I am heartbroken about Notre Dame. It’s really been terrible for everyone to watch the cathedral burn. Especially for me, because I have been to France. You haven’t been to France? Well, you should. Even though it won’t ever be the same again. Not without Notre Dame, which I have seen, by the way.France is such an amazing place with an indescribable je ne sais quoi, which is French by the way. I don’t “speak” French per se, but I picked up quite a lot during the 10 days I spent there in middle school and can still pretty much watch Amélie without subtitles and still know what’s going on.

I guess Notre Dame burning just isn’t as terrible if you haven’t seen it in person. Here, let me show you a picture of me standing inside the Cathedral from my trip. Now you get it. I really was there. The place was special to me. You understand that, right? Also, while I have you, let me show you some pictures of me last weekend at Coachella. I go every year, it’s a really spiritual experience.

Goat yoga? That’s so 2017. Miami’s next hottest fitness trend is alligator yoga.The brainchild of a double-amputee Jerome “Gatorbait” Villanova, South Florida residents are paying big bucks to stretch and meditate in front of his certified yoga therapy gators.
“I came up with the idea after reading about that goat yoga trend and realizing that I could use some money and that people will pay for just about anything,” said Gatorbait before unleashing several full-grown alligators on a class of hipsters and housewives.
“It’s super relaxing to just be around such majestic creatures who are as old as the dinosaurs,” said 33-year-old aromatherapy curator Christine Johnson of Brickell shortly before being killed. “Oh my god, why on earth did we think this was a good idea? Why couldn’t we just do regular yoga?” said Ashton Bunfield right after his own maiming.

Miami Dade College students will soon be able to drive down Bird Road in their stepfather’s Corolla with a little more pride. The college announced that it has redesigned its parking decals to look more like the University of Miami’s, an effort the college thinks will encourage more students to attend their institution by eliminating the stigma attached to having a MDC decal on their car.

“This remodel could change a lot of people’s lives,” said Miami-Dade College President Eduardo J. Padron, who suggested the decal redesign after a valet attendant chose to assist an 18-year-old with an S-Class before him, a decision he believes was based solely on his parking pass. 

In addition to increased valet attention, initial research suggests these new decals could also result in Miami-Dade College students getting towed 100% less than they did with the old decals. Students can also expect an average of three fewer middle fingers directed at them when they drive down I-95 (although an average of two more middle fingers when they are north of the I-4 corridor or anywhere in Ohio). 

Armando Rodriguez was one of the first students to get the new decal and is very happy with the results. “I went on my first date since getting into MDC,” said the Miami-Dade College Sophomore who definitely plans on transferring. “I’m pretty sure she is also a MDC student, but she only agreed to go out with me because she thinks I go to UM,” said Mr. Rodgriguez. “I’m trying to get a fake UM student ID and sublease a condo in Brickell before our next date, if you know anyone.”

Not everyone  is happy with the remodeled decal. University of Miami students are very upset that people who are of a lower economic status will be treated like they have the same money, privilege, and sophisticated drug habits as UM students. “MDC students obviously want to be us, but they need to find their own thing. Next thing you know they’ll be wearing tank tops every day no mater what the weather or occasion like us too.” 

UM Junior Lawrence Lauren expressed his own concerns: “I hope these Miami-Dade College students just keep in mind that I’m better than them. Not academically, but because I have more money than them.”

Despite these objections, many are applauding the redesign. “The decal is finally letting our community college students feel comfortable in their community,” said President Padron. “Statistically, every single resident of Miami goes to Miami Dade College, so we think this decal will make a huge impact.”

Miami-Dade College students can pick up their new “UM” parking pass from office services. Similar parking decal redesigns are planned at Florida International University, which will introduce its own “FIUm” parking decals next semester, and at the University of Miami itself, where starting in 2020 students will be able to chose parking decals designed to look like popular “reach” schools Georgetown, Harvard, and NYU. 

Kyle Rambo

“I’m really into mindfulness now,” said Brenden Williams to literally everyone he encountered. “It’s really important to self-reflect and meditate,” said the 29-year-old, who also now identifies as a “raw vegan” and is literally *the worst*.Mr. Williams found that mindfulness offers him the opportunity to seem deeper than he is and to evade responsibility for years of dicking over his closest friends and family by claiming those actions were “in the past” and “not a reflection of my current manifestation,” whatever that means.
“I guess I’m glad Brenden has found inner peace,” said his ex-girlfriend of three-years, Marianna. “But I’m still pissed at him for cheating on me and then trying to gaslight me by accusing me of cheating on him when I confronted him and then stealing $4,000 from our checking account, and taking a bunch of my things from my apartment including a vinyl case of CDs that I had been carrying around since high school. But maybe he really has turned over a new leaf.”
The Plantain spoke to Brenden, who is taking a two-weekend teaching seminar so he can “help others” through mindfulness, about whether his new enlightened persona is authentic or just a manipulative tool that allows him to continue to emotionally abuse the people closest to him by pretending years of selfish behavior is somehow not attributable to his new “mindful” state.
“Nah,” replied Brenden as he placed a burned cd of Before These Crowded Streets into a yellow discman he also stole from Marianna’s apartment. “I truly am a better person now,” he said, adding only “I fuckin love Dave!”

A study from the University of Miami found a correlation between marijuana use and stupid jokes only you think are funny, you idiot. “The drug has an effect on the brain’s cognitive functions that causes the user to think they’re funnier than they actually are,” said Professor Prem Goodall of the School’s botany department.”So it’ll make me funny AND get me high?” asked daily marijuana user Anna Myers before chuckling to herself and stuttering out “that’s like killing two birds with one *scone*.” The 24-year-old then stared blankly at this reporter for a minute, smiled, and started explaining how this was all like the plot of 13-year-old episodes of Family Guy before taking another strained hit of a clogged bowl and saying “Giggity!”
The study also found a link between marijuana use and perceptions of profound thought. In the study, roughly 4/5 (86%) of participants experienced what they mistakenly identified as deep thoughts that were, in actuality, only misremembered Neil Degrasse Tyson quotes or “Roll Safe” memes. “If I live too long I’m afraid I’ll die,” said 27-year-old Nicole Lappin to herself shortly after hitting a blunt a little too hard, causing her to get into her own head and start crying at the realization that she too will eventually die.
The remaining 14% of participants fell asleep before they were able to record their thoughts.

A study by the Center for Pediatric Medicine confirms what many have long suspected: No one gives a shit that you’re having a second child.Statistician recorded the reactions of thousands of individuals as they learned strangers, friends, and work acquaintances were having a second child. The experiment demonstrated conclusively that no one really cared.
“Having a child is a life changing, amazing experience,” said parental psychologist Dr. Darren Butts. “But research shows that the relative impact of having a second child is sort of *meh*. So you really can’t blame people for being sort of uninterested.”
Dolores Michael, who is expecting her second child in March took offense to the study. “Having a baby is a miracle. People are very happy for me,” she told the Plantain. However, when pressed, the 28-year-old mother reluctantly admitted that everyone she told was just sort of polite about it and her colleagues at work didn’t even throw her a shower like they did when she was pregnant with her first. “They all signed a card, but there was no cake,” Dolores said through tears.
“If anything I need more support. Do you know how hard it is to be pregnant while also raising a toddler?” Dolores asked me, I assumed rhetorically. By that point I sort of lost interest in the story and started playing on my phone.

A report by me, looking around Ceviche 105 right now, confirms that 97% of white diners in Peruvian restaurants will order the Lomo Saltado.”Easy access to foreign flavors is just one of the reasons why I love Miami,” said 33-year-old architect David Johnson as he confidently ordered his meal of steak, french fries and rice after feigning interest in the restaurant’s many authentic Peruvian specials.
“Oh, I had octopus last night,” he lied to the waitress. “I’ll have the lomo saltado, por favor.”
The Plantain spoke to Javier Ortiz-Saperstein-Smith, a recently laid off employee with Miami-Dade County’s economic development office, who confirmed that together with Cuban shredded beef staple *Vaca Frita*, the Lomo Saltado make up roughly 65% of Miami-Dade County’s total hospitality revenue.
“White guys really love beef, rice, and french fries,” said Mr. Ortiz-Saperstein-Smith, who noted that he personally believes that mixing rice and french fries is too starch heavy. He isn’t wrong.

“This is the year I finally get into shape and also read more and also stop smoking and also quit social media,” said 34-year-old Karl Curt Gunderson as he slapped a nicotine patch on his forearm and packed a bento box full of string cheese and kale into his newly purchased lunchbox. The junior accountant decided that unlike previous years’ goals of eating better, practicing better hygiene, and working on that novel he tells people he is writing but has never really made much progress on, this year he is going to succeed because he has a plan.

“I ordered loads of cool gear on Amazon to help me on my journey,” explained Mr. Gunderson as he modeled a new pair of sneakers he plans to break in Tuesday morning, assuming he can wake up early enough. “The shoes actually measure my pace electronically and send the data directly to my phone and watch!”

“The trick to changing your behavior is setting a schedule and sticking to it,” said Mr. Gunderson about how he plans on becoming a completely different human being with vastly different interests, proclivities, and habits all of a sudden.

“Starting tomorrow, I’m going to wake up every morning at 5:00 AM and immediately drink a protein shake, then I’m going to run a light 5K, shower, drive to work, have a handful of almonds at 10:15, my bento box at noon, 6 walnuts at 3:00 o’clock, hit up the buffet at Whole Foods for some brown rice and vegetables for dinner, do a P90X Lean routine at 8:00, have a scoop of cottage cheese and another shake at 9:30, shower, read Infinite Jest for an hour, then fall asleep by 11PM,” explained Karl who then started watching Before-and-After weight loss videos in his bed until 2:00 in the morning. “This is going to be so easy,” he said to himself as he fell asleep to a documentary about the harms of refined sugar.

I never said this was going to be easy!” howled Mr. Gunderson as he rushed to get ready for work after oversleeping his runtime by three hours. “I’ll make it up by running a 10K tomorrow,” he told himself as he stormed out the door. By the time he got situated in his car he realized that he had forgotten his premade bento box lunch and Ziploc bag full of almonds and walnuts on his counter. “That’s okay, I’ll just hit up Whole Foods and have some veggies for lunch. Still clean,” he told himself as he lit up a cigarette. “This is going to be my only smoke of the day, for sure,” he said to himself as he sat in traffic for forty minutes. 

By the time he got to work he was starving and made arrangements with his officemate John, who was also starting a diet, to walk with him to Whole Foods, but both were enticed into eating at a new Greek restaurant by a very pushy employee offering 20% off their meal. “The Mediterranean diet is actually very healthy,” Karl said to his friend as they decided to split an order of Spanakopita before their Gyros came.

By the time he returned from lunch and inputted his meal into his new calorie counting app, Karl had fallen behind on his actual work assignments and needed to stay late at the office to catch up. When he did leave the office at 7:45 he decided he would get a very healthy Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese soup from Panera Bread and also a free whole-grain chocolate chip cookie that he earned with his My Panera card that he knew he shouldn’t eat but didn’t want the free pastry to expire. He had one more cigarette on his way home, which isn’t so bad, he thought. Unfortunately, by the time he finished eating his cheese soup and watched Top Chef he was feeling a bit unenergetic and decided that instead of doing a full P90X set he would just do about 6 push ups and 11 sit ups in his bedroom before tiring himself out and flexing in the mirror for several minutes.

Resting a high-caloric protein shake on top of an unread copy of Infinite Jest, Kurt watched a documentary in bed about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle as he searched through Before-and-After testimonials of people who adopted an all-raw, plant-based diet, which he decided he would start tomorrow. “This is going to be so easy,” he said to himself as he fell asleep without remembering to set his alarm.

Twas Nochebuena in Miami and all through la casa 

            sounds of dominoes echoed and songs of azucar;

Papa picked up the lechon from west Hialeah 

            that Abuelo helped kill and put in Caja China; 

Cousins and friends and strangers were gathered

            and all were disturbed when they heard a loud clatter;

A fight had broke out between two cousins named Jorge,

            over a woman named Mary, a recent divorcée;

“I called her, she’s mine!” said Jorge the realtor

            “But I saw her first!” said his cousin (also a realtor);

The fight ended quickly over cups of coquito,

            and soon we all danced and sang ‘Mi Burrito’;           

Glasses were raised and bottles uncorked,

            and we all screamed with glee as they cut through the pork;

“This is so delicious! A feast for the season!”,

            said all at the table except Vera the vegan; 

The tias helped clean while the tios just sat,

            our abuelos told stories, we’re so thankful for that;

So we sat through the night and enjoyed their old tales,

             of a  life long ago, long before came Fidel;

But our eyes soon grew weary and our stomachs grew piqued,

            so we said our goodnights and all kissed on the cheek;

Then we all left the house with leftovers and gifts,

             some insisting they drive, some in Ubers or Lyfts;      

What a great Nochebuena, a thought so sincere,

            one that will never be topped, unless Raul dies next year.    

Merry Christmas From the Plantain

With December temperatures approaching 90 degrees, at least two South Floridians are finding it difficult to get in the holiday spirit this Winter. Sheryl Davidson and Armando Ribero, both office assistants at the downtown Miami law firm of Draper Mizer, LLP were hospitalized after overheating during a firm mandated “Ugly Christmas Sweater” “Party” held Tuesday afternoon. Both are expected to survive. 

“This is just so awful,” said Draper Mizer office manager Beth Ann Holtzman, still in a sweat drenched “Egg-Nog-Nog-Noggin on Heaven’s Door” sweater. “We wish Sheryl and Armando a very quick recover…cover…excuse me, I’m sorry I just need to sit down for a second,” said the 48-year-old office worker as Diane, her work BFF in an ugly blue Hanukkah sweater, brought her maroon-faced friend a cup of room temperature water which she quickly drank up. “Can you see if the paramedic is still here?” Beth asked Diane. “Maybe it’s just a hot-flash, honey,” suggested Diane, a comment which Beth certainly did not find amusing. 

County health experts are warning residents not to experiment with Christmas Sweaters, attend Ugly Sweater parties, or serve hot chocolate to anyone until the weather dips backs down to the low 1980’s. “Anything above 84 degrees is just not sweater weather,” said paramedic Norman Babo as he strapped Olivia to a gurney. “Are you single? I have a daughter who would just love you,” said Beth to the young paramedic as he carted her off to the hospital for some fruit juice and saline solution.