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Today's word on journalism

May 8, 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.

Speak up! Comment on the WORD at


Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Photo by Michelle Butler

A warm spring day at the Beav: Frolicking in a white playground

By Michelle Butler

April 3, 2009 | Once a year, college kids everywhere leave their books and studies and merge on beaches around the country. Spring break has become that long awaited, highly anticipated event where many travel great distances for sun and fun. I've done the whole leave Logan and visit warm sunny beaches thing, but this year, I went to a different beach, one complete with gloves, goggles and snow. And boy was there a lot of snow!

I spent Friday the 13th up at Beaver Mountain with several friends. For me, it was my first time up this year and the snow was glorious! Lucky for us, it had dumped several feet earlier in the week, leaving us a great powder base.

That day was one of the warmest days I've ever skied. By the end of the day, I had already shed several layers of sweatshirts and extra shirts.

The sky was a fantastic blue, with large billowing clouds. Being a Friday, the slopes were relatively empty. Short lines and empty slopes made for quick, fun runs. It was almost like being the only ones on the mountain.

Having grown up in Logan, Beaver Mountain has been a tradition in my family. Every winter, we go up at least a few times. It was on Little Beaver that I first learned how to ski.

A few years ago, I had a season pass. I spent every Friday skiing and went at least once or twice a week.

Although Beaver isnít as big as some of the resorts in Salt Lake, it still has great snow and with the addition of Marge's Triple (a whole new side of the mountain) there are tons of great runs to try.

Over the years, Beaver Mountain has put in a triple lift and expanded their lodge. For someone who's skiing Beaver for the first time, these might not be huge, but for a local, you notice and change!

After each snowstorm, the runs change, leaving you with a whole new playground. We took runs all over the mountain. Some we meandered down, taking our time and enjoying the crisp, cold air, chatting as we went. Other runs we went full out, racing to the end.

The day unfortunately ended with a trip to the emergency room. One of our friends hit a jump and it was all down hill from there. He crashed so hard that he snapped his ski in half.

After three hours at the emergency room, we discovered he had broken his leg, ruptured his spleen and cracked his back in three places.

Good news is, hes fine and ready to hit the slopes again. It just wonít be until next year.


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