Ain't she sweet? To the moviegoing masses, Meg Ryan conjures stock images of hearts, flowers, a perpetually pink pout, and that screaming fake orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally. Hard to find fault with any of that.

But to her mother (and Fort Lauderdale resident), Susan Jordan, Meg's more than the adorable and reigning queen of romantic comedies; she's a teller of tall tales -- and they aren't screenplays.

At least that's what Jordan says in a recent knuckle-rapping letter published in the February issue of Vanity Fair, where Jordan chastises the accuracy of the high-gloss mag's December cover story on Ryan. According to Jordan the article's account of how she left her family, including the young Meg, to pursue her career as an actress and a casting director smacks of "fiction." Jordan then tells the magazine that she was available to set the story straight and her number was in the phone book.

In a separate article she penned for Good Housekeeping, Jordan says that both she and her former husband decided that her moving out was cheaper and saner than uprooting the kids to follow Mom. While teaching part-time, Jordan landed a bit part in a commercial and worked at a casting agency until she could scrape up enough cash to make a new life and home for her children. (Meg had already left the nest.) She thinks the Vanity writer should have checked her side of the story instead of assuming Ryan's woeful tale of abandonment was legit.

But when New Times called to hear Jordan's version, she suddenly wasn't interested in talking about it. Ever. Maybe a "You've Got Mail" flashing on her personal computer would've garnered a response.

We're not so sure those blue bikes that dot the Fort Lauderdale landscape qualify as public art. Many people think they're cute and somewhat mysterious. We see them more as an ugly nuisance. After all, how would you like to step outside your door to find a sloppily painted, broken-down bike chained to a tree in your front yard? How avant-garde.

In the absence of much public art in this cultural wasteland, the bikes caused a sensation a couple of months ago and led to a hard-nosed investigative series by the Sun-Sentinel. It took a bunch of stories, but they doggedly got to the bottom of it. They uncovered a couple of guys who thought chaining junk to public property was a great idea. The paper also went way out on a limb and praised the bikes in an editorial after city commissioners stopped city employees from impounding the bikes.

Well, now comes a new twist that's worth some space. Those macho blue bikes have been joined in chains by pink ones! That's right, girly-girl bikes with gobs of pink paint splashed on them and handlebar grips with plastic streamers have been added. How adorable. So at least there's some equality in bad public art. Now we can expect the old bikes to continue to pop up and be praised by the city commission and the mainstream media alike.

How about we take a rusted-out Ford truck, pour buckets of black paint over it, and place it near the front door of city hall, or possibly the Sun-Sentinel building? Now that would be worth writing about.

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Tom Walsh
Contact: Tom Walsh