In case you’ve been away in August and missed the biggest news stories of the month, I’ve encapsulated them below.
– Peru and Bolivia moved to the brink of international crisis, with both countries crying foul, accusing the other of committing unthinkable theft and reaping economic devastation. A trade agreement gone awry? A serious diplomatic breach? No. The subject was bigger than Peru’s never-ending reshuffle of its presidential cabinet, more alarming than the uptick of coca shrub cultivation in Bolivia. I speak, of course, of the Miss Universe pageant costumes. Seems those of Peru and Bolivia looked alike. This horrifying development stoked the ire of both the Peruvian Congress and Bolivian diplomats, prompted a protest in front of the Peruvian embassy in Washington D.C. and caused the Bolivian government to run commercials defending its ownership of said costume. There was talk of going to The Hague for resolution. Seriously. In the end, it was Donald Trump, he of all things classy and diplomatic, who settled the dispute: Miss Venezuela was crowned the winner.
– In order to curry votes, German candidate Vera Lengsfeld took a page from the playbook of Italian Prime Minister/Top European Horndog Silvio Berlusconi. Lengsfeld erected humongous signs of herself in a low-cut number next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who, in her photograph, donned an even more risque and revealing top. The billboard's tagline: "We have more to offer."
– Every now and again there's a story so dramatic, so heart wrenching, so utterly crucial to the global community's welfare that it captivates the masses. Yes, I speak of Paula Abdul's departure from American Idol. For those who thought Ms. Abdul's relevance faded in the 80s after she danced her way through a video with a cartoon dog and Arsenio Hall, you couldn't have been more mistaken. For the past however many years she's happily gurgled her encouraging platitudes to hopeful stars, offered up countless excuses for odd behavior (including that well-worn chestnut "The manicurist did it!") and...well, I'm having trouble thinking of a third thing. Although a third accomplishment remains elusive for Ms. Abdul, obviously she was worth more than her $5 million-a-year contract. It’s a loss we’ll be mourning for years to come.
– Finally, in news that’s bigger than the ongoing slugfest over revamping US healthcare or Iran’s continued march toward developing nuclear weapons, Tyra Banks announced that she’s going to reveal her real, weave-free hair on the Sept. 8 broadcast of her eponymously titled talkshow.
I'll end the roundup here, because news doesn't get bigger than Tyra's hair.