The Sweet Smell of Psychosis

The 1200-year-old Borobudur temple in central Java, Indonesia, now sparkles at night thanks to the work of lighting designer Robert Daniels, who redesigned the Buddhist temple's illumination scheme.

"The Borobudur temple, covered in elaborate carvings and sculptures, is certainly one of the most magnificent and beautiful ... monuments," explains Daniels through a spokeswoman at GE, which is funding the project. "By day its magnificence is apparent. By night it's a bit harder to appreciate. My mission was to create a design that truly punctuates the depth, detail, and sheer brilliance of this temple at night," says Daniels, who is also the owner of Brilliant Lighting Design in Miami.

Mission accomplished. Using a technique he calls crossfire lighting, Daniels gave each of the temple's four sides a more three-dimensional appearance while creating shadows that highlight the intricacies in the carvings. He also used enhanced "light-beam control" to separate the golden yellow on the temple's lower levels from the white light on the temple's highest level.

"Two colors of light to symbolize stages in Buddha's life, just as different levels in the monument symbolize different stages in his life," Daniels adds. "The temple tells the entire history of Buddhism through its elaborate designs and sculptures. I wanted my design to help tell the story of the temple and the story of the people who built it."

The temple stands 113 feet tall and encompasses 163,000 square feet, making it the largest monument in Southeast Asia and the largest Buddhist temple in the world.

Daniels has also designed the lighting for other major structures, including the MacArthur Causeway Bridge, the Basilica Don Bosco in Panama City, and the Torre Colpatria building in Bogotá, Colombia.

Accessory to Mustard

No confusion here: The Bitch loves a good dog. In fact she has her favorite wiener purveyor on speed dial, having pronounced it impeccable in the pages of this very publication (Best Hot Dog Stand, "Best of Miami," 2005). Not even Ivan Petrovich Pavlov's bell could induce the salivary chaos that ensues when the words "Dogma Grill" are uttered in conjunction with "veggie dog on a sourdough bun."

So imagine The Bitch's lack of relish when Desaray Smith Dione, a former employee of the restaurant, reported being "dogged by Dogma Grill."

Although this is Miami, the land where objects speak louder than words, it seems that Dione's firing was rooted in controversy surrounding a pair of Prada sunglasses, an equation in which the value of employee satisfaction was less than, not equal to, the possession of a luxury accessory.

It seems the owner of Dogma Grill, one David Tunnell, filled in for a manager when a few employees were out of town. According to Dione, who was not working at the time, Tunnell left his Prada sunglasses at Dogma's Biscayne Boulevard store and returned to find them gone. According to all reports, Tunnell wasn't angry, he simply wanted his sunglasses back -- so much so that he announced tips would be withheld for all employees until the sunglasses were either returned or $200 was raised toward their replacement.

Dione, who was nowhere near the restaurant at the time of the alleged theft, believed that she and other employees who hadn't been working at the time were being unfairly punished. "I thought he had painted a broad stroke," she tells The Bitch. So Dione took a stand. "I came in on Friday and refused to hand over our tips. I gave him a call to talk about it, and told him that it seemed unfair to punish workers who were not working when he lost his sunglasses." Tunnell allegedly responded to Dione that he hadn't really given it much thought but that his time was too valuable to pore over employee schedules. This wasn't good enough for Dione, who repeated that she would not hand over her tips. "He got very mad," she says. "He wanted to know who was working with me, who was manager; he wanted my phone number, and I told him it was posted on the schedule in the office." According to Dione, he then said, "You work for me, I don't work for you. Don't come back to the restaurant."

Responding to The Bitch's inquiry about the incident, Tunnell had only this to say about Dione: "She was a problematic employee who disobeyed a direct order." He went on to hint that Dione, who began working at Dogma Grill in April, had been a troublesome worker from the start. Dione says Tunnell is relatively uninvolved in the eatery's day-to-day operations, generally left to its managers. "I've never even really dealt with him," she says. Regardless, she liked her job, liked her co-workers and managers, and believes that employees who are willing to take risks for the restaurant (which was once robbed after hours) should be treated with respect.

The Bitch, who never went to obedience school but has certainly had her share of jobs in the service industry, is inclined to agree -- and to advocate for hapless victims of metrosexual materialism in all walks of life.

Legion of Dune

Oscar Rodriguez, a concerned reader from Miami Beach, believes that a recent fury of public-bathroom demolitions on the Beach has hindered his enjoyment of outdoor activities. Now they are dictated not by the weather but by "those common and universal biological laws of nature. Could you please tell me WHERE a person can evacuate or urinate?"

Jorge Chartrand, director of capital improvement projects for Miami Beach, hopes Rodriguez can hold it for just a little bit longer.

"The restroom at 46th Street and Collins Avenue should be under construction in a week. We're still waiting on permits for the restrooms at 21st Street and 64th Street, and the Lummus Park restroom is already under construction." In other words, within two or three months, says Chartrand, all four restrooms, which were demolished, will be rebuilt. In the meantime, try to walk that very thin line between heat stroke and having to pee every five minutes.

As for cleanliness, Domingo Macias, who works for Miami Beach's sanitation department, says, "The bathrooms are cleaned seven days a week, two or three times a day. It's a complicated process because the homeless use them and a lot of them get vandalized. Sometimes someone will lock themselves in there and start drinking, or do laundry in the sink. It's tough to keep them clean, but we try."

For the time being, this leaves no public facilities available anywhere north of Tenth Street except at 74th.

Be Cool

The Bitch still hasn't gotten over her annoyance at seeing tons of ice abetting the flow of free VMA cocktail parties (not to mention the fabulous ice sculpture creations of the Boost Mobile eighth-grade art class at Casa Casuarina) two weeks ago as hurricane-stricken residents of Overtown, the West Grove, and Liberty City sweltered with neither ice nor art at hand.

She was somewhat mollified by the unlikely personage of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, who effected an individual comfort-distribution record. His honor proclaimed he would personally deliver bags of ice and bottled water to those without power in the Flagami neighborhood the Tuesday following the storm, and he did.

When The Bitch casually inquired how the project had turned out, city spokeswoman Kelly Penton responded, "The mayor himself passed out about 6000 pounds of ice going from door to door from 6:00 to 10:30 p.m."

Wow! Assuming we're talking the standard ten-pound bag of ice, that's a distribution rate of about 600 deliveries in less than five hours. As Darth Vader would say, "Most impressive."

Now if only Mayor Diaz could pull a Bob Graham and work a shift for high-speed Internet monopolists Comcast Cable. According to Comcast spokesman Spero Canton, 100 percent of the company's Miami-Dade/Broward network has been restored from Katrina-related outages. Though Comcast blares ads promising "blazing-fast, always-on Internet connections" to callers on hold to its customer service pods, residents of the West Grove and elsewhere in the hood would have more connectivity with dial-up accounts and 14.4 modems. Since August 25, the bandwidth for these customers has been 0 kb, owing to a seemingly interminable Comcast lack of responsiveness.

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