Wednesday, December 23, 2015

War, Miss Universe & offbeat beauty pageants

Unlike the vast majority of knee-jerk bloggers, I wanted to wait a couple days before commenting on the Miss Universe now-you-see-it/now-you-don’t crowning. 
I wanted to see if the nations of Philippines or Columbia declared war.
I didn’t think this was unrealistic.
I’ve never known the world to be more rife with what you could call silly killings.
People get killed in movie theaters for texting during love scenes, in grocery stores for taking too many items into the express line, and everyday there are road rage deaths instigated by some otherwise innocent who failed to properly apply their blinker.
Crimes of passion are all the rage, as is, of course, just garden variety rage.
Here in Pittsburgh, many of us still become unhinged at the mention of Phil Luckett. He was the NFL referee at the ’98 Thanksgiving game who mistakenly heard Jerome Bettis say, “Heads!” when Bettis said “Tails!” on the overtime coin toss.
I knew NFL referees were blind, but it wasn’t until then I realized some of them were deaf to boot.
The Steelers lost the game and the holiday death threats poured in.
So certainly there had to be millions of people who believed they had a vested personal interest in Ariadna Gutierrez of Columbia as Miss Universe.
And when Steve Harvey — whoops! — crowned Gutierrez they were euphoric.
Then they weren’t.
So now Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines is Miss Universe. And just in the nick of time!
She’s 26, one of only three women in the pageant’s 63-year history to be so, uh, experienced.
The youngest winner was the first. She was Finland’s Armi Kuusela. I looked her up because I’m always intrigued to see if anyone from Finland has actual fins.
I couldn’t tell from her pictures, but she does have a lovely smile (above).
She’s still alive, too. She’s 81 and living in La Jolla, California. Her Wikipedia profile says she she’s still engaged in charity work, which is a fine thing to be doing at an age when most of her contemporaries are home watching “Everybody Loves Raymond” re-runs.
I couldn’t find out what happened to that year’s runner-up, but I hope she didn’t turn to drugs, whoring, etc, which is what I’d do.
But I’m easily bored.
Here’s an interesting fact: The Philippines is now home to the reigning Miss Universe and the reigning Miss Earth.
I’d never heard of the latter.
She’s Angelia Gabrena Paglicawan Ong, which makes her a candidate for Miss Longest Name.
Miss Earth is beauty pageant dedicated to beautiful women who agree to be environmental ambassadors. Part of their pledge reads: “It should be everybody’s agenda to make the Earth smile again!”
I don’t foresee Trump getting behind this one.
I think Miss Earth would get more coverage if it changed its name to Miss Earthy and featured women who refused to shave things like armpits.
That’s another reason why I didn’t feel compelled to write about Miss Universe.
I find flawless women a turnoff.
Except for my perfect wife!
I imagine all the women in Miss Universe will go on to live fabulous lives. They’ll marry rich men (or women), enjoy their yachts and complain when the champagne goes flat.
Maybe not for some of the other pageant winners of these actual beauty pageants:
• Miss Pregnant — Just what you think.
• Miss Plastic Surgery — Ditto.
• Miss Klingon Empire — For Trekkies.
• Miss Hooker — Does the winner charge more?
And, here she is, Miss Landmine! — This one features Angolan women who’ve lost legs to landmines in that downtrodden nation’s Civil War. It is intended to celebrate self-empowerment over physical perfection.
I’m going to go out on a limb here — and you knew that was unavoidable — and say the Miss Landmine runner-up has some useful perspective our Miss Universe contestants lack.
I guess the lesson from all this is to not use your setbacks as a crutch, even when your setbacks lead to you needing a crutch.

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