Too Hot to Care
Filed under: News
Apart from four sweaty journalists, a homeless man, and a retired Puerto Rican judge concerned about his grandchildren, no one much listened to John Parker's warnings on a recent Tuesday afternoon on South Beach.
Maybe it was the unlikely setting for Parker's global warming press conference: the intersection of 15th Street and Ocean Drive, among palm trees and wafts of sunscreen from joggers and sunbathers heading to a beach that could disappear by century's end.
"We're going to have an inundation of the beach. It's going to happen unless, in the next 10 years, we get more serious about energy efficiency, " said Parker, an environmental science and chemistry professor at Florida International University, who was joined by members of Environment Florida, an advocacy group.
Near the beach showers, 33-year-old Jack Lasane sat far from the group's poster of a rising, zigzagging line showing Florida getting ever hotter. According to a new Environment Florida report, Miami recorded 82 days at 90 degrees or higher in 2006, almost 20 days more than the historical average. Last year's daily lows were about 1.1 degree higher than past averages.
"I think people go about their lives and don't give a shit. They don't see a problem until it's right in front of them," said Lasane, admitting the ranks of Miami Beach's environmentally apathetic included him.
Nearby, some 50 people were camped out at M.I.A. Skate Shop to purchase limited-edition Nikes named for hip-hop star MF Doom. Some had been in line there since the night before, including Yung Swagg, a 16-year-old from Miramar who pledged to rule Everglades High School next year. "Yes, really, I'm concerned about global warming.... 'Cause I might die."
"What's that shit?" asked another teenager, wearing a red ball cap cocked to the side and also standing in line.
"Global warming!" Yung chided. "You don't know about that!?" — Janine Zeitlin
See the Inner Arena
Filed under: Culture
The scene at Miami's Marriott Biscayne Bay on March 5, 2006, was one of chaos and camaraderie. More than 500 women were vying for the title of Miss F.A.T. (Fabulous And Thick) on Mo'Nique's F.A.T. Chance. Thanks to the empowering presence of increasingly ubiquitous hostess Mo'Nique Imes, the program that celebrates the beauty of full-figured women has become one of the most popular on Oprah's female-centric Oxygen Network.
This season, which takes place in Paris, local fans have something extra to tune in for: In the top five is 23-year-old Arena Turner, who hails from Liberty City. Until recently she answered to Ms. Turner, in her role as a sixth-grade science teacher at Norland Middle School in North Miami. Since she resigned from her job to pursue her F.A.T. Chance dreams (the title brings a $50,000 cash prize), she answers to "Bonjour, beautiful!"
"Paris was an amazing experience. Once-in-a-lifetime," Arena gushes. The sense of empowerment she received is doing her good, now that she's back in body-conscious Miami. "There's the whole Beach vibe about being skinny and having a washboard stomach and everything like that. Being put in an atmosphere where your beauty is being glorified no matter what your weight is ... it's an experience you couldn't pay for."
Besides enjoying the finer pleasures of Europe's most romantic city, the contestants also stirred controversy when nude photos of them body-painted made the rounds of the blogosphere. Some people heralded the photos as a new celebration of real beauty, but others decried the contestants in shockingly prejudiced terms. In the photograph, Arena is dead-center, rocking nothing more than stunning earrings, pink body paint, and pink eyelashes.
"The whole competition is about stepping outside of your comfort zone and being comfortable with you. Just loving yourself enough to say, 'Okay, listen. I'm a big girl and I can let it all hang out because I'm beautiful. I'm a work of art!'" — Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Hose 'Em Down, Sarnoff!
Filed under: News
If you listened very, very carefully during Thursday's marathon 12-hour Miami City Commission meeting, you might have heard something about bicycles. True, the subject came up only once — but still, once is once.
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At issue was the approval of a special permit for the proposed One Bayfront Plaza project, a whopping 70-story skyscraper being touted by developers as Miami's future "signature building." District 1 Commissioner Marc Sarnoff said he would approve the project on a few conditions, including showers, a changing room, and other accommodations for bicyclists.
It's summer, and biking to work can be a grizzly prospect. You sweat, and even if you've brought a change of clothes, that perspiration has a way of burning into the flesh, of eating away at the body all day.
Bayfront Plaza or no, requiring buildings to include facilities that would let a brother or sister bike to work, hose off, and change in a proper setting (de-panting in your cubicle = improper, however necessary) is a great idea, and we're glad to see Sarnoff talking the talk.
And if Bayfront Plaza does go ahead, and they don't include a locker room, we hereby threaten to perform a sweaty, risqué wardrobe change right there in the lobby. — Isaiah Thompson