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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."

Aggie traditions? Not for me!

By Kandice Crompton

April 15, 2009 - Logan | I graduate in 17 days. I've been getting ready for finals, trying to plan a wedding and getting graduations announcements ready. On a break from the stress yesterday I started looking around the USU website and came across the 'traditions' page. I'd never seen this before and decided to take a look. I had no idea how much I had apparently missed out on in my four years at this school! I decided to do a service to all those students out there who, like me, were apparently in the dark about these "USU traditions". I'm gonna see how many I can hit in 17 days, you may want to give yourself some more time!

Aggie Ice Cream Aggie Ice Cream is located in the Nutrition and Food Sciences building on the east side of campus. According to, in 1921 "the first taste of Aggie Ice Cream became a rite-of-passage on campus". I've considered trying to quickly participate in this rite-of-passage, but the website also says that "Aggie Ice Cream has a 12 percent butterfat content", and when I'm trying to plan for a wedding I really don't need that extra fat. I'm not sure if this tradition counts if you eat the ice cream anywhere but in the NFS building. For now though, I'm gonna say no.

True Aggie Ok, I have been to True Aggie Night, but not to become a True Aggie. I went for a class and took pictures, no kissing involved. True Aggie Night goes on every full moon, A-Day and Homecoming. This is definitely a tradition I could stand to take part in before graduation. As this week is A-week, there is a True Aggie night this Friday, April 17th, we'll see if I can't get the fiance up here to knock this one out.

Paul Bunyan I always wondered what those painted footprints on the sidewalk were. I'm not really going to go into this one, there's not really a tradition to 'participate' in, but since I've seen the bootprints, I'm going to say I've 'participated' in this one.

Big Blue Well, I've never been Big Blue, and there really aren't very many people who have been, so I don't feel bad about not participating in this tradition.

Homecoming I swore to myself I would attend the homecoming football game this year. I didn't. As I think about it now, I haven't participated in a single Homecoming activity. No Homecoming parade, no True-Aggie Night, no Homecoming dance. This is one I can do as an alumnus right?

A-Day Well, A-Day is not A-Week, and apparently it's THIS week. Three more days in the week, I'll participate Thursday. Or Friday. Whenever.

Hello Walk This is a stretch of sidewalk from the bottom of Old-Main over to the Business Building. I've walked it many times. Part of the tradition started to get people to say "hello" to one another. I've walked this path many times on the way to class, and I say "hello" to friends. I'm gonna count this one.

The Hill The Traditions website ( says the Hill traditions include everything from the fraternities running down the hills during Rush week to sledding and ice-blocking down the Hill. Being a girl I obviously never joined a fraternity, and not really enjoying the cold I have never taken a sled down the Hill. However, I did go ice-blocking down the hill last summer, so I'm going to count this.

Finals Week Howl The final tradition. Apparently every semester on the Wednesday of finals week there is a bunch of students "howling" in the library. Sounds weird, but after all these traditions I've failed to participate in I need to participate in this one. Two weeks.

Ok, those are most of the traditions listed on the traditions website. I would encourage all of you to start participating now. I'm going to be really busy these next two weeks!



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