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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.

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

Woman sentenced for DUI

By Mark Vuong

April 15, 2009 | LOGAN -- Audra Crocker will spend 20 days in Cache County Jail for driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a suspended license.

Crocker is also to pay $1,332 in fines, finish her counseling at the Bear River Alcohol and Drugs, keep attending AA meetings and stay away from alcohol. She will serve her jail time only on the weekends. This is to allow her time to spend with her children and to keep attending AA meetings.

Crocker brought with her a worker from Division of Child and Family Services to speak. The worker told 1st District Court Judge Kevin Allen that if she couldn't have time out of jail to spend with her two children, age 9 and 13, they could end up being sent to a foster home.

When Allen asked who will be taking care of her children on the weekends, the worker said Crocker's 20-year-old stepdaughter will.

It was made apparent that it wasn't a ploy to try to get the judge to let her off.

"She'll be the first to say, 'Yes, I need to spend some time,'" said Crocker's attorney, Chad Hutchings.

Hutchings also told the judge that Crocker has been attending AA meetings almost daily since late January. She even hosts the Tuesday night's meeting, he said.

"Tuesday night's meetings are awesome, just awesome," Crocker said. "And it's helped with the sobriety too."

Before Allen gave the sentencing, he briefly talked about the prior case, in which a woman had previously been charged for automobile homicide while under the influence of alcohol that killed two of her children and was again recently charged with driving under the influence.

"I was pleased to hear of the case before yours," Allen said. "I couldn't help but think that if she had done what you're doing she wouldn't have been here today."

He was also pleased to hear that she was attending AA meetings, he said, seeing as how he is a "big fan."

"I hope that AA has made you realize the importance of the relationships you have," Allen said. "I hope that you are going to develop the self-esteem to stay away from destructive relationships."

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