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Today's word on journalism

Friday, May 12, 2006


PETERSBORO, Utah -- Gloom like a Bulwer-Lyttonesque pall hung heavily over the Cache Valley as word came that the WORD had gone.

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire. . . ." No, wait. . . . That's actual Bulwer-Lyttonism. Scratch it.

We conclude, with joy and trumpets and a tankard or two, the 10th season of TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM. What began in 1995 as a professor's strategy to get his students to read email (guess that worked!) now has spread, birdflu-like, far beyond that unwilling audience to self-flagellating WORD volunteers on five-and-a-half continents. But the willing and unwilling alike--the halt and addled and addicted and deluded--will have to get a life and smell the roses, for a while anyway.

Today marks the end of the WORD for this academic season. Even ere the rosy dawn that didth bust o'er this glade, this vale, this happy home. . . . ooops. Avert already, Sir Bulwer, you mangy cur!!!!

See you in the fall. . . TP

Let us eat cake

By Diana Maxfield

After long reflection and careful consideration, I have come to a very important conclusion: eating healthy is not for me. I have my reasons of course, and they all come down to the fact that good nutrition is hard, especially since the good-tasting foods and the good-for-you foods seem perpetually at war with each other.

While there are other factors in my failure to eat nutritiously (being too broke to buy milk comes to mind), the main issue, I'll confess, is this: I'd rather eat cake.

Can you blame me? It's much more fun to eat Frosted Flakes and spaghetti than whole-wheat bread and Total. Let's face it, anything that markets itself as "healthy" has to-because it can't get away with claiming to be good-tasting or fun.

The old U.S. Department of Agriculture food pyramid seemed to understand that.

That version of healthy eating, released when I was in grade school, was solidly based in all the foods I like best, and it didn't make any bothersome comments about looking for ingredients like "whole grains" like the new one does.

Under the old pyramid, I could convincingly tell myself that eating donuts was perfectly acceptable, even healthy-clearly, donuts are a bread-type, so they fit nicely into the bread group.

But now the U.S. Department of Agriculture wants me to "make half my grains whole." Good-bye, donuts.

The old food pyramid was constructed like building blocks, so it seemed as if I didn't get the recommended 6 to 11 servings of grains, I couldn't very well move on smaller, less important things like fruit and veggies.

The crowning glory of the old food pyramid was fats and oils. They sat atop the pyramid, looking smug and superior, and I had no choice but to oblige them by eating at least a few servings of something fatty or oily every day.

But in the new, improved food pyramid, the portion representing fats and oils is so thin you can barely see it, let alone click on it for reassurance that eating french fries and candy bars is OK.

For those who haven't seen it, the new food pyramid (showcased at is built of vertical slices instead of the familiar stacking in the old pyramid. Each slice is a different color: green is vegetables, blue represents milk, etc. No longer does the grain section dominate the pyramid. It's flat-out depressing.

The new food pyramid does tells me to eat dairy products, which is fine with me, but I suspect that since it uses the words "low-fat" or "fat-free," the nutrition police aren't really including ice cream as a viable option for getting my daily dairy requirements.

I don't really like milk. In fact, I don't drink milk at all unless I'm washing down cookies, brownies or Swiss Cake Rolls. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't pass with the new food pyramid.

The new pyramid also wants me to exercise. It demonstrates this, by the way, with a stylized drawing of a person with no torso running up the side of the pyramid. I can't run stairs-it hurts my knees.

The pyramid also says that children and teens should be physically active for 60 minutes or longer. Every day? Are they kidding? I'm 19. Does that mean that I'm supposed to be running around for an hour every day? Well, Stylized No-Torso Man, if I'm going to end up looking like you, I don't want to follow your lame food pyramid anyway.

I think what I really want is a food pyramid that will tell me that my diet is not only okay, it's actually healthy. Until the day comes that jellybeans are recognized as vegetables, though, I think I'll forget nutrition and stick with my current lifestyle. Who wants to be that healthy, anyway?


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