Miss America pageants are supposed to expose our shallowness, not our bigotry!

Let’s face it: nobody cares about the Miss America pageant more than two days after it ends. Right now, it’s been almost exactly 24 hours since it ended, so people still slightly care. Very, very slightly.

And the people who do care are very, very stupid. Because they care for all the wrong reasons.

One can argue incessantly about how the age-old pageant sends the wrong message to young girls — that looks are the only thing that matters. But we all know that’s not true. There’s like one or two things that matter, also.

But, what the Miss America Pageant is — plain and simply — is a conglomeration of beautiful, young women. And while people try so hard to instill the notion that “true beauty is on the inside,” we all forget one fundamental fact — looking good is a big accomplishment. It’s not an easy thing to do, and everyone in the world tries to look good. So why can’t we celebrate a group of girls who not only look good, but look really, really good?

No girl on this planet would turn down an opportunity to showcase their bikini body to the public if their’s was perfectly sculpted and toned. These girls have that, and they choose to flaunt it.

But anyway, the “controversy” this year doesn’t even center around that. Instead, idiots are complaining that a girl of Indian descent won the competition.

Nina Davuluri, 24, from New York, was crowned Miss America 2013 last night in Atlantic City. For her “talent,” she did a Bollywood dance. She’s the first Indian American women to win.

Now instead of me standing here on a pedestal and insulting these people for their ignorant and mind-numbing stupid remarks, I’m going to stand on a pedestal and explain why I am so much better than everyone else: it’s because my shallowness overshadows any racist notions that I could ever have.

When I see a woman — any woman at all — my mind instantly evaluates her physical beauty. Before I even process what race she is, what Nina Dcolor her skin is, or her ethnicity, I am forming a number between 1 and 10 to quantify her hotness.

While that makes me as shallow as any human can possibly be, it also makes me the furthest thing from a racist. I am so narrow-minded when it comes to evaluating women that the thought of thinking anything even remotely racist or bigoted doesn’t even enter my consciousnesses.

And that’s how everybody should be when they watch Miss America. Who the hell cares where the contestants are from? Yes, it is an interesting thing to know, but it shouldn’t have any impact on what you actually think of them as people. A girl is standing front and center on a stage wearing nothing but a bikini, and the first thing that people think is “OMG SHE’S INDIAN!”? What is wrong with the men of this world?!

The girl haters I get, because they are just jealous. That goes without saying. Instead of being honored on an international stage for their beauty, they’re sitting on their computer in sweatpants typing 140 characters at a time. So of course they’re going to hate.

But the guys have no excuse.

One day after her victory, Davuluri should be the target of worldwide flirtation, online perversion and maybe some light sexual harassment. Somebody should be making a YouTube video asking her on a date, like the guy who asked Kate Upton to prom.

Instead, she’s had to respond to racist remarks through social media, and that’s a shame.

Being shallow and superficial is often frowned upon in our society, but I think anyone would take such a person 10 out of 10 times compared to a bigot or a racist.

And I’m sure Nina Davuluri would wholeheartedly agree.

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Can we just eliminate the word “twerking” from everybody’s vocabulary?

Neither Merriam Webster nor Dictionary.com list twerking as a word. In their eyes, it doesn’t exist.

Oxford Dictionary, on the other hand, recently added it to its catalog last month. It defines twerking as: “Dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.”

Urban Dictionary, which probably should have been the first place I checked, defines it as: “the act of moving/shaking ones ass/buns/bottom/buttocks/bum-bum in a circular, up-and-down, and side-to-side motion.”

Let me begin by saying it’s appalling that the Oxford Dictionary has sunk low enough to include this word. Our language is precious. It’s mysterious. It has its quirks and oddities, sure, but beyond that, there’s also some resplendent words like sesquipedalian, abyssopelagic, and flibbertigibbet. And now, according to Oxford, twerking is among them.

How did this happen?

The easy answer is to blame Miley Cyrus. However, I refuse to believe that she is capable of creating a word in the English language. One can make the strong argument that she popularized the word, and I think that is true. But not created it.

And I’m not questioning the actual act of twerking. I know this provocative form of dancing has existed for a long time. I saw it every night in college. On lucky nights when I had my A-game going, I was even the beneficiary of it. In fact —  from what I remember back in my day — it was called “grinding.” I had never even heard the word twerking before this year.

It’s the actual linguistics of this term that annoys me. Normally a word’s diction fits what it is, or what it is describing. But twerking sounds like some sadomasochist act that occurs in the private room of some cult gathering.

Can we just all stop saying it? Can we rid it from the world? It seems like the word only comes up anyway when people try to express how much they hate it, so why don’t we just pretend it never existed?

My hope is that it’s just one of those things that became popular very quickly, and will go away equally as quickly. I know it received a boost from the Worst Twerk Fail Ever video, which, as it turned out, was a hoax orchestrated by Jimmy Kimmel. 

That video, for those who have seen it, was a social experiment conducted by Kimmel: he and his Jimmy Kimmel Live crew hired a stunt girl to be the clumsy twerker, and then posted it online under a fake username without advertising, promoting or Tweeting about it. In two months, it got 9 million views, and several mentions on news stations.

If that doesn’t tell you the great power that twerking has right now, nothing does.

Hopefully, Kimmel’s revelation will put an end to this abominable fad.

Another word that I’ve heard more times than I ever needed to is “ratchet.” Apparently — again, according to Urban Dictionary — it’s meant to define a girl who thinks she is a diva, but really isn’t.

In essence, it’s just another bullshit word that describes Miley Cyrus.

You know what? When we eliminate those words, can Miley go with them? I’ve held off on devoting a blog post solely to her, because I feel that doing so would give her the attention she so desperately craves. And if you don’t think she desires attention after seeing her VMA performance and new video for Wrecking Ball, in which she is naked at one point, then you are delusional.

Somehow though, Miley remains more popular than ever. That Wrecking Ball video has more than 51 million views in two days, her song “We Can’t Stop” is currently #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it was announced this week that she will be both hosting and performing on Saturday Night Live’s second episode this year on Oct. 5.

Again, how is this happening? The general consensus makes it seem like Miley Cyrus is universally hated, and yet, she’s still everywhere.

I’d say that she has gone the Amanda Bynes route with her downward plunge, but I think that Amanda Bynes is legitimately batshit crazy. Miley, on the other hand, knows exactly what she’s doing. She just doesn’t give a shit.

And who is the loser here? The children of America.

I thank my lucky starts every single day that I grew up in an era full of quality musicians, who, for the most part, were also good role models.

But this generation doesn’t stand a chance. In first grade classes, the word “twerking” will be flashed across index cards, and used on spelling tests.

God help us.

My faith in people’s ability to take engagement photos has been restored

A couple in their mid 20s embrace in a meadow. Their arms are interlocked around the back of each other’s necks and they gaze into one another’s eyes. A tint of sunlight crackles in the sky, and rows of flowers bloom colorfully in the background, contrasting perfectly with the emerald grass.

In the distance sits a pond, its serenity interrupted by the occasional ripple of the wind. And as the couple matches each other’s stare, they smile, a look that says, “How did we get here?” and “I love you” at the same time.

What am I describing? No, it’s not the “Happy Place” Adam Sandler drifts off to in moments of discord in the movie Happy Gilmore, instead, it is EVERY ENGAGEMENT PHOTO THAT’S EVER BEEN TAKEN.

Engagement photos have become arguably the most important part of the pre-wedding planning festivities, thanks in large part to the inception of Facebook. In the past, these photos were something you’d keep for your personal collection, and as something to share with your family and closest friends. But now, as soon as they’re ready, they are going onto Facebook for the entire world to see.

The comments these photos receive are generally the same: “You both look amazing!”, “These photos are stunning,” or “You guys are the perfect couple!”.

It takes all my inner strength to not chime in and remark about how every single one of these photos are repetitive, unimaginative and cliché.

Over the years, I have become completely disenchanted towards the elegance of engagement photos. In short, they are all the same. There’s absolutely no creativity and everybody is afraid to break tradition.

Well maybe I should give people some credit. Instead of a meadow, some choose a park. And instead of being next to a pond, maybe it’s a lake. These are the bold decisions that some people choose that would make Evel Knievel proud.

And that’s not to say that the photos don’t look fantastic — couples shell out hundreds of dollars on a professional photographer, and the results are usually quite exquisite. I’m not questioning the quality of the photographs, I’m challenging the imagination.

Isn’t that what brings couples together in the first place? Individuality? Matching idiosyncrasies? Personal taste?

And then suddenly, during a time when true love hits its apex, and it comes time to present it to the world in the form of photographs — everybody plays it safe.

It baffles me to no end.

But finally — finally — one couple gets it. One glorious, beautiful couple stood up against the decrees of engagement photo etiquette, and did something different.

 A zombie theme.

zombies14 zombies20 zombies34 zombies52 zombies58 zombies65

The pictures could not be more perfect. If you view the entire spread, then the photos play out like a story board. Each image transitions perfectly into the next, and the sequence of time is dispersed so evenly that you know exactly what each person is doing from one slide to the next.

The couple is capitalizing on one the hottest trends of the last several years in zombies, and transferred it flawlessly to photographs that still manage to encapsulate their love for one another, while also showcasing their creativity and personalities.

They obviously took a leap of faith with these pictures, and to me, these series of photographs tell me more about a couple than any other engagement photos in a park or meadow ever could.

Others may look at it and find it revolting. And think they wasted their money. They’ll claim that this couple besmirched their one opportunity in life to capture their love in photos.

But by God, this is true art. This is what it is all about. I truly hope that it will become popular enough that other couples see it and become inspired. Because the world needs more of this.

And who would have ever guessed that the purest moments in two people’s lives could be expressed using zombies?

That’s what makes it so special.

Who performs during halftime of the Super Bowl should not be something that people care about

This weekend, reports filtered in as to who this year’s Super Bowl halftime performer will be.

Honestly, it didn’t even matter who it was. When a “major” pop culture announcement like this comes, it’s going to have a negative backlash every time. If you don’t believe me, then just take a look back to a whole two weeks ago when Ben Affleck was tabbed as Batman.

The reports could have read: “This year’s halftime performer will be… a musician!” And there would have been an outcry.

People just love to react. They like hearing news and getting their opinion to the rest of the world as soon as possible. So when Bruno Mars Bruno Marswas the one selected, I expected nothing less than a firestorm of criticism.

The majority of people took to the Internet to react before they even formed a rational thought on the subject. The news had barely settled into most people’s brains before their written response was published on some social media outlet. But that’s the age we live in now — one of rapid reaction.

Bruno Mars is, by all accounts, an energetic, lively performer who knows how to work a crowd. There’s no denying his vocal abilities, and he doesn’t rely on any gimmicks or antics to distinguish himself to the public. I think it’s a fine choice.

He’s relevant, talented and a good live performer. Oh, the humanity! What an awful decision!

What people need to realize is that there are more than die-hard NFL football fans watching the Super Bowl. The entire country is watching. People who have no interest in football watch this game. So the NFL has to take that into consideration when they make their decision.

Everyone remembers the notorious halftime show in 2004 with Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, and in the years after that, the NFL played it safe. From 2005 to 2010, it was Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Prince, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and The Who.

Finally, in 2011, they returned to the contemporary, making a not-so-subtle transition with the Black Eyed Peas. That decision deserved criticism. The Black Eyed Peas create dumbed-down songs that have singlehandedly depreciated people’s ability to recognize quality music. They are harmful to the world. So that deserved to be ridiculed.

Madonna followed the next year, and gave a performance so forgettable that I didn’t even remember she did it until I looked it up. Last year it was Beyonce, who I definitely did remember. Beyonce was a solid choice, because, again — relevant, talented, lively.

And now we have Bruno. But, in truth, it all comes down to one thing. And that is…

Who cares?

A halftime performance lasts 15 minutes, if even. They will be performing while you are in the middle of eating your 11th chicken wing, and doing your best to suppress farts so as to not befoul the room your friends are in. Is that 15-minute block so precious that it needs to comprise the most perfect of musical acts?

I would have to suddenly stop caring about thousands of different things before the Super Bowl halftime performer entered my stream of consciousness. And if I stop caring about a 1,000 different things at once, it means I probably just had a lobotomy. And if I ever did have a lobotomy, I think I’d have a lot more to worry about than who sings during the middle part of a football game. I’d also want some one to put me out of my misery with a pillow, Randall P. McMurray style a la One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Spoiler alert.

Once I hit the “publish” button on this blog, I won’t think about the halftime performance until the day it actually comes. And that’s how it should be for everyone else.

Someone explain to me what LinkedIn actually does

About two or three times a week for the past couple of years, I have received emails from people who “want to connect to me through LinkedIn.”

Since I lacked an account, I could not grant this request. So I ignore these emails.

But the more requests I received, the more I realized that practically everyone I know has their own profile. I suppose I understand the merit — it’s another way of getting your credentials out there. In this day and age where everything and anything is readily accessible through social media, LinkedIn gives us the opportunity to put positive information about ourselves out there.
LinkedIn

Rather than potential employers and colleagues Googling our name, finding our Facebook and seeing our drunk activities from last Friday night, they can find our LinkedIn accounts instead, and see our career aspirations, past job history and our skill sets.

Or they can Google my name, find this blog, and actually discover that I am a moron.

So the networking makes sense. But I still never created an account because, besides that, I didn’t know what else its purpose was. Well, about an hour ago I finally signed up. I recently learned that you can actually join groups on it, such as your college alumni organization, as a further way to network. So I did that.

But, now what? I kind of half expected to start receiving job offers in my inbox the moment I signed up. But that hasn’t happened. Therefore, I really don’t know what else I am supposed to do. Can I message people? Can I apply for a job on LinkedIn? Can I “friend” people?

According to Forbes in a July 2012 article, “LinkedIn is, far and away, the most advantageous social networking tool available to job seekers and business professionals today. Far and away.”

Okay, so… TELL ME WHY.

And that was totally meant to sound like it was being sang by the Backstreet Boys.

In my three or so years of being in the professional world, I have yet to hear one single person tell me that LinkedIn directly contributed to a job hiring. I’m not trying to discredit the site at all, I’m simply sharing my ignorance with what it actually does. Until proven otherwise, I’m going to think of it as my resume floating around in Neverland.

And if Neverland is hiring, someone let me know about that too.

While I try to figure that out, let me revert back to this whole ordeal that is happening right now in Syria. On Tuesday I said how my specialty is to read one article about an issue, and then act five minutes later like I know all about it. Hey, It works to an extent. Actually, by taking five minutes to read an article, it will probably make you more informed about a topic than 90 percent of the people who you know.

Anyway, I discovered the article to end all the articles regarding the Syrian conflict, and why it so greatly affects America.

The people over at the Washington Post were kind enough to dumb down and simplify what is happening over there in the Middle East, and now all of you can be in the know!

So while at work tomorrow, share some of this knowledge with a friend. Walk over to your nearest water cooler, and break out a line like, “So, it sucks that Syria violated an agreement laid out in the Geneva Convention in 1925 by utilizing chemical weapons, right Max?” And then just get your water and walk away. Max will be impressed.

Maybe countries should have their own version of LinkedIn.

Oh wait, it’s called the United Nations.

Neither seem to work very well.

Listening to somebody talk about their fantasy football team is basically a form of torture

I wrapped yesterday’s post by saying how the start of football season is one of the many positives that come with the start of September. Well, what I failed to mention is the negatives that come with the start of football. There aren’t many, but the ones that are bad, are really bad.

Fantasy football and NFL football basically go hand-in-hand. People who enjoy football are almost certainly going to participate in fantasy football leagues with their friends. It’s fun, competitive, and you can win money. So why not?

But everyone conducts their drafts at about the same exact time. With football, you want to wait as close to the start of the regular season as possible, because preseason injuries are inevitable. It’s a violent sport and players are going to get hurt. So the last thing you want is to burn your second round pick on a guy who tears his ACL before the season even starts.

But the timing of all of these drafts means one thing — everybody is doing them at the same time, and everybody is going to talk about it at the same time.

Let’s take a step back first and remind ourselves of one important truth — fantasy football is not real. You are drafting players that are real, gambling money that is real, but the actual amalgam of various players on your team is not. It’s a fake team that exists nowhere else but on your laptop.

So when being lectured by somebody about the team that they assembled, you are essentially spending minutes of your life being informed of something fictional. It’s like if somebody came up to you and started talking about unicorns.

I barely care about my own fantasy team. I do it annually out of habit. But I check the league maybe once a week to make sure I have the appropriate players in my starting lineup, and then that’s it. So given how little I care about my own team, well, it’s hard to even put into words how little I care about somebody else’s team.

Because just saying that I don’t care doesn’t do it justice. Whenever I do find myself in a situation where somebody is telling me about their fantasy football team, my brain starts thinking about all the other places I’d rather be instead. Somehow, during these times, I feel that if I try hard enough to not care, that the person in front of me will just disappear. It’s sort of like that rare moment in a dream when you actually realize you’re dreaming, and you just say, “Oh, this is a dream. I can stop pretending it’s real,” and then wait for everything around you to vanish. I try to trick my mind into having that same thing happen whenever someone is discussing their fantasy football team with me.

You know the torture scenes in the beginning of Zero Dark Thirty? Well, I’d rather be watching those scenes on a television while I’m actually being tortured in a prison camp than hearing about other people’s fantasy football teams.

The worst is when someone actually reads you their entire roster, and asks your opinion about it. It’s as if they think I have the ability to tell the future and know how their players are going to perform this season. And if I did have the miraculous ability to know the future, I wouldn’t even use it for my own financial benefit. Instead, I would utilize my divine powers to avoid any conversations about fantasy football.

I don’t want to sound mean. Or be a bad listener. But I think there would be something fundamentally wrong if I actually did care about your team. And if there is somebody out there who is genuinely enthralled and interested to talk to other people about their fantasy football teams, than God bless them. They’re a better man than me.

Yeah, I’m not winning any of my fantasy football leagues this year.

Someone wake up Billy Joe when September ends!

What the heck? It’s a whole new month since the last time I blogged?

It feels like it was just yesterday I was complaining about all the people who couldn’t believe it was August already. I guess the one good thing about people’s premature end-of-summer manifesto is that when September rolls around, nobody is surprised anymore.

What I did see today on Facebook, however, was all the teachers exclaiming how successful their first day of school was. Sept 1

Sorry, but I couldn’t help but read these statuses and roll my eyes a little bit. I say that because these are the same people who are doing cartwheels at the end of June because they’re so excited that the school year is finally over.

I do think that teachers are genuinely happy to return to school, but I can’t help but notice a little hypocrisy there. Either way, as meaningful as the start of September is to teachers, conversely, as someone who worked throughout the summer, the new month means absolutely nothing to me.

Alright, maybe that’s a lie. Given that it was the first day of work in a new month that is so closely related to autumn (despite the fact that summer comprises the majority of it), I got into the spirit in two ways: the first being the return of my long-sleeved plaid shirts, and the second being a stop at Starbucks for a seasonal drink — the pumpkin spice latte.

If there is anything that you’re guaranteed to see on Facebook in the first week of September, it’s declarations of people talking about how excited they are that Starbucks has returned the pumpkin spice latte to its menu.

Indeed, it was the first thing I saw when I logged onto Facebook this morning, and I can’t criticize too much, because it motivated me to stop at Starbucks on my way to work and get one myself.

People obsess about weather and seasons. On the first days of fall, winter, spring, and summer, you’re bound to see at least half a dozen Facebook statuses that go something like, “It’s [season]! My favorite time of the year… love this weather!!” So, since I’m getting older and more indifferent towards life in my aging years, rather than expending energy lambasting these people, I’ve picked up a new attitude towards such things: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

So what else happened in the world since I last blogged? Oh, the U.S. may be on the brink of war.

I’m not going to pretend that I know more than like two things about this issue. If I’m motivated enough, I might have read a New York Times article 20 minutes ago and based all my knowledge on the subject solely off that. So instead, I’ll go off what I do know.

The Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people in a very illegal attempt to repel a rebellion. The U.S., being the military superpower that we are, needs to decide if they want to get involved, as a means of telling the rest of the world how unacceptable this behavior is.

The timing of the situation is eerie for any watchers of HBO’s The Newsroom, because this season revolves around fictional allegations that America used sarin gas to rescue its own soldiers. And last I heard, Secretary of State John Kerry is alleging that sarin was among the chemical that Syrians used.

What do I think? I think that whatever decision Barack Obama makes, he is going to be criticized.

In other equally as important news, American Idol named its new judges.

And most importantly, come September, it is football season. Beginning this week, Sundays for the next five months will be dominated by grown men obliterating each other mercilessly in flimsy, non-protective padding, likely causing brain damage that will render them useless before they turn 35.

Got to love it.