Thursday, April 24, 2008

bad grammar makes me [sic]

and so does bad punctuation. I am an unashamed, unabashed punctuation snob. That's why this "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks utterly delights me. It better delight you too.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

smile pretty and heal the world, now.

Generally speaking, I am all kinds of opposed to pageants.
(*I am NOT in the picture above)
Yes, it's true that I won second place in a most-beautiful baby competition in 1982. And I may have participated in Bakersfield's Junior Miss program in 1998. I'll just throw that out there. Fortunately, the CompTron girls were much more of the talent show/piano recital/dance competition breed than the pageantry type, so there was little danger of getting mixed up in any kind of serious vapidity.

My eyes glaze over as I nod sympathetically. Yes, let's make the future brighter, let's make this world a better place.

But, for all the superficial, hollow posturing that comprises most of these apocalyptic displays, it seems that there do exist at least a handful of pageants that actually attempt to contribute to meaningful social change. I propose the following:

"Everyone has a right to be beautiful."
Organizers say they want the pageant to restore the women's pride and raise awareness about the prevalence of landmines left over from Angola's three decade-long civil war. Undetonated mines still maim 300 to 400 people a year in the country. All the contestants will receive governmental help to go back to school or to start a small business. The winner gets a new prosthetic limb.

"Women with wisdom from the roof of the world."
Okay, so it's actually just a regular beauty pageant that happens in Tibet. But Tibetan exiles are pleased with the awareness it brings to the plight of the region. When asked if he approved of Miss Tibet, the Dalai Lama replied with a smile and a guffaw: "Why not?" His only criticism was that it was too one-sided. "I think there should be a Mr Tibet."

"Kick out stigma - promote tourism."
Botswana has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world (24% of all adults). The Miss HIV Stigma Free reigning queen is expected to challenge misconceptions and stigma associated with people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. The winner travels around the country teaching the importance of testing and how to live positively with HIV. The aim of the competition is to show people living with HIV/AIDS that "even if you are HIV-positive, you can do things like others."

"Where art comes to life!"
Hail Laguna Beach:
Ninety minutes of "living pictures" - incredibly faithful art re-creations of classical and contemporary works with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces. I'm sure the real thing is great, and I intend to check it out this year. Failing that, I'll stick to my "Arrested Development" reruns, my foolproof prescription for "making the world a better place", or at least happily distracting me from the fact that there's a Miss Teen USA somewhere, talking.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

the daily roundup

tidbits of interest today:

1. two-faced baby born in India:

2. Ukraine is touted as the 'bridebasket of Europe' by the Onion. This got me thinking on the concept of wivestock and where they're best bred. Apparently not in the UK, where marriage rates have hit their lowest point in 150 years. Any thoughts?

3. People might not be uniting in holy joyous matrimony in London, but they are coming together and enjoying some fantastic foods. Well, fantastic in my book anyways (and my concept of 'fantastic' does embrace the meat cake):

4. cryptograms have made their comeback on, the site that had me fervently desiring to do cryptographic work for the NSA for a short season a couple years back. Apparently they have something against degrees in music industry, though. Boo.

5. bumped into the top 11 of places I intended to visit in the next 7 years: Moroni, capital of the Comoros Islands. Get out your maps; it's off Africa's east coast, just north of Madagascar. Awesome mosque on the waterfront: