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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."

Downhill thrill -- Cache Valley is cyclists' paradise

By Emily Metts

April 29, 2009 | I moved to Cache Valley several years ago from a big city and I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. People here love the outdoors, and not only the outdoors but the lifestyle that comes with it.

One of the biggest obsessions I have found is mountain biking. To me I don't understand it. We have all been riding bikes since we were children, where is the excitement in that, but some people live for it. They spend countless hours and too much money on what I am told is something that I have to try first before I can understand it. Recently I was talking to my good friend Nolan and he was trying to explain it to me. He told me that "the adrenaline rush of being able to fly down a mountain and drop off rocks is such a thrill. It's kinda like the need for speed."

I told him I guess it's a guy thing that I will never understand. He however, was unable to accept that so he challenged me to come on a ride with him that coming weekend. I accepted, and told myself that there had to be more to this than what meets the eye.

The day arrived and I went to the Outdoor Recreation Center at USU to get a bike. The next thing I knew I was on a bike looking up at the mountain I was supposed to climb.

Nolan told me he was taking me on a beginners hill. I think he lied. It was so hard trying to ride up. It was steep and I began to think my apprehension about mountain biking was right on. As soon as I thought that we reached the top of the hill. Nolan said, "now this is when things get really fun."

I started my bike down the hill, but was very timid at first. I had my hand on the break and would not let go. As I got further down I began to let off a little and began to understand just what he was talking about. The rush I felt was unlike anything I had felt for a while, and when I got down I wanted to do it again.

Now I am beginning to understand the outdoor lifestyle here a little bit more. I admit I judged too quickly. Outdoor stuff isn't all bad. Maybe Cache Valley got it right, and it is one of the best places to play, especially now that the weather is warming up.

It is just too bad I didn't realize it sooner. I have wasted a lot of time, time I could have spent mountain biking.


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