Beauty pageants: the latest victim

I thought I had said everything I needed to say about beauty pageants: they’re a social disease.

And that disease has claimed a new victim. The Croatian Times reports:

A would-be beauty queen dropped dead on stage after defying doctors’ warnings about her weak heart.

Olga Shkolkina, 20, collapsed after starving herself and guzzling slimming pills so she could lose weight for the contest in Saransk, central Russia.

The student fell to the floor after completing an energetic dance routine in the university Miss Economics Faculty pageant which medics fear was too much for her heart, reports Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

“She wanted to win the contest so badly she ignored the fact that she was ill,” explained one fellow student.

The Miss Economics Faculty pageant?


Review: Robert Julian’s “Postcards From Palm Springs” (Part 1)

Julian-Postcards From Palm SpringsA friend recently returned from Palm Springs and handed me a copy of Robert Julian’s self-published memoir Postcards From Palm Springs. The jacket summary informs that the recollection of a writer/actor’s adventures in Palm Springs “does for this California desert community what Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil did for Savannah”. While I enjoyed Berendt’s tale of murder, strangeness, and antiques, I’m not sure this is a compliment to Palm Springs. It would be more appropriate to say “does to this California desert community …”.

Postcards is not without its charm. Indeed, for someone who enjoys a casual yarn about the melodrama of the resort, Hollywood, or homosexual social sets, the book delivers—or, at least, seems to. I must confess that at this moment I’m only approaching the halfway mark.
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Did someone say “crab juice”?

And I thought Red Bull was bad enough.

Or, as Jonah Spangenthal-Lee noted, “It can’t be worse than Mountain Dew“.

A hardline Hindu organisation, known for its opposition to “corrupting” Western food imports, is planning to launch a new soft drink made from cow’s urine, often seen as sacred in parts of India.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or National Volunteer Corps, said the bovine beverage is undergoing laboratory tests for the next 2 to 3 months but did not give a specific date for its commercial release.

The flavour is not yet known, but the RSS said the liquid produced by Hinduism’s revered holy cows is being mixed with products such as aloe vera and gooseberry to fight diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

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Astronomy domine, or, “Hello”

Cassini - Saturn Eclipse

I adore this picture.

If you want a photographic critique, I suppose I could say the exaggerated colors make it look like a really cool scene from an anime, but that’s not it. Besides, how do I make a proper critique of an image shot from 1.3 million miles away from its object? By a robot? Flying through outer space? A billion miles from home?

But speaking of home, if you look just inside the G ring to the left of Saturn, you might see a tiny dot.

That’s Earth. Home. Us. From nearly a billion miles away.

How can I not adore this picture?
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