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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."

Never a dull moment when you run a pawn shop

By Aaron Mecham

April 24, 2009 | PARADISE -- Rocky's Pawn and Title in Hyde Park always stays interesting, says owner Don Johnson of Paradise.

"You never know what will walk through the door each day," Johnson said.

Johnson said that's the best part about owning the pawn shop, it stays interesting, from the people he gets to talk to down to the items that are being pawned.

Johnson has owned the pawn shop for eight years now and worked many places before, from oil fields to owning his own construction company.

Sales have been mostly down, but gun sales have been "incredible" since the presidential election, Johnson said. He noted that it was mostly because of President Barack Obama's plans to change gun policies.

Johnson said another change he has seen recently is more and more people are just taking money for the items they pawn whereas before they would take out loans and receive the items after paying off the loan. Now Johnson has to try to sell the stuff, which isn't always easy depending on the item.

When asked what the worst part of owning the pawn shop was, Johnson responded, "I think probably dealing with all the regulations from the state, the hoops they make you jump through."


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