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Volume 5, No. 20
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. Merriam-Webster defines hyperbole (hi-PER-bow-lee) as an extravagant exaggeration. It uses as examples one I’ve never heard before and one that is as rusty as an abandoned crosscut saw; “mile high ice cream cone,” and “enough food to feed an army.”
Hyperbole has been around for a long time. Without going into academic citation (and boring you and I both in that process), and without making a career out of it or using like eight million words to delineate it, Shakespeare used hyperbole. So did Mark Twain and Bret Harte. Most standup comics use it. Monty Python and the folks at Saturday Night Live were masters at it.
I have noticed, however, that on the Net and in chatrooms, it doesn’t always work because apparently what is one person’s hyperbole is another person’s reality. I think that’s because there are more people of different demographics in an online chatroom than there would be in an offline venue.
If I tell an audience around here, for instance, that sometimes I feel like there really are 25,000 Canadians living and working around here…24,999 Canada geese and me, they laugh because it’s been raining hard on their roof too. In an online chatroom the other day, someone accused me of being mathematically challenged or assumed I was too medicated to keyboard accurately.
If I use the word “monsoon” to describe a rain storm here or say the wind was blowing so hard, the clothes on the line outside were drying sideways, people in the whole Northwest and Canada laugh because they know the exaggeration isn’t so far from the reality. Sometimes in Internet chatrooms, people tell me they had no idea the weather around Seattle was that extreme. It is precisely for such misinterpretations that I get frowns from local and state tourism and convention bureaus.
I have, therefore, decided to devote more to the study of this particular literary device and to perhaps, in the future, be more circumspect in its employ. If, however, I decide that what is really necessary are more people who can laugh at themselves and the world along with us, all bets regarding the restrained use of this literary device are off.
Thank you. And yes, I feel better for having shared that. Have a good week and stuff.
IN OTHER NEWS
The ethnic character of Americais changing. According to the Census Bureau, Caucasian births are no longer the majority. For more on this one, go here.
More people than ever before are generating their own power. Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Ecotrope reports.
Great Britain’s prime minister announced that free parenting classes will be available in Middlesbrough, Camden in north London and High Peak, Derbyshire. Mr. Cameron said, however, that they could be be extended throughout England and Wales if successful. For more details on this and other measures Number 10 Downing Street is advocating to help families in the UK, please go here.
We firmly believe in “appetite tourism”. Here are Canada’s 5 Best Gourmet Burgers.
The skipper of the Sea Shepherd faces extradition to Costa Rica on charges his vessel attempted to sink a local shark fin fishing boat in 2002. Paul Watson was arrested earlier this month in Germany, where he is currently in custody. He has two members of the European Parliament interceding on his behalf. For details, please go here.
Is this street too fat for me? Check out one city’s project to make its neighborhoods more “walk friendly,” one street at a time.
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, NATURE & EXPLORATION
American astronauts are still going into space. NASA is just not taking them there.
We should all live so long. 86-million-year-old bacteria have been found in the Pacific Ocean still consuming oxygen.
Remember that Bruce Willis movie about the oil field roughnecks who went into space to destroy this Texas-sized asteroid headed for earth? NASA recently reported that it has THUS FAR identified 4,700 big rocks out there that could pose some threat. It is the “thus far” part of this which particularly tweaks me out.
HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE
How many of you think that an overweight, middle-aged male person should take up jogging? Everyone who answered yes should probably read this article entitled Why Mid-Life Health Kicks Can Wreck Men’s Bodies
Halitosis, we have been told, was cause for war in certain ancient societies. It was considered the subtlest and most offensive of diplomatic insults. To avoid causing conflict among your family and friends, check out 10 Ways to Get Rid of Stinky Breath.
If financial worries are stressing you out, you might want to check and see which of these 17 things you probably don’t need that you’re spending money on.RESOURCE LINKS: Center For Disease Control Disease FAQs Index Tips and Tools For Staying Young Weight Watchers: Calculate Your Body Mass Index
ON THE CANCER FRONT
Cancer among the middle-aged in Britain has dropped by 40 percent. To learn why, please go here.RESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS: Cancer: What You Need to Know American Cancer Society Canadian Cancer Society
Robotic manufacturing could have as dramatic an impact on employment as the assembly line did when it made its debut. Is this necessarily such a good thing? How dependent do we really want to become on automation this complete? The Canadian Press discusses.
FROM YOU GUYS
I made the mistake the other day of mentioning to some of you that I’m saving up for a Nissan Leaf and 2,500 miles of extension cord. I’m not an auto expert so while I appreciate being asked what car I think is the best, I defer to Grist magazine and this article entitled, appropriately enough, Which Car Should My Family Buy?
BEST NET VIDEOS THIS WEEK
TAKE A BREAK ON NORTHSTAR
Animal Tracks is msnbc.com’s Critter Stuff. They feature stories of every facet of the creature kingdom from the domestic to the primordial. This is a great stress buster for me and a profound pick-me-up if I’m having a “poor me” day.
Daily Crossword: This one from Universal has two levels. It is extremely easy to use and it has some features like music and clues that we thought were pretty cool.
Foundation For A Better Life produces 15 – 90 second inspirational videos equaling ~ if not surpassing ~ the video vignettes produced by Hallmark, Folgers Coffee and Campbell Soup. Three I’d recommend right off the top are Concert, The Class Room and Spirit of America.
National Geographic Kids Page: If you enjoy learning about the places, people and things which make life on this planet such a unique experience?
National Geographic Video Page is the diversion the doctor ordered If you’re looking for a video experience that will definitely take you out of wherever you are and you don’t mind your reality coming at you in relatively short bursts (about long enough to keep a fussing child occupied).
Tank Hunter – This puts you behind the controls of a tank on a vast battlefield in which everything from small tanks to big ones to invisible ones is shooting at you. Definitely the best game play of its type I have personally encountered.
Word Games: Merriam Webster has a totally creative menu, including a daily vocabulary quiz where you can see how you rank with people your age, younger and older.
Have you ever wondered, considering how ubiquitous a life form there are, cities are not littered with dead pigeons?
Check out one of the most ambitious “critter cam” projects to date. This one involves mounting cameras on the dorsal fins of Great White sharks.RELATED LINKS: Living With Wildlife BBC’s wildlife finder National Geographic Daily News – Animals
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
And there was the naked unicyclist in Texas who was charged with distracting drivers and creating a hazard. For the video and probably more than you need to know about this, yep, go here.
Well, that’s about it for this week. As a final word, The Northstar Journal is supported by contributions from readers like yourselves so if you enjoyed what you read here and would like to toss a dollar or two in the pot, as it were, please go here.
Take care, stay well and God Bless.