The Unfortunate Owner of Che Guevara's Hair
Filed under: Flotsam
Things got weird again in Miami when Gustavo Villoldo, a hefty septuagenarian, published a scrapbook of the Indian summer he spent in Bolivia. It didn't contain pictures of pretty girls or the tire swing he and his school chums used to vault themselves into a lake. Instead it documented his role in the hunting and killing of Che Guevara. His book contains CIA telegrams, an old map, and a lock of hair snipped from the treasured corpse's head. And Villoldo auctioned the whole enchilada (where else?) in Texas.
The Herald ate it up, shamelessly helping Villoldo hype up the macabre auction by suggesting that movie stars and heads of state might bid millions. When pointing out that the same auction house had netted $1.6 million for some Ulysses S. Grant articles, Herald reporter Luisa Yanez wrote, "But Grant was no iconic sweetheart."
Then the Herald began to speculate that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, whose glass Che shrine had been shattered by machine-gunfire, was planning on "spoiling" the sale with his greasy little hands. The paper also reported that threats were being issued against the auction house.
And then a big nothing. Houston-area bookstore owner Bill Butler bought the whole package for the minimum bid of $100,000. When contacted by phone, Butler was in good humor about the whole thing, referring to himself as the "unfortunate owner of Che's hair." He plans to display the lock in the front of his shop as a conversation piece. "If they burn the place down," Butler drawled, "hell, I got insurance."
It occurred to Riptide that, with Cuba facing a dearth of revolutionary young blood, the return of one or several Guevaras to the island might be just the ticket to reinvigorate La Revolución. Has anyone considered the possibility of a Cuban spy plucking one of these hairs, bringing it back, and feeding it into the Cuban clone machine?
Riptide asks the Herald to consider a new angle: an army of Ches being cloned and sent to fight alongside Chávez's peasant army of AK-47-wielding commie bandits. While they're at it, reporters at the paper might want to ask why, in 2004, both Cuba and Venezuela rejected a UN resolution calling for a worldwide ban on human cloning, which is to say, they've already got the technology.
No one at the Bay of Pigs Memorial and Museum would comment for fear of New Times's leftist agenda. Nor would Brigade 2506 member Felix Rodriguez, who accompanied Villoldo on the mission to destroy Guevara. — Calvin Godfrey
Locks for Lines
Filed under: News
The Femme Coiffure Salon sits on the second floor of the Bal Harbour Shops, just a hair flip away from upscale boutiques like Ralph Lauren, Roberto Cavalli, and Vera Wang. Inside the airy and fresh-smelling beauty parlor is a large wall covered in celebrity photographs. In each photo the beaming stars — Paris Hilton, Jennifer Lopez, Usher, and Anna Kournikova among them — pose with the salon's owners, three handsome and equally toothsome men — Raphael, Daniel, and Marcel Reboh, brothers who opened their first salon in Montreal in 1978. They charge clients upward of $250 for "creative hair designing." The salon's Web site says it styles the locks of "debutantes and homemakers," always "keeping their clients' lifestyle in mind."
On October 12, however, Marcel Reboh did more than snip a few split ends, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Paperwork recently filed in U.S. District Court shows that FBI agents audiotaped Reboh and two other men, Brad Tippett and Brent Curtis, as they met with a confidential informant. During the meeting, the men "negotiated ... to purchase 100 kilograms of cocaine, at a price of $14,500 per kilogram." FBI Special Agent Donald Vanhoose wrote, "Reboh emphasized that he was the money man [and then] clarified that Tippett and Curtis were the transporters." The conversation was conducted using coded language, Vanhoose wrote. "Reboh suggested that the word marble would represent the cocaine."
On October 25, Tippett and Curtis met the informant in a North Miami Beach parking lot to buy 24 kilos of coke — and were immediately busted by the feds. Reboh, who has no prior criminal record in Florida, was popped later that day at the salon and marched out of the rarified air of the Bal Harbor Shops and into a holding cell at the federal lockup.
But the recent events haven't stopped him from cutting hair. After Reboh posted a $2.25 million bond, a federal judge released him November 1, allowing him to attend temple every morning and go to work. — Tamara Lush
Mel Martinez Receives Riders' Wrath
Filed under: Bike Blog
In a congress full of political chicanery, greedy earmarking, and shameless scare tactics, it takes courage to stand up and denounce the real forces that threaten to undermine our beloved nation: bicycle and pedestrian paths. So says Sen. Mel Martinez, apparently.
On September 11, Martinez was one of only 18 senators who supported a transportation bill amendment to eliminate all federal spending on foot and pedal trails.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) sponsored the amendment, reasoning that the recent Minnesota bridge collapse might not have happened if the government had not squandered its precious funds on bicycle paths. (In fact states have returned more than two billion dollars in unspent bridge funding since 2006.)
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Coburn also claimed bicycle paths are never used for transportation. He apparently has not been to Minneapolis: A recent survey counted more than 26,000 bicyclists passing through various checkpoints in the city over 24 hours. Roughly 10,000 of them were using dedicated urban bikeways.
In Florida, Martinez's support of the so-called "Coburn Amendment" has drawn criticism from local bicycling group members, who say the senator should be fighting for more, not less, bike funding. The Florida Bicycle Association and the Florida chapter of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy have urged bike-lovers to sign an open letter to Martinez reprimanding him for the vote.
"Walkers and bicyclists represent 20 percent of all Florida traffic fatalities, among the worst in the nation," the letter states, adding, "the amendment would have constrained our far-reaching plans to create a statewide system of interconnected trails — a concept endorsed by numerous state legislatures and governors over the last 17 years."
It seems the senator doesn't feel the same way about biking as he does about boating. Just more than a month ago, Martinez introduced the Recreational Boating Bill, which would exempt boat owners from having to obtain a bureaucratically challenging Clean Water Act permit before hitting the waves. — Isaiah Thompson