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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."

Wilkinson bids farewell to fans with a victory over San Jose State

By Craig Morris

March 8, 2009 | The Aggies led by as many as 20 points early on senior night against San Jose State University and everything seemed to be going their way until Gary Wilkinson left the court in agony midway through the first half.

The injury looked to be devastating as he ran with the trainer back to the locker room to have his thumb looked at. Wilkinson returned to action shortly after having it set back in place and taped.

Meanwhile, the Spartans climbed back and made things interesting. Behind strong play from Adrian Oliver with 20 points and Robert Owens with 18, San Jose State pulled to within four points.

"We couldn't stop them defensively, so we flat out had to outscore them tonight," said Wilkinson.

Although not a senior, Pooh Williams made some noise of his own with 17 points and six assists. Jared Quayle led all scorers with 21 points and added five assists and six rebounds. Quayle had eight big points in the final four minutes of the game. With only a four-point lead, he hit a 15 foot jumper and then a three-pointer to put the game out of reach.

Tai Wesley, Wilkinson and Tyler Newbold each had 13 points, putting all five starters in double figures in the Aggies' 89-77 victory. Wilkinson also grabbed five rebounds in his final home game as an Aggie. He left the game to a standing ovation and finished with an overall home record of 34-0 as an Aggie.

"I've been so blessed with my teammates, with the coaches, with the fans and the community," said Wilkinson. "It means a lot to have the opportunity and to win that many games for the community."

Coach Stew Morrill gave his praise to Wilkinson after the game.

"Without Gary, it wouldn't have happened. He was critical to us," Morrill said.

He added, "His inside presence, his leadership and all of those things have been so important to us winning back-to-back WAC Championships."

Utah State heads to Reno now where it will face the winner of the Hawaii-Fresno State game. Although the Ags locked up the No. 1seed, it looks as if they will have to beat both Boise State and Nevada in order to win the tournament.


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