Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Monday, May 28, 2012
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Saturday, May 26, 2012
All the food was "free". Politically powerful people got to gorge themselves on sandwiches while ordinary people stood in line, waiting for leftovers:
Only a lucky few actually got anything.
If you had American currency you could stand in another line to buy actual, full sized, Cuban sandwiches:
A long line:
Food shortages were endemic, and even the two capitalist establishments had problems keeping food in stock. The first of the two places selling sandwiches ran out as soon as I got to the counter.
This place was in an isolated area and had them in stock:
The festival was a disgrace to the Cuban community, not that any of them noticed.
Also on display were cigars:
And antique cars:
I guess I got a genuine Cuban experience!
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
These are what I purchased, they look kind of weird:
And they taste weird, too:
French macaroons have a crispy outer shell, which shatters when you bite it, flinging shards of macaroon everywhere. Inside is a mushy glob, which is much too sweet, even for my American palete. I guess you're supposed to enjoy the flavor, but with the sweetness it reminds one of medicine.
Worst cookie ever!
(I suspect these are actually tiny pavlovas, a dessert from Australia and New Zealand.)
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
It isn't premium pizza, it's very competitively priced. But it goes to some effort to sound authentically Italian. Also, it's imported, but not from Italy:
I wonder how a German company can make frozen pizza, ship it to the US, and charge so little. And if this is possible, I wonder why an Italian company isn't doing it instead.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Saturday, May 19, 2012
The GOP convention will be held in Tampa this year, and it appears as if someone is giving the Occupy movement money to hire professional protesters. That's the impression one gets from this flyer. I wondered who was behind it. Here is what I was able to dig up and my opinion as to what it means:
Nothing on the flyer says which organization is offering to pay people. The only contact information given is a phone number and the private email address of one "RJ Bradley-Ortiz".
I Googled "RJ Bradley-Ortiz" and found this:
I couldn't find that exact post, but a link was given and I followed it. It was a Craigslist posting. It informed people to call RJ at the same phone number, but at a different email address. And the organization doing the hiring was listed as the Florida Consumer Action Network:
According to the posting, they were offering to pay people nine to twelve dollars an hour:
I went to the Florida Consumer Action Network web page and found a few interesting things.
They call themselves a grassroots organization, which is odd since it seems they are paying people. And they are apparently paying people nine to twelve dollars an hour. That's not the sort of money you pay to get professional help, that's the sort of money you pay people to stand around and protest.
What they're apparently hiring people to do isn't clearly stated, but they do use Occupy slogans in their material, so what else would a reasonable person think?
They also don't list RJ Bradley-Ortiz as a staff member:
Perhaps they're just a very large organization and RJ isn't as important as the bookkeeper.
FCAN touts its financial accountability. "FCAN has a high standard of financial accountability." The last financial data they have posted is from 2009:
I wanted current financial information, and a list of donors, so I looked at the two links the organization provides. One led to a Florida state website which gave me some basic information from 2010. They have a foundation with a 2010 income of 190,659 dollars (it does voter registration and education) and a network with a 2010 income of 461,500 dollars:
The other link led me to a website that offered limited information. It expressly forbid me to republish information as a registered user. So here is what you can find about FCAN as an unregistered user:
FCAN hasn't reported revenue and expense data to the website. And its two listed donors (from what year I don't know) are SEIU and USAction:
That was all the information I was able to gather. Nothing is proven, but things look odd. And I still want to know a few things:
1. Why is FCAN using Occupy slogans and giving people the impression in flyers that they are part of the Occupy movement and hiring people.
2. What are the people they are hiring expected to do? Is it to act as paid, professional protesters?
3. Why does their webpage only list financial information up to 2009? Where is the information from 2010 and 2011, and who are their donors?
Perhaps a professional journalist could find answers to these question.
UPDATE: I found a FCAN twitter account and am asking them about this. Will post any responses.
The picture above is of Obama's campaign headquarters in downtown Saint Petersburg, Florida. They seemed a little desperate when I visited. Right after I took this picture a woman popped out and asked if I wanted to have my photo taken with the building. I declined her offer.
Five or six people were standing on nearby street corners holding Barack Obama signs. It looked a little odd. For one thing, they weren't standing in a group but as lone figures. I know this allowed them to cover more area, but it also made them look like pan-handlers.
Another thing which seemed odd was that they were standing in the sun, on empty streets. It was 9am and the building wasn't supposed to open until 10. It's only May; if this keeps up, they'll be pretty demoralized by summer.
Also, the signs lacked any individuality or real message, just "2012 BARACKOBAMA.COM". I take it there wont be any "Obama/Biden" stuff this year (probably a wise decision), but they really should come up with something meaningful to say. Especially if they are going to force people to stand outside with signs all day.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Saturday, May 12, 2012
People came and took pictures of Tampa's train station, named "Union Station":
It's rather modest, but the clock there is pretty:
The crowd consisted of mainly older people, but also parents with young children:
The biggest draw seemed to be the model trains:
Out back, they offered a tour of a passenger train. A lone singer belted out Sinatra-style tunes and people ate food from food trucks. The audience didn't seem enthusiastic about the food, as if it were a little too exotic for their pallets:
Sunday, May 6, 2012
"She’s using her winnings from Lifetime’s 24 Hour Catwalk, a grand prize of $10,000, to create a new line of taxidermy-themed footwear: high-heeled bunny slippers with real bunny heads, pumps covered in white mouse skin, that kind of thing."
You're not uber-cool unless you have roadkill in your freezer.