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ONE TWISTED SISTER: Musician Dee Snider flashes the devil's horns to the crowd at Monster Circus, a rock mecca in Vegas. Click Arts&Life or a link to story. / Photo by Ben Hansen, special contributor

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.

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

We won ­ and lost ­ at 'Cleaning the Sink' at Angie's

A BIG PILE OF GOOD STUFF: Students dive into the Kitchen Sink at Angie's. / Photo by Michelle Butler

By Michelle Butler

April 15, 2009 | We entered a crowded restaurant filled with the valley's locals, a mixture of young families, older couples and of course hoards of college kids. There were four of us. Myself, my husband Zac, my sister Jen, and her fiancé Greg. Although friends naturally, tonight we were going to embark upon a mission that would ultimately test our friendship and the very fibers of our beings. We had come to clean the kitchen sink at Angie's.

The kitchen sink is a well-known mammoth dessert that locals both fear and respect. The mere attempt to consume it has landed individuals in the hospital (maybe) and if one is victorious, it earns them ultimate respect and a fine looking bumper sticker!

We were seated in a blue booth, close to the front. We had just watched a family of seven unsuccessful attempt the kitchen sink. After their shameful failure, we doubted our abilities. And so began our strategy session. The kitchen sink is a gallon, repeat a full GALLON of vanilla ice cream. It's topped with two full bananas, whipped cream, three toppings of your choice, nuts and of course a cherry on top.

Strategy one was to eliminate the whipped topping by scraping it off and disposing it in our napkins. Strategy two: eat quickly before you fill up, but avoid brain freeze. We considered puking in the parking lot, relieving our bladders, not drinking any water, hiding the ice cream in our cups, to go boxes, or on someone else's table. Finally, we began to call our friends, begging them to come assist us. Soon, our giant sundae arrived, served in a kitchen sink.

We knew at first glance we were in trouble. The sundae doesn't seem too big, but after you shove your spoon to the bottom and you can barely see the top of it, you begin to realize just how deep the bowl is and how much ice cream there is.

An hour and a half later, that's right over an hour of our lives was spent trying to eat ice cream, we waddled out the front door, with a brand new bumper sticker. Yes we had won, but it came at a cost, and this is why:

Here's a quick run down on the kitchen sink in all its glory:

Gallon of ice cream: 4224 calories
Whipped cream: 35 calories
Chocolate sauce: 90 calories
Oreos: 130 Calories
Carmel sauce: 150 calories
That's about 4629 calories give or take a few.

Yep, and I ate about a fourth of that. Guess I'll go running this next week… and the week after that!



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