Misfired missive

When we heard that our teddy bear of a mayor had entered a piece of his own art into a special competition just for county and city employees and their families, we naturally had to have a look. (And we admit to hoping for a good laugh, because we're perverse like that.)

We wanted to see a creative expression of Buddy's tortured soul, the inner conflicts that drive him, that he nonetheless manages to neatly hide behind his everything-to-everyone public persona. Maybe his work would involve a disturbing abstract, or perhaps a bloody use of color, or even an oddly proportioned eggplant.

No such luck. Mayor Dyer's oil painting – tellingly untitled – is a postcard cliché, an endlessly seen scenic view of Lake Eola complete with fountain, swan boat and the signature "Mayor." Yuck. No wonder his piece was not among the winners of the art contest for city and county employees, which are on display at the Orange County Administration Building. You can check out the tortured inner souls of our public servants yourself through the end of September.

In fact, if we were more cynical, we might think the city is trying to hide Dyer's work. We had to have a "special tour" to see "DyEola" (our pet name), which took us to the third floor of City Hall, where the master's piece will reside, more as a symbol of Mayor Dyer being a good sport than being a good artist.

Turns out Dyer just played along, with a little arm-twisting, throwing his work into the hopper with about 100 others for this odd exhibition funded by the National Arts Program Foundation in Pennsylvania. "There is genuine artistic talent in all of society that is often not recognized," believes the N.A.P., which ponied up $750 in cash (from an endowment by a couple of now-deceased art lovers) to hand out to the six winning employee/family artists at the Sept. 22 reception.

For a more inspiring vision of childish art than what Dyer himself has to offer, head to the first floor of City Hall. That's where you'll find some brilliant works in the just-installed "ABCs: Art by Coalition Children" exhibit in the Terrace Gallery. Though no cash incentives are involved, those proud artists and their mentors from the Coalition for the Homeless program will be taking their bows at the reception from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Sept. 30.

Newsflash: John Kerry and John Edwards were in town for a little Bush-bashing Sept. 21. What, you didn't hear? Anyway, no one consulted Happytown™ to determine optimum timing for the event, because if Jesus Christ himself returned on a Tuesday evening, we couldn't get it in the paper until a week from the following Wednesday. Deadlines, you see. It's a weekly newspaper thing.

So in lieu of fawning over Edwards (and shaking our heads at the anemic campaign of Kerry, who should rightfully be mopping the outhouse floor with that guy we didn't elect in the first place), we bring you this little campaign tidbit: Down in Palm Beach County Operation Bubbe is on the march!

As reported in The New York Observer, Operation Bubbe is a "posse of roughly 100 pissed-off grandkids" who are sick and tired of their Jewish grandmas taking the heat for the butterfly ballot fiasco of 2000. OB operatives will go door-to-door to make sure the bluehairs get out to vote, driving them to the polls if necessary. The bad news is that the oldsters are on their own once they get into the voting booth. The good news is Patrick Buchanan won't be on the ballot this time.

Now, in most cases, nothing makes us happier than a real dirty, meaty ground-kissing. (We're perverse like that.) This fall, falling is the new pratfall, or something. But the conceptual wizardry that fell into the Surf Expo Sept. 19 had even us punching our collective stomachs for a splat of life-saving spittle.

Drowned in that peculiar malaise that occupies these X-treme public marketing ploys, the "Downtown Street Jam" huffed and puffed its way to the woebegone block of Jefferson and Washington at Orange, shutting the whole rundown thoroughfare down for the sake of some spirited staged Jackassing; y'know, people being mechanically yanked off a balance beam on a skateboard without wheels and into a giant pool of water (or a wet plastic bag draped over 2-by-4s). Yeah, that thing.

We hear tell the organizers – the folks at Thee Grotto and other people who surf inland – were not quite prepared for the weight of water, and had to elbow-grease the whole thing at the last minute. But from the stolid looks on the drunken wakeboard enthusiasts' faces, technicalities didn't really matter. Nothing did. People came, fell and got wet in the name of O-Rock/Budweiser-inspired downtown development.

Do not try this at home. Try it on Orange Avenue.


Q: Why don't girls like me?

A: If you're not hideously deformed or horribly odoriferous, then the problem comes down to the technology you're using – namely, your brain's interacting-with-girls software. Luckily, I happen to have a copy of the FAQ right here on my hard drive.First of all, you have to realize that the processing systems of most girls are deliberately designed to produce irrelevant or inaccurate output. This is a variation on the security-through-obscurity theme. For instance, if a female is feeling insecure about her appearance, instead of requesting input contrary to her insecurity, she might become irritable about your attempts to socially interface with other females. Consider also that although most girls claim to want a guy that will "treat her right," they don't mean that you should give them everything they ask for. There is a well-documented bug in the female OS that causes women to view males that cater to their whims as fundamentally weak and unsuitable for mating.

The work-around for this bug is to tinker with your own user interface a bit. Upgrade your own self-esteem subsystem with code that includes a directive to the effect of "her happiness is not my problem – my happiness is my problem," and you will find that most of the incompatibilities disappear. Strangely enough, the most successful algorithm for attracting females in the wild seems to be to program your external interface to broadcast the message, "I don't need women." Just goes to show what 300,000 years of sloppy, undocumented code will do to perfectly good hardware.

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