The Austin Chronicle

Whose House Is Fattest?

Join the Online Melee!

By Rachel Proctor May, March 24, 2006, News

Currently on the Chronicle Web site, Austin's finest minds are taking on issues of land use, drainage policy, and zoning regulations. They're also seriously dissing people's houses. Join them in showing your spirit of civic engagement (or your inner neighborhood Nazi) at, your portal to the great and terrible Bloat-o-Meter, where the vox of the populi democratically answers the question that has been plaguing philosophers ever since Glugg decided to add a three-mastodon garage onto his cave: Is your house too fat?

In case you've been lost in one of your 14 walk-in closets and haven't been able to find your way to the media room to get online, here's a recap: Anyone can upload a photo of any house in town to the site, where visitors rate each house in the gallery on a scale of 1 (Mary-Kate) to 10 (William Howard Taft); once you've voted, you can return regularly to the gallery to read all the cheap-shot, snarky comments, or add your own high-toned witticisms. The ratings and commentary on the Bloat-o-Meter will help the members of a city task force to shape the McMansion ordinance City Council will likely pass by June. But the fun doesn't stop there: Whichever house has the highest average score by April 15 will be declared the official Chateau du Screw You. Whoever submits the winning photo will receive our sympathy, a 15-gallon live oak tree, and our sincere hope that it at least partially blocks out the offending eyesore. That's right – you can annoy the yuppie up the street and win a tree at the same time. But really, with the kind of enlightened debate and sophisticated commentary we're seeing on the Bloat-o-Meter, we're sure you'll agree that all of Austin is the real winner.

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