Saturday, August 4

Low Key Botched Ferret (4#) -

At first, it seemed like a botched narrative in a still murky crime story. Officer Down was reported and something about a drug bust, although the drug wasn't identified. But as the breaking news story continued to unfold, its "aboutness' somehow evaporated . . .

According to this article in a recent issue of The Miami Herald, everything you thought you knew about acquaintances growing marijuana plants in their bathtubs
is wrong.

Instead, three reporters want to persuade us that there are now marijuana moguls who are operating chains or syndicates of marijuana nurseries in middle class bourgeois neighborhoods; each syndicate consisting of maybe 20 such nurseries.

Instead of operating a group of 7-Eleven stores or name brand Pizza shops, they picked marijuana. Instead of growing the crop in an out of the way fallow field or clearing in the woods, they're installing these nurseries in middle class residential neighborhoods.

This seems to be coming straight out of the Ministry of Banana Republic Disinformation, because there is no evidence provided to substantiate the mythos. Numerous Americans living in South Florida have reacted angrily to the allegation. The funniest angry reaction went along these lines:

Don't take this stuff too seriously because many of these stories are now concocted in India where much of this newspaper is currently being manufactured. They don't know beans in New Delhi about what is actually going on in South Florida; it's just more entertainment to them.

As a Crime Watcher in South Florida, have I ever come across a syndicated grow house, which was part of a chain of such nurseries? No, I haven't. I'm not saying you're a liar; I'm just saying that I've never encountered this phenomenon before.

Not quite a successful
Reverse Ferret. Who botched it?

# To Boldly Go:
:::: Shatner's back, and NASA's got him.

# Pussy Riot Trial:
:::: Some people live for this stuff.


Tuesday, July 31

Miami: Versions & Facsimiles -

Burn Notice, a cable TV spy series which has gone into some broadcast syndication, is reported to be facing an uncertain production future in the Miami area because its lease on the Coconut Grove Convention Center is going to expire in October. The recent Miami Herald article about the problem seems less like reportage and more like free publicity.

I made a point of watching the series a few times mostly because it was supposed to be showcasing recognizable landmarks in South Florida. I thought the series pretext seemed a bit weak, but I didn't mind much because I enjoyed the character portrayed by Sharon Gless.

Roy Greenslade at The UK Guardian is reporting that McClatchy, parent company of The Miami Herald, is planning to erect a paywall on the newspaper website. I don't think this move will have a felicitous outcome. I believe it will mark the demise of The Miami Herald as an English-language publication.

Recent years have seen a massive exodus of English-literate residents in the Miami area. Many of those leaving have complained that fluency in Spanish is now required in order to work there. Many Americans have no interest in learning Spanish or in Hispanic culture. Miami today is widely regarded as a foreign city.

Traditionally, The Miami Herald has been oriented toward the tourist industry and its transient visitors. But in recent years there have been fewer American visitors who now tend to detour to the theme parks in the Orlando area in Central Florida.

I don't think transient visitors would have any interest whatsoever in paying for access to a local newspaper.

I expected the direction the newspaper would take would be toward publishing a paper artifact on Fri-Sat-Sun with the rest of the week online.

I believe the paywall is a big mistake and its failure will be used to end the English-language edition altogether.

What else is in the works around here . . .

I've heard rumors that they're working on a giant vacuum tube which will be used to suck visitors directly from the Miami airport to Miami Beach. But that's probably just a fairytale like the rumors about holographic avatars being installed in other airports. Some people have very active imaginations ;-)


Sunday, July 29

Some Weekend Browsing (4#) -

Nicholas Shakespeare reviews Joachim Fest's
Not Me, memoirs of a German childhood.

# Killian Fox reviews a strange, off-beat detective novel called Hawthorn & Child written by Irish writer
Keith Ridgway.

"This is a detective novel in which the mysteries of people's lives threaten to overshadow mysteries born of criminal activity."

# Nancy McDermott reviews Motherland by Amy Sohn, which is the sequel to Prospect Park West set in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

"Sohn’s eye for detail and her knack for parody keeps it funny and a hair’s breadth this side of believable."

# The Man Booker Prize longlist: who are they?