 rides $5.75.

1973: SeaWorld Orlando opens: $4.50 adults, $2 children.

1981: WDW drops ticket books, goes to one-price park admission ($13).

1986: Disney World increases one-day, one-park ticket from $19.50 to $24.50.

1990: Universal Studios Orlando opens: $29 (equal to Disney).

1998: Tickets priced $42 per adult for one-day, one-park tickets at all major Orlando theme parks.

2005: One-day, one-park passes at major Central Florida parks: $59.75 adult, $48 under 10.

Florida resident deals offered, with one-day tickets from $53.75 for adults, $43.20 under 10. Combination tickets for multiple days, multiple parks and vacation packages offered at all parks. Busch Gardens Tampa tickets are a few dollars less expensive than the others, priced at $55.95 per adult, $45.95 for ages 3-9; Florida residents pay $49.95 and $40.95 respectively. Under 3 free at all parks. Cypress Gardens charges $34.95 for ages 10-54; $29.95 ages 3-9 and 55 and over.

Source: Miami Hearld (registration required)

Posted by Gus at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

FL minimum wage increase

Starting Monday, employers in Florida will have to start paying their minimum-wage workers a little bit more because the minimum wage increases a dollar to $6.15 an hour.

Source: NBC6

Posted by Gus at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2005
Transportation portal to service Miami

Miami-Dade County has launched a new transportation web portal at The site features links to Metrobus and Metrorail schedules, information on road conditions, flights and public transportation, and live camera views of I-95 and the Dolphin and Palmetto expressways.

Posted by Gus at 09:34 AM | Comments (2)
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