Tag Archives: CNN

Gold in the freestyle

Did you hear? The United States took six gold medals over the weekend.

No, I’m not a year early for the Olympics. The event to which I’m referring didn’t take place in London but rather, in Trondheim, Norway: the biennial World Beard & Mustache Championships, considered to be the premier competition of the world’s facial hair elite.

Following last weekend’s competitions, organizers announced that Keith Haubrich “completed the three-peat in Freestyle Moustache. Newcomers to the world stage Bill Mitchell from Georgia and Giovanni Dominice from Arizona won in Partial Beard Freestyle and Imperial Moustache respectively.” For an interpretation of what this means, and to get a sense of the hairy-ness of the competition, do spend time on your lunch hour today combing through the organization’s website, which is translated into 19 languages.

In case you were wondering, I didn’t happen on the news by trolling obscure sources for blog topics. This world event was covered by CNN, which ran a pre-event story online last Friday and used up all the good hair puns (e.g., the competition has its roots in a 1990 event).

A couple of quotes CNN ran caught my eye. Ole Skibnes, the president of the host Norwegian Moustache Club, said, “You can’t just judge the size of the moustache — you have to see if the hair is well-groomed, see if it suits the person, see if it makes them look good.” Notice Skibnes uses “they” in lieu of a masculine pronoun. Interesting. Could it be that the games aren’t Just for Men?

CNN also reported: “It was at the Anchorage games that the United States emerged as the ‘premier power in world bearding,’ according to Beard Team USA captain Phil Olsen, who predicts that America will net a staggering eight out of 17 possible gold medals at the games.” Olsen’s prediction fell short by two, but I’m giving him points for using “bearding” as a verb as though it were an Olympic sport. 

By the way, Team USA will hold its next national competition this fall in the Amish country of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Be there or be without hair.

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Filed under All Things Wordish, News, Sports and Recreation

Mission possible

Last night, as my husband and I were about to turn off the TV and the lights, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer broke in to the end of a program we were watching about Alzheimer’s Disease. At 10:30 p.m., President Obama would address the nation and the world. As I suspect everyone did, we tried to guess what the matter might be.

Without a lot of thought, I said to my husband, “I wonder if they got Osama bin Laden.” My husband looked shocked, even got a little choked up. Then it hit me what a significant thing I had said. What a significant world event that would be.

About 10 minutes after my wild guess, the news was leaked. My heart stopped. Perhaps for the first time in years, my emotions from 2001 returned, as if by the flip of a switch. There are no words, only images—of watching the news, sobbing. Of rushing to the bus to meet my son and wanting us all to hide from danger.

I sit here this morning, reading the news accounts and watching images of those gathered around Ground Zero, and remembering our recent visit to the memorials, which reveal bin Laden’s act in a painfully personal way. I sit here in awesome admiration of the historic display of courage and excellence–in military operations, in national intelligence and in Presidential leadership–that changed our world yesterday and that we’ll continue to need in the future.

The last words I heard as I switched off the television last night reflected something I was feeling but dared not say out loud. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell read an e-mail from the daughter of a 9/11 victim: “It’s not natural to celebrate the death of someone. But somehow it feels natural tonight.”

We can’t help but re-live September 11, 2001, today. Perhaps it’s overly altruistic, but maybe—just maybe—the celebrated destruction of this evil doer will compel us to come together as a nation and a world—the way we did when he committed his most evil deed almost 10 years ago.

Let the healing begin.


Filed under News, Politics