On November 2, weeks before the December 21 solstice, a long, dark winter began for our country, its icy tendrils curling around the equator and stretching from pole to pole. During this new Ice Age, species will perish. The Alaskan wilderness will become an oil field. Government will be based upon the New Testament, at least the six paragraphs that pertain to homosexuals. That "thou shalt not kill" business will be disregarded, especially as regards more than 100,000 collaterally damaged Iraqi civilians. More than half our citizens, bundled in fur parkas, think all of this is okay.
Or draw inspiration from the prophets of doom at adbusters.org and imagine a different future ... you wake up one morning a few days from now and find out the Dow Jones has just plunged 3000 points. Bombs empty schools, Wal-Marts, and churches. Banks close, ATMs are offline, and cash is useless anyway. Grocery store shelves are empty, pumps at gas stations run dry. Electrical power is intermittent, the Internet unreliable. Violent gangs and bandits roam the streets. People get out of the city -- if they can. Governments try to maintain order, yet it appears that -- finally -- the old globalized order is gone, if not forever, then for a long, long time.
You hear that The Bitch is working on a post-crash column. There may be a positive trend in what happened: Innovative survival strategies are emerging, along with thriving local economic systems; borders are being redrawn along bioregional lines.
You have a chance to create the new world "in a time between civilizations and a place ignored by authority," as Denis Johnson envisioned in Fiskadoro, his 1985 novel about a post-apocalyptic South Florida of rice paddies and clarinet players.
Can you take a mental trip into this strange future? Can you envision what life would be like? Where did you end up? How did you survive? What are you doing now? Write an obituary, a poem, the love letter you never got around to penning. What have you seen or heard in your neighborhood?
How do you cook, brush your teeth, power your laptop? How do you milk a goat?
Send your descriptions of Armageddon and what comes after to The Bitch, firstname.lastname@example.org. Your messages will be printed in an upcoming issue of the New Times. No, The Bitch doesn't know what the end of days will bring, but the end of accepting your thoughts (on this subject) is December 4.
On November 10, Mario Barcia returned to the scene of a possible crime -- the single-story Cutler Ridge house he used to own where he was arrested last year.
On October 24, 2003, shortly after midnight, Barcia fired his Glock handgun at two armed men lurking in his backyard. Although Barcia feared they were home invaders, the two men turned out to be Sgt. David Dominguez and Ofcr. Chad Murphy of the Miami-Dade Police Department. Murphy was struck in the back; his bullet-proof vest saved his life.The two cops had entered Barcia's property in search of an unidentified vandal who allegedly threw a rock at Dominguez's squad car.
Barcia is suspended from his job as a clerk with the county's family court in downtown Miami, is otherwise unemployed, wears an ankle bracelet and reports regularly to a probation officer. He and his wife Mercedes sold their house to pay bills.
This past week Barcia's attorney, Ronald Lowy, conducted a reenactment of the shooting to demonstrate the theory that his client did not know Dominguez and Murphy were police officers. While Barcia waited patiently outside his old home, Lowy conducted his test inside the house in the presence of Miami-Dade Assistant State Attorney Timothy VanderGiesen, who is prosecuting the case, and Miami-Dade Police Det. Charles McCully, the lead investigator. "To his credit, VanderGiesen took a minute to acclimate his eyes to the dark so he could get a sense of what Barcia saw that night," Lowy said.
VanderGiesen declined comment. However, Ed Griffith, spokesman for the State Attorney's Office, says it is not uncommon for prosecutors to observe reenactments conducted by the defense. "We certainly want to be there in case we have to raise concerns as to whether or not a reenactment was done or was not done accurately," Griffith said.
Barcia is set to stand trial December 1, facing two felony counts of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
When Bullets Fly at Dancing Feet
In this past week's column, Club Space fired a shot across the bow of the world-famous Ultra Music Festival, announcing its intentions to throw a rival event, Spacefest, and steal away Ultra's top DJs through contracts with noncompete clauses.
Rattled by the provocation, Ultra owner Alex Omes responded by forwarding an e-mail to The Bitch that Club Space owner Louis Puig purportedly sent out to several managers and booking agents. In a note titled "Please talk to me before siging [sic] ultra music festival or other contracts for WMC," Puig allegedly wrote: "There is a very good possibility that Space will be doing its own festival (Spacefest) during WMC, proceeds of which will go to help the victims of the current inundation of hurricanes." He then provided a list of 23 DJs, from Club Space residents such as Oscar G and Edgar V to international super jocks such as Paul Van Dyk, Tiësto, Sasha, and Carl Cox. "If your artist/s is on this list, do not sign any contracts until your deal with Space is final," he warned.
Omes then provided some e-mail comments of his own. He wrote that Van Dyk is "confirmed to close the Ultra Music Festival for 2005 as he has for the past two years. Whether he will play Space is another issue." As for Space spokeswoman Ardis Robles's belief that Van Dyk et. al. are "Space DJs," Omes responded, "Paul Van Dyk as well as Sasha and Digweed have been performers at the Ultra Music Festival for its entire run. Seven years now. Before SPACE was built ...We've lived this for over a decade. Whereas [Robles] was a waitress at [Club Space] less than a year ago."
During a hilarious dirt-dishing phone conversation, Lainie Copicotto, a supervisor at Ultra's marketing, media, and sponsorship firm Aurelia Entertainment, scoffed at the idea that Club Space would be able to compete against Ultra. She points out that one of the DJs listed in the e-mail Ultra forwarded, Danny Tenaglia, "will not be playing for Louis anytime soon. Danny purposely went to Club Envy because of an argument he had with Louis over the closing of Space," referring to Space's series of bogus "closing parties" in October 2003, which Tenaglia was initially booked to play.
Copicotto believes that Puig is jealous because Omes left his post as Space's music director to become the worldwide booking director for crobar. "We love Louis, but we don't love what he's doing," she says. "Chill the fuck out. Check yourself before you wreck yourself." She then ridiculed Robles and issued a challenge to Puig: "Tell Louis to come out from the office and actually say something, because he's sending people who don't know shit."
Back in September a story about Chucky, a fourteen-foot, half-ton American alligator who was washed free when high tides from Hurricane Ivan struck a Gulf Shores, Alabama, zoo, was snapped up by CNN and other national media outlets. Relentless Miami Seaquarium foe Russ Rector says the Nile crocodile display at the Virginia Key attraction presents a similar hazard, especially given Florida's own recent propensity for attracting tropical storms.
Rector contends that the saltwater crocs at the Seaquarium would, if loosed, create havoc in Biscayne Bay, and at least one expert agrees. Frank Mazzoti, an ecologist with the University of Florida who has shepherded projects to reinvigorate the endangered American crocodile population in South Florida, says the African animals are much more aggressive. If they made it into the bay, says Mazzotti, they would either mix genes with their American cousins, effectively killing off the species, or they would eat them out of existence.
"If they think Chucky looked bad, wait until they get a load of these man-eaters from the Seaquarium," Rector rants. "They've got a four-foot-tall retainer wall holding these babies in there, and during Andrew a six-foot wave washed across Key Biscayne. What does that tell you?"
"We are confident that the exhibit poses no threat to the general public," says Seaquarium curator Robert Rose. "The suggestion that a natural disaster could cause an escape is unfounded and is highly unlikely."
Professional picketer Theodore Burrows says Rothstar Construction, Inc. is using heavy equipment to try to keep him and his colleagues from protesting in front of its offices at 1221 Brickell Ave. Burrows is a homeless man who says most of the sign-carriers he marches with are also homeless people paid by the Miami Carpenter's Union to obtain demonstration permits and protest targeted union-busting businesses. Burrows told The Bitch that Rothstar employees "shout obscenities at us, flip us the finger and other gestures also, then they call the police on us, claiming we did it to them." Burrows says Rothstar's interference with his interference is un-American: "The carpenter's union has given us a legitimate source of income and a possible way off of the street. But Rothstar Construction has tried to use this as a reason to basically harass us and keep us from being gainfully employed using means that are guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States."
Rothstar officials did not return calls for comment.
Opiates: Still Calorie Free
Dog cannot live by Vicodin and Chimay alone, so The Bitch subsists on her own vegetarian version of the Atkins diet. This meal plan consists largely of tubs of Betty Crocker buttercream cake frosting and calamari. For the other 60 million Americans caught in the vortex of these pro-fascist, anti-carbohydrate times, Low Carbiz Magazine claims one of the ten best places in the nation to refrain from resembling Donal Logue is Miami. The magazine recently ran a cover story in which it claimed residents of the metropolis -- energized by plantains, beans, rice, bread, and tres leches cake for dessert -- have "easy access to an abundance of low-carb products, restaurants with low-carb menu items, and a local culture generally conducive to exercise and health."
Um, have these people ever actually been to Miami? This is what often happens when outsiders attempt to define our amorphous metropolitan area: They are actually referring to South Beach's hardbody culture. Real Miamians need their carbs to soak up all the rum.
Vendors seem to be sold on the Low Carbiz list. Del Monte, the international processed food-pushing conglomerate whose Fresh Del Monte Produce, Inc., is headquartered in Coral Gables, is this very month launching a new line of canned fruit, under the label Carb Clever. Destination test market: Miami.
In Loving Memory
Casa Casuarina, the Ocean Drive mansion that once belonged to murdered fashion designer Gianni Versace, should really be designated the official Capitol building for the entire Miami area. It has just the right degrees of association with violence and scandal, over-the-topness, and a kind of cheeky, winking, architectural contrivance. At a party there this past week given by Condé Nast, Tony "Mr. Nightlife" Miros, who is busy putting together the upcoming White Party, and Miami Herald columnist Leslie Abravanel gave The Bitch a nice tour, complete with fond remembrances of Versace and mingling with Cher and Elton John.
On hand as well were an ashy-looking Flavor Flav, his fierce Public Enemy days long behind him (though he still has the big clock around his neck), and pert fashion purveyor/Target merchandiser Cynthia Rowley. Rowley, who often appears with business partner and former New York Times style editor Ilene Rosenzweig in ads for the retail chain, was pleasant enough, but admits, sadly, that she is not acquainted with Bullseye, the rare white English Bull Terrier who is the official Target mascot.
"I have the necessity to locate Mr. Raymond Bradbury, author of The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451. Does the possibility exist you could find him? Any information that you manage to send will be a lot of help."
- Daniel Vergara Millalonco in a letter to The Bitch
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