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Wednesday, March 21, 2018


     It was strange to walk into the HistoryMiami Museum see myself. I was looking up at the character I invented 37 years ago. King Mango was smiling at me and I smiled back.
  But it was more than that; this manikin was dressed to to look like me when I pretend to be the fruit monarch.

    I been known to do that
for parades, bar mitzvahs, and the occasional wedding. He was even wearing my faded brown Crocs that connect him to the earth.                        
     Next to this guy was a telephone. When I picked it up I heard my monotonous voice explaining the origins of the King Mango Strut Parade. Strange.
     Francesca and I were attending the opening of the museum's new exhibit on local parades and street art. It started with a BOOM! Miami's Bahamian Junkanoo Band appeared from nowhere and started leading us like around like jubilant lemmings. Twenty guys on 6-foot bicycles jumped in and golly, we had a party kicking off the show.
    You can see it too through January of '19.  It includes  bit of Goombay, Gay Pride, and the tall bike parades.  Wynwood graffiti covers one wall. Grove celebrity, Allen "AC" Cohen was there too greeting visitors to his exhibit.
Grove guys, GT and AC

He's the food truck legend who's been selling lemon icees in Kennedy Park for forty years. 
    The museum is located at 101 West Flagler Street in beautiful downtown Miami. 
You can come see the King smile at any time. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018


      I wish the Venezuelan zillionaire who bought the 8-acre Dupont estate at the end of St Gaudens Road would leave us alone. The short street leading to the water is one of the few places where the public can see Biscayne Bay.

    For years we've walked there to stare out to sea. Years ago a neighbor built a bench to give us rest.
  When the developer bought the parcel next door, he built an illegal, un-permitted, 12-foot wall.


   He even added barbed wire to the top of it going up another three feet.

   I complained to the city. The tall wall still stands but at least the razor wire came down.

   A television camera was added so he could watch us stare at the stars or relax on the bench. 


    Last fall's hurricane destroyed our seat so last week, a friend and I re-built it.  




        I guess he was watching because
two hours later, before the concrete could set, his workmen tore it apart and tossed it into the bay.

   Our concrete block columns, smashed on the shoreline

The next day, we built another one and asked the developer's property manager to cut us some slack. He did. A week later our bench still stands.

    Why does enjoying a water view have to be so difficult in Coconut Grove?  Doesn't it seem easier everywhere else?
    For the moment you can still sit at the end of St. Gaudens Road. Wear something nice, the developer may be watching you.

Friday, March 16, 2018


   When writer Marjory Stoneman Douglas died in 1998 she left her house to the citizens of Florida.
   She was hoping people like you and I could visit the home she enjoyed for 72 years.  Unfortunately, we can not.
    As described by Miami Herald writer Andres Viglucci in today's paper,

Her quaint old South Grove home — owned by the state of Florida — is in poor shape, vacant and unused.  Vociferous objections from a group of neighbors worried that visitors would spoil their affluent, leafy residential oasis have foiled plans to open the house to the public, even on a limited basis.

    On Tuesday Tallahassee state park officials came to the Grove to try to rectify this situation.
   Twenty "stakeholders" were chosen to meet at the Grove Sailing Club, for a day-long session to discuss the house's future.  I was in the group because of my activist efforts in the past. Half of the people there were the house's neighbors. 
    We became the first people to tour the 1926 structure in years. Here's what it looks like,

 Marjory's house is a charming 900 sq.foot English Tudor cottage.
The front yard has been a dump since it was piled high with debris after last fall's hurricane. It is also used by the neighbors for overflow parking.


The trees that
Marjory loved
are still spectacular.
Before the tour "Jessica", a state park ranger, shared the history of the house. She lived there until rampant mold and decay made it uninhabitable.

Stepping inside we imagined what it was like when America's environmental hero lived there.

Marjory on her front steps, circa 1932.
 The living room where she did her writing
 The kitchen walls lay bare. To the right, a hole in the floor.

Marjory's bedroom
        After our tour we returned to the sailing club for a long discussion.  We concluded that the house should be restored, that Marjory's possessions should be returned to it, and the public should be allowed to visit on a limited basis.
    Later that evening the public was invited to join in. Except for a few of the
remaining neighbors, the attendees asked the State to do the same things.
It's what Marjory would have wanted.

Read more here:

Sunday, March 11, 2018


      Coconut Grove should be proud to be the home of Marjory Stoneman Douglas.  
South Florida's esteemed writer and environmental leader lived in the South Grove house that she built on Stewart Avenue in 1926, for 72 years. When she died there, at the age of 108 (1998) she left her property to the State of Florida.
     Marjorie wanted the State to make her diminutive English cottage a pubic place. She imagined future generations enjoying the afternoon sun, as she had, on her back porch. The Mother of the Everglades wanted it used to further her love of nature and environmental legacy.  
     Sadly, the State has done next to nothing to carry our her wishes. Marjory's house is now  a rental address, used as sleeping quarters for a park ranger. The public is not allowed to go near it.
      There isn't even a historic marker outside.

Most of my friends have never seen the Douglas home and many don't know it exists. It's almost as if state officials wants us to forget about our country's environmental  hero and all the good things she represented.  
    For years we've had an informal group, "Marjory's Circle", trying to goad the state into honoring Marjory and her house at 3744 Stewart Avenue. On Tuesday, you can help.  
    The state's parks department is sending down a Tallahassee team to lead a public meeting to discuss the house's future.
    It will take place at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club on March 13th from 5:30 to 8 p.m.  The public is invited.  Can you come?  We need all the support we can get.

   The house should be opened to the public as a mini-museum and restored with Marjory's furniture and possessions (they're in storage now). An appropriate marker should be placed by the road.

That would be the right thing to do.


   But there are other ideas...Some of her neighbors do not want anyone coming to the Douglas house. They want it kept secret.
    Fairchild Gardens wants it cut up and re-assembled on their back lot to give their profile a boost. Even they must know moving an old house from its original location causes it to lose much of its historical significance.
     The parks department would like to hear from you on Tuesday night. I hope you can join us to speak up for Marjory and all the good things her long life represented.

Saturday, March 3, 2018


        Two weeks ago Grovites were grumbling about February's gigantic Grove Art Festival.  You'd hear, "It's too big!", "Cost too much!", or "They tried to sell me a Buick!".

     You won't have any of these problems at the Grove's greatest art show on Sunday, March 4th.  It's the 20th annual "Gifford Lane Art Stroll" taking place where Gifford meets Oak Ave. (If you go to the tennis courts across from Coconut Grove elementary, you're there). Noon to 5 p.m.
     Just a block long in a charming residential neighborhood, it's the festival every other art show wishes it could be.

     Sixty local artists, including me, will be showing their stuff. Bands will play and Trina's cucumber punch bowl will be drained by thirsty patrons repeatedly.
     I'll be on the south end as usual, selling strange and wonderful things like,

Seed Pod Fish

Shadow Boxes


Skulls in a Box 

A delicious slice of Mahogany Carrot Cake

And for you who want the finest tools for ethnic home defense,
Maori Warrior Clubs 

Irish Shillelaghs!  (pronounced, "shill-lay-lees")

I also am offering two
Screaming Banshees.

Want to be the coolest kid on the block? purchase a Mango Republic T-Shirt!

This list is long. Sometimes I wonder how I come up with all this stuff. It's an artist's dilemma, "Do I make screaming banshees or not?".  
Francesca practices the art of baking. My wife will be selling her delectable, just-out-of-the oven banana bread.

    Like Brigadoon, the Stroll appears for just five short hours every year for those lucky enough to stumble upon it. It is located on one short street a block east of SW 32 Ave., and two blocks north of Grand. Walk or ride your bike (the free bike valet is on the south end, next to the tennis courts). You can usually park on the street within two blocks. 
    It's free and fun.  We hope to see you there.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Rally in Tally: GUN REFORM NOW!

         Nine hundred of us climbed aboard buses Monday morning to protest in Tallahassee. Upon arrival we donned orange t-shirts and marched on the Capitol.  Above, Janie Olivera and her two daughters who exclaimed, "We've never been on a bus before!"


     We tried lobbying our state representatives but most could not be found.
    Several of us attempted to visit the Governor.  His secretary, "Karol", told us he was not in.  She said she would give him our message, "Ban assault weapons now".

     Next door was the office of Pam Biondi, our right-wing attorney general.  Her assistant, Naomi, told us her boss wasn't seeing any visitors.  She wants less guns too and said she'd share our sentiments with Pam.
     Stepping into the hallway we admired portraits of our former governors.   "Wayne Mixon" was the one I'd never heard of.   
                         AND The sign said,  "John Wayne Mixon, Florida Governor January, 3-6, 1987"
I learned he was our state's leader, for three days, in 1987.  Maybe I was asleep during his reign.

    I started roaming the halls looking for trouble. I found it in this conference room. A very large sergeant-at-arms me asked to leave because I was carrying protest signs.  Before I did I took this photograph with our state senator, Jose Javier Rodriguez, seated on the left. A few hours later he was leading a valiant  charge to ban assault weapons.  His efforts failed as most of our senators are gun-lovin' Republicans who'd like everyone in America to pack a gat or two.

               This Vietnam vet let his sentiments be known

    During lunch I teamed up with a group of enthusiastic Broward high school students to form an impromptu theater company. I put on my Trump outfit, they hoisted their signs and we headed to the Capitol steps. In our performances, they put down every great idea I had! 
      As our group prepared to head home we learned Jose Javier's
assault weapons ban proposal had been
voted down.  We're being led by lunatics in Tallahassee.  In November let's vote them down and help make our country safe again.


Two tired UF students

 We thank the Phil Levine for Governor Campaign for making our
bus trip possible.  We thank you for anything you can do to aid the cause.  For instance,
YOU CAN HELP TODAY- One of the main proponents of  "Guns for everyone", is Hialeah state representative Jose Oliva.  We are having a "Die-In Protest" at his local office at noon. 3798 W 12thAve., Hialeah.  Come join us!
YOU CAN ALSO call his office at 850 717-5110.  Tell him you want to ban the AR-15 (he owns one) and to not arm teachers in the classroom.  There will be a Big Vote on these issues today in Tallahassee.