This is the beauty of Newark, NJ as seen from my hotel window, with the lovely view of the roof and air conditioner vent. I'm in the garden spot of the Garden State attending a conference. Fortunately, I have Internet access courtesy of my company at the bargain rate of $9.99 per day. So, I'm under a little pressure to make the content worth the price. Fat chance.
The first thing I saw when I flipped on the TV was the Miss USA pageant, proudly proclaimed as being broadcast "LIVE" from Las Vegas, Nevada - seemingly the last place where a beauty pageant could be tolerated. I really thought we had progressed as a society beyond such mundane rituals, but sadly, we have not. Donald Trump is the sponsor, which should tell you everything you need to know about the content. However, it was made to look like a MENSA convention by contrast when I changed channels and saw "Survivor" contestants stacking dishes on a stick. What has happened to TV?
I had it on long enough to see the 51 contestants strut out to a Ke$ha song and hear the voice-over proclaim, "And now, here are your hosts, the lovely Natalie Morales and Curtis Stone." I guess Curtis doesn't get an adjective, since we routinely refer to women as "lovely" but hardly ever call men "handsome." You'd think that, in a beauty pageant setting the ritual conventions of society would be disregarded. And where's the Mr. USA pageant? Nowhere.
I wrote a blurb saying that "every summer there's a story about some 90-year old graduating college." Well, I was almost right. Today, Yahoo featured a story about 94-year-old Hazel Soares, who graduated from Mills College in California. Her degree is in Art History. Big deal. She's old enough to have gone to high school with most of the people she studied. "We are really amazed and very proud of my mom," said Regina Hungerford, Soares' youngest child. "The biggest thing that we can all learn is that we're never too old." Well, yeah - maybe you are.
The miraculous part of the story is that she claims that she does not take any prescription medication. To me, that's a bigger feat than graduating college. Good for you Hazel. Stay off the pills.
I'm not sure this was worth $9.99. Lucky for me, I'm not paying for it. So, in order to try to pad-out the fee, here's a ten dollar haiku:
A screaming siren
and the smell of fresh urine.
Night falls in Newark.