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  (ARCHIVES)Back to Current
Stifle it! (01/27/2008)
By Janet Lewis Burns
Television news - is nothing sacred anymore? All you ever wanted to know about exploited, distasteful stories of the day is repeated again and again, just in case you might have missed something in the last five reports.

The Today Show on Christmas day really grabbed my attention! The scoop was, "Kids get bored over Christmas vacation!" Say what? Boredom after opening the gift-wrapped heap of spendy, high-tech, battery-operated wonders they just couldn't live without? Were mommies and daddies actually pulling their hair out trying to come up with ideas to keep their children entertained during that loooong week between Christmas and New Year's?

An over- enthusiastic lady with a Polident smile appeared on the lavish Christmas set of the program with her bagful of great ideas! How about a friendly game of invigorating balloon volleyball (an inexpensive way to relieve the grave disappointment of Santa's failure to come through with the big one.)

What's one more mess following the hectic holiday festivities? When technological burnout sets in, and the kiddies have deserted the Hannah Montana cell phones, iPod Nano, Mii sports center, kid-friendly robots, and DVD games strewn across the rec room, she suggests that Mom would be delighted to help her little button pushers construct a sugar cube village (some assembly needed.) For more excitement, a pop bottle filled with a magic potion can erupt and wipe out the entire village, already nibbled beyond recognition.

Still bored? Why not make homemade ice cream in a magic blue ball! Just shove aside the leftover gooey candies, festive cookies (looking crummy by now), Aunt Rose's rosettes, and the brandy soaked fruitcake aside on the kitchen counter and shake it up!

An avid newspaper scanner can come across plenty of disturbing tidbits of information on any given day. "Doctors reading mammograms miss an average of 2 in every 10 cases of breast cancer." I didn't need to know that! But then, there's hope! "The new, more accurate tool for detecting breast cancer is the MRI." (But I can't go inside the tube - I'll have a panic attack!) Isn't the human body a marvel!

Wisconsin "cheeseheads" in jeopardy? The state's tourism secretary Kelli Trumble is leading an effort to shelf the redneck, foam headgear to make way for images of more positive features the Green Bay Packers state has to offer.

On a more serious note, global warming is one of those consequential circumstances one would rather push under the topsoil and not think about. Globally, recent years have been the warmest years on record. So? "As the world warms, scientists fear an increase in disease, killer weather and the extinction of vast numbers of species." Oh.

A sobering report tells us that 503 people died on MN roads in 2007, the first increase in the death toll since 2002. This is not good news!

Little known facts about little known facts: With all the problematic, universal issues concerning the environment, Nobel prize winners awarded by the "Annals of Improbable Research" seem ridiculous! One study figured out a way to extract vanilla flavoring and fragrance from cow dung. What a bunch of bull!

It's beyond my comprehension why anyone would need to know that mice with certain nasal cells removed didn't display any fear of cats, and even frolicked with them.

2007 marks the 75th year for the lighting of New York City's Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. Weighing 8 tons, standing 84 feet tall, it glowed for many weeks with 30,000 energy-efficient lights. (A noteworthy example of economic resourcefulness?)

As it is all over the world, excess, gluttony, and extravagance are the norm. We live in a commercialized and informational global society. Everyone seems to be overwhelmed by what to do with all the force-fed communication!

Ignorance is not bliss. Today's denial may well be tomorrow's destruction. Remember when "don't worry - be happy" was an option?

Janet Burns resides in Lewiston. She can be reached at patandjanburns@embarqmail.com.



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