Growing Pickles, Death by Cab, Cell Phone Art, and Why Hereafter Makes You Want to Die

The cover story of this week's New Times print edition concerns pickle eating contest. No joke. You read right. We know what you are thinking. It has to be euphemism for oral sex, right? Wrong.  Then it must be the slowest news week in the history of Miami. Wrong again. There's plenty of hi-jinx in and around Miami as you'll see in the rest of the issue. So it's not that. You're just going to have to trust writer Michael Mooney, pickle eating, and competitive eating in general is the next big thing. They already held a corned-beef-sandwich-eating contest in March. Still not convinced? Check out a sampling of "The Great Pickle Battle" after the jump.

At its core, this is a simple contest of biologic function.

But the World Pickle Eating Championship -- held this year at the Isle

Casino in Pompano Beach -- is something much more. Taking place beneath a

small white tent on a 90-degree Sunday morning in September, this is a

pageant of the hilarious and the horrific. It's sanctioned by Major

League Eating, competitive eating's governing body, and with $5,000 at

stake, the six-minute, vinegar-soaked battle is part athletic endeavor,

part anachronistic entertainment. And it epitomizes the modern

competitive-eating circuit, nicknamed the "fastest growing sport in


If gluttony isn't your bag, then you'll be mortified to read Michael E. Miller's "Death Cab"

about a rash of taxi robberies and shootings in Liberty City. It used to

be that the worst that could happen to a cabbie was a passenger

ditching without paying his fare. Let's just say those were the salad

days compared to what's going on today.

With unemployment hovering near 13 percent in Miami-Dade

County, authorities say taxi drivers have become both a means of

transportation for bad guys and targets for criminals looking for quick

cash. In the seven weeks following the murder, seven cabbies have been

robbed at gunpoint, almost all in the same neighborhood and possibly by

the same thieves. Some of the attacks could have been prevented by

barriers between the front and back seats, like those required in other

big cities. Better safety practices by cabbies and their companies might

have stopped the others.

Next up is Carlos Suarez De Jesus's "Click, Share, Done"

review of the "International Cell Phone Photo" show at Artspace MAGQ in

Pinecrest. The exhibit is the logical consequence of having a planet

filled with budding photographers with cameras in their pockets.

Submissions came from a half-dozen countries and more than 50


Just about anyone who owns a cell phone is packing a studio

in his or her pocket and can play at being an artist. "It's amazing what

you can do with an iPhone and the apps available to create art on

them," says Mike Arnspiger, a photographer (and curator of the show).

"What's more impressive is that you can create an image and tweak it

with the instrument wherever you are at the moment and send it anywhere

in the world in an instant."

By now you've seen the trailers for Hereafter,

Clint Eastwood's new movies staring Matt Damon. It looks enthralling

enough, but as J. Hoberman's review recounts, you

should never judge a movie by its preview.

As a movie, Hereafter peaks five minutes in, when a frugally

staged tsunami arrives on a bright blue morning to trash some

paradisiacal Pacific island beach. What follows is a lugubrious tale of

wonderment: An attractive French telejournalist (Cécile de France)

parses her near-death experience in Hawaii, while a painfully cute

12-year-old British schoolboy (George McLaren) with a substance-abusing

mum suffers a terrible loss, and a depressed, Dickens-loving psychic

named George (Matt Damon, always game) wrestles with his occult power to

read minds and channel the dead.

And finally, as we are prone to do with this post, we end with a little snippet from Dan Savage and his "Savage Love"

column. Dan gives some good advice but sometimes he just let's loose on

posers. And he does so quite enjoyably this week on an impostor who

claims to have two sexual female organs and no, we're not talking nipples. Enjoy.

You don't have a single clit, TMF, much less two. You're a

horny boy with a dick, an e-mail account, and an obsession with/terror

of a woman's potential capacity for unlimited sexual pleasure. And I'm

hoping--I'm hoping against hope--that seeing your letter in print isn't

your peak sexual experience. But odds are...