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Today's word on journalism

May 12, 2009

The Last WORD


The Fat Lady Sings, Off-Key, Drools

At about this time every year, like the swallows to Capistrano or the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio, the WORD migrates to its summer musing grounds at the sanitarium —St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose.

The reason is clear, and never moreso than as this season —the WORD's 13th —peters out.

It's been a fraught year of high palaver and eye-popping transition, both good and not-so-much. An interminable presidential campaign saga finally did end, and in extraordinary and historic fashion. Meanwhile, the bottom and everything that's below the bottom fell out of the economy, with families, homes, entire industries and —of particular interest to WORDsters and the civic-minded —dozens of daily newspapers ("I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying--it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off." --Molly Ivins). . . all evaporating. What replaces them, from the individual to the institutional to the societal? Are we looking at a future of in-depth Tweeting?

As any newsperson or firehorse knows, it's hard to turn your back on day-to-day catastrophe --we just have to look at the car wreck. But even the most deranged and driven need a rest. As philosopher Lilly Tomlin once observed, "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

So this morning, as a near-frost hovered over northern Utah, the unmarked van pulled into the driveway and the gentle, soft-spoken men in the white coats rolled the WORD out of bed and into a straitjacket for the usual summer trip to St. Mumbles, where the blathering one will be assigned a hammock and fed soothing, healthy foods --like tapioca, dog biscuits and salmon --while recharging the essential muscles of cynicism, outrage, sarcasm, social engagement and high-mindedness, in preparation for the next edition.
Summer well, friends.

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College is supposed to be fun, right?

By Whitney Petersen

May 5, 2009 | When I woke up on a recent Friday morning, I had no idea what was ahead of me. My weekend wasn't planned and I thought it was going to be another fall-asleep-to-a-movie-at-11:00 p.m. weekend. Little did I know that I was going to become a True Aggie, crowd surf at the dance on the Quad, have a mani-pedi-facial night with a gay guy and not get a wink of sleep.

These activities sound pretty typical of a young, college student, especially at Utah State University. My philosophy is that the most memorable weekends are the weekends with nothing really planned. Those are the times when random and exciting things happen that probably wouldn't have happened otherwise.

First thing, you've moved away from home to become independent, right? Then, you'll probably want to stay away from home as much as possible. Going home too much causes you to miss things going on in the college atmosphere, especially on the weekends. It's important to feel connected to things, and that happens mostly on the weekends.

Next, immerse yourself in the college environment. One of the biggest mistakes I see is someone "hiding" out in their apartment just waiting to be invited to something. That's going about things the wrong way. If you're not having a good time, then it's probably your fault. It may be uncomfortable to talk to people you don't know, but that's how you meet people. The more you meet people, the more comfortable you'll feel in your new environment.

College is all about having fun, right? The key to that is spontaneity. Be open to anything and be willing to try something new. You might discover something you really like this way. Don't let judgments stop you from doing anything. An activity your parents might consider to be completely crazy and random could be relatively normal to you.

Take the initiative when it comes to deciding what to do. The most common, and also the most annoying, question is "What do you want to do tonight?" If you want to do a specific activity, round up some people to make it possible. Prevent having the answer to that question be "I don't know" because that doesn't get anyone very far.

NW
MS

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