Friday, March 25, 2005

Jerry is cool, he's reading The Economist. Carolyn is not cool, she's reading Teen People. But at least she knows what to do if her crush won't call her back.
Posted by Hello

Ginny and Jerry, thanks for coming!
Posted by Hello

For the Health of it!

. For the Health of it!

Thanks to Jerry Gulley and Ginny Temple for coming all the way to T- Town to talk about Health Magazine. I loved what Jerry said about finding a mentor. That’s great advice and I hope you take it. Whatever you do, wherever you go, study the people that you admire. Note how they dress, how they interact with their superiors, their peers and their subordinates. Jerry runs a tight ship but everyone I’ve known who has worked with him would walk across coals for him.

The thing is, you can tell by both Jerry and Ginnys' comments that they love what they do. In the end, that’s what this is all about. This class, this profession, this road you are taking is about one thing-- finding out what it is you love to do, doing it well and of course, eventually getting a paycheck for it.

It’s not all glamour. Every newsroom, office, law firm, church and institution comes with back stabbing, politics and weird nonsense that will make you crazy. But, as someone who is lucky enough to be an outsider looking in at a lot of companies, the thing that attracts me to some more than others is that rare chemistry that sparks a group. This class is one, the editorial team at Health is one, the editorial team at the Randall trucking group is one and the collaboration at Tuscaloosa Magazine are all good examples of the “spark.” If you don’t feel the spark when you interview for your first job—keep looking. And don’t overlook places that might surprise you. Good people want to work with good people. Creative people crave the dark humor, twisted word play and literary references that the sales people deride. Hey, our editors at Randall play competitive Scrabble for fun. (not me, not me)

You can tell when someone is on fire with the enthusiasm of a new project. I have to admit a stab of jealousy as Jerry and Ginny talked about the re-design effort at Health. Not the actual product, which looked great, but the team work, collaboration late nights and empty pizza boxes behind it. That’s the secret, the key to life that you may or may not be searching for. It’s the “buzz” of working so hard, so creatively that you lose track of time and you accomplish something.

Hey, now you don’t have to go listen to some lame commencement speech.

Happy Spring Break. I’ll give you a hint for next class. Come prepared to write a lead about your adventures. Here’s mine: I am always looking for my lost shaker of salt. It’s not that I ever really want to find it. Not at all. It would be like if the dog actually caught the car, the coyote snagged the rabbit or the troops found some WMD. It would take all the fun out of a dog’s life, a cartoon, a boneheaded war or in my case-- another spring break.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Greetings from NYC

Happy St. Paddy's Day!
No, we didn't win the big award. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. However, another Randall pub, Truckers News won and so we celebrated that one and had a great time.
Celebrity watch. Sad to say, the only celeb spotted so far was (drum roll)
Michael Bolton.
And, he refused to have his picture taken with Linda (my editor) and me. Maybe because nobody in our "over served" group could get the digital camera to work. Or maybe because we were Neal LOSERS, or, maybe, and this is just a guess,
he heard me say that neither my class nor my teenagers would give a rip about a pic of me and Michael Bolton.
I'm sorry Michael, really. I hardly knew ye.
Ouch. Rejected by the Neal committee and Michael Bolton, all in one day...
But, there's still time.
Off to the St. Patrick's Day Parade,,,,

Monday, March 14, 2005

First Place, Shacker Shirt

Shacker Shirt

by Melissa Cresswell

I am telling you this story in an effort to be returned to my rightful owner. You see, at one point I was happy and carefree looking forward to spring days cruising around with the windows down in my owner’s Land Rover and making my rounds at Gallette’s where I was surrounded by my old familiar friends. “Old South, how’s it hangin?” “Fall Rush 2003, whatcha say boy?!” But those all seem like a million years ago now. Here I am crumpled up in the back of ’74 El Camino just wanting to go home! I was his favorite t-shirt from his favorite formal. But next thing I know, I’m being passed around like a joint at an Allman Brothers Concert. Once the pride and joy of his t-shirt drawer, I’m now the foster child of my brood. That’s right; I’m a shacker shirt.
Let me take you back now to what I refer to as “the night of doom”. Tonight was like any other night, or so I thought. I was taking a nice rest on Robert—my long lost owner’s—futon. He was heading out for a big night so he was dressed to impress. That’s fine with me; I understand the need for an upgrade sometimes, but as Hanes Beefy T as my witness, that snooty little pony on his Polo blew me a kiss and winked as Robert cruised out the door. Snob. “You came from the outlet mall!” I shout after him. That probably knocked him down a notch or two. Now fast forward about 5 hours. I hear Robert come in just short of 3, and he’s got that letter hungry little trick Vanessa with him. Last time she came home with him, she made pass at me the next morning, but he handed her a generic “Bradshaw Baseball” high school shirt. Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky this time.
She beat him out of bed the next morning. Damn, I knew I was in for. I saw her stumble over to his chest of drawers, searching desperately for the pot of gold at the end of her slutty rainbow. It was a form of prostitution really. But instead of Robert brushing girls off with a casual “your money’s on the table, sugar”, he paid them in t-shirts. And if he was in a particularly good mood or was particularly impressed with her sexual prowess, he would “pay” them with a fraternity t-shirt which was every shacker’s goal. To the casual observer, she had all the coolness of actually going to the party without them knowing how she truly earned it. Back to the letter hound fumbling around through his drawers. I could see her inch closer to my hundred percent cotton brethren. And then it happened. I think she could feel me staring at her, wishing she would hurry up and leave. But out of nowhere, she turned and looked square at me. She came over and picked me up, eying me; you would have thought she’d picked up a Louis Vuitton purse. I could see her take mental note of my worth. Fraternity letters? Check, prominently displayed on front pocket and on rear. Good party? Check, New Orleans Formal the crème de la crème of fraternity parties and the most sacred of t-shirts. Damn, Robert was waist deep in an alcohol induced mini coma while this skank threw me on over last night’s jeans. Then we were off, her stilettos clicking hard against the pavement as she hurriedly made her way back to Tutwiler.
I could see them before she even opened the door to the lobby. They were already eyeing me. I could here the snickers as we walked through the hallway towards the stairwell. The sorority shirts. Piss, this would be up all 13 floors of Tutwiler and making its loop down sorority row before lunch was over. The humiliation and the shame are overwhelming. I despise this girl. She wore me to class. She wore me to workout. She slept in me. She wore me everywhere she knew she wouldn’t run the risk of seeing Robert. And then one day she was gone. She packed up and moved out of Tutwiler unaware that I’d been kicked under her bed in the moving out process. So I waited there, alone and in the dark longing for the occasional beer spill, toothpaste drop, or even pit stain from Robert. But pretty soon I would be wishing for the solitude of room 311. As the summer clean-up crews made their rounds throughout the dorm, I knew someone would eventually find me and come to my rescue. Well they found me alright and shipped me off to Goodwill. Now I’ll admit, I am somewhat of a snob, and the Goodwill shirts were frankly below me. I don’t care if me reading you means the bitch fell off or about Grandma’s Little Angels with their names spelled out in half crumbling puff paint. I prefer being worn under a gore-tex North Face with a pair of Carhartt’s. I need leather seats and high thread count sheets. I spent last spring break in the Cayman’s for Christ’s sake! And now I’m slummin it at Goodwill. You can imagine my horror when a grease-monkey with “Dewayne” proudly embroidered on his mechanic’s uniform bought me for a dollar!!! Simply degrading. I’ve been reduced to an undershirt. I spend my days covered in sweat and grease, clinging to his man-breasts. His gut full of chicken wings and Busch Light has stretched me to twice my normal size. I have a permanent ring around my collar and stains in my underarms from the vile stench that seems to spew forth from him while he grunts to and fro at work. And now, here I rest in the back of his car—or is it a truck? hmm, El Caminos are tricky—while waiting for him to pick me up and throw me back on in the morning for another day of blue-collar hell. I just beg of you, anyone out there reading this, if you see Robert hanging out at the Houndstooth or hoofing it across the Quad, please direct him to Doc’s Automotive Repair and Chicken. Tell him to ask for Dewayne

Off to the Big Apple

Things I plan to do in New York City:
Run in Central Park
Visit Ground Zero
Buy a fake Kate Spade computer case
Say hello to Eloise at The Plaza
Go to a comedy club
Wander through Tiffany's
Wear all black
Buy an Allman Brother's T-shirt
Either win or lose the NEAL award.
Run into at least one celebrity
Try to get tickets to Letterman

This Sunday, T-news editor Ben Windham wrote a beautiful piece about my dear friend Tim Cooper. He never met Tim but read his blog and somehow, through the blog, captured the essence of Tim.

What's up with the SGA elections? Nick? Fill us in? And what about the Atlanta chick who talked down the courthouse murderer? She showed her steel magnolia roots. The NY media has been incredulous. I loved one interview where they asked her, "You cooked pancakes for him?"
Well sure sugah, and he surrendered didn't he?
She read to him from The Purpose Driven Life. Wow. And to think I re-gifted my copy.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Emily and Ty's Fiction is Stranger than Truth Winners


By Emily Kornegay

Another summer, another curbside stint. I’m waiting for my next life to begin. Some dream of reinventing themselves, starting over with a new social scene, new setting, new environment. I do it all the time.

Right now is the lag time. Last year’s freshmen have moved out and moved on. They’ve grown weary of me and my grease stains. My coolness has faded to dingy. So, as they moved from their ramshackle rental house into a more sophisticated apartment for their sophomore year, they put me back where they found me – on the curb. Now, I wait.

They’ll be here in a week or two, my new owners. Fresh out of small-town Alabama, drunk on new pseudo-independence and cheap Natty Light beer (a can or two of which can be found under my center cushion), they’ll find me on the curb and be amazed that anyone would leave me for garbage. My new owners will drag me with glee to their new/old house, place me in their living room – right under the Jim Belushi “College” poster -- and crack open an ill-gotten cold one. They’ll congratulate themselves on their resourcefulness in finding a couch for their new college home. I can hardly wait.

Now, of course, I wasn’t always a backdrop for beer pong tournaments or midnight make out sessions. I started out with class. I came from a swanky furniture store in Birmingham. Some housewife bought me and had me shipped to her home in a gated North River neighborhood. I hated the truck ride – I tend to get a little car sick, so I much prefer to be dragged along the pavement to my destination. It’s more scenic that way.

I never really fit in my designer setting. Just not my personality. She sat me on top of a snooty Oriental rug – such a dull companion. The rug was jealous of my suede suavity. Fortunate for me, my stay in suburbia was brief – my owners’ rebellious daughter burned my arm with a cigarette. Hurt like hell, but it was my ticket to freedom. Mrs. Suburbia, unable to stomach my battle scars, took me to Goodwill, where my life really began.

I was purchased from Goodwill by a pair of thrifty and resourceful college freshman. That first year was heaven. I learned to love the sensation of beer seeping into my suede cushions. I wore my tattoos of cigarette burns with pride, and when one of my smooth owners brought home a hot coed with loose morals, I puffed my pillows in anticipation of some full-length action. It was a magical time.

Until they left me. They “grew up.” How cliché is that? Their mothers came to Tuscaloosa, cleaned out (destroyed) their sons’ grungy and magnificent house, and vetoed my passage to their next home. These mothers were very much like my first owner, with their posh SUVS, pearls and a cruel sense of cleanliness. This time, I didn’t even make it to Goodwill – I went to the curb, my cushions flattened in heartbreak.

I wasn’t disappointed for long. A week later, a new crop of freshmen arrived. Late one evening, they found me, and with many stumbles and much drunken laughter, dragged me to my next home – their front porch.

At first, I thought they would eventually bring me inside, after they exited their Natty Light-induced haze. Either the fog never lifted, or they just wanted a porch sofa, because that’s where I stayed. Life outside was a new pinnacle of perfection – I could commune with the friendly and fearless squirrels indigenous to Tuscaloosa, enjoy greater guest traffic, plus the grime I gathered outside really enhanced my weathered look.

These guys that rescued me were my best owners yet. They had a rare gift for mixing wild midnight and early morning revelry with stunning smoothness. They reminded me of myself – I’d like to think my shabby suede gives a rare aura of casual cool – something Mrs. Suburbia was too blind to appreciate. These freshmen had it all – their parties were legendary, and girls were helpless to their suave love charisma. And, lucky me, I got to be a cushy backdrop for all that glorious partying and skirt-chasing.

And my boys knew how to chase skirts. They’d cozy up with their latest conquest on my cushions, mournfully strum their guitar, and talk about their feelings. I’d strategically position my pillows for the action that inevitably followed – these guys were masters, and girls stood no chance against their well-sharpened love skills. My springs were crushed to a new state of creakiness in that happy era.

But, it ended all too soon. It seems the well-to-do of the world conspire against me. Tuscaloosa passed a dictator-like city ordinance that forbade the use of “inside furniture” on porches. People, what comes next? Mandatory crème walls? The banning of Jim Belushi posters? I was appalled – but I knew my guys would stay strong. They wouldn’t sell out and ship me off. I knew I was safe.

But one of my heroes caved. One of the skirts he chased stayed and achieved girlfriend status – and she was another Mrs. Suburbia in the making. She demanded my immediate departure. It was her or me. Still, I felt secure. I mean, these guys needed me – I was their booty backdrop. I meant way more than any skirt, regardless of how long she stayed.

I was wrong. So, now here I sit, back on the curb. I’m not worried. Someone will find me – I always land with on my scratched mahogany feet with my cushions up. It’s a little sad – I thought these freshmen were with me for the long haul – if not for the whining, designer-driven girlfriend, I might have made it to their senior year. It’s early August, though, and more scavenging freshmen will stumble (literally) upon me soon.

Something’s not right here – these are girls looking me over. And they’re sober. And, they aren’t dragging me home. They’ve actually lifted and carried me to their house. I don’t like the looks of this place. It’s clean, the walls are freshly painted, and there isn’t a beer, Ping-pong table, or Animal House poster in sight.

Good, they’re not stopping in the living room. Maybe I’m going to be a gift for one of their grungy boyfriends. Wait, why am I being left on the back porch? These girls don’t look like rebels, or the kind that has a porch couch, for that matter. They’re probably into wicker and swings.

Scissors? What is that? A stapler? Measuring tape…what’s happening to me? Oh God, no, please no…no.

Damn. Here I sit on a fluffy and fresh Pottery Barn rug, in a whitewashed room, with walls plastered with sorority photos and Anne Geddes prints. My suede has been stripped from my frame. My beloved beer stains and cigarette burns have been scrubbed and repaired. I am now covered in pink and green chintz. What am I going to do now? I am doomed to a life with three mini-Mrs. Suburbias – barred from beer, cigarettes and late-night loving forever.


The End of Snack Time
By Ty West

“I can’t believe it’s the end. My last day on the job,” the old, tattered vending machine said.

“How long have you been in this hall, V.M.?” the Coke machine, who had shared lobby space with V.M. since it was installed during the summer of 2002 asked.

“I’ve been here since 1993, back when this was an all-girls dorm. Man, it’s been nice, and I don’t want to leave, but…” V.M. said in a forced tone.

“You don’t have to talk about it; I know you would like to forget it. You don’t have to tell me about it,”

“Coke, you’re my best friend, and I know you’ve always wanted to know, and it might help if I talk about it, so I’ll tell you.”

“You sure, you don’t have to,” Coke said, even though he had made it clear many times that he wants to know.

“I’m sure, maybe it will help, be kind of therapeutic,” V.M. said.

“Maybe,” Coke said, in a doubting tone.

“I’ll just start from the beginning. It was May 6, the Thursday during finals week. Times were so good. The no-carbs craze hadn’t kicked in yet, people were loving their snack treats. I was one of the highest selling machines on campus. Life was good. It seems like that’s always how it happens. Any time you feel like you’re on top of the world, and life couldn’t be better, that’s when everything comes crashing down. That’s how it happened for me, anyways,” V.M. said, struggling with each word.

“You sure you want…” Coke asked before being interrupted.

“I’m sure, damn it! Now let me tell the story,” V.M. butted in.

“Sorry,” Coke said.

“Now, it was about 11:20 at night, there was lots of activity in the living room and the lobby, kids procrastinating and trying to avoid studying, I did a lot of business that night, as I recall. At least I did a lot, before it all happened,” V.M. was getting visibly upset, or as upset as a vending machine can be.

“The sad thing was that I saw it coming, they had been planning it for days, trying to think of a way they could steal all of the candy. So when they came up to me with the clothes hanger, I knew what they were up to.”

“Who was it,” Coke asked.

“I don’t know their names. I know them by what they eat. The main guy was Snickers. He was not your quintessential leader; not very sure of himself, but at the same time, he was the most devoted to pulling it off. He was ruthless. Then there was Smorgasbord, he ordered lots of different things, kind of portly. He definitely wasn’t the brains behind the operation, but he was motivated. He was the one who eventually pulled the trigger. Then there was A-4. I called him that because he always got whatever was in A-4, it didn’t matter what was there. You could have put rotten fruit in A-4, and that’s what he was eating that day. He was just kind of along for the ride. And that was the group, other than the dozen or so witnesses, who just kind of looked on in awe, they couldn’t believe it.”

“Enough with the dramatics. Just tell me what happened.”

“Fine. Snickers, A-4 and Smorgasbord came up to me about 11:20. They planned to use the clothes hanger to lift my glass out, and take everything from me. Eventually, they decided it wouldn’t work, so they decided to try and break the glass. At this point, I was worried, because I’m very fragile and old. Then, it all got dark.

“Snickers threw a blanket over me, and said, ‘hit it, right in the middle.’ I assume he was talking to Smorgasbord, since he probably packed the biggest punch. He was kind of reluctant, but eventually, ‘BAM!’ Punched me right in the gut, only my glass didn’t break and fall through, it just kind of shattered all the way down and you couldn’t see through the glass.
“I knew they weren’t finished, they had gone too far. Luckily, another guy, Cheese Curl, walked in. He was very resourceful and had a good idea. He told them to put duct tape over the glass, over every inch, then to carefully pull it off. It worked, for the most part. Only a few inches of glass fell to the floor, and they quickly swept it up, not like it was part of me, but just like it was glass, normal and lifeless. That’s what hurt the most.” V.M. said, quivering.

“What gets me about it was how violated I felt. It wasn’t like a quick incident, I had to sit there and watch the whole thing. After they just swept me up like dirt, they took everything from me. Every bag of chip, every pack of gum, every candy bar. I had nothing. I sell snacks, that’s what I do. They took my life away, damn it!”

“That’s terrible, I don’t know what I would have done, I’m so sorry. What did they do with everything?” Coke asked.

“That’s the sad part, they didn’t even eat it. They just sat it on the table, and stared at it. It was A-4, Snickers and Smorgasbord. After helping them clean, Cheese Curl just bolted, he didn’t have anything to do with it, and he wasn’t about to take the fall. But the other three, they just sat there on the couch, looking at what they had done. They were sad.

“For someone who enjoys watching a child light up when they bite into a candy bar, this was hell. These weren’t kids, they were monsters. The snacks were piled high on the table, and some passers-by took some of it. The thieves didn’t even have the honor to defend what they had stolen.

“What kind of thieves were they? After just sitting there, thinking about what they had done, they went upstairs. They were victorious, but they felt like losers. They had everything and nothing at the same time. They just left the candy on the table, and most of it just got taken during the night. The police came the next morning.”

“Did they ever find out who did it?” the naïve Coke asked.

“They don’t care about finding out who did this to me. From what I can tell, they did a routine investigation, but never found them. But I know who it was, and they know what they did. I just wish they knew how much they hurt me. How much it hurt to be out of service for four months.”

“Couldn’t they use fingerprints or something, find out who touched the machine?”

“Think about that, Coke, I’m a vending machine in a college dorm. Hundreds of people touch me, fingerprints aren’t going to help, and besides, like I said, they don’t care.” V.M. groaned.

In many ways, the old machine was like a grumpy old man-grouchy and bitter-and his old way of working just didn’t gel with the new way of business. He didn’t have an ACT card option, and didn’t want one. He was bitter about the way the world viewed him and that’s one reason he took the incident so hard.

“I just don’t understand why, you were a good machine,” Coke said supportively.

“They wanted to get me back for taking their money. Nobody’s perfect, and sometimes I accidentally took their money. That’s what good vending machines do. I was just doing my job. Now that I think about it, there was this one guy I ripped off about four times one night when he was studying, he always vowed revenge. It was Snickers.”

“I guess he got it, huh?” Coke interjected.

“Yeah, but that’s all he can do to me” V.M. sighed. It was about 4:30-almost the end of the working day, he knew the end was near.

About that time, the residence hall’s backdoor opened, the sun was shining directly through the door, showing only the silhouette of a slender man.

“Oh God no! No! It’s Snickers,” V.M. screamed as the door closed, revealing the machine’s nemesis..

Snickers walked in, donning the vending services garb that V.M. was all-too familiar with.

“Well, well, well. You thought I would graduate without getting my final revenge, huh?” Snickers said confidently to the inanimate machine.

“Don’t worry, I’m not going to break you this time, I’m just going to break your spirits,” Snickers said, loading the aging machine onto the dolly like it was scrap metal-which was a partial truth. “You’ve been demoted to the bottom of the totem poll, you’re going where no one will enjoy your salty, fatty junk food ever again.”

“No!” V.M. shouted.

“Where’s he talking about? Where?” Coke panicked as Snickers began to wheel V.M. away.

“You’re heading to the nutrition department, ha ha ha!” Snickers cackled. “Ha, ha, ha!”

“NOOO!” V.M. pleaded, but it was too late. Time had passed him by.

Shackers, couches and vending machines...oh my!

Fiction Contest Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of the Fiction Writing Contest!! Melissa, the blushing blonde takes a walk on the wild side with her Shacker Shirt story winning first place. She also faked everyone out with her voice. I figured it had to be a guy, it was such a guy thing. Way to go Melissa!! Don't spend all the cash in one place. And I'm going to QUIT saying she won the pot. It kind of freaks out my family.

Second place, none other than Good Girl Emily Kornegay(also known as Special K but I have no idea why) Emily takes the voice of a Curbside Couch and also faked out the rest of us who had no idea a bad boy lurked beneath... Congratulations to Emily

The vending machine story, by Ty West won third place and I'm not going to say I thought a girl wrote it,,,,sorry Ty, it's just that the whole, vending machine class discussions, have given this class somewhat of a theme. Congratulations to Ty.

Nick and Christine tied for fourth place with two almost "dark" fiction pieces. Nick's Pancake piece was the only one I correctly guessed the author. It has some great lines and some creative imagery. Good job Nick and please post it on your blog. Christine wrote about the machine behind the alleged machine and managed to put a dark, creative spin on it. Good job.

The sweaty, looking for love, weight bench at the Rec Center was written by Rachel. Good job Rachel but you left without your Easter candy. Sorry, it's gone now...

Thanks for all your creative work. All the pieces were contenders and in other classes, would have been in the top 6.

Finally, as I was leaving Phils, the manager stopped me to complain that semester after semester, he never wins. Sorrreeeee....

Next Thursday, I expect you to be working on your Newsweek pieces while I am in NYC either a NEAL winner or a NEAL loser. Either way, I'll be celebrating at an Allman Brother's concert that night. (ever heard of them?)

Peace out kiddos!!!!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Ten things I've done that you probably haven't

This thread was started on an online writer's group I'm in. Here's my list. What have YOU done that others probably have not?

Ten things I've done that you probably haven't

1. Had my copy of TKAM signed by Harper Lee who was in a car in my driveway.
(that's as far as she would come since she heard I was a journalist.)

2. Sat next to a guy on a plane who was reading an essay I wrote in USA Today. My picture was on the story and he kept looking at me, back at the essay.

3. Went on a road trip with a repo man for a story.

4. Got my Commercial Driver's License and am legally allowed to drive an 18-wheeler.

5. Choked on a fireball and had three people attempt the Heimlich maneuver until one finally got it right. (cracked two ribs in the process)

6. Lost 7 out of 10 toenails during a one year training quest to run the Chicago Marathon.

7. Wrote an advice column for lovelorn truck drivers.

8. Have a secret, has never failed yet, trick for talking my way out of a speeding ticket. Sometimes, for fun, I used to speed just to see if it worked. (it always did)

9. Dreamed about the murder of a Catholic priest. Saw the whole thing from behind a rock including the part where he was set on fire. The next day, read about it in the papers.

10. Saw Fleetwood Mac in concert(late 70"s) and was later (at a bar in Georgetown) mistaken for Stevie Nicks. Yes, I signed the autograph.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The last sting

Leaving a sting!

I can't believe I forgot to include James Kilpatrick as one of my favorite columnists. In today's Birmingham NewsSunday paper,(I can't get the link to work) he quotes from newspaper editor, William Polk who said: "No self-respecting bee every sat down without leaving a sting."

The first rule, a lede that grabs your reader's attention is usually enough to get the piece rolling. But the close is where the sting has to snap. One "trick" is to end with a strong word, a punchy word, a word that leaves a mark.
He evaluates a few columns that do it well and end with words like, gun, quits, mate, start. He then compares them to columns that don't do so well. They end with words like, technology, bugeting and investigations. (all from the New York Times)
So,,, I went on a hunt and checked out the T-News and here are some last words: " them, belief, won, graven-images."
Check out the last word in your Newsweek piece. And watch out for boring last words.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Rolling on the River!

This is a true, cool, Alabama towboat story!

This is a true photo story of a tugboat rolling under the Rooster Bridge on the Tombigbee River in Alabama in 1979. I'm posting this because our friend Bill Maxwell wrote about how he's fascinated by the tug boats chugging down the river. I checked this out on and it checks out.
Very cool!