Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pros of Pageants

Since I usually poke fun at pageants, I thought for a change of pace I'd try to see things from the other point of view. You know, the side that would rather spend money on pageant dresses and butt glue than pay the utility bill. So, with no further ado here are the positive aspects of pageants.

You don't have to worry about buying any d├ęcor for your walls, because you can cover them with sashes, tiaras and trophies. Plus, depending on where you place the trophies, they can work as an anti-burglar system. Any burglar who comes in through the window will get impaled on a trophy. Seriously, have you seen those things? Some of them are five feet high.

Preparation for high school. If you want your daughter to be the school prima donna, I can think of no better training ground than a childhood full of teaching her that the most important thing is to be pretty and that the world revolves around her. Who doesn't want to raise a vapid, self-absorbed girl?

Skills that you can use in the real world. Being able to keep a plastic grin on your face is a job skill many employers look for. Of course, there would be fierce competition from robots. As I've said, fire batons help with a future career in arson or ninjadry. Yes, I made that up. I've even heard that beauty pageants can set you up for a future in politics.

You'd know an awful lot about disguises, which could be useful if you were a spy, an assassin, or a fugitive. When you see the before and after shots, you wouldn't recognize the girls.

By focusing on being better than everyone else, all the empathy you possess will disappear. You are then perfectly able to work in the DMV, where you will take pity on no one.

When you are unable to enter pageants any longer (notice I didn't say too old or unattractive) you can pass your skills onto the next generation as a pageant coach, and even make a living. Or you can use your knowledge for evil and push your daughter into pageants.

If there were no beauty pageants, a whole section of the economy would collapse. What would the manufacturers of sequins and rhinestones do? Pageants consume 94% of the worlds rhinestone production.

When everyone gives you anything you want and panders to your every whim, you would be perfectly comfortable as a dictator of a small country. It usually ends badly, but I say enjoy the ride while you can.

TLC would have to go back to learning programs without pageants to tape. Okay, that probably wouldn't happen, since there seems to be no end of supersized families, people with freaky addictions, and people living in their own filth that don't mind being on tv.

Without pageants, I would not have as many ideas for blog posts. Some of my wittiest remarks have been about pageants.

Competition is good for the soul, or so I've heard.

Contestants are more likely to get spray tans than fake and bake, which is probably the best change in the pageant industry, at least as far as skin cancer is concerned.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Things I’d Like To See, Pageant Edition

Talent:

Metallica. Can you imagine a sequin-clad girl singing "Enter Sandman"? That would be priceless.

Something on the xylaphone.

Drum solo.

Obscure show tunes, but not from The Wiz.

Tap dancing.

I've never actually seen someone do fire batons. They aren't allowed at Miss America, but I think the ability to toss a flaming baton around your head and not get burned is a practical skill, particularly if you become an arsonist or a ninja. And what pageant girl doesn't dream of becoming a ninja?

An opening number that isn't The Black Eyed Peas. Maybe a nice choreographed dance to some Creedence.

A contestant with a Mohawk.


 

Fitness:

Vintage bathing suits.

American Gladiator style obstacle course, with contestants battling it out with the giant q-tips. Last girl standing wins the round.

Proof of actual fitness, not just who looks good in a swim suit. How many pushups, pull-ups, and sit-ups can they do? Let's see that onstage.

Two words, cage match.


 

Interview:

Obscure questions taken from movies that the girls won't understand but some members of the audience will. Like "what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?" If the contestant says "African or European" they get the points.

Or what about asking each girl the same question so the judges can compare answers.

Rorschach tests.

Finish the phrase a man walks into a bar.


 

New Categories:

Limericks. Each girl is given part of a limerick and they have to finish it on the spot.

WWDD, also known as What would Darth Vader do? Give the girls a hypothetical situation, or even a real world situation, and then they have to come up with how Darth Vader would deal with it.

A Jeopardy-like trivia section to test intellect.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tonight’s Going To Be A Good Night

There is nothing quite like a local pageant. The one I went to tonight was no exception. I brought my own scoring sheet, and my picks were exactly the same as the judges. There were four components to the pageant—swimwear aka fitness and lifestyle, onstage interview, talent, and formal wear. I was surprised to see that there were only seven contestants, but it did make the night go faster.

Was a law passed that all pageants must open with The Black-Eyed Peas? If I never have to hear "Tonight's Going To Be A Good Night" again it will be too soon. The dance wasn't too complicated, which was probably a good thing because only a couple of the girls were dancers. The emcee was not so great. Okay, he was pretty bad. He could sing though, and he did a Beatles medly while the contestants changed outfits. I enjoyed the medly, which was a pleasant surprise after listening to this yahoo all night, although I thought including "Come Together" was an interesting choice for a pageant. I mean, it's a drug song, and the lyrics only make sense when you're high. "Hey Jude, fine. "Can't Buy Me Love", fine. But with all of the choices of Beatles songs, "Come Together?" Why not "Mean Mr. Mustard ," or "Polythene Pam?" I'm just saying. Or "Rocky Raccoon?" That seems like a nice crowd pleasing song. Just throw a dart at the White Album and there you go. But I digress.

First up was fitness and lifestyle competition, which is pretty much the chicks in heels and swimsuits competition. If you can walk across a stage in front of hundreds of people in beach attire, you have to be pretty confident. Or maybe you lost a bet. Either way, better them than me. As it was a small Utah town pageant, it was no surprise that all the girls wore fairly modest one-piece swimsuits, which is refreshing, especially when you realize some of these girls are only 16 or 17. Two of the girls seemed very sure of themselves during this part, and really worked the stage. The other five, however, didn't seem like they were really that comfortable with it. And I don't blame them.

Next up was the onstage question section. This was definitely the worst part of the night. In fact, this may have been the worst onstage question segment I have ever seen. The questions were mundane at best. Questions like "what is the difference between a violin and a fiddle?" Why not just ask things like "what's your favorite color?" "Do you like fruit?" "Is it important to eat breakfast?" Where are the questions about current events or controversial subjects? The girls seemed like they already knew what the questions were going to be, because the answers were pretty canned. And none of the answers were very great either.

The talent competition is what makes or breaks a girls chance to win a pageant. Playing the piano is safe, if you have practiced enough to do it flawlessly. The first piano solo was okay, but there were quite a few mistakes. The last piano solo wasn't much better. But at least no one played "Whitewater Chopsticks." I'm getting tired of that. If you can dance, dancing is okay. The first contestant to perform did a dance/cheer which she did pretty well. Her costume choice was terrible. I think a clown from the 80's called and wants their outfit back. Another contestant played the guitar and sang a song she wrote herself. The song wasn't terrible, but it wasn't that great either. Kind of dull. But she gets points for writing a song, singing the song, and playing the song. It's refreshing to see a guitar onstage, but I would have enjoyed it more if she had played "Smoke on the Water" or something that shows off guitar skill.

Three girls, including the guitarist, sang. The second girl to sing was absolutely terrible. She said she studied something called vocal toning, which is based on the premise that anyone can sing with the right training. Um, no. No they can't. I'm not sure if she was even near the right key, and I cringed with embarrassment for her. Someone, probably not her vocal coach, needs to take her aside and gently explain to her that music is not her calling, and she might be better off taking up another skill. Otherwise she's going to try out for American Idol and got mocked in front of the whole country, not just most of the city.

The third girl to sing did a really great job. She had one or two notes that didn't quite work, but I thought she did the best out of the talent choices. I think the judges did to as she ended up winning the title.

The most disappointing talent was the girl who played the fiddle. I was expecting more from someone who chose "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." If you're going to play Charlie Daniels, you'd better have the chops to do it. Alas, she didn't. Although I think everyone was mesmerized with the fringe on her costume that flipped around when she moved. I know it distracted me. A friend of mine wasn't distracted, and she informed me how bad the performance really was.

My favorite part of a pageant is the formal wear competition, where the girls wear fancy dresses and walk around the stage. Words fail me to describe the hideousness of the first dress. It was strapless with a sweetheart neckline, black and somewhat sparkly, but the bottom of the dress was confusing. I'm not sure if it was the fabric, or if the dress was really just strips of fabric across the thighs, and it was supposed to look like you could see through it. At the very least it was too mature for her age.

I was disappointed with most of the dresses. This is a beauty pageant for crying out loud! This is not an occasion to recycle a prom dress. You need something big and fancy and sparkly and sequined, with ridiculously high heels and big fancy hair and too much makeup. This is not an occasion for ponytails. Out of all the contestants, only one had a dress that I thought was pageanty enough. Yes, I know pageanty is not a word. I just made it up. It was all sequins and sparkles, all one color, which was some sort of teal shade I believe. Thanks to my rose colored glasses I'm not always sure what color things are. I didn't really like her dress, but it was more of what I wanted to see. The last girl to walk across the stage was wearing a dress that was a color I don't think I've ever seen before. Was it marigold or mustard? Was it a brown? It was ugly, whatever it was.

I'm going to another small town (an even smaller town) pageant next week. I think it will be more entertaining than this one. I hope so. As a beauty pageant junkie, I'd hate to have to give up watching pageants because they lost their entertainment value. My favorite part is breaking down the pageant afterwards, regardless of if the comments are positive or snarky.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Ten Most Influential Video Games

My youngest brother Ryan has been making favorite lists of everything he could think of. When I tried to join in and make a top ten favorites book list, I ended up going off into several different sub categories each requiring their own list. The only books we really could agree on was Harry Potter. So instead of coming with a top ten favorites video game list, we decided to come up with a list of the ten video games that have most influenced current game play. So in no particular order—hey, we may have come up with the list but we were unable to actually rank them one through ten—here are our picks.

Pong. While Ryan has never played Pong, or even seen it, Pong is where it all began. Ryan began playing video games when the Super Nintendo was released, so I had to do all the early picks.

Pac-Man, which started a video game playing craze, and spawned numerous spin-offs. Ryan has never played Pac-Man. Or Q-Bert. Or Frogger. But that's not the point.

Donkey Kong, which not only introduced us to Mario, but has become an enduring, and challenging, game franchise in its own right.

Super Mario Bros. It turns out a character can go from villain to hero, and after 25 years can still be as popular as ever, if not more so. And it's doubtful that any game has more incarnations, what with Mario Kart, Super Mario Galaxy, Paper Mario, and Mario Party, and the rest. Mario Kart is the main reason to buy a WII. Mario has staying power. Plus with Smash Bros you can intermix characters from different games. Ever wonder what would happen if Yoshi and Pichachu had a fight?

Mortal Kombat, one of the early fighting games, and a cross-platform one at that.

Goldeneye, which may be the best first person shooter game ever.

Pole Position. Would we have Blur, Grand Theft Auto, or Need For Speed if Pole Position hadn't paved the way?

Legend of Zelda. Ah, questing games. Not so much my thing, but enduring.

Halo. I haven't really played Halo, but Ryan said it had to make the list because it was one of the first games that you could play with friends via the internet.

We have been having trouble trying to decide what should be the tenth game on the list. Should it be WII Bowling, which has spawned the Move and the Kinect? Should it be Little Big Planet, which allows and encourages users to create and post their own games? In the end, I'm voting for Tetris.