Forget About That Corny Corner-Ribbon's Drivel! The Real Secret is HERE Indeed - not over there!

Saturday, January 08, 2005

She's the most artificial chick in the worrrrrld...! (Sing that to the tune of the seasonal song now...!)





No - not Louise Veronica Electronica Esther Ciccone... although she comes close!
Exxxtremely close...
This contest boggles the mind - will it spawn an international version -
Miss Universe of Superficiality...? Miss Congeniality in Plastics...?!?
Miss Universe of Plastic Patch-Up Work Done - there you go!!!
(Wait a second - they do have such a thing internationally already...!!! Don't they?!? But I digress...!)
That famous cat lady from Gotham (and no - I don't mean Catwoman) could enter - but hardly win though...! Oh well - money doesn't buy everything - but we all knew that already... right?

Can't help to think that, had this contest existed in the 30s and 40s, the Bride of Frankenstein would have won with ease... *LOL*




There She Is... China's First Miss Plastic Surgery 18/12/2004
------------------------------------------------

BEIJING (Reuters) - China chose its first Miss Artificial Beauty on Saturday, giving the crown to a 22-year-old from the northeastern city of Jilin who couldn't have done it without the help of her plastic surgeon.

The winner of China's Miss Artificial Beauty pageant, Feng Qian, is admittedly the best man can achieve in plastic remodeling indeed... China chose its first Miss Artificial Beauty on Saturday, giving the crown to the 22-year-old from the northeastern city of Jilin who has undergone four procedures. Twenty contestants aged 17 to 62 competed in the final round of the "man-made beauty" pageant at a Beijing opera house, all having gone under the knife to improve their appearance.

When the result was announced, it was a buoyant Feng Qian who had doctors to thank for four procedures that added a fold to her eyelids, liposuctioned fat from her belly, reshaped her cheeks, and injected botox to alter facial muscles.

Feng, wearing a flowing gold evening gown and a bright smile on her resculpted face, said she hoped the event would remove some of the stigma associated with plastic surgery.

"I hope this pageant will give a positive sign to the public," she said, adding that the secret of her victory was confidence.

Rising urban incomes have made extreme makeovers fashionable in China, and many women are going under the knife in search of movie-star looks -- raising concern about the nation's rapidly growing, but unregulated plastic surgery business.

The first runner up, Zhang Shuang, also 22, from the southern city of Changsha, underwent 10 procedures -- more than any other contestant -- including fixing her eyelids, nose, ears, breasts and upper and lower jaw as well as softening her skin and removing body hair.

Shanghai's Cheng Lili, also 22, second runner up, had six procedures including nose and breast augmentations.

Organizers dreamt up the pageant after a contestant in a regular beauty contest in May was disqualified after it was discovered she had spent 110,000 yuan ($13,000) on improving her looks.

China banned beauty pageants after the Communists swept to power in 1949 and took decades to revive them. It first entered the Miss World Competition in 2001 -- but has hosted the pageant for the past two years on the southern island of Hainan.

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Friday, January 07, 2005

Nepotism is a terrible thing... sauf que...

I personally abhor to see such and such get all the breaks - all the good job assignments - all the promotions and the like... just because he or she happens to be on good to excellent terms with somebody in power...
"It's not what you know, it's who you know"... eh?
Well, if things have not evolved beyond that sorry state of affairs in 2005...
it never will now! Will it?!?

To every rule - there is an exception or two though! ;)
When the preference is given to a candidate who shares your convictions and beliefs... maybe, MAYBE then it is justifiable... or, at least, explainable to give such a candidate the nod over all the others. I mean - place yourself in the shoes of the powers that be rep who makes the cut - YOU take the decision... who would you choose? Some chump who is diametrically opposed to everything you think is -and likely know to be- true... OR will you elect to pick the sensible choice - especially if you are going to be working closely with him/her, in the future...?
It is simply a question of common sense in the end...
Right?
You must make sure team work will be fluid and effortless - and not come by with strained compromise after strained compromise!!! That would not be wise...

Now, competence must be there too...
Birds of a feather... and all that... sure...
But the job will be botched up and the end result half-baked if the birds in question are nothing more than two coo-coos... or two quacks! *LOL*


Thursday, January 06, 2005

this would be... evolution?

Quote of the Day

Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood -- the virtues that made America.
- Theodore Roosevelt, 1917


Hmm... how ironic and fitting is this... that one of my e-mail service providers would send me this quote now, when I am decidedly on a decisive anti-american stance in re:Irak...

How much have things changed though, do you think, since good ol' Theo uttered those most quotable of quotable words... hmm? 1917 is a long time ago... my... longer than the previous World Series victory by the... 1918 Boston Red Sox! *lol*
(Ironically -again- another Theo made the Sox champs again, finally, in 2004... Yep - there is synchronicity everywhere if you really look for it...! Although his stock is huge in Boston right now, I wouldn't think Theo Epstein will be President any day soon... and truly, ever! Baseball GMs walk too much of a thin line to maintain the minimal popularity requirements for that... Funny how the public can forgive all the death that a former Governor of Texas can cause with his decisions... or lack of decision, really... but if a Baseball GM makes one wrong player personnel move, he will be crucified out in the open and never forgiven... ever! Ahh... the strange mentality of the masses, sometimes...).

Another necessary sidetrack here is this: 1917 and 1918 were great years for the Red Sox... as good as 2003 and 2004... but there are other, far less pleasant, downright frightening similarities to underline here... In 1918, the Spanish Flu had killed millions... we were, of course, in the midst of a World War still... and, the cherry on top of odd coincidences is that, the Sox had clinched the championship... on a September 11th! How do you like that...?
In 2004, we have a number of epidemics going at the same time... less spectacular but only because they are concealed - their spread not being focused on by the media, as it should be... and we sure do seem to be on pace for another World War since the events of 9/11... How little things have changed... eh?

Now back to the quote - Roosevelt, if he were around still, would he say the same thing about America... today?
Not sure... let's systematically dissect his list of qualities he attributed almost solely to "Americanism" (which has the unfortunate distinction of rhyming with all other "-isms" - including... cannibalism! So deplorable that I just had to bring it up...!;)

Courage - is that displayed by bullying smaller countries, like Irak?
Honor - hmm... is there honor in wanting oil so bad you make up reasons to invade?
Justice - is it really carrying out justice what they did to Saddam?
(hey- I despise those who would say we should have sympathy for the devil
- the devil we know - and all that crap! But Saddam... come on! He was really, really, really SMALL POTATOES... if not for all that oil...! All he could have really been accused of lately... was having serious delusions of grandeur!)
Truth - truth is... Americans can't handle the truth! (Easy one, I know - but true!)
Sincerity - I am sure Dubya is sincere when he says he is a great President...
(it's called - having delusions of grandeur... again!)
Hardihood - they partied hardy, eh? Dubya & Dick - the new Hardy Boys!


Really, in all honesty, I think Theodore Roosevelt is not merely turning in his grave - he's squirming, tossing AND turning in his grave!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

ah - the old stomping grounds...

I had the... questionable honor of spending more than a good chunk of my youth in the (so-called) "greater Montreal" area... The city right next to it is second in every other category - benefiting greatly from the proximity to the oddest cosmopolitan center of all since... Capharnaum in Biblical times? Speaking of which, those two cities -Laval & Montreal thus- always made me think of two other famous twin towns from the Good Book... Sodom & Gomorrah! *LOL*

Now there are numerous reasons for this... luminous assessment of mine here...!
Rather than enumerate them all painstakingly here (not too mention controversially as well...) - I am pressed for time so... I shall make an exception to my new year's rule for a second time (in a row, I know) and post the facts as reported online...
For you all (all... seven of you? Audience is growing exponentially I see... LOL) to see by yourselves how tranquil, blissful and beautiful "La Belle Province" really is...!!! Beware: what follows is rather... horrific...


Disabled Montreal woman stabbed, carjacked (CTV.ca News Staff)

A 64-year-old disabled woman is recovering in a Montreal hospital after surviving an attack that left her stabbed, beaten and without her car.

Montreal police say the woman, who uses a walker to aid her mobility, was confronted by a group of four young men as she headed from her north Montreal apartment entrance to the nearby parking lot early Monday evening.

Before she had a chance to clear the snow from her car, police say the attackers jumped her from behind.

"They stabbed her numerous times," police spokesperson Ian Lafreniere told reporters, describing the "savage attack."

"Once she was on the ground, they kicked her in the face and broke her nose."

At that point, police say, the attackers stole her purse and her vehicle, leaving her in a shocked, crumpled heap on the snowy ground.

According to an area resident, the attack is serious cause for concern.

"That's worse than an animal," he told CTV's Montreal affiliate, CFCF News. "I think it's just horrible."

Approximately six hours later, just after midnight, police tracked down the woman's vehicle with the four suspects inside.

When they tried to stop them, however, the suspects fled on foot.

"That's when we lost them," Lafreniere told CFCF. "But because of the work of the canine unit on the scene we tracked down the driver of the vehicle."

The 17-year-old suspect is expected to face a number of charges, Lafreniere said, noting that prosecutors will likely seek to have him tried as an adult, as his 18th birthday is only days away.

In the meantime, police are continuing their search for three other suspects believed to be between the ages of 16 and 24.

The victim is in stable condition in a Montreal hospital, where she is expected to make a full recovery.

With a file from CTV News in Montreal and The Canadian Press



Tuesday, January 04, 2005

another lawsuit...

Wally seems to be collecting them these days... Spot, Marty and Zeddy must be happy about it! The sordid details of this one - much more serious than the last one over mere offensive lyrics essentially - follow... as seen on msn.ca...


Mom Sues Wal-Mart Over Daughter's Suicide Tue Dec 21,4:43PM ET U.S. National - AP

By LIZ AUSTIN, Associated Press Writer

DALLAS - Near the end of her short life, Shayla Stewart, a diagnosed manic-depressive and schizophrenic, assaulted police officers and was arrested for attacking a fellow customer at a Denton Wal-Mart where she had a prescription for anti-psychotic medication.

Given all those signs, her parents say, another Wal-Mart just seven miles away should have never sold her the shotgun she used to kill herself at age 24 in 2003.

Her mother, Lavern Bracy, is suing the world's biggest store chain for $25 million, saying clerks should have known about her daughter's illness or done more to find out.

The case, filed earlier this month, has reignited a debate over the confidentiality of mental health records and the effectiveness of background checks on would-be buyers of guns.

"We know that if they had so much as said, `Why do you want this?' we would not be having this conversation because Shayla would have had a meltdown," said her stepfather, Garrett Bracy.

The Bracys said Wal-Mart's gun department could have checked Wal-Mart's own security files or the pharmacy department's prescription records before selling her the weapon.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Christi Gallagher declined to comment on the lawsuit.

But pharmacy prescription records are confidential under a 1996 federal law, so stores cannot use them when deciding whether to sell a gun.

Also, Wal-Mart did a background check on Stewart, as required under federal law, but through no fault of its own, her name did not show up in the FBI (news - web sites) database. The reason: The database contains no mental health records from Texas and 37 other states.

Texas does not submit mental health records because state law deems them confidential, said Paul Mascot, an attorney with the Texas Department of State Health Services. Other states have not computerized their record-keeping systems or do not store them in a central location for use by the FBI.

Federal law prohibits stores from selling guns to people who, like Stewart, have a history of serious mental illness.

Would-be buyers must fill out a form that asks about mental health. On Stewart's form, a box that asked whether she had been involuntarily committed to an institution or declared dangerously mentally ill by a judge was incorrectly marked no. (Her mother's attorneys question whether Stewart filled out the form herself or a clerk did it for her.) Wal-Mart ran a background check anyway, as required by federal law.

Michael Faenza, president and chief executive of the National Mental Health Association, applauds Texas' refusal to share information with the FBI database. He said it would not be fair to violate patients' privacy when there is no data to support claims that mentally ill people are more violent than others.

"The tragedies that families face when people are killed is terrible. And frankly I wish handguns were not so available in this country," he said. "But it's not right, in our minds, to make social policy based on just a few cases."

Garrett Bracy couldn't disagree more.

He and his wife watched his stepdaughter's six-year decline from straight-A high school student to violent and unpredictable stranger. She was hospitalized five times, twice under court orders. Her longest hospitalization, lasting a month, came in 2002 after she refused to leave her room or take her medication.

The suggestion that Wal-Mart should have checked prescription records infuriates Erich Pratt, a spokesman for the Virginia-based group Gun Owners of America.

"Does that mean mental illness prevents everyone on Prozac from owning a gun? Or women with PMS?" he said.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., who ran for Congress after her husband was killed and son wounded in 1993 by a gunman on a Long Island Rail Road train, wants to strengthen the federal background check system by encouraging states to share mental health records. She has introduced legislation that would give states grants to automate and turn over the information.

She drafted the bill after a priest and a parishioner were shot to death by a schizophrenic man in a New York church in 2002. He, too, should not have been allowed to buy a gun.

"When you see these deaths that could have been prevented it's a shame," McCarthy said.

As the Bracys prepare for another Christmas without their daughter, they are urging lawmakers to support McCarthy's bill and dealers to conduct their own background checks.

"Lavern went to the store the other day to buy over-the-counter headache sinus medication and they limited the amount of sinus medication she could buy at one time," her husband said, his voice trembling with emotion. "But Shayla can walk into a store and buy a gun and they could care less. That's got to change."

___

On the Net:

Wal-Mart: http://www.walmart.com

National Mental Health Association: http://www.nmha.org

Gun Owners of America: http://www.gunowners.org




Monday, January 03, 2005

monday night blah!

No - rest assured folks that this is not bashing of the all-american institution that is abc's monday night football broadcast... Even though this week's game wasn't even an NFL game... Even though I get lost with the myriad college football teams and couldn't care less how they wind up ranked for all those silly bowls that run the gamut of rainbow colors... hey - I grew up where there are a very finite number of so-called professional teams (within the ranks of the CFL - all-too briefly known as the Continental Football League, when they included franchises located in minor American markets such as Shreveport... officiously known as the Canadian Football League for the better part of its fairly long history... and referred to as the Comedy Football League by the better part of American football fans... HA.)... So, even though it would be tempting to bash that Eagles guy and his skit shot in a mock locker room with aging nymphette/has-been starlet Nicolette for a recent broadcast teaser for the monday night mainstay... nah. Won't do it. Too easy. Not worthy of the... luminous blog !!! ;)

I would rather bash... rasslin! The OTHER monday night tradition... for quite a number of years now (if I am not mistaken... thirteen! Wow - don't you just love it when old superstitions are proven true? Wrestlers and promoters feared the day they'd reach the unlucky number 13... for that would be the day they would get trashed on... the luminous blog !!! Bwah-ha-ha... Okay - enough of that...)

As a young man (thirteen years ago...? My - I am so young, that a mere decade ago, I was still a CHILD...! Sure...) circa 1992 thus, I was a faithful wrestling viewer. Monday nights would become increasingly THE night for that - by 1996, the infamous "Monday night wars" were on - and I was rooting for the southern-based WCW to come out the victor (again - the underdog... but also the classier and more tasteful product - by far!). The Nature Boy, Ric Flair, headlined the WCW show - and, no matter what he says now about it, WCW was a more viewer-friendly product than his current employer is... It was wholesome comedic drama that the whole family could enjoy - nothing like the often sleazy and offensive WWF (still, at the time - until they were forced to change their name to WWE when the REAL WWF kicked their butts in court... The day the PANDA pinned VINCE McMAHON for the three count -likely with Judge Judy as the special referee- is fondly remembered by "thinking man type of fans" - like ME! But I digress...). Thus, on Monday nights, one could watch the football... or choose between the two other sporty choices (though "sports-entertainment" is not sports per say... but tell that to the wrestlers whose bodies ache all over 320 days a year... minimum!) - and those were Monday Night Raw... or WCW Monday Nitro on TNT! Already, judging by the titles alone, you can tell what THIS thinking man was choosing on a regular basis... hmm?

Nitro's cast of characters appealed to me particularly for its clear Biblical undertones and abundant references... the New World Order run roughshod over the good guys... but were met with stiff resistance coming from the Four Horsemen! As also a certain loner called Sting (no - not even remotely inspired by the singer - rather, around that time, he was mimicking the Crow for some reason...!?!)... Sting happens to be one of the few openly CHRISTIAN wrestlers out there too... Still, his goody-two-shoes stigma remained, no matter how grim and untalkative he acted... My clear-cut favorites remained the Horsemen, who had alternated between "heel" status (villains) and "faces" status (good guys) - in wrestling jargon, obviously... Hence, they were more believable whatever role they played! And to this day I will remember that moment when recently retired, due to injury to his vertebra, Horseman veteran Arn Anderson was actually back in the ring, pummeling the enemy (who was forbidden to retaliate - Arn being in no condition to take any bumps!)... all of this side-by-side with his "cousin" and longtime ally, Ric Flair! They each took a corner of the ring where they each beat down on the hapless villainous competition - the camera panned backwards for an ensemble shot of the, truly, historical as also quite moving moment - for everyone knew it was a one-time event. But things were, for that fleeting moment, once again as they simply should be in the "wrestling universe" as Flair would say... Alas, Arn would never wrestle again - and Ric was already in the twilight of his stellar career. THAT was GRAND... especially since the staged scene displayed quite unequivocally good triumphing over -not to mention beating the tar out of- evil...! Always nice to see... but rarely made clear on the WWE product at the same time...

The WWE is the sole product of its genre now, on Monday nights... And though they have toned down a bit, for lack of competition makes it unnecessary to push the envelope, they are still quite tasteless at times... Hard to break a habit - after all, they have had it all already, pretty much... From matches pitting sons and daughters against their own father to "HLA" to even what appears to have been an octogenarian woman going topless on pay-per-view... in a New York arena that, even if it is in New York, still gasped in shock when THAT happened...! Sports entertainment it is... sure...

As if they had not enough flaws, they made another one apparent all over again ON THIS VERY NIGHT - they are quite repetitious! Back in 1994 and 1995, they had Canadian Bret the so-called Hitman Hart play the part of an Anti-American foreigner who would, with his trademark monotonous tone of voice, bash all the traits of American culture he disliked... concluding even once that the whole country was shaped like a toilet on the map...!!! (And if Italy is the boot... which country would be the kitchen sink I wonder...? Where dirty dishes are washed... if not dirty laundry... ;). Alas for him, his acting talent was poor - and Canadians, overall, are a boring lot... not much storyline potential there, so... he was let go, came to WCW and promptly ruined it. Nice trojan horse work, Vince...!

Nowadays though, the McMahons' writing staff is capitalizing on the war on the most abstract of all concepts - terror - to stir up the fans' emotions... and rake in the dough. So in came an Arab-American wrestler, Muhammad Assan, to bash Americana and speak up for the Arab-Americans who have suffered backlash of any kind for the tragic events of 9/11... When stuff like "rasslin" reaches out into REALITY... there must be something wrong out there somewhere...! Of course what they can do with it is very limited - basically no more than a rehash of what the Hitman did back in the day when the hitless, witless wrestling wonder was top dog in some people's eyes... Still, even though this "Assan" is no great thespian (it should have been "Hassan" by the way - but they couldn't resist and influence, subliminally, the fans by removing the "H"... As if the fans couldn't tell who the "heel" was anymore... well, the lines having been so blurred over the years, maybe they cannot anymore indeed...!!! But I'm digressing again here...) - the mere fact that this storyline reaches out and touches reality makes it very compelling television indeed... Every bit as good -well, almost- as the scaled-down (waaaaaay scaled-down) armageddon that beset WCW when the NWO was "taking over"... And way better than old gimmicks such as the "bad russian" (not a commie - just a russian!) of which there were so many in the past (Nikolai Volkoff... Nikita Koloff... both of whom are devout CHRISTIANS in reality... what a coincidence...!!!) and other "evil foreigners" such as the Iron Sheik... of course! They were all comical in comparison with Muhammad Assan - who acts his part very well - walking that fine line and never crossing it - being a controversial loudmouth but not being terrorist material one bit... Quite a feat!

Still... the former fan in me misses the wrestling of old... :(

Sunday, January 02, 2005

sue me, willya...?




So, throughout my life, I have made eclectic choices...

I prefered the rallying cry "Join Together" by The Who - to The Beatles' Come Together... boo-hoo-hoo.

I'd take George of the Jungle over Tarzan most days (all the jungle fun - plus a lot of extra laughs; it just can't be beat!)

As a kid, my favorite hero sure as hell was not a braggart Superman or an all-around ridiculous Batman - it was the seafaring Aquaman (hey - he had a redheaded wife! Something the other two were and still are seriously lacking... eh?)

In other words, I have been known to side with the underdog!

Dukakis & Kerry would have won out over both Bushes if I had had my way - and the world would have been a much different place... right?

The Boston Bruins would have gone all the way in the last (ever?) Stanley Cup playoffs... and my own personal world would have been much different...
(Last ever playoffs because, as the NHL lockout endures and people realize they never really needed it, the demand will wane so much that, even when they resume play, many franchises will see themselves with empty arenas... not good for business, is it? LOL Say bye bye to half the league right there, NHLPA...)

Heck, if I had had my way, across time and space and throughout history, a whole damn lot of injustices would have never even occurred... So what, I may have a God complex developing here... LOL! At least I recognize it and nip it in the bud - and, boy, do I totally, completely, absolutely pity those among us who would need any -even mild- form of therapy for THAT!


My problem is... I care too much! Yep... worry too much too - for the welfare of each and all... who are meritorious of such worry and care - of course!
And such care - on a sublime and, dare I say, luminous level - is intemporal...

Thus... I would care to see Portugal retain its "impossible empire" across the globe - somehow!
Care to see Joan of Ark not get burned at the stake in the end (maybe the King of France instead...? Jumpstart the inevitable Revolution by "a few years"... LOL)

I would even care enough to have seen singers with much greater voices have had the careers that they deserved - singers such as Laura Branigan, Ofra Haza, Aimee Mann, Midge Ure and Robert Tepper - over the fickle, vain and pathetic airs put on display, on stage as on video, by the Veronicas Electronicas Ciccones and Robbies of the world...

So - I have good taste... sue me will ya? ;)

+++

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