Good morning and greetings, Missouri Senate race fans. Well, it’s late August, and sun worshippers are still hitting the beaches in an effort to procure that all-important summer tan. As for me, I’m always tan on the inside. Or in the words of Woody Allen, “With my complexion, I don’t tan, I stroke.”
When folks hit the beach, they bring along sunbock, umbrellas and Yankee hats to make sure they don’t get toasted by the sun. Well, hold onto your SPF 50, beach lovers, as there’s a new beach craze hitting the sands. You’ve heard of the bikini. Well, get ready for the facekini.
This unusual beach accessory has been around in China for five years, but it is just now hitting the western cyber shores. The facekini is made of elastic fabric and covers a person’s entire melon and neck down to the collarbone. There are holes cut out for the neck, nose and mouths. Think Zorro in a Speedo.
So you ask, why are Chinese woman covering up their lovely faces at the beaches of Qingdao, which is in the eastern Chinese province of Shangdong, just down the road from Shama Lama Ding Dong? White skin is considered a sign of beauty in China. The Chinese have an old sayng that translates as “white skin covers up a hundred uglinenesses” and “soup not included on to-go lunches.”
Chinese women feel that tanned skin is not as pretty as white skin. Skin color is an indicator of your social status. Darker skin means you work outside in the fields or at a tanning salon, where summer never ends. The lighter you are, the wealthier and more professional and respected you seem. Having darker skin is reminiscent of peasants, laborers, farmers and NBA players.
So the female population in China is making sure their skin stays as white as the Aryan Brotherhood during the summer tanning season. Swimmers wear full-body bathing suits, while strollers carry umbrellas in full body armor while strolling along the streets of the city. Or in the words of the Lovin’ Spoonfuls. “Hot down, summer in the city, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.” Well, my friends, not in a facekini.
This item has become such a hit that vendors have gone facekini wild, with dozens of colors available, from electric blue to hot pink to sizzling rice soup. Personally, I prefer the Kung Pao purple. They also have different size eye holes, seam placements and turtleneck models for winter swimming. The cost ranges from $2 to $4, with a Friday special of buy one facekini at full price and get a half order of barbecue spare ribs.
For Chinese women, wearing a mask to the beach is no big deal. I, myself, am used to wearing a mask, but that is just to hide my emotions. But there are other benefits to the facekini. Not only does it shield wearers from UV rays, but it also keeps away pests like sharks, insects, jellyfish stings and kids playing smashball.
So when did being tan become the thing to do? In 1923, fashion designer Coco Chanel accidentally got sunburned while sailing aboard a yacht to Cannes. When she returned from the Riviera golden brown, her fans and followers went wild. So before you could say, “the healthiest tan is no tan,” an industry was born. Or as I recently told my wardrobe consultant,” I am made of blue sky and golden light, and I will feel this way forever…share the fantasy”-Chanel No. 5.”
For today’s photo ensemble, we are once again heading back to the South Pacific. This is your basic Garden Isle variety pack, featuring waterfalls, flowers, wildlife and traces of love, long ago, that didn’t turn out right.
Photo #1 is of Wailua Falls. which is your basic drive-thru waterfall located about ten minutes from the airport in Lihue. Personally, I prefer to hike in to shoot my subjects, cutting through the thick underbrush with a machete while fighting off leeches, but driving right up and shooting out the car window also works for me. Because of the gray sky, the shot did not include the everpresent rainbow that usually appears, so I just had to just settle for this majestic, 80-foot cascading river of macadamia nut love.
Then it’s on to Opaeka’a Falls, which flow all year round from Wailua River. The name dates back from days when walnut shrimp swarmed the river and were seen rolling in the turbulent waters at the base of the falls along the banks of macaroni salad with two scoops of rice.
We now move onto the wonderland that is the plumeria. This flower blooms year round in the islands, and it’s fragrance is right out of heaven, a combination of jasmine, gardenia and Old Spice. When you smell the beautiul blossoms of this plant, there is no denying that you are in paradise. As the say about leis, betcha can’t smell just one.
We then come to a Hawaiian octopus, which was caught by a fisherman from Honolulu, who came from a family where all eight brothers were divers. I watched as this eight tentacled octopus changed colors, and was amazed by the way it moved and its beauty. This exotic creature was later used that day as live bait in hopes of reeling in a 90 to 100 pound fish. Good things come to those who bait.
The final shot features an electric green fella that was from a band of geckos that spent the day lounging around in an Australian palm tree on the property. He didn’t have much to say, although he did mention that “15 minutes could save me 15% or more on car insurance.
On to the late night. “Today the Republicans are getting ready for the convention. They’re busy down there in Florida auditioning minorities.” –David Letterman “They’re now worried that Tropical Storm Isaac could hit Florida during next week’s Republican convention. But Florida is ready for it. Thanks to President Obama’s economic policies, many businesses down there are already boarded up.” –Jay Leno
“Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to develop into a hurricane in the next few days. Unfortunately, the Republican National Convention starts in Florida on Monday. The National Weather Service says the storm could reach category 5, which is strong enough to move Mitt Romney’s part to the other side of his head.” –Jimmy Kimmel “Rest assured, no matter how high those winds get, not a single hair on Romney’s or Paul Ryan’s head will move. They have guaranteed that. “Mitt Romney says if he is elected he will create 12 million new jobs in his first year in office – and that’s just for people to do his taxes.” –Jay Leno
“In a new interview with Fortune magazine, Mitt Romney says he wants to cut funding for PBS. When he heard that, Oscar the Grouch was like, ‘Seriously? I already live in a garbage can — how much worse can my life get?’” –Jimmy Fallon “Paul Ryan just released his tax returns for the last two years, and it turns out he and his wife had a combined income of over $323,000 last year. To which Mitt Romney said, ‘See, I do reach out to poor people.” –Jay Leno
“Happy birthday to gold medalist sprinter Usain Bolt. He turned 26 this week. You know the sad thing? His world record time has already been broken by Republicans running away from Missouri Congressman Todd Akin. He announced that he is staying in the race. Is that a surprise? A guy who knows so little about a woman’s body doesn’t know when it’s time to pull out.” –Jay Leno “Mitt Romney has asked Todd Akin to step down. That’s too bad. Todd Akin was the guy to lead the Republican Party into the 16th century. Akin apologized on Rachel Ray’s show and then they made veal mea culpa.” –David Letterman
So that’s an update from the shores of the People’s Republic. I’m not even going to bring up the lunacy of 66 American troops being killed in Afghanistan in August, the single deadliest month since the war began in 2001. The first 1,000 U.S casulties occured over a ten-year period. The next 1,000 happened in 27 months. These aren’t just numbers, they are brave Americans with families. How about a surge to bring them home?
We’ll catch you showing everyone, why at 21 years-of-age, you’re the best player in baseball this season. Aloha, mahalo and later, Mike Trout fans.